The Caribbean may be synonymous with large, all-inclusive luxury resorts, but you'll find some enticing intimate upscale boutique hotels nestling amongst the palms, sands and tropical blooms. Here are a few of our favourite secluded Caribbean hideaways…
Keyonna Beach Hotel, Antigua
Guests at Keyonna Beach are just 40 barefoot steps away from the tranquil, powdery white-sand beach at Johnson’s Point, on Antigua’s scenic south-western tip. Renowned island-wide for its spectacular crimson sunsets, Johnson’s Point has long been popular with romantics and the 12 sea-facing rooms at the Keyonna Beach Hotel have been created with couples in mind. Characterised by simply styled cosy rooms with traditional handmade furniture and Caribbean four poster beds, the hotel’s breezy verandas boast million-dollar views across open waters out to Montserrat – an idyllic spot in which to savour chef Pam Clay’s sumptuous menu of West Indian food with a Tuscan twist.
Ginger Lily Hotel, St Lucia
Dubbed ‘St Lucia’s best-kept secret’, this intimate 11-room boutique B&B oozes tropical charm, from its mango-coloured decor and giant soaring potted palms to the individually decorated cheery rooms. A rainbow of sun-loungers scattered around a kidney-shaped pool look out onto a palm-thatch bar where it’s seemingly cocktail hour every hour of every day of the year. From Ginger Lily, guests can stroll down to the Reduit Beach, just 40 yards away and close to the restaurants, bars and hubbub of Gros Islet’s main drag – yet a world away. A keenly priced alternative to St Lucia’s large-scale resorts packed with homely cosiness and friendly smiles.
Cabier Ocean Lodge, Grenada
Set on a secluded, palm-fringed peninsular on the eastern side of the island, Cabier Ocean Lodge is the ideal place to visit for a dose of remote island R&R. Surrounded by the sea on three sides, each of the petit hotel’s 11 rooms benefit from dramatic sea views and direct access down onto the near-deserted sands of Cabier beach. Guests spend their days snorkelling the protected reef, swimming in nearby waterfalls, or simply soaking up the sun before indulging in a decadent dinner at the terrace bar and restaurant, which lies amongst the mango trees with superb views out over Crochu Bay. For an extra touch of luxury, stay at Two Bays Villa and enjoy your own private infinity pool suspended over the beach below.
Half Moon Blue, Tobago
Former fashion model Gloria Jones-Knapp has transformed a 150-year old property into an elegant boutique hotel, overlooking the seductive curves of scenic Bacolet Bay. Comprising eight suites and a spectacular penthouse, the emphasis at Half Moon Blue is on unadulterated luxury: with an infinity pool for exotic midnight swims under a starlit sky and impeccable service to ensure lazy, romantic, sun-filled days. Each suite is styled in handsome French-colonial decor using shuttered windows and boho chic rattan furniture, and set just a short walk from a beautiful sandy beach.
Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, Jamaica
This ultra-luxurious 10-room eco-funky boutique hotel lies wedged between the ragged peaks of the Blue Mountains and the palm-trimmed Port Antonio shoreline. Epitomising upscale Jamaican hospitality, Hotel Mocking Bird Hill mixes an oh-so-relaxing ambience with jaw-dropping views and a strong sense of environmental responsibility. Guests arrive here to chill out, fall in love, tie the knot and enjoy the ultimate Caribbean honeymoon at a property that benefits the local community.
Jenny's Place, Grenada
A simple Grenada beachfront property, Jenny’s Place sits at the northern end of Grand Anse beach; a superb location with big-buck views at shoestring prices – a rare find. Choose from one of four ocean or garden-facing suites, two apartments, or an en-suite room, just yards from the alabaster sands. Expect big, bright, bold Caribbean decor that mirrors the tropical hues of the surrounding gardens. A great budget boutique option for travellers looking for a lesser-known Caribbean hideaway.
Sea-U Guesthouse, Barbados
Tucked behind lush forest foliage on a hilltop overlooking surf-topped Atlantic waters, the nine-room boutique-styled Sea-U Guesthouse enjoys a reputation for casual charm. Guests are encouraged to hang a hammock amongst wildlife-rich coconut palms to enjoy the sights and sounds of hummingbirds and monkeys. Built in rustic Bajan style out of palms and hardwood, the Sea-U boasts resplendent views across the rugged shores of the Eastern Coastline with its unspoiled beaches, tidal pools and breathtaking scenery.
Header photo: Caribbean Hideaways © Antigua Tourist Board
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About the author: SarahWoodsSarah Woods
Award-winning travel writer, author & broadcaster Sarah Woods has lived, worked and travelled in The Caribbean since 1995. She has visited resort towns, villages and lesser-known islands where she has learned to cook run-down, sampled bush rum, traded coconuts, studied traditional medicine, climbed volcanoes and ridden horses in the sea. Sarah is currently working on a travel documentary about the history of Caribbean cruises.