Am I alone in obsessively seeking out hotels and destinations which will provide a suitable, yet not ostentatious, amount of luxury along with a unique outlook, personal service and privacy? Not according to the enquiries which have been hitting my inbox since travel's return to favour.
So, let’s take the Caribbean: a decadent destination worthy of every traveller’s bucket list.
Encompassing more than 700 islands, this winter sun favourite is a melting pot of cultures, and my trusted specialists have helped me curate a portfolio of boutique hotels and resorts to provide every visitor with a truly authentic experience.
Situated on some of the world’s most unspoiled islands, these 11 luxury lodgings all offer something unique, in locations where journeying to the hotel is part of the adventure.
Most are owner-managed with a fascinating history or story and where delivery of service, the personal touch and giving back to the island is an important part of the ethos too. Some, also offer 'buyouts' where the property can be dedicated to an entire family or company.
So, whether you’re looking for a luxury honeymoon or destination wedding, celebrating a milestone birthday or seeking quality time with multiple generations in the family, here’s how to have a different kind of holiday in one of the world’s most breathtaking regions.
Join me on a whistle-stop tour of My Essential Caribbean Collection and I will be delighted to add a special something to any booking made before the end of January 2023.
Jamaica Inn, Jamaica
One of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean, lose yourself in the tranquillity that envelopes one of the best-loved hotels on the island since the 1950s.
This privately owned, all-suite haven has been in the same family for over 60 years, resting on 700ft of private beach and hosting a long line of famous guests.
The entire property is stylishly decorated but its crowning glory must be the huge furnished balconies and verandas, providing fantastic open-air living rooms.
With sustainability at its centre, coral planting, orchid care, recycling, composting and solar energy can be found throughout the hotel and guest experiences include watching turtles hatch on the beach.
Located on a premier private cove, two miles East of the Ocho Rios town centre, Jamaica Inn is 13km from Ian Fleming International Airport.
55 suites, cottages, and bungalows
Two restaurants, two bars and beach service
Meal plans include Room Only to All-Inclusive with a dine-around option
Spa treatments, saltwater sea bath, sauna, yoga classes and gym
Swimming pool, snorkelling, kayaks, sunfish sailing, paddle boards, croquet and tennis
Sandy Haven, Jamaica
Set on Negril’s seven-mile stretch of white sand beach, Sandy Haven has a reputation for fine dining, with the hotel’s Bongos Restaurant and the Almond Tree Beach Bar & Grill being hugely popular.
Guests can choose from various meal plans and the hotel is happy to arrange cultural tours as well as recommend an exquisite choice of local bars and restaurants to fully embrace the local culture and cuisine.
The design is contemporary with a stylish nod to Jamaica in terms of the art and décor. Top-category suites directly face the ocean and offer a private spa soaking tub to wash all your worries away.
Located in Negril, Westmoreland, Sandy Haven is 77km from Sangster International Airport.
33 rooms with a choice of garden or beach views
Two restaurants and two bars. All-Inclusive: breakfast, lunch and dinner
Swimming pool, private beach cabanas, spa, jacuzzi and gym
Concierge services, VIP Hospitality Suite, entertainment and cocktail party
Complimentary honeymoon extras and competitive wedding packages, with popular buy-out options
Ocean Cliff, Jamaica
Ocean Cliff Hotel on the Negril coast is perfectly located to relax and unwind, allowing you to soak up the Jamaican vibrancy and Caribbean sunshine.
Positioned on the cliff front, floating over the ocean, this adults-only resort feels more like a private island.
18 handcrafted stone cottages sit across the site, while panoramic ocean views, an ocean-fed swimming pool and direct beach access will have your days filled with a sense of ease.
The resort spa is sat in tropical gardens with an organic treatment menu. For those seeking more action, there’s a gym, snorkelling, water sports, yoga and cooking classes to keep you occupied.
The restaurant offers fine seaside dining with a menu focused on farm-to-table traditional Caribbean and international dishes, all created from locally sourced seafood and seasonal produce.
Adult-only resort with beautiful panoramic ocean views and access to direct ocean swimming
18 handcrafted stone cottages set in tropical gardens
Complimentary Wi-Fi, furnished balconies or patios
Blue Mahoe Restaurant, Sunset Pool Bar and Wellness Spa
Candlelit dinners under the stars
Young Island, St Vincent
Creating the atmosphere of a barefoot Caribbean holiday, Young Island is set on its own private island, far from the stress of everyday life.
Offering a level of escapism that is rare to achieve nowadays, the 'Robinson Crusoe' setting appeals to those seeking a Caribbean hideaway.
Cottages are either on the beach or nestled in the lush tropical hillside, much like your own luxury treehouse. Plus, many offer private plunge pools and several interconnect for a great family option.
Guests with a sense of adventure can spend a few nights cruising the Grenadines on the hotel’s private catamaran, enjoying tasty food served alfresco by the water's edge.
Located 200 yards from St. Vincent’s mainland, Young Island is 25 minutes from Argyle International Airport, served directly by both Virgin and British Airways. On arrival at Young Island dock, there will be a further 3-minute ferry ride to the island (this is free of charge and runs 24 hours a day).
29 cottages and suites located on either the beach or on the hillside
All-Inclusive private island with one restaurant and two bars
Famous floating coconut bar in the sea with mouth-watering fresh cocktails
Mini spa offering massages, reflexology and beauty treatments
Swimming pool, tennis (floodlit), snorkelling, sailing dinghies, pedal boats and kayaks
Atlantis Historic Inn, Barbados
One of the chicest and most talked about boutique hotels in Barbados, the family-run Atlantis Historic Inn dates to the 19th century.
Immaculately restored for guests who appreciate the simple pleasures in life, the hotel sits on the undiscovered east coast. Home to a restaurant with views that will blow you away (quite literally - the breeze is constant and delightful).
The rooms here are seriously romantic. Throw open the bedroom shutters to the Atlantic Ocean waves, slip back into the comfort of a four-poster-bed and watch the Caribbean sunrise.
The Little Spa is available at sister property, Little Good Harbour, offering a relaxing treatment room for scrubs, massage therapies, body wraps and a beauty area for manicures, pedicures, and facials.
Located on the Atlantic coastline of Barbados, Atlantis Historic Inn is 22km from Grantley Adams International Airport.
7-bedroom main house overlooking the ocean and 2 two-bedroom suites next to the pool
Seaside bedrooms with a sophisticated twist on rustic chic
One restaurant and one bar. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are à la carte (except Sunday nights)
Perfect for groups or small weddings, with options to buy-out Main House
Twin-centre package with sister hotel, Little Good Harbour
Little Good Harbour, Barbados
Little Good Harbour is a family-run, private beachfront hotel, close to a quiet fishing village on the island’s northwest coast.
The historical aspect is certainly part of the appeal here, as the original 17th-century Fort Rupert has been carefully restored to create the restaurant, bar and two of the hotel's luxury suites.
One and two-bedroom Caribbean-style guest cottages blend seamlessly with the environment, as do the three-bedroom Vineyard suites. Offering the privacy of a villa holiday with the service of a hotel.
The hotel's water's edge restaurant, The Fish Pot, has become an increasingly popular lunch and dinner spot for hotel guests and visitors alike.
Little Good Harbour is 37km from Grantley Adams International Airport.
20 suites with a choice of garden or beach views
An award-winning restaurant on the water’s edge
The Little Spa with a treatment room
Two swimming pools, kayaks, snorkelling equipment, island activities and car hire
Suitable for children of all ages, making it a perfect choice for families
Sunset Reef, St Kitts
Sunset Reef St Kitts is located on Palmetto Point with views across the Caribbean Sea and opened to visitors in August 2022. This slice of boutique luxury can be accessed by direct flights from the UK.
With seven luxury suites, set in beautifully landscaped gardens, the hotel is home to the Drop Anchor Grill Restaurant, two bars, an infinity pool, a fitness centre, and private dining areas.
Mindful to ensure the reduced impact on the environment since its inception, Sunset Reef has implemented several sustainable actions to move towards being a more ecologically sound property.
Bamboo room linens, locally sourced produce, water purification methods and the hotel’s geothermal system offer guests elevated luxury while maintaining the integrity of the island.
7 suites (from one to six bedrooms)
Swimming pool and fitness centre
Gourmet food - Drop Anchor Grill (farm/sea to table), Catch & Cook, private dining, private chef experiences
Tailored services – Fully stocked fridge, grocery packs, luxury picnics, beach BBQ.
Activities – Electric jet skis, non-motorised water sports, volleyball, biking, offsite excursions
Conscious sustainability – Geothermal and renewable energy, water filtration, plastic free and ‘Travel Sustainable’ property awarded for passing green travel protocols in over 20 categories.
473 Grenada Boutique Resort
Known as the ‘Isle of Spice’, Grenada is one of the friendliest and most picturesque islands in the Caribbean, offering an abundance of things to see and do.
473 Grenada Boutique Resort is a stunning collection of stylish villas, located on a private peninsula and enveloped by two breathtaking beaches.
The bespoke villas were built in 2017, in a retro-beach style that combines modern amenities with authentic Caribbean-inspired accents.
The staff are incredible, and guests leave as friends, with exquisite food crafted by fantastic private chefs who showcase the delicious locally grown ingredients.
Located in St George’s, the hotel is perched on the coastline, 12km from Maurice Bishop International Airport, and within a 10-minute drive of Calivigny Gospel Hall and Westerhall Rum Estate.
Water’s edge collection of 9 stylish one to three-bedroom villas
One poolside restaurant. In-villa dining, private dining and All-Inclusive options available
70-foot infinity swimming pool and two secluded sandy beaches with direct access
Non-motorised water sports including paddle boards, kayaks and snorkelling gear
Perfect for buy-out group holidays, birthdays or wedding celebrations
Rabot Hotel by Hotel Chocolat, St Lucia
Sat in a UNESCO World Heritage Site rainforest with views across to Petit Piton, Rabot Hotel is a stunning and unique property.
Combining a tropical location with all things chocolate, Rabot Estate is comprised of private eco-lodges, all architecturally designed with sustainable materials and an open-air concept.
This spellbinding St Lucian getaway encourages guests to explore with tours of the cacao groves, Project Chocolat and hiking trails. There is also the resort boat, Boucanier, on offer for sunset cruises.
A popular choice for foodies, the cuisine is inspired by the rare cacao grown on the estate and reflected throughout the menu.
A beautiful spa is set in the rainforest with an exclusive menu of natural wellness therapies using small-batch lotions made on the property.
Beach facilities for guests are at Malgretoute Beach.
Located in Jalousie, on the southwest of the island, Rabot Hotel is 30km from Hewanorra International Airport and 46km from George FL Charles Airport.
25 Eco and Luxe Lodges
Two restaurants and one bar
Infinity swimming pool, beach facilities, gym and beautiful spa set in the rainforest
Project Chocolat, multi-sensory, Tree to Bar experience
Guided tours of the cacao groves
Beach facilities at Malgretoute Beach
East Winds, St Lucia
East Winds is set in a stunning tropical garden on a private bay, providing guest privacy with unbeatable service.
Comprised of gingerbread-style cottages dotted around 12 acres of tropical gardens, the ambience is relaxed, and the staff are friendly, maintaining the exceptional service that people have come to know and love.
The variety of food is unbeatable, encompassing a farm-to-table dining concept with a different four-course gourmet menu served most nights, accompanied by carefully picked wines.
It's certainly a sought-after winter retreat and particularly popular with honeymooners in the summer. Think 'all-inclusive' with a difference, low-key and informal, yet elegant and private.
Located on one of St Lucia's most sheltered bays, La Brelotte Bay, East Winds is 7km from George FL Charles Airport and 60km from Hewanorra International Airport.
30 cottages and suites, four of which are oceanfront
One restaurant and three bars with beach service offering All-Inclusive
Swimming pool and spa treatments
Non-motorised water sports (Hobie-Cat, pedalos, kayaks, paddle boards and snorkelling)
Tailor-made experiences from hiking the Pitons to cooking classes
Perfect for adults, especially couples and honeymooners
Paradise Beach, Nevis
Paradise Beach is exactly as its name implies; a small piece of paradise located on a pristine white sand beach on the beautiful calm coast of this achingly beautiful Caribbean Island.
Every aspect of this villa-style boutique hotel is top class with gardens that draw in an array of local bird life as well as the odd mischievous monkey, paired with the aroma of flowering vegetation and edible fruits.
The villas offer open-plan living, spacious terraces and private pools along with walled gardens for added privacy, while the beach houses provide a quirky addition, perfectly placed to take in the ocean views. The copper plunge pools and draw bridge steps make these suites very sought after indeed.
Located 24km from Robert L Bradshaw International Airport on St Kitts, served by direct flights from the UK, guests travel onward by water taxi to Nevis (approximately 15 minutes).
There is also the option to charter a private jet to Nevis - a flexible and convenient option for groups. Private jets arrive and depart from St Kitts Airport (SKB), which features a new private terminal with a fast-tracking service.
5-star welcome with private water taxi from St Kitts
Two and four-bedroom beach houses, three and four-bedroom garden villas and four-bedroom ocean villas
One beach restaurant (with Lobster bake on Tuesday) and one beach bar (open all day)
In-villa dining and in-villa spa and beauty treatments
Watersports including paddle boards, snorkelling and fishing. External activities available
Pick your own fruit and vegetables from the gardens
If you have been inspired by My Essential Caribbean Collection, please ask for further details. I have illustrated property maps to share and will be delighted to add a special bonus something to any booking made before the end of January 2023.