Toes in the sand, a frosty tropical cocktail in hand, and a bit of soulful reggae playing as the sun slowly sets—that’s the very essence of a Caribbean resort, right? Indeed, but just like the two dozen unique islands they call home, Caribbean resorts defy easy generalization. A few are luxurious enclaves, some are lively all-inclusives, and others are one-of-a-kind properties with a look and vibe all their own. Which are considered the best?
Based on the results of our ninth annual T+L 500, where we ask readers to choose their favorite hotels and resorts around the world, 29 Caribbean properties on 12 islands made the cut. Read on for a few tantalizing highlights.
Jamaica, one of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations, claims six of the top 20 resorts, including the genteel and romantic Jamaica Inn (No. 3). This 60-year-old Ocho Rios property features 47 suites awash in whimsical periwinkle blue, plus an alfresco dining terrace where guests are invited to slow dance to live music.
Chic St. Bart’s and lush St. Lucia are each home to three top 20 properties, including Le Toiny (No. 13), an intimate hilltop resort of 15 villas with private plunge pools and panoramic views of the island’s picturesque bays, and St. Lucia neighbors Anse Chastanet Resort and Ladera (tied at No. 20), both of which feature rustic-chic architecture with open walls offering clear vistas of the Piton peaks.
Turks and Caicos’ 72-suite Regent Palms (No. 12) makes the list for the first time. Set on scenic Grace Bay, the resort is known for its airy, kitchen-equipped suites and award-winning spa.
The youngest property on the list is Bermuda’s Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa (No. 7), which opened in April 2009 as the island’s first new resort in 37 years. And one all-inclusive group managed to snag a total of four top 20 honors (three of them in the Top 10). So read on to learn which brand won high marks with T+L readers—and, of course, to find out which low-key Caribbean resort catapulted out of nowhere into the coveted No. 1 spot.