2017 Honeymoon Awards: The Most Romantic Hotels in the Caribbean
We partnered up with Martha Stewart Weddings and asked our readers and followers to reveal their ultimate honeymoon destinations in nine regions around the globe. Now, with nearly 9,000 of you accounted for, we've found our winners. In the Caribbean and Atlantic, Turks and Caicos, the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, and Aruba came out on top. We've rounded up our favorite stays in each destination so you can get to dreaming about the tropical R&R that follows "I do."
Turks and Caicos
When Amanresorts opened Amanyara—meaning "peaceful place"—in 2006, it was taken by many (especially the hotel empire’s cult following) that Turks and Caicos had arrived. The Jean Michel Gathy–designed, 60-room resort is set on the wilder, less populated western shore of Providenciales and features many of the hallmarks of the Aman brand, including clean-lined, contemporary architecture with a Southeast Asian feel; a top-notch spa; serene public areas featuring reflecting pools and streams; and dining that fuses Asian techniques with local ingredients. All rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows that take advantage of the views overlooking the Northwest Point Marine Reserve, while the 20 villas have their own black infinity pools and personal chefs. And let’s not forget the resort staff who are on call to tailor your experience, whether it’s arranging diving excursions off the half-mile long beach, inland "exploration safaris," or private movie screenings.
Grace Bay Club
This adults-only, all-suite grande dame fronting Grace Bay Beach was voted best in the world in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards for its perfectly clear water and sugary white sand. Every room has a private patio or balcony with ocean views and features stylish décor that skews contemporary Caribbean (think earthy tones, rich textures, and funky textiles). Fancy more space, or privacy? Opt for a house-sized suite in The Estate, a family-friendly resort-within-a-resort, or splurge on one of the private villas—freestanding beachfront residences within a gated enclave. Guests can dine out at one of three restaurants dishing up flavors ranging from a raw bar to upscale comfort food. Just don’t miss a sunset cocktail at the legendary "Infiniti Bar," a 90-foot-long infinity-edge bar pointing towards the shore.
The Palms Turks and Caicos
Another of Provo’s gems, this 72-suite Grace Beach player fuses elegant, plantation-style architecture with of-the-moment amenities like sexy poolside cabanas. Dining is largely an alfresco affair—settings range from a tropical courtyard garden at breakfast to fire pits and lounge chairs at casual Caribbean hotspot 72º West. The property’s crown jewel is the 25,000-square-foot spa where treatments follow both Eastern and Western healing traditions, from the meditative "Zareeba" ritual performed in a hut scented with steaming herbs to a mother-of-pearl scrub using local conch shells. Stargazers, spring for the "Moon Bathing" treatment: guests are seated on lounge chairs in the sand around a bonfire at twilight and served delicious food and wine, followed by shoulder massages as the stars come out.
COMO Parrot Cay
Far from the teeming pace of Providenciales, this posh hideaway, set on a 1,000-acre private island, is a favorite with celebrities seeking an under-the-radar getaway. Not convinced? Well Donna Karan even designed one of the resort’s private estate rentals, The Sanctuary. The 75 guest rooms, villas, and beach houses epitomize castaway chic, with canopied beds swathed in white voile, woven wicker furniture, and an airy, open-plan aesthetic. The subtle Asian-Caribbean vibe comes courtesy of the Singapore-based COMO group, whose resorts are known for their incredible wellness offerings and top-notch pan-Asian cuisine. The award-winning spa brings to the table a slate of Asian-inspired therapies and treats like an alfresco yoga pavilion and a jacuzzi garden, while the two restaurants spoil guests with Thai, Japanese, and Caribbean dishes (poolside Lotus) or Mediterranean specialties (Terrace).
Opened in 1956 by ecotourism pioneer Laurance Rockefeller, Caneel Bay is the only resort in St. John within the boundaries of Virgin Islands National Park. With 166 rooms spread across 170 lush acres, it’s easy to forget you’re at a luxury resort. After all, its low-key cottages blend seamlessly into the natural environment, and many are adjacent to one of seven private white sand beaches on the property. You won’t find modern amenities such as televisions or telephones in Caneel Bay’s rooms—for an early rise you can request a wakeup knock in lieu of a call—but that lack is meant to showcase the resort’s main attraction: nature. The simple rooms feature stone walls, island-inspired artwork and large private patios. All rooms have AC, but to live like a local, open your windows and let the Caribbean breeze blow.
Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas
This lavish Caribbean hotel includes 180 luxurious guest rooms, many with ocean views. Think beige-on-beige, sturdy colonial furnishing, Oriental rugs, and big walls of windows. The varied dining options include Bleuwater, which specializes in aged prime meats, chops, and seafood paired with an award-winning wine list, and Great Bay Lounge, which leans more toward fresh sushi, nigiri rolls, and sashimi. The spa references the locale as well as the Mediterranean with 11 seaside treatment rooms and a private cabana, where treatments range from coconut-enzyme facials to rain therapy Vichy shower massages. St. Thomas is the most populous of the four major U.S. Virgin Islands and serves as a handy jumping off point for day trips and overnights by boat to islands like St. John. It’s also home to many white-sand beaches and some of the best Duty Free shopping in the Caribbean.
Gallows Point, St. John
This oceanfront all-suite resort skirts a tropical 5-acre peninsula on St. John’s quaint Cruz Bay. While ocean and harbor view villas entice guests to stay in with private balconies, plush king-size beds, and airy floor plans, it would be a waste to miss out on day trips to nearby isles. Public ferries and private charters are available to chauffeur you and your beau to neighboring tropical retreats like St. Thomas, the BVI, Tortola, and Virgin Gorda.
Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort
This former sugar plantation-turned-rainforest respite is a St. Lucia favorite thanks to its all-inclusive option and JetBlue’s seasonal “Mint” flights that fly between JFK and the island’s Hewanorra airport. There’s also plenty of tranquility to be had: 67 luxury villas are built in small clusters, each with its own oversize plunge pool and located minutes away from the secluded white sands of Sugar Beach. Don’t miss the stilted tree house spa or the off-site treatment at Sulphur Springs, which incorporates volcanic mud and a waterfall cleanse. We’re pretty sure that’s how past guests Gwyneth Paltrow and Minnie Driver preferred to relax.
Prince Harry recently landed his private helicopter at Jade Mountain. Why? We suspect it’s because this mountainside sanctuary has one of the island’s most spectacular vistas of St. Lucia’s towering Pitons. There’s a reason kids under 15 aren’t allowed here: suites have an open floor plan (meaning there’s no wall on one side) so that you can fully embrace the incredible view. Then there’s the major domo (butler) assigned to each suite, who’s on call at all hours to cater to your every whim—be it unpacking your suitcase, bringing down the sun tan lotion you’ve forgotten, or delivering meals straight to your door. What’s more, food comes courtesy of James Beard Award-winning chef Allen Susser, who likens meals at Jade Mountain to “a tropical vacation on a plate.” Bon appétit!
Boucan by Hotel Chocolat
All that’s missing from Boucan, which has all the sweet-toothed splendor of the hit film Chocolat, is your own Johnny Depp. From luxury British cocoa grower and chocolatier, Hotel Chocolat, comes this 14-lodge resort and foodie paradise set among the sun-dappled groves of a still-working cocoa plantation. Learn the art of chocolate making with a “Tree to Bar” experience in the shadow of the majestic Pitons, before digging in to sweet and savory meals at the restaurant, where chocolate is the star ingredient of every dish and drink. Cocoa is even the cornerstone of the spa—we suggest getting the reflexology treatment with roast cacao-infused oil, then following it up with a chilled Cacao Bellini.
RELATED: Our Favorite Hotels in St. Lucia
The Landings Resort and Spa
Naomi Campbell and John Legend have both checked into The Landings Resort and Spa, just a stone’s throw away from the hip strip of Rodney Bay Village on the island’s northwest coast. The all-suite hotel recently underwent an extensive refresh of its two restaurants, three pools, and 7,000-square-foot spa known for its coconut oil-infused massages. Each of the 85 villas—scattered around the resort’s private marina or fronting Rodney Bay—has two oversize terraces or balconies and full gourmet kitchens, best for stocking up champagne in advance and raising a glass upon arrival.
One&Only Ocean Club
The One&Only Ocean Club’s appearance in the Bond flick Casino Royale might tip you off to its glamour and bravado. The colonial-style former estate, on 35 manicured acres on Paradise Island, is one of the best hotels in the Bahamas—and is every bit as impressive as it looks, from the 105 understatedly opulent guest rooms with private balconies or decks to the 18-hole Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, Balinese-inspired spa, and formal French garden modeled after Versailles, replete with marble statuary and a 14th-century Augustinian cloister. Villas come with infinity pools, but all rooms enjoy butler service, which just begs for breakfast on your terrace—at least, that’s how we imagine James would have liked to start each morning.
The Cove Eleuthera
A rocky promontory hugged by two shallow coves provides perfect, blissful seclusion for this 40-acre escape in laid-back Eleuthera, a long thin island 50 miles east of Nassau. Lazy days here are defined by hours spent soaking in the infinity pool, snacking at the sushi bar, or napping beneath 500-thread-count sheets in your chic all-white room or villa. The ocean views here are expectedly spectacular, as is the snorkeling, but cocktails at the open-air Point Bar, perched on the bluff, are where you’ll find the most buzz—and best vantage point.
You might feel as though you’ve been marooned on Kamalame Cay, a tiny private island off the coast of Andros thick with mangrove trees—but in the best kind of way. Just 19 airy villas, kitted out with Indonesian furniture, muslin-draped windows, and sunny wraparound decks, sit on the beach, where staff bend to your every need—be it snorkeling a nearby reef, having a candlelit dinner on the three-mile beach, or being escorted to the dock for a luxurious oil massage at the overwater spa.
Grand Isle Resort
There’s lots to love about this 78-villa resort: the heated infinity pool overlooking the ocean, the addictive cocktails at Palapa Grill (considered one of the most romantic restaurants in the Bahamas), the ultra-spacious rooms that come with full kitchens and their own golf carts for taking a spin around the premises, its own private section of Emerald Bay Beach right by the pool. No wonder it was a destination of choice for The Bachelor. The story you’ll be bringing home, however, will probably revolve around Great Exuma’s resident pigs, with whom you can swim alongside during dips in the crystal-clear waters of nearby Big Major Cay.
The Ritz-Carlton Aruba
Staying at The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba in Palm Beach means being just minutes from the powdery sands of Arashi Beach and the capital of Oranjestad. All rooms and suites in the 5-star resort overlook the Caribbean from private balconies, while indoors, tropical prints and bold turquoise and canary yellow accents complement custom-designed furniture and plush featherbeds. As for amenities, five restaurants run the gamut from Italian favorites at Solanio to poolside Latin fare at Madero, two swimming pools offer scenic ocean views, and a 15,000-foot, 13-room luxury spa offers serene treatments including romantic couples’ honey scrubs and aromatherapy massages.
Riu Palace Aruba All-Inclusive
If your idea of paradise is a kid-free zone with 24-hour room service, book it to the newest Riu outpost in Aruba. This Palm Beach resort covers all the basics (above-average food and premium drinks, water sports, beach and pool toys), plus all the spoils you always wish for but hardly find—like the glass of cava waiting at arrival, late-night snacks, and a bottomless minibar.
Divi Aruba All-Inclusive
Divi Aruba All-Inclusive is no stranger to starry-eyed Aruban honeymooners. With a mile-long white sand beach, four freshwater pools, spacious oceanfront suites, unlimited drinks at eight bars, and dining options across ten restaurants (go for Mexican, Caribbean, Italian, and more), the spot pumps out laid-back, romantic R&R.
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