The 9 Best Caribbean Hotels of 2021

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Romantic Dining in Private Palapa

Courtesy of Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort 

The Rundown

Best Overall: Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort Aruba

Romantic Dining in Private Palapa

Courtesy of Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort 

Arguably one of the very best hotels in the region, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort Aruba is an adults-only resort that's spread out along 14 acres of beautiful Eagle Beach and specifically focuses on romance and wellness. To top it all off, it’s eco-friendly. In fact, it was the first certified carbon-neutral resort hotel in North America. The intimate, relaxed vibe is bolstered by the property’s no-groups policy and lack of an all-inclusive package. Instead, you can expect a boutique atmosphere with top-notch, friendly service.

As for programming, less is more: Think movies under the stars twice a week, and daily wellness activities like cooking demos, yoga on the beach, and sunrise walks. The property has two great restaurants on site, as well as private cabanas where you can dine on the beach, and a full breakfast is included with the price of your room. Most of the guests here are honeymooners or couples (some of whom are repeat guests) seeking a secluded getaway, and that’s exactly what you'll find. Splurge on the luxurious Penthouse or Tara Suite for an extra treat—the latter is oceanfront, just steps away from the white sand and umbrellas.

Best Budget: White Sands Negril

One Bedroom Apartment

Courtesy of White Sands Negril 

This incredible budget pick — self-described as an “intimate resort with a non-hotel atmosphere” — is a gem on Jamaica’s famous Negril beach. The same family has owned it for more than four decades, so visitors are guaranteed local hospitality. No matter what kind of group you have headed down for some Caribbean sun, there’s a type of room to suit your needs. The property offers a four-bedroom, four-bath villa (with a pool) for families or groups of friends, as well as one-bedroom apartments and two tiers of rooms.

Don’t expect a traditional hotel stay here, though: White Sands is proud of its relaxed ambiance — you won’t find TVs in most of the rooms, for example — and local Jamaican feel. There is, however, Wi-Fi throughout the property, as well as a game room, pool, and bar and grill on-site. Each room has air conditioning, in addition to a balcony or porch from which to take in the fresh island air.

Best for Families: The Reef at Atlantis Paradise Island

Standard King

Courtesy of Atlantis

While there are six hotels at Atlantis Paradise Island to choose from, The Reef tends to be one of the most popular ones for families, as it is a bit more secluded from the rest of the resort. Rooms, ranging from studios up to three-bedroom penthouse suites, all include a kitchen or kitchenette, and guests of The Reef have access to an exclusive, family-friendly pool. When it comes to entertainment, it’s difficult to list what isn’t here at this sprawling property that’s long been a favorite for families coming to the Caribbean.

Kids are fully catered to here, with three dedicated children's pools, a huge aquarium with 250 kinds of marine species, including sharks and stingrays, and a huge variety of waterslides. They’ll also love The Dig, a subterranean adventure that lets kids explore their way through the lost city the island is named after.

And there’s no fear for picky eaters: The property has a whopping 21 restaurants to choose from, most of which have kids’ menus, in addition to 19 bars and lounges for the adults. Families can come together for yoga on the beach or there's a pottery studio to make souvenirs to take home. Just look ahead and plan well for this trip: It’s not all-inclusive, so the meals and activities can add up fairly quickly.

Best Boutique: Zemi Beach House

Anguilla Resort

Courtesy of Zemi Beach House

Opened in 2016 on the posh island of Anguilla — an ideal locale for beach-lovers and foodies alike — this stunning boutique resort has 65 rooms, including penthouse suites, beachfront villas, and superior rooms. The luxe rooms, done in dreamy island whites, all have private balconies, a personalized mini-bar, 24-hour room service, and wireless Bluetooth sound systems. Kick back at one of the outdoor bars for a beachside cocktail or indulge at the property's famed Rhum Room, where you can sample more than 100 small-batch, single-estate rums in singles or in flights, and learn the difference between rum and rhum.

For something a little more solid, we suggest a dinner (or a few) at Stone, which offers an upscale experience with seasonal dishes and Asian influences. There's also casual beachfront dining and Caribbean BBQ. From treatments at the 15,000-square-foot spa located within a 300-year-old house from Thailand to activities like yoga, tennis, water sports, and a complimentary kids club, when it comes to entertainment, unwinding, and unique experiences, the Zemi Beach House has something for everyone.

See more reviews of our favorite boutique Caribbean hotels you can book today.

Best for Romance: Secret Bay

Zabuco Honeymoon Villas

Courtesy of Secret Bay 

This island hideaway on Dominica is the perfect retreat for couples looking for a romantic escape. The hotel, which operates with an eye to sustainability, has just six villas, but each is a lavish testament to luxury. Guests looking for a honeymoon to remember will love the Ti-Fèy Villa, which has floor-to-ceiling glass walls, a private plunge pool, and a gourmet kitchen, which you can have pre-stocked before your arrival. Although you might feel secluded, you’re not too far from modern technology if you want it — and you very well might: You’ll receive an iPhone on arrival, with dedicated apps for travelers to the island as well as preloaded important contacts for your hotel stay, and if you just want to chill out after a day of swimming or hiking, rooms have Apple TVs with Netflix. Plus, the five-star service includes a concierge to help with your every need.

The restaurants on site are incredible, with the ZingZing restaurant offering a great view of the beach, as well as a unique “no-menu” concept that allows the chef free creative reign over the delicious meals. You’re sure to get a good night’s sleep here too, with a dedicated sleep program that lets guests pick their mattress and pillows for their stay, as well as a range of accompaniments like herbal tea or an eye mask, which all but guarantee you’ll wake up refreshed. 

Best for Nightlife: Breathless Punta Cana

Xhale Club Master Suite Oceanfront View

Courtesy of Breathless Punta Cana 

This adults-only resort in Punta Cana is a party destination for groups of friends, couples, and singles looking to cut loose on vacation. Rooms are stylish and contemporary, setting the party mood with vibrant island colors and geometric patterns accenting the rooms. And with 750 suites, each with its own terrace, there are plenty of guests here to mingle with and make plans for the evening ahead. At night, DJs spin by the pool while guests dance — or have a drink or two in one of the hotel’s eight bars and lounges. The hotel also throws regular events and themed parties (think blacklight pool parties, beach bashes, and more).

The hotel’s Unlimited-Luxury package gives you access to absolutely everything, from craft cocktails to meals at one of the 11 restaurants, 24-hour room service, water activities, pool parties, and fitness classes. In addition, you can venture next door to Now Onyx Punta Cana for more dining options and bars. If you really want to step it up a notch, upgrade to the xhale club suite to experience the sweet life with a jacuzzi on your balcony, access to a private lounge, and butler service, among other perks. The next day, recover from the previous night’s adventures with a spa treatment at the relax Spa by Pevonia.

Best for Luxury: Mandarin Oriental Canouan

Mandarin Oriental

Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Canouan

This hotel brand has long been a favorite of A-list celebrities, thanks to its secluded atmosphere and top-tier approach to luxury. The brand’s Canouan property is on the small, intimate side, with 26 suites and 13 villas — all of which come with airport transfers in Canouan, butler service, twice daily housekeeping, access to several water sports, and much more. Feel free to bring the entire family, and adults can get some respite from parental duties with the property’s incredible pirate-themed kids’ camp. Another perk we love is the resort’s Signature Beach of the Day program, which lets you explore and relax on a different beach each day.

Choose from accommodations that include a one-bedroom suite with a view of the ocean and a marble bathroom with a separate bathtub, or go big with an Italian-style three-bedroom patio villa, which comes complete with a private terrace, infinity pool, and private chef. The only thing you might have to lift a finger for here is a walk down to the hotel spa, which is made up of seven hillside treatment suites, complete with the sound of the ocean waves coming in through the windows.

Best View: Jade Mountain Resort

Beautiful view of St. Lucias Twin Pitons from Jade Mountain

Thomas Fluegge 

Plenty of hotels sit oceanfront and beachfront in the Caribbean, but if you’re looking for something next level — something to really make your Instagram #nofilter pics stand above the rest — then Jade Mountain Resort, situated on the southwestern coast of St. Lucia, is your spot. It’s not just its stunning views that you'll fall in love with, either. Book your stay at one of the 24 “sanctuaries,” each of which has a private infinity pool alongside its terrace and comes with round-the-clock butler service. The sanctuaries look out onto the Pitons and the Caribbean Sea, with the absence of a fourth wall that allows for completely unobstructed views. There are also five sky suites featuring a large bathtub for two (but no infinity pool).

At Jade Cuisine, James Beard award-winning Chef Allen Susser draws on local flavors and design menus that reflect the seasons. Other activities — besides the two soft sand beaches — to take in include a scuba center, kayaking, windsurfing, guided hikes, yoga, and sunset sails on the property’s yacht or catamaran. There are no TVs or telephones in the rooms, adding to the total immersive experience in harmony with the breathtaking nature of your surroundings. Guests also enjoy access to Jade Mountain's sister resort, Anse Chastanet, and all of its dining and activities.

Best for Foodies: Rockhouse Negril

Rockhouse Negril

Courtesy of Rockhouse Negril

Spread out over eight acres, this award-winning property in Jamaica's Pristine Cove boasts a fantastic spa with cliff-edge treatment rooms, daily yoga classes with sea views, and — most importantly for foodies — three incredible restaurants that each use produce from the hotel’s on-site garden. The main one, named after the hotel, features a fine-dining menu that’s renowned on the island and draws from the modern tradition of new Caribbean cuisine. The second restaurant, Pushcart Restaurant & Rum Bar, is a little more casual, drawing from the tradition of a Jamaican “Jerk Center,” where islanders go for their grilled jerk. Expect a posher version of it here, with a menu inspired by local takes on jerk and barbecue from cities around the island. There’s also a poolside restaurant featuring barbecue and cocktails, and a juice bar.

After dinner, retreat to one of the resort’s 34 clifftop rooms, which include thatched-roof cottages and sunset-facing villas. You'll find many guests have been coming for years, a testament to the incredible food, attentive staff, and overall relaxing nature of the grounds.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best Caribbean private island resorts.

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