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The Atlantic hurricane season traditionally lasts from June 1st to November 30th. The 2017 season was one of the most destructive in recent memory. There were more than 10 hurricanes recorded, including major ones like Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria. All three have wrought catastrophic damage on areas of the Caribbean, with Irma rivaling the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in the Atlantic Basin.
Those planning a winter vacation to the Caribbean may be concerned about the reliability of the area’s remaining infrastructure, including airports, roads, and hotels. However, while some islands (like Puerto Rico, Barbuda, St. Maarten and St. Thomas) will take time to recover, others have emerged largely unscathed from this year’s monster hurricane season. And let's face it: These places all depend on tourism, so it's important to support the neighboring countries. Below, we look at 10 of the best Caribbean resorts still operating as normal for the peak season.
Best for Couples: Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, Aruba
Aruba is located outside of the hurricane belt off the shores of Venezuela. Four-star Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is situated on the northeast coast and offers a romantic, adults-only getaway. It has 104 rooms and suites, all of them adorned in shades of cream and turquoise and fitted with luxuries ranging from a Smart TV to a spacious balcony or terrace. Spend your days soaking up the sun on beautiful Eagle Beach or lounging by the freshwater infinity pool. There’s a spa and fitness center, while personal concierges can help book activities including scuba diving, sailing and golf. In the evening, head to the beach bar for cocktails, or to oceanfront Elements restaurant for gourmet Caribbean and European cuisine.
Best for Value: Coral Paradise Resort, Bonaire
Also part of the Dutch Caribbean, Bonaire is home to laid-back Coral Paradise Resort. A favorite with scuba divers and families, this rustic hotel is located 100 steps from the ocean and offers an array of affordable dive and accommodation packages. Choose from eight pool-view rooms, all equipped with cable TV, Wi-Fi, a full kitchen and furnished balcony. There is no restaurant on-site, but guests are welcome to use the outdoor barbecue area; or to make a reservation with reception at one of the nearby eateries. All packages include the rental of a four-door pick-up - putting the rest of the island at your fingertips. Possible activities other than scuba diving include snorkeling, windsurfing and hiking.
Best for Luxury: Baoase Luxury Resort, Curaçao
Five-star Baoase Luxury Resort is located on the southern shore of Curaçao, the third of the ABC Islands. With just 23 rooms, villas and suites set amidst lush tropical gardens, this is a boutique option for the high-end traveler. All rooms create a sanctuary of white linen and hardwood floors - but for true luxury, opt for a Balinese-inspired villa with a private infinity pool. The resort also includes a massage gazebo, a crystalline public pool and a health club. The Culinary Beach Restaurant & Bar serves international wines and mouthwatering French/ Asian fusion food, while private beach picnics can also be arranged upon request. Resort-organized activities range from scuba diving excursions to dolphin encounters and cultural city tours.
Best for Privacy: Tensing Pen Resort, Jamaica
Jamaica is largely protected from extreme weather by neighboring Cuba and Hispaniola. Those looking for an intimate, exclusive retreat should head to the far west of the island, where Tensing Pen Resort nestles amongst the scenic limestone cliffs and private coves of Tegril. Here, uniquely decorated cottages crafted from cut stone and thatch create individual havens complete with bamboo furniture, canopy beds and a wide open porch. Treat yourself to freshly caught seafood and rum cocktails at open-air restaurant The Lodge; or while away the afternoons in the resort’s massage hut. An open-sided seaview yoga studio adds to the overall sense of serenity. Local activities range from historic rum mill tours to snorkelling, beach lounging and horseback riding.
Best Views: Jade Mountain Resort, St. Lucia
Located just south of this year’s major hurricane path, Jade Mountain Resort occupies an elevated position on St. Lucia’s west coast. The focal point of this luxurious resort is its jaw-dropping view of the twin Piton Mountains on the opposite side of the bay. Rooms are sea-view sanctuaries with an open fourth wall that allows the bedroom and living area to blend seamlessly into a private infinity pool. The Jade Mountain Club features an award-winning Caribbean restaurant wrapped around another magnificent infinity pool; while the rooftop Celestial Terrace is made for evening sundowners. On-site amenities include a boutique spa and fitness studio. Guests also have access to the litany of recreational services at adjacent Anse Chastanet Resort.
Best All-Inclusive: Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada
To the south of St. Lucia on Grenada’s beautiful Grand Anse beach lies the idyllic Spice Island Beach Resort. All-inclusive rates make for a hassle-free stay, covering everything from food and drink to watersports, children’s activities and Wi-Fi. Each of the 64 beachfront suites has a private terrace and lawn garden, while some offer plunge pools and decadent four-poster beds. During the day, explore the resort’s tennis courts, golfing green and free-form swimming pool. In the evening, listen to a live steel band while sampling Creole cuisine at Oliver’s restaurant; or opt for Grenadian favorites at the Sea and Surf Terrace & Bar instead. The only chargeable activities are scuba diving and treatments at the spa.
Best Off-the-Beaten-Track: Thatch Caye Resort, Belize
Situated far from the hurricane belt on the coast of central Belize, Thatch Caye Resort occupies its own private island and accommodates a maximum of 30 guests. This seclusion gives you the chance to fully embrace the Caribbean’s famous laid-back island lifestyle. Opt for an oceanfront cabana or an overwater bungalow complete with hammocks, a private deck and direct access to the ocean. Freshly prepared meals are served in a variety of rustic locations throughout the resort, while the Coco Lounge Bar and Starfish Bar tempt with tropical cocktails. Guests can use the resort’s free kayaks, paddleboards and snorkeling gear; or sign up for scuba diving or fly fishing tours. An all-inclusive package is also available.
Best for Families: Pompano Beach Club, Bermuda
Far north of the hurricane belt on Bermuda’s southwest shore, family-owned Pompano Beach Club offers a casual vibe and a stunning location on a private white sand beach. There are 75 guestrooms and suites, all with sea views and amenities such as cable TV and Internet as standard. Complimentary cribs and rollaway beds can be arranged upon request, while townhouse accommodations offer multiple rooms, full kitchens and living areas for families. The resort has three restaurants and three bars, in addition to a stunning oceanfront swimming pool. On-site activities range from watersports and tennis to ping-pong in the games room and massages in the spa. You’re also directly next door to the Port Royal Golf Course.
Best for Divers: Compass Point Dive Resort, Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands also remain largely unaffected by the 2017 hurricane season. Compass Point Dive Resort on Grand Cayman’s west coast is strategically placed near some of the island’s best dive sites and provides a number of specific services for visiting scuba enthusiasts. These include an on-site dive center, a dive training pool and dive boats that depart directly from the resort every day. When you’re not exploring Grand Cayman’s underwater treasures, unwind in the resort pool’s 12-person hot tub; or in a hammock on neighboring Sunrise and Sunset beaches. Eagle Ray’s Bar & Grill serves local specialties (think bourbon ribs and lionfish tacos), while one-, two- and three-bedroom condos include a full kitchen and living room.
Best for Golfers: The Pink Sands Club, St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Nestled on the shores of St. Vincent & the Grenadines’ Canouan Island, The Pink Sands Club is one of the region’s best destinations for golfers. The par-72 Jim Fazio-designed championship course boasts 18 holes divided between two distinct nine-hole loops. One offers spectacular views of the bay and beaches at ground level, while the other provides elevated vistas of the entire island. The resort is a collection of exquisitely decorated suites, villas and residences. There are several restaurants and bars (including gourmet international restaurants Romeo and Juliet), as well as a picturesque swimming pool and overwater spa bungalow. For truly memorable sunset cocktails, take a golf cart to the course’s panoramic 13th tee.