We have trawled the crystal blue waters and combed the powdery white beaches on a mission to find the very best suites in the Caribbean.
With 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays in the region – all different, all beautiful – it is quite an undertaking. Here, we present our selection – and the most stupendous amenities that accompany them. Think private spas in your suite, tennis pros on hand to improve your backhand, a personal bar offering 40 whiskies and a villa with a private recording studio used by John Lennon.
Eden Rock is the gem of the Caribbean if you’re after views. The beachfront seat in the hotel’s Sand Bar restaurant is one of the coolest spots in St Barths and the suites overlooking St Jean Bay are some of the most desirable places to stay. Though, in our view, Villa Rockstar located within Eden Rock is the most desirable. The villa, built around a soft astroturf lawn, has a living and dining area that flows out into the garden, which in turn leads to a privately-accessed beach. Described as a “$100m yacht on land”, it is decorated with specially commissioned artworks and sculptures, as well as ultra bling touches, including a 24 karat white-gold bathroom accompanying the Mercury master suite.
As you would expect from the name, it also has gadgets galore, including HD projectors. Undoubtedly the most outstanding is the private recording studio with an 8088 Neve music console, the same one John Lennon used to record his hit single, Imagine.
Special amenities Movie theater with projector and cinemascope, recording studio with separate entrance, Mini Cooper, Harley Davidson motorbike, gym, Glen Affric whisky bar with 40 varieties, cigar humidor, butler, private chef, 24 hour concierge, chauffeur transfer from private plane or yacht, shopping delivery service and private driver.
Size 16,000 sq ft
Number of bedrooms Six (four master suites plus two cabins for staff or teenagers)
Weekly rate From $139,188
Contact Fabrice Moizan, general manager, +590 590 29 79 24, edenrockhotel.com
Anguilla does island living better than any other, which is why it has attracted so many A-listers, from Kevin Bacon to Jimmy Buffett. It also has what is probably the Caribbean’s most magnificent sand and sapphire blue sea. Altamer’s African Sapphire – along with the Antilles Pearl and Brazilian Emerald villas, each decorated to a geographical theme – exemplifies Anguilla’s odd architectural story. Outside it is a hyper-modernist abstraction in white concrete, while on the inside it allows the coolest tropical living, showcasing art and sculptures, with an original installation by artist Christina Watka.
Special amenities Dining room that seats 30, hot tub for 12 and floating hot tub for two, gym, butler, chef, home theater, billiards and card tables, in-villa massages and spa treatments.
Size 14,000 sq ft
Number of bedrooms Six (two master bedrooms, four guest bedrooms, two of which can be converted into a suite)
Weekly rate From $25,000
Contact Carl Irish, general manager, email@example.com, +1 264 235 4000, altamer.com
Top suites of the Caribbean
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JADE MOUNTAIN SOUFRIÈRE, ST LUCIA
Where most Caribbean suites are perfectly content with a view over the beach, the Galaxy Suites at Jade Mountain in St Lucia aspire to something far more dramatic – a 120-degree view that starts from the Caribbean Sea on one side and carries on sweeping up to the vast twin peaks of the Piton Mountains on the other. Better still, this can all be viewed from your bed because these suites have no fourth wall (although jalousie screens can be pulled into position over the opening if desired).
Created using local stone and coral render on the walls and floors, the rooms are finished with a dozen tropical hardwoods, all harvested in an environmentally sustainable way. The private infinity pools are laid with glass tiles that shimmer in metallic blues, pinks and greens. There is a restaurant on the top floor of Jade Mountain, though “major domos” (as they call Jade Mountain butlers), who are contactable by Firefly cellphone but otherwise unobtrusive, will bring anything you need directly to your suite – or sanctuary.
Special amenities 900 sq ft infinity pool, “major domo” butler service, fridge pre-stocked with wines or liquor of your choice, pre-arrival concierge who can make restaurant reservations, spa appointments, private dining arrangements and romantic surprises for your travel partner, as well as helicopter transfers.
Size 2,000 sq ft
Number of bedrooms One
Weekly rate From $19,600 including breakfast and dinner, plus service charge
Sandy Lane is the definition of stately luxury. It is where Simon Cowell spends his Christmas vacation. It is where Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates check in when they’re in Barbados. In fact, it is where anyone rich or famous likes to be seen when they’re on the island. And the villa is the best room – or set of rooms – in the house. Set in a stately Palladian building with its own manicured tropical gardens, it is all shiny marble and coral rock. It comes with thoughtful touches including a daily afternoon tea prepared by the villa’s private chef.
Special amenities Jacuzzi, butler, resident chef, watersports, waived green fees at The Country Club and The Old Nine, airport transfers, Champagne on arrival and a spa voucher.
Size 7,300 sq ft
Number of bedrooms Five (including a master suite that spans an entire floor and four bedrooms with a garden view)
Weekly rate From $75,110
Contact Sarah Morgan, senior sales and product manager at Elegant Resorts, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 246 444 2000, sandylane.com
It’s rare in the Caribbean to find a view undisturbed by any human mark. But from the peaceful terrace of the Bella Beach Villa at Oil Nut Bay in Virgin Gorda, the view carries along a coastline, out to sea and to infinity. The terrace, with a full dining table and barbecue grill, is sheltered by a cluster of palms, offering some privacy. But if you want full seclusion bring along your yacht too – the YCCS Marina Virgin Gorda, just adjacent to Oil Nut Bay, has slips for megayachts up to 300ft. Also worth checking out are Oil Nut Bay’s scuba diving trips and luxury private boat charters, which are the best ways to make the most of the crystal clear Caribbean waters.
Special amenities Private infinity pool, butler service by appointment, chef’s kitchen, laundry room (handy for families), groceries can be supplied – just send a list upfront. There is also a new helipad at Oil Nut Bay Marina, and ferry or helicopter transfers can be arranged if you’re flying into Beef Island Airport on Tortola.
Size 6,000 sq ft
Number of bedrooms Six (two king master bedrooms and four king guest bedrooms, all ensuite)
Weekly rate From $41,653 for a package including airport transfers and a trip to the Baths National Park on Virgin Gorda. Alternatively from $27,650 per week for villa only. Plus up to $10,000 per day for private boat charters.
Contact Cassie Mitchell, reservations manager, email@example.com, +1 284 393 1029, oilnutbay.com
Aman Resorts needs no introduction, but its zen-like perfection has a particular ambience at Amanyara. The resort is hidden away in a secluded western corner of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands, backed by protected parkland and overlooking the pristine reefs of Northwest Point Marine National Park. Hawksbill turtles, humpback whales, bonefish and hundreds of migratory bird species are regularly spotted. You can also explore the dry tropical forest.
Among the several villas and pavilions, the most luxurious is the six-bedroom Amanyara Villa, which is framed (and sequestered) by mangroves and water. It looks out to the electric turquoise and navy sea and has direct beach access. The interiors are simple and relaxing, a symphony of glass, louvers and elegant furniture in hardwood. The pièce de résistance is the black infinity swimming pool surrounded by an extensive deck area for lounging.
Special amenities Private pilates studio, outdoor dining area with ocean views, outdoor shower, private chef, golf buggies, personal bar, large private pool.
Size 14,450 sq ft
Number of bedrooms Six (master suite, four king bedrooms, plus a children’s bedroom)
Weekly rate $140,000
Jumby Bay, an island resort just off the coast of Antigua, offers some of the Caribbean’s most elegant seclusion. Ty Molineux, a phenomenal eight-bedroom colonial private villa set in eight acres of its own manicured tropical gardens, is one of the most comfortable. Built in 2010, it comprises a main house as well as two private cottages and has direct access to the beach.
Special amenities Private chef who will tailor catering to guest preferences, concierge, butler, outdoor games area with chess and draughts, croquet, gym, private spa, tennis courts, 20m infinity pool, outdoor breakfast area, free watersports and activities including sailboarding, afternoon tea, direct beach access.
Size 21,800 sq ft
Number of bedrooms Eight (four in the main house, plus two private cottages with two bedrooms each)
Weekly rate From $89,250
Contact MaryAnne DeMatteo Diamante, director of sales and marketing, +1 268 462 6000, rosewoodhotels.com
There is no shortage of luxury hotel choices in this part of Puerto Rico, home to more than a dozen pristine beaches, pretty fishing villages and more salsa dancing than you can shake your maracas at. But our choice is the colorful and eccentric W Retreat. Usually with this hotel chain’s famed Wow Suites, you know exactly what you’re getting but this one is brilliantly unique.
Decorated with the shades of the Puerto Rican landscapes and skyline, the room is rich with color and personality, including Caribbean prints selected by Spanish architect and designer Patricia Urquiola. We love the indulgent touches designed by Urquiola, such as the cozy Dedon loveseat and the Vieques bathtub, with a user-friendly back rest. There are also showers overlooking the terrace and some of the most stunning views of the island, direct from your patio.
Special amenities Patio, dining table for six, direct access to the beach, 350-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, Vieques bathtub, in-room bar with snacks, Whatever/Whenever concierge service.
Size 1,440 sq ft
Number of bedrooms One
Weekly rate From $5,320
Seven Mile on the western end of Grand Cayman is one of the loveliest beaches in the Caribbean. And The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is one of the loveliest places to stay when you’re there. The most desirable suite is its eponymous Ritz-Carlton Suite. Spread across three floors, it comes with a sitting area, dining room and majestic marble bathroom. Inside it has a light seaside decor, but retains The Ritz-Carlton’s urbane air. Outside, it has a 700 sq ft terrace that overlooks Seven Mile beach and the ocean, perfect for sunset watching. Worth a stay for the views alone.
Special amenities Personal butler, butler’s pantry, bar pre-stocked with your favorite beverages, in room massages, Cayman cooking classes at the resort’s culinary studio, nine-hole golf course, five tennis courts with tennis pros available for private lessons.
Size 2,400 sq ft
Number of bedrooms One (with option to convert to a two bed)
Weekly rate From $42,000
This exquisite converted plantation is the closest luxury resort you’ll get to the FBO in Montego Bay and, as such, it tends to be the main base of the global glitterati when they are Jamaica bound. Since it opened in the 1950s, it has attracted the likes of Fred Astaire, John and Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly. And even today’s high rollers still flock to the resort. Ralph Lauren has a hideaway here and he designed a number of the airy guest rooms.
Our crashpad of choice is the sprawling two-story Villa 16, which sleeps up to 14 and has a whole heap of facilities – including a private garden, six bathrooms and two swimming pools. Recently renovated, it is situated at the edge of a tropical forest with not only the best views over the Caribbean Sea, but also ultimate privacy and seclusion. It has been designed to make the most of indooroutdoor living with an open-air games room containing a pool table and wet bar. There is also a beautiful, book-lined study that opens directly onto the patio. An interesting view is provided by windows in the bedrooms on the lower floor that allow a glimpse into the swimming pool. The grounds are impeccably maintained, and the head gardener will give you a tour of his domain on Friday afternoons.
Special amenities Staff force, open-air living spaces, two swimming pools, outdoor shower, private garden, detached guesthouse.
Size 8,024 sq ft
Number of bedrooms Six (master suite, three king bedrooms, one twin room in the main villa, and one twin in the detached guesthouse).
Weekly rate $59,780
Source: Elite Traveler Photo: Elite Traveler