Where to stay in the Caribbean

Two new luxurious hotel openings on the island of Barbados.

Ocean Two Resort

What's so special?

Forget the old dame of Barbados, Sandy Lane there is a new kid on the block. When Ocean Two opened last year it was the most talked about new hotel on the island. Its impressive suites have raised the bar for accommodation on the south coast of the island.

How they rate it

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This hotel is "showy", says Fred Mawer in The Daily Telegraph, with "a rather glitzy, urban-looking lounge bar taking up most of the lobby, a long, snake-like swimming pool in various shades of blue, and plush red sun loungers".

As for the rooms, "expect lots of marble, sleek dark wood furnishings, giant TVs, and in most rooms fancy bathrooms with vast walk-in showers". Most are suites, all with ocean views "the higher the floor the better". Try to stretch to a suite as the rooms are much less spacious and only have partial ocean views.

The menu

The restaurant "is really rather pokey for a hotel as swish as this", but there are "a host of other dining options" just a walk or short taxi ride away.

The cost

Kuoni offers seven nights room-only, including flights, from £1,093 for a room or £1,391 for a suite. Find out more at www.kuoni.co.uk or call 0844-488 0299.

The House


What's so special?

This adults-only resort has just re-opened after a multi-million-dollar refit. As well as fabulous interiors, the service is a step above the rest, with jet-lag arrival massages and daily champagne breakfasts.

How they rate it

"The House brought a monochrome, loungey, Ibiza-esque style to Barbados when it opened," says Rob Ryan in The Sunday Times. "It's had several makeovers since then, with rooms morphing into suites, and the latest revamp aimed to create a relaxed Caribbean house-party feel."

The resort offers good value as, as well as the free arrival massage and champagne breakfast, you get afternoon tea and evening canaps, as well as free water sports. This is the ideal hotel for "grown-up travellers looking for some me' time", says Tony Cross in Conde Nast Traveller. The hotel's personal touch will "get you in the holiday mood as quickly as possible".

The menu

The hotel restaurant takes advantage of the abundance of fresh seafood available with dishes including blackened mahi mahi or baked red snapper.

The cost

Virgin offers seven nights from £1,669 per person including breakfast and flights. Find out more at www.virginholidays.co.uk or call 0844-557 3859.

The best hotels on Ko Samui


"Burn your backpack: in the last ten years Thailand's original hippy beach island, Ko Samui, has gone up in the world", says Alex Robinson in The Sunday Times. Here are four of the best of the island's new boutique hotels.

Anyone "looking for a real home from home" will appreciate Tamarind Springs, says Robinson. Its "Zen-meets-Frank Lloyd Wright serviced villas" all have kitchens and the resort is set in a shady garden. Doubles start from £99, with breakfast (Tamarindsprings.com).

For a beachside escape, try Poppies. It has plush, peaceful wooden chalets, all with Thai dragon roofs and open-air bathrooms. Away from the beach there are "orchid-filled gardens threaded with a burbling stream". Chalets start from £111, room only (Poppiessamui.com).

For something a bit smarter, try the W Retreat. "Gloriously garish rooms are decorated with sparkly scatter cushions, glaring colour schemes and softly glowing plunge pools." There is also a "neon-lit infinity pool" and after-hours beach lounge. Doubles from £342, B&B (Starwoodhotels.com).

New kid on the block is Conrad Koh Samui (pictured). It sits on a forest-covered hillside and each "glamorous" villa has a "roomy plunge pool". The villa's rooms are "some of the most romantic in Samui, if not southeast Asia." Rooms cost from £342, room only (Conradhotels.com).