For those with deeper pockets, the ultimate in Caribbean luxury can be found at Jumby Bay. It is located on its own private island, so “no room keys, no bills, no need to bagsy loungers, no ‘Name, sir?’ (because staff know it): it’s like you own the joint”, says Ed Grenby in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine.
Don’t try to do it on the cheap, however – the lowest-priced rooms are “a little gloomy” and just a bit too far from the beach. Instead, go for one of the pool suites – “they are lovely” and cost from £1,800 a night. Even then, you might get room envy: the resort’s impressive private villas cost up to £13,000 a night.
• Prices start from £682, all-inclusive. The best rooms are numbers 23 to 36, which are steps from the beach, according to Grenby (Rosewoodhotels.com).
This hotel on the Caribbean island of Antigua opened in November 2003 and it has proved popular with “movie stars, rock musicians, the rich, the famous, the glitzy and the glamorous”, says Condé Nast Traveller. “The suites are fabulous, as is the Zen-style spa and the setting – at the end of Old Road, where Antigua’s rainforest begins.” The beach and pool are also “superb” and the restaurants “excellent”. A cinema shows “carefully chosen classics” every evening.
• Doubles cost from £438 B&B (carlisle-bay.com).
If you prefer smaller hotels, Lighthouse Bay would be a good choice. It has only nine suites and is “very remote and exceptionally low key, enabling you to get away from it all – so guests should be happy to be self-contained or in a small gathering”, says James Henderson in The Daily Telegraph. Activities include tennis, horse riding, snorkelling and walking the 17-mile-long beach. The rooms all face the sea and some have terraces looking over the lagoon.
All are finished in a contemporary style, with “bright colours and fabrics and with travertine marble floors offsetting the varnished woodwork, mahogany fittings and dark hardwood furniture”. The restaurant on the beach has magnificent views of the sunsets in the evening. The menu is personally arranged for you in conversation with the chef, and you can choose to dine more privately either in your room or on the beach. Take a drink in the bar, which is set in the lighthouse that gives the hotel its name.
• Prices start from £380 a night (lighthousebayresort.com).
“Dressing for dinner… Tennis tournaments… Three generations of the same family on staff… Putting green… It’s as if the place has been preserved in G&T since it was built in the 1950s,” says Ed Grenby in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine. The décor reflects it: “marble sinks, rattan sofas, Jacuzzi baths: it’s Caribbean luxe as your grandma might imagine it, but it somehow works”.
The bedrooms all overlook the beach and bay and “are beautifully decorated and effortlessly contemporary”, says James Henderson in The Daily Telegraph. “They are muted in colour, with dark wooden furniture and lighter-toned fabrics, save for just a slash of colour in the cushions or pink bougainvillea on the veranda.” The food is “serious” too, says Grenby. Even the less formal beach restaurant adds truffle to its Black Angus fillet tartare and there is a 25,000-bottle wine cellar.
• Doubles cost from £512, including food, drink and scuba diving (curtainbluff.com).