Set in the heart of Old San Juan, Casa Sol Bed and Breakfast offers five rooms. // © 2015 Casa Sol Bed and Breakfast
Feature image (above): The hip villas at Geejam attract celebrity guests. // © 2015 Geejam
Caribbean tourism is built on the back of huge all-inclusive resorts, at which catering to the needs of tourists has been honed to perfection. However, there’s another Caribbean lodging choice with special appeal, especially for experienced travelers — the small bed-and-breakfast property.
These customarily have only a handful of rooms and a home-away-from-home feeling. It’s a good bet that couples will welcome learning about these boutique properties, where they will get personal attention and the benefit of insider knowledge of a destination.
Maybe it shouldn’t work, but it does. Ambia has created a mash-up of Asian and Caribbean styles in its decor. The property’s four rooms and one suite have bamboo closets, shoji screens and a sleek minimalist decor.
The result is a sophisticated ambiance that mixes well with Anguilla’s elegance as a destination. Amenities include a swimming pool and a complimentary Caribbean breakfast. Ambia overlooks the port town of Sandy Ground, making it easy for guests to explore the town’s shops and restaurants.
Casa Sol Bed and Breakfast, Puerto Rico
While the Caribbean’s tropical beach settings often get high marks for romance, there are a handful of colonial city settings that are just as evocative. One of these is Old San Juan, a colonial era district of cobblestone streets lined with enticing shops and restaurants.
The five-room Casa Sol Bed and Breakfast is located in the heart of Old San Juan, in a Spanish colonial home dating back to the 18th century. There are lots of authentic details, including ironwood beams, clay bricks and teak furniture. Not all rooms have private bathrooms; book your clients into the La Muralla Suite if that’s an issue.
Cocoa Cottage, Dominica
Dominica is one of the most romantic destinations in the Caribbean, with one gorgeous waterfall after another in lush tropical settings. Dominica is nicknamed the Nature Island of the Caribbean and is a good recommendation for romance travelers who also like to hike, scuba dive or go birding.
The eco-friendly, six-room Cocoa Cottage has a rainforest location with rooms featuring bright colors and rustic furnishings. Island-style breakfasts and dinners are served on site. As lush as the surroundings are, the property is still convenient to Dominica’s capital city of Roseau.
Port Antonio in Jamaica takes a little more effort to get to, but it’s worth it. One of the reasons is Geejam, a collection of high-end and ultra-hip villas that have been attracting celebrities such as Gwen Stefani and the late Amy Winehouse to its sophisticated and laid-back style.
Geejam has three cottages, one suite and a three-bedroom villa with its own private pool. Rooms feature custom-made blackout blinds and Philippe Starck deluxe bathroom settings. Lovers will also enjoy the daydream canopy deck with a private waterfall. There’s a restaurant and bar on site as well as 24-hour room service. Guests are provided with their own mobile phone upon arrival, which allows them to easily connect with staff.
Geejam has a private beach and is also only a 10-minute drive from one of Port Antonio’s iconic beaches, Frenchman’s Cove.
Le Jardin Malanga, Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe, an island in the French West Indies, provides travelers with a measure of Gallic Caribbean charm. Le Jardin Malanga, which includes a 1927 colonial house, serves up authentic French cuisine using local produce.
Guests have a choice of booking a guestroom in the house or in one of three cottages on the property. The cottages will hold the most appeal for travelers seeking intimacy, since they have their own private terraces with panoramic views of the lush countryside (which includes a dramatic, but dormant, volcano).