According to a recent Virtuoso study, 2022 is the year of big-budget vacations, as travelers make up for lost time by treating themselves to extravagant getaways. In fact, 76% of travel advisors report a surge in ultra-luxury bookings, with African safaris, Caribbean islands, international city destinations and ocean cruises as the top preferred experiences.
And the Caribbean, with its diverse array of destinations and offerings, is well-positioned to take advantage of this trend.
The Top Luxury Hotels in the Caribbean
Luxury hotels in the Caribbean excel at combining sumptuous accommodations with unique features and experiences. In Anguilla, for example, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla has an array of well-appointed villas and townhomes, with the option to reserve a Private Retreat complete with private chef dining, private pools, a personal residential assistant and private golf carts.
Travelers will find spacious options in the British West Indies, as well, where Rosewood Little Dix Bay, located on Virgin Gorda, offers accommodations such as the 1,500-square-foot Rosewood Two-Bedroom Suite with kitchenette and the 4,500-square-foot four-bedroom Villa Candor, which has its own private pool. Guests can also enjoy private experiences such as tennis lessons, farm tours with farm-to-table meals and sailing excursions on a 57-foot catamaran.
In the Bahamas, upscale travelers can tap into celebrity excitement at Caerula Mar Club, which is headed by HGTV stars Sarah and Bryan Baeumler of “Renovation Island.” The pair rescued the abandoned property and gave it a fresh new identity, with five handsomely designed private villas and 18 suites.
Also attracting celebrity attention is Baoase Luxury Resort Curacao, as evidenced by its strict photography policy designed to ensure privacy: No commercial photography is allowed, and non-resort guests cannot take pictures. Accommodation options include Superior Beachfront Pool Suites with private infinity pools, and the property has its own 42-foot yacht that’s available for private outings.
Another popular upscale choice in Curacao is Cliff Villa, which is home to an 8,333-square-foot villa with a wraparound infinity pool, a professional-grade kitchen and decor that includes a collection of 19th-century ship kettles and 200-year-old Ming Dynasty wall plates . Private wellness retreats, remote working and private celebrations are just a few of the specialized experiences available.
Meanwhile, in Turks and Caicos, Grace Bay Resorts is upping the ante. The hotelier recently debuted Rock House, a Mediterranean-inspired hideaway with what is billed as the largest infinity pool in Turks and Caicos.
Accommodations include a 1,747-square-foot oceanfront two-bedroom suite with a full kitchen and a private terrace with an infinity-edge swimming pool. Nearby, Grace Bay Club offers the services of a personal concierge who can arrange personalized itineraries with activities such as indulgent spa treatments, family photography sessions, private guided dive trips and kayaking excursions in Chalk Sound Nature Reserve.
Nature and upscale travel go hand in hand in Puerto Rico, too, thanks to properties including Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. In addition to choosing among accommodations such as a four-bedroom penthouse, a five-bedroom villa and a three-bedroom residence with a private plunge pool, guests can also sign up for cooking classes, horseback riding and the Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment program, which encourages ocean conservation and education.
In St. Lucia, the architecture of Jade Mountain Resort is designed to blend with its natural surroundings. Accommodations are dubbed “sanctuaries,” with names such as “Galaxy,” “Sun,” “Moon” and “Star.” These three-walled, open-air spaces offer private infinity pools, 24-hour butler service and unparalleled views of the Piton volcanic plugs and the Caribbean Sea. Unique activities include chocolate-making with the property’s very own “chocolate alchemist,” scuba diving in Soufriere Bay, vegan cooking classes at the resort’s Emerald Farm and hiking the Gros Piton volcanic spire with a personal “hiking butler.”
The Best Buyouts in the Caribbean
High-end travelers looking for even more privacy may want to consider a full or partial buyout at The Hideaway at Hull Bay, a 5-acre beachfront estate in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Up to 36 guests can take over the property, which features two villas and eight luxury cottages, as well as an organic farm that provides healthful ingredients for the customizable menus created by the property’s private chef. The Hideaway’s expert concierge team, meanwhile, tailors each group’s itinerary with activities such as catamaran rides, movie nights under the stars, group photo sessions, long-table farm dinners and spa days with in-room massages and group therapies.
Full buyouts are also available at the 4-acre Cayo Espanto, a private island resort off the coast of Belize. The property accommodates up to 18 guests among its collection of seven oceanfront villas. Clients can also take advantage of the resort’s new Air, Land and Sea Exclusive, available through Dec. 15, 2022. The package includes private helicopter transfer to the island — with a tour of the Belizean Barrier Reef — a private snorkel or dive at the reef, a personal houseman, a complimentary spa treatment and more. Starting at $16,465 per couple for a minimum of five nights, Cayo Espanto’s new package is clearly designed for those who take their luxury travel seriously.