As winter season in the Caribbean comes around again, the islands are awash with new openings and transformations. Navigator brings you the cream of the crop with our pick of the best places to step ashore.
Oil Nut Bay, BVI
A firm favorite on the superyacht scene, the recently reopened Oil Nut Bay has been through a complete renovation and enhancement. Arriving by boat or helicopter, guests can relax in a totally rebuilt resort complete with new villas, restaurants, beach club, and spa. The secluded resort also recently added a brand new Marina Village to its portfolio, with 93 slips that can accommodate yachts up to 130 feet (40m) in length. The new complex includes an overwater restaurant called Nova, along with amenities including a pool, bar, deli, boutique, and library. There is also an opportunity to donate to the non-profit North Sound Foundation, named for the sound in which the resort is located, and which contributes to good causes throughout the British Virgin Islands.
- What’s new? The new Marina Village offers a new deck pool, over-water hammocks, restaurant, boutiques, spa, and much more.
- Old favorites? Oil Nut Bay’s trademark sustainability and attention to the nature all around.
- Who visits? The super-sailing yacht crowd What’s the vibe? Stylish eco-hideaway.
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, BVI
Following the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, renovation efforts have been unprecedented throughout the British Virgin Islands, and nowhere more so than Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina. Featuring nine brand-new villas and extensive renovations to the interior and exterior of the other 52 guest rooms and suites, the resort has also upgraded its dining options, as well as renovating the Ixora Spa. Donovan’s Beach has a new water sports inventory as well as a multi-tiered infinity pool and pool bar. Overall, the resort has been fully returned to its original grandeur but with significant improvements.
- What’s new? New villas, renovated spa with multiple treatment rooms and a beachfront cabana, new pool and bar at Donovan’s Beach, fully renovated 55-slip marina.
- Old stalwarts? North Beach, which has been expanded but remains the island’s hidden gem.
- The vibe? Chilled out luxury Best for? An exclusive getaway.
Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla
One of the most hotly anticipated refurbishments in the Leeward Islands has been at Cap Juluca. In general, new owners make radical changes to well-loved and popular hotels at their peril, so Belmond trod very carefully with their renovations at this iconic whitewashed island hideaway. The new design encourages guests to connect more with their natural surroundings (breakfast can even be taken at tables placed in the shallow water) while at the same time celebrating local culture. Located on its own, coveted spot in Maundays Bay, the resort now boasts a brand new infinity pool and beach bar, two new restaurants and the Arawak Spa, which sits within newly landscaped tropical gardens with views over the ocean. The Moorish-style domed architecture remains a feature but with a new décor that is light and airy with chic linens and rattans. The main restaurant, Pimms (which actually predates the hotel) also has a new executive chef and a new menu.
- What’s new? Décor, sea-view infinity pool, bar, oceanfront spa, Cip’s by Cipriani, Cap Shack.
- Old favorites? Iconic architecture and legendarily attentive staff.
- Who visits? Cap Juluca stalwarts and the LVMH smart set.
- What’s the vibe? Laid back Caribbean with a stylish twist.
Also on Anguilla, Auberge Resorts (best known for the Auberge du Soleil in California’s Napa Valley) has revived the island’s original luxury resort Malliouhana. The original rooms have all been refreshed, their new décor boasting a heady mix of British Colonial influences with Art Deco accents. A summery and light color palette is complemented by rattan furnishings which continues in the new beachfront suites and villa that have been added to the room inventory. New cabanas are dotted around the tiered infinity pools and the original Sunset Bar has been restyled. Guests can enjoy locally inspired cuisine at the new beach shack, and the expanded Auberge Spa has more treatment rooms and a new oceanfront swimming pool.
- What’s new? Luxe cabanas, Caribbean-inspired décor, beachfront and garden suites, two-bedroom villa, beach bar, and the Auberge Spa and Sunset Bar both flaunt a new style, while The Restaurant at Malliouhana has a new bar area for landowners.
- What remains? The spectacular view.
- What’s the vibe? Toes-in-the-sand relaxation. Who visits? Longtime returning guests, A-list Hollywood crowd.
Belmond La Samanna, St. Martin
One of the most glamorous resorts on the French side of the dual-nation island of St. Martin, the pastel-hued Belmond La Samanna is a beacon of renewal. Dating back to 1973, the resort reopened earlier this year with a remodeled beach bar and beachfront spa cabanas. The rooms have also been redesigned with a contemporary look with aesthetic detailing taking inspiration from the surrounding landscape. Set in 55 acres of tropical gardens astride a mile-long private golden crescent of sand, the designers have incorporated coral, shells and floral prints with hand-carved Balinese wooden furniture and light soft furnishings to create stylish interiors with touches of Caribbean warmth. La Samanna has retained its French restaurant and La Cave wine cellar, which houses the largest private collection of wine in the Caribbean.
- What’s new? New interior design, beachfront spa cabanas, Beach Bar with swinging seats.
- Old stalwarts? French-inflected restaurant and La Cave wine cellar.
- The vibe? Laid-back style in a refined setting. A magnet for? The international jet-set.
Le Sereno, St. Barth’s
All eyes are on St. Barth’s where the transformation has been in some ways the region’s most widespread, with very few buildings having remained entirely untouched by the storms. Nestled on the quieter side of the island on the Grand Cul de Sac beach, Le Sereno is back in full swing following a major makeover. While maintaining its original essence and style, a significant number of rooms and the majority of guest areas have been rebuilt, paying homage to the sleek minimalism and muted shades of the resort’s original design by Christian Liaigre. Impeccable attention to detail remains – from the well thought out screen doors in the bedrooms that allow guests to listen to the lapping waves without being eaten alive, to the sleek pool with special stone to make the water look the same color as the sparkling sea beyond, to the natural taupe-colored loungers, everything is created in harmony with the surroundings.
- What’s new? 39 newly built suites, including a trio of three-bedroom family villas, each with private pools on the water. All new décor and furnishings, boutique, spa and gym, and an all-new beach restaurant.
- Old stalwarts? The design maintains its original essence of simplicity and minimalism.
- The vibe? Laid-back luxury.
Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, St. Barth’s
Entering a new era, Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France opens in the fall following a transformation that sees the arrival of new suites and restaurants, along with new landscaping. The resort’s culinary scene has expanded, with a fresh look at the original ocean-view restaurants La Case de L’Isle and La Cabane de L’Isle. Aboriginal artworks and specially curated objects have been sourced to strengthen the property’s connection to art at the same time as portraying Cheval Blanc’s unique identity.
- What’s new? New décor and furnishings, striking artwork, boutique and Le Carrousel kids club.
- Old stalwarts? Signature restaurant La Case de L’Isle and the more casual La Cabane de L’Isle remain but with a reinvigorated culinary sense, as do the trademark pink towels, the traditional Tuesday evening White Bar fashion shows and the chilled Champagne.
- The vibe? Upscale.
- A magnet for? Consistently cool crowd.
Curtain Bluff, Antigua
Antigua’s iconic Curtain Bluff recently reopened following a huge renovation to give the resort a fresh contemporary look. Hues of turquoise and lemon bring a new look to the dining, bar, reception and lounging areas, while the rooms and suites have all been upgraded, a handful with their own private infinity-edge plunge pools. The beach has all-new loungers along with the addition of a beach concierge.
- What’s new? State-of-the-art facilities, all-new décor, Wellness Concierge, Beach Concierge.
- Old stalwarts? Renowned spa with clifftop Jacuzzi, familial atmosphere.
- The vibe? Old-school glamor with understated contemporary chic.
- Wow factor? The stunning main beach and the friendly staff.
Hodges Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua
Joining Antigua’s favorite luxury resorts like Carlisle Bay and Jumby Bay Island (both of which have also recently seen revamps), Hodges Bay Resort & Spa is a welcome addition to an island that boasts many accolades but has only a handful of luxury resorts. Located on Antigua’s stunning northern coast, the new property has a combination of 79 rooms that range from three-bedroom villas to oceanfront suites. Family friendly, Hodges offers three restaurants, a tapas bar, a swim-up bar, two pools (including an adults-only oceanfront infinity pool) and a rooftop bar. For those looking for a dose of wellbeing, there is also a spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center, while the perfect waters are ideal for the use of the resort’s non-motorized water sports facilities.
- What’s new? Everything.
- The vibe? Ultra-chic contemporary luxury.
- A magnet for? The jet-set.
One of the most exciting luxury unveilings in the Caribbean, the ultra-luxe Silversands is located on arguably Grenada’s best beach at Grand Anse. With 43 rooms and suites, including a huge penthouse, a 300ft+ (100m) long infinity edge pool (the longest in the Caribbean), trendy beach club and ultra-spa, this is the Caribbean at the absolute height of luxury. Asian influences run throughout the property – rooms are strikingly minimalist in their design, with a pared-down style and neutral-colored natural materials setting the tone throughout. That’s not to say that the décor is bland – limestone, marble and walnut materials are complemented with an original work of art to add a splash of individuality to every room. DJs play their sets in the beachside lounge area and the cuisine at the resort’s restaurants Asiatique (Asian-inspired), Grenadian Grill, or the tuk-tuk pizza van may mean you won’t want to leave the resort, but if you do then the lively beach bars, restaurants and shops are just a short stroll along Grand Anse.
- What’s new? Everything.
- The vibe? Chilled and trendy.
- A magnet for? The cool crowd (not suitable for young families but perfect for teenagers).
- Wow factor? 300+-foot (100m) infinity pool, snazzy spa, pared-back aesthetics.
The Liming, Bequia
The Liming sums up Caribbean life, imploring guests to discover the art of doing very little (Liming is actually Caribbean slang for doing nothing). Located in the heart of the Grenadines, this recently opened and very intimate luxury boutique property has just nine villas and a junior suite, all with their own private pools or hot tubs, and a Gingerlily Mansion House with five bedrooms – perfect for accommodating large family groups. The seafront terraced restaurant overlooks the purpose-built yacht marina and your yacht anchored in the bay below.
- What’s new? Everything.
- The vibe? Low-key luxury.
- A magnet for? Solitude seekers.
- Wow factor? Pure island escapism.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR
Andaz, Turks & Caicos
This new hotel and residence development will open in 2021 and will be the first Andaz Residences in the Caribbean. The hotel will be positioned on five acres at the western end of Grace Bay Beach.
Rock House, Turks & Caicos
The resort opening in 2020 has been developed by Grace Bay Resorts and will be located on the north coast of Providenciales. Rock House will feature 41 cottages and four hillside homes with a dramatic 100-foot (30m)-long pool perched on a 25ft limestone cliff.
Eden Rock, St. Barth’s
In the south of St. Barths along a most coveted stretch of beach, the iconic Eden Rock re-opens in November after a two-year and very extensive renovation. All rooms, suites and villas have been through a complete redesign, while three new rooms have also been newly built atop the Sand Bar area, and three new suites sited on the Rock. The Sand Bar restaurant has also been enlarged and now hosts the brand-new Rémy Bar, in tribute to the original owner of the property. Lastly, there is a new ER Beach Bar, Eden Spa, and expanded boutique.