Help clients stay far from the madding crowd with Jo Cooke’s hideaway guide
The Caribbean remains at the top of many a client’s wish list. Countless holidaymakers flock to this dream destination to enjoy fabulous all-inclusives with their ranges of sporting distractions and themed restaurants, and book excursions that include white-knuckle zip lines, dune buggy adventures and river tubing safaris.
For those who want to get back to basics, though, there are still plenty of places where tranquillity, simplicity and anonymity rule – and where they can get away from other people who chose the Caribbean this year too.
Trident, Port Antonio, Jamaica
Port Antonio, on the island’s northeast coast, is Jamaica without the all-inclusives and duty-free shopping malls, but with secluded, uncrowded coves, waterfalls and the best river rafting on island, and it’s only two hours from Kingston airport. Base clients at the spanking new Trident hotel. Here, easy-living meets luxury. Traditionally-designed, white-washed, villa style accommodation offers uninterrupted views of the ocean and no view of fellow residents. While the terraces resemble spacious, cliff-top gardens, the interiors are minimalist and modern. Theres’s a private beach, pool, restaurant, yoga deck and über-cool lounge.
Book it: ITC Classics offers seven nights with breakfast from £2,339 including flights and transfers based on a May 2 departure.
Cotton Tree, Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman’s stunning Seven Mile Beach is the hub of the island’s tourism action, with hotels flanking its fluffy, white sand, and upscale shopping malls and restaurants in the capital, George Town, nearby. However, the island has a delightfully wild and natural side too. Half an hour’s drive from Seven Mile Beach is Cotton Tree, a collection of just four clapboard seaside cottages. They’re set in lush gardens that lead to a pool and on to a beach backed by wispy tropical flora. Here, clients can laze and linger, feeling super-smug that they have it virtually all to themselves.
Book it: Turquoise Holidays offers seven nights’ room-only from £2,149 including flights and private transfers.
Island Inn Hotel, Barbados
There’s a unique little hotel near Bridgetown that’s close to beaches and attractions but also has a feeling of being off-the-beaten-track and exclusive. Fashioned from a former rum warehouse, Island Inn has restored colonial facades and sumptuous contemporary interiors. The 24 rooms and suites offer verandas, or face a central courtyard where a pool with a water fountain feature and beds of ferns add an air of tranquillity. The sweeping Carlisle Bay and Pebbles Beach are a short stroll away, as are restaurants, bars and the Garrison historic district, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Book it: Virgin Holidays offers seven nights’ all-inclusive from £1,169 including flights and transfers, departing May 26.
Bequia Beach Hotel, Bequia, St Vincent and the Grenadines
For those who want secluded accommodation in a secluded destination, Bequia, with its pristine beaches and verdant rolling hills, could be just the ticket. “The island remains a great option for a quieter Caribbean getaway,” says David Pointer, head of product at Western & Oriental. “Reached by air via Barbados or regular ferry connections from St Vincent, Bequia is still relatively undiscovered.” The Bequia Beach Hotel offers all the facilities you’d expect of a larger hotel, such as a spa, tennis court and watersports, but with only 36 rooms. “It has a boutique-chic feel which sees guests fall for its charm instantly.”
Book it: Seven nights with breakfast costs from £1,780 including flights and transfers with Western & Oriental.
Secret Bay, Dominica
If clients are seeking a truly remote location, suggest Secret Bay. In keeping with Dominica’s ‘nature island of the Caribbean’ tagline, the property has an eco theme. Five villas and bungalows are discreetly built within woodland on a cliff top and all enjoy sea views. “Secret Bay embraces luxurious simplicity,” says Chic Locations’ David Kevan. “The accommodation is spacious and built with local wood. The resort’s appeal is its setting as well as living extremely comfortably alongside nature.” There are two beaches close by, one reached by steep steps, the other a five minute kayak ride away.
Book it: Chic Locations offers seven nights’ room-only from £2,248 including flights.
Sivory, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana’s beaches are among the best in the Caribbean, with white sand, palms and turquoise waves, but they’re usually shared by sizeable all-inclusives. This is not the case at the 55-room Sivory. Nestling beneath a forest of palms, it has a stretch of Robinson Crusoe-esque beach all to itself. Iberian-look suites with Zen-like interiors boast generously-sized living areas and outdoor spaces, perfect for enjoying the 12 top-notch bottles of wine in your in-room cooler. Breakfast in bed is offered daily, and there’s an AAA four-diamond-rated restaurant, freeform pool and indoor-outdoor spa too.
Book it: Bookable through Small Luxury Hotels of the World, seven nights costs from £1,600 on the Sivory Meal Plan, which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, selected wines, cocktails, in-room wine cooler and 24-hour room service. Flights and transfers are at additional cost.
Bird of Paradise, Anguilla
Clients who like the do as-you-please freedom of a villa but aren’t so keen on being in close quarters with accompanying family and friends are likely to be wowed by the Bird of Paradise in Anguilla. Occupying a hilltop, this multi-level property has four luxuriously-furnished bedrooms, each spaced apart between the pool, sundecks and gardens, and with their own private bathroom and patio. A stunning white-sand cove below the villa can be reached by a winding footpath.
Book it: Elegant Resorts offers seven nights from £10,695, based on eight sharing, for travel between June 1 and November 14. Flights and transfers available at additional cost.
Calabash is set on one of those hidden coves that you wouldn’t guess was there unless you are in the know. With just 30 homely-chic suites, set back from the ocean and facing exotic gardens, it gives clients the feeling they’ve been transported to an idyllic spot enjoyed only by a privileged few. Breakfast is made to order and to your liking, then served on your private terrace. During the day guests can laze on the beach gazing at the yachts anchored just off shore, or meditate on the raised yoga deck shaded by treetops. When night falls, fine-dining is at hand with an excellent Gary Rhodes restaurant, where the cuisine draws on the spices for which the island is famed.
Book it: Cosmos offers 14 nights’ all-inclusive at Calabash, departing May 10, from £3,249, including flights and transfers.
Ottley’s PlantatioN Inn, St Kitts
Those who like history will appreciate Ottley’s Plantation Inn. Set on an 18th century sugar estate, rooms are either in the great house-style main building or stone cottages, some with private plunge pools. From the property’s elevated position, clients can enjoy views across cane fields to the ocean while taking afternoon tea. There’s also a nature trail that leads around the lovingly-tended gardens and into a glade that’s home to green monkeys. A pool in a courtyard, tennis court and croquet lawn complete the scene.
Book it: Caribtours offers seven nights’ room-only from £1,429, with flights, private transfers and use of a lounge at Gatwick.
Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia
Clients can lock themselves away in a luxury love nest while not missing out on the sights of Saint Lucia at Jade Mountain. Rooms, or sanctuaries as they are aptly called at this hilltop retreat, are open-sided, offering panoramic views of the Piton peaks and ocean. Clients can relax in their private infinity pool, or recline on their sunloungers while listening to the sound of birdsong. If they can tear themselves away, there are two beaches, plus walking and cycling trails, and a range of restaurants both here and at adjacent sister property Anse Chastanet.
Book it: Caribtours offers seven nights with breakfast from £3,269, including flights, private transfers and use of a lounge at Gatwick.
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