7 new escapes in the Caribbean
If your idea of a winter vacation is to swap snowmen for sandcastles, then it’s time to escape to the Caribbean. From Anguilla to Turks and Caicos, new hotels have sprung up across the region, including an off-the-grid, eco-chic hideaway, a sanctuary next to one of the world’s largest reef systems, and a resort just steps from what’s billed “The first world-class theme park in the Caribbean.” Some properties even offer opening discounts. So book a flight and grab a bathing suit. Whether you’re looking to stack your plate high at an all-inclusive resort or settle down for a suite in St. Barts, these seven destinations aim to ensure the only thing frozen this winter is the cocktail in yours hand will be.
Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club
Overlooking the white sandy beaches of Rendezvous Bay, Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club offers hundreds of acres to explore. On them you will find an ebb and flow hydroponic farm capable of growing dozens of types of vegetables (indoor tours of the hydroponic room are available); a 27,000-square-foot spa offering massages, body treatments, facials, and manicures and pedicures; and a new 9-hole short course designed by Greg Norman, who also designed the resort’s 18-hole championship course overlooking St. Maarten and the Caribbean Sea. When you’re not on the green or swimming in the turquoise waters, you can go hiking, try kite surfing, take a steelpan class, or stop by the gym for a guided meditation. To keep you from getting bored, the resort is also planning to open a water park and a 500-seat amphitheater for live entertainment. When you finally climb into bed, choose from one of the 178 suites, whether it’s a room with a wraparound patio and private whirlpool, a multi-bedroom villa, or an “estate home” with a private pool and butler.
The property (formerly the CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa and its sister property, the Reef by CuisinArt in Merrywing Bay) is managed by Salamander Hotels & Resorts and recently announced that it will remain open year-round, including in the fall when other resorts on the Typical island. December rates starting at $544 per night. Are you traveling from New York? On December 22, the resort will begin offering charter flights to Anguilla from Westchester County Airport in White Plains. (Rooms and flights can be booked through the resort’s website.)
Alaia Belize Autograph Collection
A magnet for divers including Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Belize is home to the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the second largest reef system in the world. And it’s only a few hundred yards from the Alaia Belize, Autograph Collection on Ambergris Caye. In fact, the property offers scuba and snorkeling excursions direct from its dock, as well as PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) instruction and certification through the on-site Belize Pro Dive Shop.
But the reef is not the only attraction. Alaia Belize, the country’s first Marriott International Resort, features a spa and three pools, including a rooftop pool and lounge overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Take a golf cart tour, a common way to explore the streets of San Pedro, and visit art galleries and restaurants (guests can rent carts at the hotel). Upon returning to the resort, enjoy a nightcap in one of four bars before retiring to one of the 155 guest rooms and suites. Rates from $349 per night.
Perched on a lush green ridge overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Coulibri Ridge has all the perks of a carefree resort — a spa, yoga pavilion, gym, high-speed WiFi — while being completely off the grid. The 285-acre retreat uses solar energy as its primary power source (there are also wind turbines), grows much of its own produce, and channels purified rainwater to its two infinity pools and 14 spacious studios and duplex suites. Each has a sea-view terrace, as well as a kitchenette, binoculars and a birdwatching book. Certain suites have a second patio overlooking the Sulfur Spring Valley, some with outdoor rainfall showers, and others with private pools.
When you get the urge to roam, tropical gardens, an orchard and the ruins of an 18th-century estate await. And getting there is easier than ever: American Airlines began offering daily flights from Miami International Airport to Dominica this year. Rates starting at $500 for a special opening package (stay seven nights pay five) through December 14th. From December 15 to January 15, 2023, rates start at $800 per night. breakfast is included; Lunch and dinner are à la carte.
Falcon’s Resort by Melia – All Suites Punta Cana
If you’ve ever sunned yourself on the bright sands of Punta Cana and thought, “If only I could now face-off against an amazing character in a duel,” pull the all-inclusive Falcon’s Resort by Meliá – All Suites Punta Cana under consideration. Falcon’s Resort by Meliá, which bills itself as “resorttainment”, is a new brand from Meliá Hotels International, founded in Mallorca in 1956, and Falcon’s Beyond, an entertainment development company headquartered in Orlando, Florida. Punta Cana is the brand’s first location and the resort is part of a new entertainment center where you’ll find Katmandu Park, which includes interactive rides and attractions, and Falcon’s Central, a shopping, dining and entertainment district under construction.
The resort, which opens December 8, is a combination of two existing Meliá properties that will result in 622 suites upon full completion in 2023. It’ll offer the sorts of amenities you’d expect from an all-inclusive Caribbean vacation — swim-up suites next to a pool, water park, kids’ camp, bars, and restaurants — but here nightly rates also include entry to the theme park. Rates starting at $420 per night (from December 8 through the end of this year, each resort guest will receive a “VIP Preview Pass” to the park before it opens to the public in early 2023).
Motto of Hilton Tulum
Head of Hilton Guest Loyalty Program: The company opened several hotels in Mexico this year, including the 173-room and suite Waldorf Astoria Cancun, the 349-room Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya, and the 735-room and suite Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya All- Inclusive Resort, Hilton’s largest resort in the Caribbean and Latin America. However, travelers looking to explore beyond the beach (and save money in the process) might be particularly interested in the more modest, 115-room Motto by Hilton Tulum, about 10 minutes from downtown at the Hunab Lifestyle Center, a shopping mall and dining area.
The Motto by Hilton brand aims to attract travelers who want to feel like locals, with easy access to prime locations and the kind of lively communal work and social spaces typically associated with hostels. Communal areas at Motto by Hilton Tulum include two rooftop pools, a rooftop bar, a casual bistro, and a fitness center. Guest rooms are modern and average less than 200 square feet, though friends and families traveling together can book connecting rooms. A number of guest rooms also have flexible sleeping options, such as a queen bed that stows in the wall and a bunk bed with a lower queen and upper twin. Wi-Fi and parking are free, and December rates (flexible and based on double occupancy) might make you spend money on dinner in town: From $145 per night; $139 for Hilton Honors loyalty program members. Those who book and stay by April 1, 2023 may receive a USD 30 credit per stay.
Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth
Set on a private peninsula, Le Guanahani Resort was a destination for laid-back luxury for more than 30 years until it closed in 2017 following damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Now remodeled and reopened as Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth, its two palm-studded beaches remain intact — though much is new.
A kids’ club offers young guests cooking and gardening classes, lessons about local wildlife, and arts and crafts. There’s a spa with a fitness center, hair dryer bar, nail salon, and tennis courts. And the open-air Beach House St. Barth serves food and drinks inspired by French and Caribbean culture. But be warned: Leaving your cottage won’t be easy. Each of the 66 sun-drenched rooms and suites has a private outdoor space, whether it’s a covered porch, sundeck or dining alcove. Some even have their own pools. Rates from €1,900 per night in high season or about $1,900 (high season from January to April); and from 1,200 euros per night in the low season (June to October).
Turks and Caicos Islands
A departure from the resort scene on Grace Bay Beach with its long ribbon of sand, Rock House by Grace Bay Resorts takes inspiration from cliff-top homes and villas in European resort towns such as the Amalfi Coast. Its 46 self-contained homes and studios are built into the limestone of Providenciales’ north shore. Studios overlook the 100-foot infinity pool, while the one- and two-bedroom homes have patios, vaulted ceilings, bathrooms with outdoor shower gardens, and floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the water.
When you work up an appetite, the Beach Club at Rock House offers a restaurant serving Adriatic cuisine including seafood, pasta and aged steaks overlooking the Atlantic. Afterward, you can kayak or snorkel, follow a hiking or jogging trail, take a yoga class, or stretch out on a jetty that stretches out to sea to soak up the sun before it’s time to fly home. Rates from $655 per night (representing an offer of up to 20% off the “Best Available Rate” for arrivals through December 20, 2023, blackout dates apply).
https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2022/dec/25/7-new-escapes-in-the-caribbean/ 7 new escapes in the Caribbean