A family member recently observed that travel is my porn. It’s a slightly crude way of putting it, but if you’re talking about a subject I can easily lose an hour to either online or in a magazine, then it’s a fair cop! So, with that in mind, I thought I would give you a sort of top shelf piece this week – complete with photos, of course. There are lots of good reasons you might find yourself looking at these sun-drenched islands – so here are five Caribbean world rockers for you from Hotel Guru to fulfil your fantasies…
For the Person of Your Dreams
Want somewhere to whisk someone significant away to? Where everything around you is just perfect and you can create memories that will make you smile whatever the future brings?
Where to Stay? Converted from a car garage, Lone Star is a restaurant with just six rooms on the west coast of Barbados.The restaurant is often referred to as ‘The Ivy of the Caribbean’, but with its location, directly overlooking a pristine sandy beach, and the pampering facilities of the hotel, I think it’s probably a bit more desirable? All things considered, of course. The luxurious rooms and penthouses start from $495 per night.
Practical Details: Barbados is a Caribbean stalwart, famed for its luxury and its British-ness. And probably for its rum, sugar and molasses too. And its cricket. And sailing. But the island’s main appeal is really its beauty. The interior is lush, and hides caves and waterfalls. The coastline is perfect for everything from submarine tours to reef diving and swimming with sea turtles. And of course the beaches are pretty much perfect. Most of the island’s top restaurants and bars are on the west coast.
The major airport is Grantley Adams International Airport, which is 13kms outside the capital, Bridgetown. At the moment you can fly direct from Gatwick with B.A., or from Gatwick or Manchester with Virgin Atlantic.
There’s a good chance the maximum average temperature on Barbados on any given day of the year will be 30°C. It’s that sort of place. Though you probably won’t want to visit during hurricane season, between June and November.
For the Caribbean Resort of your Dreams
Want someone to create a perfect backdrop against which to relax and enjoy yourself? Somewhere where everything has been thought of in advance, and the only thing you really need to consider is which pleasurable activity you might want to pursue next?
Where to Stay? Antigua’s Hermitage Bay is the superlative all-inclusive beachside resort set in amongst 16 acres of lush garden. There are only 30 rooms and suites – and they’re huge, with dark wood flooring, shuttered windows, outdoor rain-showers and day beds. You’re right beside a gently sloping sandy beach, but they’re offering you a gorgeous infinity pool too, and a spa and gym. The food is a combination of Caribbean classics and European delicacies and there’s a laid-back bar. This is a sophisticated, relaxed resort which is all about making your life as simple and enjoyable as possible. Rooms do start from $1200 per night, but it is all inclusive.
Practical Details: Antigua is about as close to a tropical island idyll as anywhere could be, with superb, soft, white, palm-fringed beaches (reputedly one for every day of the year) and clear, turquoise seas which have been loved by sailors since before Nelson sailed the seas. There’s plenty to do under the water, as well as on top, with some incredible coral reefs just off the shore. And the interior is lush rainforest. If you’re at all interested in naval history you’ll enjoy the island’s historic sites too.
St. John’s is the the lively capital, and just a short distance from V.C. Bird International Airport, which is a major Caribbean hub, so has regular daily flights to the UK. B.A. and Virgin Atlantic both fly out of Gatwick.
Maximum temperatures on Antigua fluctuate between 25°C and 28°C, with your main restriction on travel being hurricane season, and the really wet months of September, October and November.
For the Caribbean Beach of Your Dreams
Want to relax on one of the world’s most perfect beaches, and to follow that ‘activity’ up with a stroll along another near-perfect beach?
Where to Stay? The Boardwalk Hotel is the perfect place for anyone wanting to get in touch with their inner Robinson Crusoe. But, assuming, of course, that Robinson Crusoe’s jungle had its own gorgeous boutique hotel.
This hotel’s 14 one and two bed casitas are set beside white sands and bright aqua waters, and in amongst verdant, bright green jungle. They have their own kitchenettes, BBQ areas and patios with hammocks. And they’re all decorated in bright, bold colours. Plus there’s a beautiful pool. There’s no restaurant, but they’ll do you a great breakfast. Rooms start from around $295 per night.
Practical Details: Aruba is totally flat, has no rivers and gets hardly any rain at all. Yet it’s rife with endemic flora and fauna, and its landscape includes caves, sand dunes and limestone cliffs. Plus it has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, if you like pristine white sand and bright azure water. In fact Eagle Beach, on the leeward side of the island, frequently makes it onto lists of the world’s top ten beaches.
At the moment you can only fly direct to Aruba between April and October – the most popular period to visit. Flights leave from Gatwick and Manchester and arrive into Queen Beatrix Airport in Oranjestad, the largest town. Alternatively you can fly in via Amsterdam with KLM, Aruba being part of the Dutch Caribbean.
Aruba’s maximum daily average temperature fluctuates between 29°C and 31°C. With the rainy months October through January.
For the Family Holiday of Your Dreams
Want to take you family away somewhere memorable, beautiful and relaxing? Somewhere everyone will be happy?
Where to Stay? Antigua’s Curtain Bluff is a luxurious, secluded, family-friendly, all-inclusive beach resort with not just one but two beaches! There are 72 rooms, suites and villas, all of them spacious, with private terraces or balconies, big marble bathrooms and ocean views. There’s every activity you might want to do in this setting, running through all the water sports to tennis, squash or fishing. And if you’re a kid, a whole load of things you might not have even known about – there’s a fairly all-consuming kid’s club. The food is fantastic. And it’s idyllic, gorgeous and peaceful. Which pretty much ticks all the boxes for this sort of holiday! Rooms start from $735 per night all inclusive.
Practical Details: Antigua, which I raved about above, is a really good choice for families because it’s easy to get to and there’s plenty of sightseeing to do – if you find you need to. There are also plenty of gorgeous beaches with great facilities. And the the historic, pirate-y stuff makes it a wonderful place to read up on and get excited about before you set out – which was important for our family.
For the Tropical Island of your Dreams
Want to explore and discover a tropical island beauty’s topography above and below the water level? To visit somewhere worth really getting to know?
Where to Stay? If you’re looking for your own little bit of paradise then you might find it at the East Winds Inn on St Lucia, a collection of cottages scattered through 14 acres of lush botanic garden. Depending on which cottage you make your own will depend on how many steps you need to take from your door to the beach, but it’s never too many. And if you fancy something a bit more rousing there’s an outdoor fitness track and complimentary yoga classes. The food is good and there’s a jolly bar area, and it’s all-inclusive. If you want to keep it simple and relaxed in an incredible setting then this might be the place for you. Rooms start from $858 per night all inclusive.
Practical Details: If you’re looking for an island where you can do some proper exploring then St. Lucia is for you. St Lucia has tall, volcanic peaks, proper, dense jungles, private coves and inlets and plenty of West Indian charm. The two main peaks are Gros Piton and Petit Piton, and climbing the former is an achievable goal for most – and for many a reason to choose St Lucia over its flatter Caribbean cousins. There’s also a drive-in volcano and sulphur springs to top off the topological and geological draws. Plus the snorkelling is incredible, there are some great local markets and the local tales of pirates versus the British navy are colourful. You’ll find the majority of the tourist infrastructure in the north, where it’s flatter. While the mountainous south is where you’ll find the old, elegant plantation houses turned boutique hotels.
Hewanorra International Airport is the arrival point if you’re travelling direct from the UK. You can fly with B.A., Virgin Atlantic and Iberian. Taxis on St Lucia are unmetered, so it’s a good idea to book your transfers in advance.
The maximum daily average temperature on St Lucia ranges between 29°C and 31°C, with December through April the most popular times to visit, and May and June generally less expensive, but potentially wetter too.
Wherever you would like to travel to, or if you are looking for inspiration, click here