12 Secret Caribbean Hotels for a Crowd-Free Beach Getaway
Fowl Cay, Bahamas
Originally published by Travel + Leisure
Whether it’s a cliff-top villa among the wild landscapes of Dominica, the surprise of French auberge-style hospitality in Guadeloupe or Martinique, or the small miracle of a beach entirely to yourself, these hotel picks are likely to turn up a side of the Caribbean you didn’t know existed.
Fowl Cay, Bahamas
This private island 50-acre resort makes life so sybaritic—cocktails on the deck at Hill House, bocce on the private beach, hammock time pretty much everywhere—that you’ll never want to leave. That would be a mistake, though. Each of the six oceanfront villas here comes with its own 17-foot boat so that you can explore neighboring islets. Worthy adventures include swimming with docile nurse sharks at Compass Cay Marina, dropping by the iguana-dominated Guana Cay, and feeding the famous swimming pigs at Big Major Spot beach. Yes, you read that right.
Lighthouse Bay Resort, Barbuda
Nine is the magic number on Barbuda, a 20-minute flight from its more bustling sister island of Antigua: The all-inclusive Lighthouse Bay has just nine suites facing a 9-mile-long pink sand beach. The resort marries a sense of blissful remoteness with urban refugee essentials like iPads and in-room espresso machines. Tuck into Caribbean delicacies like Barbuda lobster at Café Lagoon, then while away the days by horseback riding, diving the crystal-clear water, or just reveling in the fact that you barely have to share that incredible beach with another soul.
Hotel Bois Joli, Les Saintes, Guadeloupe
Francophiles seeking a closer-to-home vacation should make a beeline for Guadeloupe, an island group featuring all the powdery white sand beaches and gorgeous water you expect to find in the Caribbean, but with a level of tranquility absent on other more high-profile islands. At this sweet French hotel, accommodations consist of simple cottages strung along the beach, along with five rooms in the French Colonial Balcony house. The restaurant serves fresh seafood like ouassous (a local crayfish), cod fritters, and grilled tuna.
Hotel Deep Blue, Providencia, Colombia
Part of a UNESCO biosphere reserve, this far-flung Caribbean destination is worth the extra mileage. Near-deserted beaches, traditional Creole culture, and kaleidoscopic marine life in the pristine waters offshore make this a perfect choice for those who like their island life to offer more than swaying palm trees. The 12-room Deep Blue features luxuries like private balconies with panoramic ocean views, while your Instagram shots of the restaurant—built right over the water—are destined to induce envy back home.
Secret Bay Resort, Portsmouth, Dominica
Positioned midway between Guadeloupe and Martinique, this underappreciated island seems set for its day in the sun. After all, the lush, almost antediluvian landscapes (volcanoes, rivers, gorges, waterfalls, hot springs), outdoorsy adventures, and chilled-out lifestyle couldn’t stay a secret forever. Check into Secret Bay, a boutique resort set on a promontory between two beaches with six chic, streamlined cliff-top villas designed by Venezuelan architect Fruto Vivas.
Les Petits Saints, Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe
Small can be beautiful, particularly when it comes to tropical idylls, and this 2-square-mile island in the Iles des Saintes sure makes the case. At Les Petits Saints, a kind of Provençal-auberge-meets-Caribbean-resort, the idiosyncratic guest rooms are decked out with European antiques, gilded mirrors, and four-poster beds, while the restaurant serves refined Creole-inspired dishes like tuna tartare and grilled langoustine salad, all of which comes with a side of sweeping views over the surreally blue Baie des Saintes.