In the Caribbean, luxury is different. Of course, any great resort must have excel in the fundaments of luxury: food and drink; interior and exterior design and, most importantly, service. But Caribbean luxury transcends that. In the Caribbean, luxury is also about beauty, about space; about the natural environment; about the sights, the aromas, about the art of experiencing the outdoors. In other words, it’s about all of the things that travelers prize most right now.
Compiling our annual ranking of the best luxury resorts is always a challenge; and this year, even more so. But the properties that made this list combined exacting quality in the aforementioned technical areas (including, of course, health and safety protocols) with that most important criterion of all: how special a resort makes you feel.
Here are our favorite luxury resorts for 2021.
Now more than ever, travelers are drawn to residential resorts — properties that combine all the amenities of a home or villa with the ones you get at a hotel. Indeed, the things we want in a hotel experience have changed — and that’s what’s made the Shore Club Turks and Caicos even more of a masterwork. This Long Bay beach stunner has some of the most gorgeous — and gorgeously appointed — rooms you’ll find in the Caribbean, married with marvelous service, an exceptional culinary offering (including the wonderful new Almond Tree), a world-class spa and the kind of impeccable service that answers every request without ever being intrusive. The Shore Club, Turks and Caicos
There’s always been a magical property to this resort, which first opened in 1962 as the “it” resort in The Bahamas and, well, still is. Now as a Four Seasons, it’s taken things to another level, with outstanding service, the same sweeping rooms and villas), its signature Versailles gardens (a wonder of the Caribbean) and the resort’s party piece: the blindingly white sands of Cabbage Beach. Photo by Rupert Pearce. The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort, Paradise Island, The Bahamas
This property was always beautiful; but now, following a $100 million renovation, it’s better than ever, with wonderful rooms and suites filled with little amenites like motion-activated lights and sprawling terraces, an impressive health and safety program, and one of the most spectacular settings in all of the US Virgin Islands. The Ritz-Carlton, St Thomas
Somehow, this place is still something of a secret in the travel world. But it just might have some our favorite rooms in the Caribbean, with a Bali-meets-the-Caribbean aesthetic, many with private jacuzzis or plunge pools. And then there’s the restaurant, which serves up Michelin-level food every meal of the day. Baoase Luxury Resort, Curacao
The newest, sexiest resort in Jamaica is Eclipse, the brand-new resort-within-a-resort at the legendary Half Moon resort in Montego Bay. It’s a dramatic new design, one that takes the historic property to the forefront of Caribbean design, while preserving the authenticity and grandeur that always defined the original. Eclipse at Half Moon, Jamaica
is increasingly drawing luxury travelers, and that’s in large part due to the debut of Silversands, a sleek, crisp, stunning resort on the island’s flagship Grand Anse Beach. The property marries high-tech, high-design guest rooms with an impressive dining offering and what’s billed as the longest pool in all of the Caribbean. Silversands, Grenada Grenada
Cap Cana is the luxury enclave of greater Punta Cana, and in the area’s sea of large resorts, this is a full-fledged jewel. The only Relais & Chateaux in the Dominican Republic, this is a hotel for gourmands, for those in search of indulgent, opulent, vacations. There are two wings here: one on the beach and one just a stroll away, and it’s the latter, with its grand private plunge pools, that is the star of the show. Eden Roc Cap Cana
This is the only Park Hyatt-branded resort in the Caribbean, and it’s become the halo hotel for increasingly hip St Kitts. The five-star resort fits perfectly into the natural environment of St Kitts’ Southeast Peninsula, with crisp, modern rooms, an impressive slate of restaurants (including the out-of-this-world Stone Barn) and inspired design that bridges centuries of history on the island. Park Hyatt St Kitts
You can’t put together a list of the best luxury resorts in the Caribbean and not include Sandy Lane. It’s the kind of Caribbean icon that is a fixed point, a timeless resort that’s always defined the best of Caribbean hospitality — and still does, from its endlessly impressive amenities to its elegant, rarefied design. Sandy Lane, Barbados
The only Mandarin Oriental in the Caribbean (another is in development in the Cayman Islands), the former Pink Sands Club is a throwback to the jet-set age, a glamorous, colorful, clubby property that just so happens to be set in one of the most beautiful corners of all the Caribbean. Mandarin Oriental, Canouan
There’s no more competitive luxury hotel market in the Caribbean (and maybe the world) than St Barth, but the 44-room-and-suite Le Barthelemy has quietly been vaulting right to the top, with a jaw-dropping Grand Cul de Sac setting and fabulous rooms designed by Sybille de Margerie. Le Barthelemy, St Barth
Any great hotel in Anguilla has to begin with the beach, and the powder-white sands of Maundays Bay is one of the most incredible beaches in the region. But Cap Juluca is more than that, from its sparkling Moorish-style rooms and villas to its transcendent spa, and the way the place has of always managing to make you feel, well, grand. Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla