Luxury Travel Advisor was just in Barbados for the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association’s 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace. Here, we had the chance to meet with over a dozen tourism leaders and scope out plenty of goings-on throughout the region. Top of the list for most destinations are the many luxury hotel openings, reopenings and renovations taking place this year and beyond. Here’s an island-by-island breakdown of the latest and greatest throughout the Caribbean:
The developers behind ÀNI Anguilla are opening six two- and three-bedroom villas on the island’s west end. Enjoying views of the Caribbean Sea out to St. Martin, the Kokoon Villas will have 2,400 square feet of living space spread across two floors on quarter-acre plots. Guests can expect a 150-square-foot pool with a covered outdoor dining space. Though not associated with a hotel, the villas are located nearby Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla and Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel, Anguilla, as well as the popular Mead’s Bay. They are set to open in fall 2023.
Along the same lines, ÀNI Private Resorts will be opening a second property on the island. The 15-suite estate will be located on Shoal Bay and is planned for a 2024 opening. It will have a tennis court, gym, ÀNI Spa, beach-fronted pavilion for living and dining and experiential pursuits such as a waterslide. The hotel will offer a 1-to-1 guest to staff ratio and all of ÀNI’s signature services and amenities. Guests can enjoy spa treatments, cooking or dance classes, personal training, sunset boat trips, local guided tours, cultural shows and rituals, visits to ÀNI Art Academies, various youth entertainment and babysitting — all of which are included in the nightly rate.
Antigua and Barbuda
This summer, Antigua’s Curtain Bluff will be investing in a multimillion property renovation, timed to be completed for the property’s seasonal reopening on October 21, 2023. During this season’s closure period, the hotel’s two Hulford Collection Suites, Morris and Grace Bay Pool Suites, and a selection of Junior Suites will go through a complete refurbishment, unveiling a lighter and more modernized final room product.
Upon reopening, Curtain Bluff will also debut a newly expanded Wellness Area, an area exclusively available for adult guests. The new adults-only Wellness Area at Curtain Bluff is planned to be located between the current spa and gym facilities, which will also be doubling in size. A standalone Yoga Pavilion among the Zen gardens and facing the Caribbean Sea will be built as well. Here, guests may partake in daily yoga classes with Curtain Bluff’s professional instructors or choose to practice on their own time. This wellness facility will offer a newly built infinity pool and jacuzzi, placed right along the waterfront, allowing guests to take in sunset.
Looking ahead to the summer 2024 season, additional room enhancements will be made, among other design improvements, with an additional $2 million investment.
Although there isn’t much available yet about the new St. Regis Aruba Palm Beach Resort, we would be remiss not to mention it. The luxury resort, opening no sooner than 2024, will have 220 guestrooms and suites, to go along with top-class dining, spa and pool offerings. Of note, the hotel will be only the second St. Regis property in the Caribbean (following The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico) and will be centrally located near top on island attractions.
In Nassau, Bahamas, the historic British Colonial will be reopening in late 2023 following a $65 million renovation project. Upon its debut, guests can expect 288 newly redesigned rooms, including 23 suites. All guestroom bathrooms will sport green marble, while the bedroom / living spaces will have all new furnishings, smart TVs, beds and carpeting. Guests can expect an essentially brand-new lobby, which will have the supper club-style Woodes Rogers Tavern, with a martini bar and live music, on one side and the Sakana Sushi & Noodle Bar, serving Bahamian seafood and Asian-inspired noodles, on the other. The Mahogany Club will be the signature restaurant, where guests can enjoy live cooking buffet stations. Outside, there will be two swimming pools, including one for adults only.
First opened in 1924, the British Colonial will be a part of “The Pointe,” the complex that also includes Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau.
Elsewhere, on the heels of its 60th anniversary, The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort has unveiled newly renovated guestrooms and suites, poolside restaurant and more.
Specifically, The Crescent Wing guestrooms and suites are sporting a new look, including gold bamboo-framed mirrors and deep-soaking bathtubs surrounded by a custom-curved wall mosaic, tiled in hues of gold, ivory and aqua. Suites offer a separate living room and bedroom, a powder room, and a full bath with an oversized glass shower and jetted deep-soaking tub. Guestrooms and suites offer a private terrace or balcony, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean or lawn, where guests can avail themselves of hammocks hung between palms and white Adirondack chairs. Garden-level guestroom terraces have been updated to include a large plush daybed. King rooms have been updated to include a queen-size sofa sleeper, accommodating a maximum occupancy of four guests. Good to know: For families, select guestrooms have two beds and have outer-connecting capabilities to either an Oceanfront Room with a king bed or an Oceanfront King Suite.
On the dining side, Ocean Blu has been updated, as well. Located poolside, just steps from the beach, guests can select from a menu that specializes in fresh grilled fare. Ocean Blu, which was previously only open during the day, is now offering dinner service.
O2 Beach Club & Spa by Ocean Hotels Group, which also operates Sea Breeze Beach House and South Beach Hotel, reopened in 2021 after a $15 million renovation but made somewhat of a “re-debut” at Caribbean Travel Marketplace. Formerly Ocean 2, there is now a brand-new adults-only tower, plus refreshed guestrooms in the existing family-friendly building, new dining and more.
In all, there are 130 rooms and suites, three pools, seven restaurants and bars, and the 5,600-square-foot Acqua Spa, located on the eighth floor of the adults-only tower. Ora is the fine dining restaurant, located on the top (ninth) floor of the adults-only tower. Note: Children are allowed to dine here, but it is recommended families opt for the 6:30 p.m. early seating. Tip: Be sure to request a table by the window for the best views.
During our site visit, we really enjoyed the modern vibe of the Luxury Collection rooms in the new tower. That said, the Concierge Suites are the top category on property; they come with included access to an “experience ambassador,” who can assist with all on- and off-property experiences. These rooms also come with a kitchen, which can come in handy if traveling with kids. The kitchen can be fully stocked prior to arrival. These rooms are in the process of being updated, and will debut a lighter, more modern look later this year.
Good to know: O2 Beach Club & Spa has been awarded the Blue Seal of approval by Oceanic Global, a symbol of recognition highlighting the hotel’s commitment to protecting the planet through responsible business operations and sustainable tourism.
In April, Belnem House Bonaire, a boutique resort located in the villa district of Belnem and near the heart of the Dutch Caribbean island’s colorful capital Kralendijk, opened its doors. The hotel has just 31 luxury suites, apartments and penthouses surrounding a tropical courtyard garden with a swimming pool, bar and grill area.
Good to know: The entire property was built with sustainability in mind to ensure a minimal ecological footprint for the environment. Almost completely self-sufficient, Belnem House has solar paneled roofs with a state-of-the-art battery system to fully power the entire resort. The panels provide sufficient energy throughout the day, with the extra energy then transferring over to the batteries to use during the night. Belnem House also utilizes solar-powered hot water heaters and any water from air conditioner condensation nourishes the plants in and around the property.
Pretty Cool: The property’s ecological efforts also extend into creating awareness with both staff and guests through eco-friendly and biodegradable amenities. Designed to be a place to recharge for those looking to go off grid, the Belnem House is also just steps away from the public beaches, the oceanfront restaurant, The Beach, as well as the Wannadive Dive Center, which provides professional PADI diving courses and trips. Belnem also offers a fleet of rental cars for guests looking to explore the island.
Secret Bay, as of this month, has unveiled new amenities, including the Mouben Welcome House, Gwiyavye’ Lap Pool & Bar and Zing Zing Lounge. The additions come as part of the resort’s multi-year masterplan that will also see the resort debut eight new villas in 2023, bringing the total room count to 20.
Located on the crest of a 200-foot cliff with views of the Caribbean Sea and offering access to three swimmable and secluded beaches, each new Clifftop Multi-Villa Estate comprises two villas. The first estate comprises Secret Bay’s Zabuco Villa and Ti-Fèy Villa designs, and collectively offers three bedrooms and four bathrooms. The two villas within the compound can be booked separately for a couples’ getaway or together for family and friends traveling as a group. Meanwhile, the Zabuco Honeymoon Villa is accompanied by the newly designed Mapou Cottage, which can be used as an alternative studio or relaxation space or a private accommodation for family and friends. Each villa within the Villa Estates is complete with a gourmet kitchen, a private plunge pool, stylish bathrooms with rain showers and soaking tubs, and hand-crafted indoor furnishings.
Good to know: Rooms offer a 43-inch TV, a Sonos wireless sound system and smart home technology. Also available is electric vehicle parking and charging stations.
In addition, Secret Bay debuted an array of new amenities, including a hillside funicular, garden-to-fork chef’s table experience, elevated decks, art gallery and a kombucha brewery.
Important: The former Cabrits Kempinski Resort in Dominica has been reflagged under the IGH Hotels and Resorts banner. It is now operating as the InterContinental Dominica Cabrits Resort and Spa. The resort initially opened in 2019 as the first major international brand on the island. It will now be followed by Anichi Resort and Spa, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, which will have 128 rooms, a lagoon-style swimming pool and a variety of restaurants; and Tranquility Beach Resort – Curio Collection by Hilton, which will have 100 rooms, including “cliffhanging” villas that are built directly into the rock and two secret cove beaches. Both hotels are set to open in 2024.
Quite a few luxury properties will be making their debut in Grenada this year.
On the international front, Six Senses’ resort in Grenada is set to debut at the end of 2023. First announced in 2020, Six Senses La Sagesse, Grenada is spread over 38 acres and will have 56 guestrooms, seven one-bedroom villas and five two-bedroom villas. There will also be three- and four-bedroom green-roofed homes, each with a 56-foot horizon-edge pool and wrap-around pool decks.
Guests of the wellness-centric resort can make use of outdoor fitness trails and jungle gym, as well as quiet locations for meditation, forest bathing, labyrinth walking, sensory foot reflexology, fire rituals and candlelight yoga — not to mention the Six Senses Spa at La Sagesse. For families, there will be a teen’s lounge and children’s play center, plus “Grow With Six Senses” activities, where children are invited to connect with nature.
The Great House, the main dining space, will offer various spaces, including a bakery, beach dining room, private dining room and raw bar with a display kitchen. The signature restaurant will serve Creole-inspired dishes. Also taking inspiration from the destination will be the rum-making workshops available at the Sand Bar.
Scheduled to open in late 2023, as well, Silversands Grenada will be adding 28 keys to its portfolio with a new luxury boutique hotel located behind and atop a protective cliff on Portici Beach. Silversands Beach House will have standalone one-bedroom villas and two-bedroom suites, ranging from 600 square feet to 1,700 square feet. The architecture of the cliffside suites will aim to blend into the vegetation of the bluff, with each suite overlooking the water. The Two-Bedroom Ocean View Suite will be located atop the highest point of the property, offering impressive views of the Caribbean; it will comprise a central living room area with a kitchenette and wraparound patio. Both the king and twin bedrooms will have a sitting area, en-suite bathroom with a full bath and easy access to all resort facilities.
Below, set against the bluff at beach level, will be the rest of the resort, complete with an upscale Trattoria dining experience, an infinity pool and additional beachfront villas for those seeking direct access to the shore.
Good to know: The new property will be about 10 minutes from Silversands Origin and guests of Beach House will also enjoy all the amenities its sister property has to offer, including the 300-foot pool, its spa, the rum, whiskey and cigar lounge, PURO, and each of the dining experiences.
Tip: Yet another project from Silversands is in the works. All we know so far is that it’s slated for Port Louis.
Sandals Dunn’s River officially opened on May 24 with a bunch of “firsts” for a Sandals resort. Guests can expect first-of-its-kind suite designs, exclusive restaurant concepts and bars and more. The resort, which was first added to Sandals’ all-inclusive portfolio in 1991, is returning with 260 newly constructed rooms.
Of note, the brand-new Tufa SkyPool Butler Suites have glass panels spanning the length of the oceanfront balconies, creating an infinity effect into the Caribbean Sea. At the Coyaba Swim-Up Rondoval Butler Suites with Private Pools, Sandals’ popular standalone villas are “reimagined” with open-air rooftops with private soaking tubs, sun-lounging areas and views of the surrounding flora.
In all, there are 12 restaurants, 10 of which are new to the brand. L’Amande will serve a mélange of French and Jamaican fare in a chic setting. A Greek concept, Edessa, is where the Caribbean and Aegean seas will meet. From Thailand to Japan, the Asian-fusion menu at Banyu will offer a blend of cultures all in a single dish. Dunn’s Rum Club, another first-of-its-kind experience, offers a list of rums. Here, guests can try their hand at a game of Jamaican-rules dominoes, where the best out of six wins. Elsewhere, The Laughing Waters beach bar offers bed-style seating for a relaxing experience right on the sand.
There is also a Red Lane Spa, which is touted as “one of the most luxurious for the brand” and a zero-entry pool.
Turks and Caicos
Looking towards early 2024, Grace Bay Resorts is set to debut South Bank, an all-villa luxury resort where every ocean-view vacation residence has a private plunge pool fronting a protected saltwater lagoon. Within the lagoon, two sandy islands connected by a pedestrian bridge will serve as a private area to sunbathe and swim.
The $300 million South Bank will comprise a residential resort and marina spread across seven waterfront neighborhoods along 31 acres of shoreline on Long Bay. These distinctive neighborhoods will include The Launch, a collection of contemporary boathouses with dedicated docks; The Lagoon and Ocean Estate, comprising spacious standalone homes; and Arc, a six-story residential building that encompasses Sky Villas designed by Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni.
South Bank guests will have access to amenities fully managed by Grace Bay Resorts, including a swimming lagoon, a white sand beachfront, plentiful dining experiences, tennis and pickleball courts; and a spa and fitness center overlooking secluded islands in the middle of the lagoon.
At Point Grace, located along Grace Bay Beach, construction will be starting soon on new two-bedroom casitas. Although they will be set off from the beach, each will have its own private pool. At Rock House, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary in May, a new “hotel-within-a-hotel” concept may be in the works. This area would include no more than 20 suites, all with a wellness focus. Beyond in-room amenities that cater to active travelers, these guests would additionally have access to a wellness consultant to guide them.
Good to know: Separately, A brand new Legasea Villa has been added to the Private Villa Collection of exclusive luxury villas with coveted oceanfront locations throughout Providenciales.
United States Virgin Islands
After years of renovations totaling $425 million, Frenchman’s Reef has opened Morningstar Buoy Haus Beach Resort at Frenchman’s Reef, Autograph Collection. The resort has 94 guestrooms, including just two suites, in beachfront and oceanside locations. All have pillow-top beds and cool cotton bedding.
On the culinary side, Salt Shack Beach Bar & Grill offers an Instagrammable ambiance to pair with approachable cuisine, drinks and music. At Sandbar, guests can enjoy an island classic, such as the pink “Painkiller,” as they watch the sunset over Frenchman’s Reef. With poolside service and private cabanas, Tide Pool Cabanas & Bar is a relaxing place to while away the afternoon with signature cocktails and light bites. Isla Blue, which has a Michelin-Star Executive Chef at the helm, serves island-inspired cuisine from the Caribbean and Mexico. There is also a temperature-controlled wine room with an expansive wine, champagne and reserve list, in addition to premium sipping tequilas.
Beachside activities can be found at Palm Court, a social space complete with a hammock court, Caribbean-style food and beverage huts, games and more. Guests can also enjoy a variety of aquatic programming with complimentary non-motorized watersports, including Hobie Cats and kayaks, an Aquabana Lounger, assorted beach toys and snorkel gear. Tip: Also available is a fleet of private vessels to charter for day and night excursions around the surrounding islands, accessible at Frenchman’s Reef’s private dock. The prized member of the fleet is the Flying Frenchman, a private luxury catamaran with a capacity of up to 125 people for daytime snorkel trips, sunset sails and more.
Guests of Buoy Haus will also enjoy full access to the amenities available at its adjoining resort, The Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef, which will be opening soon. Set on an elevated peninsula, The Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef will have 392 guestrooms, including 28 suites, all with The Westin Heavenly Bed. There will additionally be five restaurants and lounges, three ocean-view pools, the Heavenly Spa by Westin with 13 treatment rooms, a WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio and the Westin FAMILY Kid’s Club. Guests can also make use of the private adventure beach with programming for all ages. Both resorts will be connected by a shared stretch of Morningstar Beach, serving as a social and event space with year-round programming.