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The New Caribbean Classics

The Caribbean has long had a reliable core of sure-hit hotels, but recent openings are shaking things up, and many newcomers are poised to become instant stars. Including a 1980s jet-setter favorite making a comeback and a new inn focusing on adventure, this incoming class is as eclectic as it is stellar.

New Wave Hippie: Belle Mont Farm, St. Kitts

Set on 400-acres of organic farmland at the top of Kittitian Hill, the Bill Bensley–designed Belle Mont Farm is an Eden of sustainable tourism. Each morning, guests awaken to a basket of fresh fruit on their doorstep, and a walk around the grounds reveals Pick Me signs hanging beside the ripest bounty. Farm-to-table culinary experiences run the gamut from a twelve-course tasting menu at the restaurant to catered meals prepared on guests’ doorsteps by a food truck that roams the grounds. The resort stresses immersion in the island’s culture, an emphasis embodied in the “edible” golf course, which weaves through farmland and orchards, as well as in the planned cooking classes and artisan workshops.

Resident Techie: El Blok, Vieques

El Blok

is hard to miss. Constructed of concrete curves, it boasts perhaps the Caribbean’s most offbeat architecture, care of local architect Nataniel Fuster, whose sustainable design has received gold LEED certification. Behind this imposing façade, the ground-floor interior features open spaces and skylights. The twenty-two guest rooms on the floors above are decorated in vibrant colors, with bright blue- or green-tiled floors and private balconies dappled with light filtering through concrete latticework panels. Also making waves is the restaurant, helmed by Jose Enrique—a James Beard Award semifinalist in 2013 and 2014—which serves a fresh, minimalist tapas menu.

Life of the Party: Gansevoort Dominican Republic

Gansevoort’s newest outpost in the Caribbean brings a Miami sensibility to the DR. Charmingly intimate, the resort has just forty-eight guest accommodations—one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom suites that are perfect for couples or friends traveling together. All have floor-to-ceiling windows with sea views and full kitchens, and the top-of-the-line penthouse suites are also equipped with Jacuzzis. Cabanas line the three-level infinity pool, which overlooks the private beach below and crystal clear waters in the distance. An adults-only pool will open this year.

Teacher’s Pet: Ritz Carlton Aruba

With 320 rooms (all equipped with balconies), four restaurants, two pools, a casino and a sprawling spa, the Ritz Carlton suits almost every type of traveler, from families with young children to friends looking for a fun escape. The full-service resort, open since late 2013, is located in Aruba’s Palm Beach. It is the first true luxury resort in the area, with an attentive staff eager to cater to guests’ every wish. Ritz Kids keeps families’ younger members happy exploring the island’s nature and culture.

Most Anticipated: The Pink Sands Club, Grenadines

The Mandarin Oriental Canouan, due to open this spring on Canouan, is the latest project of Dermot Desmond, owner of Sandy Lane on Barbados. Desmond’s plans include a world-class hotel to complement the villas and golf course left over from previous attempts at developing the charming Grenadines island. Given his success with Sandy Lane, this property could well be the next great spot in the Caribbean.

Most Changed: Capella Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

The Discovery reopened in 2014 as the Capella Marigot Bay after a renovation that completely overhauled the interior design, replacing the former Asian-decor with bright prints. The resort has also upgraded the air conditioning and added such pampering amenities as an Auriga spa and Rum Cave. Private nooks and lounge chairs dot the property, ideal for enjoying a sundowner while surveying Marigot Bay.

Looking Forward

Baha Mar, Bahamas

One of the most ambitious undertakings in the Bahamas since Atlantis Paradise Island opened in 1998, the Baha Mar, a five-hotel complex comprising 2,900 rooms is due to open this spring. Although the compound is sprawling, the 200-room Rosewood Hotel will likely provide an elegant haven from the crowds.

Aman Dominican Republic Amanresorts is expanding its Caribbean presence with a second property, in the Dominican Republic. In addition to a thirty-room hotel, which is expected to display Aman’s signature minimalist Asian styles, there will also be several two- to five-bedroom villas. All guests will have access to the world-class Playa Grande Golf Club.

Bahama House, Harbor Island Owned by adventure company Eleven Experiences, Bahama House is posed to be the premiere property on Harbour Island, which lacks a true five-star hotel. Housed in a 19th-century pink-stone building, the inn will offer activities like bone fishing and paddle boarding.

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