Whispering winds, crashing waves, Renoir-blue waters, genial residents, coconut water right from the tree, snorkeling and pastel-hued architecture all come to mind when considering the Caribbean. While each island has its own personality, every destination promises repose. Here, a few great options for your next visit.
St. Barths: French Elan
No other island exudes French l’art de vivre like St. Barths. Imagine barefoot Parisian chic and casual sophistication to conjure the vibe. When it comes to evoking that ambiance, Hotel Manapany, the island’s only five-star eco-resort, succeeds with elan. With 43 villas and suites, Manapany uses only electric cars and produces its own water. The chef grows organic vegetables and partners with local fishermen. And the spa features vibrant programs, such as the 2021 Mind, Soul and Manapany, a Saturday regime of hikes, aqua yoga and long al fresco lunches by the sea. Yoga, Pilates, surfing lessons and treatments with wild-harvested Dr. Hauschka products seal the deal.
Jamaica: Herbal Soaks
Lauded for its healing powers, Montego Bay’s Doctor’s Cave Beach continues to draw wellness seekers to its spirited waters and sandy verges. Channeling that history, the swanky S Hotel, an affiliate of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, has introduced Irie Baths and Spa, which takes nature’s therapies up a notch. Most stunning, its collection of pools mimics the ancient soaking spots found on the island. The word irie loosely translates to “everything’s fine” in Jamaican patois, and the spa’s subterranean marble tubs, with their varying temperatures, live up to that spirit. Massages and body scrubs use pure, local ingredients, such as cold-pressed coconut oil as a nod to the Rastafarian way of life. Book a Spa Suite, each kitted out with oversized, wicker-wrapped tubs and island-made bath salts.
Dominican Republican: Earthy Cures
Fifteenth-century explorers to (what is now) the Dominican Republic found an entrenched group of residents: the Taino people. Well-versed in their countryside, the indigenous culture lived off the largesse of their land (as recorded by scribes of the time), understanding that its hillsides and beaches were veritable medicine cabinets. Today, Amanera, set amid the north shore’s rainforest, atop a cliff, pays homage to that tradition at its serene Amanera Wellness Casa. Fully melding with the terrain, the sanctuary focuses on the powers of the earth, sky and ocean, with healing treatments designed to synchronize with nature. One blue gemstone, larimar, unique to Hispaniola, is used in various rituals to encourage physical and emotional healing.
Grand Cayman: Idyllic Beaches
The name Seven Mile Beach says it all. Grand Cayman’s showpiece, a sandy, sliver moon of forever fun, it borders a perfect shore, defining the luxurious island destination. The Spa at Seafire, part of Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, takes inspiration from it. An 8,500-square-foot wellness retreat, the spa references its setting with a tranquil palette of Caribbean blues and Caymanian design elements, such as an astonishing chandelier, composed of handmade wooden beads and glittering sea glass gathered from Cayman beaches. Reflect on that vibe during your Caymanian Nap, a 30-minute restorative siesta on the spa’s curative quartz sand table. Or, take refuge in the Turkish hammam, a sparkling sanctum with 93,528 mosaic tiles.
St. Lucia: Verdant Bliss
On lush green St. Lucia, soul-stirring Pitons, two towering volcanic spires, rule the horizon. But the rainforest- mottled island also is renowned for its Sulphur Springs, legendary mud baths reputed to detoxify and alleviate everything from eczema to arthritis to sunburn. At Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, ensconced on the grounds of a centuries-old sugar plantation, the Rainforest Spa celebrates the national plant of St. Lucia, bamboo, with a Bamboo Body Scrub. Or, enjoy a supervised outing to the springs for the Sulphur Seduction Treatment, which includes a dip in the black mud, a shower beneath the waterfall and a grand finale outdoor massage.
Anguilla: Salty Sanctuary
Beach lovers can’t help setting a personal goal to visit all of Anguilla’s 33 stellar beaches, touted to be amongst the most stunning in the world. Those staying at festive Four Seasons Anguilla can get a head start in their quest, because the resort bestrides two of the island’s most famous crescents—Barnes Bay and Meads Bay. An elegant, welcoming island, hook-shaped Anguilla offers more than distinctive stretches of sand. It also boasts saltwater ponds, home to diverse birdlife, which once were used to mine salt for the island. At Four Seasons Anguilla’s The Spa, partake of the Anguilla Salt Scrub, a treatment that hydrates with a citrus vanilla mask, followed by a foot and scalp massage and body wrap.
Aruba: Salutary Flora
Dutch architecture meets tropical sensibilities on Aruba, an arid island also known for its succulent plants. A country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, nicknamed “the happy island,” Aruba has long relied on cultivating aloe vera as an economic staple, and used it as a proven, traditional home remedy. Take advantage of the plant’s salutary properties at Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino’s Eforea Spa, which incorporates local Aruban aloe vera into its menu in myriad ways. Go for the Aloe Vera, Rum & Stone Massage, a ritual that unites hot, black beach stones, anti-aging agave nectar oil, rum and pure, liquid aloe vera. The coup de gras? Feet get slathered with local honey, a natural humectant, and wrapped for a royal finish.