This post originally appeared on Yahoo! Travel.
The Caribbean oftentimes musters up images of massive beach resorts. Even some of the most luxurious options can be teeming with crowds that filter from the various restaurants to the packed beaches to the lively pool scene, frequented by both splashing kids and partying co-eds. But during our travels around the islands, we’ve also found plenty of quiet hidden gems. These beachfront boutiques have the look and vibe of a casual oceanside hut – but nonetheless deliver a hotel-like experience with on-site amenities and activities, and quaint, well-designed rooms. Explore our 10 favorite low-key properties on the Caribbean sands.
For travelers who want to enjoy a resort experience but still prefer a more intimate hotel, the Zoetry Montego Bay Jamaica is an attractive upper-middle-range option. The 50 plantation-style rooms are spacious, and guests won’t feel crowded or cramped at the private beach (even though it’s small). An all-inclusive option lets guests dine and drink on the property, and couples will likely appreciate the spa services, lush gardens providing shade and privacy, and the quiet pool.
Crowded beaches are unheard of on this private island resort where a maximum of 28 guests at a time have free range of 50 acres and three beaches. Personal boats for daily excursions, on-call service, spacious villas with fully stocked kitchens, and a host of all-inclusive activities make Fowl Cay a standout gem in the Exumas.
Opened in 2000, the 49-room Anse Chastanet Resort was one of the first properties to focus on eco-luxury design, and to deliberately shun technology such as TV, telephones, air conditioning, and Wi-Fi. The resort offers several open-air restaurants, two beaches, extensive activities, and a beachfront spa. Technology-free rooms have wrap-around terraces, many with views of the Pitons. While there is no fitness center or pool, the peaceful location with direct beach access is a serious perk.
Bavaro Beach is known for megaresorts, but the upper-middle-range VIK Hotel Cayena Beach has a mere 47 rooms — all with guaranteed sea views — and delivers an intimate, peaceful setting. This property is newer than the VIK Hotel Arena Blanca next door, and guests here get access to both properties’ features, including restaurants, bars, two pools, nightly entertainment, a fitness center, and spa. Most guests, though, choose to stick to the Cayena’s area of the beautiful beach, and eat lunch at the seaside restaurant, which is reserved for Cayena guests only.
This quaint, 10-room bed-and-breakfast on Puerto Rico’s Vieques Island is full of the charming, personal touches that so many chain hotels lack. It’s an undeniably romantic pick, with phenomenal ocean views from the stone infinity pool and open-air lobby; airy, Mediterranean-style architecture; and wild horses roaming the grounds. Three bedrooms are in the main “inn,” and others can be found in various bungalows dotting the property. The clean, lofty rooms are styled with eclectic antiques and tropical flowers.
The 27-room Anacaona is a solid mid-range option in Anguilla’s West End. It offers access to the same gorgeous white-sand beach as the neighboring Viceroy — through an off-property path — as well as to the nearby Greg Norman’s golf course and a few restaurants. Rooms are large and airy, and have great amenities, including large flat-screen TVs with dozens of channels, iPod docks, free Wi-Fi, and Frette linens. With two small pools, free snorkeling equipment, a great restaurant serving Caribbean fare with a twist, and a massage hut on the beach, the hotel is a good pick for value.
The 28-room Sibonne Beach Hotel was one of the first properties on Grace Bay, and has endured as one of the only budget options on the sand. But there’s no gym or no spa — only a small circular pool and an oceanfront restaurant that’s known for its tasty brunch and ice cream. Rooms are simple, with white-on-white decor and patios with outdoor furniture, and rates are among the island’s lowest.
The Biras Creek Resort is a rustic-luxe retreat with just 31 suites. It features two beaches — one calm, looking out to the North Sound, and the other slightly rocky. Most suites do not have TVs, but guests get access to free Wi-Fi and bicycles, as well as a long list of on-site amenities: tons of water sports, tennis courts, an attractive pool, a game room, an on-site restaurant, and a (tiny) fitness center. Biras Creek’s quiet, secluded nature is just why visitors come.
Located right on a pretty beach in northern Nevis, this upscale property is a great spot for a romantic getaway. Its 36 airy cottage-style rooms offer lots of privacy, and are tastefully decorated in green and brown hues. Service is attentive, and unexpected extras such as hiker GPS systems, Flip video cameras, and tennis and croquet equipment — all available free of charge — demonstrate the Nisbet’s attention to detail. The varied dining options, the pleasant pool, and the beautiful setting on the beach are all highlights.
This exclusive 15-villa luxury resort with a Parisian flair sits amid 28 lush acres of natural hills and beachfront. The private villas are spacious and airy, each with its own infinity-edge pool. And the views here are jaw-dropping. The French restaurant is one of the island’s most renowned, one of the many reasons celebrities come here to relax, yet the scene is nonetheless laid-back – at least by tony St. Barts standards.
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