Where to Go Next: The Caribbean | January 2005
Most anticipated openings
The Beach House, Barbuda The tiny island of Barbuda is a scuba paradise, where divers can explore 200 shipwrecks and nearby coral reefs. Afterward, guests can return to the 10-month-old Beach House, which has 21 suites, each with its own butler, and a restaurant where chef Andrea Coppola prepares dishes like roasted spiny lobster. DETAILS Doubles from $470; Palmetto Point; 888-776-0333 or www.thebeachhousebarbuda.com.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Delayed by Hurricane Ivan, the Ritz-Carlton will open in late spring 2005 as Grand Cayman's first luxury resort. It will include 365 rooms and 69 villas, a La Prairie Spa and a Greg Norman-designed golf course. Chef Eric Ripert of Manhattan's Le Bernardin consulted on the menus at both of the resort's restaurants. DETAILS Doubles from $375; Seven Mile Beach; 800-241-3333 or www.ritzcarlton.com.
The Palms, Turks and Caicos This small island chain will gain some glamour with the opening of The Palms this winter. The 72 rooms are furnished with hand-carved South African furniture; by the pool, oversize pillows are piled in "sun pods" facing Grace Bay. DETAILS Doubles from $400; Providenciales island; 866-877-7256 or www.thepalmstc.com.
Fiesta Americana Grand Aqua, Mexico With its eight swimming pools and well-equipped playroom, this new 371-room Cancún resort (slated to open last month) is going out of its way to appeal to children. To attract adults, the resort hired star chefs to oversee two of the restaurants: Mexico City icon Patricia Quintana and Michelle Bernstein, formerly at the Mandarin Oriental Miami's Azul. There's also a spa with a temazcal, a traditional Mexican steam room. DETAILS Doubles from $190; Boulevard Kukulcan KM 12.5; 800-FIESTA-1 or www.fiestaamericana.com.
The Fairmont Southampton, Bermuda This 593-room resort, which just had a $43 million face-lift, offers a range of educational and outdoorsy options for children. Kids four and older in the Explorers Camp can learn about local marine life, go on trips to the zoo, play soccer, plant trees and even do a little rock climbing. DETAILS Doubles from $259; 101 South Shore Rd.; 800-441-1414 or www.fairmont.com.
Best new villas
One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas Dune, the restaurant headed by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, isn't the only attraction at this resort. The property also has three new spacious three- and four-bedroom villas, each with its own butler, infinity-edge pool and customized iPod. DETAILS Villas from $4,500 a night; Casino Dr., Paradise Island; 800-321-3000 or www.oneandonlyoceanclub.com.
Frenchmans Lookout, Tortola If this place feels like a private home, that's because it is. Three years ago, this five-bedroomvilla in a former pirate's lookout, with wraparound porches and a 50-foot pool, became available for short- term rental. A private chefis available for an extra fee. DETAILS From $5,800 a week; Frenchmans Key, West End; 888-223-3778 or www.frenchmanslookout.com.
Altamer Resort, Anguilla Like nearby Temenos resort, Altamer has three five- and six-bedroom villas. Each one has a Santorini-meets-Schrager feel, with whitewashed exteriors and antiques. Guests can have meals cooked by a private chef or visit the restaurant. DETAILS From $25,000 a week; Shoal Bay West; 264-498-4000 or www.altamer.com.
Hotel Basico, Mexico Three years ago, Deseo Hotel + Lounge brought a groovy-chic vibe to the formerly sleepy village of Playa del Carmen, south of Cancún. This season, its owners are opening the 15-room Hotel Basico just steps from Deseo and the beach. The first floor has a puesto (food stall), and a third-floor pool overlooks the Caribbean. DETAILS Prices unavailable at press time; 5th Ave. and 10th St.; 011-52-984-879-3620.
Le Manoir de Marie, St. Bart's A 17th-century Norman cottage, Le Manoir de Marie was transported from France to St. Bart's two decades ago. In 2001, it was converted into a hotel with eight Gallic-style rooms plus a two-bedroom manor house surrounded by gardens with mango and banana trees. DETAILS Doubles from $116; Route de Salines, Lorient; 011-590-590-27-7927 or www.lemanoirstbarth.com.
Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma, Bahamas The opening of this 183-room resort is helping to raise the profile of the little-known Bahamian island of Great Exuma. Golfers are already calling the resort's 18-hole course one of the Caribbean's best. Designed by Greg Norman, it overlooks beautiful Emerald Bay. Golf-phobes can take yoga classes at the lavish spa. DETAILS Doubles from $275; Queens Highway; 242-336-6990 or www.fourseasons.com.
Raffles Resort Canouan Island, the Grenadines On the small, lush island of Canouan100 miles west of Barbadosthis new 156-room resort is luring golfers with its 18-hole course designed by Jim Fazio and Donald Trump. There's also a large nature reserve, a casino and numerous secluded coves. DETAILS Doubles from $385; Canouan Island; 877-226-6826 or www.rafflescanouan.com.
Best new spas
Hôtel Guanahani, St. Bart's It may have some of the Caribbean's best cuisine and chicest hotels, but St. Bart's has always had a lackluster spa scene. The new Spa by Clarins at the Hôtel Guanahani is changing that. Surrounded by tropical gardens, the eight treatment rooms offer classic Clarins therapies like fruity body scrubs and energizing jet baths. DETAILS Doubles from $410; Grand Cul De Sac; 011-590-590-27-66-60 or www.leguanahani.com.
Elbow Beach, Bermuda Like the Mandarin Oriental's other outstanding spas, the one at Elbow Beach specializes in Thai, Ayurvedic and Balinese massage and uses products from the luxurious ESPA line. Visitors can also try a more locally inspired treatment like the full-body scrub using soothing Bermudan honey. DETAILS Doubles from $285; 60 Shore Rd., Paget Parish; 800-223-7434 or www.mandarinoriental.com.
Peter Island Resort, British Virgin Islands This spectacular 36-year-old private-island resort just launched its long-awaited spa. Treatments include the fragrant frangipani and coconut body wrap and a scrub with local sea salt. DETAILS Doubles from $650; 800-346-4451 or www.peterisland.com.