Credit: Courtesy of Couples Resorts
For your next CaribbeCaribbean an vacation, mix a luxurious resort with Instagram-worthy ocean views, and a destination that offers not only tropical blCaribbean iss—palm trees, hammocks, and rum punch at the swim-up bar—but a lively cultural scene, too.
That’s the winning recipe suggested by the results of the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Caribbean Awards reader survey. St. Lucia and Jamaica particularly captured readers’ imaginations, with hotels and resorts on those island nations claiming 13 of the top 20 spots across the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Bermuda.
Related: 10 Best Caribbean Resorts
The top-scoring hotels reveal an appreciation for the now classically St. Lucian penchant for open-air suites with unimpeded views over the iconic Pitons, as at favorite haunts Jade Mountain—voted No. 1 Caribbean resort—and Ladera. But T+L readers also gave some love to a similarly dramatic property at the far northern tip of the island whose architecture is all about framing the beauty of the ocean.
In Jamaica, the siren song of the Sandals and Couples resort groups proved irresistible, suggesting that the all-inclusive model is far from a fad: it’s here to stay. And why not, when your stay includes perks like excursions around the island, candlelit dinners on the sand, and Pilates classes.
A few more-low-key island resorts ranked highly, including one only a 2.5-hour flight from New York and another on the tiny West Indies isle of Nevis.
Related: World’s Top 50 Hotels
In case you needed any excuse for planning a winter tropical getaway, our list will inspire you to daydream and maybe even book that hotel reservation pronto.
No. 1 Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
Credit: Jade Mountain, an Anse Chastanet Resort
Forget breaking the fourth wall: this feted resort near the west coast town of Soufrière does away with it altogether. Each of the 29 suites features an infinity pool or Jacuzzi, soaring ceilings, and a breezy openness courtesy of that missing wall, which affords uninterrupted views of St. Lucia’s biggest claim to fame—the twin volcanic peaks of the Pitons, rising with surreal splendor from an azure sea. The resort’s organic design (raw stone, rich wood, and swooping, curvy rooflines) feels in perfect harmony with the glorious surroundings, and its position at the island’s very highest point truly sets it above the pack.
No. 2 Cap Maison, St. Lucia
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Cap Maison, St. Lucia
Credit: Courtesy of Cap Maison
This hacienda-style hideaway on St. Lucia’s northern coast is located on a bluff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. A former sugar plantation, the property now appears like a small village, with luxurious villas set around a leafy courtyard and pool, and a restaurant, the Cliff at Cap, where you can dine on Med-meets–Pan Asian–meets-Caribbean dishes like rock crab ravioli with coconut and lemongrass. We’re also fond of the Champagne Zip Line, a pioneering concept that delivers drinks via a zipline to couples or small groups who book the Rock Maison, a private dock built on a shoal right at the water’s edge.
No. 3 Couples Sans Souci, St. Mary, Jamaica
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Couples Sans Souci, St. Mary, Jamaica
Credit: Courtesy of Couples Resorts
With 150 rooms, Couples Sans Souci is the smallest and most intimate of the popular all-inclusive resort chain’s properties, with a killer cliff-top setting in Ocho Rios. You’ll never have to jostle for space thanks to three restaurants, six bars, and three swimming pools, plus a host of included perks like unlimited golf at nearby Sandals Upton and excursions to Dunn’s River Falls and other local landmarks. For an extra fee, bliss out at the award-winning spa, where therapists soothe away troubles with bamboo fusion and hot stone massages.
No. 4 Reefs Resort & Club, Bermuda
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Reefs Resort & Club, Bermuda
Credit: Courtesy of The Reefs
Bermuda is less than a three-hour flight from most major East Coast cities, making it an easy long-weekend escape. And while not actually located in the Caribbean, the British-influenced island has its own strain of laid-back tropical charm—plus those famous pink-sand beaches and limestone cliffs. Get your bearings at The Reefs, which has a sublimely dramatic setting overlooking the island’s south shore. The 62-room resort also provides sand-between-the-toes dining at beachside restaurant Coconuts and a spa for results-driven facials and soothing couple’s massages.
No. 5 Couples Tower Isle, St. Mary, Jamaica
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Couples Tower Isle, St. Mary, Jamaica
Credit: Courtesy of Couples Resorts
The original romantic adults-only all-inclusive resort continues to woo travelers decades after launching the concept in 1978. Indeed, the 218-room Couples Tower Isle has plenty to recommend it, including a private white-sand beach, multiple bars, restaurants, pools and Jacuzzis, and complimentary activities like scuba diving and glass-bottom-boat tours. The regular Monday Night Beach Party Barbeque and the mixologist’s preference for rum punches are just two examples of the resort’s emphasis on local flavor.
No. 6 Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis
Credit: Peter Frank Edwards
The West Indies island of Nevis may be diminutive but its luxury offerings are outsize. Case in point: this storied resort, one of the only historic plantations in the Caribbean right on the beach. The vibe is a skillful blend of old world and new: guest cottages sport wicker furnishings, sunny color schemes, and locally inspired artworks, while the open-air restaurant and beach bar Sea Breeze and the full-service spa—with its oxygen facials and hot stone therapy—encourage guests to unwind and unplug.
No. 7 Ladera Resort, St. Lucia
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Ladera Resort, St. Lucia
Credit: Courtesy of Ladera, St. Lucia
Much like Jade Mountain, this Soufrière hot spot has an irresistible trump card: a setting overlooking the rainforest, ocean, and Pitons, with three-walled suites to frame those views while catching the breeze from your private plunge pool. The 32 rooms are tiered along the hillsides to create total privacy, making Ladera a big hit with honeymooners. Even the spa and restaurant are positioned to help guests drink in those perfect vistas. The spa provides alfresco massages on Paradise Ridge, while the well-regarded Dasheene restaurant is open-air and faces the ocean.
No. 8 Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa, Jamaica
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa, Jamaica
Credit: Courtesy of Sandals Resorts
This all-inclusive hideaway stands out for a primo location in a 500-acre nature reserve on Jamaica’s less-developed southern coast. While creating an authentic vibe isn’t paramount—the feel is more European, as the name suggests—this Sandals does immerse you in gorgeous tropical scenery, including a two-mile-long beach that’s the perfect spot to watch the sun rise and set each day. And with a whopping eight restaurants and six bars, plus entertainment options including fire dancing, reggae nights, and bonfires, you’re spoiled for choice.
No. 9 Sandy Lane Hotel, Barbados
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Sandy Lane Hotel, Barbados
Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Lane
This iconic Barbados retreat lures a well-heeled Euro/British set, but it also holds a place in plenty of hearts stateside. The pampering starts with airport transfers courtesy of Sandy Lane’s Bentley, and continues on-site with rooms decked out with plush drapes, chandeliers, and mahogany furniture. Take your pick among 11 restaurants and bars, ranging from shoes-optional beach bars to posh fine-dining affairs. Other patrician pursuits include three spectacular golf courses and a showstopping spa offering aromatherapy and ayurvedic treatments.Vote for your favorite hotels in the World’s Best survey >>
No. 10 Sandals Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Sandals Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Credit: Sandals Resorts
Ian Fleming and Noël Coward were fans of this historic oceanfront resort—and it continues to attract jet-setters. Perhaps it’s something to do with the attentive butler service that follows guests from the 74 ocean-view suites to the five Mediterranean restaurants to the pool. (There’s even daily afternoon tea service and the Caribbean’s only champagne and caviar bar.) Golf, scuba diving, unlimited top-shelf drinks, and just about anything else you can dream up is included in the rate.
No. 11 Jamaica Caribbean Inn, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Credit: Courtesy of the Jamaica Inn
Expect classic style and a kind of time-warp languor at this beloved Jamaican property, established in the 1950s and refreshed in 2007. On a private sandy cove on the east side of popular Ocho Rios, the 52 rooms and cottages evoke a colonial-era vibe, with wooden shutters, white linen–swathed furniture, roll-top soaking tubs, and wooden four-poster beds. There are no TVs, radios, or clocks, which means you won’t feel pressured to do anything but book spa treatments, dine on coconut shrimp at the open-air restaurant, and play a lazy game of croquet on the expansive lawns.
No. 12 The BodyHoliday, LeSport, St. Lucia
Caribbean Group Getaways: The BodyHoliday, LeSport in St. Lucia
Credit: Courtesy The BodyHoliday
St. Lucia has its panoramic views and swoon-worthy moments, but it’s also a great place to recharge and rejuvenate, especially if you’re staying at this pioneering all-inclusive resort on the island’s northwestern tip. The rate covers healthy meals at one of four restaurants, daily activities ranging from tai chi to archery (along with fitness classes and yoga galore), and even spa treatments like the signature Lucian Lime & Ginger Scrub. And if it starts to feel a bit like boot camp, you’re free to zone out on Cariblue beach, with its squeaky-clean white sand and crystal-clear water.
No. 13 One&Only Ocean Club, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: No. 13 One&Only Ocean Club, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Credit: Courtesy of One & Only Resorts
This rarefied hideaway is a big hit with celebrities and the stealth wealth set. And no wonder: it’s a sprawling private estate on the north coast of Paradise Island that Caribbean employs a staff of 30 just to maintain the grounds. Envision sweeping lawns, marble statues, formal French gardens, a pristine arc of beach, and a Tom Weiskopf–designed golf course. And there’s more: a bona fide 14th-century French Augustinian cloister. Frette linens, deep soaking tubs, and traditional wood shutters lend the rooms a dignified sense of style. After dark, dine out at Courtyard Terrace, where star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has created a French-Asian menu with Bahamian touches.
No. 14 St. Regis Bahia Beach Club, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: St. Regis Bahia Beach Club, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Credit: St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort
Located 30 minutes from Old San Juan, this 483-acre former sugar plantation feels in a world of its own thanks to the lush surrounding landscape, which includes the El Yunque National Forest and an on-site four-mile nature trail and bird sanctuary. Join the leisured classes on the Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course, in the gorgeously landscaped Remède Spa, or on palm-fringed Bahia Beach, then repair to Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ultra-elegant Fern restaurant, which dishes up globally influenced fare with a Puerto Rican spin.
No. 15 Couples Swept Away, Westmoreland, Jamaica
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Couples Swept Away, Westmoreland, Jamaica
Credit: Courtesy of Couples Resorts
Adults-only bliss awaits at this all-inclusive resort on one of the best stretches of Negril Beach—seven miles of it, no less. The 312 airy wood-and-tile suites have a simple elegance and views of either the ocean or lush gardens. As with any Couples resort, the list of enticements is long: six restaurants, eight bars, three pools, and included perks galore like island excursions, Pilates classes, and nightly entertainment.
No. 16 Round Hill Hotel & Villas, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Round Hill Hotel & Villas, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Credit: Images courtesy of Round Hill Hotel and Villas
Far from the rum punch–fueled parties of more mass-market parts of Jamaica, Round Hill is one of the most stylish hotel options. The global glitterati are in evidence from the clientele to the legendary “cottages” owned by many illustrious American and European names past and present. One such owner, designer Ralph Lauren, has lent his breezy-luxe touch to many aspects of the resort, from white-on-white oceanfront guest rooms to the cocktail lounge. When packing, be advised: everyone dresses for dinner here.
No. 17 Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa, Bermuda
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa, Bermuda
Credit: Courtesy of Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa
This resort at Bermuda’s western end cultivates an English, country club–style air, with plenty of tennis and croquet to be had. Still, the tropical, sun-drenched setting overlooking the Atlantic reminds you that you’re safely in vacationland. Some rooms come with private plunge pools (a rarity here), and the Tamarisk Restaurant and Terrace is considered one of the island’s best. If it’s sand between the toes you’re after, hit beachside Breezes restaurant, which offers unobstructed sunset views.
No. 18 Hotel El Convento, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Hotel El Convento, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Credit: Courtesy of Hotel El Convento
One of the only non-beach hotels to make the top 20, historic El Convento has plenty of other charms to bestow. Located in the heart of Old San Juan, this ultra romántico hotel has faithfully retained the old world atmosphere of its setting—a 17th-century convent with mahogany-beamed ceilings, hand-painted tiles, rich textiles, and elegant handcrafted European furnishings. Romantics of the old school will thrill to the candlelit ambience of fine-dining restaurant Patio del Nispero, as well as the wine and hors d’oeuvres reception held every evening at La Veranda Terrace. And when ready to cool off, guests can enjoy visiting privileges at the beach clubs of its sister resorts.
No. 19 Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, St. Lucia
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, St. Lucia
Credit: Courtesy of Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort
Formerly the well-regarded Jalousie Plantation, this resort’s $100 million face-lift has vaulted it into the stratosphere. Expect chic white-on-white furnishings, four-poster beds, and hardwood floors in the rooms, the humblest of which still have jaw-dropping views of Gros Piton and the ruins of an 18th-century sugar mill. The restaurants got an upgrade too: colonial elegance meets striking contemporary art at the Great Room, while the thatched-roof Bayside Restaurant serves fresh-caught Caribbean seafood. What hasn’t changed is the unbeatable setting, tucked between the magnificent Pitons facing Anse des Pitons.Vote for your favorite hotels in the World’s Best survey >>
No. 20 Couples Negril, Jamaica
Best Caribbean Resorts and Hotels: Couples Negril, Jamaica
Credit: Courtesy of Couples Resorts
With many repeat visitors, this adults-only resort is a proven crowd-pleaser. It’s situated among coconut palms in lively, bohemian Negril and supports its own vibrant social scene; the resort’s five restaurants are clustered together, and there are regular treats like bonfires on the beach. As at any Couples, there’s a slew of included activities and classes, along with an award-winning spa where couples can enjoy massages in a private cliff-top cabana. But here you also have the opportunity to do some sun-worshipping au naturel (one of the hotel beaches is private and clothing-optional).