The Chic Guide to the Caribbean

Where is it?

The Caribbean islands sit in the Caribbean Sea, in-between the southern tip of Florida and the north coast of South America. In total, there are more than 7000 islands in this region, stretching over 2.754 million square kilometres. However,  only a few of these islanders are major tourist destinations. The top destinations for those seeking a bit of sun and sand include Aruba, Antigua, Barbados,  Jamaica, St Barth’s, St Kitt’s, Saint Lucia and the Virgin Islands. Some of the smaller islands also hide a variety of treasures such as spectacular beaches, wonderful beach bars and vibrant dive spots.

Where can I stay?

There’s no shortage of gorgeous places to stay on any of the most popular islands, most just metres from the beach. The laidback culture of the Caribbean means that most of these places are a joy to stay in – rest, relaxation and partying are considered the most important things in life and the islanders are wonderful, gracious hosts. They are proud of their islands in the sun and want to share them with you.

Among the many, many accommodation options there are, however, some really special boutique hotel. At each of these, guests can enjoy the very best of everything – décor, food, spa treatments and hospitality. These boutique hotels wisely keep the number of available suites low so that you’re not queueing for breakfast or constrained in any way.

Our Caribbean picks are Hotel Le Toiny on St Barths and Cobblers Cove on Barbados.

Hotel Le Toiny is a very exclusive, very special luxury hotel that prioritises the privacy and enjoyment of its guests. From the beach club (the best on the island) to the gorgeous suites and the acclaimed restaurant, to the many activities on offer, everything here has been designed with a keen eye for guest’s enjoyment and satisfaction. You can enjoy private Pilates sessions with professional instructors on the beach as the sun rises. If you’re looking for something a little more sedate, enjoy a ride on the hotel’s private yacht around the island, taking in the sun and stunning natural beauty. This really is one of our best hotels in the area.

Cobblers Cove is another exclusive luxury hotel on Barbados. Here, suites are located just steps away from the warm, clear waters of the Caribbean and there is no shortage of activities for young and old – snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing, golf and yoga, just to mention a few. The staff here want guests to feel fulfilled and refreshed upon their departure and much emphasis is placed on ensuring this. This is a great hotel for families and we’re particularly fond of the restaurant, where island classics, such as fluffy banana pancakes, can be enjoyed.

What can I see?

Most people visit the Caribbean with thoughts of lying on the beach and swimming in the sea uppermost in their minds. There is more, however, to the Caribbean islands than sand and sea. For centuries, the waters around here were the hideout of pirate ships, so learn about their history and that of the islanders by visiting museums and plantations. Exploring traditional folk art and crafts are also an intriguing way to spend an afternoon,

Outdoor types are well catered for with hiking trails, mountain bike courses, rock climbing and other activities close by on most islands.

Diving and snorkelling are always very popular and glass-bottomed boats let you experience sea-life as you’ve never seen it before. There’s also plenty of opportunity for other sports, including tennis, fishing, golf and horseriding. If you’re staying at one of our boutique hotels, the concierge and staff will be delighted to help you plan your day and book trips to other islands or special excursions.

How do I get around?

Depending on which island you choose, there is a variety of transport. Bus services operate on most island but they vary in quality and regularity. A better option is to hire a car, if you are staying on the larger islands. Bear in mind, though, drivers don’t always come first. Watch for pedestrians, cyclists and animals who might stray onto the road. You will also need a driving licence or permit as required by the island, which is inexpensive to buy, but you must bring your own driving licence. Bikes are available for hire on most islands and there are usually taxi services available. To move between islands, use the local ferry services.

Find a beautiful boutique hotel for your stay in the Caribbean by browsing our Caribbean selection of luxury villas, private islands and boutique hotels

Andrew is a firm believer that travelling like a local inevitably leads to the best off-the-beaten-path finds which truly make a destination remarkably more memorable. From traditional Indian festivals in humid Hyderabad to fresh seafood pasta by the Sorrentine Peninsula, he appreciates variety when travelling. He hasn't been everywhere, but it’s on the list.