The perks of the megaresort experience are obvious: free-flowing drinks, lots of chances to socialize with your fellow guests, and a sweeping breadth of amenities. But with these advantages comes an obvious lack of peace and quiet. When all you want to do is escape the crowds, the best bet is to seek out the small, hidden properties dotting the Caribbean shores. From eco-centric boutiques to romantic enclaves, these laid-back properties promise the glorious sound of silence. So sit back, relax, and enjoy these crowdless Caribbean locales.
Anguilla, a small British territory in the Caribbean, spans fewer than 40 square miles. Less built up than other isles, it manages to exude both an upscale and happy-go-lucky vibe with its gorgeous white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. There are few attractions, so days will mostly be spent sipping on drinks beach-side and dining at one the island’s exclusive hotels. The 27-room Anacaona, for example, offers access to a stunning stretch of sand, rounds of golf at the nearby Greg Norman-designed course, dinner at a great restaurant serving Caribbean fare with a twist, and a massage hut on the beach. The hotel is a great choice for rest and relaxation–and it’s an excellent value to boot.
The small Central American country of Belize is known for its lush rainforests, incredible dive sites, and Mayan ruins. Adventurous travelers will love the ample opportunities to explore the country, but relaxation is never far from visitors’ minds. At the Turtle Inn, owned by the Coppola family and sister property to Blancaneaux Lodge, couples (and some families) enjoy an intimate luxury resort set alongside a beautiful stretch of the Caribbean Sea. The resort offers a peaceful setting and Balinese-style private cottages and villas–each with a fabulous indoor/outdoor bathroom–separated by sand and stone walkways. Most guests are focused on unplugging outdoors: Excellent snorkeling and scuba diving at the Belize Barrier Reef is a short boat ride away.
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 wet bars, and a host of all-inclusive activities make Fowl Cay a standout gem in the Exumas.
Located across a swath of 140 acres, the Biras Creek Resort is a quiet, rustic-luxe retreat with just 31 suites. It features two beaches–one calm, looking out to the North Sound, and the other slightly rocky. There are tons of water sports, tennis courts, an attractive pool, an on-site restaurant (which has a dress code for dinner), and a small fitness center. But, even when occupancy is at its height, the 140-acre resort can feel empty, highlighting Biras Creek’s quiet, secluded nature.
This secluded 53-room getaway is an hour from the airport on a bumpy dirt road, but it feels a million miles from Punta Cana’s megaresorts. Giant rooms with gorgeous terraces, a top-notch spa, and three high-quality restaurants are all great, and the focus on wellness means guests can enjoy organic, local cuisine, a range of activities (including yoga), and treatments at one of the D.R.’s best spas. The beach at Zoetry Agua is gorgeous and tranquil, though we did notice twigs and rocks mixed in with the sand.
“Welcome to Tensing Pen … Where life is simple …” reads the heading of Tensing Pen‘s information packet. Opened in the ’70s as a tiny hippie hangout, this property has since grown into one of Negril’s top-rated resorts. The 17 cottages, restaurant, bar, pool, and small yoga studio and spa hut are built into the cliffs of Negril’s West End. The hotel adheres to an ethos of simple, back-to-nature living: There are no TVs, phones, or radios in the rooms. Instead, guests enjoy the breathtaking cliffs of Negril’s west end and the quiet exclusivity of the resort.
This quaint, 10-room bed-and-breakfast is on Vieques Island is full of the charming, personal touches that so many chain hotels lack. The Blue Horizon an undeniably romantic pick, with phenomenal ocean views from the stone infinity pool and open-air lobby 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 spaces are styled with eclectic antiques and tropical flowers. The on-site beach is a bit rocky, but some of the best beaches in the Caribbean are a short drive away.
Undoubtedly one of the most prestigious–and most relaxing–hotels in St. Barts, this exclusive 15-villa luxury resort with a Parisian flair sits amid 28 lush acres of natural hills and beachfront. The private villas at Hotel Le Toiny 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. Rates are nothing to sneeze at, but you’ll definitely receive the all-star treatment that should come with such a hefty price tag.
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 four open-air restaurants, two beaches, extensive water sports, a beachfront spa, and an outdoor fitness pavilion. Technology-free rooms have wrap-around terraces, many with views of the Pitons. Free extras such as daily afternoon tea, twice daily yoga classes, and non-motorized water sports add value. While there is no fitness center or pool, the peaceful location with direct beach access is a serious perk for those seeking a break from the hustle and bustle.
This luxury boutique is heavy on style and refinement, with British Colonial design and 28 huge multi-room suites (they start at 1,080 square feet) featuring kitchens, terraces, and high-end bathrooms. Property highlights include a lovely, tranquil pool, personal beachfront service, a small but spectacular spa, and one of the Providenciales’ most romantic dinner spots. Plus, Point Grace‘s remote location on the point of the beautiful, 12-mile Grace Bay beach means for a quiet and peaceful stay.