Whether you prefer lavish or laid back, there is no shortage of beds for heads for families escaping the winter winds at home, couples in the mood for quiet time and gaggles of pals celebrating a special occasion. From Anguilla, Antigua and Barbados to Jamaica, Grenada and St. Maarten, check out and check into elegant new hotels, refurbished luxe resorts and rebranded bargains on the beach.
In St. Maarten between Little Bay and Great Bay, Divi Little Bay Beach Resort is a popular choice for families. With 210 rooms and hilltop suites, the affordable beachfront is open after a post-hurricane makeover. Family fun includes must-do’s like snorkeling, jet skiing, kayaking and duty-free shopping in Philipsburg; less than two kilometres away. Not an all-inclusive, meal plans can be conveniently added upon check-in rather than deciding prior to arrival.
Named after the resident parrot, Gizmo’s Bar & Grill is open along with Fort Amsterdam Café, Seabreeze and Purocean for seafood signatures. Opening later this year, Pureroc, where dinner sizzles on a hot lava rock, The Shack for rotis and jerk, pool with waterfalls and a games room for kids. — www.diviresorts.com/divi-little-bay-beach-resort-st-maarten.htm
Making its much awaited comeback since Hurricane Irma brought it down last year; Sonesta Ocean Point Resort reopened on December 15. Easy like Sunday morning, the all-inclusive tour-de-force packs a punch with 130 suites, three pools, four bars, two restaurants, around-the-clock room service and butlers in the top-tier suites. Adults-only, the fan favourite is next to the family-friendly Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa opening on February 1. Both resorts are so close to the Princess Juliana International Airport that watching take-offs and landings are as much a part of a vacation as a pina colada on the beach. — www.sonesta.com/stmaarten
In French St. Martin, Grand Case Beach Club is taking reservations for 48 of the 72 rooms with the remainder opening early next year. Steps from Petite Plage, one of the prettiest sandy swaths on the island, the high-top infinity pool and Sunset Café are perennial crowd-pleasers. — www.grandcasebeachclub.com
Across the sea in Anguilla, a slew of swanky seaside resorts are reopening in time for the holiday season. Wrapping up post-hurricane renovations, CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa is again chic with 91 suites, 7 villas, ginormous infinity pool and seaside dining — www.cuisinartresort.com
In Jamaica, S Hotel Jamaica opens in early January with 120 island cool rooms and suites. Away from the bustle of the resort-packed beaches on the northwest coast, the hotel overlooks the less-traveled Doctor’s Cave Beach on Montego Bay’s Hip Strip. Five minutes from the Sangster International Airport and walking distance to clubs, restaurants and shopping, the sleek hotel is next to sprinter Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records restaurant for Ital penne with pumpkin rundown. With a beachfront pool, Irie Baths and Spa and the Sky Deck Bar and Lounge, the centerpiece is the towering lobby walled with coral stone and decorated with art work crafted from trees that were once on the property. — www.shoteljamaica.com
In Grenada, Silversands Grenada is the first major resort to open on Grand Anse Beach in 25 years. Catering to luxury-seekers, it is the sweet life in 43 suites anchored by a mammoth infinity pool billed as the ‘longest in the Caribbean’. Supporting the local community, fruits and vegetables are sourced from the Grenada Network of Rural Women Producers that provides farming jobs to a network of single moms. www.silversandsgrenada.com. In Barbados, The Abidah by Accra opens on December 15 with 44 airy rooms outfitted with grown-up perks like Jacuzzi tubs and his-and-her kimonos. Adults-only, the all-inclusive is walking distance to Oistins famous for the Friday Fish Fry. www.theabidahhotel.com/
In the Dominican Republic, Grand Sirenis Punta Cana opened on December 15 with 816 rooms, Aquagames Waterpark, 10 restaurants, 11 bars, El Bonche nightclub, spa and casino. Formerly the Sirenis Punta Cana Resort, the rebranded mega-all-inclusive is family-friendly with a Children’s Club and plenty of watersports. — www.sirenishotels.com
Also in Punta Cana, it’s another lottery win for fans of all-inclusives with Grand Memories Punta Cana and Grand Memories Splash; two family-friendlies on Bavaro Beach with a combined 525-rooms. With a ‘stay at one and play at two’, both resorts cater to families, couples, sports enthusiasts and everyone else who likes to eat. — www.memoriesresorts.com
Opening in December, Hodges Bay Resort & Spa in Antigua is 10 minutes from V.C. Bird International Airport. On the northeast coast, the beachfront is boutique-size with 79 suites and villas stocked with espresso machines and yoga mats. Upping the ante, there are two pools, Elemental Herbology Spa, Flying Fish Kids Club, Teen Lounge, three restaurants and the Rum and Single Malt Bar. — https://eleganthotels.com/hodges-bay
Opening early next year, Royalton Antigua is a sprawling all-inclusive on Deep Bay. From the same playbook that has made the resort popular in Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Cuba and St. Lucia, inclusions run the gamut from 24-hour room service and limitless eats to sports bars and volleyball on the beach. — www.royaltonresorts.com/royalton-antigua