The Cliffs at Oil Nut Bay, British Virgin Islands
Doing its best to out-luxe every resort in the Virgin Island archipelago, Oil Nut Bay has unveiled three new super-suites. Perched on a rocky bluff, the accommodation entitled ‘The Cliffs’ consists of a trio of eco-luxury individual suites enjoying unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea. While all three feature green roofs, solar panels, outdoor showers and plunge pools, it is the 1,334 square foot Cliff Penthouse Suite that really sings. Every inch shimmers with European glamour courtesy of FENDI Casa styling and furniture. Occupying the highest point of the bluff, the suite also boasts a wraparound terrace and full-size swimming pool.
Hotel St Barth Isle de France, St Barth
Reopening this October following a complete renovation of all its rooms, suites and villas, Hotel St Barth Isle de France is now under the strong guiding hand of luxury fashion, beauty and hospitality group LVMH. The extensive lick and polish has taken twelve months and CPI can report it’s looking better than ever. Located on one of the most exquisite beaches in St Barths, the hotel was already a go-to destination for travellers seeking five-star fly-and-flop indulgence, and now with a brand-new breezy image (vintage French fabrics, sheer linens and neutral tones), it’s certain to attract the in-crowd. Not to mention wine-lovers.
Capella Marigot Bay, St Lucia
A firm favourite with the yacht crowd, the former Discovery Hotel at Marigot Bay on St Lucia’s west coast has been taken over by the luxury Capella Hotel Group in a sale brokered by 7th Heaven Properties. Stamping the property with its own brand of elegance, improvements are scheduled to finish in September 2014 when 124 snazzy refurbished rooms will be available to book. Arguably occupying one of the most beautiful bays in the Caribbean, Capella Marigot Bay boasts a spa, several restaurants and vibrant marina, large enough to accommodate some of the biggest mega yachts in the world – so, as well as easy access, there’s ample opportunity for people-watching. Charters available on request.
Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Pearl Island, Panama
Hot on the heels of the recently opened Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico, Ritz-Carlton Reserve is breathing life into a pristine reef and beach-fringed private island 45 miles south of Panama City. Details are only just emerging, but what we do know is the resort will have a strong focus on individualised service, a relaxed atmosphere and a dedication to preserving the diverse species of fish, birds, turtles and whales that call the island home. Eighty rooms will boast private plunge pools and outdoor terraces. Pearl Island will also offer three swimming pools, three restaurants, a spa offering indigenous outdoor treatments and beach club as well as access to a marina, fishing village and equestrian centre. Guests can be choppered in to Pearl Island or land their private planes on its airstrip, but by whatever means you travel, you’re certain to enjoy the view: over 70 per cent of the 3,500-acre island is protected virgin forest. Next up for Ritz-Carlton Reserve? Molasses Reef, Turks & Caicos. Watch this space.
Eden Roc at Cap Cana, Dominican Republic
Still fresh from its opening in December 2012, Eden Roc at Cap Cana is bringing a new level of luxury to the Dominican Republic. Thirty-four suites summon the Mediterranean Riviera circa 1960 with a dash of Caribbean colour thrown in. Facilities are bang-on for families. They include a spa, golf course, beach club, kids club and six restaurants – so something for every generation. Best of all, at the heart of the boutique resort lies a massive natural grotto. With walking paths, breathtaking waterfalls and a freshwater lagoon, it’s much, much more than a mere photo opportunity.
Belle Mont Farm, Kittitian Hill, St Kitts
Scheduled to open at the beginning of 2014, Belle Mont Farm is an exciting new concept. Comprising a collection of one-bedroom guesthouses and larger farmhouses overlooking 400 acres of organic farmland, the emphasis is on keeping things personal. Open your fridge and you’ll find half a dozen bottles of wine carefully selected by the hotel’s sommelier, and fresh fruit picked from the grounds will be delivered daily. But more than this, Belle Mont Farm is part of a wider project to enhance the local area. Art galleries, artisan workshops, a film school and open-air cinema will follow the hotel’s inception – all designed to benefit the local community. If it works, the Caribbean may well have found itself a new model for sustainable tourism.
Nayara Springs, Costa Rica
Last Christmas, Costa Rica unwrapped a very exotic present: Nayara Springs, a boutique hotel surrounded by pristine rainforest near the Arenal Volcano National Park. Sixteen rustic-chic villas nestled in exotic gardens provide shelter for nature-lovers who dream of drifting to sleep to a cacophony of birdcalls. From your terrace, you can spot toucans, hummingbirds and macaws (the area is home to a high concentration of rare flora and fauna) or enjoy a dip in your own private pool fed by mineral springs. Should you ever tire of your lush tropical surroundings, a bridge across a deep ravine leads to Nayara Springs’ sister property, Nayara Hotel Spa & Gardens, where there is plenty more to explore.
Globe-trotting travel writer Leo Bear also writes for Condé Nast Traveller, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, House and Garden and Elle UK.