Dreaming of expanding your beach horizons further than the Pacific Islands? Try these ultra luxe Caribbean hotels, writes Benjamin Parker.
1 Belmond La Samanna, St Martin
Is "pastel-chic" your thing? This hotel on the northern French side of St Martin has it in buckets, despite a redesign by London's award-winning Muza Lab. La Cave Wine Cellar, built below sea level in 1972 and the Caribbean's largest private wine cellar, also remains (there will be something you fancy among the 12,000 bottles). Aesthetic details — coral, shells, flora prints — are a nod to the locale beside the mile-long Baie Longue sands. Sundowners in the new-look pool-side beach bar round off days in, well, paradise. Rooms from $760.
2 Oil Nut Bay, British Virgin Islands
On the eastern tip of Virgin Gorda, the group's third-largest island, the hotel can only be reached by boat or helicopter from Tortola. After Hurricane Irma's passage, 200 contractors worked to get the resort open again, adding extra Marina Villas — two-bedroom spaces with suspended pools — and Bay Suites, from where you get direct access to the beach club. Full island relaxation comes with hammocks stretched over the water, while a restaurant, deli, coffee shop and library make their debut before the end of the year. Rooms from $1145.
3 Secret Bay, Dominica
This eco-bolt-hole has long been considered the best hotel in Dominica, and among the region's finest, on a cliffside that juts towards the Caribbean Sea and is muffled in frondescence. The establishment was forced to close after Hurricane Maria fleetingly severed the "Nature Island" from the world in 2017 — the country is still rebuilding, slowly. This downtime has seen the creation of a new, larger villa to sit alongside the five other tree-house-style offerings, and the addition of a plunge pool in every one. There's also a brand-new restaurant at the centre. Rooms from $1048.
4 Hodges Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua
At the northern tip of Antigua, Hodges Bay Resort & Spa opened in December — a 79-room retreat on some of the island's most impressive waterside. The focal point is the ocean-gazing infinity pool — for adults only, although there is another family-friendly pool flanked by daybeds and cabanas. There's a spa/beauty centre, plus numerous dining options (including a tapas bar). This precedes a string of hotel groups planning to open here (Rosewood and Waldorf Astoria, among others). Rooms from $1331.
5 Silversands, Grenada
A luxe game-changer for Grenada's hotel offerings, Silversands brings 43 suites and a penthouse, as well as nine private villas, to the Spice Isle. Design, by Paris-based architects AW2, sees a pared-back aesthetic and pale palette of marble and light wood. It opens up on to the famous Grand Anse Beach, so feet can easily slip into silky white sand — although the 100m pool is one of the longest in the Caribbean. Rooms from $1194.