Getting us closer the sun and schedule-free
The Caribbean, overall, holds major honeymoon sway, culling about 22% of post-wedding B&Gs to vacay on its islands. Jamaica and St Lucia continue to cull positions on the Top 10 get-away lists. Moving north to south, creeping by degrees through the lower latitudes toward the equator, the islands offer bright white architecture, dazzling plated fruit, fish and vegetables, and the bliss of no schedule. In the following, we get closer to the sun, answering the call to chill, dishing on a few delicious islands and romantic resorts.
Anguilla is drivable from one end to the other via a main road in a half hour at 30 mph (the max speed limit). The rest of the island’s tempo goes no faster. Even the waves against the famous white beaches are gentle.
The dramatically designed Cap Juluca resort promises 179 acres of privacy, even on its long, walkable beaches. Its rooms, suites and turreted villas are lush with comfort, from palatial bedrooms and bathrooms to beach service. Breakfast and the New York Times are delivered to the room, and in the evening, while sipping wine brought from the Cap’s exclusive cellar, guests enjoy the lights of St. Martin or Saba across the water. Three restaurants, barefoot sauntering on the beach, massages for two, and yachts for rent comprise the major “sports” here, along with tennis and croquet. This seriously romantic resort is serious about downtime luxury.
Right in the middle of the Caribbean sits Jamaica with its left-lane driving, a burgeoning history and that je ne sais quoi that calls to travelers, making it one of the top 10 honeymoon destinations. Famous for its hike-able river falls, sugary sand, reggae music, and fresh food that can blindside a diet, the island boasts mountains and coastline, adventure and utter relaxation. Gail Ailshie at the Travel Haus St. Louis touts the island as a favorite: “It’s the people, the culture, the beaches, the markets… the beauty.”
Jamaica is home to some of Sandals keenest resorts where the accent is on romance. The all-inclusive, couples-only resorts are well placed, each with its own appeal. The Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa has a 7-mile stretch of beach, and loft suites with plenty of palms and gardens to cloister the guests. The Sandals Royal Caribbean’s pink and white buildings combine Georgian architecture with British themes, and it’s flanked by a series of six perfect beaches. The Sandals Dunn’s River Golf Resort & Spa has sea-facing elegant rooms (think Italian Riviera) and beach, always the beach. Sandals guests can go restaurant-hopping, intra-resort style, and engage in nearly non-stop water and land sports.
With snorkel-worthy coral reefs, powdery sand, a complexly winding coastline (creating crazy tortuous car trips), a bird sanctuary, and its renown role as host to Sailing Week, Antigua has morphed over the past two hundred years from historical lynchpin (Admiral Nelson found it excellent for hiding a naval force) to premier resort venue.
The Curtain Bluff resort not only sits on a peninsula marking the meeting of the Atlantic with its cresting surf and the Caribbean with its wave “laplets” but it also delivers an ocean view from every guest’s window. Pink and white buildings (nothing sugary about them, though), grounds crazy with gorgeous flora, palms, hibiscus and oleander, and large rooms and suites in soft airy colors are part of the Bluff’s palette. No air-conditioning needed. Dine al fresco on the suite’s terrace, loll in the room’s hammock-for-two are slung across the terrace, “ooh” over the freshest food in the Caribbean and “aaah” over the 25,000-bottle wine cellar. No TV in the room but Television House, on stilts near the tennis courts and fitness center, hosts guest gatherings for big media events. A boutique all-inclusive, Curtain Bluff is spit-spot elegant and spells “escape.”
The little island of St. Lucia, according to travel expert Ailshie, is very much like Hawaii. And this little island is easier to access than our 50th state in terms of time and distance. Home to exotic wildlife, rainforests, the Pitons peaks, Jacquot the native parrot, and a drive-in volcano, St. Lucia is an unquestionable honeymoon favorite. Oprah, too, lists it on her top 10 faves.
Far from the island’s cruising crowd, on the north coast, the Windjammer Landing Villa Resort offers classic amenities wrapped up in the romance of luxurious one- to four-bedroom villas and suites with serious views of the sea. Private plunge pools may have guests lolling to the point of not leaving their own digs. But here are hillside shuttles that gab up and down porting guests to the resort pools and beach. Rooms are gorgeous and spacious in rich subtle colors, and some tubs and showers are (literally) open to the sky. Water sports are complimentary and so is an intro course to scuba diving. Play tennis at night, go coconut bowling, enjoy fashion shows, scramble through a game of beach cricket, and join in a sailing regatta. There are several on-site restaurants…and even off-site pizza delivery! Luxury wears many faces.
The sequestered Sandals Halcyon Resort with its spectacular pool is bound with gorgeous gardens, has several restaurants, more than a dozen bars and famous on-the-water fine dining anchored on a 150-foot pier. Purposely made to meld with the landscape, none of the resort’s buildings are higher than the highest palm tree. Something about the Halcyon whispers “don’t move from here.”