Go for the gold this fall and swap your standby lodging for a stay at a swanky new seaside boutique or a brand new all-inclusive on the beach. Bringing fresh energy to a tropical getaway, the new kids on the beach are rolling out the welcome mat.
Opening Nov. 10 on the Caribbean coast, The Reef by CuisinArt sits shiny and new on the less-trodden beach fronting Merrywing Bay. A golf cart ride away from its bigger sister, CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa, the seaside resort is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Stylishly designed with 80 suites in four beachfront buildings, The Reef also comes with two tennis courts and a pair of restaurants: The Yacht Club and Breezes on the beach. Golfers are given preferred rates and tee times at the adjacent golf club and massage-seekers check into the Venus Spa next door at the bigger resort. Amenities include plush bathrobes and L’Occitane toiletries, ensuite espresso machines and closets bigger than studio apartments. The Reef is also tech-friendly with a dedicated app for booking golf times, massages and restaurant reservations; Apple computers in the library; Bluetooth-enabled clock radios in the suites; and bedside panels that control room lighting. General manager Stephane Zaharia, who also manages CuisinArt Resort, touts recreation and dining options like “glass bottom kayak rides, aqua biking, drone workshops and for foodies … the island’s first and only oyster bar and sweet treats like frozen grapes.” For kids and grown-ups who like water slides and trampolines, Aqua Park is also new and close to the resort on Cove Bay Beach.
Four Seasons Anguilla makes its debut on Oct. 20 as the second Four Seasons in the Caribbean (after Nevis). Elegant on coralline bluffs, the new resort on the site of the former Viceroy Anguilla sits on a half-mile sandy beach. One hundred and sixty-six rooms, suites, residences and villas come with Four Seasons signatures like infinity pools and stellar service. Ideal for time-zone hoppers arriving in private planes, 24-hour room service is a welcome treat. Family-friendly with three pools, the resort is action-central with tennis courts, climbing walls, water sports and a spa with a myriad of treatments including a few tailored just for men. Kid-pleasers include sunfish sailing, windsurfing, cycling and steel pan music lessons. Cobà offers fine dining on the bluff above the waves, Bamboo Bar is Caribbean casual and Sunset Lounge, adjacent to the saltwater infinity pool, offers heady cocktails stirred with aged rums, Cuban cigars and sushi. Rates start at $500.00 a night for a resort-view room.
Minutes from the Gustaf III Airport, Le Barthélemy opens Oct. 1 on a crescent-shaped sandy beach in Grand Cul de Sac on the northeast side of the small French island. Part of the Nature Reserve of Saint-Barthélemy, the new resort has 40 rooms and six suites that include plunge pools equipped with underwater sound systems. For privacy, drop-down screens in the rooms morph balconies into secret hideaways. With a refined Parisian pedigree, interiors are designed by Sybille de Margerie. A beauty box of travel essentials come in name brands like Hermès in the rooms and La Mer in Le Spa. Rooms have charging stations and an international power outlet stashed inside the safe for those who forgot to bring their own. Gourmands will be delighted in the trio of restaurants with menus created by Michelin-starred chef Guy Martin, formerly of Le Grand Véfour in Paris. Go for crusty pizzas and stuffed baguettes at Le Barth, Caribbean-tinged French fare at Aux Amis and small bites poolside at Le Turquoise. “Our location is not only part of our heritage, it is our inspiration,” said Marc Dobbels, general manager. “Everything begins with the natural beauty of our surroundings.” Nightly rates start at 610 Euros (about $700) and include airport transfers, free Wi-Fi, breakfast, sun loungers by the beach and watersports like kayaking, snorkeling and sunfish sails.
Pineapple Beach Club Antigua reopened as an Elite Island Resort on Oct. 1. Formerly the Sandals Grand Pineapple, the latest rebranding marks the fourth Elite Island Resort on the island to open (after Galley Bay, St. James’s Club and Verandah Resort). On 30 acres overlooking Long Bay on the Caribbean coast, the adults-only all-inclusive is adjacent to the Devil’s Bridge National Park and the Verandah Resort. With views of the gardens and the beach, 180 rooms come in five categories varying in size and price. Bartenders at a trio of bars pour fruity cocktails while five restaurants keep hunger at bay with light bites at the Pelican Grill, buffets at Topaz, Italian at Chef Pietro’s, island cooking at the Pineapple Grill and for the views alone, The Outhouse is casual picnic table fun on the hilltop overlooking Long Bay, with chicken and ribs served by Miss Mary (ask for an extra slather of her special sauce). There’s plenty to do, like Hobie Cat sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and snorkeling. The resort has a pair of freshwater pools, and to burn off the buffet calories, tennis, water aerobics and beach volleyball are energetic options. Rates start at $149 per night for a Courtyard room.
The name matches the views at the Royalton Blue Waters opening in Montego Bay on Nov. 1. On White Bay, the all-inclusive offers 228 rooms, a splash park and a funky lobby with a water canal. Perks include USB recharging stations, free unlimited long-distance calls to North America and complimentary Wi-Fi. No reservations needed at 11 restaurants like the grandiose buffet, jerk hut, Hunter’s Steakhouse, Grazie Italian Trattoria, Jade for sushi, Calypso for a taste of the island and Armadillo for Tex-Mex. For early risers, Caffe Lounge is all about a leisurely cappuccino and a flaky croissant. Bars galore include the one in the lobby, one for martinis and one at the pool. Kids play in the Clubhouse while teens keep busy at the Hangout Club with billiards and table tennis. An additional splurge gives membership to the Diamond Club with access to an exclusive lounge, butler service and a pillow menu. Adjacent to the Royalton White Sands, guests can play and eat at both for the price of one. Rates start at $440 a night, with a three-night minimum, for a luxury junior suite with ocean view.
Oceanside in Montego Bay, Riu Reggae opens on Nov. 19 as the 24th all-inclusive in the Spanish resort chain. Adjacent to the Riu Palace Jamaica and Riu Montego Bay, the adults-only on the northwest coast is offering nightly rates through Dec. 23 at an enticing $129 per person. New on the beach, three-story buildings house 454 rooms and suites. Foodies have plenty of choices like big buffets in Ackee, open-air steak grill, Asian fare in Bamboo and pizza, pasta and pollo in Dolce Vita. Perks mimic other resorts in the Riu chain like a Renova spa, gym, infinity pools, sun chaises and beach parasols and Wi-Fi that works on the beach. Add-ons for the sporty crowd include beach volleyball, windsurfing, snorkeling, kayaking and gratis scuba lessons. The resort is less than two miles from the Sangster International Airport.
With a soft opening at the end of September and a grand opening later in the fall, Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas is an adults-only resort with views of Nassau and Paradise Island from Nassau Harbour. Owners of the storied Warwick New York, Warwick Hotels and Resorts invested $40 million in the Bahamian all-inclusive. Thirty minutes from the Lynden Pindling International Airport, the hotel sits on the site of the former Flagler Hotel and comes with four restaurants, Hog Bar, Rum Cay Bar and an entertainment center called the Junkanoo Beat with live shows and DJs. A sunny stroll to Cabbage Beach, 250 rooms are in one building and include one-bedroom suites on the top floors. Opening by the end of the year, spa, open-air seafood restaurant and massive 10,000-square-foot Warwick Sea Terrace with a fire pit. Nightly rates start at $371 for arrivals starting Oct. 1.
On Dec. 15, French Leave Resort on the pretty Out Island called Eleuthera will join Marriott’s Autograph Collection. On a trophy pink sand beach near Governor’s Harbour, the hideaway comes with just four two-bedroom waterfront villas with 12 more to open by the end of the year. Designed with elegant British Colonial interiors, the seafront cottages are the first to open since the 1940s, as the 270-acre site has been privately owned. Extras include a beach concierge, iPads for ordering room service, freshwater pool, fitness center, mega-yacht slips and fine dining in 1648 Bar & Grille. Honoring the culture of the small island, the resort will host local artist exhibits and rum tastings. Rates start at $379 for a one-bedroom ocean view villa.
Once a mainstay on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, Courtyard by Marriott closed following damage from Hurricane Rita in 2008. Eventually demolished, the location on the beach opens as Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa on Nov. 17. The first Kimpton outside the USA and the first new hotel in Grand Cayman in a decade, the 266-room property is design-driven with a traditional Caymanian catboat suspended from the library’s soaring ceiling and interconnected biking and walking paths that lead to the main pool and beach. On 10 floors, rooms and suites and six bungalows include a two-bedroom suite with views of the Caribbean Sea via floor-to-ceiling windows and breezy balconies. Island firsts include a beach boardwalk and the only Hammam steam room (like a Turkish Bath) in the Caymans. There will be two pools, one for families and one for grown-ups, a spa with seven treatment rooms and six restaurants headed by Kimpton veteran chef Massimo De Francesca, formerly at Taggiat in Scottsdale. Diners can choose between Mediterranean entrees at Ave, tapas plates at Avecita, snacks at Coccoloba, plus a build-your-own Bellini bar and a guacamole station. For execs on a retreat, expansive meeting space and 24-hour room service fits the bill. The resort stocks kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, water tricycles, sailboats and hosts Camp Seafire for kids. Rates start at $339 for a studio and junior suite.
On the Atlantic Coast, French Coco is brand-new and all-suite in the charming Creole fishing village of Tartane. The first hotel on the island to join the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection, 17 suites sit pretty adjacent to the protected natural reserve of the Peninsula of La Caravelle. Perfect for couples, most of the suites come with private pools that open to petite aromatic gardens. The on-site restaurant keeps a Caribbean beat with specialties by chef Nathanaël Ducteil, who honed his culinary chops as an apprentice of star chef Alain Ducasse. The herb and veggie garden and the catch of the day inspire Creole dishes that change daily. “For us in Martinique, French Coco is extra special,” said Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau, noting the hotel “promises to connect guests directly with our local culture and daily life in Tartane.” Nightly rates start at 300 euros (approximately $330) and include breakfast.
Turks and Caicos
Just in time for the holidays, The Shore Club opens in mid-December in Providenciales, the most developed island in the chain and where the international flights arrive. The first and only resort on Long Bay Beach (Grace Bay Beach is where most other resorts are located) spans more than 800 feet of white sand. The high-end new property is a pair of low-rise buildings with 106 suites and six villas. Suites sport floor-to-ceiling windows that open to unobstructed views, kitchens and plenty of space to hang out after a day on the beach or at the pool. The penthouses up the ante with outdoor hot tubs and steam rooms. On nine acres of prime oceanfront real estate, the resort features an eight-room spa, fire pit in the center of the colonnade pool (one of three pools) and yoga classes on the beach. A quartet of restaurants including Peruvian-Japanese fine dining keep hunger at bay. Opening rates start at $700 and include butler service.
Melanie Reffes, Special for USA TODAY