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Barbados is one of the most popular Caribbean destinations for good reason. A top choice for families and groups, the island is famous for its pink-tinged beaches and turquoise waters where visitors can try everything from snorkelling to scuba diving, particularly along the west coast where you’ll find Gibbes Beach and the crescent-shaped Carlisle Bay. Make a beeline for the relaxed coastal towns where friendly locals will welcome you with some of the Caribbean’s best rum cocktails and fish cooked on the BBQ. Elsewhere, its capital Bridgetown – now a Unesco World Heritage Site – is lined with colourful architecture, while Hunte’s Gardens in the St Joseph area is full of lush tropical plants. Barbados is also known for its crafts, especially pottery. Visit Earthworks ceramic shop to browse pots glazed in vibrant colours that reflect the beauty of island life.
Where To Stay
Along the west coast in St James, Seaclusion has its own private beach with white sand and crystal-clear waters. The beachfront villa is elevated on a bluff, surrounded by tropical gardens and beautiful sea views. Ideal for entertaining, guests can make drinks at the cocktail bar before enjoying them in the infinity pool with its built-in table and sunken seats. There’s also a formal dining room for special meals, two outdoor dining areas and six spacious bedrooms which look out over the sea and have modern marble en-suites or freestanding baths in the room. Enjoy meals prepared by the villa chef, before relaxing in the plush living areas. onefinestay also offers a complimentary service to help arrange everything from airport transfers to babysitting.
Sleeps 12; from £6,970 per night.
Set along the golden sands of Alleynes Bay Beach, Footprints offers total privacy for guests who want to relax and unwind. The property was designed by renowned architect Jeremy Gunn and the interiors are by Kelly Hoppen; rooms have neutral interiors with plush decorative accents, while striped sun loungers overlook the infinity pool and beach. The property also has a spacious living and dining area, five king-sized bedrooms, a gym, and balconies on each level with floor-to-ceiling windows to frame the beach views below. Guests will be treated to meals made by a private five-star Michelin chef.
Sleeps 10; from £3,198 per night.
Saint Barthélemy – or St Barts – is one of the most luxurious holiday destinations in the world. The French-speaking territory is part of the Leeward Islands, and is known for its beautiful beaches, excellent shopping areas and fantastic seafood restaurants. It’s also relatively small, so you’ll be able to take in the best spots in a single trip. The island’s capital Gustavia is a must-visit for narrow streets filled with boutiques and family-run restaurants, while Colombier has some of the best diving waters in the Caribbean, as well as a great hiking route through the mountains. Be sure to visit Colombier Beach – one of the most beautiful – to relax on the white sand or take a guided boat tour of the bay to spot rare sea turtles.
Where To Stay
Villa Wake Up
One of the most luxury properties on this list, Wake Up is right on the pristine Flamands Beach – one of quietest on the island. Chic and modern, the villa is set over three storeys with six en-suite bedrooms – including an upper level suite with its own terrace – and special features, like an outdoor home cinema, jacuzzi, gym, study and spa room. A private chef will cook local dishes for guests in the fully equipped kitchen, while down-time is best spent in the infinity pool or sunbathing on the stylish outdoor deck, which is particularly romantic in the evenings. For a special day trip, ask onefinestay’s complimentary concierge service to book a boat tour around Flamands Bay.
Sleeps 12; from £12,828 per night.
This contemporary villa in the Mont Jean area of St Barts is in a private gated community surrounded by tropical gardens. Sleeping up to eight guests across four king-sized suites, the property feels calm and serene thanks to a neutral colour palette with pops of blue and green throughout. Guests can relax in the spacious living area, cook meals in the kitchen which leads out onto two open-air dining pavilions with sea views, and relax on sun loungers by the infinity pool.
Sleeps 8; from £4,100 per night.
TURKS & CAICOS
A favourite destination with celebrities and those in-the-know, Turks & Caicos offers visitors a slice of pure luxury. At the southern tip of the Bahamian Archipelago, there are 40 low-lying coral islands to explore – some have a string of award-winning spas and restaurants, while others are unspoilt patches of paradise. Turks & Caicos are the largest, where visitors can spot tropical wildlife, swim with humpback whales or dive to coral reefs. Be sure to learn about the country’s history at Wade's Green Plantation, head into Chalk Sound National Park and don’t miss the lobster festival during October at Governor's Beach. Bambarra Beach is a must-visit, as is North Bay – a great spot for kayaking.
Where To Stay
Shambhala is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘place of peace’ – which is exactly what this villa offers. On the edge of the three-mile Long Bay Beach, the property is surrounded by two acres of land, while Grace Bay town is just ten minutes away. The heart of Shambhala is its ‘great room’, complete with alabaster walls, vintage furniture and arched French doors with shutters, all crowned by a hand painted ceiling. Elsewhere, there’s a formal dining area with sea views, a modern kitchen, and an entertainment room which leads out to the gardens. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a 40ft infinity pool with an integrated hot tub, plus a range of suites that cater for every need.
Sleeps 10; from £2,390 per night.
This beautiful beachfront property in the scenic Providenciales area is set on a 15-acre plot on the famous Grace Bay Beach. The gated villa has space for 12 guests across six en-suite bedrooms, all of which are modern which chic pops of colour throughout – we like the look of the pink bedroom with its rattan furniture and coral accents. There's a spacious kitchen where a private chef will cook meals for you, as well as a gym, wine cellar, cinema room, and games room. Groups can also swim in the swim in the pool which overlook the sea, and dine on the outdoor decks – one of which has a grill and pizza oven.
Sleeps 12; from £6,430 per night.
If in doubt, Mexico is a failsafe option for a luxury holiday in the sun. It may not strictly be a Caribbean island, but some of the best villas can be found in Punta Mita, a 1,500-acre resort and residential community surrounded by nine miles of white beach and crystalline waters. Even during high season, the island feels secluded and private. Visitors can explore the many beaches (including the beautiful Anclote), spend a lazy afternoon at a beach club, and hire snorkel equipment or kayaks from one of the local stands. Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast is another top spot – think beautiful bays surrounded by jungle mountains and buzzy restaurants and bars selling tacos and margaritas.
Where To Stay
Tucked away in a hidden cove in Punta Mita, Casa Tesoro is just a few steps away from a private beach. There are stunning sea views from nearly every room, plus an infinity pool with stylish sun loungers and umbrellas. Perfect for an unforgettable family trip, the villa has minimalistic yet chic interiors, including a state-of-the art kitchen and dining room, and a candlelit terrace. There are seven light and bright suites with neutral tones and soft textures, as well as a billiard room, cinema room and gym. The villa even comes with a chef, butler, housekeeping and security. onefinestay’s complimentary concierge service can also help with special occasions – think firework displays, photographers and DJs.
Sleeps 18; from £10,251 per night.
For something a little different, Casa Cosmos oozes character thanks to its traditional Mexican style. Perched on a lush hillside above its own private beach in Puerto Vallarta, the villa has a stone staircase that leads straight down to the ocean. Highlights include a huge 40ft-high thatched palapa with views of the mountains, plus hammocks, beach furniture and ocean kayaks. Seven bedrooms have a traditional ‘terrazas’ style, with thatch and stone, high roofs and a focus on indoor/outdoor living. Ideal for families, guests can swim in two pools (one has a water slide) and work out in the dramatic rock-lined gym. The gardens are fenced for privacy and security, and you’ll have your own cook, maid, houseman and groundskeeper. Maria Luisa lives in a staff house on the property and her family has looked after Casa Cosmos guests for 20 years.
Sleeps 22; from £1,087 per night.
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