I’ve stayed in countless Caribbean hotel rooms during the course of my career, yet somehow the thrill of staying at a brand-new island resort never seems to get old. Fortunately, there’s a slew of new retreats opening across the region this year, ready to welcome sun-seeking guests. From the Bahamas to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, here’s a handful of hotels I can’t wait to check into—and check out.
The Bahamas: British Colonial
What’s old is new again at this Nassau staple, which first opened way back in 1923 and has since been a Sheraton, Best Western and a Hilton. Now, after an almost 2-year closure and a $50 million renovation from new owners, the Bay Street beachfront resort debuted in December with seven restaurants, a pair of oceanview pools and 288 rooms decorated in a contemporary style that incorporates decorative nods to its long and storied history.
British Virgin Islands: Peter Island
I have such fond memories of this private-island resort, which I visited back in 2017. After hurricane damage it was closed for six years, but the island’s being reborn this year (no confirmed date yet) with new beachfront rooms, a new spa and two new restaurants. Top of my agenda when I return: Jean Kelly’s Famous Coconut-Crusted French Toast —and catching up the inimitable longtime staffer Miss Jean herself.
Honduras: Kimpton Grand Roatan Resort & Spa
Kimpton’s second Caribbean resort (joining Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa on Grand Cayman) opened last fall, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the brand has realized its signature design-forward style at this Bay Islands retreat off the coast of Honduras. Some of the 119 rooms and bungalows feature private plunge pools and outdoor showers (two of my favorite resort amenities). And the Kao Kamasa Spa—with a temazcal and glass-bottom infinity pool—sounds like just my speed.
Mexico: Xela Tulum
I’ve only stayed in Tulum once, but that was all it took to fall in love with the bohemian Mexican beach town. That was more than a decade ago, and now that this adults-only, 12-room boutique is open—the perfect antidote to all the larger resorts that have opened there since my visit—I have extra motivation to go back. Tulum’s spanking new airport (which opened last December) will make it even easier to touch down and explore this beachfront gem, which has a minimalist and modern Mexican style. The open-air living room and rooftop terrace sound like the perfect spots for a little R&R.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Sandals Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
The Jamaica-based all-inclusive giant will open its 18th Caribbean hotel on St. Vincent in March. It’s on the site of the ill-fated Buccament Bay resort—which was my only stay in St. Vincent, back in 2011—so I’m particularly interested to get a look at the property’s transformation. With more than 300 rooms, 16 restaurants, several pools and a spa, there’ll be a lot to look at!