The Caribbean's All Time Top 10 Classic Resorts - Page 2

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The Buccaneer estate, St. Croix, USVI
The Buccaneer estate, St. Croix, USVI  (courtesy, The Buccaneer)

Anse Chastanet
St. Lucia
"We want our guests to feel connected to the surroundings," says Nick Troubetzkoy, the visionary architect who owns this enchanted hillside resort with a view of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the twin volcanic peaks known as the Pitons. Troubetzkoy scrapped the traditional, four-walled room model and designed Anse Chastanet's rooms with one wall missing, allowing guests to fully enjoy the eye-popping panoramas of sea and sky. ("Nick's Russian family tree includes plenty of revolutionaries," notes his wife and general manager, Karolin.) Accommodations are more than 100 steps up from the beach (as is the hotel's swanky sister resort, Jade Mountain), but at sea level guests have everything they need, including a dive shop and a fleet of mountain bikes for exploring the plantation grounds next door. From $280 in low season ($450 high); 49 rooms; 800-223-1108;

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Bitter End Yacht Club
Virgin Gorda, BVI
With spas, casinos, boutiques and all the other fancy land-based features designed to lure guests to modern resorts, it's easy to forget the Caribbean is a sea. Not so at Bitter End. Tucked away on Virgin Gorda Sound, this place is as much about sailing and scuba as it is about tanning and dining. Room rates include unlimited use of more than 100 sailboats and powerboats, and 15 excursions to surrounding islands (including a weekly catamaran trip to remote Anegada) make the hotel one of the Caribbean's best values. The Hokin family wouldn't have it any other way; they bought Bitter End as a private retreat in 1973 and ended up opening it as a resort where other clans can share in all the nautical fun. From $650 in low season ($890 high); 85 rooms; 800-872-2392;

The Buccaneer
St. Croix, USVI
This pink-and-white confection of a hotel, splashed across a hillside near Christiansted, recently celebrated a landmark birthday, the big 6-0. The historic estate goes back to pre-Danish-colonial times (when it was owned by a Knight of Malta), but the Armstrongs, owners since 1947, maintain it so meticulously that every stucco wall appears to have been painted just yesterday. "A cornerstone of our success," says third-generation owner Elizabeth Armstrong, "is our family's absolute commitment." That's also demonstrated by the outstanding hospitality delivered by the long-serving and welcoming staff – one significant reason, no doubt, why a guest recently celebrated his 50th vacation at The Buccaneer. From $280 in low season ($340 high), including full breakfast; 138 rooms and suites; 800-255-3881;

Caneel Bay
St. John, USVI
What distinguishes Caneel Bay is an exhilarating sense of openness: 700 acres, seven beaches and a profusion of trees and flowers surrounded by two national parks, one on land and one underwater. Laurance Rockefeller's vision was to create a retreat that would offer accommodations just a few notches above camping, with low-profile buildings of natural stone no more than two stories high and screened windows that let in the sigh of surf and the cooing of native doves. The windows have since been glazed, and the rooms are now air-conditioned, but there are still no phones or TVs, offering welcome solace to noise-jangled souls. As a guest once confided to me, "We've been coming here for over 20 years, and I think of my two weeks at Caneel as therapy." From $395 in low season ($550 high); 166 rooms and suites; 888-767-3966;

Coral Reef Club
Take the best country-house hotel in England, plop it down on the Platinum Coast of Barbados, and you've got the Coral Reef Club – gracious, refined and understated. Acres of flowers and shade trees embrace an estate villa built of coral stone whose luxury suites, dotted around the garden in low-rise wings, offer some of the Caribbean's most elegant lodgings. "Our guiding philosophy," says Patrick O'Hara, the founder's son, "is to offer our guests a high-quality experience by encouraging a truly friendly, family atmosphere through our own family involvement." The O'Haras' task this summer: a brand-new spa built, naturally, of coral stone and surrounded by hibiscus, cassia and allamanda blossoms. From $385 in low season ($760 high); 88 rooms and suites; 800-223-1108;

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