The Caribbean's All Time Top 10 Classic Resorts - Page 3

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Balcony view at Curtain Bluff, Antigua
Balcony view at Curtain Bluff, Antigua  (courtesy, Curtain Bluff)
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Curtain Bluff
Antigua
"I have lived at Curtain Bluff for almost 60 years," notes owner Howard Hulford, "and our guests are like extended family whom we always look forward to welcoming home." No idle boast: I was there for the resort's 40th anniversary, and it was exactly that – a reunion, with some celebrating their 30th or 40th visits to Curtain Bluff. Over the years Hulford has slowly, sometimes grudgingly, acknowledged the 21st century, adding air conditioning (with units carefully tucked out of sight) and a spa. But guests still dance to live music beneath the old tamarind tree, there still aren't any TVs in the rooms and there are still no locks on the doors. From $645 in low season ($995 high); 72 rooms and suites; 888-289-9898; curtainbluff.com

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Jamaica Inn
Jamaica
"I was brought up at the inn," notes Eric Morrow, owner of the intimate Ocho Rios hotel, "and my children are here now, the third generation of Morrows." The family's haven is a private cove with 700 feet of soft sand alongside lawns and flowering shrubs. Spacious suites feature lanais that function as outdoor living rooms furnished with plump upholstery. Every night there's dinner and dancing under the stars on a broad terrace bordered by white balusters and tall coconut palms. And there's nothing more romantic than a moonlight massage for two in the small Polynesian-style spa at the edge of the cove, surrounded by fragrant flowers and candles. From $290 in low season ($550 high); 49 rooms; 800-837-4608; jamaicainn.com

La Samanna
St. Martin
When it threw open its royal-blue doors in the early '70s, this MykonosMoorish getaway was a hit with the luminaries of the time. I once sat two tables away from Richard Nixon and Billy Graham, wondering why on earth they would be staying at such a sexy resort (probably because of then-owner James Frankel's reputation for ruthlessly protecting his guests' privacy). Now owned by Orient-Express Hotels, La Samanna may have lost some of its mystique, but it still whispers romance the minute you drive in through its resplendent garden. Some beachside suites have private rooftop terraces for star-spangled canoodling, and the restaurant reserves the best tables (with views of a mile-long beach and an endless moonlit sea) for twosomes. From $395 in low season ($995 high); 81 rooms and suites; 800-854-2252; lasamanna.com

Little Dix Bay
Virgin Gorda, BVI
Little Dix is another of the trio of low-key resorts created by the late Laurance Rockefeller back in the '60s and '70s, oases that set the standard for service, serenity and settings – in this case a ravishing double curve of beach beside a reef-protected lagoon. Now a Rosewood Hotel, the resort still welcomes its guests to a virtual botanical garden boasting 50 varieties of palms. But a glance around reveals that once-virgin hillsides now sprout villas; there's a new grotto-like pool beside the distinctive conical dining pavilion; and a secluded, Bali-style spa sits up on the bluff. Once off-limits to children, Little Dix now has a kids' clubhouse so subtly integrated into the operation that even old-timers take families in stride. From $395 in low season ($750 high); 100 rooms and suites; 888-767-3966; littledixbay.com

Round Hill Hotel & Villas
Jamaica
Not all classic resorts represent the vision of a single hotelier. This one's owned by a committee, a group of billionaires and aristocrats who own its 27 shingle-roofed villas. Yet it still retains its distinctive cachet and refined daily rhythms. Next-door neighbor Ralph Lauren recently restyled the beachfront hotel suites, but for the authentic Round Hill experience, check into one of the villas, with private pools and staff who probably cooked breakfast and made beds for Oscar Hammerstein, Cole Porter and Jackie Kennedy. Guests and owners mingle merrily at weekly cocktail parties and beach barbecues where everyone dances in the surf. From $370 in low season ($620 high); 27 villas plus 110 rooms and suites; 800-972-2159; roundhilljamaica.com

** This article was accurate at the time of publishing. Please confirm any rates and related information directly with the resorts and companies mentioned before booking your trip. **

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Best Hotels in Virgin Gorda

$1325
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Rosewood Little Dix Bay

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