White sands, swaying palms and a big dose of adventure. Forget the resorts: these unique hotels reveal the Caribbean’s wilder side. Enjoy our top pick of the best Wandersleeps from Jamaica to Barbados...
A riot of colour, a mish-mash of architecture. Artist/owner Sally Henzell defines Jakes perfectly as ‘a style that can best be described as Jimi Hendrix meets Antoni Gaudí’.
This bolthole on Jamaica’s Treasure Beach (yes, it is as idyllic as it sounds) has gradually grown from a lone restaurant into a clutch of ocean-front villas and bungalows, each one more bright and beautiful than the last.
But the real wow factor lies in Jakes’ surroundings: the calaba-shaded gardens; the silvery flash of tropical fish in the shallows; the vermillion sunsets – and fruity rum punch – at Dougie's pool bar.
Sat high on the slopes of Nevis Peak, this old sugar mill occupies one of the best spots on the island. From up here, you can see the swaying palms and turquoise shallows of the wild Atlantic shore.
Part guesthouse, part gallery, Golden Rock’s modern art collection and swish designer décor looks all the more impressive for its crumbling stone walls and lush jungle gardens – it’s no surprise to learn that owners Helen and Brice Marden are accomplished artists.
A stuffy hotel this ain’t: vervet monkeys swing through the trees and sundowners are served to the chirrup of tree frogs as the Caribbean sun sinks below the horizon.
Set in the UNESCO-listed Nelson’s Dockyard, the Admiral’s Inn was drawn up in 1785 – the year after Nelson arrived in English Harbour aboard HMS Boreas.
The building was used to store the engineers’ supplies (the staircase still bears the scars), and from the terrace you can gaze over the harbour, which now bobs with luxury yachts.
Throw in a few secluded hammocks, an infinity pool and spa, and you have very swish history lesson indeed.
Barbados’s beauty extends beyond the beach. Thanks to its fertile soils and tropical climes, this is an island of flamboyant gardens, where bougainvillea and fruit trees flourish.
Even by these high standards, the Coral Reef Club grounds are spectacular; so much so that even tours come for a peek, wooed by frangipani flowers and nectar-seeking sugar birds.
Skip the white shores and two pools to relax in the gardens, then cool off in the plantation-style suites, cottages and villas, before finishing with dinner at the restaurant overlooking the ocean.
Like all the best secrets, Poponi Beach Cottage is too good to keep to yourself. Set on the slim isle of Eleuthera – 180 kilometres long, but less than a few wide – this rental cottage is just big enough for two.
We could wax lyrical about the design or the tropical gardens a-flutter with hummingbirds, but it’s the beach that makes this place so memorable. Mere steps from your door lie exquisite white sands, your own wooden cabana, a tree-slung hammock and not a soul in sight.
Wanderlust Hotel (no relation) is a haven for the adventurous, with some great hiking and kayaking on its doorstep. Dominica is an island of untamed beauty, alive with wildlife-rich rainforests, volcanoes, waterfalls and birdsong.
Having opened last October, this stay feels like your very own coastal retreat, with each dwelling having uninterrupted ocean views. Ask the owners to give you the scoop on the island’s best trails, snorkelling and black-sand beaches.
More like a treehouse village than a hotel, this cluster of wooden cabins sits high in the forested hills overlooking Castara Bay. It’s a simple, secluded retreat – not that it’s without creature comforts.
Expect four-poster beds, breezy terraces and kitchens with all mod cons, while the hotel’s top-rated restaurant serves up tasty meals and fiery rum cocktails.
But whether you’re staying for a week or just for dinner, it’s the views that steal the show: the shimmering bay, the golden curve of Castara beach and the flitter of busy hummingbirds.
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