For a Crusoe-style island getaway just a hop, skip and jump away from the big Caribbean players, our collection of smaller, elite islands offer the off-the-radar experience so many of us seek.
It may be a celebrity hot spot, but don’t expect exhibits of gasconade and bravado in Anguilla, this humbling hidden gem in the eastern Caribbean blends the best of high-end dining and luxury accommodation with a slow, island tempo and welcoming hospitality. Unsophisticated in the most endearing and chic way, grab a tropical fruit cooler along one of the colourful reggae-vibe shacks that line the striking white sands, and don’t be surprised if there’s impromptu musical entertainment. Its 33 beaches are consistently praised as being some of the best in the Caribbean, with azure waters and fine sands, but it is the lack of crowds, cruise ships and jumbo jets here that really sets them apart – unless you go in Carnival season that is! The August Monday beach party in the summer is when this sleepy island really sets alight; spot the boats racing around the island, hear the beat of the steel drums, and taste the fiery flavours of the beach BBQs.
It boasts the blazing sunshine, Island Time ideals, and blushing pink sands of its Caribbean counterparts, but Bermuda also offers a distinctly British feel; enjoy traditional afternoon tea and cream scones, embraced by rolling green countryside scattered with red telephone boxes. The Hamilton Princess and Beach Club is reminiscent of a historic palace, adorned with a large outdoor terrace, Trudeau Ballroom and 60-berth marina. For culture vultures, this hotel is scattered with original works by Andy Warhol and Nelson Mandela, whilst in the centre of Bermuda itself, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St George is an inspiring example of the earliest English urban settlement in the New World. And if you’re still sceptical, head to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute for a comprehensive display on the Bermuda Triangle!
St Vincent and the Grenadines
32 enchanting islands and cays make up St Vincent and the Grenadines, but the headline acts are undoubtedly Young Island, Bequia, Canouan, Mareau, Union Island, Palm Island and Petit St Vincent. St Vincent is flanked by lush, tropical rainforest teeming with exotic wildlife and cascading waterfalls, whilst the Grenadines welcomes water babies with scuba diving, yachting and swimming with green turtles. Canouan is perfect for pint-sized pirates, with a family-friendly swimming pool and waterslides, electronic games room, kids club, trampoline and playground, whilst parents take a put on the Jim Fazio designed 18-hole championship golf course – all part of this expansive island resort. For a barefoot escape, the rustic cottages scattered across Young Island are perfect for honeymooners; outdoor dining kiosks are set on the beach and surrounded by tropical gardens, ideal for a candlelit dinner for two under the stars.
French West Indies
This fascinating collection of elite islands ooze romance, owing to its French identity and roster of spectacular beaches, but the pièce de résistance for many is St. Barthélemy, or St. Barts as it is more commonly known. A volcanic island encircled by shallow reefs, this minute jewel is a glamorous playground for the rich and famous, with gourmet dining, chic boutiques, five star accommodation and plush yachts bobbing on its crystalline waters. The Villa Rockstar at Eden Rock is the zenith of extravagance in St Barts, boasting four lavish suites, a Glenn Affric whiskey bar, extensive indoor games room, and 24-carat white gold bathroom – and that’s just the interior! St. Martin offers visitors festive nightlife, rum-based guavaberry liquors, buzzing casinos and bustling outdoor markets, but amongst all this, you can find serene spots of palm-fringed soft sands.
St Kitts and Nevis
This relaxed, jungle-draped duo is a mishmash of authentic, plantation buildings and historic houses, scattered across secluded bays and rolling sugar cane fields. Belle Mont Farm is a fully sustainable farm community property, nestled within mango groves, natural pools and a rugged rainforest landscape, and as you can expect, the food is delicious! Weaved into this stunning landscape is Irlie Fields golf course designed by Ian Woosman; lined with fruit orchards, the course is considered ‘edible’ as you pick ripe, fresh fruit from its tropical gardens whilst facing the challenge of its 18 holes. A little further down the coast at the foothills of Mount Liamuiga, Ottley’s Plantation Inn evokes old, colonial charm, coupled with the warm and welcoming hospitality for which the Caribbean has become famous.