As much as I love the run up to Christmas, all this cold weather has got me hankering after blue skies, a warm sea and balmy days – so it’s hardly surprising that my thoughts are turning towards the Caribbean. Weather-wise, with the hurricane season behind you, winter is a great time to visit the region (as is spring), and the main trouble is deciding which island to head to (but that’s for a whole other post…).
Here’s three of my favourite choices at the moment, which should tickle your fancy whether you’re a spend-all-day-on-the-beach kind of couple, or a get-out-there-and-do-something type. Do remember that travel agents may be able to offer you better deals than the rates below, which are the hotels’ rack rates and thus likely to be a bit higher.
Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis
If you want to avoid the crowds, then the tiny island of Nevis is the one for you. Though it has long been on the celebrity holiday radar, its small size (just 8km across) has ensured that it’s not over-run with holidaymakers – there’s no high rise resorts or casinos here – so it’s utterly perfect for a bit of seclusion. Nevis is particularly known for its gorgeous old plantation buildings, which provide the perfect retreat; if you want to be right on the beach, however, then you need to head for the Nisbet Plantation Beach Club.
I love the laid-back Caribbean style of this place – all hammocks on the beach and drinks at the beach bar – which makes it the perfect choice for lazy days. That said, Nevis has plenty to offer if you want a little more from your honeymoon; from hiking Nevis Peak and enjoying soothing hot springs, to snorkelling just off the beach, or a bit of exploring by kayak. I especially love the Garden Suites here (pictured above), which are situated in semi-detached cottages; when you can’t quite manage the walk to the beach, you can soak up the location from the privacy of your own porch.
From £245 a night.
Little Good Harbour, Barbados
Barbados is big enough to suit all kinds of honeymooners, with idyllic beaches a plenty, dramatic scnery to explore, and plenty of great food and booze. Even my parents, never the beach-holiday type, fell head-over-heels with the island, which tells me its a pretty special place. Of course, there’s an abundance of hotels to choose from – my advice would be to choose one of the smaller hotels for a more charming and intimate feel, like the delightful Little Good Harbour.
This family-run place, right by the ocean in the fishing community of Shermans, offers accommodation in gorgeous cottages, surrounded by lush gardens. Don’t let this fool you into thinking that this isn’t a luxury hotel, however – your cottage comes stocked with groceries on arrival, perfect for enjoying on your own private “dining terrace”, but there’s also a restaurant right on the beach that serves fresh fish from the local market, and a small, luxury spa on site – perfect.
From £159 a night.
Cotton House, Mustique
If you’re looking for exclusivity and real privacy in the Caribbean, then the private island of Mustique will definitely fit the bill – it’s no exaggeration to say that it’s one of the world’s most exclusive islands. The only “full-service” hotel here is the gorgeous Cotton House, situated on a hillside in an eighteenth-century coral warehouse and sugar mill.
The hotel effortlessly blends colonial style with understated modern elegance, while remaining undeniable Caribbean – think lots of white walls and fabrics, dark woods, and balaconies from which to soak it all up. One of the highlights of a stay here is a visit to the beautiful spa, though if you’re feeling less virtuous you could easily while your days away on the beach as cocktails are brought straight to your deck chair, only getting up for meals at the beach restaurant. Two words: yes please.
From £333 a night.