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HotelChatter's 2013 Caribbean Hotel Guide

February 14, 2013 at 11:20 AM | by | Comments (0)

The weather outside is still frightful (is that snow on the ground we see?) which is why we found it necessary to drop our annual Caribbean Hotel Guide for you today. Whether you want to explore islands wearing nothing but a bathing suit and flip-flops or if you'd rather sip fruity drinks by the beach all week long, we've got the right hotel for you. We found a few places that both parents and kiddies can enjoy! So take a break from whatever you're doing right now and read on through our 2013 Caribbean Hotel Guide. Reggae music is optional but could greatly enhance the experience.

SYBARITES: If you're vacation requirements involve a villa, these are the places for you.

LOVERS: Where you want to go and be all hugged up with your boo.

ESCAPISTS: Wanna forget the world for a while? Yeah, we do too so follow us here.

THE FAMILY BROOD: Where to take the kids, but also where mom and dad can have fun too.

TYPE As: These places won't force you to ditch the iPhone or the laptop but you'll be able to relax on your own terms.

ADVENTURISTS: Can't stand laying by the pool all day? These resorts are more than just bum around spots.

SYBARITES
Viceroy Sugar Beach, St. Lucia: For years this was the Jalousie Plantation House, and has now been scooped up, renovated and renamed by the deluxe Viceroy Group. Now it's part of a portfolio of hotels catering to couples seeking pristine pampering service. And you'll get it here in the midst of awesome Piton Mountain views from your white-on-white villa that comes with personal plunge pool and butler service. But the absolute kicker is the newly remodeled spa and their treehouse treatment rooms, where therapies using indigenous ingredients are one of the most authentic in the Caribbean. There are few forced fun activities, so whether you choose to hide out in your villa, or mingle with the other elite guests in the Great House, either option is a-OK. Rates from $640 per night.

Canouan Resort, Canouan Island: Once owned by Raffles, this off-the-radar resort is on tiny Canouan island. Part of the Grenadines (a hop-skip from Barbados). It's one of those places people still don't know much about. Good. All the more space for you to spread out in your Italianate-style villa, use your personal golf cart to get around the 1,200-acre resort (including heading down to the hush-hush clothing optional beach)and play 18-holes on the pristinely maintained Trump Course. What we especially loved? The two spa pavilions set in the sea. You have to take a small water boat to get to it. But the view and the treatments are stunning. Rates from $700 per night, including breakfast.

LOVERS
Baoase, Curacao: This is one of the island's newest hotels and is tiny--just Asian-style villas and suites, but that's deliberate as it is devoted to couples who want to canoodle after a day of diving (this is an underwater-lover's paradise) and share a Dutch-inspired dinner at the seaside restaurant. Yes, the capital Willemstad is a short taxi ride away, but most people who settle into Baoase, end up staying put around their private pool, balcony, or by the beach, and making plans for a more active vaca the next go 'round. The vibe here is designed to be so completely low-key and romantic, that many a proposal have occurred here. Rates from $375 per night.

Secrets Wild Orchid, Jamaica: MoBay's most hyped all-inclusive is less than three years old, adults-only and one of the most sophisticated resorts the area has seen in some time. Many destination weddings and vow renewals happen here as the atmosphere is so romance charged. The suites, all with ocean-views and balconies, and some with swim out pools, have rich, dark wood king-sized four-poster beds and huge tubs that add to the sexy factor. There's no shortage of tables for two at the seven restaurants, which include island eats to Italian cuisine. But many sign up for candlelit dinners on the beach--there's something about barefoot toes in the sand and stars in your eyes. All-inclusive rates from $588 per couple, per night.

ESCAPISTS
Montpelier Plantation, Nevis: You'll delight in the fact that few know where Nevis is located. That's the thrill of this Caribbean island, one of the last to remain relatively untouched by commercialism. Want to disappear to a hotel in existence since the 19th century? That's Montepelier, a former sugar plantation from the 17th-century that maintains its simple vibe, with minor 21st-century adjustments. The 19-accommodations are humble--classic humble cottages are both humble (tv's are absent from cottages, but the beds and cottages are spacious serene), but luxe (service and cuisine is beyond exemplary). There is a pool in property and sunbathing happens there, but honestly, this is the place to make friends with the bartender, take a break from the 21st century, and not feel apologetic about ducking out of touch. Rates from $345 including breakfast.

Matachica Resort & Spa, Belize: This area is home to the world's second-largest barrier in the world, and on many a global nomads' bucket list. But Matachica? A resort def off the map, and a choice pick for privacy-seeking peeps thanks to its intimate 26 thatched-roof villa layout. Is it a PITA to reach? A tad--we're talking international, regional flight then water taxi to get there. But it's worth it. Your sanctuary is designed to be bare minimum (no TV in the rooms, just one restaurant on property), but still comfy--Frette linens and Aveda bath products keep up the comfort factor when you return from snorkeling and day diving. Rates from $195 per night and include breakfast.

THE FAMILY BROOD
The Buccaneer, St. Croix: You wouldn't think this was a family-friendly spot, given it just appeared on "The Bachelor". But before its reality-TV debut, the Buccaneer's been catering to crowds without camera crews. As one of the biggest resorts in the United States Virgin Islands (the cottage suites are built for broods) it still magically maintains its demure, but fun atmosphere since its 1947 beginnings. That means children can embrace the Kids Camp activities from treasure hunts to sand-castle building, and there's even free scuba lessons for teens. Parents get their share of fun time too, with tennis, golf and even snorkeling (that is, when they're not gawking at cast members of "The Bachelor". Rates from $299, including breakfast.

Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort & Villages: Be sure to bring your children to this tropical theme park when they're old enough to remember it. Then they can profusely thank you for it, and you can guilt them into taking care of you forever. And they'll want to, after seeing this all-inclusive resort's 45,000 sq.-ft. waterpark and 12-mile beach that is Grace Bay. Every age is covered here--Sesame Street characters on site to entertain the littles, and Xbox Play Lounge and teen disco for the older sets. An adults-only spa offer respite from whippersnappers and the 16 restaurants provide sustenance for everyone to take advantage of the treasure trove of activities. At night, the huge Caribbean-themed rooms provide enough space for all to blissfully pass out. All-inclusive rates from $300 per adult, per night, $120 per child, per night.

TYPE As
Cove at Atlantis, Bahamas: Sure, you want a tropical vacation. But be real, you can't just fall off the grid. Life is what it is. So you'll haul your tech wares with you, but if you have to check email, at least it'll be in a sun lounger. The vibe at Atlantis' adults-only section, Cove is tailor made for peeps like you. It's super sleek with Bali beds, DJ, and a sexy vibe outside at Cain, the pool club. If you want to keep connected while in a tricked out, WiFi-equipped cabana, no problem. Otherwise, the rooms will do nicely too, with Flat-screen HDTVs, BOSE 321 systems, and docking station for iPods and laptops. Rates from $600 per night.

ME Cancun: Here's another adults-only resort where you don't need to worry about being nickel-and-dimed thanks to their fully-inclusive plan. That gives you time to focus on choosing which service at the YHI Spa might calm your tense self down. But, do know, the vibe here is pretty jet-setty, even in the E-space with computer stations (or rent a laptop if you didn't schlepp yours), library and coffee. This is where the "Real World Cancun" was shot, so guests and locals hang out here to take in the sexy scene. One you want to tune it out though, it's to your room with its free WiFi, flat screen TV, and blackout curtains to bring serenity back. All-inclusive rates from $317 per night.

ADVENTURISTS
Boardwalk Hotel, Aruba: While some equate Aruba with beach bumming and epic windsurfing, there is tons to do for the adventure seeker. The guests at this tiny hotel forgo being directly on the strand (it's located a few blocks from Palm Beach, though they partner with Moomba), in favor of cottage-style living and better rates. This gives them more dosh to spend on hiking, kitesurfing, and scuba excursions. And the owners will supply you with free snorkeling equipment, beach chairs, and coolers while you're out exploring the island's smaller beaches, back roads, and desert countryside. Rates from $165 per night.

Lodge at Pico Bonito, Honduras: It is nearly impossible to sit still in a 350-acre eco-resort located next to a national park. For bird-watchers, it's such a nirvana there's a dedicated guide on property for avian spotters (plus a huge billboard lists the latest finds). More heart-pumping activities are at your fingertips, from hiking to waterfalls and whitewater rafting. Then its back to your cabin for a snooze on your balcony hammock, with more bird song for entertainment--given there's no televisions to distract you from Mother Nature's offerings. Rates from $215 per night.

[All photos courtesy of the hotels except for The Cove at Atlantis which is ours]

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