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September 2017 - Vol 3, No 16 - The Open Caribbean
Most of the Caribbean is open for business
Following Irma and Jose, some favorite Caribbean islands and resorts suffered extreme damage. Several resorts are expected to be open for the festive season, even as the islands clean up. If you are looking for a Caribbean escape sooner rather than later or if your favorite venue will be closed for a while as some will, we talked to top luxury travel advisor Jack Ezon, CEO of Ovation Vacations for his recommendations on where to go.
Needless to say, the region is heavily dependent on tourism. Visiting the Caribbean now brings critical revenue, and as you can see from the map below (yellow highlights towards the right side), only a sliver of islands have
been badly impacted.
I hope all your trips are amazing experiences, and I hope you will be able to visit the Caribbean this year!
All the best,
Table of Contents
3. The Bahamas
5. Cayman Islands
6. Dominican Republic
7. The Grenadines, Canouan
8. The Grenadines, Mustique
10. Puerto Rico
11. St. Lucia
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After Irma and Jose, The Caribbean Is Open
We talked to top luxury travel advisor Jack Ezon, CEO of Ovation Vacations for his recommendations on the best resorts in the Caribbean not impacted by Irma or Jose. Below are the resorts and top suites and villas he thinks you will like.
Jumby Bay, an Oetker Resort
Ezon: “One of the best private islands in the Caribbean, Jumby Bay, is an ideal place to hide away in a private pool villa or one of its sprawling multi-bedroom estates. Our favorite is Lazy Lizard, ideal for a family reunion or group of friends.”
This 18,000 sq. ft, 6-bedroom beachfront estate offers a fusion of Caribbean and
Asian architecture. Lazy Lizard’s design forms a series of eight
pavilions clustered around a free form swimming pool with floating
dining pavilion set on five tropical acres.
The estate features six bedroom suites in separate pavilions surrounding the main house which includes two master suites with views of the sea. Bedroom suites enjoy large living areas which open to bedrooms, all with incredibly sleek and stylish en-suite baths with custom stonework and private outdoor gardens with rain showers.
The two master baths are appointed with bathtubs carved from ivory travertine. A spacious open-air living and dining room, contemporary kitchen, media room and office open onto a spectacular swimming pool set in the center of the estate with a floating dining pavilion. A short stroll from the main house is a flood-lit tennis court with pavilion and fitness center.
The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba
Ezon: “The only true luxury option on Aruba, the driest island in the Caribbean. Opt for The Ritz-Carlton Suite (at 2,390 sq. ft. on the seventh floor) with ocean front views and a wrap around terrace.” You can connect a room to make it into a 2-bedroom enclave. You also get access to the Club Floor lounge. Unlike other islands with tropical weather, the Dutch outpost has a desert-like climate. It is also a gaming hotspot attracting high rollers from South America due to its location in the Southern Caribbean.
3. The Bahamas
Ezon: “The ultimate bespoke luxury option in the Bahamas, the Ocean Club is just over 90 rooms on a one mile stretch of beach. While utterly private, guests have the option of visiting the buzz of the casino, abundance of restaurants, shops and endless distractions of the Atlantis resort within a five-minute drive. Opt for the (4,800 sq. ft.) 4-bedroom beachfront villa complete with private chef, butler and maid.” It has two masters, each with indoor/outdoor showers and private sun decks.
The Reef at Atlantis
Ezon: “These two towers at the Atlantis give you complete access to the sprawling waterpark complex but with exclusive access to its private facilities. The Cove’s Caine Beach and Pool is the place see and be seen with DJ spinning and in-pool casino while the Reef’s apartment-style units are ideal for large families.”
You get 24-hour butler service. There are two separate master bedrooms with king bed and sitting area in each of the 3-bedroom penthouses. There is a private wrap-around terrace with commanding ocean views. There’s a fully equipped modern kitchen with dining area, plus three full bathrooms and a guest half bathroom. There are four balconies with table and chairs including private balcony off master bedroom. Access to The Cove Pool. The 3-bedroom penthouses run from 2,994 to 3,102 sq. ft. and sleep up to 10.
Ezon: “Sandy Lane is the most posh resort in the Caribbean. It’s mahogany and marble-laden rooms are outfitted with the most sophisticated technology accompanied by flawless service with British flair. We love the (7,300 sq. ft.) 5-bedroom palatial Villa at Sandy Lane despite it lacking beachfront access.”
5. Cayman Islands
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
Ezon: “A sprawling destination resort with an elegant, yet light Ritz-Carlton ambiance and great for families looking for activities. The south tower is reserved for full time owners with the exception of the 7th floor which was retrofitted in 2016 to house a 2-bedroom, 8,000 sq. ft. penthouse and six 1-and 2-bedroom suites (Grand Cayman Penthouse), all of which can combined to become a massive 12-bedroom residence. The seven South suites are to-die-for and truly unique. Done up in shining earth and organic tones with turquoise pops, they have light wood floors, beautiful pearlized marble fixtures, a circular living room and minimum 550 sq. ft. terrace.”
Ezon: “A cool, hip lifestyle beach alternative where trendy meets luxury, including such touches such as oversized rooms, condo-style units for families, Frette linens and fun food and beverage. Opt for the 2-bedroom beachfront bungalows with cathedral ceilings and fanciful couch swings just baby steps from the sand.”
Guests will arrive to their bungalow an entrance vestibule, which opens into a large loft-like living room with expansive, 12-foot-tall windows opening up onto a deck and lawn to bring the outside in with an exclusive vantage point to further enjoy Seven Mile Beach’s sights. The décor features white plank floors, a sleek kitchen, black slate walls in deep relief and giant wattle wall sculptures by a local artist adorn the wall. The master bedroom features a bed in the middle of the room framed by weathered wood and white paneled walls with a beautiful view of the ocean.
6. Dominican Republic
Ezon: “This private enclave on the northern side of Dominican Republic is a destination in and of itself, complete with championship golf course. With just 45 rooms and Aman-style approach, you will feel like the only guest even when the hotel is at full capacity. Choose private plunge pool suites right off the beach.”
Ezon: “Gansevoort is a great alternative in the Dominican Republic for the buzz that Gansevoort is known for. Its 2-, 3-and 4-bedroom residential units (ranging from 4,000 to 5,200 sq. ft.) are ideal for families too. Our favorite are the duplex penthouses.”
7. The Grenadines
Pink Sands Club, Canouan
Ezon: “This new 19 room beachfront resort is an all suite, sumptuous experience with over the top amenities, and amazing golf course, and an island virtually all to yourself.”
Pink Sands Club is located on Canouan, which is easily accessible by private jet. The resort is set to become a Mandarin Oriental in November. I’ve visited twice, back when it was managed by Raffles and had Trump villas and a golf course. The island itself is spectacular. It’s a great golf course circling the mountain top with spectacular views and some fun carries. There are still a number of full homes you can rent. During Raffles tenure, it put in overwater bungalows used for spa treatments. From a business structure, it has struggled because it is not easy to get to, unless you have a private jet.
Ezon: “The perfect private island hideaway, Mustique is home to the venerable 19-room Cotton House but the real way to stay is a private home, many belonging to famous A-list celebs and royal families.”
Four Seasons Resort, Nevis
Ezon: “(Four Seasons Nevis is) a great choice for sports lovers looking for an active vacation. Think tennis center, golf, and even squash. Hike to the top of the dormant volcano or enjoy a host of water activities.”In addition to various hotel style suites, the Four Seasons offers over 20 private residences ranging from one to six bedrooms.
10. Puerto Rico
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Ezon: “The ‘un-Puerto Rico', Dorado Beach feels like a plush resort out of Los Cabos, with private-pool rooms right on the sand and one of the largest spas in the Caribbean. There are three golf courses and four miles of running tracks are among the distractions. For a sense of old world charm, snag the 5-bedroom (8,000 sq. ft.) Su Casa estate (above) or for something more modern, the beachfront three and four bedroom residences (pictured below).”
11. St Lucia
Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort
Ezon: “Viceroy Sugar Beach is the crowd pleaser on the island. With the best beach in St. Lucia and incredible postcard views of the Pitons, its beachfront bungalows are a hit with couples, while its sprawling 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom residences (pictured above) are ideal for families.” The 4-bedroom residences range in size with a minimum of 3,330 sq. ft. Three bedroom units start at 2,008 sq. ft. while the 2-bedroom residences start at 1,455 sq. ft.
Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
Ezon: “Jade Mountain is a sexier, if not daring alternative, where every room has a private infinity pool, but also only has three walls. Mountainside rooms stare at the dramatic twin pitons and are open to the world.”