Seek the heat with these chic new beach resorts in the Caribbean.
St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort
SLS Lux at Baha Mar, Bahamas
The Bahamas has a $3.5 billion new mega-hotel complex Baha Mar in its capital city, including Rosewood at Baha Mar and a Grand Hyatt property. But the real charmer is the 300-room SLS Lux from famed nightlife/hospitality group SLS that opened spring 2015. (They also have boutique designer hotels with a healthy dose of nightlife in L.A., Miami and Las Vegas.) Expect candy-stick-colored, Bahamian-style architecture; ocean-facing rooms with sleek white décor; playful murals of Caribbean architecture; modern transparency-glass showers and expansive balconies; and pure white sand beaches. The SLS Lux also offers one of Baha Mar’s only private pools, available exclusively to hotel guests, and a breezy lobby/open-air terrace decked out in black and white and pale pink. Sip stylishly at the poolside bar or open-air rooftop lounge Fly, nibble on sushi at Katsuya by premiere French designer Philippe Starck or sample new-Mediterranean cuisine at Cleo. Though not exclusive to the SLS property, the Baha Mar complex includes a major casino, ESPA spa and Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. Book by Dec. 17 for rates starting at $335 per night. For more info and rates visit slshotels.com.
St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico
In the past five years, Puerto Rico has inherited a spate of new luxury hotels including the eco-luxe Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach, the first of the hotel’s upper echelon Reserve brand of resorts. But we are taken with the plantation-style beauty and escape quality of the new St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, which is 30 minutes from charming Old San Juan and located between a river and rain forest. Like the Ritz it is also an environmentally aware hotel. Set on a 483-acre former coconut plantation, the resort is teeming with local wildlife, a private bird sanctuary and mangroves, as well as 2 miles of pristine private beaches.
The beach at st. regis bahia beach resort
Activities include hiking, biking and bird-watching. Should you tire of nature and beach, there is also an oceanfront golf course with spectacular views designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. The architecture of the low-rise hotel may be that of a gracious plantation house with columns and verandas, but the 139 rooms themselves possess a natural décor and are thoroughly modern in their amenities with 40-inch LCD TVs, iPod docking stations and Bose sound systems as well as luxe amenities like St. Regis’ signature butler service and Pratesi linens. The hotel also offers a pool with cabanas, an exclusive Remède Spa and a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, Fern, located beachside for Latin-Carribbean-inflected fare like watermelon gazpacho and roasted lobster with chili vinaigrette. For more info and rates visit stregisbahiabeach.com.
Lone Star Boutique Hotel & Restaurant, Barbados
Laidback luxe is the best way to describe this playful and quirky hotel. Staying here is more like an extended house party, as the intimate hotel boasts only a handful of rooms — two penthouses, two oceanfront suites and two deluxe garden rooms. The property was a former gas station that now houses the relaxed but impossibly chic beachfront Lone Star Restaurant. Dubbed “The Ivy of the Caribbean,” its nautical vibe and lively steel drum music attracts a celebrity crowd at night. Underlining the gas-station vibe, employees flit about the property in designer overall uniforms. This resort is nothing if not with a sense of humor. Each room is named after a car with the penthouses named Cadillac and Lincoln. The other rooms are named Buick, Studebaker, Shelby and Corvette, the latter two situated in a coral stone beach house with garden and direct beach access. Expect 4-poster beds, private terraces and polished mahogany floors.
The bar at lone star boutique hotel & restaurant
The vibe throughout is South-Beach-meets-beach-house-chic. The Cadillac penthouse has the most divine white marble and Italian mirrored master bath and spacious veranda right on the ocean. The property recently underwent a big refurbishment in 2013, with the addition of new rooms, so this sparkling hotel feels almost brand-new.
the cadillac suite at lone star boutique hotel & restaurant
Besides beach life, there is a championship golf course nearby and the resort offers some spa services like massages and can arrange for activities and tours of local attractions. Don’t miss the stylish (but pricy!) Lone Star Restaurant featuring global cuisine such as shrimp linguine, Asian duck pancakes or Lobster Thermidor — or save your wallet and just hit up the bar for potent, fruity cocktails. Rates start at $425 for non-peak season. For more info and rates visit thelonestar.com.
Gansevoort Playa Imbert, Dominican Republic
Operating under a soft opening in June 2015 in the Dominican Republic, Gansevoort Playa Imbert invests the island with its own urban style. (The hotel brand also owns a five-star property in the Meatpacking District of NYC as well as a second hotel on Park Avenue and a resort in Turks and Caicos.) The oceanfront Gansevoort Playa Imbert boasts 48 modern suites, including 24 lofts, 18 apartments with private plunge pools, and six penthouses, each with a private rooftop Jacuzzi. The clean, modern interiors are decked out with generous floor-to-ceiling windows to capture seascapes, state-of-the-art kitchens with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, walk-in marble showers, walk-in closets, Egyptian cotton linens and free high-speed Wi-Fi. Opportunities to explore are provided by 400 acres of protected wilderness, including 27 Waterfalls, a nearby historic town and sunken shipwrecks that can be encountered via scuba diving. Other featured activities: sailing, paddleboarding, snorkeling, golf, tennis, horseback riding and zip lining. Or relax at the three-tiered cascading infinity pool overlooking the beach and walk the beach’s sugar-white sands. The oceanfront Baia Lounge, helmed by chef Giancarlo Fiori, formerly of Peninsula House and Michelin 3-star elBulli, offers sophisticated Mediterranean and Asian dishes such as Thai curry shrimp, pumpkin risotto with scallops, and veal with saffron risotto. Other resort amenities include a spa, hammam-style sauna and yoga garden. For more info and rates visit gansevoorthotelgroup.com.