View to Chill
Unclutter your mind and reawaken your senses at these four miracle-working Caribbean resorts.
Words by Juliet Austin.
Unlike any other day of the year, New Year's Day holds within its power the exhilarating prospect of change as if, after a long year lost in the wilderness, we can at last step through the looking glass into a brave new world of possibility and hope. And where better to unclutter your mind and reawaken your senses than at these four miracle-working Caribbean resorts.
Sugar Beach, Soufrière St. Lucia
If luxe could chill, Sugar Beach on St. Lucia’s scenic southwest coast cools to the core. Out with the old and in with the new sleek, chic Viceroy renovation, the rebranded resort sits on arguably the most arresting site in the Caribbean. Against a backdrop of the iconic Pitons, their heartstopping twin peaks rising up from the sea bed like the horns of a fabled beast, Sugar Beach’s inspired design combines with intuitive service to deliver one of the most seductive enclaves of privacy ever discovered. With luxury rooms and secluded beach villas set within 100-acres of lush rainforest, nothing can compare to watching the sun sink beneath the indigo-rimmed horizon from a romantic, voile-draped four-poster bed or witnessing Nature’s sparkling night show in the Valley of the Pitons from a pretty rooftop terrace. Guests can unwind in the in’spa’ring Rainforest Spa with its fantastical treehouse treatment cabanas and earthen steam dome or reawaken their gastronomic senses with a meal of melt-in-the-mouth seared sea scallops and fresh-off-the-hook roasted Red Snapper – decadent tropical cuisine at its most sublime. Consider yourself warned: you may not want to leave.
The Westin St. John Resort and Villas, St. John, USVI
With the season’s festivities over, resolve to relax, restore and reboot at The Westin’s 47-acre haven on the shores of St. John’s Great Cruz Bay. Replete with a flotilla of anchored yachts held in the protective embrace of the isle’s lush hillside, the resort offers the ultimate in uplifting downtime.
Hike the 7,000-acre National Park, explore the 675-foot underwater snorkeling trail or lie back and examine your navel on the dazzling palm-fringed beach. Whether it is wallowing in the largest pool in the territory or getting slathered in detoxifying sea mud at the full service spa, this paradise caters to every whim. Ideal for families, youngsters can bounce the days away on the water trampoline or scale the floating climbing wall at the Kids’ Club, while parents sail into the sunset or have their stresses kneaded away in a poolside couple’s massage. Having supped on succulent lobster at Cruz Bay Prime Restaurant, sipped nightcaps on your private balcony overlooking the torchlit seashore, all that is left is to dream the night away tucked up in the sybaritic splendour of The Westin’s ‘Heavenly’ signature beds.
Fowl Cay Private Island, The Bahamas
Caribbean hideaways rarely come as remote as this unless you are Johnny Depp or Robinson Crusoe. Located in the middle of the Exuma archipelago, Fowl Cay delivers of the ultimate Caribbean flight of fantasy. Charmingly unpretentious, the 50-acre private island-of-calm beckons all chill seekers to its shores, promising freedom from the fast track with its wide horizons, drenching colour and picture-perfect skies.
Here, simplicity prevails. From your villa’s seaside patio, wander down the dock and hop aboard your own motorboat, skip across the turquoise shallows to Thunderball Grotto and jump into the crystalline underwater wonderland made famous by its namesake James Bond movie. Picnic on a deserted beach, or, for a touch of the truly out-of-this-world, cast your anchor at nearby Big Major Cay with its legendary long-snouted swimming pigs or Compass Cay where you can pet wild sharks.
With a choice of six dreamy villas featuring discreet host service at your beck and call, languishing hammocks and access to the Hill House restaurant, Fowl Cay guarantees memories to last a lifetime. And, as the tides rise and fall on this little pocket of luxury, the linger-longer lure of the magic isle intones, “Fair is Fowl, and Fowl is fair…” in the warm, tropical air.
Amanyara, Turks and Caicos Islands
Offering a pure, elegant, intelligent experience, Amanyara’s secret lies in its award-winning Asian-inspired architecture. Gracing a rugged, ironshore promontory on the northwest point of Providenciales, a series of sleek, barely-there private pavilions, expansive patio flats and an ethereal vanishing-edge pool eschew grandeur, forgoing all unnecessary decoration to achieve subtle, authoritative beauty. Sanskrit for ‘peaceful place’, Amanyara’s labyrinthine symmetry possesses a muted, rejuvenating quality – perfect for escapists and dreamers alike. With two-acres, set nearby a 4,000-acre nature reserve, the resort mimics the ebb and flow of Mother Nature and is, in turn, rewarded each winter with glimpses of migrating Atlantic humpback whales breaching in the scene-stealing deep blue yonder.
Designed by visionary Jean-Michel Gathy around a series of black, volcanic rock-lined reflecting pools, villas feature a simple palette of colours and materials. Glass, wood, sisal matting and polished terrazzo tiling echo the natural surroundings, while cantilevered sundecks, vast shady overhangs, outdoor bathtubs and bolstered lounging banquettes create islands of serenity to indulge even the most seasoned Caribbean aficionado. Get your mojo back with an Envelop-me Body Wrap courtesy of the Serenity Villa Spa, be overwhelmed by the sunset while enjoying cocktails under the soaring circular rooftop of the coolest bar by far or play the most revitalising game of hide and chic ever. Here is to starting the New Year as you mean to go on.
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