Haven & Earth
Connect with Mother Nature without sacrificing the earth at these four top-notch Caribbean havens that prove nature lovers and luxury resorts can coexist.
Words by Maria Carter
Consider the masterminds behind boutique resort, Surfsong, stewards of the land. In creating this dreamy waterfront enclave of seven one-, two- and three-bedroom private villas, builders took great care to work around pre-existing trees and incorporate other natural elements. The result has an integral feeling, as if the hotel is a long-time fixture of the landscape. Environmental responsibility is an ongoing mission; bathrooms boast BeeKind products (formulated sans artificial colours or dyes and packaged in eco-friendly materials, with proceeds benefiting bee research) and guests can get in touch with Mother Nature by planting a mangrove tree on guided hikes, enjoying a sunset yoga class or gently paddle-boarding through mangrove habitats. After the day’s activities, guests are invited to enjoy the easy-going charm of this earth-friendly resort’s effortless service from a beachside hammock or tree-shaded courtyard.
Strawberry Fields Together, Jamaica
Strawberry Fields Together has been a go-to getaway for those seeking seclusion and closeness with nature since opening in the 1970s. Encompassing 18 acres on Jamaica’s north coast, it features two private beaches, cottage lodgings (including luxury guesthouses), a farm and on-site dining with a menu of house-made American and Jamaican specialties crafted with locally-sourced ingredients when possible. Strawberry Fields caters to an adventurous crowd, straying from typical tourist haunts to offer unique interactions with the surrounding community: go deep sea fishing with a native fisherman, attend a church service, shop at the Annotto Bay Market or dine at the home of a local family. The property also specialises in eco treks such as its signature River Water Therapy tour – a hike down a mountain gorge to a river and waterfalls, followed by sunbathing, a picnic lunch, a relaxing hydro-massage and swimming.
W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island, Puerto Rico
The first W Retreat & Spa in North America has one mission: to make everyday stress “recede with each wave.” A tall order to fill, but with a 6,000-square-foot full-service spa and all the amenities we have come to love about W – a welcome lounge at the airport, delectable on-site dining comprised of locally-sourced seasonal ingredients, multi-level infinity pools and its signature Whatever/Whenever service promising “whatever you want, whenever you want it” – this Vieques Island getaway is well-equipped to do so. Naturally, the hotel’s lush surroundings command reverence, and activities like eco tours of the world’s brightest bioluminescent bay, nearby Bio Bay, as well as guided excursions around the island and complimentary sunrise kayaking treks, pay due respect.
Secret Bay, Dominica
At the heart of Secret Bay’s enclave of luxurious villas and bungalows is a desire to minimise environmental impact – it is evident everywhere, from eco-friendly building materials to energy efficient operations and hyper-local organic food. No wonder, with breathtaking natural beauty found at every turn from the hotel’s dramatic cliffside property: Tibay Beach, Secret Beach, Cario River, a hidden sea cave and two microclimates are all within a stone’s throw. The resort’s Adventure and Nature packages especially highlight this flora and fauna, giving guests access via their Hiker’s Paradise package comprised of the gurgling sulphur waters of Boiling Lake (the second largest of its kind) and fantastic vistas at Morne Diablotin, the highest mountain in Dominica.
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Founded by Penny Cumber, what began as a one-woman property management business run out of...