One man’s quiet hideaway is another man’s recipe for boredom, and one man’s party scene is another man’s noisy nightmare—and the same goes for women. They all agree, however, on one thing: For short vacations (and nobody takes shorter trips to the Caribbean than North Americans, especially those from the Lower 48) they need nonstop flights. After all, who wants to spend two days of a brief getaway in transit?
The following five resorts present different visions of vacations, but they all have
these two things in common: An ambiance that bespeaks luxury and nonstop flights from the mainland.
Amanera, Dominican Republic
Located on the green north coast of the Dominican Republic, Amanera opened Nov. 23 as the world’s first golf-integrated Aman resort. Its course also has the highest number of oceanside holes in the hemisphere. With just 25 contemporary and light-filled casitas, 13 of which feature 32-ft. private pools, this upscale hideaway offers “energy-based shamanic healing,” organic cuisine, and—surprisingly for such an intimate and romantic resort—a kids club. Amanera’s market, according to Christina Deeny, group head of global sales at Aman, “is people who appreciate the elegance, impeccable service, discretion and minimalist design that comes with every Aman experience globally.”
The Cove Atlantis, The Bahamas
The all-suite hotel tower of Atlantis, Paradise Island is finishing an upgrade that has buffed most of the suites to a Las Vegas sparkle. There’s a new restaurant, too: 77° West, which offers Bahamian-Latino fusion. It’s all very adult, but children are welcome, too, except at Cain at the Cove, the adults-only pool with a DJ soundtrack. “The Cove is a resort within a resort that…best serves those who enjoy deluxe accommodations…while still being able to easily access excitement and entertainment,” says Karen Cruitt, v.p. of leisure sales for Atlantis, citing “gaming, celebrity chef dining, and beyond.” She adds, “Among Atlantis’ new perks for agents, it now gives travel professionals a 30 percent discount off published rates in Ocean and Deluxe Ocean Suites at The Cove.” atlantisbahamas.com/rooms/thecoveatlantis
La Toubana, Guadeloupe Islands
Arguably the most stylish resort in this exotic archipelago, La Toubana perches on a bluff overlooking a private beach on the south coast of Grande-Terre. The purple-lit infinity pool, poolside bar, koi ponds, French cuisine employing spices of the island, and spa are “elegant, typically French, upmarket, and ideal for honeymooners, although the new villas accommodate families, too,” says Carole Adam, v.p. of sales and marketing for Des Hotels et des Iles. La Toubana’s central location makes it accessible to Basse-Terre and ferries to other islands, too. The resort pays 12 percent commission and offers agents special rates during the low season. FAMs and site inspections are sometimes available, and Des Hotels has a special site for agents. toubana.com or deshotelsetdesiles.biz/login
Condado Vanderbilt, Puerto Rico
San Juan’s Condado neighborhood of yuppies and beachfront hotels, blindsided by the Great Recession, has surged back over the past two years, thanks in part to the rebirth of this Jazz Age classic from 1919.
“The reopening of Condado Vanderbilt signified the return of unprecedented luxury to San Juan,” says Militza Orama, director of sales and marketing. “The nearly century-old property boasts 319 guestrooms, 24-hour butler service, a spa sanctuary with Puerto Rico’s first hammam, two posh pool lounges and three superior restaurants helmed by renowned chef Juan Jose Cuevas.” Step outside the door and there are more star-chef restaurants, the beach, and taxi cabs that zip into glorious Old San Juan, with its restaurants, shops, museums, and historic fortresses. “Condado Vanderbilt’s target client is one that seeks to experience authentic and unmatched hospitality as well as a unique ambiance, all while feeling relaxed in a luxurious environment,” says Orama. In addition to its standard agent commissions, “Condado Vanderbilt offers qualified FAM trips, seasonal agent rates and double commission promotions during certain times of the year.” condadovanderbilt.com
Ladera, Saint Lucia
This resort was the first luxury hotel with open-wall suites and is the only hotel on Saint Lucia that’s actually in the island’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, so guests can lie in bed and look out on a sparkling sea framed by two towering pitons. Although a shuttle can take guests to the beach, many never want to leave the property, with its superb service and cuisine, spa, 37 handcrafted suites/villas, and heated private plunge pools. This is one of the most romantic hideaways imaginable. “Ladera hosts couples only, mostly ages 18-55: high-end clients seeking experiential holidays as opposed to a traditional four-walled hotel,” says Olivier Bottois, the resort’s operations v.p. The average length of stay is three to five nights, but Ladera also offers combination vacations with beachfront Cap Maison. Bottois adds, “We pay 10 percent commissions to retail agents and offer special rates for travel agent stays, familiarization trips for retail agents, and training in major North American cities.” ladera.com
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
As if the combination of Ritz-Carlton service and Grand Cayman Island’s Seven Mile Beach weren’t sufficient, all 365 rooms and suites have been refurnished, and the four restaurants, including Blue by Eric Ripert, have been upgraded as well. Greg Norman designed the golf course, Nick Bollettieri created the tennis program, and La Prairie Spa specializes in hydrotherapy as well as other healing techniques. “The demographic of the target client is the luxury, affluent traveler,” says communications manager Vanessa Polack, and that includes “couples for weddings, anniversaries, and leisure; and families looking for a warm-weather destination that is safe and fun…on a beach with crystal blue waters, deep orange sunsets, culinary delights, and adventure.” Although FAMs and other incentives must be corporate approved, “delivery varies at each property, and agent rates vary by season…. We generally host more FAMs than a U.S. Ritz-Carlton.” ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/GrandCayman/Default.htm