Always popular among luxury resorts in the Caribbean is the idea of disconnecting while on vacation. The idea is to turn off the cell phone, put away the computer and immerse yourself in a good book while catching some rays in paradise. Leave all evidence that this vacation is a false reality back at home.
Now, the idea of disconnecting is different for everyone. Some feel that blasting some AC/DC on their iPod while people watching on the beach is a form of meditation while others feel complete silence, except for the sounds of the waves, is the real Zen-like experience vacationers should be seeking. I personally never understood how reading a book is OK in these type of resorts, but watching a movie is considered the fatal flaw in the disconnecting game. Watching “The Godfather” on a 70-inch Sony flat screen from my Jacuzzi while sipping a glass of champagne isn’t disconnecting?
Regardless, televisions are considered the Kryptonite of the attitude these resorts tend to preach. I don’t know about you, but the resort has to be pretty special, pretty quiet, scenic and entertaining for me not to be tempted to veg out in front of the tube for a few hours. If the resort can’t pull it off, then it feels no different than being at the house of a rich friend who didn’t pay his cable bill. If they can pull it off, you won't feel like watching a flick, you’ll feel like you’re starring in one.
Here’s my top Caribbean resorts – that I have either visited or studied up on – that don’t need a television to make you feel like you are living a fantasy.
No. 5. Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort (U.S. Virgin Islands)
This beach vacation resort is located within the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John, Seven secluded beaches border 170 acres where rooms have been artfully built to blend into the landscape. In fact, it describes itself as a resort that is “absent of modern glitz and digital distractions. A perfect getaway from the furious pace of the world at home.” There are 166 rooms here. Each one is decorated with natural woods, native Caribbean stone, hand-crafted furniture, commissioned artwork and richly woven fabrics. Again, there are no telephones or TVs in the individual guest rooms. Now, all the rooms are impressive but if you truly want to forget about your boob tube, I recommend either the Beach Front Suite or Cottage 7. The Beach Front Suite is located on Little Caneel Beach and comes with a separate bedroom and parlor along with a spacious terrace. Cottage 7 is located in what was Laurance Rockefeller’s private estate house. Enough said. Visit www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/caneelbay.
No. 4. Rosewood Little Dix Bay (British Virigin Islands)
By now, you can see that Rosewood pretty much has the no-TV thing down. Our second Rosewood resort on this list, Rosewood Little Dix Bay, is located in one of my favorite spots in the world – the British Virgin Islands. This boutique resort on Virgin Gorda offers fine dining, an award-winning spa, luxury villas and beachfront rooms and suites. We recommend a friends/couples getaway in any of the Little Dix Bay Villas. Located in the most private areas of the resort with 25-mile ocean views, these Caribbean luxury villas feature three or four bedrooms, oversized living and dining areas and spacious bathrooms with outdoor showers. Visit www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/littledixbay/.
No 3. Jamaica Inn (Jamaica)
Who needs a television when you have the resort’s charismatic General Manager Mary Phillips greeting, chatting it up and sometimes sharing a drink with guests? Service like that is what makes this one of the best resorts in the Caribbean. When I stayed at this resort in Jamaica roughly three years ago, I cheated a bit. I watched a movie on my laptop and snuck to the recreational room (where you can even order room service) to watch my beloved Syracuse Orange play in the NCAA basketball tournament on the one simple TV available.
But the history and old school elegance that this place has come to embrace is something no television can duplicate. In fact, this 47-suite property has been around since 1950 and has always been considered an iconic property among locals and vacationers. When I stayed here, I stayed in Cottage 3. I was not disappointed. The main selling point is that both Cottage 3 and 4 are situated on a bluff that overlooks the Caribbean Sea with spectacular views. These free-standing suites are just steps away from the main hotel. Each has an outdoor shower and an infinity pool for plunging just off the bedroom where guests can relax and enjoy the natural beauty surrounding them. You can actually see the ocean from the shower. This is definitely a great spot in Ocho Rios for couples and smaller families. Visit www.jamaicainn.com.
No. 2. Palm Island Resort (St. Vincent and The Grenadines)
Near the southern tip of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a chain of 32 islands and cays known for their natural beauty and clear, warm waters, your clients will find one of Elite Island Resorts’ finest properties—Palm Island Resort.
Recreational sailors and divers from around the world gravitate to Palm Island, which has an abundance of sea life, reefs and challenging shipwrecks. The private hideaway straddles the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, just north of Grenada.
I must admit I didn’t know much about this secluded haven in the Caribbean until my brother honeymooned there in October of 2009. Since my brother was all smiles following his trip, it’s probably safe to say that this is a good choice for couples’ getaways. The highlights of the trip, according to my brother, Matt, were his room, #46, an oceanfront suite and one of the hotel’s best; a seafood risotto with shrimp, scallops and clams marinated in red pepper sauce at the restaurant; a sunset cruise; sipping champagne in a hot tub that could fit an entire family; and another dinner by the sea at a heart-shaped tree.
The ocean was clear, turquoise blue, but my brother, a pool guy, was impressed by the huge pool with little cabanas. The best event, Matt said, was the personal picnic. You take your pick from a menu. They leave you in a remote place with a hammock, with the food you ordered and some beers and then pick you up a few hours later.
Palm Island Resort has only 43 exclusive guest rooms, all of which are ideal for guests who want to unwind and escape their daily cares. More than half of the accommodations are set directly on the beach; the rest are just a few steps away. All have such tropical touches as custom-made bamboo furnishings, woven rattan ceilings and rich and subtle fabric with a tropical flair throughout. Visit www.palmislandresortgrenadines.com.
No. 1. Jade Mountain (St. Lucia)
Jade Mountain is not just the best resort without a television, it's the best resort in the Caribbean. Period.
This room I stayed in was just pure heaven. There was an infinity pool in the bedroom of my three-wall room at this ultra-luxury resort in St. Lucia. I can see why a guest here once stayed in the room for five consecutive days without stepping foot outside. There is quite simply no reason to leave. And you aren’t exactly inside, either. I stayed in room JA2, known as “Moon,” one of the 29 rooms of this resort, which is owned by Karolin and Nick Troubetzky, who also own the original Anse Chastanet. Anse Chastanet was built in the ‘70’s and Jade Mountain is its sister property, the newer of the two and practically a resort-within-a-resort.
Each room has only three walls. Without the fourth wall, you are basically outside while in your room. You can catch plenty of rays just by sitting in the lawn chairs in your living room. The pool begins from your bed, which is netted to protect you from mosquitoes, and extends to the front of your living room with perhaps the best view I’ve ever seen at a Caribbean hotel.
Looking out from the edge of your pool, you can see the pride of St. Lucia: the Pitons, two gigantic, gorgeous green twin mountains. To your right is more ocean, which looks like a painting when the sun goes down. To make a long story short, I was in my room, in a pool, drinking a cold beer, overlooking a real-life mountain.
Butlers, upon request, can bring wireless devices to your room, so you have Internet service if you feel the desire to connect with the outside world or, in my case, brag to your friends about what an awesome job you have. You simply can’t go wrong pitching this incredible resort. Visit www.jademountainstlucia.com.