We know that 2007 brought a long list of new suites to the Caribbean, but since seeing is believing, we chose to single out the ones we visited and loved. In July, Travel Agent toured Grand Isle Resort in Great Exuma, the Bahamas. It is a community of luxurious ocean and golf course villas located within the 500-acre Emerald Bay property. The best room was the Master Grand Penthouse, a $5.7 million unit that sits on the highest point of Emerald Bay. In peak season, it costs about $6,000 per night. The 4,000-square-foot penthouse has four bedrooms, a media room and balcony and offers views of the ocean, Great Exuma and the back nine of the golf course. The master bedroom has French sliding glass doors leading to the terrace, a marble bath with dual vanities and a whirlpool tub. Guests can request in-villa dining, for which the resort's cooking staff will prepare a meal in the kitchen. The concierge can assist in choosing courses from the fine or casual dining menus..
We also visited Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort to the see the new Rondoval Suites. These offer 1,800 square feet and include large, flat-screen plasma TVs, separate sitting areas with a sofa and desk, in-room Jacuzzi tubs and shower areas with glass mosaic tiling. The suites also feature a private pool deck and hammocks. The Ultra Grande Luxe Beachfront Rondoval Suite has its own plunge pool and a whirlpool; rates start at $1,352. The Ultra Luxury Beach Rondoval Suite, which also comes with a plunge pool and whirlpool but only a partial beach view, starts at $1,198.
At Agua Resort & Spa in Uvero Alto (about 10 minutes from Punta Cana), Dominican Republic, we stayed in Room 2, an Agua Garden View Junior Suite. Selling for between $400 and $600 a night, this suite has a patio with a view of one of two pools on property, a king-size bed and a spacious bathroom. The best views can be had from any of the Ocean View Junior Suites, which are right on the beach, with 775 square feet of space, French doors leading to a private tropical terrace and furniture positioned for views of the water. The large bathroom with ocean views has a deep soaking tub, separate shower with multiple jets, double vanity and spacious walk-in closet.
The recently reflagged Regent Palms Turks & Caicos officially unveiled its new look at the beginning of the year, and when we visited in October, we considered it one of the best properties we'd seen in the Caribbean this year. It is perfect for couples looking for an unspoiled destination in the Caribbean, with peace and quiet on just about every inch of its 12 acres. We stayed in room 4203, a one-bedroom Oceanview Suite. Although it is not the highest category, we highly recommend it. It comes with two balconies--one leading from the dining room and another leading from the bedroom. One balcony has a small bed and overlooks the property's serpentine infinity pool with partial views of the ocean. The other is off to the side of the pool. We were greeted with a fruit and cookie basket and a bottle of water on ice upon our arrival. Check-in was done in our room, which costs between $625 and $1,800 depending on the season.
We also checked out room 5504, a three-bedroom Oceanfront Penthouse that costs $2,600-$6,500 a night. It could also be closed off into a one- or two-bedroom penthouse. It's similar in design to the Oceanview Suite but offers more space. Its best feature is its outdoor Jacuzzi with a front-and-center view of the ocean. (JP)