While there are new requirements for travel — such as the mandated wearing of masks on all public transportation, including commercial aircraft and proof of a negative COVID test upon return to the United States — international travel (to select destinations) is an option. Always a popular getaway for Americans — especially those on the East Coast or Southeast — is the Caribbean. The good news: Islands are open and new hotels are welcoming U.S. travelers.
Saba Rock, British Virgin Islands
While not technically “new,” it might as well be: Saba Rock, the iconic island resort in the British Virgin Islands is officially reopening this spring, following a complete rebuild after the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Following those hurricanes, the property has been working to rebuild from scratch and revitalize its charm. Upon reopening, visitors can expect the same laidback island vibe that made Saba Rock famous — just with a sleek new design that celebrates the beauty of the BVIs.
The “transformation” includes a complete rebuild of the entire island resort. The new contemporary design aesthetic offers a fresh take on the destination’s nautical lifestyle, with the resort’s seven guestrooms and two suites reflecting the same design concept. Design elements depict such water-based adventures as diving, kiteboarding and windsurfing.
In addition to the new accommodations, Saba will offer elevated resort amenities and services, including a bar and restaurant on the lower lever with an eclectic menu of Caribbean-fusion cuisine, as well as a Happy Hour Bar and Lounge on the upper deck, which can be rented out for private events. Other onsite amenities include a dive shop, retail boutique, spa with select services, full-service marina and a kiteboarding and kitesurfing school.
Located on a one-acre cay in North Sound of Virgin Gorda, Saba Rock was made famous by diving pioneer Herbert “Bert” Kilbride in the 1960s. Guests can enjoy a variety of aquatic offerings, including snorkeling, diving, kitesurfing, boating and more. Reservation will open soon.
A rendering of a bar at Saba Rock, which will officially reopen this spring, following a complete renovation.
Live Aqua Beach Resort Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
If a larger, all-inclusive resort is more your speed, check this out: La Colección Resorts by Fiesta Americana debuted Live Aqua Beach Resort Punta Cana in early February — the brand’s first outside of Mexico. The all-inclusive, adults-only resort is located on the northern shores of Uvero Alto in the Dominican Republic and offers accommodations with swim-up and private pools, an array of amenities and entertainment, zen gardens, a private beach and more.
There are 347 avant-garde suites in eight different categories; these include such signature Live Aqua brand elements as: Freestanding bathtubs; beds designed by the America Mattress Traveler Collection; 400-thread count cotton bedding; Molton Brown amenities; aromatherapy kits; pillow menus; luxe bathrobes and slippers, and more. Select Junior Suites offer swim-up access from main swimming pools, while others offer complete exclusivity with private swimming pools and terraces.
Live Aqua Beach Resort Punta Cana has an expansive linear pool, which leads to a private beach. Here, guests can choose to partake in recreational activities or simply take in the sun. The Feel Harmony Spa offers a variety of treatments and water circuits, while a fitness center offers high-quality equipment and fitness classes.
Additionally, guests have seven restaurants and eight bars to choose from. Among the variety includes Mediterranean, Japanese, Italian, sports bar tapas, French, a cevicheria and local Dominican Republic gastronomy. Guests can also enjoy daily line-ups of entertainment, including a disco and theater bar for the evening hours.
The resort is just 30 minutes from the Punta Cana International Airport and 20 minutes away from the Bavaro city center. Nearby attractions include numerous golf courses, the historical town of Higuey, the 16th-century Mediterranean village Altos de Chavón overlooking the river, and the city of La Romana, among others.
The Tryall Club, Jamaica
For guests looking for their own space, consider one of these new villas: The Tryall Club, private villa retreat set on 2,200 acres in Jamaica, debuted two new luxury villas in February, the 11,000-square-foot Oceans 8 and the five-bedroom Bella Vista. Guests can indulge in custom private dining experiences, lounge poolside with the family, or experience The Club’s golf course, tennis club or new luxury Beach Club. Good to know: Each villa has its own dedicated team and personal chef to tailor guests’ stay.
The Oceans 8 villa boasts a zen-inspired design with an expansive open layout that allows for guests to feel as if they are always outdoors. The heart of the villa is the spacious living area, which overlooks the Caribbean Sea and is outfitted with sophisticated décor and artwork sourced from local craftsmen and artisans.
The centerpiece of the outdoor space is the infinity-edge pool complete with a round jacuzzi spa that intersects at one end, and a fire feature at the opposite end. There’s also a terrace for dining al fresco with seating for up to 12 guests complete; adjacent is a sit-down bar area.
Each of the villa’s six-bedroom suites has its own private bathroom. The villa’s Master Bedroom additionally has its own private outdoor garden space with a large jacuzzi and shower. The Children’s Playroom has a large wall-mounted TV and games, including Xbox, Pac-Man Classic, foosball and a Ping Pong Classic machine. And, if need be, the playroom can be converted into a seventh bedroom, including two sofas that transform into bunk beds and a decorative wall feature with a set of bunk beds all its own.
The Tryall Club is a private villa retreat set on 2,200 acres in Jamaica.
At Bella Vista, there are four en-suite bedrooms with private porches, two private outdoor showers, along with soaking tubs, swinging benches and numerous indoor and outdoor dining options. Outfitted with the latest wellness amenities, the villa has a separate private wellness building complete with premium gym equipment, a plunge pool, a fifth bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and viewing platform. Inside, the villa is exquisitely curated with locally sourced handmade mahogany and teak furniture and such features as hand-sanded floors and artwork created by Jamaica’s most noteworthy artists. All facing the sea, the villa’s four bedrooms are outfitted with custom Italian bed linens and Italian marble in each en-suite bathroom. For entertainment, guests can enjoy the villa’s game room, complete with a card and pool table, take a swim in the infinity pool, or lay out in the sun.