At this time of year on the east coast, we are beginning to get over the beauty of the winter and are pining for those summer days once more. We love to dream up all of the places we could be, on a beach sipping cocktails, maybe even reading a book, and in our dreams we like to do it all in luxury. Sometimes, however, luxury is not as affordable as we would have hoped, though depending how great a transformation we experience, it may be just what we need.
Our friend Michelle from Azurine Travel has broken it all down for us. She's worked with us to choose resorts worthy of a splurge, featuring incredible ammenities you just cannot get elsewhere, as well as some more realistic options (special in their own right) with similar charisma at a more affordable price. Michelle knows we are picky about aesthetics and luckily she is too, choosing Bohemian, Architecturally Unique and Beach House resorts, that are all beautiful and unique. If you are looking for places with style, comfort and warm weather, we have all of the options laid out for you, with or without kids.
This family-owned and run boutique resort in St. Lucia is set within a 1500-acre former sugar plantation. The environment is festive yet romantic and private enough to be popular with honeymooners and couples. The style is an eclectic mix of Spanish, Caribbean and Mexican with a hint of Moorish influence and quite unique to the Caribbean. Located on a cove, Cap Maison boasts one of the most private beaches in St. Lucia, as well as arguably the finest restaurant on the island.
What makes it special: Champagne Zip Line: A wooden deck is built atop a tiny rock island accessed only by a wooden staircase. Drinks travel via zip-line to guests. The Cliff at Cap restaurant is renowned across the Caribbean for its delicious food. Tuesdays is Creole night focusing on local cuisine.
Family friendly? Cap Maison is family friendly for kids of all ages.
*Moomah reader offers: For stays of 1 to 3 nights guests receive one luncheon for two and a glass of wine per person. For stays of 4 days or more there is also a US$100 resort credit.
*Moomah reader exclusive: A sunset cruise on their luxury 46-foot motor yacht.
View Cap Maison's Website >>
This seven-room jewel in Tulum is as unique and stylish as its owners, Italian accessories designer Francesca Bonato and her husband Nicolas Malleville, a model, perfumer and architect.
Set directly on the beach, the stone walls, thatched roofs and gauzy fabrics lend to the rustic-chic vibe. They offer unique spa treatments such as a Mayan Clay and Blue experience and signature body rituals starting with a honey sea salt scrub, an aloe vera wrap and finishing with a candlelit warm coconut milk bath.
What makes it special: Coqui Coqui has their own line of products in the rooms, including coconut and vanilla infused body and hair treatments, all produced in their perfumery in Valladolid, Mexico. In the boutique, guests can also purchase Francesca’s line of accessories, Hacienda Montacristo including exquisite jewelry and shawls.
Family friendly? While family friendly, it is better suited to adults and may not be appropriate for younger children.
Fifteen pastel-hued bungalows surrounded by tropical vegetation dot the gently sloping hillside, offering the experience of having your own intimate beach house. Casual yet refined, Le Toiny is the most secluded property on St. Barth with exemplary service and a knockout restaurant headed by the first Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef in the Caribbean. Every suite has an ocean view & private pool and is incredibly spacious, ranging from 720 to 1200 square feet.
What makes it special: Well-appointed personal touches like Havaiana flip flops, a large selection of DVDs, a pre-loaded iPod and more. One guest loved the homemade mango, strawberry and chocolate-coconut jams served at breakfast so much that the chef vacuum sealed a bag for her to take home. Don't feel like heading to the restaurant every morning? Breakfast is made to order and delivered daily to each guest's private pool deck.
Family friendly? Though a wonderful adult getaway, Le Toiny welcomes children of all ages and takes great effort to provide all the amenities that parents need when vacationing with the kids. That said, the grounds are very quiet and there is no organized kids club.
*Moomah reader offers: $100 Food and Beverage credit.
Built in traditional Bajan style with only 9 rooms, this secluded and rustic two-story plantation-style guesthouse is located on the unspoiled eastern part of the Barbados called the Platinum Coast. Guests relax on the wrap-around veranda or in one of the many hammocks strung between the trees throughout the property. The German owner Uschi Wetzels, a former travel writer who fell in love with the area, delights with home cooked meals for the guests who all dine together. Sea-U is certified green and known for its relaxed pace and quiet atmosphere. Rooms are tv-free but don't worry, there is still wi-fi available.
What makes it special: The Sea-U is only a 10-minute walk from the town and pristine beach of Bathsheba. Here you have the infamous Soup Bowl, the islands biggest wave that pro surfer Kelly Slater called one of the top three waves in the world.
Family friendly? The hotel does not accept children under the age of 8 and you won’t find many families. A quick flight from the East Coast, Sea-U makes for a perfect long weekend away sans-kids that won't run your bank account dry.
This sophisticated and contemporary resort blends the clean lines, white walls and expanses of glass with dramatic contrasts of silver travertine and marble floors with retro-glam furnishings. The overall feel is glossy and elegant, yet the artsy pieces and vintage touches make it warm and welcoming. Combine this with striking views from seaside cliffs and the white-sand beaches of Barnes and Meads Bay and you have one perfect vacation spot. Not only is it a lavish resort of very high design, the Viceroy Anguilla also offers a dazzling array of amenities including an 8000 square foot spa, three championship tennis courts, a putting green, an NBA regulation basketball court and a rock climbing wall (not to mention your typical water sports, fitness center and saltwater infinity pool). They even have great family activities like scavenger hunts for the younger ones and steel pan drum lessons and beach bonfires for teens.
What makes it special: The chef does an amazing local crayfish and coconut rice. Crayfish (not to be confused with crawfish) are indigenous to Anguilla and have a rich and delicious taste, similar to a lobster texture.
Family friendly? Welcomes kids of all ages.
*Moomah reader offers: $100 Resort Credit and breakfast for two daily per bedroom (e.g. a 5-Bedroom Villa receives breakfast for 10).
Nestled in the tropical forests on the island of Vieques lies the eco-designed and environmentally sustainable Hix Island House. The uniquely designed, lofty open-faced casas are designed to conserve commercial energy, reduce repair and maintenance, minimize the use of chemicals, thus treading lightly on the Earth. It feels as if you’re living outdoors, yet each loft has indulgences like a fully stocked kitchenette, homemade breads, Frette linens, outdoor showers and Bodum coffee presses.
What makes it special: Though a short drive from the fantastic beaches of Vieques, this very special retreat is located atop one of the highest points of the island, offering beautiful vistas of this tiny island. Each Casa is designed so that you can't see any of the other houses and you feel as if you are completely alone. Infinity pool and open air yoga classes daily.
Family friendly? Due to the open plan, this resort does not accept children under 16. But let's be honest, this is a place is so serene and tranquil that it's not the place for them anyway. This is the perfect restorative spot for a quick trip with your partner or pall.
* PLEASE NOTE: to take advantage Moomah Reader Offers, trips must be booked through Azurine Travel