Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, travel journalist and editor of JetSetSarah.com
Where to go: Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon can’t imagine a more romantic escape than Petit St. Vincent, a 115-acre private-island resort in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Getting there takes some work — typically, you’d fly into Barbados, then hop onto a private plane to Union Island, then take a boat — but the worthwhile effort just adds to the ambience, according to the Miami-based writer. On the secluded island, you’ll find over three kilometres of white sand beaches, swaying palm trees and verdant tropical woodland. “It’s the quintessential Caribbean fantasy,” she says. “It’s posh but not pretentious, and very laid back.”
Where to stay: Petit St. Vincent has just 22 one- and two-bedroom cottages and villas scattered along the beachfront and on the island’s hills, so you’ll have plenty of alone time. Every guest house is equipped with a roomy outdoor deck, furnished with loungers and a hammock. Outside each, you’ll also find a bamboo mailbox and flagpole — hoist the yellow flag to get the staff’s attention and they’ll know to check for a note with your requests; raise the red flag and you’ll be left on your own.
What to do: Grab a rum punch at Goatie’s Bar, the beachfront hut that frequently sees yachters pulling up, or enjoy sunset dinners of freshly grilled seafood and Trinidadian curries at the resort’s main pavilion restaurant. Greaves-Gabbadon also recommends hiking up Marni Hill to the spa for a couples massage and joining one of the guided sailing trips to the Tobago Cays, where you can explore coral reefs and swim with the turtles.
Natalie Preddie, lifestyle and travel expert and writer
Where to go: Saint Lucia is, in a word, “enchanted,” says Toronto-based writer Natalie Preddie. “Everything feels magical and picturesque. It feels like it’s not real.” She especially enjoys the stunning views of the mountainous Eastern Caribbean island — home to steamy volcanic beaches and reef-diving sites — and loves that so many of the properties have been designed to blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. “I’ve been there twice with my husband, and all the activities felt catered just to us.”
Where to stay: On the island’s southwest coast, check out Jade Mountain, a resort whose guest rooms resemble luxe, cavelike sanctuaries, with open fourth walls to show off the views and dazzling infinity pools. Preddie is also fond of the nearby Ladera Resort, with 37 intimate rooms and suites that also feature open walls and private plunge pools.
What to do: Hiking up Gros Piton, one of two volcanic spires near Soufrière, Saint Lucia, is phenomenal, says Preddie, while the Gros Islet Friday fish fry on the island’s north coast is a massive weekly party that brings out both locals and tourists for a night of food and dancing. And Preddie can’t forget the destination’s world-famous chocolate (the tropical climate is ideal for growing cacao): visit Hotel Chocolat’s Rabot Hotel, also in Soufrière, which doubles as a cacao farm and offers chocolate-focused menus at both its on-site restaurant and spa.