The Caribbean’s Lavish, Lesser-Known Vacation Villas
Beyond the busy resorts, hidden among the whispering tropical foliage, is a private, opulent Caribbean culture brimming with sumptuous villas and secluded hideaways. At these exquisite locations, guests enjoy unparalleled service and private yachts and chefs. Dive into the creamy blue waters at these luxurious villas and let your dreams carry you away upon the gossamer Caribbean clouds.
Nevaeh is “heaven” spelled backward, an apt name for this opulent villa in Anguilla. At this property, you and 15 of your friends will be immersed in luxury and indulgence thanks to your private chef and attentive staff. The villa is a playground of sensual delights. An infinity pool flows into a secluded grotto below, and at night the staff lights antique lanterns that line the pool and garden before they disappear into the darkness, leaving you to enjoy the warm night in private. Sporty groups will delight in the full gym, sea scooters, stand-up paddle boards, beach volleyball, kayaks, and the lighted Astroturf tennis court that doubles as a basketball court. If that’s too much, relax on your private beach with attentive staff members keeping you supplied with drinks, snacks, sunscreen and chilled towels. If you plan to soak up the sea air into the evening, they’ll even set up a candlelight dinner or a tiki-lit barbecue on the beach for you. luxuryretreats.com
East of the Windward Islands in the Caribbean is the paradise of Barbados. Many seasoned travelers prefer Barbados for its remote location. Perched atop Prospect Bay, St. James, is the newly built Villa Bonita, a shining 9,200-square-foot compound that can accommodate a group of 12. The villa, a work of art that represents the fusion of Caribbean living and modern architecture, has its own private beach just a staircase away. The property is fashioned in sleek white Italian marble, and you’ll love the state-of-the art TMI Italia kitchen and salt-water pool — along with your private chef, butler, housekeeper and laundress.
British Virgin Islands: Valley Trunk
The Baths of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands is regularly voted one of the best beaches in the world. But tucked just around the bend is an even more exclusive jewel, the private bay of Valley Trunk. This relatively unknown area of Virgin Gorda is home to a breathtaking estate that served as a private residence for 30 years. Now the 19-acre posh property, encompassing five suites and two separate villas, is available for rental. There is also a tennis court and pool, but the pièce de résistance is the 68-foot Xanadu yacht, which can be rented for deep-sea fishing excursions. At the end of each action-packed day, your group (up to 16) will be treated to exquisite meals prepared by a private chef, paired with top-shelf wines and spirits.
Canouan Island, the Grenadines: Il Sogno
Rising from the Grenadines is Canouan (pronounced ka-no wan), a little island that’s only 3.5 miles by 1.25 miles. Perched atop this tiny treasure is the villa Il Sogno. With incredible 360-degree views, you can watch the sunrise and the sunset, or just enjoy the light northeast breezes while poolside. The property has four separate villas, which makes Il Sogno a wonderful place for families and couples who want a bit more privacy. The island is known for its impeccable golf course that winds around picturesque cliffs and lush hillsides. canouan.com/rooms/il-sogno
St. Bart’s: Oasis de Salines
Many jetsetters say the French island of Saint Barthélemy (St. Bart’s) is the most fashionable in the Caribbean and La Grande Saline is considered one of its finest beaches. There, nestled among the palms and bougainvillea is the stylish Oasis de Salines villa. The main house has four bedrooms that are equipped with every hi-tech gadget a world traveler needs — or you can unplug and find a private corner in one of the beautifully designed nooks and hideaways that can be found throughout the house and gardens. Each space is uniquely draped in lush tropical vines; the property also features two guest villas that are perfect if you want a bit more seclusion. The villa is a swimmer’s paradise, with an 80-foot lap pool and a separate 40-foot pool with graded access, which is perfect for the little ones. stbarth.com/villas/detail/oasis/oasis-de-salines.
Turks and Caicos: The Sanctuary
Donna Karan, fashion designer and jetsetter, built a private sanctuary in Turks and Caicos. Karan loves Bali, but since it’s on the other side of the world, she decided to bring Bali to the Caribbean. Without sparing any expense, the designer commissioned Bali-based architect Yew Kuan Cheong to build her dream vacation home incorporating sections of Balinese buildings, banyan tree roots that look like sculptures, and rare artwork. A slice of the estate is her private villa while the rest of the opulent seven-
acre property is available for rent. There’s a main pavilion with three elegant bedroom suites plus two additional guest houses, each with four bedrooms and its own swimming pool. Take labyrinthine walks through the dense jungle while admiring the collection of fascinating artwork and Balinese structures. ultravilla.com
Teresa Rodriguez is a travel expert and the founder of tangodiva.com. She is also the author of several books, including Fly Solo: The 50 Best Places on Earth for a Girl to Travel Alone and Body, Mind and Solo: 7 Keys to Conquering the World Alone.