5 hot hotels for merry-making
Want to get away with your best friends? Celebrate a birthday in style? Or just have a good Christmas party? Then fly off to one of these fun-filled retreats, says Joe Shooman
1 Langley Resort Fort Royal, Guadeloupe
BEST FOR… A TRIO OR DUO
WHERE: LIEU DIT PETIT BAS VENT, DESHAIES
ROOM RATES: FROM €135
INFO: +590 590 68 76 70; www.langleyhotels.eu/en/our-hotels/resort-fort-royal
Trio’s or duo’s are the order of the night at this gorgeous Guadeloupe bolthole on Friday and Saturday evenings. Expect to hear music playing at both the Kawann Beach Bar and Le Royal Restaurant – traditional and international sounds to get the party started, whatever the reason for your gathering.
There’s more to this resort than just music. Rooms, from sea-view doubles to beachfront bungalows, are bright and spacious; the large doubles and mini-suites suit families and small groups. You can count on air-conditioning, TV, WiFi, safes and 24-hour reception throughout, and the resort is wheelchair-friendly, too. Group activities on offer include tennis, petanque, kids’ club, scuba, yoga and excursions – perfect for parties.
2 Windjammer Landing, St Lucia
BEST FOR… EXPERIENCES
WHERE: LABRELOTTE BAY, CASTRIES
ROOM RATES: FROM US$169
INFO: +1 877 522 0722, www.windjammer-landing.com
If it’s conviviality and group thrills you’re after, look no further than this luxurious St Lucian retreat, where you can arrange a huge variety of Jammin’ Tours. You and your buddies can pick from a menu of gondola tours, volcano visits, plantation explorations, bean-to-bar chocolate-fests, and whale- and dolphin-watching excursions via sailboats, jeeps, planes, helicopters or a mix of all of them. This range of experiences makes a stay here memorable, to say the least.
The resort occupies a fantastic spot, with 64,000 square feet of white-sand beachfront, six swimming pools, a kids’ club and WiFi access throughout. Plus, if you book the Premium All-Inclusive option, you get windsurfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, watersports lessons, scuba diving sessions and more, as well as unlimited food and drink in four bars and five restaurants. There’s a super spa, too, which sprawls over 5,000 square feet and has a private Japanese Soaker Tub and outdoor shower. Recreation and relaxation – the perfect group celebration.
3 Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, St Maarten
BEST FOR… GAMING
WHERE: RHINE ROAD, MAHO BAY
ROOM RATES: FROM US$227
INFO: +1 721 545 2115; www.sonesta.com
There’s enough gaming at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino and Spa to keep even a whole family of James Bonds happy. Some 21,000 square feet of it, to be exact – including 400 slot machines and 22 tables at which you can play roulette, craps, baccarat, blackjack and poker. There’s a private ‘high-roller’ area for those who have big bucks to spend, while the biggest venue in the region – the Casino Royale Theater – hosts Vegas-style productions.
At the heart of Maho Village’s shopping and nightlife district, Sonesta Maho is in a perfect place for frolics and merrymaking. The 10-acre resort sits on the southwest shore of the island and, as well as the casino, boasts five restaurants, a menu of daytime activities and night-time entertainment, a pizzeria, a fitness centre and an indulgent spa. The 420 guest rooms and suites all have private balconies with seating and are designed with a chic, contemporary feel and Caribbean accents. The modern bathrooms have glass-enclosed baths, rainshower heads and switchable glass tint for privacy. All mod cons are to hand, from wireless music players to satellite TV; in the premier rooms and suites, you get liquor and beer. Odds are you’re going to love it.
4 El San Juan Hotel, Puerto Rico
BEST FOR… COOL CLUBBING
WHERE: ISLA VERDE AVENUE, CAROLINA
ROOM RATES: FROM US$232
INFO: +1 787 791 1000; www.elsanjuanhotel.com
Recently renovated, and just five minutes from Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, the glamorous El San Juan Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton is perfectly located for travel convenience, brilliant beach-life and hard partying. Indeed, Puerto Rico’s top nightclub, BRAVA, is right on site. Having undergone a redesign by Mark Lehmkul, BRAVA boasts elegant décor, atmospheric lighting and pumping sound systems to create a matchless energy, as well as offering more chilled-out, upscale lounge elegance, too. This is the place to mingle with locals, friends and fellow guests, while live DJs play the best tunes.
If you prefer a different vibe, no problem. The hotel also has a family-run trattoria, a hip Rum Bar and Meat Market, and a NYC-style steakhouse. The fantastic Chandelier Bar offers classy cocktails while fine Puerto Rican flavours are created at Caña by chef Juliana Gonzalez.
Guest rooms and suites are designed by the award-winning Jeffrey Beers and include accessible rooms, executive rooms in island style and stylish suites with floor-to-ceiling windows. Ask about connecting rooms if travelling with friends or family. All in all, this is the place for dance addicts with style.
5 Hotel Yellow Bird, Barbados
BEST FOR… NIGHTLIFE
WHERE: ST LAWRENCE GAP, CHRIST CHURCH
ROOM RATES: FROM US$117
INFO: +1 246 622 8444; www.yellowbirdbarbados.com
The best of the famous St Lawrence Gap nightlife is within walking distance of the chic and intimate Yellow Bird. As well as countless restaurants and bars, you’ve got Dover Beach on which you and your friends can relax the morning after a big night out. It’s also only a five-minute drive from the world-famous Oistin’s Fish Fry.
Rooms are fresh and cheery, with luxurious bathrooms. For large families or small groups, pick the Penthouse Suite, which adjoins the neighbouring Deluxe Studio – the two can combine to make a three-bedroom suite. Or treat yourself to the Top Floor Deluxe, which has a private roof deck with sweeping views of the sea.
The On the Bay poolside restaurant serves breakfast until noon – and there’s even a Mimosa Breakfast package. Celebrating in style is good value, too, thanks to the hotel’s twice-daily happy hour – 12 noon-1pm and 5pm-7pm – which you can enjoy while tucking into traditional Bajan, gluten-free or halal meals.