5 hot hotels with cool bars
Check in at these sweet sleeps across the Caribbean, where the bars are just built for a lime
1. Petit St Vincent, St Vincent & the Grenadines
Best for… Serene sunsets
Where: Petit St Vincent Island
Rates: from US$1,100
Info: +954 963 7401, www.petitstvincent.com
This private island resort, just off the Grenadines’ Union Island, is a haven of unpretentious luxury. A scattering of 22 gorgeous cottages and villas occupy Petit St Vincent, a lush atoll ringed by almost two miles of white sand. With no TVs, no phones and limited Wi-Fi, it’s a proper escape from 21st-century bustle. The resort also happens to have a fantastic beach bar.
Goatie’s, located just next to the resort’s laid-back beach restaurant, is a sea-breeze-tickled enclave of comfy sofas and rattan loungers that nudges into the turquoise water. It’s named after Goatie, a long-serving staff member who was key in helping to build the resort back in the 1960s. The island has come a long way since. Now, Goatie’s namesake bar is the perfect place to relax with a locally brewed Hairoun Beer or nutmeg-spiced rum punch and watch the sun go down.
2. El San Juan Resort & Casino, Puerto Rico
Best for… Dancing all night
Where: 6063 Isla Verde Avenue, Carolina
Rates: from US$369
Info: +787 791 1000; www.elsanjuanhotel.com
This newly refurbished Curio by Hilton hotel is situated on the gorgeous Isla Verde, which has been voted the top urban beach in the United States (though the island is technically a US territory, rather than a state – but who’s quibbling?). It is home to Club BRAVA, which is considered one of Puerto Rico’s top night spots, with DJs, dancing and cocktails throughout the night – well, until 5am. There’s also a lively casino and a fab cocktail bar in the lobby, where a huge crystal chandelier adds real sparkle. Live bands have been known to play here, so keep an eye out for entertainment options. Some of the enormous windows of the Tower Guest Rooms give views of the nearby El Yunque rainforest, the ocean or the Isla Verde area itself, while the Banyan Villas are plush, with free Wi-Fi.
3. Marriott Hotel Georgetown, Guyana
Best for… Sealing the deal
Where: Block Alpha, Battery Rd
Rates: from US$273
Info: +592 231 2480; www.marriott.com
Modern, clean and chic, this big-chain hotel in the Guyanese capital is designed for the business traveller. However, the classy atmosphere of its Great Room restaurant and bar makes it an excellent place to slip in some pleasure alongside work. The bar’s floor-to-ceiling windows are designed to let in as much of that gorgeous South American/Caribbean sunshine as possible, so you can enjoy the outside while you sit in, using the zippy-swift Wi-Fi or enjoying a drink or two.
The hotel is well set up for conferences, with over 10,000 square feet of space available for meetings. It’s also close to the historic centre of Georgetown so you can take a stroll if all the high powered deal-making gets a little overpowering. And you can work off any stresses at the well-appointed and modern fitness centre. All bases duly covered – including a cocktail nightcap at the poolside bar.
One of the main attractions of True Blue Bay’s Dodgy Dock bar is that you can get to it by boat – and yes, the dock is perfectly operational! The lounge bar is open daily from 7am to 11pm, and there’s live music on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tuesdays showcase Grenada’s favourite tunes as well as its signature dishes, including oil down – the rib-sticking, dumpling-laden stew. Wednesdays are street-food night, and Thursdays blend the best of Mexico and the Caribbean – the margaritas are legendary. Saturdays have a calypso vibe, while the barbecue gets fired up. The resort itself has a big emphasis on sustainability, with solar water heaters, biodegradable packaging and other green initiatives.
5. La Créole Beach Hotel & Spa, Guadeloupe
Best for… Rum!
Where: Pointe de la Verdure, Gosier
Rates: from US$260
Info: +590 904 646; www.creolebeach.com
Amidst a gorgeous garden resplendent with hibiscus and bougainvillea, you’ll find a hotel perfectly situated for discovering nature. More than that, La Créole’s bar, La Rhumerie, showcases the best of the archipelago’s rums, with some spectacularly aged sipping rums and a classy set of cocktails. All of them go down a treat with the accompanying acras – the local speciality of fish or vegetable fritter, a little like a savoury, bite-size doughnut. Jazz bands regularly accompany the sound of clinking glasses, laughter and yum-yum noises that tend to emanate from the happy residents dining in this elegantly appointed and sleek spot.