Hot hotels for the rainy season
Don’t let rain stop play! Seek out these special places that are perfect whatever the weather, says Joe Shooman
1 Club Med Caravelle, Guadeloupe
Best for… Family fun
Where: Sainte-Anne 97180, Grande Terre
Room rates: FROM US$199
Info: +1 888 932 2582; www.clubmed.us
Don’t let the rain stop your family holiday – just pick the right spot. The whole brood will find a lot to do at Caravelle, where a host of clubs and activities are included in the rate.
Petit Club Med hosts creative and artistic activities for toddlers, including special lunches; Mini Club Med (ages 4-10) includes dance, arts and crafts, tennis and other sports plus dinners with friends; Junior Club Med (for teenagers) runs during French school holidays, with a range of entertainment, films, shows and indoor activities. The resort has one of the largest Sports Schools in the world, offering everything from flying trapeze to Pilates, table tennis and weights rooms. It even has a Baby Gym and Little Circus for the tots, managed by qualified, engaging staff.
The suites and rooms are well appointed with TVs, CD players and espresso machines. But you won’t want to stay in your room when there are so many bars and restaurants to try. When the weather clears, you can head to Sainte-Anne’s excellent Thursday market and beach.
The hotel will undergo some renovations at the end of August; work will be done in stages so the resort can remain open.
2 Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua
Best for… Romantic escapes
Where: Gray’s Farm Main Road, Five Islands Village
Room rates: FROM US$530
Info: +1 954 949 2142;
At the Green Globe-certified, adults-only Galley Bay, nature is always at the forefront. And hey – you can’t have all that gorgeous greenery without a fair amount of liquid sunshine. So when the rain comes, welcome it. Chill out indoors and watch the lushness grow before your eyes. Or just embrace it while staying dry: zen it up in the new covered yoga pavilion, which faces the beach.
There are 98 rooms spread across this expansive 40-acre resort. We love the Gauguin Suites, secluded cottages with private plunge pools looking out onto Galley Bay’s incredible lagoon. They’re ideal for relaxing with a book as you listen to the soft patter of raindrops on the thatched roofs.
Add to that a host of live entertainment, an excellent, high-spec gym, three lounges, a great wine list and an authentic rum shack, there’s plenty to keep everyone busy, whatever the weather.
3 Courtyard Marriott, Trinidad
Best for… Business deals
Where: Invaders Bay, Audrey Jeffers Highway, Port of Spain
Room rates: FROM US$175
Info: +1 868 627 5555; www.marriott.com
The Courtyard Marriott in Trinidad is set up superbly for business and leisure travel alike, so you can actually enjoy your work trip. There are three meeting rooms and lots of event space with top-end AV equipment plus an event-planning team – opportunities for conferences and gatherings are flexible, and dealt with by top professionals. The hotel also has all the facilities you’d expect: free high-speed WiFi in all the rooms, access to printing, delivery, copying, faxing, messenger and posting services.
Customised catering is also available, though you might find it tricky to tear yourself away from Centro, the in-house restaurant, which serves superb Trini flavours. After a hard day of work, shake off any frustrations and stresses with a workout in the Fitness Centre, which has cardio machines and free weights. The hotel is well situated, too, near the downtown area. Unlike the Queen’s Park Oval around the corner, rain won’t stop play here.
4 Pagua Bay House, Dominica
Best for… Boutique seclusion
Where: Hatton Garden, Marigot
Room rates: FROM US$200
Info: +1 767 612 6068; www.paguabayhouse.com
Luxury and immersion in nature don’t always go together. But the cabanas and suites at Pagua Bay step up to the plate. There’s something about lying in a cabana on the oceanfront while the rain descends, just enjoying the moment of pure relaxation, that cleanses the soul. Sometimes holidays are over-packed, with charging to the next event or the next meal. The purpose of a vacation, though, is also to unwind. And for that, Pagua Bay is perfect.
Take the beds. King-size walnut platform beds with custom-made mattresses, high-thread-count luxury linens, hypoallergenic pillows – a wonderful night’s sleep is almost guaranteed. Rooms also have beautiful Brazilian tiger-wood floors, furnishings from the likes of Eames and Herman Miller, and flat-screen TVs. Bathrooms are heavenly, with huge walk-in showers, environmentally sensitive products, Italian waffle-weave Frette robes and indulgently soft towels. There’s nowhere better to just switch off. Even if it’s not raining outside, you’ll want to get wet here!
5 Olga’s Fancy, USVI
Best for… Food and culture
Where: Honduras 8, St Thomas
Room rates: FROM US$89
Info: +1 340 643 4247; www.olgasfancy.com
LIAT is relaunching its route to St Thomas from July, and this atmospheric hideaway – freshly recovered from 2017’s hurricanes – is an ideal base for your visit. Especially if you’re after awesome eats and intriguing culture.
Olga’s Fancy is a bijou hillside hideaway in the Frenchtown area of St Thomas, a smallish fishing village with 200 years of West Indian/Breton history – find out more in the nearby French Heritage Museum. The colourful centre of Charlotte Amalie is just down the hill but you don’t have to leave the hotel for dramatic views of Hassel Island, Water Island and St Thomas Harbour.
There are a handful of rooms with pool or ocean views, the latter featuring a private deck; all rooms have air conditioning, cable TV, WiFi and fridges. There’s impromptu live music courtesy of Skye, a former coconut-tree climber now installed as the hotel’s resident jazz/blues guitarist. New for 2018 is the Love Spa. Frenchtown has some of the Caribbean’s best food – inspired by French techniques, filtered through West Indian soul.