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April 2008
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The Stay List: Caribbean
Photo by Discovery at Marigot Bay, St. Lucia
Photo: Discovery at Marigot Bay, St. Lucia
Minimalist-style rooms greet guests at St. Lucia's Discovery at Marigot Bay.

Bucuti Beach Resort, Aruba
Elegant gem on tranquil strip of otherwise built-up Eagle Beach. Airy, whitewashed buildings blend with natural surroundings. Each guest room comes with balcony, Wi-Fi, refrigerator, and Aruba Aloe toiletries. The resort's native flora has been labeled for guest education, thanks to owner Ewald Biemans, a pioneer for environmental awareness. 63 rooms, 41 suites; $210-495.

Compass Point Beach Resort, Bahamas
A splash of bold-hued Bahamian Junkanoo culture just a ten-minute drive from Nassau airport, with 18 Crayola-colored huts overlooking Love Beach and a breezy dining porch. Cobblestone pathways lead to rooms with flat-screen TVs and air-conditioning. Private decks and ocean views. Wi-Fi in common areas. 18 huts; $215-500.

The Cove at Eleuthera, Bahamas
Secluded stuff-of-dreams pink-sand beach resort on the two-mile-wide (3.2-kilometer) island of Eleuthera—on its western side, which is good news for those who love to watch the sun set behind the sea. Custom-blended mango toiletries. Hilltop swimming pool. Wi-Fi on the beach, but don't expect to find a television or telephone in your guest room. 26 rooms; $235-995.

Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada
Boutique open-air getaway on white-sand Grand Anse Beach remains proudly family-run. Tastefully furbished in 2005 with subdued, sophisticated decor in shades of nutmeg, cinnamon, paprika, and saffron after the island's age-old spice industry. Salt-purified swimming pools. All-inclusive rate covers meals, cocktails, golfing green fees, kayaks, small catamarans. 64 rooms; $635-1,600.

Jake's Resort, Jamaica
Bohemian boutique resort in Treasure Beach, a small fishing village on the island's less developed south coast. Eclectic collection of rooms and villas. Outdoor daybeds, hammocks, bathtubs; headboards with inlaid seashells and glass. Two restaurants dedicated to showcasing real-deal Jamaican fare. Saltwater pool. Massage hut. Boat trips to the Pelican Bar, a thatched-roof, on-stilts hut planted on a sandbar. 45 rooms; $95-950.

Villa Montaña Beach Resort, Puerto Rico
Plantation-style enclave on three miles (4.8 kilometers) of quiet beach. Gardens, limestone cliffs, and palm trees with indigenous green parrots set the scene for the tiled, pastel-pretty rooms and villas. Outdoor showers. Breezy verandas. Organic produce plantings for the kitchen. Allied with the Caribbean Conservation Corporation's sea turtle adoption program. 83 units; $160-1,200.

Hotel El Convento, Puerto Rico
Former 17th-century Carmelite convent in Old San Juan. The look: yellow-and-white exterior, black-and-white-checkered lobby floors, mahogany beams, Andalusian tiles, and marble bathrooms. The goods: rooftop pool, marble bathrooms, beach access. 64 rooms; $210-1,500.

Hix Island House, Puerto Rico
Minimalist Vieques beach retreat on 13 acres (5.3 hectares) of Puerto Rico as it used to be. Fruit trees, indigenous plants, wild horses, roaming cattle. Loft apartments in concrete houses designed to celebrate natural-world beauty. Private baths, outdoor showers, yoga studio. No surprise: no clocks, phones, radios, TVs. 13 rooms; $185-310.

The Buccaneer, St. Croix
Former cattle estate covering 340 oceanfront acres (138 hectares). Vestiges of centuries past include 18th-century sugar mill and 17th-century French great house with breezeways and bonnet-accommodating arches. Plenty of oceanfront guest rooms; main building sits breezily atop a hill. Vintage-style cocktails. Art classes. 138 rooms; $280-995.

Discovery at Marigot Bay, St. Lucia
Open since 2006. Cool-design minimalist-style rooms on hillsides overlooking what James Michener called the Caribbean's most beautiful bay. Landscaping—still young—reads like a clever study in local flora (plants near rooms repel insects, for example). Paris-quality croissants served at breakfast; for dinner, take a two-minute solar-powered ferry ride to Rainforest Hideaway, an outdoor culinary paradise. Spa. 35 rooms and 57 suites; $330-2,750.

Footprints Eco Resort and Spa, Tobago
Blend-into-the-scenery native wood (some recycled) villas and beachfront rooms on the edge of Culloden Reef—prime snorkeling and diving. Resort mantra: renew, reuse, recycle. Monarch butterfly–rearing program, bird-watching, and hiking trails. Solar-heated jetted tubs; spa treatments inspired by native remedies. Guests can get involved in reforestation efforts by planting or adopting a tree. 4 rooms, 3 multi-room villas; $95-322.

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