Five Easy Weekend Escapes to the Caribbean

(Bloomberg) -- It’s not usually in the summer that we dream of the Caribbean. Rather, it’s the long stretches of dreary winter that turn our thoughts to these 7,000 sun-soaked islands and their splendid hospitality. But it turns out right now is the best time to plan your next trip. The parts of the region most affected by last year’s hurricanes—about a third of the islands in all—are getting back on their feet, and those destinations that were spared are more enticing than ever.

Book now for the best prices on winter trips, using this week’s series of articles to find the getaway that’s right for you.

Grenada

Even though it’s a year-round destination and clear of the hurricane belt, this 135-square-mile island remains remarkably underdeveloped. That will change a bit in November with the opening of Silversands Grenada (from $800 a night), which has 44 expansive suites done in pale marble and blond wood. Lounge on sugar-soft Grand Anse Beach, hike through the rain forest to the Seven Sisters waterfall, or tour Belmont Estate, a 400-year-old plantation that still produces cocoa and nutmeg.

St. Barts

A recent partnership between United Airlines and the regional Tradewind Aviation means you can get to this French overseas -territory from San Juan, Puerto Rico, in an hour—without double trips to the check-in counter and baggage claim. While many luxury hotels are closed for renovations until fall, one that is open is also among the most -exciting: the new eco-chic Hotel Manapany (from $678). Located on quiet Anse des Cayes Beach, it offers 43 -tropical-wood bungalows, a fleet of electric cars, and thrilling wreck-diving expeditions.

St. Kitts

Delta has added weekly nonstops to this West Indies oasis from New York, plus more -frequent flights from Atlanta. You’ll land near one of the region’s hottest -arrivals, Park Hyatt St. Kitts (from $500), where all 126 rooms have a private balcony. The hotel’s restaurant, Fisherman’s Village, is modeled on the thatched huts that once lined the Kittitian coast; it serves just-caught conch on pretzel rolls with tangy sauce gribiche.

Barbados

A surge in development is making Barbados, already affordable and well-served by flights, even more attractive. If you stay in a beachfront junior suite at the just--renovated Fairmont Royal Pavilion (from $371), you’ll get priority through immigration and customs. Two other recent additions: Nikki Beach Barbados, with the brand’s reliable daytime party scene, and Tapestry, an adults-only restaurant serving Bajan tapas such as West Indian coffee-rubbed beef.

Bonaire

This Dutch isle, popular with Europeans and cruise-goers, is set to welcome more U.S. travelers in June, when American Airlines opens up daily nonstops from Miami. At Delfins Beach Resort (from $160), ocean-to-table dinners come courtesy of Jonnie and Thérèse Boer, purveyors of Holland’s three-Michelin-star De Librije restaurant. Work up an appetite exploring the island’s 86 dive sites or windsurfing on Sorobon Beach, a hangout for the sport’s world champs. 

And for a little extra effort ...

Canouan—the island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines where the billionaires go to escape the millionaires—is getting ever-so-slightly more egalitarian. This summer it welcomes Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s Pink Sands Club (from $1,400), where the 26 opulent suites have dressing rooms, rainfall showers, and views of Godahl Beach. Guests can also book one of three fully crewed yachts for private explorations of the surrounding archipelago. 

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