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The Caribbean's Finest

Our panel of travel experts pick their favorite destinations across the region, and the best hotels, restaurants and golf courses on each island
Larry Olmsted
From the Print Edition:
Ernie Els, November/December 2012

(continued from page 3)

TIE: Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos

The BodyHoliday LeSport, St. Lucia La Prairie Spa at Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman Spas are high on the list of must-do activities in the Caribbean and just about every top resort large and small has one, but these three stood out. Spa fanatic Becca Hensley describes Parrot Cay as “the most paradisiacal sanctuary. Deeply spiritual, airy and ethereal.” BodyHoliday also won our best all-inclusive in large part because of its spa treatments and fitness classes, while La Prairie was just another winning touch for the oft acclaimed Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, which panelists ranked among the best for overall facilities.

Best Golf, Caribbean

Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic

Considering how much excellent golf there is in the Caribbean, on so many different islands—including the rest of the Dominican Republic—what is astounding was the scale of Casa de Campo’s runaway victory. As our resident golf guru, Baum explains, “There’s still no beating Casa de Campo. With its four Pete Dye courses, the resort could be christened the ‘Kohler of the Caribbean,’ but with year-round unbeatable weather. Dye has designed many world-class layouts, but Teeth of the Dog remains his absolute favorite. Enough said.” The other three courses, including the excellent Dye Fore, don’t hurt the resort’s position as the Caribbean’s king of golf.

Honorable Mention: Green Monkey, Sandy Lane, Barbados. While Casa de Campo was heralded for its collection of layouts, our experts were blown away by the Tom Fazio–designed and very exclusive Green Monkey as a single course. “It’s not just the best course in the Caribbean, it’s one of the best in the world,” said Larry Olmsted.

Best Beach, Caribbean

TIE: Shoal Bay Anguilla; Grace Bay, Turks & Caicos

While write-in Grace Bay was singled out for excellence by the same number of panelists as Shoal Bay, Anguilla, which easily ran away with the title of best beach island. In addition to the winners, our experts vocally argued for several other beaches here as the Caribbean’s best, including Meads Bay, Rendezvous Bay and Cap Juluca.

Former Caribbean Travel & Life editor Veronica Stoddart describes Shoal Bay beach as, “Two miles of bone-white sand that is as soft as cotton, with translucent water featuring shimmering ‘bands’ of turquoise, aqua and azure. There are also beautiful iridescent offshore reefs, that are perfect for snorkeling, so is it any wonder this idyllic strand helped put Anguilla on the world tourism map?” MoonRings’ Wallace calls Grace Bay, “Rivaled perhaps only by Whitehaven Beach in Australia’s Whitsundays.”

Island by Island Best

Cayman Islands

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