The New York Times (7 November 2014) travel section presents a series of budget, mid-range, and high-end inns in a broad variety of Caribbean countries: Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saba, Mexico, Nicaragua, St. Kitts, Anguilla, and Cayman Islands. See excerpts below:
Jack Sprat Shack, Jamaica: An addition to the quirky and more expensive Jakes resort on Treasure Beach on the south shore, the solar-powered Jack Sprat Shack houses 17 bunk beds in two newly built dormitories with locker-room-style shared bathrooms. Six private rooms, configured for two or four people, include their own private baths. All guests of the hostel-like housing share a communal kitchen on the property and, across the road, have access to Jack Sprat Beach and the restaurants at Jakes. (Shack guests can even charge meals to their bunk.) Though intended for sports teams and groups, the budget beds are also rented individually. Single bunks $25, double rooms from $140; jakeshotel.com. (Details not yet on website.)
[. . .] El Blok, Vieques, Puerto Rico [see photo above]: The quiet island of Vieques, six miles off Puerto Rico, gained an architectural showpiece when the 22-room El Blok opened last month. Sunlight filters through perforations in the curvaceous cast-iron and concrete facade, creating dappled patterns in halls and guest rooms and providing natural light within the energy-efficient building. Locally made plywood desks and sisal chairs furnish spare rooms featuring tile floors and rough plaster walls. The breezy design extends to the open-air second floor. It also has a 100-seat restaurant and a 40-seat bar, both from the acclaimed San Juan chef José Enrique, serving wood-grilled fish and house-made moonshine. Rooms from $194; elblok.com.
Queen’s Gardens Resort, Saba: A scuba diving and hiking hideaway, the volcanic Dutch island of Saba offers little flat land, making the new spa at Queen’s Gardens Resort, the island’s first, a unique dispensary of muscle relief. Last month, its two-story Frangipani Spa opened with two open-air treatment rooms offering everything from jet-lag and hot-stone massages to brown-sugar body scrubs, as well as a sauna, steam bath and Jacuzzi. The 12-room property resides on a hillside at 1,200 feet. Amenities include a pool, a restaurant and a terrace lounge shaded by a 100-year-old mango tree, so guests won’t have to hike out when post-therapy torpor sets in. Rooms from $230; queensaba.com.
Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa, Little Corn Island, Nicaragua: Nicaragua’s Pacific coast is more developed than its Caribbean side, but its two offshore Corn Islands, just over 40 miles from the mainland, provide a throwback, no-traffic-lights escape. On sleepy Little Corn, the stylish Yemaya Island Hideaway opened last December with 16 cabanas just steps from the beach, a yoga studio in the jungle, an open-air, organic-focused restaurant and a beach bar that serves both roasted pineapple margaritas and detox juices. The beach boutique is newly promoting “Happy Packs,” packages that bundle wellness offerings like yoga and kayaking with wish-list offerings from fried chicken dinners to organic gardening lessons ($195 per person per day). Rooms from $300, including breakfast; littlecornhotel.com.