There's nothing like the anticipation of staying in a brand new resort hotel where everything is sparkling and new, and designers have gone all out to deliver the maximum WOW factor for vacationers. While new resort projects in the Caribbean have slowed in recent years, 2014 will see a number of premier properties open their doors. So if you're looking for bragging rights for being the first of your friends to experience this year's latest and greatest Caribbean resorts, here is a look at the top new Caribbean Resort Hotels for 2014:
True to it's advertising slogan "One Happy Island", Aruba has been charming vacationers with festive resorts and white-sand beaches for decades. Aruba is arguably the most popular Caribbean destination for hot sunny weather all winter long - even when cold January winds cool more northerly islands. This year Aruba welcomes the island's very first Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The much anticipated 320 room Ritz-Carlton Aruba opened in November on popular Palm Beach. The resort features expansive rooms and suites, all with private balconies and elegant decor. Four restaurants, two swimming pools, a vibrant 24 hour casino and elaborate spa facility round out the amenities. And of course, world-renowned Ritz-Carlton service assures an indulgent stay.
There has never been so much excitement in Nassau, as the island sees famed Cable Beach quite simply reborn by the unprecedented 3.5 billion dollar Baha Mar Resort Development. Expected to be completed by December 2014, the resort stretches along 3,000 feet of pristine beachfront and includes five luxury resort hotel properties including the centerpiece 1,000 room Baha Mar Casino Resort Hotel, a 750 room Grand Hyatt, 694 room Melia All-Inclusive Resort, 300 room Mondrian and 200 room Rosewood Hotel. The Baha Mar Resort promises to set new entertainment standards with the largest Vegas style gaming casino in the Caribbean, a 2,000 seat performing arts center, and state-of-art convention center. Over 30 restaurants, nightclubs and bars will dot the property along with two spas, multiple pool complexes and an 18 hole Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. For an ultra-exclusive experience, guest will be able to book excursions to Baha Mar's own private island accessible only by boat. If it's been a long time since you've visited Nassau, you'll definitely want to clear a spot on your must-do list in order to visit the Baha Mar Resort when it opens.
Sandals is jumping into Barbados with both feet. Sandals Barbados opened last month in St. Lawrence as a result of Sandals Resorts International acquiring the newly opened Couples Resort in the former Almond Casuarina Beach Resort property. After "Sandalising" the resort to Sandals' luxury romance standards, Sandals Barbados is now accepting reservations for 2014. Sandals will add an additional five restaurants to the property and numerous upgrades. Even more exciting, Sandals has also announced that a new Beaches Resort will be constructed at the former location of the Almond Beach Resort in St. Peter. The Beaches resort will be completed in 2015. Sandals Resorts cater to an adults-only clientele, while Beaches has become known throughout the Caribbean as a premier family vacation choice.
British Virgin Islands
Sir Richard Branson's exquisite private island paradise, Necker Island, has a Great House once again after a two-year reconstruction of the Balinese style Great House that burned in August 2011 after being struck by lightening in a tropical storm. Perched atop Devil's Hill, the sprawling Great House takes full advantage of commanding panoramic views with three levels of outdoor terraces. The Great House features a 1,500 square foot Master Suite with a two-person Jacuzzi and stand-alone outdoor bath. Eight additional guest rooms all feature king-size beds, en-suite bathrooms and stunning views. A new addition is a bunk room that sleeps up to six children. Necker Island is dotted with an additional six individual Bali Houses tucked into private beach coves and scenic hillsides. All together the island can house up to 30 very lucky guests and an additional 6 children. For more information visit the Virgin Limited Edition collection of ultra exclusive lodges.
The new Hotel Riu Palace all-inclusive resort has just opened its doors in Northwest Jamaica near Montego Bay, making it the fifth Riu property in Jamaica and the first adults-only Riu resort on the island. Riu properties are known for high quality service, food and accommodation.
Azul Sensatori Hotel Jamaica
New to Negril's seven mile beach is the Azul Sensatori Resort by Karisma Hotels that opened last month. With accommodations for both multi-gen families and adults-only areas, the 136 ocean view rooms are spacious and luxurious. Karisma Hotels are known for their Gourmet Inclusive cuisine.
Multi-million dollar renovations are reviving some of Jamaica's premier properties as they re-brand under new ownership. Beaches Ocho Rios Resort and Golf Club recently opened after a $30 million renovation of the former Beaches Boscobel. The new resort features four villages, each with a different international flair; Greek, French, Italian and Caribbean. Each village feature restaurants and bars with regional cuisine and decor.
Hyatt is entering the All-Inclusive market for the first time this year with the introduction of three resorts in Mexico and Jamaica. The former Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall is undergoing renovation and will emerge as the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall late in 2014. Hyatt Ziva is a new all-inclusive brand that is designed for family friendly vacationing.
Photo credit: condadovanderbilt.com
Opening during the first quarter of 2014, the long anticipated Condado Vanderbilt Hotel will be reborn to it's storied opulence and elegance. This historic property originally built by the Vanderbilt family in 1919 for an estimated one million dollars, was the first luxury hotel on the island and provided discerning guests with attentive yet discreet service. With its restoration, the tradition of privileged indulgence will continue. The hotel's signature 1919 restaurant opened in October 2012 and is considered by many to be the best dining in Puerto Rico. Reconstruction of 323 guest rooms is expected to be completed soon.