Best for: service
Stepping into the Four Seasons resort is like being transported to some sort of topical dreamscape. Crimson flamboyants shine with incredible luminosity and waxy banana leaves dance in dramatic technicolor. Without even knowing that a car sick child is coming, a Mary Poppins waits like a vision and whisks the baby away, bringing her back in freshly ironed clothes before you can say “Do Re Me.” This is a serious and grown-up complex, part sculpture park and part botanical garden, with elegant modernist-style villas designed by local architect Macbeth. The lagoon-facing gardens teeming with saffron-shaded tecoma trees and illuminated ferns are serene and quiet, except for the eerie sound of a falling mango (quickly devoured by twilight fruit bats) .
It draws a big international crowd, where poolside kids suck on local Gourmet Pops lollipops and parents in matching outfits hit some balls on its famous golf courses. With bikes for each guest, days are spent pedaling from beach bed to lunch perch at the villa. The part PT-part Amal guru, which alone is worth the trip, talks more about meridian lines than muscle shape and correctly guesses the stresses of everyday life from simple manipulations of the head and neck.
A boat transfer is their private Crusoe hideaway, La Plaz. Sea urchins are everywhere – in the sea (they provide plastic shoes) and on the plates, served fresh from the ocean with wedges of fresh lime. The bar has accents of a city speakeasy, with neat rows of dehydrated citrus and bitters, with bartender Rambo cutting in a touch of shirt and Hawaiian undertones.
Heritage The Telfair
Best for: the whole family
With its incisive rocks, hiking trails and lush forests, the sylvan south is an adventurer’s paradise. Passing through fishing villages and sugar cane plantations, you come to Heritage – another independent and smart local brand. It is the only place on the island with a crèche and a children’s club included in the price. In the nursery, babies sleep in neat rows in cradles like something out of a Victorian sepia. From the age of three, they can head to the kids’ club which features melodious bunnies and chickens.
A 2020 refit injected brightness into the suites. Botanical prints adorn the walls, and Moorish-style tiles add pops of color in the bathrooms. While the beach can be windy, two pools keep the large number of local and international families entertained.
Don’t miss Chateau Le Bel Ombre, their beautiful colonial-era villa with mahogany furnishings and antique hand-painted murals overlooking the golf course. Her charming upstairs apartment is a time warp with creaking floors, a four-poster bed, and a dining table large enough to command a cabinet meeting. Don’t bring the kids to this one – this experience is adults only and amazing value – £200 including dinner for two and breakfast.