Establishment neighborhood
Curtain Bluff
Carlisle Bay, St. Mary
This all-inclusive tennis retreat is designed to help you break a sweat with four championship tennis courts, a squash court, a basketball court, and a seventy-five-foot swimming pool, plus bocce and shuffleboard courts. There are even two beaches: one for water sports like Jet-Skiing, snorkeling, and scuba diving and another for lazing about. Active-minded visitors will be spoiled for choice, but if you want to take it slow, turn to the spa and wellness center for deep-tissue massages, yoga, and Pilates. Then retreat to your blue-and-white room, where you’ll find floor-to-ceiling glass doors, marble bathrooms—but no televisions, to ensure you’re taking advantage of the peace and quiet. We loved the attention to detail, like cold, scented towels poolside. At night, drop by Tamarind Tree for dinner and dancing and make a night of it—the fantastically fresh seafood is paired with wines from the property’s 25,000-bottle cellar.
Catherine’s Cafe
Pigeon Point Beach, English Harbour
The (blissfully) underpopulated shores of Pigeon Beach have just a handful of bars and restaurants, including Catherine’s, an unassuming beach café preparing classical French cuisine with Provençal charm. Head chef Jack brings his years of experience in Michelin-starred restaurants to a seasonal menu featuring dishes such as lobster soup, fish carpaccio, stuffed calamari, and duck leg confit. The open dining area is accommodating enough for a walk-in off the beach, but since seats fill fast, it’s best to call ahead to reserve a table. You can make a day of it, too—between the allure of the Pigeon Beach’s crystal-clear waters, two cocktail menus (one dedicated entirely to gin and tonics), and nighttime entertainment from local jazz bands, Catherine’s is the best place to spend a lazy day.
Mount Royal
Canouan’s a small island, and while there are plenty of places you can walk, there’s just one proper hiking trail, but we loved it so much, we felt it deserved its own entry. If you’re staying at the Mandarin Oriental, you can go with a guide—the trail is easy to follow, but it’s worth going with someone who can point out the flowers, reptiles, and more you might miss along the way. The trail starts just behind the old casino (a remnant of the island’s short-lived Trump era) and winds up a steep single track through thick forest—you’ll want a good stick for support; there are plenty to choose from at the trailhead—to the top of Mount Royal, the highest point on the island. On the way up you’ll spot orchids, turtles, and giant, tree-climbing hermit crabs. At the top, take a right toward the Mount Royal summit, and decide how far up the jagged boulder you’re willing to scale. You’ve got a stunning view north toward Mustique—but free one hand to take a picture at your own risk. Once you’ve clambered down off the rock (there is no…
Tamarind Beach Hotel
Charlestown, Canouan
The big draw at the Tamarind Beach Hotel is the beach—glittering, talc-soft white sand with the bright blue of the Caribbean Sea on one side and lush, palm-tree-dotted tropical gardens on the other. The sheltered bay is a popular mooring for smaller sailboats (mega yachts post up on the southern tip of the island, where a new deep-water marina has been built off of Glossy Bay), and the hotel has a well-stocked deli for reprovisioning. For land-based overnight guests, there are thirty-one rooms and eight beachfront suites. The bedrooms are breezy and comfortable with hardwood floors, walnut-and-white-paneled walls, comfortable beds, and a balcony or patio opening onto the beach. There are two restaurants, a beach bar, and a spa, as well as kayaks, windsurfers, paddleboards, and snorkel gear. The hotel also enjoys reciprocity with the Canouan Estate, should guests wish to play the golf course or visit the restaurants there.
Mandarin Oriental Canouan
Carenage Bay, Canouan
Located on a picture-perfect stretch of Godahl’s beach on the Atlantic side of the island, the Mandarin Oriental takes full advantage of the sweeping views out over the water. The hotel’s twenty-six colonial-style suites and thirteen villas all face the ocean; ground floor suites have individual access to the beach, and those on the upper level have balconies overlooking it. The rooms are done in a palette of creams with dark woods and fuchsia accents, and each is equipped with every luxury you could wish for (walk-in closet, indoor and outdoor lounge areas, Nespresso machine, Acqua di Parma toiletries, blackout shades, yoga mat, beach bag, your own personal butler) as well as a quite a few you’ve never thought of, like an iPad that controls nearly everything in the room. The pink lounge chairs on the beach and by the infinity pool are perfect for a morning of doing nothing. Then grab lunch at the pool bar—the conch ceviche or the shrimp tacos is the way to go. The hotel is on the Canouan Estate, with access to five different beaches (some on the Atlantic and some on the…
Carenage Bay, Canouan
With dark wood tables, navy-and-white upholstered chairs, and beautifully painted murals on the walls, Tides is a graceful, comfortable space even when the windowed French doors aren’t open to the view of the beach and sea beyond. There are also two private dining rooms you can book for a special occasion. The menu offers a selection of meat and fish, and many of the ingredients are grown on the island or sourced from nearby St. Vincent. A variety of small plates feature fresh seafood and local specialties, like a conch chowder with purple potatoes and a spice-dusted crispy fried jackfish—a small, strong-flavored fish that you eat whole—with creole sauce and plantain crisps. There are excellent steakhouse options (porterhouse, tomahawk, filet mignon, or lamb chop, with five sauces to choose from), but vegetarians hardly suffer: The wild mushroom and squash risotto with blue cheese and basil oil is something to be remembered.
Carenage Bay, Canouan
Asianne’s light, airy dining room is elegantly done with cream-colored walls and navy-and-yellow upholstery to play up the island vibe. But before you take your seat, head over to the huge open kitchen, and take a moment to ogle it: It’s a work of art. With a black-and-white checkerboard floor, stainless-steel-and-cream cabinetry and worktops, cream subway-tiled walls, a wood-burning stove, and a giant tandoor oven, this is the place for dinner and a show. Chef Nonky Tejapermana has put together a menu that showcases local ingredients and Eastern flavors: a tender, five-spice-roasted duck salad with just the right amount of heat; three types of slow-cooked curry; crispy pork belly in Sichuan chili sauce. You won’t have room, but order dessert anyway—the pandan panna cotta with lemon-honey-marinated fresh local mango and Grenadines pineapple sorbet is not to be missed.
El Blok Hotel
158 Calle Flamboyan, Vieques
Inspired by the coral reefs surrounding Vieques, El Blok’s unusual Brutalist architecture comes courtesy of Puerto Rican architect Nataniel Fuster. Natural light and fresh air flit through the round cutouts of the concrete walls, creating shadows to mimic the feeling of being underwater. The four-story building curves around an oval atrium, meaning there are no hard angles to be found in the twenty-two spacious one-bedroom suites. Minimalist in nature, each room is a playfully designed mixture of texture and light, featuring sleek furnishings and lightweight cotton linens. Upstairs, El Blok’s swanky rooftop bar and infinity pool draw live bands, DJs, and a crowd of local hipsters. Skip across the street to the Vieques beach, where you may be able to catch sight of some of the wild horses that roam the island.
Cocina Abierta
Calle Caribe 58, San Juan
Chef and owner Martin Louzao recently moved Cocina Abierta to the trendy streets of Condado, where the cool-kid atmosphere of the eclectic kitchen fits right into the fashionable neighborhood of boutique stores. The menu is composed of five acts, with each unit working to form the full dining experience: appetizer, vegetable, seafood, poultry and pasta, and finally, red meat. Select one dish from each act to create a custom tasting menu, so your final play-by-play might be fresh ceviche, roasted cabbage with onion jam, seafood green curry, goat cheese ravioli, and lamb Wellington. Even the wine parings have a creative edge: Sommelier Arturo Campos suggests multiple wines for every dish—a classic if you want to play it safe and a wild card if you have a taste for adventure.