Travel

Caribbean

Establishment neighborhood
Hyatt Regency Trinidad
1 Wrightson Rd., Port-of-Spain
The go-to for a luxurious stay in Trinidad, the Hyatt Regency shines with a seaside location in the heart of Port of Spain. Rooms are sleek, with white oak floors and plush but firm bedding. Waterfront and city views are salves to the eyes but easily avoided during early mornings with blackout curtains and noise-blocking walls. Downstairs, the Waterfront bar and restaurant offers a complimentary breakfast service, a sushi bar, and café. Take a seat on the outdoor patio for undulating sea waves over plantain chips and coffee. Upstairs, the hotel pool offers a stunning view of the city, and the nearby spa can take care of any bodily woes with a menu of mani-pedis, facials, and deep-tissue massages.
Fanatic Kitchen
Cor. Dere St. and Melville Ln., Port-of-Spain
Local foodies scour the calendars for Fanatic’s monthly chef’s table dinners, where local chefs create a sampling menu by theme. The result is an improvisational tasting menu focused on local flavors. For example: a Jamaican and Trinidadian culinary tour that produced coconut jelly ceviche, crab and conch risotto, red bean cake with pulled stewed chicken, and black-eyed pea hummus. The chef of the evening is usually on hand to guide diners through each course in exquisite detail.
Buzo
6 Warner St., Port-of-Spain
Led by Italian chef Cristian Grini, Buzo’s focus is honest, authentic cuisine. That means fresh, handmade pasta classics like four-cheese ravioli in truffle honey and a killer lasagna. Innovation shines through in subtle tweaks, like an appetizer of mushroom tempura and the selection of crowd-pleasing thin-crust pizzas topped with Manchego and arugula or roasted eggplant and prosciutto. Snag a seat in front of the glass-walled kitchen to watch the team flex its muscles. The stone-and-granite interior is lit in soft neon that creates a fun, moody spirit—the perfect place to start the night.
Aioli
Ellerslie Plaza, Port-of-Spain
You could walk right past the staircase entry to this small but memorable restaurant if you’re not careful. On the upper level of a neighborhood strip mall, chef John Aboud mixes a range of culinary influences—French, Mediterranean, Italian, Basque—into deceptively simple, exquisite dishes. Highlights include wild mushroom soup, roasted lamb chops, and an unforgettable basil panna cotta. Downstairs at Aioli Marketplace (a gourmet deli), Aboud branches out with a lunch selection of fresh salads, pastries, and sandwiches.
The Caves
144 One Love Dr., Negril
Comprising a handful of Caribbean-blue villas nestled in the limestone cliffs of Jamaica’s west coast, the Caves benefits from one of the best locations on the island. Each one- or two-bedroom cottage is fitted with tasteful wooden furnishings, stained-glass windows, and hand-dyed fabrics. For larger groups, the Clandestino, a three-bedroom villa under a thatched roof, offers a private pool, a hot tub, and a sauna. Not all of the cottages have sea views, but those that do will bring you so close to the endless expanse of water that it feels as if you could jump in from your back door. In fact, beach access requires a leap of faith—guests climb ladders, ranging from five to thirty-three feet, to jump off the cliffs into the warm sea below. The staff is well-versed in everything related to the ocean and can guide you through a snorkeling adventure while providing amazing detail. For breakfast, the Gazebo serves Jamaican and American items like callaloo, ackee, and saltfish, as well as fresh banana pancakes and omelets. At night, stroll down a coral staircase to the Blackwell Rum Bar, carved out of the…
Kanopi House
Blue Lagoon, Port Antonio
Kanopi blends seamlessly into its environment, a compound of tree houses hidden deep in a grove of hundred-foot Banyan trees, bamboo shoots, and ginger lilies. In fact, it was built with such consideration for its environment, the one tree on the property that was cut wound up being repurposed into a set of dining tables. Floor-to-ceiling doors fold away to reveal the dramatic rain forest foliage that seems to practically climb its way indoors. Each tree house feels intimate and romantic, with crisp white linens, handcrafted wood furnishings, and vibrant artwork, all made by local artisans. For food, Kanopi relies on local produce like plantains, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, and fresh papaya from the surrounding forest. For all its rural charm, it’s also just twenty minutes from Port Antonio, so the perks of city life are easily accessible during the day, before you return to your private rain forest hideaway at night.
GoldenEye
Oracabessa Bay, St. Mary
Born from the imagination of James Bond novelist Ian Fleming, GoldenEye is rooted in such cultural lore, it’s hard not to feel like you’re playing a part in a glamorous spy story. It was here Fleming penned all fourteen Bond books (the author’s home, the Fleming Villa, can be reserved separately), and this is also where Bond’s cinematic debut, Dr. No, was filmed. But if these cultural muses don’t inspire a trip, consider that the collection of villas was also constructed by an all-star cast. Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records, enlisted Ann Hodges, one of Jamaica’s most noted architects, to produce the property’s supremely comfortable accommodations, fitted with hardwood floors, outdoor showers, and lush, secluded gardens. Go for one of the six lagoon cottages, which were built to hover above the tranquil water and have private docks for midnight swims and morning paddleboarding. In the spare, octagonal bedrooms, louvred windows welcome natural sea breezes to replace air-conditioning.
Zimbali’s Mountain Cooking Studio
Canaan Mountain, Negril
The staff at Zimbali, a twenty-minute drive east from Negril, hold a theory that Jamaica gets more interesting the farther out you get from the cities, and the eco-friendly retreat makes a strong case. It’s attached to a seven-acre organic farm, and the abundance of Jamaica’s bounty is delivered fresh and prepared exquisitely. The dinner begins with a blended juice made of fruit picked straight from the soil or tree, and then a guided tour of the land that grows the ingredients for the night’s meal. Then sit at the counter and watch the chef create a six-course culinary journey, with bowls of pumpkin soup, jerk shrimp, and perfectly seasoned fish wrapped in banana leaf. Try to snag a table on Wednesday night when African drummers provide live entertainment.
Stush in the Bush
Free Hill, Bamboo
Jamaica’s Rastafari prescribes a vegetarian-friendly, alcohol-free diet that strips food of all additives and preservatives to harness the life energy that runs through us all, and it birthed a food movement known as ital cooking (“ital” is Jamaican patois wordplay on “vital”). Stush in the Bush is a restaurant built on a fifteen-acre farm. Ital cooking is honored here, and dishes are prepared with fresh, local vegetables by a dreadlocked couple, Christopher and Lisa Binns. Expect vegan pizzas topped with plantain, cherry tomatoes, and roasted eggplant; ratatouille served with fresh basil; and tropical greens. The selection of fresh juices—watermelon and lime, ginger and lemongrass—are a necessary addition to counter the flamboyance of the flavorful Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce that accompanies several plates. It’s wise to make a reservation—and don’t come too hungry, because Chris begins every meal with a personal tour of the property. The on-site store sells local preserves, including vegan lemon curd, passion fruit butter, and vegan basil pesto, which make perfect gifts and even better pantry fillers.