When it comes to beaches, not all sea-and-sand scapes are created equal. Even in the Caribbean, world-renowned for its cerulean waters, blue skies, and swaying palms, some beaches are just more dramatic over-the-top gorgeous – and sexier – than others.
Presenting five of the most seductive Caribbean beaches worth traveling for…
Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
Vibe: Straight out of a Fashion Shoot
Named for its incredibly gorgeous rosé hue sand – the byproduct of millions of tiny coral fragments – Pink Sands Beach is seductively stunning, especially in contrast to the island’s aquamarine sea. Located off the northern tip of Eleuthera and just 3.5 miles long and a half-mile wide, Harbour Island has fewer than 2,000 residents (fashion models India Hicks and Elle McPherson among them). Homes are cute colorful pastel shades with gingerbread trim and white picket fences, restaurants are top-notch, and the beaches are never crowded, although don’t be surprised to see model and fashion shoots in action.
Where to Stay
For a slice of old-school Harbour Island, with a modern update, book Ocean View Club, a shabby chic, family-owned hotel, just steps from Pink Sands Beach. Photographer Bruce Weber discovered the property during a photoshoot in the 1980s and soon after it became a favorite haunt of the fashion set. Photographer Gilles Bensimon and models Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford (and more recently actress Michelle Williams) are among the notables who’ve stayed. Choose between five cabins (two tent cottages and three beach shacks) or one of seven rooms in the main house – all with gorgeous ocean views.
Macaroni Beach, Mustique
Vibe: Privacy and Seclusion
If you’re seeking ultra-privacy and seclusion on the sand, we are hard-pressed to name our favorite beach at Mustique Island in the Grenadines. Every stretch of beach here is equally beautiful, equally secluded (you’re more likely to encounter a tortoise than another human). Macaroni Beach, on the wind-swept Atlantic side, is probably the most famous – largely for its hedonistic picnics dating back to the island’s Princess Margaret days. Part of Mustique’s DNA – beach picnics are casual yet elaborate affairs served under shaded palapas adorned with tropical flowers – and complete with lavish menus, stemware, and china. Sexy.
Where to Stay:
For the most exquisite service and views (of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean), reserve Toucan Hill, a white-washed Moroccan-inspired villa that sits regally on the highest point of the island. Each of the villa’s four suites offers stunning sea views, as does its seemingly edgeless pool where you can experience the island’s extraordinary sunsets. To add to the sexy adventures, ask the house manager to arrange with Grenadine Cruises to explore – via NAUTI, a captained, 45’ luxury powered catamaran – the lesser-known islands (and beaches) of Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Union Island, Mopion Canouan, and the completely deserted Isle de Quatre. Now that’s NAUTI.
Saint-Jean Beach, St. Barth
Vibe: Putting on the Glitz
St. Barth’s most popular, the see-and-be-seen Saint-Jean beach, is just as sought after for its glitzy day club, Nikki Beach – with its all-white plush sun beds, chic drapery, and trademark teepees – as it is for its white sand and azure water. Everyone who wants to ‘be seen’ parades here at least once during their island stay, making celebrity watching (Beyonce, Leonardo DiCaprio are among those spotted) the perfect pastime. Saint-Jean is also a thrilling spot for watching the island’s tiny planes take off and land at the nearby steep-pitched airport.
Where to Stay:
To immerse yourself in the cooler than cool Saint-Jean beach scene, bed down at Eden Rock. Or for a more tranquil stay, head to the leeward side of the island to Hotel Le Toiny. Reimagined by designer Bee Osborn, interiors are a creamy-white ‘coastal chic’ palette with shades of blue and pops of pink. Villa suites come with their own private plunge pools and the outdoor bar is literally made from oyster shells, hand-picked by the designer. And the Beach Club, a more recent addition, has transformed the once wild, locals-only surfing beach into a low-key, feet-in-the-sand exclusive dining experience.
Maundays Bay, Anguilla
Vibe: Sheer Bliss
Although small in size (just 16 miles), the tiny island of Anguilla is home to some of the sexiest beaches in the Caribbean (33 to be exact). Most are uncrowded to the point of barely inhabited – even during high season. While Meads Bay – peppered with luxury resorts and mom-and-pop lunch stands – rightfully gets much of the attention (it truly is stunning), our favorite is Maundays. This smooth, crescent-shaped beach offers postcard-perfect white sand and turquoise sea with gorgeous views of St. Martin as the backdrop. Perfect for swimming, snorkeling or just lazing about, Maundays – technically a public beach – is also a favorite among locals.
Where to Stay
Set right on Maundays Beach, the exquisite Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel recently underwent a $121 million renovation by renowned NYC architect Lauren Rotett (Rottet Studio) who describes the redo as an ‘elevated barefoot luxury’ experience. The stark white Greco-Moorish villas (whitewashed domes, turrets, and tilework) remain, but the interiors are now much more chic, with crisp white and tan hues offset by glossy dark accents, glass sun decks, and oceanfront terraces, some with private plunge pools.
The Baths, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Vibe: For Far-Flung Exotic
If you’ve been to the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, the scenery here – giant granite boulders and transparent see-to-the bottom waters – will look warmly familiar. Exotic and beyond dreamy, The Baths is one of the most unique landscapes in the Caribbean, not to mention one of the most difficult to reach. Arrive by boat or hike in to explore the many caves, saltwater pools, and grottoes.
Where to Stay:
Opened by Laurance Rockefeller in 1964, Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda has undergone numerous incarnations. The most recent (by Rosewood) evoking Rockefeller’s original vision: that the property should be in balance with its surroundings, never intrusive, never flashy. The 80 rooms and suites are ‘mid-century modern-meets-the ocean” with an earthy color palette featuring driftwood coral decor and exposed stone walls and outdoor features like showers and private plunge pools. All are within steps of yet another stunning beach, the resort’s private white sandy shoals.