Just when you think there’s nothing more to learn about the Caribbean’s beautiful beaches and dressed up rum drinks, along comes a hurricane. Or two. Or three. With the usual haunts still regrouping, it may be a good season to switch things up.
Perhaps book a lesson at a world-class polo resort, explore an itinerary along 450 miles of reef reserve, or find a billionaire bolthole unknown to the cruise ships. Taking a new perspective on the Caribbean yachting lifestyle this season, consider your options to discover some very satisfying choices.
Low Key and Ad-Free Mustique
Small in size, the 1×3-mile island of Mustique has massive status as a quiet hideaway offering luxury and serenity. Just two hotels and a smattering over 100 homes, often associated with celebrity names, keep things simple. The casual atmosphere of Mustique disarms the bling-bringers, charming the 1 percent like no other. No advertising. No jet skis. And no riff-raff.
This zero crime island is secured with a staff owning Scotland Yard level credentials. There are no gates nor armed security, but there is a small landing strip, facilities for diving, sailing, fishing, equestrian pursuits, tennis, exceptional accommodations at The Cotton Club or The Firefly, and simply sumptuous villas that can be yours for a week or two. Stop in for a sip at Basil’s Bar or join the Firefly’s famed Mustique Martini Club, then get ready for a complete exhale, winding down from a hectic world.
Where Billionaires Belong: Canouan’s Pink Sands Club and Glossy Bay Marina
Canouan is elevating their game with the new Glossy Bay Marina and the Pink Sands Club on Godahl Bay, and an incredible Fazio golf course. Hike the majestic 240-meter/747-foot Mount Royal peak for one of the Caribbean’s most stunning views. Rumored to be where billionaires go to escape the six zero scene, the island is changing to accommodate an elite guest list.
The new $250 million Glossy Bay Marina already has 120 slips and 24 superyacht berths, with 1000-yacht capacity at buildout. Finishing up on construction by the end of 2017, fingers crossed, 70,000 square feet of shops, the Shenanigans beach club, the Marina Captainerie, and the 5900-foot jet port present a big draw for this little island.
450 Miles of Vibrant Reef, Mayan Ruins, and the Sian Ka’an Biosphere
The long, gorgeous reef and hundreds of islands along the Caribbean coastline of Belize and Mexico give a deep tissue massage to your grey matter, releasing tension and stress while providing interesting reef and land sport along with cultural pursuits. The 1.3 million acre Sian Ka’an Biosphere is an incredible natural coastal resource, rich in flora, fauna, and history. In close proximity to world-class bonefishing, cenote diving, the fascinating Mayan ruins at Tulum, and gorgeous beachfront or jungle villas, cruising the Riviera Maya proves an exciting mix of luxury and leisure.
A little further up the reef, stop near Ambergris Cay to helicopter into Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize’s Cayo District. One of the Francis Ford Coppola family hideaways, Blancaneaux is a combination of cinema, wine, food, and adventure in a most luxurious, most remote jungle setting. Dense with foliage and steep ravines cut by quicksilver rivers, this 20-room luxury enclave features waterfalls and pools just above the lush jungle canopy. Stop into the Jaguar Bar for a little sip of Jaguar Juice, and a peek at some iconic images, ceiling fans from Apocalypse Now, and a distinctive list of cocktails.
Polo in Barbados
Of course, there are beaches. And beautiful ones, at that. But there are also perfectly groomed polo fields and a stable of ponies and instructors waiting to get you kitted up and ready to play. Lessons are available for the entire family, but there are also superb golf and tennis amenities at the Apes Hill Club on the Platinum Coast of the island of Barbados. If you prefer to watch a match and stomp a divot or two, professional match play runs from December through April.
The island itself provides a fabulous snapshot of true Caribbean culture with some of the Caribbean’s oldest colonial churches and homes. In Oistins, a grand fish market ensues, with special events every Friday and Saturday embracing reggae, ‘soca’, local vendors, and of course, rum. In Speightstown, catch up on the local news at the friendly Fishermans Pub where an especially good version of cou cou, the national dish, and flying fish is served.