World's Best Island Hotels
Of the 20 best island hotels, Caribbean properties made the biggest splash this year, with seven on our list. Coming in at No. 11, Jamaica’s Couples Swept Away in Negril, epitomizes the destination’s couples-only, all-inclusive appeal in its 312 romantic suites with louvered windows overlooking the soft sand and gentle surf of Seven Mile Beach.
Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis

At the Caribbean’s only historic plantation inn set right on the beach, wicker-furnished cottages are spread among palm trees filled with green Vervet monkeys and beachfront hammocks that swing in the breeze. For the best views book one of the six Lower Deluxe Junior suites, with attached patios facing the ocean. Hoping to see more of the island’s sugar plantations? The hotel will be happy to put you in touch with Reggie Douglas, Nevis’s reigning cycling champ, for a 2-hour bike tour.

Jade Mountain, St. Lucia

Located at the highest point of the island, near the west coast town of Soufrière, this hillside hotel with a curved exterior and rough stone accents may be one of world’s the most recognizable. Inside, each of the 28 suites is unique, but they all share impressive features: infinity pools or jacuzzis, 15-foot ceilings, and loftlike architecture—even the raised bathroom is essentially part of one huge space. But since there is no fourth wall obscuring the view, the Piton mountain vistas takes center stage.
Jamaica Inn, Jamaica

Long a favorite among visiting British elite, including the likes of Winston Churchill, this classic Caribbean resort on the east side of Ocho Rios was thoroughly renovated in 2007. Now the 47 suites are a blend of Indonesian, colonial, and retro Jamaican décor, but remain refreshingly unplugged, with no TV’s to shatter the peace. Every suite has its own outdoor space, with a private infinity pool and sea entrance just steps from the bedrooms.
Wickaninnish Inn, British Columbia

The Wickaninnish Inn, set on a remote, pine forest–ringed promontory near Pacific Rim National Park, is best enjoyed during fierce weather—the more tumultuous, the better. In the 75 rooms, plush beds and deep soaking tubs sit beside floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on the churning ocean. Don a rain jacket for a walk along Chesterman Beach, or relax next to your fireplace with a Pacific Northwest Pinot Noir and the binoculars that are provided in each room.
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Florida Keys

This well-regarded private sanctuary is comprised of a cluster of thatched-roof bungalows, a Thai-and-Balinese spa, and a beachfront restaurant (not to mention a new Chef’s Table), and it’s all reachable by a 15-minute boat ride or by seaplane from the mainland. A bonus? Overnight rates include valet parking, boat transfers, mini-bar beverages, and use of watersports equipment.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii

“Perfect,” “heaven,” and “the best vacation of my life” are just a few ways guests describe this tropical island resort where all 228 rooms, in two-story bungalows, have ocean views. Meanwhile, the grounds border the dramatic volcanic rock coast with seawater and freshwater swimming pools and an open-air spa teems with tropical vegetation. Be sure to schedule tee time: The private 7,100-square-foot oceanfront Jack Nicklaus signature golf course is carved right into the underlying black lava, which serves as occasional bunkers.
Couples Tower Isle, Jamaica

This Jamaica property, the first Couples resort, set the standard for all-inclusive hotels when it opened over 60 years ago. Recently renovated to the tune of $30 million, the hotel now offers 20 new rooms, a dive pool, and 10 spa treatment suites. Reserve the top floor Ocean Junior Suites and you’ll have balconies with sea views, flat-screen TV's, and king-size beds.
Halekulani, Oahu

It’s all about service at this recently renovated 5-acre Waikiki Beach beauty, which has existed for nearly a century. Breakfast is a highlight: at the open-air dining room at Orchids restaurant, paddle straight for the Hawaiian specialties: pipi kaula beef jerky, marinated ahi tuna poke, lomilomi cured salmon, Waimanalo roast suckling pig, local Kula tomatoes, and Big Island goat cheese. The Halekulani kitchen also whips up the Pacific’s best popovers. Once you’re thoroughly stuffed, book a traditional Polynesian spa treatment like Lomi Lomi Hawaiian massage.
Kahala Hotel & Resort, Oahu

This Oahu classic—fresh from a major renovation—now has thoughtful in-room details (Frette linens; chenille robes; oversize showerheads) in addition to a dolphin-filled lagoon and views of Diamond Head. But it’s the hotel’s storied history that makes this 1964 colossus such an icon. It was here, at what was then a Hilton and known as the Kahollywood, that Richard Burton and Liz Taylor hid out from the paparazzi in a private cabana.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele

An English country manor sensibility pervades this 20-acre central-highland property on sparsely populated Lanai. The 102 rooms and suites have verandas, many fronting the perfectly manicured lawns where croquet and lawn bowling are played. Spend your days on jeep tours, hiking, horseback riding, or skeet shooting, then unwind by the enormous stone fireplaces in the hunting lodge–like Great Hall, sumptuous with dark rich wood, skylights, and libraries and sitting rooms in the wings.