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HOT CARIBBEAN RESORTS

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Why are three resorts in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos contenders for the Caribbean's hottest properties? Here's the scoop.

Palm tree at The Palms Turks and Caicos
Palm tree at The Palms Turks & Caicos
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

The Palms Turks & Caicos

The Palms is a US$85-million property on 19-km-long Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. Pampering begins by the serpentine pool, where attendants serve fruit kabobs and offer chilled towels to sunbathers.

The poolside restaurant, Plunge, features water banquettes for dining on Caribbean foods, fruit liquados and cocktails al fresco.

A Great House-styled Mansion houses Parallel23 restaurant. Its focus is food from the 23rd parallel. The display kitchen has a wood-burning oven, a wok station and a tandoori oven.

Turks and Caicos spa

Torchlights illuminate the 25,000-square-foot spa, at night, and trickling water gardens cool it during the day. A yoga, Pilates and meditation studio overlooks the 46-metre-long water garden, flanked by date palms. Cabanas offer native herbal treatments and mother-of-pearl exfoliations with pulverized native queen conch shells.

Pink hibiscus
Pink hibiscus
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

At the Turks and Caicos resort, guests can enjoy treatments and romantic candlelit dinners in two spa suites (with private plunge pools) or on eight bougainvillea-draped penthouse terraces. The Regent Spa offers programs for men, massages for pregnant women and makeup applications for brides.

The Regent Palms' spacious 72 two- and three-bedroom suites are perfect for family vacations in the Turks and Caicos. In-room entertainment includes highspeed Internet, flat-screen televisions, with 57 cable TV channels, as well as DVD and CD players with a selection of movies. Outdoor activities, ranging from tennis to non-motorized water sports, enhance guests' Turks and Caicos holidays.

Sandals Whitehouse European Village Jamaica

What's Dutch, French, Italian and Caribbean? Sandals Whitehouse European Village and Spa. Located on the unspoiled southwest coast of Jamaica, the 360 rooms and suites in the three European villages surround a piazza and landscaped courtyards.

Seven restaurants feature a European patisserie, an international buffet, and Italian, Caribbean, Asian and Tex-Mex cuisines. One of the four swimming pools is the largest in Jamaica.

Guests can visit pristine Y.S. Falls, take a Black River safari to learn about Jamaican ecology and wildlife, and sample freshly pressed cane juice during an Appleton Distillery tour.

Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach and Villa Resort. Jamaica.
Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach & Villa Resort. Jamaica.
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach and Villa Resort

Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach and Villa Resort was formed by the merger of Sandals Ocho Rios with the Grande Sport Villa Golf Resort and Spa, after a US$10 million refurbishment.

The 529-room resort is the largest of the Sandals couples-only properties. Guests can enjoy their Jamaica vacation in hillside Ciboney Villas or beachfront suites.

Highlights of the Jamaican resort include 100 pools, 22 hot tubs, two full-service spas, the largest stretch of beach in Ocho Rios, 12 bars, an 18-hole golf course and a PADI Gold Palm Scuba Diving Center.

The dozen dining options feature international, Italian, Caribbean, Asian and Southwestern US cuisine, as well as buffet stations and grills. With 915 seats available for dinner, guests don't have to make reservations.


TRAVEL INFORMATION

The Palms: www.thepalmstc.com

Sandals Resorts: www.sandals.com