With its pristine beaches and picture-perfect sunsets, it’s little wonder that the Caribbean is consistently voted one of the most romantic places in the world. So whether you want to pop the question, tie the knot or just fan the flames of passion, you’d be crazy to go anywhere else…
- Secret Beach: Often referred to as the Platinum Coast, because the sand is so unbelievably white, the beaches on the west of the island are beautiful, but where’s the romance if you’re snuggling up on a sun-lounger with your beau on one side and a hairy-chested Simon Cowell on the other? Our tip is to sneak off to Bottom Bay. Fringed by dramatic coral cliffs and gently swaying palm trees, with golden sands and turquoise waves, this tucked-away little cove on the south coast is one of the best beaches on the island. Time it right (mid-morning) and you might have it all to yourselves. It’s tricky to find, mind, so don’t be afraid to ask for directions.
- Hot Date: Barbados has no shortage of exquisite restaurants serving modern Caribbean cuisine. For understated elegance we love Tides in Holetown, or The Lone Star, a stylish restaurant serving British-Caribbean fusion in a revamped garage. But if you want to really push the boat out, The Cliff is Barbados’ last word in fine dining. This dramatic restaurant is carved out of a cliff with flaming torches, seductive lighting, Michelin star-worthy cuisine and expertly mixed cocktails. If you haven’t already popped the question, this is exactly the kind of place that will inspire you.
- Sizzling Sunset: Simple beach bar Ju-Ju’s might not look like much, but it’s our favourite spot to order a rum punch or Banks beer when the sun goes down. Bury your feet in the sand, snuggle up to your loved one and watch Barbados’ famous west coast sunset.
- Wedding Bells?: We can’t think of anywhere better to say “I do” than beach-front hotel The Club Resort and Spa in St James. This elegant, all-inclusive hotel brings a touch of understated Miami chic to the island – and with 161 rooms there’s plenty of space for whoever wants to tag along. On the big day you can choose to hold your ceremony amid the lush, perfectly manicured gardens right on the beach at sunset. How about the bridal march being played by a live steel band? Or a Caribbean feast for the wedding breakfast?
- Secret Beach: Famous for its dramatic Piton mountains and lush, tropical rainforest, St Lucia is better known for its views than its beaches. Not that there aren’t any of the latter, though. Reduit Beach offers plenty of watersports, but is hardly ideal for lovebirds. Anse des Pitons, on the other hand, is an astonishingly striking beach with sand so white you’ll think your eyes are deceiving you (they aren’t, but St Lucia is: it was actually imported from Guyana). Laze around on sunloungers and order a cocktail from the stylish little beach bar in the shade of some almond trees. Bliss.
- Hot Date: Is there anything more romantic than dinner for two on a floating restaurant? The Rainforest Hideaway in cliff-lined Marigot Bay (where the original Doctor Dolittle film was shot) is the place to go. You won’t be alone, but taking the puttering little boat across the bay to get there ramps up the romance factor, and the restaurant only seats a handful of diners. The food is exquisite: think crab cakes and scallops with banana chutney, coconut-crusted lionfish, and a wickedly decadent white chocolate crème brûlée with lime and raspberry compote.
- Sizzling Sunset: For some sensational views of St Lucia’s famous Pitons, beaches and treetop canopy as the sun sets, climb up above the southern town of Soufrière. Alternatively, take Island Routes’ Lover’s Rock Sunset Cruise, a catamaran trip where you can enjoy rum, margaritas and a glass of champers as the disappearing sun turns the sky a warm, salmon pink.
- Wedding Bells: Sandals has something of a stellar reputation when it comes to organising the perfect couple’s retreat, which is why your wedding and Sandals Halcyon Beach is a match made in heaven. St Lucia may not be famous for its beaches, but Sandals certainly bagged one of the best: an expansive curve of white sand and turquoise waters that’s so quiet you’ll feel like you’re on your own private island. Book a Sandals wedding though Thomas Cook and everything is a cut above: a dedicated wedding planner to iron out all the last-minute details; a mimosa (bucks fizz) breakfast in bed on the big day; a mani and massage for the bride and groom respectively; plus an intimate ceremony with sparkling wine and a keepsake.
- Secret Beach: With a whopping 365 beaches, there are plenty to choose from on Antigua. Near Falmouth Harbour in the south, Pigeon Point is fringed by sea grape and palm trees, has calm, shallow waters, and is typically quiet during the week. In the southwest, Crab Hill Bay is famous for its whiter-than-white sand. Both are excellent choices, but for somewhere you and your beloved can be alone, hop on a ferry to the neighbouring island of Barbuda, 25 miles northeast. Celebs from Princess Diana to Robert De Niro have fallen for its peaceful charms, and with no resorts on its miles of white- and pink-tinged beaches, the chances are it will be yours and yours alone.
- Hot Date: Book a snorkelling or scuba diving excursion to Cades Reef, which teems with exotic sea creatures that are sure to impress even the most seasoned underwater explorer. Long Bay and Dickenson Bay also offer great subterranean sealife sightings. Be sure your excursion stops at some of the island’s most breathtaking beaches throughout the day like Half Moon Bay, Deep Bay, Jolly Beach and Darkwood Beach. For added romance, reserve a portable private picnic lunch through your tour company or hotel.
- Sizzling Sunset: Shirley Heights definitely has the greatest views on the island, and a truly spectacular panorama over English Harbour. Named after Sir Thomas Shirley, the former governor of the Leeward Islands, it’s the perfect spot from which to watch the sunset. Make sure you time your visit for a Sunday, when the locals host a sunset party. From 4pm till 10pm there’s rum punch and BBQ food for all, plus lots of local bands playing Caribbean music.
- Wedding Bells: Surrounded by 12 hectares of palm trees and tropical gardens, Verandah Resort & Spa’s glorious hillside setting affords it one of the best locations on Antigua. Overlooking the reef-protected Dian Bay and a short walk to the (surprisingly) heavenly Devil’s Bridge National Park, this all-inclusive hotel feels remote and secluded – and we can’t think of anywhere better to spend your romantic day. The Thomas Cook wedding package includes a wedding coordinator, cake, bouquet and button holes, plus you can choose to upgrade to the special photography package, and add a live band if you wish.
Source: Thomas Cook Travel. Words: Claire Bennie