Best Caribbean Resorts for Holiday Celebrations

At these favorite resorts, holiday traditions blend with island style


You won’t have to choose between a white Christmas and a Caribbean holiday getaway at these resorts, which honor holiday traditions, but with a tropical spin. And for the white stuff? Look no farther than the beach.

The Buccaneer, St. Croix, USVI

Santa comes to the tropics to visit this beachfront classic resort on Christmas morning, with presents for the children staying there. Midday is devoted to lounging on the beach and listening to live local bands, then guests gather at the historic Great House to enjoy a holiday buffet created by Executive Chef Dave Kendrick. A week later, when it’s time to ring in the New Year, the party moves to The Terrace restaurant, which sits high on the hill overlooking the grounds and beach. Guests enjoy a New Year’s Eve buffet complete with carving stations, followed by a champagne toast at midnight. There are fireworks, which can be enjoyed from The Terrace bar or from private room patios or balconies.

St Croix Buccaneer Beachfront

After a morning visit from Santa, Christmas Day is spent enjoying live bands and sunshine on the beach at St. Croix’s Buccaneer resort. Photo: The Buccaneer Resort

Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia

The Windjammer Landing goes all out for Christmas, with a tree lighting ceremony, special Christmas menus and a visit from Santa, who makes a visit to the sun and sand at Labrelotte Bay. Guests wanting a taste of sweet holiday spirit will find eggnog stocked at the bar and restaurant during the season. The resort is popular for family and group holiday getaways, with villas of two to five bedroom boasting private pools where everyone can gather before heading out to the resort’s festivities.

St Lucia Windjammer Landing Villa

Families and groups can gather for private celebrations at the villas of St. Lucia’s Windjammer Landing, and then join a range of resort-wide activities. Photo: Windjammer Landing

Montpelier Plantation & Beach Resort, Nevis

This elegant enclave brings in a holiday choir to kick off the festivities on Christmas Eve. In keeping with the resort’s tradition, guests are invited to join in to sing The 12 Days of Christmas. The evening continues with refreshments in the stone walled Restaurant 750 before moving to the terrace for an elegant meal paired with fine wine to celebrate Christmas Eve. As the holiday spirit progresses, guests can join the “Save Water, and Drink Champagne” event at the poolside restaurant Indigo. Here, the bubbles flow all afternoon, accompanied by light canapés. On New Year’s Eve, there is a white party held on Montpelier’s private beach. The night unfolds with a big beachside bonfire as guests dine and dance to live music before ringing in the New Year.

Nevis Montpelier Resort Champagne

One of the signature traditions at the Montpelier Plantation & Beach Resort on Nevis is the poolside known as “Save Water, and Drink Champagne.” Photo: Montpelier Plantation

Mango Bay Hotel, Barbados

Located in historic Holetown, this small all-inclusive resort offers guests of all ages a range of holiday activities. During afternoon tea, a primary school choir visits the hotel to serenade guests. Santa Claus arrives on Christmas morning, and during the day guests indulge in Christmas breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are candy hunts and a piñata party for the youngsters, and Boxing Day brings races, sand building workshops and an evening movie on the beach. Entertainment and fireworks follow the resort’s annual New Year’s Eve Grand Buffet.

Mango Bay Barbados

Special Christmas activities at Barbados’s Mango Bay Hotel include choir concerts, a visit from Santa beach parties and holiday foods. Photo: Mango Bay

Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada

Music fills the resort during the weeks leading up to Christmas, with a mix of Grenada top brass bands, steel bands and choirs, all rotating nightly to put guest in the holiday spirit. Christmas Eve is a time for caroling and the following morning begins with a champagne brunch. Guests head beachside to round out the day with a buffet lunch to the background sounds of the Jolly Boys—a local group playing Caribbean tunes. Dinner is a traditional Christmas meal served at Oliver’s restaurant. On New Year’s Eve, a culinary journey begins at 7pm and guests dance until midnight when the firework welcome in the New Year.

Grenada Spice Island Resort

Music enlivens the holiday season at the Spice Island Beach Resort, where the sounds of Grenada’s favorite brass bands, steel bands and choirs put guest in the holiday spirit. Photo: Dehoog/Spice Island Resort

Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is home to the Christmas Elf Village, an edible community of 12 elves, which are brilliantly colored showpieces made of pure chocolate and fondant. In addition, there are two holiday dessert-making classes hosted by pastry chef, Melissa Logan. The Gingerbread House workshop brings families together to decorate a pre-made house with edible decorations. The second class is devoted to making the chocolate roulade and butter crème Yule Log. In this class guests learn how to roll the log with different filling and add decoration. The New Year’s Eve ball includes a festive dinner with music of Spinphony, a string group. After dinner the DJ takes over and couples hit the beach for dancing and fireworks at midnight.

Grand Cayman Ritz Carlton Christmas

The Christmas Elf Village is a tasty tradition at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. These chocolate confections are just for show, but guests can create their own gingerbread houses. Photo: Irene Corty/Ritz-Carlton

Peter Island Resort & Spa, Peter Island, BVI

Christmas Eve kicks off with a visit from the Peter Island Choir, followed by dinner and guitar music. Christmas Day takes guests to the beach for a sandcastle building competition while waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. At the resort, a steel band plays holiday music and moko jumbies entertain guests. New Year’s Eve begins with a pre-gala cocktail hour featuring flowing champagne and oyster stations. Dinner is a grand gala buffet while the Elvis White band plays. After the meal a DJ spins and fireworks bring in the midnight hour. Guests are free to find their own private holiday moments on the 1,800 acres that make up the island resort.

Peter Island BVI

Guests at Peter Island Resort can start with caroling and a visit from Santa, then go tropical with steel band music and a parade of stilt-walking moko jumbies. Photo: Peter Island Resort

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, St. Lucia

Magic, meditation and mind reading ring in the holidays at Sugar Beach as well as traditions of lantern lighting and tree decorating. Holiday activities include appearances from Michal Sindelar, magician and illusionist, who will engage guests in his defying magic tricks with cards, coins and balloons. Gerard Senehi, the master mentalist, will perform mind reading, telekinesis and telepathy in his show. A small session is open for moonlight crystal mediations with Latham Thomas. And, for the little ones, Santa arrives on Sugar Beach by boat to hand out presents. New Year’s Eve begins with a young DJ, Fulano Librizzi, and as the evening progresses DJ Marc JB takes over to usher in the New Year. A highlight of the night is the fireworks show against the backdrop of the pitons.

Sugar Beach St Lucia

At the Sugar Beach resort, the holidays are enlivened by visits from magicians and mind readers, and a New Year’s Eve fireworks show with a backdrop of the Pitons. Photo: Sugar Beach

Hyatt Regency, Trinidad

Everyone in the culturally rich islands of Trinidad & Tobago celebrate the holidays. Children go from house to house for festive food and drink, with holiday favorites that include pastelles, spicy meat filled corn patties, and black fruitcake. At the resort guests can enjoy holiday specialties like sorrel, which is a crimson-colored drink obtained from a local flower, ginger beer, and ponche de crème, which is a sweet milk and rum-based drink similar to eggnog. At the end of the day, celebrants can take a dip in the rooftop infinity pool and enjoy the views overlooking the city, with a sorrel mojito in hand.

Trinidad Hyatt Regency

One of the favorite seasonal libations offered at Trinidad’s Hyatt Regency is sorrel, which is a crimson-colored drink, here, in the form of a mojito. Photo: Hyatt Regency

Hermitage Plantation, Nevis

The Hermitage holiday experience is reminiscent of a home party. The halls are decked, the sorrel and black cake is served and carolers come to visit. Because the planation is a family home, guests are made to feel like family members. When the children make Christmas cookies, guest can join in. On Christmas Eve, the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes is served. Christmas Day is typically spent at the beach after a Christmas buffet brunch. Afterward, guests come home to a visit from carolers from nearby church choirs. Christmas dinner its roast goose and all of the trimmings followed by Victorian figgy pudding. New Year’s Eve is a more subdued dinner of beef and salmon followed by drinks and relaxing music.

Hermitage Nevis

At the family-owned Hermitage Plantation on Nevis, guests enjoy an intimate setting and holiday traditions such as caroling, and a Christmas dinner with roast goose. Photo: Hermitage Plantation

Laluna, Grenada

The white sand beach at Laluna replaces snow to create a tropical white Christmas, where villas are decked out with holiday decorations. Every year, carolers visit the Laluna Sunset Lounge, and guests gather around to enjoy the music and sip Ponche Crème, a local version of eggnog that infused with rum. Christmas lunch is celebrated as a barbecue on the beach. For holiday tastes from the tropics there is sorrel and black cake.

La Luna Grenada

Each December, the beachside villas of Grenada’s Laluna resort are decorated and lit for the holiday season. Guests gather at the beach on Christmas day for a mid-day barbecue. Photo: Laluna Resort

Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach and Palace, Dominican Republic

These sister properties offer a wealth of special activities for the two weeks around Christmas and New Years. Both resorts are decorated with lights, trees and wreaths by early December, and Santa makes his first appearance for the lighting of the main Christmas tree a few days before Christmas. On the night of December 24, a live nativity scene is set on the beach and Santa comes for his visit in the late afternoon on December 25, landing by parachute to deliver presents to each of the kids at the resort. On New Year’s Eve, there is a huge party with Olympics games, live music and a gala dinner and show. The holiday activities continue until January 6.

DR Wyndham

In the Dominican Republic, the adjacent resorts of Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach and Palace liven up the Christmas season with a live nativity scene and a visit from Santa. Photo: Viva Wyndham