Got a case of the blues? These brightly-colored resorts are guaranteed to lift your spirits
The Caribbean is full of color: the teals, aquamarines, and cobalt blues of the ocean; sands that vary from white, pink, and silver to volcanic black; hillsides swathed in deep greens and structures painted in a range of brilliant colors more often seen in Easter baskets. And then there are the people, who are warm by nature and love any excuse to dress in vivid costumes for celebrations such as Carnival, Jump Up, and Junkanoo. So, the next time you plan a Caribbean vacation, make sure your walls are pink, the staircase is turquoise, the pillows are orange and your hammock is lime green. You’ll be sure to go home with a new attitude.
A Private Paradise: Boardwalk Boutique Hotel, Aruba
When you enter the turquoise-walled lobby, you’ll most likely be welcomed by one of the Rooijakkers sisters, the Aruban-born, Belgium-educated owners of this smart little hotel. Hidden behind a slew of coconut palms, palmetto and tropicals are a private garden and a collection of 46 cottages and casita suites, displaying a kaleidoscope of tropical tones. Each of these well-equipped casitas (kitchen, barbecue, hammock, and private deck) is unique and filled with color. Set against a background canvas of angular white are hot pink accent walls, turquoise shutters, and green, orange, and yellow pillows, all designed to stimulate the senses without overwhelming. Local artwork provides an additional element of visual interest and connects the property to its past life as a coconut plantation. Secluded from the outside world, the ambiance is peaceful, isolated, and where you want to be, whether that’s chilling by the pool, reading a book under the communal palapa, or swinging in a hammock that just happens to be turquoise.
The enclave is sheltered from the larger resorts that line Palm Beach and the traffic of the main drag, L.G. Smith Blvd., but remains close enough to the action for convenience when you need some beach time or a serving of nightlife. Your hosts can send you off to the ocean with towels, beach chairs, coolers, and snorkeling gear, and they are a font of advice on island explorations and activities they know personally. The most happening stretch of sand on Aruba, Palm Beach, is just a three- minute walk, and Fisherman’s Huts, the center for kiteboarding and windsurfing, is a slight bit longer. Should you get the urge to ride the winds, the sisters can hook you up with instructors and gear, as they are avid boarders themselves. The less ambitious can have breakfast delivered to their patio and start their day with a relaxing dose of color therapy.
Bohemian Hideaway: Jakes, Treasure Beach, Jamaica
The funky décor starts with stained glass windows paired with driftwood doors, colored bottles worked into walls, and conch shells that frame an outdoor shower. Toss in an eclectic assortment of design elements from Mexico, Morocco, and India and you begin to get the picture of why Jakes is known as one of the most original and whimsical properties in the Caribbean. Every one of the 30 cottages, villas, and single-bedroom units scattered across the six-acre grounds is cleverly designed, and each shows the influence of Sally Henzell. The mother of owner Jake Henzell, drew on her talents as an artist, seamstress, photographer, and collector of the unusual to develop a theme that celebrates the Jamaican homeland and its many divergent influences. Rasta colors and photos of Bob Marley grace the walls, and notions of artists like Antoni Gaudí and Cuba’s José Fuster are evident.
You’ll find plenty of mosaic tiles on the walls as well as around the pool, which becomes the center for much of the activity in this village-like atmosphere. All of these elements work together to create a low-key and playful environment that encourages you to lull in the sun, stretch out for a snooze in the shade or pull up a seat in the Adirondack chairs facing the sea. The truly endearing qualities of Jakes resonate not only from the trinkets and kitschy design elements but also from the people. Here, you’ll find true Jamaican hospitality. The Henzells and staff seem like extended family and an integral part of the Treasure Beach community. Indeed, it’s quite common for local fishermen and farmers to stop by with offerings for the kitchen, plucked fresh from land or sea.
Seduced by fragrance: Mount Cinnamon Resort and Beach Club, Grenada
Nestled on a hillside overlooking Grand Anse Beach, the stark white buildings and red roofs of the Mount Cinnamon Resort complete a primary color palette that begins with the blues of sea and sky and works through earthy ochers and the greens of Grenada’s natural vegetation. In summer months the flamboyant trees fill with yellow and red blooms, and fragrant breezes remind you that you are on the Spice Island. Each spacious suite offers a sitting room, bar, full kitchen and a private balcony. In the evening pour a glass of wine and watch the mesmerizing twinkling of the distant harbor lights of St. George’s framed through arched pillars. Some interiors are dressed in citrus tones, others take on hues of the 1960s: pink, purple, and blue. Furnishings also push the envelope towards the eclectic; your space might have a vintage painted wooden table in lime green paired with sleek Italian- styled chairs, a pink shag rug in one bedroom, and a purple and yellow theme in another. You may bathe in a pink swirl of a plaster shower, and your morning muffin will pop out of an orange toaster.
Dining at the elevated terrace at Savvy’s Restaurant is equally colorful, as the setting mates the panoramic vistas of Grand Anse Beach with island flavors. Breakfast may be a platter of fresh fruit and dinner a fish dish with West Indian influences, but count on freshness as fruits and vegetables come from the farm of sister property Mount Edgecombe and the fresh catch of the day is always on the menu. The Mount Cinnamon Beach Club is just across the street and has a quiet stretch of sand on Grand Anse. Settle in for the day with a chaise under a yellow umbrella, and when it’s time for lunch retreat to the red-roofed restaurant. Late afternoon calls for a massage beachside, relaxing with warm breezes and the sounds of nature.
Musical Colors: Compass Point, Nassau
From the air, the resort looks like a village built of Legos: red, blue, and yellow blocks joined together in a riotous celebration of colors, textures, and levels. The property is the creation of recording mogul Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records. His goal was to re-create the village atmosphere he knew growing up in his native Jamaica. He also wanted to pay homage to the colors and patterns of the Bahamian celebrations of Junkanoo, the annual street parties turned parades that take place on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day each year and are an integral part of Bahamian culture. At the time of its opening in 1995, Compass Point quickly became a haven for musical artists. Today, the property is still steeped in that culture, and you can peruse the list of performers that have stayed there over the years and listen to their music, as each cottage is equipped with a selection of CDs.
Hidden behind palms and green foliage, the resort’s wildly painted collection of 18 cottages, studios, and two-bedroom units are set right at the water’s edge. Every room has a balcony with sea views, where the soundtrack comes from nature. And although air conditioning is available, you’ve got the opportunity to open the windows and sleep to the sound of the sea crashing on the rocks and shoreline below. The two-bedroom units are set up on stilts, giving the upper levels panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. When it’s time for that picturesque sunset, head to the pier that extends 120 feet into the Atlantic Ocean to capture every shade from orange to indigo as the sun sinks below the waves.