The Caribbean Quickie
Your favorite islands are now a nonstop flight away. The warm blue water is reason enough to go, but let us fill you in on a few more excuses to pack your bags.
Place to stay Spread out at Ocean Club West, a condo resort on Providenciales. Its rentals range from studios to three-bedroom units with screened-in balconies and kitchens. And just beyond your quarters, there are two freshwater pools, tennis courts, and a spa for mom (649/946-5880, oceanclubresorts.com, from $260 in high season). —Ellise Pierce
We'll drink to that Stanford Handfield free dives for conch shells and then turns his finds into funky souvenirs, such as soda glasses. Look for his goods at TCI Shell Man on Grand Turk (649/241-6414, from $4).
Get there American Airlines has new nonstop weekday flights from JFK in New York.
Air Canada has added four nonstop flights from Toronto, as well as new nonstop Monday service from Montreal.
Reason to go now In the past few years, a handful of intimate villa resorts have opened on St. Lucia's secluded western coast. The latest to debut is Ti Kaye Village Resort, with 33 beach cottages and a cliffside spa that uses island ingredients and caters to couples. You don't have to be guests to book treatments—perhaps an ylang-ylang massage or a papaya scrub?—in bungalows with side-by-side massage tables and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean (758/456-8101, tikaye.com, treatments from $75, rooms from $280 in high season). Want to take in the island? The International Pony Club has a riding tour for two that progresses from the mountains to the fishing village of Gros Islet to a Danielle Steel–worthy gallop along Cas-en-Bas Beach (758/452-8139, internationalponyclub.net, from $65 per person).
Beach locals love All of St. Lucia's sands are public, but there's one quiet spot residents try to keep secret: Smuggler's Cove, a half-mile stretch surrounded by black volcanic cliffs. Beauty aside, the beach is next door to the Cap Maison Resort & Spa; waiters from the bar take towel-side drink orders from anyone sunbathing in the vicinity.
Place to stay St. Lucia is pricey, particularly in peak season. A great value is the Marina Outpost Villa, which opened last fall with four guesthouses on a peak above Rodney Bay. The red-and-yellow chalets have two-bedroom suites with four-poster beds, and balconies that face the sea. The resort's hibiscus and bougainvillea bushes attract purple-throated carib hummingbirds and yellow-breasted bananaquits—the inspiration for the villas' eye-opening palette (800/263-4202, oasismarigot.com, from $270 in high season). —Alison Rohrs
Love potion The island has its own aphrodisiac, a juicy pear-like fruit known as the pomme d'amour, or love apple. Dasheene, an open-air restaurant in the hills of Soufrière, serves a delicious pomme d'amour daiquiri (866/290-0978, $8).