What if you escaped to an exotic location for a day or two — and had the courage to turn it all off? No more texting a friend while having dinner with your sweetheart. No more mindlessly checking emails while the sun sets in kaleidoscopic hues across a cobalt horizon. No more Skyping with your boss when this is supposed to be your vacation.
Unplug and hook up — but not with the outside world — with each other. Do it at a picnic on a beach, in a sailboat or during a couple’s massage, and marvel at the beauty around you sans Instagram filters. These Caribbean dazzlers make it easy to leave those chargers behind.
A family-owned hotel since 1950, the Jamaica Inn has hosted the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Katharine Hepburn, and the Hollywood heyday vibe infiltrates the ambiance of this 47-suite, five-cottage hotel like a seductive phantom. But it isn’t all glitz and glamour. At this hideaway, simplicity rules. And you’ll find yourselves realizing that at Jamaica Inn — on a sliver-moon-shaped beach near Ocho Rios — time hardly matters.
Photo courtesy of Jamaica Inn
Here, you’ll find ways to tell time that have nothing to do with train schedules, meeting times and the incessant reminders that bleat from your phone all day long back home. Here, there are no clocks in the room (or radios or televisions). Which means you’ll measure the hours differently — like when the sun sets on the resort’s ocean side and the sky bursts into fuchsia. And you’ll relax into a day without boundaries and appointments (except, perhaps, at the spa).
Photo courtesy of Jamaica Inn
Here, guests eat when they’re hungry (al fresco is best), sleep at unthinkable times in unusual places (was that you under the palapa?) and dance until the Inner Groove’s reggae tunes end for the evening. One night you’ll want to indulge in a couple’s moonlight massage, a candlelit ritual beneath the stars (room rates start at $310 a night; jamaicainn.com).
Petit St. Vincent
Raise the flag! That’s not a pirate’s call to arms. Instead, that’s how guests communicate with staff at Petit St. Vincent, a remote, 115-acre private island set in the Grenadines on the Caribbean’s southeastern side and one of the region’s marquee unplugged resorts. At this iconic retreat, 22 unpretentious accommodations dot the atoll. They’re scattered along a two-mile-long, bonewhite beach and tucked atop a crested bluff. Though a Balinese-run spa beckons and two restaurants conjure culinary magic, you may find it more thrilling to stay in — despite the fact your cottage has no television, Internet or even keys.
Photo Credit: Mike Toy Photography; Matthew Semark
To convey your needs, hoist a yellow flag and let it fly from the driftwood flagpole outside your villa. Staff who come running will check the box attached to the pole, where you’ve placed a note with your requests for dinner, activities or books. Want to be left in peace to channel the complete tranquility of this far-flung island? Elevate the red flag, and you won’t be disturbed by a soul (room rates start at $1,100 a night and include meals and non-alcoholic beverages; petitstvincent.com).
Photo Credit: Mark Hartman Photography
Rosewood Little Dix Bay
This hideaway is totally old school — in a good way. People have been falling in love and unraveling the urban knots here since before the Internet was a twinkle in its inventor’s eye. Founded by ahead-of-his-time eco-conscious Laurance Rockefeller in 1964, Little Dix Bay occupies verdant terrain on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. Its half-mile boomerang of sugary sand borders crystalline waters mottled with myriad shades of blue. The other edge of the property is where bottle-green mountains rise. Capping one, you’ll find the cliff-top spa, which sports awesome vistas. Without televisions or locks, rustic chichi rooms have stone walls and high ceilings that evoke Caribbean Colonial motifs.
Photo courtesy of Rosewood Hotels
Book into one of the hexagonal tree-house cottages that seem to hover amongst the branches of the tallest trees. Built on stilts just steps from the beach, the airy lodgings feature individual gardens and hammocks. Romance packages include massages, a sunset cruise, a day trip to a neighboring island and a picnic at Spring Bay (room rates start at $825 a night; rosewoodhotels.com).