Despite what T.S. Eliot says, we believe February is the cruelest month. Give yourself a break from the elements by starting to plan your warm-weather getaway right now. From the shores of Anguilla to the mountains of St. Lucia, there’s blissfulness out there this season; you just have to head south (or, in Bermuda‘s case, east) to find it.
British Virgin Islands
At 100 rooms, Rosewood Little Dix Bay — on a 500-acre stretch originally bought by philanthropist Laurance S. Rockefeller — strikes just the right balance between intimate and expansive. If you need more adventure than reading a book in the shade of sea grape tree, swim, snorkel, scuba dive, sail and play tennis (day or night). Rosewood Little Dix Bay couldn’t be more family friendly, too. The amiable staff at the Children’s Center runs complimentary full- and half-day Rose Buds programs for kids ages three and up. Activities include nature walks, treasure hunts and opportunities to try their hand at Caribbean folk art. Score the Tree House Retreat promotion and you’ll please everyone in the group, thanks to overnight accommodations in the spacious tree house suite, daily breakfast, two seaside massages and more.
Against a backdrop of green palms and blue sky and water, white Greco-Moorish Cap Juluca cuts a striking figure. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star property has 69 rooms in beachside, whitewashed villas. And though the entire hotel is honeymoon-worthy, some units up the romance factor with bathtubs for two leading to private sun terraces. One of the nicest things about Cap Juluca is that all activities are included in the room rate, so you can snorkel, go waterskiing and sail in the 77-degree February temperatures at no additional charge.
Seven Mile Beach’s white sand and blue waters combine for a postcard-perfect view of the Caribbean you daydream about on snowy days. The 365-room The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman sits on the beach and offers plenty of fun on the water, including stand-up paddle boarding. Starfish Cay is where families hang out, with slides and fountains for little swimmers. Kids can also participate in hotel programs that range from junior snorkeling sessions to kayak trips through the mangroves. For foodies, there’s signature restaurant Blue by Eric Ripert. The Eric Ripert tasting menu serves the most popular dishes from the chef’s famed Five-Star Le Bernardin, while the Blue tasting menu delivers the day’s super-fresh catches.
Turks & Caicos
Next to the 18,000-acre Northwest Point Marine National Park is the secluded Amanyara, where the goal is for you to disconnect and Zen out. The Four-Star property looks more like a Thai beach resort than one in the Caribbean, with pagoda-style pavilions and a central reflecting pool. There are 40 standalone timber pavilions, with glass on three sides to better enjoy the sweeping views. The other 20 villas sit on one and a half acres each, while also offering private pools and outdoor showers. After a bit of lounging, get the adrenaline going again with kayaking, tennis, Pilates, outdoor yoga, sailing, paddle boarding or snorkeling. In case of inclement weather — with 80-degree March averages, however, we’re not expecting much gloom — there’s the well-stocked library filled with games and books, and nightly film showings in the screening room.
Tortuga Bay Hotel was designed by inimitable fashion icon Oscar de la Renta, ensuring that its 30 suites are plenty chic — villas are yellow on the outside and white within, with brown wicker canopy beds. After working your way around the sights and through the breakfast buffet at Bamboo, take a spot somewhere along the hotel’s three-mile stretch of sand or splash around in one of the eco-reserve’s lagoons. If you get a bit antsy, play a round of golf and then relax with a massage at Six Senses Spa. The fantastic service here continues right up to the minute your flight takes off. You’ll be escorted to the airport so you can skip the long lines at security before cooling off with food and drink in the hotel’s private lounge.
Celebrities have long flocked to Sandy Lane Hotel for a private beachfront escape. While the pristine white sand and turquoise waters are the main attractions, the golf also will lure you in — the Tom Fazio-designed Green Monkey cost $25 million and is one of the most expensive golf courses ever built. To play a round, you have to be a guest of the Barbados hotel. Of course, a stay comes with a host of other VIP perks, including Mercedes or BMW airport transfers and a staff member who will handle your unpacking for free. That leaves you more time for scuba diving, banana boat rides, kayaking, catamaran outings, swimming with the turtles or simply relaxing on the sand under a red umbrella with some sorbet.
Rosewood Tucker’s Point is an oasis during the snowy winter. Bask in 240 acres of tranquility, including the largest private pink-sand beach on the island, two freshwater pools and a spa with Bermudian-inspired treatments. You’ll find all of the usual watersports at your disposal, but the Bermuda hotel also provides intriguing land-based adventures, like a tour of Tom Moore’s Jungle that will lead you into a warren of caves, dating back 600,000 years, that comes with a stop at Blue Hole Hill National Park to jump from cliffs for a dive into the water. Or venture to St. David’s Lighthouse, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that gives you breathtaking views of the island, and Cooper’s Island, where you’ll explore the nature reserve and take in the panorama from a site that served as a NASA Space Station.
All the usual beach and pool shenanigans are available at the 67-room, 57-suite Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina. You’ll find a handful of excursions and activities to keep you occupied rain or shine as well. For a taste of excitement unique to St. Lucia, climb to the top of 2,619-foot UNESCO World Heritage Site Gros Piton or hike along the Marigot Ridge Trail. Afterward, stretch out in one of the resort’s complimentary yoga and Pilates classes. You can also try your hand at Saint Lucian cooking and taste traditional Caribbean cuisine onsite before heading to the island’s rum distillery for some top-shelf sampling. For children, there’s a pirate treasure hunt, an introductory sailing session and junior cooking classes. Then again, if your definition of a Caribbean getaway is you lounging with the sun caressing your skin, grab a daybed and sip one of the resort’s signature rum-infused iced tea pops.
Oceanfront 350-room Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort is ultra secluded, making it the ideal place to stay if you want a few days to unwind amid 80-degree February forecasts. Rooms get great sunlight but also have wooden shutters and thick curtains, so you can sleep in. (But whatever you do, don’t miss the impressive breakfast spread.) Get in a round of golf, join a guided hike around the property, go scuba diving or just laze by the white-sand private beach. Parents can get a little “me time” after they drop the kiddos off at the action-packed Camp Arawak (youth ages 3-12).