Skip to main content

8 great hotel perks in the Caribbean

By Jill Becker, for CNN
updated 1:21 PM EST, Wed February 5, 2014
At the Ritz-Carlton, guests pick up the coconut phone to request delivery of sunscreen, magazines, food and drinks from the aqua butler. At the Ritz-Carlton, guests pick up the coconut phone to request delivery of sunscreen, magazines, food and drinks from the aqua butler.
HIDE CAPTION
Aqua butler (Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman)
Outdoor movies (Grand Lucayan, Bahamas)
Water sports (Regent Palms, T&C)
$100 credit (Westin St. John)
Cave spa (Grotto Bay, Bermuda)
Library (Carlisle Bay, Antigua)
Hand-rolled cigars (Westin Puntacana, DR)
Versailles-inspired gardens
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Carib hotels want to sway your vacation decision with deals and perks
  • At the Westin St. John, a few hours of local volunteer work gets you a $100 resort credit
  • At Bermuda's Grotto Bay Beach Resort you can get massaged in a 500,000-year-old cave
  • An "aqua butler" and "coconut phone"? The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman has them

(CNN) -- The Caribbean is a big place.

For rookies and veterans, it can be tough to know which island to visit and which place to stay.

If deals and perks play into your vacation decision making, the unexpected bonuses at these hotels -- from free kayaking lessons to massages overlooking an underground lake -- might help make up your mind.

Volunteers at the Westin St. John get more than a pat on the back.
Volunteers at the Westin St. John get more than a pat on the back.

$100 resort credit (Westin St. John Resort & Villas, St. John)

At this posh property astride a crescent-shaped beach on Great Cruz Bay, guests who volunteer a few hours of their time can earn a $100 resort credit good at any of the hotel's facilities.

Through a program offered by the Friends of the Virgin Island National Park, interested guests are transported to the nearby park, where they help maintain trails and ruins or pick up debris on the beach.

In return they receive a $100 credit to play with back to the hotel.

Westin St. John Resort & Villas, 300 Chocolate Hole, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands; +1 866 716 8108; $229-$569 per night; the hotel is currently undergoing a renovation, so some features may be temporarily closed or relocated

Free water sports lessons (Regent Palms, Turks and Caicos)

This all-suite hotel on stunning Grace Bay Beach has amenities galore, including an infinity pool with Wi-Fi and complimentary loaner bikes.

Our favorite perk is the sailing, paddle boarding and kayaking lessons included in the resort fee.

Already a player?

Then you'll appreciate that the equipment is free to use, as well.

Regent Palms, Princess Drive, Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos; +649 946 8666; from $499 per night

Aqua butler (Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands)

The crystalline waters of the Caribbean are right outside the doorstep at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

Guests can take advantage of the location when they nab one the hotel's free aqua beds or aqua lounges that float in the surf just off the beach.

Serving you at your watery perch is the aqua butler.

You can pick up the nearby coconut phone to request delivery of complimentary sunscreen and magazines or food and drinks.

Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; +345 943 9000; from $399 per night

You just might see Brad Pitt at the Grand Lucayan.
You just might see Brad Pitt at the Grand Lucayan.

Outdoor movies (Grand Lucayan, The Bahamas)

This beachfront hotel located 70 miles off the coast of Florida (which, of course, is also technically in the Atlantic, although the regions are often lumped together) has plenty of diversions, from two 18-hole championship golf courses to a Vegas-style casino.

The best feature may be the movies shown on a big screen by the pool on Friday and Saturday nights.

Popcorn is provided.

Grand Lucayan, Sea Horse Road, Lucaya, Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas; +1 877 434 2996; from $209 per night

Spa in a cave (Grotto Bay Beach Resort, Bermuda)

How often can you brag about a massage in a 500,000-year-old cave?

For an additional $20, guests of Grotto Bay's Natura Spa can pay to have their rubdown among the ancient stalagmites and stalactites of Serenity Cave, where the treatment table overlooks a crystal clear underground lake.

Grotto Bay Beach Resort, 11 Blue Hole Hill, Bailey's Bay, Bermuda; +441 293 8333; from $209 per night

If only all libraries were like this.
If only all libraries were like this.

Well-stocked library (Carlisle Bay, Antigua)

Forgot to pack your iPad?

No worries.

Carlisle Bay is among the growing number of hotels to house a library on site.

Decked out with fiber optic lighting that changes color throughout the evening, the cozy room has a couple of couches along with bookshelves crammed with several hundred books.

Choices range from classics such as "Treasure Island" and "The Lady in the Lake" to miscellaneous selections like "The Superior Person's Book of Words" and "How to Be a Bad Birdwatcher."

The library offers a paperback swap.

Carlisle Bay, Old Road St. John's‬, Carlisle Bay, Antigua; ‬+268 484 0000; call for rates

Hand-rolled cigars (Westin Puntacana Resort & Club, Dominican Republic)

This swanky 200-room resort on the scenic far eastern end of the Dominican Republic is brand new but already drawing rave reviews.

One of the features most often hailed is the Cigar Bar & Lounge, which not only stocks local and exotic smokes, but a selection of premium rums and Dominican coffees.

A specialist is on hand to hand-roll cigars in front of guests.

Westin Puntacana Resort & Club, five minutes south of Punta Cana International Airport, Playa Blanca, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; +809 959 2262; from $308 per night

Versailles-inspired gardens (One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas)

This former private estate is postcard pretty, particularly the ornate terraced garden that leads to the equally picturesque beach.

Modeled after the grounds of the famous Château de Versailles, the garden includes elegant statuary carved from Carrera marble and an actual 12th-century Augustinian cloister, purchased from William Randolph Hearst.

It was transported from France and reassembled on site piece by piece.

One&Only Ocean Club, 1 Casino Drive, Paradise Island, Bahamas; +866 552 0001 or +954 809 2150; call for rates

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:17 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
updated 9:40 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
updated 6:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
updated 5:57 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
At these fun Los Angeles bars, the the drinks come with a chaser of kitsch.
updated 4:41 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
From dining next to massive predators to drinking atop a rock in the middle of the ocean, Africa boasts some of the most interesting places to eat.
updated 1:12 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Just weeks after Bill HIllman, known as a veteran, expert bull runner, was badly gored in Pamplona, he's back at other smaller bull runnings in Spain, but walking with a cane.
updated 12:54 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Don't like the country you live in? Why not create your own, as many people have done. We uncover the parallel world of "micronationalism."
updated 9:41 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
LUSAIL CITY, QATAR: In this handout illustration provided by Qatar 2022, the Qatar 2022 Bid Committee today unveiled detailed plans for the iconic Lusail Stadium. With a capacity in excess of 86,000 and surrounded by water, the stadium would host the World Cup Opening Match and Final if Qatar wins the rights to stage the 2022 FIFA World Cup. If Qatar is awarded the honour of staging the 2022 FIFA World Cup, construction of the Lusail Stadium will start in 2015 and be completed in 2019. It will retain its full capacity after 2022.
Grab a glimpse of the near future. Plans for the desert city of Lusail include man-made islands and a host arena for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
updated 9:24 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
A CNN producer experiences China's poor on-time flight record firsthand as his plane takes off eight hours late.
updated 2:00 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
New Yorker Kerrin Rousset's exploration of Swiss city aims to lure cocoa fans over to the dark side.
updated 4:39 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Some things are just better after dark. These experiences around the world prove it.
updated 11:59 AM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Lebanon's winemakers are adopting new tactics to get their products noticed.
updated 2:26 AM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
the Teufelsberg or
Spooks have left their mark on a once-divided city still thought to be an espionage hotbed.
updated 6:06 PM EDT, Sun August 24, 2014
nanjing, handicrafts
With more than 6,000 years of history, Nanjing is one of the few cities in China still practicing the country's endangered traditional crafts.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT