Riu Palace Antillas Aruba
Riu Palace Antillas Aruba

Don’t miss our updated New Caribbean Resorts for 2016

If you’re planning an all-inclusive vacation this year but can’t decide where to go, consider one of these new, highly anticipated Caribbean resorts.

Sandals Barbados

Opened January 28, 2015

Sandals Barbados suite with soaking tub
Sandals Barbados suite with soaking tub

Sandals has many Caribbean resorts to choose from, with a high concentration in Jamaica and St. Lucia. It’s always exciting to see the company expand to new destinations, most notably its Emerald Bay property in Great Exuma and the new Sandals LaSource in Grenada. Sandals’ next location is a smart one – Barbados, an island popular for weddings and honeymoons.

The couples-only Sandals Barbados opened January 2015, at the site of the former Couples Barbados. The company worked quickly to Sandalize the property, adding the popular lagoon swim-up suites, as well as popular dining venues Kimonos, Soy Sushi Bar, Butch’s Chophouse, and Bombay Club, the brand’s first Indian restaurant.

Why go? There are other all-inclusives in Barbados, but if you like the larger resort brands, you can’t beat Sandals. Plus, we love to see what the company debuts at each location. Here we’ll see wrap-around balcony suites with soaking tubs and a new destination program for exploring the island.

Update: Sandals has already announced expansion plans for Sandals Barbados, including the addition of 186 new rooms, all in suite-level categories, as well as larger spa and new entertainment facilities.

Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica

Opened November 2015

Balcony with private plunge pool
Balcony with private plunge pool

The former Hilton resort on Papagayo Bay has been rebranded as a Secrets resort, meaning couples can enjoy this adults-only getaway on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Plus, since it’s part of the AMResorts family (Dreams, Zoetry), guests can book Preferred Club status and receive extra perks like a private lounge, concierge, and upgraded mini-bar.

Why go? We’d book this just for the private plunge pools, located on your own balcony and overlooking the bay. But there’s even more to love about Secrets Papagayo, including the stunning location between exotic beach and rainforest, bungalow-style spa, premium liquor and 24-hour room service, and close proximity to Coco Beach, with even more dining, bars, and shopping.

(Note: This is not a Caribbean resort, but many Caribbean fans also enjoy Costa Rica, so we thought we would include it!)

Riu Palace Antillas

Opened October 2014

Riu Palace Antillas is next to Riu Palace Aruba on Palm Beach
Riu Palace Antillas is next to Riu Palace Aruba on Palm Beach

You won’t find many adult-only resorts in Aruba, and the new Riu Palace Antillas doesn’t disappoint with its prime Palm Beach location. It’s not a first in Aruba for Riu – the new hotel is located directly next to the existing, family-friendly Riu Palace Aruba.

The all-inclusive resort has a buffet dining room, three specialty restaurants, three bars and 24-hour all-inclusive dining. There is also a nightclub and casino onsite.

Why go? Aruba is a very family friendly island, so if you’re looking for a kid-free zone then an adults-only resort is your best bet. There aren’t many on the island, and the Riu Palace Antillas is the only one on Palm Beach. Plus, you can’t beat 24-hour all-inclusive service and use of the neighboring Riu Palace Aruba’s facilities.

Keep an Eye Out For:

Dreams Sugar Bay

Opened December 2014

Pool at Dreams Sugar Bay, St. Thomas
Pool at Dreams Sugar Bay, St. Thomas

AMResorts, parent company of all-inclusive brands throughout the Caribbean and Mexico, operates the popular Sugar Bay property in St. Thomas under the family-friendly Dreams flag. The resort is currently one of two all-inclusives on the island, and the rebranding brings even more programs and amenities to guests.

Dreams Sugar Bay officially launched in December, with upgraded guest rooms and restaurants, and the addition of the Preferred Club, a VIP category that gives guests access to special amenities like personalized check-in and concierge services, an exclusive lounge, and a private beach area.

Why go? We love the all-inclusive pricing – a rare find on St. Thomas. There are also lots of activities near the resort, including island hopping from Red Hook and duty-free shopping in Charlotte Amalie.

Update: As of January 2016, Sugar Bay is no longer managed by AMResorts. Stay tuned for updates on the property.

Baha Mar

Opening Delayed

Aerial view of Baha Mar development
Aerial view of Baha Mar development

Cable Beach in Nassau, Bahamas is getting ready for the addition of Baha Mar, a mega-resort complex consisting of five different hotel brands, including the all-inclusive Melia Nassau Beach. With abundant beachfront property, the largest casino in the Caribbean, and 40 restaurants, bars, and lounges, the resort will rival the popular Atlantis, just across the bridge on Paradise Island.

Resort amenities will include a championship Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, convention facilities including a 2,000-seat performing arts center, four pools with cabanas and swim-up bars, an ESPA destination spa, designer retail boutiques, a beachfront sanctuary, and a water eco-park.

Why go?

Baha Mar, “Bahamian Riviera,” is the biggest happening in the Bahamas in a long time, and brings a much needed revitalization to the lovely Cable Beach. And while there’s no arguing this is a flashy, Vegas-like resort, the company is also going the extra mile to promote local artists and protect the environment by building an artificial reef.

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