Island Escapes
Five places where your main concern will be margarita or mojito?

From the March 24, 2003 Issue of New York

Peter Island, British Virgin Islands
There are never more than 116 guests allowed on this lush private isle—probably a lot fewer this time of year. The resort’s twenty beachfront junior suites have just been renovated, but you shouldn’t overlook the charm of Peter Island’s sixteen A-frame duplex cottages, right on the beach. All meals and water toys (Hobie Cats, Sunfish, Windsurfers, kayaks, snorkeling gear) are included in Peter’s rates, and you can get there only by boat or helicopter. The better to keep the crowds away.
All-inclusive summer rates start at $530 for two (800-346-4451;

Nisbet Plantation, Nevis
A converted sugar plantation, Nisbet is a charming alternative to Nevis’s better-known (and much fancier) Four Seasons Resort. With a great house dating back to 1778, the resort is a throwback to the slow-moving (make that slower-moving) Caribbean of yesteryear. Breezy cottages are set among stands of tall palm trees, and there’s a quiet white-sand beach that’s perfect for horseback riding, strolling, or, you know, swimming.
Summer rates start at $290 for two, including three meals daily (800-742-6008;

Caneel Bay, St. John
Caneel Bay’s year-old Self Centre, set on a quiet bluff with soothing sea views, is an open-air facility devoted to meditation, yoga, and “imagery.” Guest rooms at the fully loaded resort are equally serene, with picture windows, ceiling fans, soft pastel colors, and comfy handcrafted furniture. Hike, swim, sail, snorkel, or do nada on one of the resort’s seven secluded beaches.
Summer rates start at $300 for two (888-rosewood;


Hotel St-Barth, St. Barts
Upscale and très français, Hotel St-Barth Isle de France is one of the few beachfront lodgings on St. Barts. The delightfully tranquil (and relatively unknown) hideaway offers 33 spacious guest rooms nestled among lush tropical gardens. After you shop and dine—it is, after all, St. Barts—pamper yourself further at the hotel’s brand-new spa, which is managed by beauty gurus Molton Brown.
Summer packages start at $533 a night for two, including breakfast daily, one dinner, and a two-day car rental (800-810-4691;

The House at Paynes Bay, Barbados
Each of the 31 suites has its own private 24-hour “ambassador” (butler). Your personal Jeeves will meet you at the airport, unpack your clothes, serve you poolside drinks, hook you up with reservations at Barbados’s top restaurants—whatever you wish, Madam. Rooms come with private terraces, 500-thread-count sheets, goose-down duvets, and drop-dead views of the water. Jeeves and the rest of the staff will keep you cool with Evian spritzes (about every fifteen minutes) and iced fruit.
Summer rates from $500 for two (800-326-6898;



Photographs (from top to bottom): Courtesy of Peter Island, Nisbet Plantation, Self Centre, Hotel St-Barth Isle de France, and The House at Paynes Bay.