Top Caribbean bolthole to offer iPads to guests

Lighthouse Bay Resort, an exquisite Barbuda resort recently tipped by Vanity Fair’s George Wayne as an appropriately majestic honeymoon location for Prince William and Kate Middleton, already cocoons its guests in utter bliss.

It offers isolation along a miles-long stretch of insanely stunning beach; a skilled chef who produces wonderfully personalized meals; an appealing list of activities, all gently on offer; and free long-distance telephone and use of laptops-and, as of this coming week, use of iPads on the property.

In stocking its rooms with iPads, Lighthouse Bay will advance a luxury hotel micro-trend. Back in April, Gridskipper noted that several hotels had begun to incorporate the iPad tablet into their amenity tallies. One of the hotels mentioned in that round-up, Rhode Island’s Ocean House, at the time planned to offer iPads as a basic amenity for guests; the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Berkeley in London (the latter reported in Gadling) both provide iPad in selected suites.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s Ale House Inn ups the ante by providing iPads to guests in all its “Deluxe” rooms. By providing four iPads for its nine suites, Lighthouse Bay provides similarly broad guest access to iPads. Next season, Lighthouse Bay plans to roll out iPads in all of its nine suites.

The iPad is still very new and it’s unclear how broad its adoption will be. But if this micro-trend continues and luxury hotels will soon be providing the magic tablet for guests in greater numbers, the iPad may progress from amenity to utility fairly quickly.

Five idyllic Caribbean backwaters

Beyond the Caribbean’s all-inclusive resorts, casinos, overpriced restaurants, and huge crowds are a handful of islands that have escaped mass development. These quiet islands, with their tiny populations and scattered tourist facilities, are not headed for mass-tourism overdevelopment anytime soon, and for a range of reasons-in some cases, the absence of an adequate expanse for a large runway; in others, proximity to more developed islands, or local governmental resistance, or even a decently profitable traditional economy that generates more money than tourism. For whatever reason, these backwaters should remain charming and relatively quiet for some time to come. Let your castaway fantasy flag fly.

1. Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Geographically and geologically apart from the rest of the Virgin Islands, Anegada is a limestone-based island with enormous stretches of perfect white-sand beaches. It’s hard to top Anegada’s Loblolly Bay or Cow Wreck beaches for their achievement of ideal beach status. There may be things to do on the island above and beyond lazing on the beach in a rum haze, but you’ll surely never need to discover them. Think Anguilla without the crowds (let alone the celebrities) and you’ve got a good sense of the island. Anegada can be reached by ferry from Tortola or charter plane.

2. Barbuda, Antigua & Barbuda.

Barbuda boasts some of the Caribbean’s best and least-trafficked beaches, a noteworthy frigate bird preserve, a fascinating cave complex, and Lighthouse Bay, one of the Caribbean’s most thrillingly perfect resorts. That the island hasn’t been developed to pieces seems a miracle when one contemplates how many Caribbean islands with less remarkable beaches manage to be vastly more developed. Barbuda can be reached by air and ferry from Antigua-or, if you’re lucky enough to be a guest of Lighthouse Bay, by helicopter.
3. Little Cayman, Cayman Islands.

A far cry from Grand Cayman and its densely-packed Seven Mile Beach district, Little Cayman boasts utter and complete quiet. With fewer than 200 residents, it is a backwater by any standard. Most visitors come to dive or check out the island’s interior nature preserve. The island’s beaches are not the region’s best, although locals will help direct visitors to good swimming and sunning spots. Little Cayman can be reached by air from Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.

4. Marie-Galante, Guadeloupe.

Mass tourism has never taken off on rum-producing Marie-Galante, a quick flight (or turbulent catamaran ride) from Pointe-à-Pitre. There are a handful of hotels on the island, though it is Marie-Galante’s friendly gîtes, operated by local residents, that really stand out. Activities include countryside exploration, rum distillery visits, and of course the island’s truly extraordinary beaches (see above.) The only downside of this relaxed rural idyll is the formidable mosquito population. Be prepared.

5. Mayreau, St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Tiny Mayreau is situated halfway down the Grenadines archipelago. The island boasts an extraordinary stretch of beach and a hilltop stone church with phenomenal views. Accommodations are restricted to one upscale resort and a cluster of simple locally-run guest houses. There is no airstrip on Mayreau. The island can be reached by ferry, water taxi, or private boat.

(Image: Flickr/origine1)


Tiny Caribbean Islands You May Have Never Heard Of

I was
born and live in The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, a two-island country at the southernmost end of the Caribbean
archipelago.  Nowadays, many people have heard of Trinidad & Tobago; however, when I was a child and had moved
to America, the way most people acted, you might have thought I was from a country on Mars.  "Trinidad?"
people would say inquisitively.  "Trinidad, TEXAS?"  When I finally managed to make them understand
that no, not Trinidad, Texas, but Trinidad, an island in the Caribbean, their eyes would invariably light up: 
"Oh, like Jamaica?  Cool!  Go on, then — speak Jamaican!"

Come to think of it, even now
many non-West-Indians ask me to speak "Jamaican."

This can be pretty frustrating, especially since
Trinidad is actually one of the larger, more industrial islands of the Caribbean, primarily because of its strong oil
& gas industry.  "Jamaica isn’t the only island in the Caribbean," I think to myself,
irritably.  "There are other islands, you know."

But if I’m irritable about
being from an oft-forgotten island, imagine how the people from Terre de Haut, Barbuda and Saba feel!

Nast Traveler is featuring an article written by Gully
, who traveled to these three all-but-forgotten islands on a quest to discover the true meaning of
paradise.  Turns out, she found it:

As idyllic antidotes to big-city life, Terre-de-Haut, Barbuda,
and Saba all had the requisite degree of remoteness, that delicious sense of being totally cut off from the demonic
demands of the modern world, but it was ultimately their size that seduced me. It may be an illusion—or possibly
a luxury experienced only by the visitor—but life did seem calmer, simpler, and less out of control on these

Sounds amazingly wonderful — even for a "big-island" girl like me.