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14 Historic Caribbean Hotels That Tell a Story of the Region’s Past

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The white sand beaches lapping the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea are one of the main reasons that millions of tourists visit the region each year.  Many stay at large-scale luxury resorts overlooking the beaches, but an increasing number of visitors are opting for the charm of boutique properties with problematic pasts, as some are the former homes of European plantation owners.

Should these historical buildings now be luxurious hotels?   Well, my preference would be for them to be turned into museums educating visitors about the region’s past, but I recognize that this may not be economically feasible for the present owners. As such, provided that the restorations are tastefully done and there is a full acknowledgment of the history that is not romanticized,  then better they are hotels that remain derelict or completely destroyed.  

Some, like the Hermitage Hotel in Nevis, boast an impressive Great House believed to be constructed in 1650. From the Admiral’s Inn in Antigua to Hotel El Convento San Juan in Puerto Rico and the Fort Young Hotel in Dominica, visitors have their pick of historic buildings turned into mostly boutique hotels that combine impressive old-world architecture with the creature comforts of modern hospitality and amenities.  Below are fourteen of these historic Caribbean hotels.

14 Historic Hotels in the Caribbean

1. Admiral’s Inn and Gunpowder Suites

📍 Location: Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda
⭐️ Rating: 9.2/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
The Admiral’s Inn and Gunpowder Suites in Antigua is a Georgian-style hotel built in 1788. Named after British Admiral Horatio Nelson, it has 14 rooms, many of which offer fantastic views of the harbor. Located in Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, the hotel is close to the Dockyard Museum and numerous boutiques and restaurants. The hotel’s main floor houses a comfortable reception area and lounge. Inside its bar, guests will see a photocopy of what was the original plan for Nelson’s ship, the 142-foot HMS Boreas.

2. Copper and Lumber Store Historic Inn

📍 Location: Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda
⭐️ Rating: 9.4/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
The Copper and Lumber Store Historic Inn is located within Antigua’s Naval Dockyard, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is housed in one of the original buildings constructed by the British Navy in 1783. The building was used to store copper sheets and lumber for shipbuilding and maintenance and has since been authentically restored and converted into a Georgian Inn between 1982 and 1988. The Copper and Lumber Store Historic Inn’s fourteen suites and studios are each named after one of Lord Nelson’s ships or commanders and are tastefully furnished with time-period furniture and fittings.

3. Firefly Estate Bequia

📍Location: Spring Bay, Kingstown, St Vincent & The Grenadines
⭐️ Rating: 9.2/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
The Firefly Estate hotel in Bequia is located on the ruins of an 18th-century estate. The area is thought to have been inhabited by Arawak Indians, a tribe of peaceful farmers who grew crops, made pottery, and used huge grinding stones to sharpen their axes and knives. One of these stones can be found at the front of the hotel after it was moved there from the beach several decades ago. The property features 30 acres of lush hillsides that produce wild cinnamon and a variety of exotic crops. It also has several orchards with grapefruit, bananas, breadfruit, guava, coconuts, and mangoes.
Firefly Plantation Hotel Bequia

4. Fort Young Hotel

📍Location: Victoria Street, Roseau, Dominica
⭐️ Rating: 8.4/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
First built in 1699, the military history of Fort Young dates back several centuries. It was here that British and French forces battled for control of the island of Dominica, and remnants of this era still remain, including 19th-century cannons, as well as a large stone at the hotel’s entrance that was once used to mount horses. Today, the Fort Young hotel boasts 73 rooms and suites with all the modern comforts, as well as breathtaking views of the tropical sunset and the Caribbean Sea.

5. Golden Rock Inn

📍Location: New River, Saint Kitts & Nevis
⭐️ Rating: 9.6/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
Dating back to the early 1800s, the Golden Rock Plantation Inn has been tastefully restored and expanded to the relaxing tropical retreat it is today. The property has 11 guest rooms sitting on 100 hundred acres that rise towards Nevis Peak for magnificent views of the Caribbean’s crystal clear waters. A natural paradise, Golden Rock is a quaint boutique experience with tropical gardens and outdoor dining amidst the chirp of local birds and rustling bamboo.

6. Graycliff Hotel And Restaurant

📍Location: Downtown Nassau, Nassau, The Bahamas
⭐️ Rating: 8.0/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
Located in Nassau, Bahamas, the Graycliff Hotel was originally an Anglican church built in 1666. It got its name from the pirate Captain John Howard Graysmith, who built a mansion on the site in 1740 with the wealth he accumulated from plundering passing ships. The mansion was converted to an inn in 1844 and has hosted famous guests such as Winston Churchill. With 20 well-appointed rooms, the Graycliff Hotel is a blend of British ambiance and local charm. The property is also a landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Bahamas - Graycliff Hotel

7. The Hermitage Inn

📍Location: 497 St John Parish, Cole Hill, Nevis, Saint Kitts & Nevis
⭐️ Rating: 9.4/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
The Great House of The Hermitage is said to be the oldest wooden house in the Caribbean, dating to the mid-1960s, and likely grew tobacco, ginger, and nutmeg. In 1983, the current owners dreamt of running a retirement home at The Hermitage, but that later evolved into an inn. Continuous improvements and restoration of the traditional wooden houses and cottages grew into the charming boutique hotel it is today. The Hermitage Inn in Nevis has rooms and cottages which are scattered over three areas, offering an intimate tropical getaway in a living architectural museum.

8. Hotel El Convento San Juan

📍Location: 100 Cristo Street, San Juan, Puerto Rico
⭐️ Rating: 8.8/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
Dating back to the 17th century, the 58-room Hotel El Convento was once a convent for Carmelite nuns. Situated in Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan district, it features Spanish Colonial-style architecture with decorative glazed tiles and velvet settees. Now an AAA Four-Diamond Hotel, El Convento is a boutique-style luxury property that offers the same European-style accommodations as it did when it opened in 1962. El Convento is the oldest member of Historic Hotels of America and was named the premier “Small Luxury Hotel” in Puerto Rico.

9. Hodelpa Nicolás de Ovando

📍Location: Calle Las Damas, Colonial Zone, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
⭐️ Rating: 9.0/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
The 16th-century Hodelpa Nicolás de Ovando got its name from the original owner, Nicolás de Ovando, who was the first Governor of the Americas. The 4-star property has 104 rooms in three stonewall houses that feature Spanish-style hacienda shutters and wrought ironwork. The Hodelpa Nicolás de Ovando features an attractive blend of old-world charm with modern amenities for a truly peaceful and relaxing vacation.

Dominican Republic - Hostal Nicolas de Ovando

10. Meliá Century Hotel

📍Location: 75 Cristina Street, Ponce, Puerto Rico
⭐️ Rating: 8/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
Meliá Century Hotel is the oldest hotel in Puerto Rico. Established in 1895, it is located in a historic zone in the heart of Ponce and is considered an architectural landmark as it was built in the neoclassical and colonial styles. With 70 rooms over four storeys, Meliá Century Hotel has a rich heritage of hospitality, service, and courtesy that dates back to its early days.  It is near many attractions, including Parque de Bombas, Casa Armstrong-Poventud,  Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Teatro la Perla and  El Museo Castillo Serralles.

11. Montpelier Plantation Inn

📍Location: St John Figtree Parish, Cole Hill, Saint Kitts &Nevis
⭐️ Rating: 9.6/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
Montpelier, Nevis is known for the infamous battles that once raged in the colonial era, but it was a love story that emerged from the site of the Montpelier Plantation & Beach. Constructed in the 1700s, Montpelier Plantation hosted the wedding of Admiral Horatio Nelson to Francis Nisbet in 1787. The former sugar plantation has 18 rooms, all with spectacular ocean views. The 10-acre property now features beautiful gardens and a restored sugarcane mill.

Nevis - Nisbet Plantation

12. Rabot Hotel from Hotel Chocolat

📍Location: Rabot Estate, Soufriere, St Lucia
⭐️ Rating: 9.4/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
The Rabot Hotel from Hotel Chocolat opened in January 2012 on what was once Rabot Estate. The current owners have restored the property and revived the estate’s cocoa-producing past, collaborating with local cocoa growers to produce chocolate made authentically from Saint Lucian beans. With amazing views of the famous Piton Mountains, guests at the Rabot Hotel from Hotel Chocolat can enjoy a relaxing stroll through the cocoa groves and treat themselves to a Cocoa Rejuvenate spa treatment.

13. Sugar Beach – A Viceroy Resort

📍Location: Val des Pitons, Soufriere, Saint Lucia
⭐️ Rating: 9.2/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
Situated on the site of the former Jalousie Plantation, Sugar Beach is nestled on a hillside between the famous Piton Peaks. The property boasts 18th-century charm with Victorian-style claw-foot baths and four-poster beds. The luxurious resort offers guests a selection of well-decorated rooms in addition to villas and suites with private plunge pools. Eight beachfront bungalows offer direct access to the stunning white sand beach, and guests can enjoy the exotic fruits of mango, coconut, and papaya trees growing on 325 acres of lush tropical gardens surrounding the property.

14. The Old Fort Historic Estate

📍Location: Bequia, St Vincent & The Grenadines
⭐️ Rating: 9.2/10 | 🏩 Check rates and availability at Expedia.com
Dating back to the 18th-century French exploits in the Caribbean, the Old Fort Boutique Hotel & Estate is the only fully restored historic plantation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The hotel sits on 28 acres of lush tropical grounds that flow from the hills of Mt. Pleasant down to the Caribbean Sea. Guests have given rave reviews for its enticing pool and magnificent garden surroundings. The former plantation also features several orchards growing bananas, mangos, tamarinds, and breadfruit.

Find more historic hotels and resorts in the Caribbean by visiting our hotel pricing comparison website powered by Expedia.com.

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Traveling to the Caribbean for your next vacation? Then consider staying at one of these 14 historic Caribbean hotels.

Note: Originally published on August 10th, 2016, this post was updated on March 6th, 2023.

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I'm Ursula!

Welcome to Caribbean & Co. founded by Ursula Petula Barzey who enjoys traveling the Caribbean in search of the best cultural and food adventures, places to stay and live/work opportunities. Launched in 2014, Caribbean & Co. has won five travel media awards.

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