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 for 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 be 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 The Old Fort Boutique Hotel & Estate in St. Vincent and the Fort Young 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 Caribbean historic hotels.  

The Admiral’s Inn

Location: Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda
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The Admiral’s Inn 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.

Boucan by Hotel Chocolat

Location: Rabot Estate, Soufriere, St Lucia
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The Boucan by 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 Boucan by Hotel Chocolat can enjoy a relaxing stroll through the cocoa groves, and treat themselves to a Cocoa Rejuvenate spa treatment.

Firefly Plantation Hotel Bequia

Location: Spring Bay, Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines
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The Firefly Plantation Hotel in Bequia lies 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

Fort Young Hotel

Location: Victoria Street, Roseau, Dominica
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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 hotel boasts 73 rooms and suites with all the modern comforts, as well as breathtaking views of the tropical sunset and the Caribbean Sea.

Golden Rock Inn

Location: New River, Saint Kitts & Nevis
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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.

Graycliff Hotel

Location: Downtown Nassau, Nassau, The Bahamas
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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

The Hermitage Plantation Inn

Location: 497 St John Parish, Cole Hill, Saint Kitts & Nevis
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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 rooms and cottages are scattered over three areas, offering an intimate tropical getaway in a living architectural museum.

Hotel El Convento San Juan

Location: 100 Cristo Street, San Juan, Puerto Rico
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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.

Hodelpa Nicolás de Ovando

Location: Calle Las Damas, Colonial Zone, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
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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

Ottley’s Plantation Inn

Location: Cayon, Saint Kitts & Nevis
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Ottley’s Plantation Inn in St. Kitts is a restored 18th-century sugar plantation that boasts jaw-dropping views of the ocean. Surrounded by magnificent gardens and rainforests, the 35-acre property offers guests a natural tropical retreat with 23 well-appointed rooms as well as cottages with private pools and Jacuzzis. In addition to a large spring-fed pool, guests can explore the enchanting mango orchard and enjoy a Mango Spa experience.

Montpelier Plantation Inn

Location: St John Figtree Parish, Cole Hill, Saint Kitts &Nevis
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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.

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Location: St James Parish, Newcastle, Saint Kitts & Nevis
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Nisbet Plantation Beach Club is said to be the only plantation inn in the Caribbean that is located on the beach. History has it that in 1787, British Navy Captain, Admiral Horatio Nelson fled here with his new bride, Francis Nisbet, and the couple converted the then coconut plantation to sugar. The intimate property features cottage-style accommodations and is popular with discerning travels seeking a private getaway. Nisbet Plantation has been named one of the world’s best resorts in Travel+Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, and TripAdvisor® reviews.

Nevis - Nisbet Plantation

Sugar Beach – A Viceroy Resort, formerly The Jalousie Plantation

Location: Val des Pitons, Soufriere, St Lucia
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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.

The Old Fort Historic Estate

Location: Bequia, St Vincent & The Grenadines
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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.

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

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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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