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Eco-tourism hub, and self-proclaimed nature island, Dominica is home to hot springs, rainforest-covered volcanoes, deep canyons, waterfalls and world-class diving. With the second-largest hot lake in the world, and two-thirds of the island covered in protected forest, you’re going to want to pack your best adventure clothes. Here’s our guide for the best places to stay.
Specifically designed by the owners to feel like a home rather than a hotel, this peaceful boutique beachside stop is just 10 minutes from Douglas-Charles Airport, meaning you can start your holiday right away. The generously sized wooden cabanas each have vaulted ceilings, breezy verandas and a modern Caribbean aesthetic; think shuttered windows and sea-foam slatted walls. Set in their own gardens, some have bathtubs with ocean views, while others have plunge pools. Take in the cool breeze coming off the Atlantic from the deck of the Pagua Bay Bar and Grill.
Leave your shoes in your room. You won’t need them. You’ll find no gift shop or infinity pools here. Instead jungle cabanas, a villa and two suites (each with a plunge pool) are set among thick rainforest, red rocks and the secluded beaches of the north of the island. With shutters instead of glass windows, the cabanas feel part of the forest. In fact, from the ocean, you’d never even know the resort is there. Head to the beach bar, enclosed by lush jungle.
There can’t be many hotels that are accessed via a zip line. Scoot across two shallow rivers, and pulley your bag across to find your lodging at 3 Rivers. Basic but charming, this group- and backpacker-friendly retreat includes private cottages, a shared dormitory hostel and camping facilities, with swimming possible in natural river pools. Book a voluntourism break. The eco-philosophy of the lodge extends not just to minimizing its environmental impact, but also in serving the local community. Leave space in your bag for donations for the local schools.
One of the main quirks here is a zip-line drinks service. Simply press a button by the pool and have your drink delivered to you on the line. Just six rooms make up this cosy, thatched, wood and stone resort, where all individually designed rooms have a private deck. Decor tends toward the maximalist with a mixture of bold artworks, sculptures and some outdoor baths. The location on a steep forested hill feels like a lookout over the ocean below.
Let’s face it, sometimes the trappings of a large resort – swim-up bar, room service, tennis courts, multiple pools, spa and four on-site restaurants – are just what the heart wants. Opened in 2019, it’s one of the newest hotels on the island, and features no less than four expansive swimming pools, set beside the beach. Though secluded, there’s plenty to do at the north end of Dominica. Surrounded by the Cabrits National Park, there are forts, forests and coral reefs to explore.
One for the divers and city slickers, the Fort Young Hotel is located in Dominica’s capital city, Roseau. The hotel itself is built around the remains of a military fort from 1699. With a dive school and shop on site, it has become an attraction in its own right for diving enthusiasts from across the world for over a decade. Daily dives, lessons, dive boats and equipment hire are all available. Visit the neighboring French Quarter for Saturday’s market.
Relax into authentic Caribbean life at the Tamarind. Each simply furnished but bright and open-plan bungalow features a kitchen, dining and living area with glass doors that open onto a large deck overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Bay of Salisbury and Morne Diablotin. Located in the center of Dominica’s west coast on top of a 100ft (30m) cliff, there’s no immediate beach access. Instead, you’ll find sand a short drive away at Macoucherie and Salisbury. Try the Creole food at the on-site restaurant.
Exercise lovers pack your bags. Jungle Bay caters for those looking for a wellness break, with some luxury touches. Though yoga is one of the resort’s specialties with two large studios overlooking the sea and banana fields, just staying here is a workout in itself. This former lime plantation spans a steep hillside, with access to some of the stone and hardwood villas a bit of a climb. Nice touches such as hand-painted bedding make Jungle Bay feel rooted in its surroundings.