By Rhonda Carrier
From the party island of Jamaica with its super-friendly vibe to the more low-key delights of quieter islands such as Aruba, and from long-time family favourites including Saint Lucia, Barbados and Antigua to lesser-known spots such as Nevis or Turks and Caicos, we’ve hand-picked the cream of the luxury family-friendly hotels and resorts in the Caribbean. This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime trip for most of us, so you need to get it spot on.
Many of our recommendations are large, often all-inclusive resorts with a fantastic array of facilities for the whole family and for all ages of children, whether it be crèches/kids’ clubs, games shacks, playgrounds and waterparks or spas, top-notch sports facilities, a choice of gourmet restaurants and daily maid service. Some go the extra distance – think personal butler service and accommodation on stilts over the water – for those prepared to break the bank. But all assure a warm welcome and a memorable holiday. See our regular offers and discounts with partners in the region, including all-inclusive specialists Beaches and Club Med.
Rated among the best family hotels in the Caribbean in the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards, this incredible all-inclusive luxury resort is the largest of the hotels in the small Beaches group, younger sister to Sandals couples-only resorts (those who honeymooned at Sandals come here after having kids!). Just 10 minutes’ transfer from the airport, Beaches Turks & Caicos boasts a waterpark including a surf simulator, beach watersports, kids’ clubs and even a teen nightclub, plus a top-notch spa and swim-up bars that will keep parents out of mischief while the kids have fun. The best of the 20+ restaurants is on the beach, so you can wiggle your toes in the powdery white sand as you feast on the likes of conch fritters. Read our review of a family holiday at Beaches Turks & Caicos.
One of Barbados’ smaller all-inclusive hotels, this stylish boutique-style property still has heaps to do on-site, including a kids' club, children's pool, movie nights and free watersports. The super-friendly staff are a boon, as is the short (30-minute) transfer time from the airport. Read about a family holiday at the Crystal Cove and also check out the Crystal Cove’s highly rated, family-friendly sister hotel the Turtle Beach.
A gorgeous location on Grenada's best beach is not the only thing that makes this chic hotel stand out - it’s also hugely welcoming, with wonderful food, a fabulous spa, a well-designed kids’ club, plenty of free watersports and delightful rainforest excursions.
Neatly divided into adult-only and family resorts and with a great TripAdvisor rating, this stylish, relaxed offering includes the island's largest waterpark and a paintball zone. Just five minutes from the airport, it also boasts five pools, a lush oceanfront spa, and tennis and basketball facilities.
With contemporary rooms sleeping up to six (making it a brilliant choice for larger families), a plum location on one of the few Blue Flag beaches in the Dominican Republic, and a 15-minute transfer time from the airport, this five-star hotel pleases children of all ages, with kids’ clubs, a teen disco, four pools and a waterpark including a wave pool.
On one of the Caribbean’s less familiar destinations as far as UK visitors are concerned, this smart resort offers iguana-feeding and a prime location on a kilometre-long white sand beach where you can see turtles nesting in season. Other draws are a splash pool, a kids’ club, a spa, tennis, golf and watersports, and you can head off into the rainforest for walking, mountain-biking and nature tours.
Like its sister hotel in Turks & Caicos (see above), this all-inclusive option has rated among the world’s top family hotels TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Awards - and indeed, no less than the top hotel for families in the Caribbean. The secret to its success? - something for everyone, from watersports and a waterpark to a teens’ games lounge, a DJ Academy, spa and amazing excursions on this coolest of Caribbean islands. See our review of a family holiday at Beaches Negril Resort & Spa.
Ideal for for those who want to explore some of one of the less accessible Caribbean islands with kids, this all-inclusive beachfront resort has gorgeous views, friendly staff and great food - plus a brilliant location just half an hour from the airport. Fabulous activities include Spanish lessons and scuba classes, and there's a spa and a kids' club.
This low-key all-inclusive family resort on a lesser-known Caribbean island has masses to do in its own right but also free access to the amenities at its nearby sister hotel, the Divi Aruba. On-site you’ll find a kids' club, rock-climbing at the beach, watersports including kayaking and water polo, and golf.
With several hotels on site, this mega-resort won’t be everyone's cup of tea, but there’s masses of fun to be had here, including waterslides through shark-infested waters, 20 pools, kids' clubs, nightclubs and dining from celebrity chefs.
Find out more of our hand-picked winter sun holiday recommendations for families.