Hummingbird Beach Resort, St Lucia
Unfussy, wallet-friendly and convivial – this inn is ideally positioned on the beach in Soufrière, St Lucia’s largest west coast settlement. This quiet town is the heart and soul of the country, with a smattering of colonial-era buildings scattered in the centre and a lively seafront. At the northern end of the beach, Hummingbird exudes a laid-back ambience that’s typical of Soufrière. It’s intimate and friendly, and appeals to couples looking for a comfortable stay without an exorbitant price tag – although it also caters to families. The nine spacious, no-frills bungalows are light-filled and kitted out with simple furnishings and a terrace. The ethos here is one of relaxation, so don’t expect jet-skis or tacky entertainment programmes. At dinner, treat yourself to a healthy meal at Lifeline, the onsite restaurant. The fish is served up with a great view. Don’t miss out on beach barbecue on Saturdays. And if you fancy taking the plunge, there’s a dive centre beside the resort.
• +1 758 459 7985, stlucia.co.uk, doubles from around £55, including breakfast, in low season (mid-April to mid-December)
Balenbouche Estate, St Lucia
The Balenbouche estate, between the fishing villages of Choiseul and Laborie, to the south of St Lucia, comprises four all-wood cottages (sleeping two to four people). Two of them have self-catering facilities. It is surrounded by dense tropical foliage and a few paths that meander through the estate and lead to the remains of an old sugar mill dating from 1765, overgrown with serpentine tree trunks and covered with moss. There are two dark-coloured sandy beaches at the far end of the property, a five- to 10-minute stroll away. Your hosts can prepare delicious meals based on local ingredients on request (from around £17). There’s also a green ethos – it uses solar heating and rain water, and there’s no air-conditioning but standing fans are provided.
• +1 758 455 1244, balenbouche.com, cottages from around £70 in low season (mid-April to mid-November) based on double occupancy
Picard Beach Cottages, Dominica
A salt-and-pepper slip of sand, Picard Beach skirts Prince Rupert Bay, a popular natural anchorage, all the way to Portsmouth, the island’s second-largest town. Attractive hardwood cottages snuggle up to the shoreline or sit a few steps away in unfussy tropical gardens. Each has a kitchenette, bathroom, air-con, TV and veranda. Le Flambeau Restaurant (good for salads, wraps and seafood) is an easy stroll up the beach, and there are plenty of other affordable places to eat thanks to the proximity of the local medical school. Picard Beach Cottages is handy for exploring the Fort Shirley Garrison ruins, the Cabrits and Morne Diablotin national parks, and for an Indian river boat ride (a Pirates of the Caribbean film location). For the best deals, visit between April and December.
• +1 767 445 5131, picardbeachcottages.com, cottages from around £80 a night (May-Nov) to £100 (Dec-Apr)
Veranda View, Dominica
Although Dominica’s rainforest interior usually steals the headlines, the Caribbean’s nature island has some fabulous beaches. In the north-eastern village of Calibishie, you can step right onto one of them from the intimate terrace restaurant of Veranda View. Attractively designed and altogether laid-back, this two-room guesthouse sits on a perfect streak of white sand on the island’s Atlantic coast. Sheltered by an inshore reef, Calibishie Bay is shallow and placid and, at dusk and dawn, locals often wade its waters in search of shellfish and octopus. Owner-managed and well kept, Veranda View is easy on the eye as well as the budget. Its rooms are spacious, with private bathroom, kitchenette and large veranda with sea views. Home- cooked food is fresh and tasty (seafood is a speciality) and the beach is just a few lazy steps away.
• +1 767 445 8900, lodgingdominica.com, apartments from £60 sleeping two or £70 sleeping up to three, including breakfast and internet access
Beachcombers, St Vincent
Together with neighbouring Indian Bay, Villa Beach is one of St Vincent’s finest beaches, and is where you will find the colourful Beachcombers, a family-run hotel, bar and restaurant. Standard rooms are the best budget options – they are comfortable, have air-con, TV, private bathroom and veranda. The restaurant is reasonably priced and popular, serving a surprising range of local and international fare – from catch of the day to shepherd’s pie. Step right onto Villa Beach from the hotel gardens or the restaurant’s sun terrace and pool. With white sand, turquoise sea, sailboats at anchor, and the captivating and exclusive Young Island just across the sound, it is picture-postcard gorgeous. Take a short ferry trip to sample Young Island’s idyllic beach or negotiate a water-taxi ride along the coast or to the nearby capital, Kingstown.
• +1 784 458 4283, beachcombershotel.com, standard rooms from £60 a night, year round, based on two sharing
Sugarapple Inn, Bequia
Bequia is a very cool island, and a Grenadine that is still neither private nor exclusive. It is a popular haven for the Caribbean’s ever-present sailing crowd, but also has a reasonable mix of accommodation and dining, as well as some great beaches. Princess Margaret’s is the most popular but, on the Atlantic coast, Friendship Bay is just as scenic and often completely deserted. A five-minute stroll from the beach is Sugarapple Inn, a genuine Caribbean island treasure. Eight immaculate, self-contained and very colourful suites have air-con in the bedrooms, private bathroom, kitchen, TV and Wi-Fi. Sugarapple is a short bus journey away from the main town, Port Elizabeth, for shops and places to eat. If you don’t have your own boat, a one-hour ferry ride is an inexpensive and convenient way to get to Bequia from Kingstown, capital of St Vincent.
• +1 784 457 3148, sugarappleinn.com, rooms from around £50 a night low season to £70 high season, based on double occupancy
Melodies Guest House, Petite Martinique
It is hard to get more off the beaten track in the Windwards than rarely visited, remote and unsophisticated Petite Martinique. One of just a handful of accommodation options, Melodies Guest House sits on a beach and looks out across the Caribbean to its southern Grenadine neighbours. Rooms are modest but clean and have private bathrooms. The bare-bones restaurant and bar serves catch of the day and is a fun place to swap stories with locals or organise a water taxi to Union, Carriacou, or the Tobago Cays. Most boats are built right here, a tradition that harks back to the Scottish shipwrights who settled here in the 19th century. On the shoreline of Sanchez, just a short walk from Melodies, their descendants are usually hard at work on a new wooden sloop or fishing boat.
• +1 473 443 9052, spiceisle.com/melodies, studio room with island and sea views £35 year round
Bogles Round House, Carriacou
Rustic self-contained wooden cottages sit in the grounds of Bogles Round House, one of the Grenadines’ most unusual and highly praised restaurants. Owner chef, Roxanne (twice Grenada’s chef of the year), prepares an eclectic fusion of international and Caribbean Creole. Her family’s penchant for worldwide travel and doing something different is reflected in the Round House’s original design. The cottages, on the other hand, are unembellished but comfortable and private, with their own kitchenette and bathroom. The Round House gardens spill onto Swallow Beach, a long and secluded strip of black volcanic sand where Caribbean sunsets are guaranteed. Outside the front gate is the village of Bogles, gateway to Carriacou’s High North Nature Trail and two more fabulous beaches at Anse La Roche and Petite Carenage.
•+1 473 443 7841, boglesroundhouse.com, cottages from around £65 a night including breakfast, or £55 per night if you rent for a week
Jenny’s Place, Grenada
Grand Anse is Grenada’s signature beach, a two-mile stretch of sand and surf that is home to some of the island’s most in-demand resort hotels. If you buy a package tour, there is a good chance you will stay around here. At the northern tip of Grand Anse is Jenny’s Place, a more understated and affordable apartment hotel with its own beachside restaurant and bar. The apartments are spacious and nicely furnished with bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, air-con, and TV. At the bottom of a neat little garden is the equally unassuming Oasis Restaurant & Bar where you can get good food all day and enjoy live bands at weekends. Step out of the restaurant and you are right on the beach. With inclusive continental breakfast, Jenny’s Place offers great value for beach lovers on a budget.
• +1 473 439 5186, jennysplacegrenada.com, ocean-view apartments from around £60 a night
Lance Aux Epines Cottages, Grenada
Tucked along the shoreline of Prickly Bay, a favourite sailboat anchorage on the leeward side of this upmarket peninsula, Lance Aux Epines Cottages has 11 self-catering units set in well-tended gardens by a secluded beach. The four apartments are the cheaper options. They are roomy, have a bedroom with air-con, kitchen, lounge, bathroom and Wi-Fi. Don’t miss the Sunday beach cook-up, where you can try Grenada’s national dish, called oil down, a one-pot meal of salted meat, chicken, dumplings, breadfruit and callaloo. On Fridays take a short walk to Prickly Bay Marina for happy hour, a fest of double drinks, pizza and live music. Lance Aux Epines is a great base for exploring southern Grenada, especially if you take advantage of their attractive weekly rates.
• +1 473 444 4565, laecottages.com, apartments from around £75 a night, or £60 a night if you rent for a week
• The two St Lucia entries were written by Jean-Bernard Carillet, co-author of Lonely Planet’s Caribbean Islands guide
• This article was amended on 5 March 2013 because the original said St Margaret’s is Bequia’s most popular beach. This has been corrected to say Princess Margaret beach.