Caneel Bay – St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, Lesser Antilles (U.S. Territory)

A Rockefeller’s Escape

Consider the numbers: 170 lush, landscaped acres surrounded by a 9,000- acre national park on the Caribbean’s least-developed island; 170 plush, secluded rooms; 7 private, pristine beaches lapped by 5,600 acres of underwater national park; and 400 smiling staffers to make sure your vacation is supreme. Laurance Rockefeller was so stunned by St. John’s natural beauty when he visited in 1952 that he bought up a large part of the island, created an exquisite getaway for his blue-chip cronies, and donated the rest to the U.S. gov­ernment for the creation of the United States’s twenty-ninth national park.

Luxury here is low-key but five-star every inch of the way: five-course breakfasts served on your open balcony to the music of ocean breezes and birdsong; tennis on first-class courts; snorkeling with 100-foot visibility amid some of the Caribbean’s most dramatic undersea land­scapes; strolls along footpaths shaded by eighty different species of palm trees, past flowering plants with names like Flamboyant, Cup-of-Gold, and Angel’s Trumpet. Your most challenging decision during your invariably too-short stay: Which beach today?

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