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Classy, old-fashioned, and as cozy as a mink throw, this independently owned, all-inclusive resort still rattles its jewelry as one of the grande dames of the Caribbean. Some 65 percent of its guests are repeat customers, who keep coming back for the informal elegance, the gracious, pampering staff, and the thoughtful luxury touches. Perched on a rocky peninsula on the island's southwest shore, the hotel has not one but two beautiful reef-protected beaches, the calmer Bay Beach and the rougher Surf Beach, outfitted with practically every attendant water toy (Hobie Cats, windsurfers, snorkel equipment, water skis, paddleboats). Tennis gets plenty of play here, with four championship hard courts overseen by three resident pros.

The property is a welcome spot for families, offering the kinds of diversions that let grownups carve out quality personal time, like a daily kids' camp (ages 3–10) and early dinner times for the little ones. The sun-filled, spacious, and impeccably maintained rooms and suites—done in unshowy tropical hues and sturdy, clean-lined furnishings—are located on the beach or on the bluff, each with a terrace or patio and all the modcons you need (Wi-Fi, A/C) and none that you don't (TVs). The largest units are the two Grace and Morris Bay Suites, outfitted with blue-marble bathrooms and huge verandas. The most economical choices are the 18 Deluxe Rooms, but really, Curtain Bluff has no bad rooms; all accommodations offer beauteous views of Surf Beach.