This 4-year-old inn doesn’t look like anything special from the street, but once on the property you do get a whiff of the West Indies as the name promises. Palm trees, sloping lawns, and the adjacent Mother’s Beach, all of which look especially tropical at sunset, support the theme, while public spaces with louvered windows and balconied guest rooms do their part with rattan furnishings, textural art, and warm colors. In 2012, the original Vu restaurant was replaced with the indoor/outdoor Beachside Restaurant & Bar, whose seasonal menu has proved much more popular than its predecessor’s molecular-gastronomy small plates. Keep in mind this is not an ocean beach but a harbor, and don’t plan to play tag with the waves or go bodysurfing. You probably won’t much enjoy swimming in the less-than-crystalline water, either (the hotel pool is a better choice). But clean, soft sand, playground equipment, and shallow water make it a good good, safe place for children to play and wade. I consider Jamaica Bay the best place to stay on this beach—independently owned, more affordable than the Ritz down the road, and more personal than the Marriott.
- Frommer's Staff