Best New Caribbean Resorts for Families in 2020
Royalton Resorts

Great New (and Upgraded) Caribbean Resorts for Families for 2020

It’s time for your first look at the Caribbean’s latest and greatest! Meet the best new, reopened, and reimagined resorts for families. Turns out that basic waterfront hotels won't do anymore; these island resorts aren’t just for beach and booze anymore. At these, expect expansive waterparks, rooms full of chocolate, dive centers, kid-friendly mascots, and spacious accommodations, the properties cut a wide swath across the Caribbean and Mexico.

Pictured: Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa, Antigua
Best New Caribbean Resorts for Families in 2020: Antigua: Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa
Royalton Resorts
Antigua: Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa

The beauty shot of the Royalton Antigua Resort and Spa, which debuted in June 2019, is of its overwater bungalows, a chain first. Reserved for adults, those eye-catching accommodations surrounded by the turquoise sea just might convince your college-age kids to find time to vacation with you. (If you bring younger kids, the Royalton also has a high-rise hotel building.) A swim-out pool edges the ground-floor rooms; just be aware that guests in adjacent rooms can splash beside your patio. Families can kayak, snorkel, compete in beach volleyball, or simply enjoy the sun and sand. The resort expects to open a casino in 2020, too. The island of Antigua can be a great fit for families—check out our feature about the best Caribbean islands for family vacations.

Rooms: 288 plus 5 bungalows
Pools: 1 kids’ pool with slides, 1 pool for everyone, 1 pool exclusive to "Diamond Club" members
Food: 5 restaurants, 2 of them adults-only
Kids’ Club: Daytime ages 4–17 and evenings for 13–17
Best New Caribbean Resorts for Families in 2020: Dominican Republic: Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda
Club Med Resorts
Dominican Republic: Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda
Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda, Dominican Republic, is the first of the chain’s upscale Exclusive Collection in the Americas. At this all-inclusive, which opened in November 2019, meals strive for memorable and accommodations are extra roomy. The property is divided into "villages"; units at family-oriented Explorer Cove start at 485 square ft (45 square m) and rise to suites large enough for three generations. Even within the villages, there are special enclaves you can book for access to a less-crowded pool and beach. The Secret Chocolate Room (pictured), the embodiment of childhood extravagance, awaits you after a meal at Cacao & Co. You and your kids have to crack the code that opens a chamber filled with ice cream, cakes, candies, and chocolate fountains, all free for the taking (it's an all-inclusive, after all). Miches also has day-long programs with tennis, trapeze, kayaking, and snorkeling—no matter your age. The older Club Med Punta Cana also still serves families vacationing in the Dominican Republic.
Rooms: 335 in 4 villages
Pools: 1 mini pool with slides, 1 main pool, 1 adults-only pool, 1 pool for families staying at La Perla in Explorer Cove
Food: 4 restaurants 
Kids' club: Free day and evening supervised activities for ages 4–17. There are fees for programs for ages 4 months–3 years and for evening group babysitting for those 4 months–10 years
Best New Caribbean Resorts for Families in 2020: Jamaica: Half-Moon Resort
Half-Moon Resort
Jamaica: Half-Moon Resort
European plan (a la carte)

Eclipse, the newest accommodations at the pre-existing Half-Moon Resort, marks a March 2020 opening. With ocean views and a lightly Caribbean décor of modern furnishings accented by Jamaican artists’ contemporary canvases, the 57 units aim for vacationers in their 30s and 40s, although anyone may book the new rooms. Parents with kids beware: Eclipse’s resident pool is adults-only, and units typically cost 20–30% more than Half-Moon’s other accommodations that don't restrict kids. All resort guests may dine at Eclipse’s new restaurants and swim at the nearby lagoon beach. Founders Cove, the resort's original set of rooms (many with semi-private pools) appeal to families as do the 4-to-7 bedroom staffed villas, each with a private pool. Golf, horseback riding, a spa, and 2 miles of beach are all part of the 400-acre property.  

Rooms: 215 in 3 areas
Pools: 2 for everyone, 11 semi-private (Founders Cove); 1 adult (Eclipse); 28 private pools (one for each Villa)
Food: 7 restaurants
Kids' club: Daytime only, ages 3–12
Best New Caribbean Resorts for Families in 2020: St. Thomas, USVI: Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas
Ritz-Carlton Resorts
St. Thomas, USVI: Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas
European plan (a la carte)
The Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas, an island devastated by 2017’s hurricanes, re-opened in late 2019 after a $100 million renovation. The investment shows: Now more of its rooms face Great Bay and even the smallest ones, at 450 square ft (42 square m), provide ample space for (most) parents with kids. There’s a new family pool as well as an Italian restaurant, Alloro. The Ritz Kids program keeps the format of 3-hour, separately charged segments. Kids and counselors explore the mangroves, dig for clams, or cast nets for fish in two nature-oriented workshops. Two other sessions connect kids with beach or pool games. This resort works well for deep-pocketed young families who seek Ritz service and style in a beachfront resort on an easily accessible island. 
Rooms: 180
Pools: 1 adult, 1 family
Food: 4 restaurants
Kids’ Club: intermittent activities for ages 4–12 (fees apply)
Best New Caribbean Resorts for Families in 2020: Virgin Gorda, BVIs: Rosewood Little Dix Bay
Rosewood Resorts
Virgin Gorda, BVIs: Rosewood Little Dix Bay
European plan (a la carte)
Rosewood Little Dix Bay, a landmark in the BVIs, re-opened January 2020 after closing for renovations in 2016. The 500-acre luxury resort—80 idyllic accommodations in cottages shaded by palm trees—sells laid-back seclusion with style. When your children need a break from the sun, they can craft jewelry, listen to Caribbean stories, and do other indoor activities at Rosewood Explorers’ children’s center. Grown kids will also find respite at the resort, but typical tweens and teens may crave more action. Little Dix Bay’s half-mile-long crescent beach seems as if it was lifted from a postcard, but to explore more, take the resort's free water taxi to other sands near Virgin Gorda that you can only reach by boat. The staff thoughtfully send you off with beach towels, a shade umbrella, snorkel gear, and if requested, a picnic lunch. Robinson Crusoe never had it so good. 
Rooms: 80
Pools: 2 pools (no kids' pool)
Food: 4 restaurants
Kids’ Club: Daytime only for ages 3–9
Best New Caribbean Resorts for Families in 2020: Curacao: Dreams Curacao
Dreams Resort
Curacao: Dreams Curacao
Dreams Curacao opened in December 2019, bringing the chain’s all-inclusive concept to an island that's usually known for traditional hotels. At this property, a remake of the former Hilton Curacao, families pay one fee for food (there's a brewery!), lodging, children’s programs, and non-motorized water sports with easy access to Willemstadt—a Dreams shuttle drops you at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. There's snorkeling and diving right off the resort’s modest beaches on Piscadera Bay, and a PADI certified scuba center operates daily dive and snorkel outings for an extra charge. The casino, too, is on you. All-inclusive Dreams resorts dot a few other Caribbean locales, including Playa Mujeres, Mexico.

Rooms: 197
Pools: 2 pools and 2 kids' pool
Food: 7 restaurants
Kids’ Club: Daytime for ages 3–17 and evenings for 13–17
Best New Caribbean Resorts for Families in 2020: Aruba: Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence Aruba
EQRoy/ Shutterstock
Aruba: Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence Aruba
Apartment hotel
They have the extra touches that make a Caribbean getaway more convenient for families with kids: kitchens, washer-dryers, and multiple bedrooms. The condo-style units of the Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence Aruba, under construction and slated to open in spring 2020, can keep guests on budget by giving them ways to cook meals and lighten the packing load with fresh laundry. The Radisson Blu adds the conveniences of on-site restaurants (including a steakhouse), pools, a spa, and a fitness center. The property will be a short walk to popular Palm Beach (pictured). There's no activity center for kids, but that's all right, because the island of Aruba is easy to navigate and has plenty to divert you. 
Rooms: 208 2-to-3 bedroom units  
Pools: 2 pools, 1 kids' pool
Food: 2 restaurants 
Kids’ Club: none
Best New Caribbean Resorts for Families in 2020: Mexico: Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya
Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Punta Cana
Mexico: Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya
At Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya, expected to open in late 2020, the Nick universe comes alive with daily mass slimmings and meet 'n’ greets with the likes of Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and other celebrities of the grade school set (admittedly, the target audience is slightly younger than teens). It's not just about hug-your-star magic. A 6-acre waterpark bubbles with slides, geysers, a lazy river, and an elaborate splash play zone for little ones. The units will include two-bathroom rooms that sleep five people—a boon for families with three children. When your kids have to get out of the sun, indoor Club Nick comes in handy for a couple of hours of crafts, video games, and slime making. Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, offers similar family fun; the formula was so successful that the brand is expanding.

Rooms: 276 
Pools: 4 pools including a water park (the Punta Cana location is pictured)
Food: 7 restaurants
Kids’ Club: Daytime and evening for ages 4-12