Aerial shot of the pool and canoes lined up on the beach at Mandarin Oriental, Canouan

Trips of a lifetime: a Caribbean escape from Miami

Golden beaches and year-round sunshine are what the Caribbean’s famous for, yet the archipelago is blessed with far more than sun, sea and sand. Award-winning restaurants, world-class golf courses and luxurious spas make the region a dream getaway for discerning travellers. Start your trip from exciting Miami to experience the best of both worlds

A plate of ceviche

Sightseeing in Miami

With the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world, high-end shopping, dazzling nightlife and a lively arts scene, it’s little wonder Miami is such an alluring destination. Mandarin Oriental, Miami in Brickell Key – an urban oasis perfectly positioned on a private island between South Beach and downtown – makes an ideal base from which to explore the city and to start your escapist adventure. You’ll switch to holiday mode the moment you arrive, lounging by the rooftop pool, enjoying spa treatments. Try the Digital Wellness Escape, which concentrates on soothing the head, eyes, neck and shoulders to make you feel instantly feel more relaxed. You can also dine on fresh ceviche come sundown at La Mar by Gaston Acurio, the hotel’s waterfront Peruvian restaurant overlooking Biscayne Bay.

Pastel Art Deco buildings

Explore the Miami art scene

The next day, head straight to famous Ocean Drive – an Instagrammer’s dream with its lavish, pastel Art Deco buildings – and grab an artisan coffee and pastry from Shepherd in the effortlessly cool Faena district before soaking up the chic beach vibes. If you prefer street art to architecture, take a trip to Wynwood Arts District. Book on to a walking tour to get the best from the area. If the infamous Miami showers hit, make a move to the renowned pagoda-style Pérez Art Museum Miami, which is filled with thousands of contemporary works from around the world plus hanging gardens created by French botanist Patrick Blanc.

The illuminated bar at MO Bar at Mandarin Oriental, Miami

Retail therapy

Miami is a shopper’s paradise and, when it’s time to hit the stores, browse Louise Vuitton, Cartier, Hermès et al at the Design District between Midtown and Wynwood, or stroll on foot from Mandarin Oriental to Brickell City Centre, which houses Saks Fifth Avenue. For laid-back surf and beachwear (prefect for your Caribbean jaunt), Lincoln Road Mall in South Beach has quality boutiques and an open-air promenade where street artists perform. When you’re suited and booted, experience Miami’s glamorous party-town reputation with late-night drinks at MO Bar + Lounge (pictured above), where you can gaze on the glittering skyline and sip classic cocktails while listening to live jazz or sultry guitar music.

Aerial shot of Mandarin Oriental, Canouan beach resort

Jet, set, go

After the buzz of the city, it’s time to switch pace with a relaxing sojourn on Canouan, a tiny island (just five miles wide) in the paradise archipelago of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the southern Caribbean. Board a private jet in Miami, organised through NetJets and your Fans of MO account and in less than four hours you’ll be touching down on the island’s scenic runway. Alternatively, catch a commercial flight to Barbados or Grenada, from where it’s a short 15-minute transfer in Mandarin Oriental, Canouan’s luxurious six-seater jet.

Tucked away in an idyllic corner of the island, Mandarin Oriental, Canouan is an all-suite 1,200-acre resort edging the white-powder sand of Godahl Beach and fringed by lush forest. The pace definitely slows here to island time, with personal butlers taking care of unpacking and dining reservations. You can simply enjoy your sun lounger and infinity pool until dinner time at Tides Bar + Grill.

A woman enjoys beach dining at Castaway on Canouan beach

Castaway on Canouan

Tempting as it would be to hide away for a week in your palatial suite and make use of all the in-room goodies, from the yoga mat to the giant oval bathtub, there are lots of other resort activities to enjoy. If you’re travelling with the family, there is an excellent kids’ club and abundance of water sports available. Take in a leisurely 18 at the Jim Fazio championship golf course, or sink into slumber-like bliss at the hillside spa, with villas set on a wooded hillside reached via a funicular railway. Spend the afternoon swimming in the warm water lapping nearby Shell Beach, where hammocks are strung between trees and tortoises amble in the shade before heading back to Godahl for cocktails at Turtles. To end your getaway, arrange dinner at Castaway – the restaurant without walls – that allows you to eat privately anywhere in the resort, including a candle-lit supper barefoot on the beach. It’s pure, unadulterated escapism.

Car driving across the dunes in Abu Dhabi

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