Virgin Gorda

Judy Joo, host of Cooking Channel’s Korean Food Made Simple, loves to travel just as much as she loves to cook. With 100 visited countries under her belt, she’s a certified globetrotter — with a knack for spotting the best menus in town. We’re not ones to turn down some insider info, so we sat down with the superstar chef to get the lowdown on her favorite restaurants — in the world’s hottest hotels, of course.

Judy Joo

Click READ MORE to, well, read more about Joo’s favorite hotel restaurants.

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Owning a private vacation home sure sounds nice, but people fantasizing about their own beachside property often forget that owning also means cleaning, maintaining, fixing, the list goes on… and it can end up being less of a vacation and more of a job! That’s why we love vacation villas; gorgeous homes nestled within resort communities, hotel villas are the perfect way of getting the best of both worlds — visitors find the privacy and massive size they seek, without having to worry about dealing with any issues that may arise, as hotel staff is willing and waiting to assist! So without further adieu, check out nine drool-worthy (and hassle-free) hotel villas in the Caribbean.

Villa 25 at Round Hill Hotel & Villas, Jamaica

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Round Hill is phenomenal. Sincere, intimate hospitality; private child care; breathtaking grounds; and large, beautifully designed rooms by Ralph Lauren all add up to make it is easily among the best resorts in Jamaica. The property includes numerous standalone villas of varying size; many have private pools and spacious, open verandas.

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It’s time to get your spring break plans in order, and if you’re looking for some fun in the sun, the Caribbean is a prime destination. But with thousands of islands (although only a few dozen are inhabited) to choose from, that doesn’t narrow things down much. That’s why we at Oyster have created an A to Z (well, actually, an A to V) guide to the Caribbean, so choosing your island and resort will be a piece of cake. First stop: Anguilla.

Anacaona Boutique Hotel, Anguilla

The boutique Anacaona has two pools.

Anguilla is a tiny British territory that covers fewer than 40 square miles and is a popular spot for couples and celebs (Sofia Vergara went on a girls’ trip to the island) due to its small size and upscale vibe. Visitors must either fly to St. Martin and take a short ferry to the island, or fly in directly (by way of a small seaplane) from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Thus, getting to the island can be pricey. So once you’re there, we’d recommend staying at the boutique Anacaona in the island’s West End. Though its not quite as luxe as the CuisinArt or Viceroy, it offers access to the same gorgeous white-sand beach as the neighboring Viceroy – through an off-property path — as well as to the nearby Greg Norman’s golf course and a few restaurants, and its prices are considerably lower. With two small pools, a great restaurant serving Caribbean fare with a twist, and a massage hut on the beach, the hotel is a good pick for value.

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‘Tis the season for annual awards lists, but if you think you know what’s coming, guess again. Oyster’s awards aren’t like the other guys’ — we’re not like the other guys, so why should our awards be? You can find lists of the world’s best luxury hotels in a dozen other places, but only Oyster digs deep to learn every hotel’s secret quirks. Our hotel investigators trot the globe and visit every hotel in person so we can bring you the unvarnished truth, and this year, for the first-ever annual Oyster Hotel Awards, we’d like to show you the wackiest, coolest, weirdest, and most interesting things they came across in their travels. We are thrilled to present the 2012 selection of Oyster’s Most Interesting Hotels in the World. Are you ready for this?

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Beach at Rosewood Little Dix Bay

Beach at Rosewood Little Dix Bay

The Rosewood Little Dix Bay is a luxury property with an absolutely gorgeous, jungle-meets-ocean setting on Virgin Gorda. It’s one of the most romantic spots on this sparsely populated island and it’s easy to see why. After all, if this shot of the sandy beach and turquoise waters doesn’t have you thinking loving thoughts, we’re not sure what will. To add to the romantic vibe, rooms have island-inspired decor with elegant wood furnishings, exposed stone walls, and wooden beams, and the acclaimed spa features beautiful views. But we’d be content just lying under the palm trees or a thatched umbrella on the sand. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak in the goodness that is the Rosewood Little Dix Bay.

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Mega-resorts will always have their perks, but these days more and more travelers are choosing to stay in private villas. The perks of a villa? Well, no shared walls with loud, late-night partiers for one thing. Or you can be that late-night partier and not worry about noise complaints. More space. More privacy. And the homey feel of being in a free-standing unit, surrounded by attractive landscaping. But what we really love is when you can find a private villa on a resort’s property, merging the best of both worlds. Guests receive all of the benefits and amenities of a resort, while still enjoying the seclusion of a villa. We did a tour of hotel villas in the Caribbean and found the best of the best on seven islands.

Hotel Le Toiny — St. Barts

The One-Bedroom Villa Suite at Hotel Le Toiny -- St. Barts

The One-Bedroom Villa Suite at Hotel Le Toiny -- St. Barts

Undoubtedly one of the most prestigious hotels in St. Barts, this exclusive 15-villa luxury resort sits amid 28 lush acres of natural hills and beachfront. The private villas are spacious and airy, each having its own infinity-edge pool, and the views are jaw-dropping. The French restaurant is one of the island’s most renowned, and one of the many reasons celebrities come here to relax. Rates are nothing to sneeze at, but you’ll definitely receive the all-star treatment that should come with such a hefty price tag.

Oyster’s Favorite Villa Perk: Each villa includes freebies such as Wi-Fi, bottled water, and tea, but the best is the free breakfast served daily on white linen-topped tables on your private terrace.

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Pool at the Biras Creek Resort

Pool at the Biras Creek Resort

The Biras Creek Resort is a rustic-luxe retreat with just 31 suites. It features two beaches — one calm, looking out to the North Sound, and the other slightly rocky (but just as gorgeous). Most suites do not have TVs, but guests get access to free Wi-Fi and bicycles, as well as a long list of on-site amenities: tons of water sports, tennis courts, an attractive pool, a game room, an on-site restaurant, and a small fitness center. Even when occupancy is at its height, the 140-acre resort feels quiet, giving it a tranquil, secluded vibe which is just why visitors come. See more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now»

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Rosewood Little Dix Bay is a posh, romantic beach resort where lush greens are as abundant as is the white sand, thanks to the island’s jungle-to-beach terrain. And while most rooms virtually spill out onto the sand, some also come with dreamy extras like private pools, Wii game consoles and full kitchens. With the weather as gray and gloomy as it is today in New York City (we just saw lighting from our tenth floor HQ), we wanted to share a bit of the British Virgin Islands‘ sunny skies for your Monday a.m. goodness. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak in the goodness that is the Rosewood Little Dix Bay.

Beach at Rosewood Little Dix Bay

Beach at Rosewood Little Dix Bay

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