Nowadays, the Caribbean is rapidly changing for the better. Thoughtful interior design is replacing gaudy fabrics and unremarkable rattan furniture; the cuisine tends to employ local ingredients and is enlivened by indigenous traditions; proper staff training has resulted in greatly improved service; and somewhat belatedly, the global craze for leisure spas has become firmly established. On a good day, the Caribbean is undeniably one of the most agreeable places on earth. The sun is hot, but not too hot; the sand and water can be world-class; and the gently insistent trade wind brings a delicious softness to the island climate. For decades, visitors have flocked to coral islands such as Antigua and Barbados. But given current preoccupations with the environment, combined with an increasing preference for spa therapies over sunbathing, green and mountainous islands such as St. Lucia may finally be coming into their own as fashionable and appealing destinations.

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