The first time I checked into a resort where my room didn’t automatically come with a key, I balked. After all, I’m from Jamaica, where, sadly, we’d never dream of leaving our doors unlocked.
But a funny thing happened after my first 24 hours on property: Being relieved of the responsibility (albeit small) of a toting a keycard around seemed to bring me significantly closer to total relaxation. Without my credit-card-sized electronic shackle, the only thing I really had to remember when I left the room was the route from the sand back to my suite. Let’s face it: You can’t get much more carefree than being key-free.
Of course, you should still be sensible and stash valuables in the in-room safe before you head out. And I always deadbolt or put the chain on the door when I’m in residence. But I’ve realized that once your money and irreplaceables are securely stored away, there’s usually nothing of any real value left for sticky fingers to lift. A few damp swimsuits and some three-ounce bottles of toiletries? Hardly seems worth the effort.
Think you could relax without a room key? Check out this trio of island oases where luxury lies in never having to lock your door.
Curtain Bluff, Antigua
This old-school all-inclusive resort is as famous for its well-heeled clientele as for its philanthropic efforts on behalf of the humble Old Road community it calls home. Guests have been coming to the 52-year-old beachfront resort for generations, treating it like a home way from home. Perhaps that’s why none of the Bluff’s regulars are perturbed by the keyless culture. (Wary newbies can, however, request a key. But I bet that by Day 2, you won’t even remember where it is.)
This posh yet unpretentious 115-acre private-island resort is a puddle-jumper flight and a speed-boat ride away from Barbados, and feels an entire world apart from reality. It’s a fantasy furthered by PSV’s plush 22 key-free cottages, all with decks or balconies overlooking the shimmering Caribbean that washes its three beaches.
Cap Juluca, Anguilla This was where I was first introduced to the key-free resort culture. Set on the smile-like white-sand sweep of Maundays Bay, Cap J is one of my favorite Anguilla resorts – perhaps because it has the same high-end yet low-key vibe as the island itself.