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Five villas in the Caribbean

First pick your tropical island, then add some old-fashioned charm

Arc en Ciel, St Lucia

Set on a private estate, with dramatic views of St Lucia's striking twin peaks, the Pitons, Arc En Ciel's appearance is a little deceptive. More modern than it looks, the villa has been designed in traditional Caribbean style with verandas, jalousie shutters and hand-chipped stone. The five-bedroom house is surrounded by lush, landscaped gardens and comes with a pool and easy access to the sea.

Arc en Ciel, Beau Estate, St Lucia (available through www.fleewinter.co.uk; 020-7112 0019). One week's rental starts at £6,100 including staff. Sleeps 10.

Vervain Mill, Nevis

Built from volcanic stone over 200 years ago to process sugar cane, this mill is now a comfortable holiday retreat. Set on the island's south-east side, it has three atmospheric, en-suite bedrooms, a kitchen and panoramic sitting room with private terrace. Outside is a pool and extensive exotic gardens. With prior notice, a neighbour will come in to cook delicious local dishes.

Vervain Mill, Gingerland, Nevis, St Kitts and Nevis (001 207 774 5744; www.vervainmill.com). One week's rental starts at US$2,300 (£1,211). Sleeps six.

Old Fort, Bequia

The pretty island of Bequia has undergone a huge amount of development in recent years. But the island's trademark quirky charm can still be found. The six-bedroom Plantation House, at the Old Fort, is a good example. It features acres of orchards and views to beat anything you'd find out on the open ocean.

Old Fort, Bequia, St Vincent & the Grenadines (001 784 458 3440; www.theoldfort.com). One week's rental starts at US$8,500 (£4,474), including catering and staff. Sleeps 12.

Itopia, Jamaica

One-time home of the late film-maker Perry Henzell, Itopia was built in the 17th century. If you've had your fill of minimalist tropical idylls and are looking for something with more country-house glamour, this three-bedroom villa should fit the bill. Set on Jamaica's north coast, it boasts colonial-style decor and acres of lush gardens.

Itopia, Runaway Bay, Jamaica (01895 450 731; www.jakeshotel.com/itopia.htm). One week starts at US$2,956 (£1,556), with staff. Sleeps six.

Fustic House, Barbados

With its green shutters and pale stonework, this former plantation house looks, at first, like a French manor. Then, you notice some decidedly tropical influences, from the frangipani in the 10-acre gardens to wrap-around verandas and a lagoon-like pool. This private estate has six luxury suites and free access to the Port St Charles Yacht Club.

Fustic House, St Lucy, Barbados (0780 225 4718; www.fustichouse.com). One night's rental starts at US$2,750 (£1,448), including staff. Sleeps 12.