40th birthday trip with 5 couples - where to go

Sep 14th, 2006, 07:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 20
40th birthday trip with 5 couples - where to go

Okay, I am attempting to plan a 40th bday surprise trip for my husband in January 2007. We would be traveling with 4 to 6 other couples with varying interest, travel styles and finances. My husband and I enjoy laid back, small hotels in non-commercialized areas. However, this is a birthday party trip and we're going with several couples. I'm still looking for a laid back place, but with the option to go to a couple dinners or hang out at a local bar. I don't want so peaceful that we'll be the only ones up at 10pm, but I don't want party city either. I tend to research to death and never post specific questions, but I feel short on time and would love some help.

I'd like to find a place that is a short flight from the US (specifically Chicago and Detroit maybe Denver and LA as well - I know that's a wide range ). Based on preliminary research Puerto Rico and St. Thomas look to be easier flights. I've considered either renting a large villa or staying in a hotel. Both have pros and cons - looking for input. Would like to be on a beach and have restaurants/bars within walking distance. I would also like to keep room cost under $250/night per couple/night. Our dates of travel would ideally be Jan 11-15, 2007, but are flexible based on hotel/villa availabillity.

Thank so much for taking the time to read this. I'm anxious for any input anyone has and am happy to provide any more details you'd like.

ac23 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2006, 07:53 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,085
There's often a lull in the Caribbean right after New Year's, and prices sometimes go down. I think $250 per room per night might get you either a villa or a modest hotel room, but this budget is low for that time of the year. You might do better with a small hotel.

In terms of flights, Air Jamaica flighs from LA, so perhaps you should put Jamaica on your list, though the best low-key hotels are in Negril, which is another hour from MoBay airport.

In Puerto Rico, I'd actually recommend you look at Vieques. There are alot of nice, small hotels, and many are not expensive. Not much nightlife, but there are now a few decent restaurants and excellent beaches.

If you want to go the villa route, you may have fewer choices as the large villas that accompany 12 people are pretty expensive. St. Thomas might be a better choice there, but staying on the island would require you to rent 2 or more cars, which you would have to figure into the budget.

You might also look at Mexico, which would be a cheaper alternative. Puerto Vallarta has an absolutely lovely villa called Casa Tres Vidas, which I've stayed at. I was attending a birthday party that included about 20 people. It would accompany everyone, though I'm not sure what the prices are that time of year. This is a particular place that I'd strongly recommend and it might fit your needs since it's not in town but just outside and a cheap cab ride into PV, where there are loads of excellent restaurants and nightlife. The villa staff make breakfast for everyone and can also make dinner; you just pay for the food.
doug_stallings is offline  
Sep 14th, 2006, 08:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 20
Thanks, Doug. I did post in the Latin America forum as well and thought Mexico would maybe be a good option. I'll specifically check out Casa Tres Vidas - it sounds great. I'll also look into the Vieques are of Puerto Rico.
ac23 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2006, 09:30 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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If you want Caribbean-type weather and beaches, also look at the Riviera Maya or perhaps Cozumel. PV---though lovely---isn't as warm and tropical as the Caribbean side.
doug_stallings is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4
Right on the beach, 5 minutes in either direction to beach bars and live bands. Walking distance to good local restaurants. Check out Negril Inn (negrilinnhotel.com). May not be to everyones taste but its small, all-inclusive but great value. The hotel winds down pretty early because its small but the location to go out to and hang at the local bars and restaurants, disco, can't be beat. Literally 2-10 minute walk. I booked through travelocity and got a great deal.
swalkerton is offline  

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