All Adult Vacation - Which island?

Jul 12th, 2011, 09:35 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 6
All Adult Vacation - Which island?

Hi everyone! I am looking for some advice for which island to visit for an upcoming April 2012 vacation. Right now there are 6 married couples going, and we are all under 30. I chose 5 tags of places I haven't been yet, and have heard some good things about, but am VERY open to suggestion.

My husband and I went on an Eastern Caribbean cruise in March 2011 for our honeymoon, and absolutely loved the islands we went to, with the exception of St. Thomas as it was too crowded and we were jostled for a taxi at almost every street corner. Our favorites were Grand Turk and the cruiseline's private island in the Bahamas because the beaches were beautiful, followed by San Juan for the old Spanish fort we toured right in the middle of the city. We would probably take a cruise again but one of our travelers gets extreme motion sickness on boats, so that's out the window! (And also makes ferrying to another island very difficult, but the other couples could go for a day trip without them!)

My wish list:

A villa or hotel right on the beach, all inclusive a plus!
Plenty to do for a week stay, we like to snorkel, shop, and of course great food and beverage!
Not being sold at every turn, it takes away from my experience.
Our price point is around $2,000 per person for hotel and airfare.
A place with a little night life, like a bar or nice restaurant.

Thanks in advance for your help!
SherryBear is offline  
Jul 12th, 2011, 12:44 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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couplesresort.com

Negril Swept away

Excellence puntacana.com

rockhousehotel.com great for non AI

luxurylink.com bookit.com good other options

Hard Rock for gaming action beach new great
qwovadis is offline  
Jul 12th, 2011, 12:53 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 418
How do you feel about Mexico? Mayan Riviera?
Jimmie is offline  
Jul 12th, 2011, 01:31 PM
  #4  
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@qwovadis: Thank you for the links, I'll have some more searching on my hands! How do you feel about Bermuda? From what I have read it seems like it has great beaches and is a more low key destination with friendly locals.

@Jimmie: One of the couples just got back from their honeymoon in Playa Del Carmen, (sp?) so they wanted to go somewhere different. Personally I have never been there but we are pretty set on the Caribbean for the amazing beaches and island charm.
SherryBear is offline  
Jul 12th, 2011, 01:41 PM
  #5  
 
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I worry that Bermuda might be a little bit cool in April, esp. early April. How about St. Barts?
Jimmie is offline  
Jul 12th, 2011, 01:42 PM
  #6  
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Wanting all inclusive is going to limit your choices as well as locals selling their wares.

Rivera Maya of Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic will have the majority of choices of AI's. We have been going to Mexico for the last 10 years because of their vast majority of AI resorts in varying price ranges and plenty of things to see and do off property. 5th Avenue is a great area for shopping, entertainment, restaurants and bars, but anywhere there is shopping there is also hagglers.

Jamaica has many things to see and do off property also. But again, lots of locals trying to sell. We have decided on the Jewell Dunn's River in Ocho Rios this December. A former Sandals property.

I would suggest Grand Cayman. The Marriott on 7 Mile Beach has an AI plan, but you'll find kids there.

Another option would be Curacao. We stayed at the Lions Dive in a 2 bedroom apartment. Full kitchen with free shuttle to the local grocery store. Three restaurants on site and several more within walking distance. The downtown area was very nice and clean with department type stores. There is only one area that they allow haggling, so you can easily avoid if you want to.

Not sure which Islands you visited on your cruise, but I'll throw out Aruba. Great options for dining and shopping with no hagglers or Barbados.
KVR is offline  
Jul 12th, 2011, 02:13 PM
  #7  
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@Jimmie: Good point, we would want someplace in the 80s

@KVR: I don't want to overlook something that might be an amazing vacation. I have heard that Jamaica might be a little scary for travelers. Is that an overdone generalization? If the resort is nice we probably wouldn't have much reason to leave except for a few day trips.

We have visited Carnival's island in the Bahamas, (Little San Salvador was the name of it, I think) Grank Turk, San Juan, and St. Thomas. Grand Turk was my favorite out of all of them.
SherryBear is offline  
Jul 12th, 2011, 02:23 PM
  #8  
 
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Bermuda is pretty far north to consider for water activities in April, and probably more expensive than your budget will allow, plus you're not going to find much in the way of all-inclusive.
txgirlinbda is offline  
Jul 12th, 2011, 03:20 PM
  #9  
 
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Posts: 455
Take a look at the RIU PALACE ARUBA and Divi Aruba All-Inclusive. Both right on the beach, both all-inclusive. It will be hot in April. Lots of shopping, lots of casinos, lots to do if you want. Sunset sails, snorkel trips, etc. etc.
shirleyk is offline  
Jul 12th, 2011, 03:41 PM
  #10  
KVR
 
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SherryBear, we went to Negril, Jamaica in 2006. Loved it. I do have to agree it's not a place that we felt comfortable just walking of the resort. We did do guided tours and hired a taxi twice for shopping and off property dining. We've been wanting to go back for years, but kept heading to Mexico because of the prices. They just can't be beat, but we are going back in December to Ocho Rios this time. We'll do tours again. We cheaped out with the RIU Tropical Bay in Negril and did not like it. This time, we are spending more for a better resort. It's getting really great reviews on TA. It is a adult's only property. To us, Jamaica was a less expensive version of St. Lucia, which we loved also, but it's difficult to get around and the beaches are not that great. The topography is gorgeous though.

I agree with Aruba. Many people say it's "Americanized" like that's a bad thing or something. I liked that it has tons of dining/bars options and good shopping. I would hesitate to recommend AI in Aruba as part of the vacation experience is trying as many of the dining/bar option you can.

If you liked Grand Turk, you may also be interested in Provo Turks and Caicos. The Veranda has an AI option.

If your interested, we have been to several different Caribbean islands as well as Mexico and all our pictures are posted. You might find a destination that your interested in:

http://community.webshots.com/user/kvrlvn
KVR is offline  
Jul 13th, 2011, 05:51 AM
  #11  
 
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If you are looking to a private villa on the beach then look no further than St Lucia. As you may have guess I am St Lucian myself and it is an unspoilt gem!

There are two Villas in Soufriere (one of the most private and picturesque part of the island ) called La Belle Helene or Arc en Ciel. I think the first might best suite your needs. Its comes equipped with chef and all. The Villa has its own private pool and very near to the beach. In terms of things to do, because the villa is on a private estate it is very exclusive however St Lucia has plenty of sight seeing attractions many of which are near the villa (like the famous Pitons, botanical gardens, water falls and the sulpher springs) but I would recommend renting a jeep or two that way you can explore yourselves. Snockelling is world famous at Anse Chastanet (near the villa) and the city (Castries) is a shopping haven.

The island also has an avid night life and even a casino. So lots of entertainment. If you are booking for April, particilarly late April I would recommend booking early as the annaul Jazz festival is help end of April/ May. Excellent time to visit the island but hotels and airline seats do get rapidly sold out.

There are other villas in the north of the island near the city which have 6 bedrooms or more as well.

I would recommend having a local villa rental company look into rates for you as they can easily negotiate deals being they are on the island themselves that would include all inclusive accomodation and jeep rentals. The best I have dealt with is Sugar Hut Villas, you can google their website. They have local and international offices, the best deals and very friendly staff.
They also offer other Caribbean islands in case you wanted to consider other islands. But I hope I've enticed you to beautiful ST Lucia
Island_flower is offline  
Jul 13th, 2011, 08:44 AM
  #12  
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Thank you all, I greatly appreciate the advice. In looking at prices at the above mentioned places, maybe Mexico would be a better option. There are so many places in the Caribbean that look absolutely amazing but with the higher airfare, more expensive rooms, and pricey food, it just doesn't seem doable on the price point we're needing. Someday...
SherryBear is offline  
Jul 13th, 2011, 12:23 PM
  #13  
KVR
 
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SherryBear, we have done AI Carribean vacations for 2 for 5-7 nights with air from Texas for $3,000 or less. It all depends on the hotel, as they are usually not the top choices. Plus we get charged extra for air because of our remote location. We usually take an extra $1,000 for shopping, incidentals, off property dining, etc. I pre-book tours/activities on-line ahead of time with a CC so I can have it paid before we go. So it does add up.

Have you searched on beachdestinations.com or cheapcarribean.com ? I usually get the best deals from either Orbitz or Travelocity.

This site for Orbitz usually has some good deals:

http://www.retailmenot.com/view/orbitz.com

We can do AI in Mexico for 4-7 nights with air for 2 for around $1,300 - $2,000 depending on the hotel. We never stay at the top recommended resorts because they are usually over that price range. Granted the food is not that great, but for the price it's OK for us. The exception was The Royal Playa del Carmen, but we paid like $2,500 for the lowest catagory room with air for 6 nights. It was worth it.

Look at the Makehal Beach Resort in Playa del Carmen. It's a semi-AI (No alcohol included) I so wish we would have stayed there this past December instead of the hotel we did choose.

As I mentioned earlier, we are going to the Jewell in in Jamaica in December and are looking at $2,500 for 5 nights. It is a top rated hotel for that area.

One of your issues with pricing is the time you picked to go. April is high season still with Spring and Easter break. If you can wait until the 2nd or 3rd week fo May, the prices will dropp significally. One of the reasons we go the 1st week fo December every year is for that same reason, the prices drop right before they over charge for the Chrsitmas/New Years holiday.

My birthday is in April and we've done a few trips at that time and it is not worth it to us. Overpriced hotels and crowds galore. DH's birthday is the 3rd week of May and we have been going then as the prices and crowds are so much more reasonalbe. Hope this helps.
KVR is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 06:56 PM
  #14  
 
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We have been to the BVI's and absolutely loved it but went in April when it was still high season- as much as I loved Anegada it was absolutely deserted (no dancing or partying) when we were there- we spent an entire afternoon at Cow Wreck and were the only ones there which was absolutely heaven to us- younger people might not have agreed. We stayed two nights at Neptune's and had a wonderful peaceful retreat. The BVI's can be pretty pricey at that time of the year though (and we had a higher budget than they do and found it $$$). When I was the age of the travelers here I would have found more to do in St. John or in Playa del Carmen (good advice here- trust KVR for sure). I think you get a lot more for your money in Mexico- love the looks of Makehal and with breakfast and dinner included it is so much easier to figure your budget- I always wanted to go there when it was still Shangri- La- we stayed at a sister resort that has since been torn down near there and it was a great bargain with some meals, room, and tax all for one price- loved it and would go back in a minute if it was still there. I think you all might have a great time in Playa.
Since you have a group, if you can be happy with making some of your own nightlife, you might want to even look at going together for a villa in the Abaco islands of the Bahamas- at your age we had some great times doing that and there are a lot of great houses for rent- you can find a few bars and restaurants on Elbow Cay at Hopetown. It may be too calm for you if you need serious partying or shopping though. Take a look at vrbo.com to see if anything strikes you. You can save a good bit of money just making your own breakfast, snacks, hors d'oeuvres, and party drinks if you have a nice villa. The Bahamas can be a much more expensive destination than some realize so just realize that going in if you decide to go- the out islands are one of my very favorite locations though!
Hope you find something great and have fun!!
ishkribbl is offline  
Aug 16th, 2011, 04:03 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 481
Try looking at the Grand Palladium in Akumal. It's about an hour south of Cancun, it has every activity you can think of, and big enough so you can find solitude if you need to. I believe it has everything you are looking for.
Bassguy66 is offline  
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