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best island location for gambling, fun and sun

Old Feb 13th, 2007, 08:27 PM
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Tess
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best island location for gambling, fun and sun

We're looking at a family vacation in the Caribbean to celebrate our oldest son's high school graduation. Since he enjoys playing extremely (emphasis on extremely) low-stakes poker with his buddies, his dad and I thought he'd enjoy a little supervised gambling but we're not sure what island/resort would be best.

I'm sure I'll get flamed by some posters for exposing him to gambling--not really interested in hearing the negative views, honestly. He's 18, smart and level-headed. This trip is a reward for straight-A's and a stellar high school career as well as being one last family trip before he heads off to college.

Anyhow, I'd appreciate some suggestions of possible locations. I've looked at the Westin Our Lucaya as well as Atlantis/Comfort Suites (Atlantis seems $$$$$$) and The Wyndham Cable Beach (which kind of sounds nasty?). Aruba sounds wonderful but can't seem to find flights that 1.) don't cost a fortune and 2.) take less than 1 1/2 days to get there from Denver. Any comments on places I've listed or suggestions of other places? We're looking at a June trip so I know I'm probably behind already in planning. TIA.
 
Old Feb 14th, 2007, 04:27 AM
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You might want to look into the Dutch side of St. Maarten, which might take a little less time to get to than Aruba. Otherwise I'd have said that Aruba is your best bet, so to speak.
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Old Feb 14th, 2007, 04:30 AM
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Meant to add that airfare prices to the Caribbean will be high no matter what time of year, I suspect. You might want to talk to a good travel agent or search airline sites like www.AAVacations.com to look for travel packages that might be better suited to your needs. When my husband and I decided fairly last minute to get away this past Thanksgiving we found a package deal includingairfare, hotel, and meals that was the same cost as the airfare alone if purchased separately.
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Old Feb 14th, 2007, 04:54 AM
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We've been to both Nassau and Aruba. Of the two, I would return to Aruba over Nassau. Atlantis is full of tourists and small children. There were more things to see and do in Aruba. Also Aruba seemed much safer to venture around town at night and have a more diversifed nightlife.

As for gambling, we love Las Vegas and have been several times. We were disappointed with the gambling in Nassau and Aruba. It's not the same. In the event you find that to be true also, you want other activites to keep you occupied and Aruba would be the better choice.

I agree that a package deal would be a better option. We usually use FunJet or beachdestinations.com. There are others such as Apple Vacations, MLT Vacations, cheapcarribean.com or contacting a travel agent.
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Old Feb 14th, 2007, 07:18 AM
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I would suggest Aruba if you can find decent flights. We had fun there, great beaches and restuarants and plenty of casinos.
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I keep coming back to the Wyndham Our Lucaya but it doesn't seem quite what we're looking for. Any AIs that are nice and near gambling (I'd say we're on a Marriott budget this trip, as opposed to the Super 8 or Four Seasons ends of the scale, if that helps)?

The bad thing is that years ago we took our family to Beaches Negril and now anything less is a step down--oh well, the budget won't handle an $8000 trip this year! Any reports on the Holiday Inn Sunspree in Aruba?
 
Old Feb 17th, 2007, 08:51 PM
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We stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree in Sept. '06. We liked it fine. We chose their AI plan for mainly drinks and the breakfast buffet. Food was OK. Not great, but ediable. All 3 towers should be completely redone by now. The re-do on the pool was completed when we went, and the week after we left they started re-doing the beach bar and grill restuarant. That should be completed by now also. Check Trip Advisor for recent reviews.

We loved the location. There is a strip of shops and restuarants just steps outside the front door. Plus the bus will take you into downtown for shopping and other nightlife.

We enjoyed Palm Beach. Lots of water sports and things to do. We've been to many destinations and stayed at nicer places, but for the money, the HI is fine. You might also look at the Occidental or the RIU. They will be a little more upscale and offer AI also.

We did visit the casino at the HI. We usually just play video poker and keno. They didn't have any of that. I sat at the roulette table for a while and each time they changed dealers, the rules changed also. Frustrating trying to keep up. The casino itself is very, very small. My husband decided on the slots and lost $50 in about 5 minutes. We don't expect to win, but would like longer play from our money. They will bring you free drinks while your playing, but the actual sit down bar doesn't honor the AI plan. Didn't see any poker tables that I can remember. We don't play poker. We had practically the same experience at the Atlantis in Nassau. We only gamble in Las Vegas now.
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 11:52 PM
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Airline prices in June are not bad - found it for around 600 to St martin just plugging in 2 June dates and Denver and if you look you can get it lower - considering this connection left Denver morning and was in St Martin early afternoon not bad. You can also look for flight which fly into San Juan and then take one of the island airlines to St Martin - Liat is one of them - they are okay. There are several fun casinos on the island on both the french and dutch side MAho Bay really rocks at night - they sleep in the day time! There are lots of other things to do in the day time. The island is easy to get around and the weather is always the same.
As for housing not sure how many of you there are but there are many condos and apartments which I may be less than the resorts you mentioned and would give you more space - I just checked on this one site and I recogized several of the properties and since it is off season - some of them are very reasonable. For example Royal Palm shows a 3 beroom for less than $2000 for the week and it is in a great location- great restaurants several small casinos within walking distance and all very safe area. http://www.vacationrentalsonline.com/vr/sm/sm_frame.htm Our friends rent a house at Orient Beach every summer and that is a fun area although it is further from the casinos - would have to drive to them but hey the island is not that big. Just some food for thought - I think you have a great idea -he' s 18 - good for you- for raising a smart kid and good for him! Go out and celebrate and have fun!
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