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Grand Case style elsewhere in the Caribbean

Old May 28th, 2013, 06:33 PM
  #1  
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Grand Case style elsewhere in the Caribbean

We really like the vibe of Grand Case on St. Martin. We like the village feel with the little shops and so many amazing restaurants and a few nice bars all within walking distance of the hotel. Are there other islands that offer a similar caribbean experience. Doesn't have to be French influenced like Grand Case but that is a plus, however good quality food is a must. We are seeking a beach, hotel and several good restaurant choices all within walking distance. Not looking for a Palm Beach in Aruba type of vibe but something more low key. Thanks!
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Old May 28th, 2013, 06:42 PM
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KVR
 
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5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen, MX

Cabo San Lucas, MX (not the corridor)

Key West, FL

St. Lawrence Gap area of Barbados
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Old May 28th, 2013, 06:49 PM
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KVR, thanks for the reply. We are thinking about a winter trip so Key West is out. Last time I was there it was in January a few years ago and the high was 60 degrees one day!

I never considered Mexico because I always assumed that meant AI and we are not looking for that on this trip. I will look into Mexico and Barbados. Thanks
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Old May 28th, 2013, 10:14 PM
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Is it a swimmable beach that you are looking for?

Rodney Bay/Gros Ilet village in St Lucia, within walking distance of Reduit Beach probably the nicest on the island. Not sure there are hotels you would like within walking distance Royal by Rex perhaps.

Shirley Heights/Falmouth/Nelsons Dockyard Antigua.

Trois Ilets area of Martinique and lots of places in Guadeloupe also (Deshaies is a pretty French village but small, Ste Anne is better for hotels and swimming beaches)

Holetown Barbados but doesn't have the same vibe as Grand Case St Martin.

Of course St Barts, if the budget allows.
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Old May 29th, 2013, 03:23 AM
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There is truly nothing quite like Grand Case -- that's why I keep coming back!

But, a couple of other experiences that might work for you include San Pedro (Ambergris Caye), Belize and Grand Anse, Grenada.

San Pedro's beach isn't all that, but it feels like the main drag of the funky little town. Kids making their way to school, adults walking to dinner, etc. The village is very laid-back, and barefoot is the way to go (as many signs and shirts say, "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem").

Grand Anse is more beachy and less village-y, but there are many small hotels (none taller than a palm tree), restaurants and bars along the beach, as well as neighborhing Morne Rouge.
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Old May 29th, 2013, 01:32 PM
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5th Avenue is Playa del Carmen is pedestrian blocks and blocks of bars, shops, restaurants and entertainment. Very low key compared to Palm Beach in Aruba. There are several boutique hotels on and around 5th Avenue that are not AI's. Just check the location carefully as not all on are the beach, some are a 2 - 3 block walk. Look at www.locogringo.com for accomendations and maps.

In Cabo San Lucas the main beach there is Medano. There are several hotels that are not AI's on that beach. We stayed at the Marina, which was a few block walk to Medano Beach. Within walking distance to most everything. We found the best food there also.

If you are interested I have pics of our trips to both places on our site. We've been to Playa del Carmen x 3 and Cabo once this past December.

http://kvrlvnphotogallery.shutterfly.com/pictures/5
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Old May 29th, 2013, 05:27 PM
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I would add Old San Juan- very old world flavor and tons of great restaurants. Not really beachy right there, but the history makes up for it.
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Old May 29th, 2013, 08:09 PM
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eastenderusvi, yes, great suggestion. I forgot about PR, and that is where we are going for year's vacation. The Coronado area is probably what you are looking for. The Marriott or the El Concho. Both within walking distance to restaurants, bars and shops and about a 15 minute cab ride to Old San Juan.
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Old May 29th, 2013, 10:18 PM
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Suggesting PR is scraping the bottom of the barrel, it's the only island in the Caribbean I absolutely disliked. Have been twice. Good thing though is you can fly to other islands very easily from there. Old San Juan is worth seeing. I cannot see PR being a suitable option for someone asking for somewhere similar to Grand Case.

Grenada which has been suggested is a good idea, St George's is a very pretty capital & not far at all from Grand Anse beach.
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Old May 29th, 2013, 10:44 PM
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Forgot about Negril's 7 mile beach. No shops to speak of but great vibe, gorgeous beach & lots of bars & restaurants plus lovely places to stay. Cliffs area is close by.
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Old May 30th, 2013, 12:52 AM
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Well, if Odin doesn't like Puerto Rico, then by all means you should cross that suggestion off your list. It doesn't matter that it does meet the criteria you listed.

The only Island I disliked in the Caribbean was St. Thomas, so make sure that destination doesn't make your list either.

If you didn't have beach in your criteria, I would suggest New Orleans. Some of the best restaurants and bars anywhere within walking distance of most everything. Great history also.
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Old May 30th, 2013, 05:59 AM
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I think it's going to be tough to find a place like Grand Case. There simply isn't that concentration of excellent restaurants in one small area anywhere else in the Caribbean. You can certainly find a few good restaurants close together but nowhere else with that many clumped together.

I don't think anyone has mentioned Cruz Bay on St. John. It's a nice little town with restaurants and shops. There are beautiful beaches on the island with very good snorkeling if you're interested in that. Caneel Bay and the Westin are the big hotels.

We had such a good time when we went to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Fifth Avenue is a vibrant area with lots of shops, restaurants and bars. But the vibe is nothing like Grand Case. We found it to be much more of a party atmosphere with lots of hotels close by. It's not a low key place, at least when we went, but I bow to KVR's greater knowledge as she's a frequent visitor and we only went one time.

If you're looking for the French influence you should take a look at St. Barts, which I've been to, and Martinique and Guadeloupe, which I haven't yet visited. There are a couple areas on St. Barts which might fit your bill and for sure there are excellent restaurants and shops and beaches. I don't know your budget but it's a very expensive island.

Another not-yet mentioned destination is Meads Bay on Anguilla. There is no real shopping anywhere on Anguilla but it does have some excellent restaurants and a few of them are right on Meads Bay. The Viceroy (newish and very upscale) and Frangipani (nice and a great location) are a couple of hotels on that beach and the restaurants at Viceroy along with Straw Hat and Blanchards are some of the excellent restaurants on Meads. Anguilla has beautiful beaches and some fun beach bars if you do your homework to figure out which day to go to them (live music). Anguilla is very low key and if you need your Grand Case or shopping fix you can always take the ferry over to St. Martin for the day. It's an easy trip and the ferry dock is right in Marigot.

I also like Odin's suggestion of Rodney Bay in St. Lucia. We stayed at the Royal by Rex and it's a nice hotel. Gros Ilet is a nice little village area.

Also maybe Negril.
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Old May 30th, 2013, 05:38 PM
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Thanks for all your suggestions! I have lots of places to look at now.

BTW, we went to San Juan several months ago, stayed in Condado and really liked it. We will definitely return but also seeking some new experiences. The reason I did not ask if there is anything else in the Caribbean like San Juan is because I highly doubt there is ( but I could be wrong). I really thought it was the perfect mixture of culture, great food and beach. A very different vibe than Grand Case but we really enjoyed it there as well.
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Old May 30th, 2013, 07:30 PM
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genio67, I'm glad to see you stated that regarding PR. I went several years ago with my family and we really enjoyed it then. DH hasn't been yet, though we have been to several Caribbean destinations and Mexico numerous times. We are looking forward to our trip there at the end of this year. We are staying at the Marriott in Condado. We like lively and vibrant places, so this destination looked like the perfect fit for us.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 02:54 AM
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KVR, San Juan is certainly vibrant and the Marriott is right in the middle of everything. There are so many restaurants right in Condado and it's a quick cab ride ( or bus ride) to Old San Juan which is wonderful. The beach in Condado is not the idyllic beach many people expect when they visit the Caribbean. It has it's appeal but if one is searching for crystal clear water and white sand they will be disappointed. One of the things I liked about San Juan is that while Condado and Old San Juan are clearly tourist areas, it doesn't feel like it's only tourists. It's a real living city and not just there to appeal to tourists. Many people don't want that on vacation but I actually like that.

Back to my original post, once again thanks for all the suggestions!
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Old May 31st, 2013, 05:12 AM
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Have you ever considered St. Barth? I know it's expensive, but if you are going in the off-season, it can be doable for a normal human. St.-Jean is probably the place I'd recommend. There aren't many reasonably priced lodgings near Gustavia, but it's definitely worth a trip. You do generally need to rent a little car in St. Barth because all the best beaches aren't where the hotels are, but in terms of food quality and ambience, it's the closest to Grand Case, albeit more upscale.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 01:52 PM
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Old San Juan is very different from Condado and Isla Verde. Try El Convento- wonderful boutique hotel with oodles of history. Great restaurants, culture, etc. I think I said it wasn't beachy.

genio: I am going to throw two more into the mix- Sainte Anne, Martinique and Iles des Saintes. These have village, food and beaches. Yes, they are French.
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