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Help a groom plan a perfect beach honeymoon!

Old Apr 19th, 2009, 03:35 PM
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Help a groom plan a perfect beach honeymoon!

First time user of these forums -- they're great!

Here's the situation: since she has enough work to do this year, I'm in charge of planning the honeymoon! It will be the last two weeks in October, 2009. Here are the requirements:
1.) Must have: Tropical
2.) Must have: Romantic (obviously!)
3.) Must have: We'd really love to stay in one of those huts on stilts out over the water
4.) Great to have: Food and spa options
5.) Great to have: Mindless, where we won't feel guilty for not being "touristy" and visiting local museums/ruins/siteseeing attractions.

Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Thank you,
Mike
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 08:38 AM
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Perhaps this will help:

1) Any Caribbean destination south of the Turks & Caicos islands will be "tropical" but to what extent depends on YOUR definition of "tropical". Tell us what that means to you.

2) You can find a "romantic" resort on just about every island. Romance can be found anywhere but it does have a price tag. What is your budget for accomodations.

3) Huts on stilts over the water are few and far between in the Caribbean. There are a couple of resots that offer over water bungalows in Belize but you won't find any on the major islands of the Caribbean. If this is a high priority for you consider, instead, going to the South Pacific where there are hundreds of resorts with over water accomodations.

4) Most major resorts will have spa facilities. As for good food, do you mean at the resort itself or do you mean destinations with great "off resort" restaurants? If you are seeking an All Inclusive resort, most will only have average food (lots of buffets). There are some very high end resorts that offer meal plans but if you are truly a "foodie" you'd probably want a destination that offers lots of "off-resort" dining. If the latter check out the islands of Anguilla, St. Barth's and St. Martin. These islands are noted for having some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean. Truly "fine dining" is readily available on many islands in the Caribbean but you will encounter high prices as most food items have to be imported.

5) Just about every destination has sightseeing and places of interest.

I realize I haven't given you any specifics. That's because the points raised in your post are very general. What you need to know is there are scores of islands in the Caribbean (more than 800 if you count the Bahamas Out-islands) and even more (1,000's) resorts and hotels. The thing is all the islands offer something different - some are large, some are small, some a flat and arid, some are mountainous and lush, some are steeped in history, others are more modern, some are Americanized, others are more European and still others have an Old World caribbean Charm. Some have long strands of white sand beaches, others have smaller cove like beaches with golden sand, still others have darker sand beaches. The poit is they are all different and no one island "has it all".

Do yourself a favor, go to the "Destinations" link at the top of this page, click through to the "Caribbean" and read the summaries of the major islands. That will give you some idea of what each island has toi offer and what sets it appart from the others. Pick one or two that most closely matches your "concept" of what a tropical island should offer. Once you do that picking a resort or hotel should be quite easy.
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 02:10 PM
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Where are you coming from, what's your budget and are you determined to visit the Caribbean?
I've found the end of October to be rainy whenever I've visited the Caribbean. Perhaps it's just my luck.
Have you considered Tahiti as it sounds a lot like your description? It is pricey though.
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 04:27 PM
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Thanks all. To address your questions:

Our budget is about $5,000. On second thought, we are open to spending 3-4 days just in a hut and on a beach completely relaxing, followed by a week of adventure or an all-inclusive, followed by 3-4 days of relaxing again before heading back north.

We'd prefer long white beaches among your choices.

I wasn't aware that huts-on-stilts wasn't prevalent in the Caribbean. We're open to going anywhere.

We'll be coming from NYC.
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 10:07 PM
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Not enough for Tahiti unless you travel for less time.
You could find some of what you're looking for in the Yucatan but do be aware of the weather. We had a lot of rain there in October last year. Not much fun for the beach!
Palm Island in the Grenadines is all inclusive. Perhaps you could spend some time there and some time in Barbados.
Have you done any research?
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 05:14 AM
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$5000 for 2 weeks won't get you much-maybe 1 week. You won't find huts on the beach/over water AND all-inclusives in 1 destination--secluded places have the huts, crowded places have the all-inclusives. Secluded places don't offer much more than getting back to nature and each other, crowded places have the activities.

I have been to numerous islands everywhere around the world, and stayed in huts over the water. The only islands I can think that have them are: Bermuda, Belize, French Polynesia (Bora Bora, Moorea, etc.) and Maldives. Except for Belize, they are, in general, ultra expensive destinations and won't fit your budget. the majority of them have no museums, activities, they offer get away from it all. There are some beach huts on the beach in Mexico, below Playa Del Carmen (around Akumal.)

With your budget and what you seek, you may want to check out Mexico, the Maya Rivera. You will find beach huts on the beach, long stretches of beach. (no over the water, sorry). Mexico fits your budget the best, but for 2 weeks, you may have to extend the money. Mexico, closer to Playa and Cancun, also has all-inclusives, you can split up your vacation. There are also plenty of excursions from these-snorkeling, scuba, 4x4s, horseback riding, even awesome Mayan ruins at Tulum and Chitza Incha (sorry about spelling). (or did you mean you don't want musuems, atractions?) Belize might also fit the bill, especially the Placencia area.

In general, all-inclusives are close to/offer atractions, activites, etc. It is not beneficial to an AI to not offer things to the crowds, only way they make money. There are a couple of upscale more expensive ones, for example, Palm Island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines comes to mind--they also have villas on the beach, and in Oct. usually run specials such as free airfare--but $5000 will get you about 6-8 days there in Oct.

Keep in mind, end of October is prime hurricane season, so definately get insurance for your trip. That may an adventure within itself. ;-)

You may also want to consider a place like Phuket, Thailand. You get exotic and tropical, more economical place to go--some beach huts (check out Phi Phi Island), but keep in mind, you'll loose days in travel.
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 07:03 AM
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Just a further comment on your statement that " We'd prefer long white beaches" - you should know that generally speaking you'll find "lomg white sand beaches" on the arid flat limestone/coral based islands like the Turks & Caicos, the Bahamas Out-islands, Anguilla, Barbuda and Aruba. These types of islands normally will not be very lush.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 07:45 AM
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I am going to recommend an upscale AI I have been to twice (and we previously never repeated resorts) -- Galley Bay in Antigua. It's rustic luxury and the main areas have thatched roofs and a robinson crusoe/tahitian feel. If you want a hut experience (but there's no water view) they have individual Gauguin cottages with their own plunge pools. I personally prefer the premium beachfront rooms which have every amenity and wonderful views. Don't be put off by the rack rates on the websites -- they are having big sales for the summer. It's one of the most romantic places we have been, peace and quiet, total relaxation and everything is included (even gratuities and watersports). If you go for less than two weeks, it can fit your budget -- we went for 8 nights and I thought that was the perfect length of time.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 09:28 AM
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I think with the economy, there are deals out there. We just booked Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda, a gorgeous 5 star property for 129 per night. They were running a special. You may want to check your dates for October.
We have been to a few islands. Bermuda is beautiful. It is pricey. But if you get a hotel deal, it may be doable. The airfares we got were 250 plus taxes on US Air.
Aruba and Grand Cayman have beautiful white sand. Aruba has more nightlife and gambling. Both have good food. Grand Cayman was more laid back. GC had great snorkeling and scuba diving. GC was also a very friendly island.
Have not been, but St. John is known for being lush with great beaches and snorkeling. Anguilla is known for great beaches.
I would check the internet. I am sure many places are offering deals.
I also agree that the Mexican Riviera (PLaya Del Carmen) has many nice all inclusive resorts that have beautiful beaches and everything included. Check out the adult only ones.
Best wishes.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 09:46 AM
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I have a feeling there will be some great last minute deals to be had this year
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 11:36 AM
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We stayed in a house on Turtle Beach on St Kitts - it was so close to the beach, and Turtle Beach itself was long and sandy, and unbelievably, we had it to ourselves most of the time. Very romantic. St Kitts is a great island - friendly, lush, interesting to explore with loads to do if you want to be a tourist, or you can just do what we did and chill around the villa in private. I think the winter rate is $2800 per week but you might be able to get a deal...
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 12:56 PM
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It's been almost 10 years, but we stayed in stilted rooms at water's edge in Tortola at Long Bay Beach Resort. It is not my favorite island or resort, but others may have more up to date info. and from what I remember, it might be close to what you are looking for.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 03:40 PM
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Its not huts over the water, but the rockhouse in Jamaica has beautiful huts set on the cliffs of Negril. They are around $300-$350 a night.
It also has a spa.

You could spend a few nights there and then transfer to Idle Awhile which is directly on the beach (and gets good reviews here). The off-season rates are as low as $130 a night.

Flight = $700
Rockhouse 5 night premium room = $1,800
Idle Awhile 5 night = $800
10 night vacation total = $3,800
That leaves you about $1700 for misc expenses such as parking car, airport transfers, food and other activities. A bit tight especially if you wanted to do some nice dinners.

Have you thought about renting a villa/apartment? That might be more economical because you could eat some meals at your place.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 03:44 AM
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I don't know if anyone has mentioned it yet, but 9 beaches in Bermuda has over the water rooms on stilts. They also offer an all-inclusive package.
They get somewhat mixed reviews - I guess some rooms are nicer than others.
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 06:01 AM
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I understand picturing a bungalow over clear, tropical waters. The French Polynesia really was a dream destination for me and it has achieved a reputation for having over-the-water bungalows. If that is the experience you want, but you don't have the $ that it really does require, the Caribbean is much cheaper and is still a fantastic way to do a honeymoon.

My #1 spot that I would recommend to you is Palm Island in the Grenadines. Beautiful clear-blue water, white sandy beach, and friendly staff. We found it too was a paradise. The ultimate honeymoon in the Caribbean would be at a private island resort like this. You spend the time with not a lot of other people, which is truly a luxurious way to honeymoon. This is also a great option as your food and drinks are included.
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 06:20 AM
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Problem with Palm Island and many remote places, is getting there in a reasonable amount of time and not missing any flights.
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 07:28 AM
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Peter Island Resort BVI in combination with Virgin Gorda, maybe Biras Creek Virgin Gorda
Pink Sands or another resort on Harbour island (you can take do day trips to Eleuthera and explore beaches on Eleuthera)
Four seasons Exuma (2 weeks may be too long)
Anguilla in combination with St Barts - but these are pricy so $5000 for two weeks may not work
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