Help Us Choose Last Minute Family Trip

Jan 1st, 2007, 04:46 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 10
Help Us Choose Last Minute Family Trip

We're 6 total: mom, dad and 4 girls ages 2, 8, 11 and 14. mom rides and wants great snorkeling off the beach. dad plays golf. kids want nice pools and activities. we have a ton of miles (and can fly from NY or Phil airports, so usually are able to find mileage seats even last minute). can anyone recommend a nice resort for a short (4-night) stay in late January? Trying to get the accomodations for around $3,000. (An AI won't work for us - restricted diets. Suite/kitchen facilities would be perfect.) Been trying to figure this out for a week. Can anyone help?
jeffsch is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 04:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I would check first to see about the frequent flyer seats -- I have tons of miles too (home airport is PHl) and have not been successful in the last few years finding seats even six months out. And if you are looking for six free tickets on the same flight, I just can't imagine this. We once got four free tickets to Aruba off season by booking 11 months out and I considered that a miracle. Regarding your destination, I suggest Turks & Caicos (though may be a bit cooler than you'd like at the end of Jan)good golf, lots of condo resorts and some horseback riding. Also, the Aruba Marriott Ocean Club or Surf Club which are also condo resorts, however, Aruba may be too far of a trip for four days. Also look at Hyatt Hacienda Del Mar in Puerto Rico, this is my kids (now ages 9 & 14) favorite resort with a really great river pool, water slide etc., great golf but I am not sure about the horseback riding. You might also look into Playa Del Carmen Mexico it's an easy flight to Cancun and then 30 minutes south by car -- however, most of that area is large AI resorts.
eileen is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 06:00 AM
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jeff, call the airline or pay a travel agent to find your free seats. It is going to take a lot of work to find six seats to the caribbean in peak season.

You'll also have to be very flexible. A mid week or Sun-Thurs stay will be easier to find than a weekend stay.
Jan 2nd, 2007, 06:22 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,716
I agree that getting 6 FF award seats to the Caribbean on short notice is going to be your toughest hurdle. If, however, by talking about "having tons of miles" you actually mean "points" with a Capital One Card or similar program where they actuall purchase tickets on your behalf then your task will be easier.

Now for the island, with only 4 night you are preety much limited to places you can reach non-stop from NY/Phil so concentrate on the bigger islands otherwise you'll spend more of your time traveling rather than enjoying a vacation. Check of destinations like Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Provo (Turks & Caicos), Grand Cayman and perhaps St. Martin.

Another tall order is your requirement for access to golf and "great off beach snorkeling". Try looking at St. Thomas - that island is serviced non-stop from NY and has both golf and some very good off beach snorkeling. You'll find excellent golf at many resorts in Puerto Rico but "off beach snorkeling" will be limited. Yopu can find golf on Provo and there is some limited but very good off-beach snorkeling on that island (check out Coral Gardens - it's the only resort with snorkeling directly infront of the hotel).
A_Traveller is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 05:57 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 10
Thank you all for your good advice. On the tix, I actually was able to get 6 to PR last week for the trip dates in anticipation of finding someplace in PR to stay, but then cancelled when nothing materialized. I'll check the Hyatt Hacienda Del mar eileen, and also the other suggestions. we may also expand our trip a few days to make it make more sense, even for a few bucks more. I'll keep you posted.
jeffsch is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 06:00 PM
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FYI, just checked, the Hyatt Haciendas Del Mar, a/k/a Hyatt Dorado, is no more. Oh well, back to my well used drawing board.
jeffsch is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 05:11 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I've never stayed there myself, but what about the Buccaneer on St. Croix?

Ditto for the Half Moon Resort on Jamaica.

They're both family friendly, they offer the activities you're looking for, they're easy to get to (not sure if St. Croix is a non-stop, though), and Half Moon does offer villa-style arrangements.
ejcrowe is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 05:28 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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The Westin Rio Mar and El Conquistador in Pueto Rico both have golf courses. They are about one hour drive from the airpot. We stayed at El Conquistador 2 years ago when it was owned by Wyndham and enjoyed it. It has nice pools and owns a private island that they ferry guests to but there is no beach right near the rooms. This might be a downside with a 2 year old. Both resorts are near El Junque, the rain forest, and there are snorkeling trips you can arrange but I don't think the off-shore snorkeling is great. It was non-existent at El Conquistador. The bioluminescent bay might be an activity a parent and your older children may enjoy.

St. Thomas seems to meet your critirea as another poster noted. I'm sure other posters have more suggestions for Turks & Caicos and Grand Cayman which have more to offer with respect to suites and kitchen facilities.
lovethecape is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 09:46 AM
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We booked a villa for a full week on St. John. I'd been hearing lots of dodgy, mixed-to-bad reviews of El Conquistador lately. The Westin Rio Mar is booked during our week. (No kitchens in either location either, although can stay at the villas at the El Conquistador, I forgot what they're called, they are pricey, and we'd still be dealing with a potentially degraded resort.) We managed to get flights for all 6 of us on Advantage mileage from Newark (with stops, but we'll manage). While I could schlepp back to St Thomas one day to play golf, I think I'll leave the sticks home. Otherwise, we'll have everything else we need: great snorkeling, there's horseback riding on St John and the villa pics looks really nice; plus, as a bonus, we don't need to get rush passports for the kids, which we'd need for non-US territories (unless the mrs decides she wants to spend one day over at the BVI) like Jamaica, GC and Provo. I'll let everyone know how it was when we get back. Thanks all for your help.
jeffsch is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 03:21 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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You'll love St. John. We stayed at the Westin last year but a villa is a great way to go. Enjoy!
lovethecape is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 07:41 PM
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This is The mom. We will be on St. John for about five full days. Does it pay to go to the BVI for a day? Does it offer anything special? If we go there then we need passports. Also any recommendations of what to do with the kids besides the beach since we are not at a resort with any kids activities?
jeffsch is offline  
Jan 4th, 2007, 06:31 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 244
Hi. I answered the first part of your question on your other post. We really enjoyed the New Horizons trip since we got to visit the Baths, Pusser Restaurant at Marina Cay, and Jost van Dyke. However, with only 5 days, the extra expense and rush for passports may make it more of a hassle.

Since we stayed at the Westin, we would visit a new beach everyday, and then come back to the Westin so the boys could play or "hang out" with other kids on the water toys (trampolines in the water and an iceberg to climb on) at the beach. Maybe your husband and you could grab a drink or snack at the bar in the afternoon after a trip to the beach (the beach at the Westin is not great) and let the kids have fun on the water toys or playing onthe beach. I think the beaches are public and you are patronizing the restaurants so this should not be an issue.

With four children, you might visit beaches with restrooms, snack bars and some ammneities such as Trunk Bay and Cinammon Bay. The main beach at Caneel Bay Resort is open to the public. We never made it there but I wish we had. There should be families and other children here.

We also enjoyed the Coral Bay side of the island and saw sea turtles at Salt Pond Bay. Skinny Legs is a restuarnt on this side known for their hamburgers.

This is some shopping in Cruz Bay. Another poster mentioned the restaurant,Pastory Gardens, and their miniature golf course. The view from the restuarnt is great. For some reason, my boys weren't interested in the mini-golf. Another inexpensive but great place to eat is Uncle Joe's BBQ. It's located near the ferry dock in Cruz Bay, and is probably the most inexpensive meal on the island. You might have to ask where it is since I don't think they have a sign. Maybe we were really hungry after the New Horizons trip but we devoured this food when we brought it back to the condo.

We didn't do too much at night other than go out to dinner, shop a little and watch TV. We really spent most of the day at the beach or pool.

To save time, you can have someone provision your villa. The people on the following web site can answer any question you may have:,page=1
lovethecape is offline  
Jan 4th, 2007, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 245
Virgin hassles.

I'd fly American Airlines direct to st thomas and take quick flight to St. Croix and stay at carambola Beach Resort. World class golfing. Just stayed there 2 months ago and the suites are great.

All watersports and family fun too.

Avoid St. Thomas Mahogany. Crime.
No golf on st john.

marbleheadguy is offline  

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