Help us pick a destination/family resort!

Oct 11th, 2001, 02:26 AM
  #1  
Leslie
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Help us pick a destination/family resort!

My head is spinning from all the choices! Have viewed a number of sources including fodors and wheretostay.com. Can any experts recommend places to stay in the Caribbean based on our criteria?
1. Somewhere American Airlines flies (from LA)+ maybe short ferry ride, as we have FF miles to use.
2. Two parents, two children ages 13 and 11.
3. Spring break or early summer. 1 week.
4. Low rise, not too large (no Hedonism II or Las Vegas feel, please!)
5. Beachfront views, soft sand gorgeous water & snorkeling. Not too crowded.
6. Some culture/history/calypso music. Don't want to isolate ourselves in a walled resort - yet need reasonable safety.
7. Green, lush, pretty (not dry/baren)
8. Hotel or condo fine - just not rooms with the classic two doubles chain hotel feeling.
9. Under $300 per night w/out meals. Preferably closer to $250.

Here are some I've identified. Any opinons? Thanks so much in advance for your advice:
St. Thomas: Emerald Beach Resort
St. Lucia: Hyatt Regency, Wyndham Morgan Bay
Jamaica: Renaissance Grande, Ladera
Dominican Rep: Gran Ventana Beach Resort, Caribbean Village DeCameron Club
Barbados: Bouganvilla or Crystal Cove Resort.
Any Bahamas or Grand Caymen suggestions?
St. John sounds great, but can't find anything in our price range.
 
Oct 11th, 2001, 11:20 AM
  #2  
Jim
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Have a look on www.wheretostay.com at my favourite spot (in Antigua) - Barrymore Beach Club, Runaway Bay. I think it would fit all the points you mentioned very well. We have been 5 times and are already booked for next year.
 
Oct 11th, 2001, 01:47 PM
  #3  
Penney
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I have been to Jamaica Ren. Grande and personally, was notimpressed. The main pool is wonderful but gets so packed - wall to wall chairs. Alot of kids which is wonderful but the rooms are standard hotel rooms (we had to be moved due to several problems), food and service was only par and the beach is not a great one for Jamaica. Is actually a small cove that over looks where the cruise ships come in.

My sister went to Hyatt St. Lucia and really enjoyed it - seems to have a very good rep. Pictures looked wonderful!

Have you looked in to Sunset beach in Jamaica or the newer Rui (has gotten wonderful reviews and nicely priced)
 
Oct 11th, 2001, 04:05 PM
  #4  
Sandy
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Leslie,
Grand Cayman fits the list of what your looking for!! Great island and very safe for a family vacation. Check out www.gotocayman.com for different accomodations. I highly recommend a condo there. Many are in your price range, especially now with tourism being down. Beautiful beach and calm gorgeous water. It has some of the best snorkeling I've ever found, and Stingray City is something you won't find anywhere else in the Caribbean!! There are no highrises anywhere, and the further north you go on 7 Mile Beach for condos, the less crowded it is!! The condos are fully equipped with kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, etc.
Most all are right on the beach, with snorkeling right at your door step. Some condos you might check out are, Aqua Bay, Christopher Columbus, Plantana, Discovery Point and Silver Sands. Good luck on your search!!
Sandy
 
Oct 11th, 2001, 08:43 PM
  #5  
Leslie
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Thanks all, for your kind replies. I know I'm doing my homework backwards this time! I usually camp out at the book store first to acquire more info about my destinations...BUT

Penny - Don't know Sunset Beach or Rui in Jamaica. Are these areas or hotels?

Sandy - I hadn't thought of Grand Caymen. Must admit I thought it was just a beautiful beach, cruise stop and offshore banks! I'll check out your recommendations.

Leslie
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 05:50 AM
  #6  
karen
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Leslie -

I'm surprised you cannot find a villa in St. John that is within your means. When do you plan on traveling? Off season is in effect until mid December, and it does get rather expensive in the high season, however, you will find this in most of the Carribean, but try doing a search for St. John Villas. Also, a good website where you can get a plethora of information is
http://www.usvi-on-line.com
You may be quite surprised at how much you can get for your $$$s.

The Caymans can be quite expensive for food with all the people you are traveling with. If that is not a consideration, as well as the cost of accommodations, that may be a possibility, but we like the USVI and the BVI much better - just my opinion. Also, we found the beaches and snorkeling to be better in the USVI and BVI.
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 07:27 AM
  #7  
xxx
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Leslie,
I cannot recommend anything that fits your criteria, but I can tell you that you will not find anything decent on Grand Cayman in your price range. Sandy recommends Cayman to everyone and promotes her site constantly. I love Cayman, but it's not for everyone.
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 09:49 AM
  #8  
Paul
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When people spread misinformation about Cayman, I have to wonder what their agenda is... maybe they actually love Cayman and want to scare people away from their paradise? Or maybe they have some financial interest in competing islands? Or want to believe that their favorite just has to be the best?

Anyway, check caymanvacations.com for places in your price range. It's hard to find anyplace on Seven Mile Beach that isn't quality. And you're right on one of the Caribbeans best beaches (not a drive away) with the beachfront views you request.

I do agree that Cayman is not for everyone, in fact I wish everyone would go somewhere else so I can have GC to myself! I personally consider the USVI to be a "Poor Man's Cayman". Oops, the USVI-obsessed fans are stroking, call 911! ;-)

There's no need to bash Sandy for her Cayman obsession, and that's not her web site. Half the people here are also fanatical about their own favorites. Grow up and realize people have different tastes, a different opinion isn't a threat. If you're fixated on one place I recommend getting out and travelling more, that's the way you found your current favorite. Who knows, maybe there's a new favorite out there???
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 10:19 AM
  #9  
Doug
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Hi Leslie, you may also want to discover the freedom of Eleuthera Bahamas. 110 miles of different beach locations, caves, ocean holes and lush rolling green hillsides to explore. Cartwright's Ocean Fron Cottages offers what you are looking for. You can email me for more information on Eleuthera or visit www.tarpumbay.com for details. Enjoy....Doug
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 11:21 AM
  #10  
Paul
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I guess I struck a nerve since someone is on the defensive. Sorry if my comments enraged you to the point of name calling.

Everyone can verify on caymanvacations.com that condos for 4 are easily had in that range. And with package deals thru airline travel sites I get deals well below that. XXX, name some "dumps" on 7MB, and please share with us places that you don't consider to be dumps, so we may be enlightened. Maybe you didn't intend to bash Sandy, but you made it sound like she was promoting her own web site, which is misinformation and sounded like a bash to me.
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 01:07 PM
  #11  
xxx
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Anon,
Must ask where you had the logical nerve to defensive my paragraph that you first mentioned. I am not addled with my mind of yours could be so characterized. Please stop prying into my thread with my double wide.
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 01:35 PM
  #12  
joan
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Leslie, we enjoyed taking our two daughters, approx the same age as your kids, to the following:

1. Long Bay Beach Resort in Tortola. We rented a hillside 2BR villa, has everything you mentioned, in a gorgeous beachfront setting (and separate upstairs bedroom for mom and dad). I can still remember my daughters dancing in a big circle with about 8 other kids during the island-buffet-with-live-music night, dinner at Mrs. Scatliffe's, and hiking the mini-rainforest.

2. Coyaba Beach Resort on Grenada. Only negative here would be the two adjoining hotel rooms, but hey what a view. However, the people of Grenada were wonderful. We made a fun goal of finding the seven Grenada waterfalls (think we made it to 4), and one night we tagged along as the locals hunted in the roadside ditches for mountain chicken (yeah, you guessed it, giant edible frogs!).

Don't know prices, I'll let you research, but both were in the moderate range. We used TourScan to book both trips.
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 01:35 PM
  #13  
Claie
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I would reccommend Our Lucaya on Grand Bahama. We went there and loved it!
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 02:33 PM
  #14  
Penney
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Leslie,

Both Sunset Beach and Rui are resorts in Jamaica. Rui is in Negril, which is considered to have some of the best beaches in the caribbean, and does! Really beautiful area. Rui, I beleive, is in the Montego Bay area and seems to be fairly popular with families. Jamaica, in general, is going to be the most afforable.
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 02:59 PM
  #15  
freewoman
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I can't leave this thread without saying that I have been to Grand Cayman at all times of the year and I have stayed at some pretty nice places, both condo and hotels on 7MB and I have NEVER paid $250 a night. Unless my calculator is very off, that is $1750 a week and I have NEVER paid that much for my airfare and hotel combined for a week. I think someone may be getting ripped off.
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 04:56 PM
  #16  
Lydia
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Leslie, from mid-April the low season starts so most accomodations on Cayman are well below $300, although we've never paid that much. We get package deals through a travel agent or online travel services, so our combined air and hotel are way below the list prices you see out there. Cayman does not have as much in the way of culture as other islands as it is very westernized, and it has no mountains or rainforests, but its safety and great beach and water make up for that. And we have found the Caymanian people to be extremely friendly and helpful.
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 05:00 PM
  #17  
Chaniqua
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My fiance and I want to plan a honeymoon on Grand Cayman since he has ancestors from there but we can't spend more than $250 for a night. But we really want a good place. Can you bargain finders tell me where to look?
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 05:36 PM
  #18  
Sary Garcia
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Rather than looking at hotel cost separately, I'd suggest looking at your total budget for the honeymoon, and talk to a travel agent to see what sort of package deal you can get, then compare with online sites like expedia, travelocity, etc. With a package deal, you don't really know what the hotel vs air costs, it's all one package. My advice is to try not to bargain hunt too much, since a honeymoon is so special. Better to stay at a really nice place for 5 nights than an average place for 7 nights. Usually I don't recommend travel agents, but for a honeymoon they can really be useful.
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 05:42 PM
  #19  
Sary Garcia
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Leslie, in your question you don't mention if you're a first timer to the Caribbean or to third world travel. I recommend to first timers that they stick to Bahamas, VI, or Cayman Islands for first trips. Then with some experience, you could try Grenada, Barbados, Jamaica, or Tobago which are all wonderful, but often too intense for first timers.
 
Oct 12th, 2001, 10:35 PM
  #20  
Leslie
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Hi - I'm back. Thanks to all for your helpful info. I've been to Montego Bay, Ocho Rios & PR many years ago when I was thin, young, and single, but my husband and kids haven't been to the Caribbean at all. I think Jamaica is interesting and love Reggae but have to admit the over-development of these very splashy all-inclusives there plus reports on crime make me hesitate a bit. Nonetheless, I did discover a place called Negril Cabins Resort that sounds like is might be a good fit for us. I'd really like a place that attracts families. Joan's suggestion in Tortola is one that really appeals. Also, Harbour Island.

We're from California, have been to Hawaii a number of times already and believe it or not, my FF miles will take me to the Caribbean but not Hawaii. However, I'm looking for a nice balance between pretty scenery/beach/water/nature on the one hand and something cultural and interesting sightseeing on the other, so I don't want to be TOO isolated. At the risk of offending the Caymen Is. fans, I think I've ruled that out. I just don't see there's enough to do sightseeing-wise I think I've decided to aim for mid-June when the kids get out of school as I'm finding the prices just too high the first week of April which was their only other school break.

Again, many thanks for the helpful suggestions!
 

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