Help with first time to caribbean!

Old Jul 12th, 2006, 06:35 AM
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Help with first time to caribbean!

Hi, my husband and I are planning our first trip to the caribbean for feb 07, first trip away from our infant daughter. We live in Chicago and can only travel from wed-mon (5 nights) for work reasons. So we don't want to go too far so that we are traveling all day wed and mon. So far the shortest flight situations seem to leave us with:
Turks & Caicos
Grand Cayman

We love amazing beaches and pools and great food. We are looking for relaxation and luxury, and are willing to splurge. As this is our first time in the caribbean I do want the white sand and incredible water. I'm considering:

Parrot Cay
Grace Bay Club
One and Only Ocean Club
Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman
Biras Creek
Peter Island

All of these seem to be accessible and appealing but I'm really struggling deciding because I know they are different. Any thoughts? I love the idea of seclusion but then wonder if we'll be tired of dining in the same place every night. Also, want a room that is nice, these places are pricey and I want to feel like the room is worth the money.

Anyone with advice for me? Thanks a lot.

jillrapuzzi is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2006, 07:35 AM
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Check out the Somerset in the Turks and Caicos.It just opened and is getting great reviews. Beautiful, Beautiful Property. Looks great for a couple getting away to relax
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 08:09 AM
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I agree with the suggestion of the Somerset on T&C. And I would pick Point Grace over Grace Bay Club. The Ritz GC is supposed to be amazing. Another option would be Little Dix Bay in the BVIs.

But I think Anguilla may be the island for you...,incredible beaches and the best food I have had in the Caribbean. Check out Cap Juluca.

Let us know what you decide!
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 08:15 AM
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hi jill, of the islands you mention bvi's have lush hilly landscape. gc, t&c and bahamas are flat and scrubby. at grace bay club you would definetly be able to enjoy a variety of restaurants on an island known for excellent dining.
for pure luxary one & only or peter island would be my choices.
the whitest softest sand and most amazing water color is found in t&c (imho).
these are all great resorts. i don't see how you can go wrong.
once you choose you might look at you can get a good deal through them if you have already priced out other sources. the idea is to bid low at the last minute.
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 09:28 AM
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Just a word of caution, you may find getting to/from Peter Island or Virgin Gorda (Biras Creek and Little Dix Bay) will involve more "travel time" than you are will to spend for a 5 night vacation. Personally, if I were you I would chose a destination island that I could reach non-stop from Chicago.
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 09:44 AM
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Hi, thanks for your responses so far. Unfortunately the only place I can fly direct to is Nassau, Bahamas. For everywhere else in the caribbean I must change planes in either Miami or San Juan. I don't mind changing plans but figure connecting in Miami is not as far - so I don't spend the entire day traveling for a 5 day trip. That is why T&C, Cayman etc is closer. Someday I definitely want to do Anguilla but figure I should wait until I have a full week.

Its so hard to pick a resort, I want it to be the best, so I just can't decide!!!!

jillrapuzzi is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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Then I would choose the Somerset or Point Grace in T&C.
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 10:37 AM
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Fly direct to the Bahamas. You will spend a half day getting there and a half day getting home.

For all the other locations, it will take you an entire day to get there and a day to get home leaving you with four days in the islands.

PS technically, the Bahamas aren't the Caribbean.
Old Jul 12th, 2006, 11:57 AM
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I would go to Grand Cayman.

Our family of 5 went in May.We stayed at a beachfront condo.We did meet a couple that was staying at the Ritz and it is very nice.We had a few drinks in the bar.

Grand Cayman also has some excellent dining options.The Wharf,Pappagallos and Deckers to name a few.

If you chose GC definitely go to Stingray City it was the highlight of our trip.We used Captain Marvins.

If you like to snorkel..GC is a excellent choice.Some of our favorite spots are Eden Rock,Smith's Cove, and Rum Point for a few drinks in hammocks.

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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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Not a bad flight to Cayman or Provo. on an early morning Wed. Chicago to GCI or PLS either through ATL (Delta) or MIA (AA) will at least theoretically get you on the beach in time to enjoy some late afternoon sunshine. Good dining options both places. Grace Bay Club was beautiful years ago, it has been awhile since I have stayed on Provo. (We go on to Meridian Club- rustic luxury, no dining options sensational beach.)My Cayman experiences predate the Ritz though if you like that flavor in the Caribbean, I've heard that it's a beautiful resort on a better section of beach. Unfortunately, the additional hop needed to get to Tortola and on to Peter Island could make for a long day of travel as others have noted. Parrot Cay sounds sensational if the atmosphere is as you expect...
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 01:13 PM
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Hi Jill,
I live in MN, so understand about the traveling. The problem with the Bahama's is that it's cold at night in Feb and it isn't a great getaway anyway. GC is easy to get to from Chicago and it's more elegant and upscale. The beaches are nice and the food is spectacular. The Ritz has a nice beachfront location and is located within walking distance of other hotels and restaurants.
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 06:59 PM
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Check out Cayman Air for direct flights from Chicago to Grand Cayman. We fly direct from Minneapolis every winter to Grand Cayman and arrive around 1:00 PM, and leave around 3:30 PM. It's wonderful!!!
Old Jul 14th, 2006, 03:34 AM
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i've been to all of your choices, and with an infant I would pick Turks and Caicos. You can't beat that gorgeous beach with little kids. Blinding turqouise waters, nice shallow areas. Yet Turks is still quiet enough that you get your relaxation. It is a consistantly dry island, (the driest in Caribbean) so odds of sunny days are increased. Nice big planes for connections with infants too. (Tortola and Bahamas use "puddle jumpers", not as convienient as your other choices.)
There is only a few degrees difference in temperatures of the places you picked, so that shouldn't be a factor in choices either. Of your choices, Turks has the best restaurants. Also great boat excursions that infants love!
One more plus for Turks: Almost all the resorts are condo units, you you have kitchens with refridgerators, microwaves, etc. Great for feeding a hungry infant all day.
I think with an infant, Parrot Cay is a little isolated, plus no choices in getting around and eating at restaurants. (and not luxury condos, so no fridge, etc.)
One and Only Resort is gorgeous, but the beach is nicer in Turks. Grace Bay CLub is beautiful, but I like Somerset better. I have not stayed at Ritz in Caymans, but stayed at other resorts there. I feel Turks has more of what you're looking for. I have not stayed at Biras Creek, but also recommend Little Dix Bay over it. Virgin Gorda is a gorgeous place, but you'll loose time getting there. You must fly to either Tortola and ferry over, same with Peter Island. Peter Island Resort owns the whole island, so once again, not many options with infants. No tv's in rooms, (this may not affect you, but it helps with infants) and while the restaurant setting is gorgeous there, I think the food is fine, but not great.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures of Turks rooms, including Grace Bay CLub and Someset.

I would pick the Somerset!

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Old Jul 18th, 2006, 08:47 AM
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My husband and I traveled to T&C from Chicago this past Feb. We left around 6:00 a.m. on Spirit airlines, transferred in Ft. Lauderdale and were on the beach by early afternoon. Although Spirit wasn't the best airline, we loved that we didn't spend the whole day traveling.

This was our first trip to the Caribbean so not sure how it compares to other islands but we thought the water was absolutely gorgeous. We honeymooned in Bora Bora so we had high expectations and we weren't disappointed.

We also really enjoyed the food. We've been spoiled with all of the great restaurants in Chicago and again, we weren't disappointed.

I would highly recommend T&C. We will definately return!
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Old Jul 18th, 2006, 10:59 AM
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I would strike Peter Island from your list if the travel time is an issue. We flew there from the Northeast and we weren't in our room till about 3pm. Don't forget that you'll have to get a ferry to get to the island on top of the flying. We loved Peter Island by the way and I posted a review with pics here.

If you want seclusion, the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman will not give you that. That place is HUGE. And that entire 7-mile beach area is hotel hotel hotel. There's a Ritz review with pics from another Fodorite. If you do a search for TnTwalter, you should be able to find it.

I'll add my vote to T&C even though I haven't been there! We're going at the end of September and staying at Grace Bay Club. We also debated between that resort and Parrot Cay but the option of eating at different restaurants won it for us (we also love great food). Looking forward to that incredible water everyone is talking about.

Good luck.
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 12:58 PM
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My husband and I have stayed at Ocean Club twice for the exact same reason-easy flight from Chicago for a shorter vacation. Very serene feeling place that will make you feel great. Good eating alternatives in the area besides OC and Atlantis. Let me know if you are considering and have any questions.
tamryn is offline  
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