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Honeymoon destination: Peter Island vs Out Islands

Honeymoon destination: Peter Island vs Out Islands

Feb 27th, 2009, 09:08 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 7
Honeymoon destination: Peter Island vs Out Islands

Hello all,
My fiance and I (in our late 20's early 30's) are planning to honeymoon in the Caribbean in mid-July ... and I've been trying to find the perfect island experience for the occasion. Relative quiet and seclusion with some time alone on a secluded beach, enough daytime activities to keep us busy when we'd like to be more active, and decent food... all while trying to stick to our budget. The places that have really impressed us are the Stella Maris Resort on Long Island (the island and its beaches looks beautiful and there seems to be just enough to do to keep us occupied once we tire of being lazy) and Peter Island. I've seen some mixed reviews (on trip advisor) of Peter Island, most of which focus on the fact that its not a true 5 star resort ... that doesn't bother us as we'll be paying off-season/discounted prices and neither of us are the 5 star resort types (we've both traveled through areas of the developing world... so our expectations are grounded). But we are a bit concerned with the reports of boaters coming ashore with loads of poorly behaved kids ... she's a teacher and I don't think she'll appreciate that on our 'getaway' honeymoon. Anyone know whether that is likely to be a problem in July (given its the low season)? Any other thoughts on the differences I should consider in comparing LI vs PI (aside from higher cost at PI which may be worth it versus having more $$ to rent a car and take boat trips and various excursions at LI)?? I've looked at plenty of other resorts/hotels in the out islands and BVI but either for budgetary reasons (e.g., Guana island, Biras Creek) or property quirks that were deal breakers, or lack of seclusion or limited island based activities... these are really the two I'm looking at (though i'd reconsider if i managed to overlook something very good).
I appreciate any input.
Many thanks,
kitkat21 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2009, 02:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

Wow! You could hardly have chosen more different honeymoon destinations to narrow your choices to.... Here's some random thoughts.

First of all, Peter Island is lovely, but my impression (as one of those apparently unwelcome people who have visited by yacht, but with no kids) is that it's a tad stuffy. Dress code for dinner, the same people around you all week, etc. It's very pretty with some very nice beaches, but it's a small island with limited choices for entertainment. That may be all you need for a honeymoon. In July, albeit low season, you will find that's when families with an island bug travel (though perhaps less so this year) -- I was stunned a couple of years ago how absolutely mobbed the Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman was with kids.

The Out Islands, however, will have a different dynamic, because hardly anyone goes there ... at any time of year. I've not been to Long Island yet (though had a trip booked for last year to Cape Santa Maria that was cancelled by Hurricane Paloma), but my experience of many other Out Islands (Eleuthera, Abacos, Cat) is that they are secluded almost all year round with a slight blip in June when schools let out. Since the Out Island resorts (which are for the most part tiny) are not limited to a private island, you have lots more opportunity to explore after you get tired of sitting on the beach, though there's not all that much to see (with the exception, perhaps, of the Abacos, which offer a tad more). After a half dozen trips to the BVI, and many more to the Out Islands, however, my bias is for the Out Islands.

One more thought ... one that occurs to me because I had to cancel my own trip to Long Island last year ... consider Nevis (which is where I ended up instead). What an utterly stunning, romantic and charming island. And the plantation hotels are very private and lovely. We stayed at Nisbet Plantation, which is the only one on the beach, but also visited Golden Rock. I'd stay at either again in a heartbeat, and the rates in July might be just the ticket for you, especially since they often include meals.

In July, be sure to consider trip insurance very seriously -- it's not the peak of hurricane season, but it's hurricane season nonetheless.

Good luck planning, and don't give too much weight to disgruntled reviewers on Trip Advisor. Both of your choices are good ones, so follow your gut. Remember, it's just the first adventure of what will hopefully be a long life together. If the first one isn't perfect (mine wasn't!), you can try, try and try again.
Callaloo is offline  
Feb 28th, 2009, 03:27 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,713
My thoughts are similar to Callaloos:

Peter Island has stunning views. quite frankly though, it has 2 beaches. The main one Deadman's Curve, can actually get crowded. It's a stunning beach, with views and palm trees, and sometimes they have steel drumb bands playing on the beach. I have not found it overrun with kids, and it's long enough to escape the main parts. The beach does allow daytrippers, not just from other sailboats, but from their ferry from Tortola too. There is more to do overall in the form of day trip island hopping and snorkeling. The food to me is good, not great, and fairly expensive. The other beach is secluded, but someone has to take you to it and then pick you up. This beach is way down below the hill, so if you get antzy, you're pretty much at someone else's mercy. It is a gorgeous island, and the views of other Virgin islands are stunning. Peter Island is its own private island, so your choices are based on everything from the resort. My husband loves PI, I love the next paragraph island better:

Along the same lines, but maybe a little better experience for what you are looking for, you may want to consider Virgin Gorda. It's quite stunning. You have the Baths to explore which are cool. The Savannah Bay is one of the prettiest beaches in the archipelago, and you'll have it pretty much to yourself. Same options to explore by island hopping and snorkeling, yet more beaches, and cool little bars to hang out on. I feel it has more of what you are looking for. You should check out Little Dix Bay. The overall scenery in VI is breathtaking.

Out Islands,I just love them. There is not much to do though. I too, have not been to Long yet, but I've hopped all over the Abacos, Exumas, Harbour Island and Eleuthera. They are completely different from the Virgin Islands. They are definately quieter, and the places to stay a little more rustic. The scenery is just okay, but the beaches are, in my opinion, superior to Virgin Islands. They appear more like Corona commercials to give you an idea, only better. The sand is bright white, the water clear turquoise. It's harder to explore, some groupings require boats to get around, some require cars with long distances. For a honeymoon, you may want to consider Harbour Island. I think it's a good intro to the Out Islands. Small and quaint, you get around on a golf cart. The town is gorgeous, colorful buildings with white picket fences draped in flowers. Pink Sands Beach is gorgeous. The island is very chic, the resorts are very nice. You can check out Coral Sands Resort, or if you don't mind not being on the beach (but rent a golf cart or can walk to it) on the marina is Valentines. You can also daytrip to Eleuthera , where you will have miles of beach all to yourself. Also check out Window Bridge, one side is calm like glass, the other with crashing waves, all divided by a 1 lane road.

As Callaloo said, you can always keep exploring other places in the future!
blamona is offline  
Feb 28th, 2009, 02:50 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,765
you might consider cape santa maria beach resort on long island. they are basically neighbors. i have friends who have been to both and i think they preferred csmbr to stella maris.
have you looked at: http://www.sandcastle-bvi.com/sandcastlehotel/ on jost van dyke?
virginia is offline  
Feb 28th, 2009, 05:47 PM
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Congrats on your upcoming wedding!

One of my good friends went to Peter Island for her honeymoon almost 4 years ago & thought it was fabulous. She's into good food & wine, and was impressed with the choices at PI.

Have you looked at Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda, which is a Rosewood resort? They're running some great summer packages right now that have reduced rates & include breakfast. You could do a combination package with Caneel Bay on St. John, where we went in 2007 and loved it (Caneel has 7 beaches on property in a national park setting so you won't have to worry about sharing the beach w/that many people, particularly in July). I think that combo & the Virgin Islands would be perfect for a honeymoon!

We went on our honeymoon in 2005 to Turks & Caicos. It was great but in my opinion St. John was much better for what we liked (lushness).
mah1980 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2009, 05:50 PM
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I just saw that you counted out Guana Island & Biras Creek due to budgetary constraints. Take a look at luxurylink.com as packages for both properties come up quite often (go to destinations-then caribbean-then travel packages) which may put both w/in reach for you.
mah1980 is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 07:07 AM
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Hi.. Congrats on your upcoming wedding! I got married on Peter Island a few years ago and we were in our 20's as well. We stayed on the island for a few days prior to the wedding by ourselves got married and then went off on a private yacht for the honeymoon. We didn't have a problem with little kids at the resort at all however, I was ready to move on after the wedding and we had only stayed there 3 nights. There is only 1 fine dining restaurant (which was great) and 2 different beaches. In my opinion 7 nights would be a long time to spend there. It was the 2nd time we had been to Peter Island and we selected it for our wedding since it was so beautiful and we fell in love with it when we arrived on a private charter. I have been all over the bvi's and anquilla/st. martin if you need any help. best..
theartfultable is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 04:26 PM
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Both Biras and Guana are worth reconsidering, IMO.
Liesl is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 09:34 PM
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Thanks for all the well wishes and the good range of advice. So i asked my better half to help deal with the philosophical fork in the road (out islands vs BVI) ... and she definitely prefers to go the BVI route, which suits me fine (as i've been advised, happy wife = happy life and we both like to hike for which the BVI seem more amenable.

BTW, thanks for the heads up on luxury link. Their Biras package squeezes into our budget for this trip and their ocean suites look nice. Guana still doesn't quite fit unfortunately.

So, I'm now left wondering PI vs Biras. I've read previous posts and scuba mom's web page (which is great!) ... and i'd prefer Biras if all things were equal ... but it'll cost about ~800 more to go to Biras... and i'm not sure i get the sense that it's that much better. I feel that the Biras accomodations (ocean suite vs ocean view room at PI) and greater privacy are its main advantages, with food and beaches being a near wash, while the activities modestly win out at PI. I realize i'm splitting hairs (and we'll be thrilled at either), but any more input?
Thanks again,
kitkat21 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 08:07 AM
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Have a great time wherever you go.
StanKase is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 01:25 PM
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On PI vs. Biras, I would lean the opposite of StanKase, but it depends on waht you are looking for. We have been to both in June over the last two years. Very few kids at either place so that's not a worry. The beaches are much longer at PI, and overall it has a slightly more luxurious feel, particularly the pool area and relatively new spa which is great. If the spa is important , go to PI. Overall PI had more of a resort feel for us. For example, we found the main PI beach felt crowded, particularly one day when there was some sort of group day trip doing a scavenger hunt. The Biras beach while small was never that way. Biras is more intimate and the service is more personal. It is also smaller and has only modest night life. You can fairly easily go out for more action - but we liked the quiet romantic nights. During the days we loved being able to explore the whole North Sound with the Boston Whalers - a lot of empty beaches and other resorts and beach bars you can visit. We thought there was no comparison on the food with Biras being a clear winner. That was important to us. Biras accomodations are also more private and the outdoor showers great. If you go to Biras, take the outing to Anegada (the Cow Wreck Bar) - one of the best beaches you will ever find. Both will be great, Scuba Mom is very accurate so you have to choose what appeals to you.
AtlDad is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 04:37 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 528
Hi KitKat21,
Funny you mentioned Stella Maris as an original option. We just returned from Long Island a few hours ago! (to SNOW in Phila-yuck!) Anyway, Iíll be posting our trip report soon-we had a great time! Weíve also been to Virgin Gorda. Havenít been to PI yet though. As other posters said, VG and LI are as different as they come island terrain wise. Although I loved LI, I think I would recommend VG if youíre new to the islands. VG is pretty remote, but pales in remoteness to LI (think deserted island). Youíll definitely see more people in VG, and there are plenty more places to eat. Itís also much smaller than LI so you can see the whole island in a day easily. Definitely check out the baths-and do go early-all the day trippers show up by 10am and it starts getting crowded. Try to get there by 8am if you can. Leverick Bay has a great beach BBQ. You can also take the ferry over to Bitter End Yacht Club. Let me know if you want to see pics. Enjoy!
kellybeaches is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 09:20 PM
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Thanks kellybeaches,
I would love to see pics once you dig yourselves out from the snow. I'm in pittsburgh and its ice cold but no snow. At least you got out of the cold for a while.

I think we've definitely decided to go to the BVI (though i would have loved the remoteness and beauty of LI and its beaches... alas, another time). Its become a BC vs PI decision which i guess is really just a matter of taste ... but i think we'll love either, so not stressing at this point. Will just give it some time and pick whichever strikes our fancy i suppose.

Thanks again to everyone for the helpful advice!
kitkat21 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 03:05 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
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I would choose Peter over Biras. I have been to both and the beach at Biras is not only a bike ride away, but it is alot less desirable than Deadman's Bay. I don't think Peter is stuffy at all. You can eat dinner at their beachfront restaurant in shorts and a collared shirt. . .
SweeneyBoston is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 05:30 PM
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Just one more word about the food between PI and BC. Neigbors of ours were at Biras about 6-7 weeks ago and we were compring notes to our last visit 2+ years ago. We agreed the dinners were overall outstandibnding but the lunch buffets at the beach were not that good and not the most desirable setting unless all one was having was a hamberberger or hotdog. It seems the breakfast buffets have improved but they still did not sound like the calibre and I do not mean quantity of PI. If you go to Anegada do not expect the quality of the snorkeling to be any better than fair. About 75% of the coral has died due to pollution and global warming.
StanKase is offline  
Mar 4th, 2009, 06:46 PM
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Thanks for the pics kellybeaches, gorgeous sunset and the sky at dusk was amazing ... and of course the beaches were very nice as well. Can't wait to escape for a while ... still months to go Thanks again to all for the helpful advice
kitkat21 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2009, 07:22 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 97
Having the fortunate opportunity to not only honeymoon on Peter Island, but also be a returning guest-I would definitely recommend it. Whether you’re looking to relax and have a secluded stay or enjoy daily activities, you can pretty much get the desired result you seek at PI. From the spa, snorkeling, to daily organized day trips there’s plenty to do.

I have not visited during peak season, which might the reason I have never seen any of the reported issues with day trippers, ironically the most commotion I witnessed was once when an entourage from one of the villas visited the beach. The beach which is normally quiet and tranquil turned a bit chaotic. I’ve only witness day trippers and boaters adhering to the suggested rules of staying on Little Deadman’s beach.

I would not call the atmosphere at all stuffy-you can eat breakfast and lunch in T-shirt, shorts and flip flops, yes the main dining area does require at least a golf shirt and slacks for dinner, but you can eat at the beach grill in golf shirt and shorts instead(off season the restaurants alternate nights). Fortunately, I’ve only had the opportunity to eat lunch off the menu and never a buffet. Dinner however you might see 2-3 buffets during a week stay, but they will most likely be themed buffets, “seafood”, “Caribbean”, etc, and they’re usually quite good. Another important item to note, the dinning staff is quite accommodating and I did see several occasions where they made guests who had specific diet needs-something off the menu on buffets nights.

As far as the comments that PI is not at the level of a five star resort. IMO, that’s based on amenities. Linens and towels are equivalent to a business traveler hotel….that’s being generous. During my last stay, management claimed claim that was on the list for upgrade in the near future. The marina rooms were being renovated a few months back when I last visited-apparently that was well needed. I can say the beach front rooms are nice but it was rumored they were going to get new furniture and refurbishment as well.

Let me know if you have any specific questions; I hope I was not too wordy- I was trying to be descriptive in answering some of your questions.
WaywardSeal is offline  
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