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Jumby, Caneel or Little Dix ?? HELP ! Must leave in 10 days !!

Jumby, Caneel or Little Dix ?? HELP ! Must leave in 10 days !!

Old Jul 16th, 2003, 03:32 PM
  #1  
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Jumby, Caneel or Little Dix ?? HELP ! Must leave in 10 days !!

My wife and I just found five days to get away next week and had picked a couple of luxury resorts, but are confused after reading some of the posts on this site. We have very stressful jobs and time is hard to come by so we had planned to take advantage of it and relieve some stress at a luxury resort and spa somewhere in the Caribbean. We are looking for some place that will fulfill each of our desires listed below. Though I cannot imagine that one individual resort could fulfill all of them (as they probably describe most everyone's fantasy), we are looking to get as close as possible with money not being as important as finding the ideal place.

1. Gorgeous beaches with crystal clear (calm) water. It would be heaven if we had the ability to find some privacy on a beach or secluded area close by, but at a bare minimum it must be un-crowded.
2. A full service spa where we can get various massages and treatments (on the beach?), with a Whirlpool and Sauna.
3. At least a few great restaurants to enjoy each night.
4. Don't plan to do much but relax and spa to relieve some stress but, if we become bored, at least a few enjoyable activities as we love to snorkel, horseback ride, take a short sail or cruise, and fish.
5. Doesn't need to be much of a night life, but there must be something to do such as music (reggae band?), etc. Obviously the above desires would seem to conflict with any resort that might feature a casino, but my wife and I love to gamble, and would not mind if one just happened to exist nearby.
6. Of course, the room must be worthy of luxury resort status, romantic and on a beach with a nice view. The resort must feature great service ideally available from the beach. I would appreciate any feedback from those who have had an experience that might come close to what we are looking for.

**These posts have been very educational and as a result, our original resort choices have been tossed as they do not appear to live up to their advertising. One thing I do notice about our new choices (minus Cap Juluca which is unavailable on such short notice) - Jumby Bay, Caneel Bay & Little Dix, is that they are all run by Rosewood. Are these people that good or Am I looking at the wrong places as the result of a popularity contest.
At the moment, I am leaning to them in the order listed above, but I must make a decision within a day or so as our travel window begins Jul 26. Any Suggestions ??
sunsets is offline  
Old Jul 16th, 2003, 05:23 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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How about Isle De France in St. Barths,
it may be booked as well, but there are other wonderful hotels on St. Barths, Eden Rock would be another wonderful choice, I had a couple of massages there last winter, wonderful, outside overlooking St. Jean Bay. check sbhonline.com lots of information there or try http://www.st-barths.com/homeeng.html
DianeL is offline  
Old Jul 16th, 2003, 06:08 PM
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I'll address Jumby Bay and Caneel Bay.
First, though, Rosewood is among the world's leading resort managament companies. Your selections are not an entirely unusual coincidence. (The best Rosewood Resort I've been to, BTW is Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Cabo San Lucas. A couple times voted top resort in North America by readers of Conde Nast. Rosewood has its act together.
And on that same note, Rosewood only took over Jumby Bay last fall, so hard to know if they've completely activated their strategy for optimizing management there).

Jumby Bay:
If Anguilla's and Turks & Caicos' beaches are 10's on a scale of 10, I'd rate Jumby's beaches an 8.5 out of 10. Calm water, pretty blue, but not quite as clear as Anguilla, etc. Sand is tan and soft, not quite as powdery as the above 10's. Very quiet and there are some virtually deserted beaches away from the resort which can be used, with palapas and hammocks.

Jumby is the least attractive of the three resorts with respect to grounds and island scenery. Jumby is very arid, gets very little rain (a lot less than Antigua right next door) and it's not green. Caneel doesn't have manicured lush lawns either, but overall it's prettier due to heavier vegetation/flowerings.

The best rooms are the Courtyard Suites with the indoor and outdoor baths. These rooms are much nicer than what's available at either Caneel or LDB. Very nice furniture, linens, mattresses, pillows, etc. All three resorts offer the ultimate in peace/quiet/privacy. No advantage of one over the other in that regard.

Didn't use the spa services. They offer massage services, don't know if beach massages can be arranged (but this is a very small resort with an 'aim to please' attitude, so I wouldn't be surprised if they'd accommodate). They may have a sauna, but I would call the Rosewood 800# to check if it's important to you. They may not have sauna/whirlpool.
No real choice of restaurants on the island. Estate House dinners are nice, elegant and beach restaurant is casual. However, the island of Antigua is 2 miles away and the resort offers free boat service back and forth. I know nothing about Antigua except that casinos are there along with shopping.

Resort offers chartered fishing, sail, snorkel trips etc. These are at additional cost.

For nightlife you'd have to go to Antigua.

Caneel Bay:
Beaches are 10 out of 10. Doesn't get any better than this.

Caneel offers more complete massage services I believe, but again, I've not heard of beach massages there. Don't have any reason to believe they wouldn't do this, since they offer in room massages. Also, again, not sure they have sauna/whirlpool (not often seen in the Caribbean in my experience).

Caneel only has two actual restaurants, but Cruz Bay is a short trip and offers several fun options. This is an advantage Caneel has over both JB and LDB (proximity to a town).

Plenty of activities available at and through Caneel as you specified.

Caneel's only real downside for me is that I'm not impressed with the rooms (given the price range I expect more). Otherwise it's a well run, mature resort with great beaches, extremely peaceful, with lots of other positives elsewhere on the island.

Good luck with your decision.
rwilliams is offline  
Old Jul 16th, 2003, 09:10 PM
  #4  
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rwilliams - Thank you for taking the time to pass along your experiences and impressions of the resorts I am considering. It really does help in making a decision, as every picture you see on a resort?s webpage or in their brochure appears perfect which, of course, is their intention but usually leads to disappointment when you arrive. You provided a great deal of information and as I am not the world?s fastest typist, I know how much time was put into providing me with your honest opinions (and typing it all!).

There is so much information available on this site that, as I have noticed from other newcomer?s postings, it becomes confusing to the point where you change your mind every hour. I think I am beginning to realize that the key is to use this information to avoid those resorts which are simply not your style or what you are anticipating, and then relaxing with the confidence that any choice you make between those resorts meeting your most important criteria will provide you with a wonderful memories - as long as you make it a vacation.

One thing - during my research I came across another resort, Cuisinart on Anguilla, and have noticed that while Jumby, Caneel and LDB have received ratings anywhere from zero to ten from other travelers, Cuisinart has enjoyed generally favorable reviews without those occasional nightmare stories that you see with the others.

** Before anyone comments on how naïve I am -- I certainly realize that the number of reviews, volume of guests and number of years in business are all so lopsided against Cuisinart that a comparison may be meaningless, but do you have any opinion on this property either by personal experience or word of mouth ?

Once again, thank you for your time and feedback ? I will certainly do my part by reporting on my trip when I return.
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 08:01 AM
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FYI - This month's Caribbean Travel and Life has a great article on Jumby Bay, sure makes me want to go. I have not been to any of these three resorts but only Jumby is on my wish list -- to me, Caneel Bay's rooms seem too mediocre for the price and there have been lots of negative postings lately, Little Dix sounds nice but I hear too many kids in the summer, they are really geared toward families. I'd pick Jumby for what you are looking for.
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 08:44 AM
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Hi sunsets. What a fabulous dilemma you have right now!

My two picks would be Malliouhana in Anguilla (just added a glorious looking new spa)or Paraiso de la Bonita on the Mexican Mayan Riviera (a relatively new very upscale Intercontinental resort with an emphasis on luxury, beach , and spa . . . http://www.paraiso-bonita.interconti.../photo_01.html).

I have been to Malli and loved it. A very different feel from Cap (where I went for my honeymoon) but just as wonderful in a different way. Service is a notch better than Cap based on my experience. Meads Bay is calm and gorgeous, never crowded. Very much enjoyed the jacuzzi suite. The food is exceptional. The conch chowder at the main restaurant is worthy of shipping home! One night we ate dinner and watched the sting rays gliding near the rocks with the lights of the restaurant illuminating them in the crystal clear water. I do believe the new spa offers beach services, but not sure. They do offer spa privacy suites that you can reserve (for a fee) for the duration of the day or half day. You can bask on the terrace of your suite, have lunch delivered to you, take a nice soak, etc. I want to go back now that the spa is open. Plus, as I'm sure you know, there are several first class dining options on Anguilla.

I have not yet been to Paraiso, but I have only read the most positive of reviews. My co-worker went there recently and she raves about it . . . and she is definitely a high maintenance traveller with high expectations at all times. I think they are offered on luxurylink.com right now. We've made several luxurylink transactions and have been 110% satisfied with their service. The rooms look gorgeous at Paraiso.

I helped to arrange my best friend's honeymoon and picked Cuisinart. They absolutely loved it, but one thing they didn't like was how windy/rough their beach was at various times. Cuisinart was built on a fairly exposed section of Rendezvous Bay beach. They thought the food at the restaurants was top notch and were thoroughly impressed by the service. They both took advantage of the spa services (some of the bridal party chipped in on a spa gift certificate that the newlyweds received when they checked in) and were very pleased with their choices. Personally though, I am not all that jazzed about the rooms there. While nice and they have large bathrooms, they are nothing all that special and the overall design scheme does not appeal to me.

My parents were at Caneel last year and said they would not go back. Service was abysmal (everything was a struggle whether it was getting enough towels, replacing a bulb, etc - should not be the case at these prices), the food is o.k., the rooms are dull, and there are A LOT of youngins running around. However, for picture perfect secluded beaches it can't be beat.

Hope this info. helps! Good luck with making your choice.
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 09:16 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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I have been to both Caneel and Cuisinart and would recommend Caneel over Cuisinart. I spent 8 days in Caneel in April, which was my second trip to the resort.

The island of Anguilla is a great island, and I would definitely return, but I would stay at Cap Jaluca next time (it was booked during our last trip, which was a short notice depature similar to your current situation). Cuisinart was nice, but overall, I do not think it measures up to Caneel. The rooms have a very Florida Condo feel to them. The beach was beautiful but very windy, and there is basically no snorkeling right off of the beach.

I would agree with other posters that the one negative I would mention for Caneel is that the rooms are not as luxurious as one would expect for the price. They are more "rustic elegance". However, in my opinion, the point of St. John is to enjoy the beautiful beaches and water.

My wife and I have had massages at Caneel that were very good, but the spa at Caneel is not really a luxury spa either.

Also, at Caneel, if you are into relaxation I would suggest that you stay on Scott Beach. Caneel added a small bar for drink service last year on Scott Beach, so you can get cocktails right on the beach. The other beaches do not have beach bars, but service that is provided from a cart that periodically circles the property, so you can't really count on frequent service.

Also, from the rooms on Scott Beach, the sand will only be a dozen steps from your patio door.

We have also stayed in Cottage 7 at Caneel, and that is a great accomodation, with some of the rooms offering balconies with panoramic views. It is just steps from Scott Beach as well.

Overall it sounds like you are looking for the type of beach trip that my wife and I like, which is total relaxation, and we have not been dissapointed by Caneel Bay.

Hope that helps, and have a great trip.
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 09:17 AM
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Dear Sunsets,

After reading your post I thought I would offer you some of my experiences - as I often have looked for some of the same qualities as you are on a holiday away from the stress of our jobs. My husband and I have travelled to a few of the finest properties - consisting of Jumby Bay, Caneel Bay, K Club Barbuda, 4 seasons Nevis, parrot Cay - Turks and Caico's, St Barts - Isle de france, Sandy Lane Barbados, Ocean Club - Bahamas. I have enjoyed each of these wonderful resorts - for their various special qualites. We just returned for the second time from Sandy Lane in Barbados and I would have to say that might be a consideration for you - the rooms are wonderful - book a luxury Ocean room - wonderful views - they have every luxury you would expect from a 5 star property - you will not be disappointed, wonderful state of the art spa, excellent resaurants in the area - including a great one on site - the beach is wonderful but not secluded - you will be there with other guests - and there are families and some children - which was great for us as we now travel with my baby - but this is truly one of the finest properties all around in the caribbean - perfect for 5 days - I also think you would love St Barts - that is a wonderful island with fabulous restaurants we stayed at Isle de france and it is a very small, intimate beautiful special place - no spa as far as I know - more relaxing at the beach and thinking where you will have dinner that night. 4 seaons Nevis is a wonderful resort - again more of a resort with families then an intimate romantic hideway but a wonderful spa, beautiful rooms, excellent service - It would be best to decide if you want more of a resort with things to do - or a secluded hide away - any of these places you decide on will be wonderful and a welcome break from work. Another beautiful property - Outstanding beach is the K club in Barbuda - very private and romantic - but this is a place that you will stay just there - no spa, no resaurants - but wonderful food - very special place if you just want to lie on one of the best beaches I have ever seen - the space is owned by an Italian designer - so the cottages are european in design very nice - incredible views- right on the beach. Parrot Cay is another option for you - you should only go here if you can get a beachfron suite - the rooms are nice but not what you looking for - the beachfront suites are right on the beach with small plunge pools - place has a wonderful spa. Caneel Bay is nicer I think for a family - you will not be thrilled with the rooms - I have never been to Little Dix Bay - I would love to go and stay in one of their new villas they sound beautiful and thier new spa I am sure is wonderful. I loved Jumby Bay when we were there several years ago - beautiful beaches, very relaxing - no spa, no choice of restaurants but I look forward to a return visit to one of my favorite places - also and all inclusive which to me is also nice as long as the qulaity of the food is very good. It is always a diffult decesion with all these chioces but I think your best bet is to follow your instincts on what will be the most relaxing for you and your wife - the most direct flts is always the best for 5 days - more time you will have to relax. I wish you a waonderful holiday - let us know where you decide.
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 10:18 AM
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Isle De France recently opened a wonderful spa. Would love to hear more about K-club, how were the rooms, bathrooms, service etc. I would love to go there, but am having a hard time finding recent reviews on the property. Would appreciate any info you could share. Thanks, Diane
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 11:25 AM
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Dear Diane,

We were at the K-club about 7 years ago - so please know my experience is not recent - but we found it to be one of the most relaxing beach resorts on the most magnificnant white sand blue water beach - this is truly a place to relax and do nothing - you are picked by in Anguilla airport in their private jet and taken to your beachfront cottage - the cottages are right on the beach - the furnishings are sparse but upscale in a minimum way - the bathrooms are very nice - but you need to understand one thing the entire property focuses on the beach and the view - as you open the shutters to you cottage you are overwhelmed by the beautiful white sand and blue waters - the food was very fresh and outstanding while we were there - again many years ago - there are not many guests at a time so you get to know the people there - if you want to - this is truly a place to go to do nothing on a beautiful beach - we were there for about 4 nights and that was perfect for us - the island is very arid, dry and flat not the type of Island you would enjoy exploring. Maybe it is more developed now? Hope that this helps.
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 08:10 PM
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Will weigh in after only skimming some of the responses. You have chosen great resorts each for their own positives. First eliminate CuisinArt as a competitor imo. You want to put Cap Juluca or Mallihouana in the mix but not CuisinArt although their spa services are excellent. All that I read about Jumby, not having been since Rosewood took over, is that it is delightful. Spruced up and done just right but if you want to venture out and explore, you can do Antigua but if you choose to stay put it is fabulous. The absolute clear water is fantastic and the island is a dream. Certainly not crowded beaches but really unsure of the spa services offered. Check with Rosewood. The all-inclusive won't give you option of different great restaurants but there are several on nearby Antigua. Definately luxury rooms with amenities and beach service. Caneel is the premier in the USVI but doesn't compete with Jumby. The attraction there is the 7 beaches on property. Three restaurants but in summer usually only two open a nite and the Caneel Terrace meals are all buffet- sumptious buffet but still buffet. Turtle Bay Estae House is lovely but not open every nite but not a problem if you don't mind going off property. Have not heard much about the spa services there but the water activities and the options of day sailing to nearby islands is a plus. Snorkeling is great compared to that at Jumby. Bear in mind that you'll pay a whole lot more at Jumby and get a whole lot more in terms of luxury surrounds and accomodations. Little Dix is very popular for a family destination now. Not sure what the impact is on the property especially in the summer. Smaller and more intimate than Caneel, a delightful spot but I've avoided returning because of the kid factor. I would probably head to Peter Island or Biras Creek if my choice were the BVI.
Beach service at Caneel is spotty with staff making the rounds of the beaches occasionally. The advantage of Caneel is the proximity to Cruz Bay and the eaze of dining off the property and seeking a bit of nitelife in town - not as easily done at Jumby or Little Dix.
I know that many disagree and put CuisinArt up with the other top notch resorts but it feel short of the comfort and luxury that I expected (but then, it was considerably less expensive). It doesn't have the same ambience that the others do whether it be the beachchairs lined up in nice neat rows in front of the property, and it does get windy - that's why the dining is not offered on the beach or waterside. The rooms lacked some comfort and had a more sterile feel and I found that the food options were not equal to the fine dining offered elsewhere on the island. For dining out, I would definitely choose Cap or Malli on Anguilla. The advantage of Cap is that every room is on the beach. My second choice would be Jumby. There are other spots that I would choose before returning to Caneel or Little Dix but availability might be an issue.
Happy choosing!
KaribIslander is offline  
Old Jul 17th, 2003, 10:06 PM
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First I would like to thank everyone for his or her honest impressions and "insider" information as it has been a great help and certainly one of the most influential resources I have used while attempting to make my decision. At first all this information seems quite confusing until, as I stated in my post above, you begin to get a true feeling for what categories each resort belongs in as far as it's offerings and how they may, or may not, match your desires. I have seen many posts that state, and I agree, that once you get to the point where you have a few solid resorts left to choose from, you can relax and be confident as you will be happy with any one of them.

OK, now that I've said all this, blah... blah... blah... I am no closer to making my decision than I was three days ago !!

Only kidding ! Only kidding !!

KaribIslander, I seem to be leaning in exactly the direction you detailed above. I've already checked into Cap Juluca and there is nothing available for our dates of travel, which is why it has not been mentioned. Although I would not go so far as to completely rule out Cuisinart, at least until I have to book everything tomorrow, I too don't know about the "white-on-white-on-white" décor and what looks to be a lot of open spaces. Kinda weird architecture, décor and layout for the Caribbean, almost like a "Davinci meets Logan's Run" sort of thing !!

There's just something about Jumby Bay that when I look at the pictures of its beaches/scenery/etc., it makes me want to be there! Can you (and anyone else of course) provide any more specific details about Jumby in the way of room choice, best room # & location, any requests or inquiries I should make in advance, things not to miss (as well as things to avoid), things we need to bring, bugs, and basically any other tips you can think of. The courtyard suite is available, which is my intention, and I would be very appreciative if you shared your opinion about this being the way to go and MOST importantly on which room to request as they appear to be in two different locations. We would truly like some privacy as both of us have dreamed of #@%$&* on a gorgeous beach, but our travel always seems to be during high season or at a more congested resort. Any info would be great !!! Thanks !!!
sunsets is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2003, 06:57 AM
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As for rooms, there are only a few courtyard suites and they're all pretty close together.
There is not really one room which stands out as better than the others IMO as they're so similar and proximate to each other.
Bugs aren't really an issue, and there's bug spray provided if you want it.

The beaches away from the rooms (Hawksnest Beach among them) are very private but I'd stick to dusk and later hours for your personal pursuits. The island is extremely quiet at night and you'll have no problem finding places to escape to with nobody around. Beware, though, that the turtles which nest on the beach do their running at night and there's a group of zoologists and other interested folk that form night parties to track the turtles on the beach. Usually they don't go out until about 11 PM from what I heard. Be sure to factor that into any plans you have!

Check the spa details before you sign up your wife for this trip, too.
rwilliams is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2003, 07:24 AM
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OMG. Rwilliams, you have me laughing out loud here. I have this unfortunate ability to visualize just about everything and I have this crazy beach scene in my head with scurrying turtles and zoologists running to and fro and then poor sunsets and spouse being run over by the activity. Now see, you have to win the award for offering the most useful advice on the board today!
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Old Jul 18th, 2003, 07:40 AM
  #15  
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Snohflake - rwilliams has me doing the same trying to visualize this. PLEASE don't ruin it for me, as now this post & scenario will CERTAINLY be running through my head next week. rwilliams - You must be pretty adventurous since I wasn't remotely thinking of *&%@#@ in broad daylight. Believe me, I didn't need the "dusk" warning, but the turtle thing along with the vast number of starfish I saw someone else post will surely have me on the lookout. As you mention there is no real bug problem, can I get a hold of anything that will keep the turtles and starfish away ??
Forget the spa - I'm going to start my search for a therapist down there instead !!
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Old Jul 18th, 2003, 07:57 AM
  #16  
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Also - SNOHFLAKE

Thanks alot!! I just started up a sweat because I think I might be undecided ..again!! You see, I never truly studied Malliouhana, partly because at that point I just wanted the searching to finally end so I could get some sleep!! Now that I gave it the once over, it certainly has my attention. A 15,000sq ft facility along with what I hear is the best dining around.....here we go again.

Tell me snohflake - is there a turtle/starfish problem or the likes over there as well?? Really though, not so much for %$##@*& (as rwilliams has probably killed that idea anyway), but for the privacy we are looking for - is Malliouhana comparable in this respect?

OK - somebody PLEASE tell me which one to pick. Seriously though, I'd like to hear how they compare to each other as I really do need to book this tonight sometime. Thanks for your help again!!
sunsets is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2003, 08:17 AM
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Sunsets,
Why on earth would turtles or starfish be a "problem"? I'm a little confused. They are harmless, the turtles will actively try to avoid you and the starfish just lay there on the ocean bottom. There is sealife in the ocean, don't let someone's mention of turtles or starfish run you off of a resort.
SillyGirl is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2003, 08:27 AM
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Hey sunsets. If you look at the web site for Mali, you can see that it is up on a bluff, and then the beach is down the side to the right of the main buildings (if you are looking at it from the ocean). The beach there is Meads Bay and is absolutely beautiful. While it is not enclosed like the one at Cap Juluca, it is a very quiet beach. There is a small upscale hotel a fair bit down from Mali (Frangipani, only 23 units) and then a self catering facility a little past that (Carimar). But particularly this time of year, you will not see more than a handful of folks on the beach. Very peaceful and the water at Meads is like glass. Gorgeous. Plus, the high end rooms like the jacuzzi suite have VERY private terraces overlooking the water. Nobody can see you. So you can have your open air exploits and not worry about the turtle traffic ;-)

The sommelier at Mali, Albert Lake, is terrific. He was actually one of the sommeliers featured at one of the annual Wine Spectator events that we attended in NYC. I've heard that some folks who go to Mali for dinner but who aren't guests get a different level of service, but when we stayed at Cap and ate at Mali we were treated like royalty. We even ate there one time with my parents and my father is not a gourmet type of eater. They accomodated him without fuss. Plus you can take a quick trip off the property and go to such wonderful spots as Straw Hat or Olivers.

And now that they have the spa I'm cajoling my hubby into a quick getaway sometime late fall before Christmas.
snohflake is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2003, 08:29 AM
  #19  
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SillyGirl, we are just joking about after seeing an image of a situation that, hypothetically, would be rather amusing. Read back up the threads and you'll see what I mean. I am in no way bothered by any form of life or nature, marine, wild, insect or otherwise.

Now, if they joined forces along with the zoologists...... Hmm, well then I'd think twice. Just playing around Sillygirl - Really though, read back & you'll see what we are talking about.
sunsets is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2003, 08:32 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Another thing to mention, my husband and I had a boat take us to a spot called honeymoon beach and they dropped us off there for the sunset. It's a pretty little beach alcove and it's as private as can be. We hired a boat called No Fear. If I remember correctly, it was very reasonable in terms of the cost. It was so romantic. Here is a link to the folks that operate No Fear:

http://www.offshoresunsations.com/of...tions/home.cfm
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