kid friendly, but not cheesy?

Jan 20th, 2007, 04:48 PM
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kid friendly, but not cheesy?

My husband and I are looking for a spot to take our two young girls (4 & 7) in June. We ideally want a resort with a kid's camp or nanny service so that we can steal away to dive and snorkel for a few hours each day. Is there anything other then Beaches that fits the bill? Is Beaches too crazy/cheesy to bear? We had a surprisingly great vacation in Jamaica at the FDR, but I'd love to find another spot, possibly in Turks & Caicos. Thanks!
sklewis is offline  
Jan 20th, 2007, 05:38 PM
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The Buccaneer on St. Croix generally earns kudos for being a nice family friendly resort (with a kids club) that doesn't cater exclusively to families. Check out Buck Island for snorkeling day trips.
ejcrowe is offline  
Jan 20th, 2007, 06:10 PM
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Thanks. I had seen the Buccaneer recommended, I believe, by OutsideFamilyTravel (which gave it points in my book), but I was concerned the snorkelling/diving wouldn't be great. Do you have any thoughts on the Reef Resort in Grand Cayman? I just saw a posting on this that looked intriguing.
sklewis is offline  
Jan 20th, 2007, 07:40 PM
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The Palms is suppose to have a kids camp type program. They play games with them in the pool and beach. They also have a nanny service. I would e-mail them to ask more about it. This is just what others have told me.There is nothing cheesy about the Palms.
turksoldtimer is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 06:53 AM
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I believe that you will find much better diving and snorkeling on Grand Cayman, but I don't know whether Reef Resort has a kids club. They could very likely arrange babysitting for you with advance notice, however.

The manager of the Reef Resort posts here frequently. If you start a post with his resort in the heading he will respond quickly. His user name is TomCayman.
ejcrowe is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 09:41 AM
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Deinitely, The Palms on Turks and Caicos. They have a great kids program, is in a FANTASTIC diving/snorkeling area, amazing beaches, luxury accomodations, and is top flight all the way! I know people who rented there through a villa wholesaler, and they had amazing service from start to finish!
Eye_land_Hopper is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 12:53 PM
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the ocean clubs (ocean club and ocean club west) on provo have a kids club...
cheezy is a matter of opinion...we don't think it is at all...but if you want to see pics of the resort and beaches there you can go to and in the gallery you'll find lots of photos to see for yourself if it fits the cheezy bill...
justlaura is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 01:54 PM
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Just got back from diving and snorkeling on St. Croix... it was wonderful!!! Lots of coral and sea life... we had a great time!

Yes, a lot of the coral in the USVI is being effected by coral bleaching. It was noticable but didn't make our dives any less enjoyable.
TXgalinGA is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 03:04 PM
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Many thanks for these thoughts. I am now focussing on a few places:
--The Buccaneer
--Caneel Bay (which does seems to have a kid's program)
--The Palms
--someplace on Grand Cayman

Which would you recommend given that:
--My instinct tells me I would love the style of Caneel Bay or the Buccaneer. I prefer natural beauty to marble and glitz. I would rather stay in an open-air gazebo (or even a tent) on a beautiful beach or in the middle of a rainforest than in a carpeted suite at a Ritz. We also like the feel of older, understated hotels.
--I'd like a place where I can snorkel every day and where the snorkeling is very convenient from the hotel. I don't want to just arrange a trip or two to a remote reef. At the FDR, I hopped on a small boat each morning and motored out 5 minutes for some decent snorkeling while my husband went diving.
--We loved the ease of all-inclusive meals at FDR. While we certainly don't need AI, an included breakfast buffet would be lovely. We don't need or want fancy/formal dinners every day. Fresh and healthy is important, haute cuisine is not.
--If the kids aren't happy, we won't be either, so a kid-friendly atmosphere is essential. They don't need a video arcade, but do need activities.

Many thanks, again, for your thoughts!
sklewis is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 03:19 PM
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Hi SKLewis--I can't help you on the diving side, BUT I have been to both FDR and the Buc and this year we are going to T &C; I can give you a thumbs up on children being happy at the Buc; my daughter loved the kids' club --very low key, but fun and sensible (they showed a movie after lunch when kids should get out of the sun); we loved St. Croix because there is a great taxi system whereby you are taken and picked up by the same driver and very kid-friendly restaurants.

We picked Ocean Club because there is a kids club and a movie night so we can go out to eat.

Hope this helps,

marymarra is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 04:36 PM
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Hi Mary,

Glad to hear you enjoyed the Buc. How would you compare it to FDR? Did you snorkel at all or know folks who did? We chose FDR because of the nanny situation (my older daughter, at that point, refused to go to kids' camps). And, as I noted, we were surprised by how much we liked it. We were there during the summer, so it may have been less crowded than usual. When are you going to Ocean Club? I assume you've heard good things.
sklewis is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 06:34 PM
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Hi skl, the Buc is more upscale than FDR, but not super upscale--in other words, it is more country club than say a Four Seasons or Ritz. The main bar/restaurant where you have breakfast (included) has a wonderful view and they have family cottages which is a master bedroom connected by a bathroom to a bedroom with two twins which I assume would work for you. We have found that a room setup like that is hard to find in the Caribbean--another reason we liked FDR (and the Buc).

We didn't snorkel but St. Croix is home to Buck Island which is a national park devoted to snorkeling.

Ocean Club gets good reviews here and on tripadvisor--we'll go in March during my daughter's spring vacation (we live in D.C.. It was also relatively inexpensive compared to other places we were looking.

Let me know if you have specific questions about the Buc--several other folks on this board like it there too.


P.S. I know what you mean about FDR and having a good time--their website is SO cheesy, but it turns out to be a great place!
marymarra is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:42 AM
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Just to note that The Reef likely wouldn't suit you if you need "a resort with a kid's camp or nanny service so that we can steal away to dive and snorkel for a few hours each day".

Whilst we do offer kids activities as part of our weekly schedule, and can also readily arrange babysitting, if your need is for that daily, a larger resort with a focussed kids club would likely suit better.

If you are looking for daily diving and snorkelling though, Cayman would be a great choice, but again only the two or three largest resorts would have a kids club.

If you really want that daily escape to dive etc, another idea would be to rent a villa or large condo and bring built in help with you (eg a teen/college age niece/cousin) who, in return for a few hours a day hanging with the kids, would get a free vacation.
TomCayman is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 07:45 AM
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I'll weigh in here (as MaryMarra expected I would to say the Buccaneer might be just the right spot (although I've never been to T&C and would love to try it...but not in February when we usually go to the Caribbean).

The nice thing about the Buc's kids camp is that it is totally free (you pay for the kids' lunches) and you can sign up for all or part of a day. My kids don't use it when we go as they'd rather be with us...but the kids who do use it always seem happy.

As for snorkeling, my husband would say that there is pretty decent snorkeling right off of both of the Buc's beaches. They've seen the resident barracuda, moray eels and pretty fish assuming that it's not too windy when we are there. It's also a nice place to give your kids a chance to snorkel (with life belts on--it's a bit of a swim).

Buck Island is great but is a half day trip. Totally worth it.

The Buccaneer is definitely more like a country club than the Ritz. We chose the family cottages (pick Room 168, 169, 170 or 171 if you want a beautiful view) and the love the ease of the place. We also love being able to go to terrific restaurants nearby.

Counting the days to our next visit (24!).
ccrosner is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 08:05 AM
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skl--based on the criteria you outlined Caneel Bay would be perfect for you. Their kids club is absolutely outstanding and has lots of kids of all ages. My daughter (age 4) still raves abut her trip last year and asks when can she go back to the Caneel Kids Club? The Caneel Bay website has details on the Kids Club activities and schedules in a PDF (you need to dig for it).

Caneel is not all-inclusive, although you can get a meal option. Often the resort offers a "bed and breakfast" option where you can get a complimentary breakfast buffet each morning.

Have fun!
kinners is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 01:00 PM
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Thanks to all of you, again. I think we have a number of good options, and now I'll try to sort out the best rates for a June trip. I've always just dealt directly with resorts, but do any of you have other suggestions for finding the best deals at these specific spots (Buccaneer, Caneel Bay, Ocean Club, Palms).
sklewis is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 08:24 AM
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I tend to talk to the resorts directly, then get an air quote and then plug it into Expedia and Travelocity and see what is cheapest. Also on the consolidators it can be tricky to get alot of room choices (i.e. the family cottage at the Bucmay not come up); for Ocean Club, I booked it all myself since it was cheaper than Expedia and Travelocity. Their 800 number was great to deal with (before that I "chatted" with them via e-mail).

Caneel Bay may not be available on a consolidator so you probably have to deal with them directly.

Let us know what you decide!

marymarra is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 06:04 AM
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I noticed that you considered Caneel Bay but noone has recommended the Westin on St. John. While it has a so-so beach by adult standards, kids are mad for it because it is well-equiped with water toys, floats, etc. They also have a "Kids Club" and other child activity plans and services. In fact, the criticism usually made about the Westin is that they are too kid oriented. IMO, you should look into it.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 03:32 PM
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I agree with tuxedocat...westin is your best, secure, and no way chheesy...great new chef and snorkeling...they even have "child watching" services.

marbleheadguy is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 04:32 PM
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skl--let me know what you find out about Caneel Bay--I have looked at it several times, but always get stopped by their "childrens" statement on their website--we are hyper-vigilant that our child does not impact anyone's fun and just the mere existence of this statement has made me think that Caneel Bay would not be worth the effort in terms of making sure one's child "behaves".

I would be interested in other's thoughts or your what you decide.


marymarra is offline  

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