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mamalama71 Mar 9th, 2012 08:48 AM

Mama & 5 yr old daughter... Anguilla or St. Barth's?
I know it may seem silly - but my little girl is quite the intrepid little traveler. It's just the two of us, and she's very well-behaved when she needs to be (we scream and dance a lot at home).
We are leaving in two weeks for the Caribbean...
wondering if anyone has any insight into whether we should go to Anguilla (Cap Jaluca) or St. Barth's (Le Toiny or Guanahani).
We love the beach, love to swim, eat all day, love posh hotels with all of the amenities (room service please!), and did I mention swim swim swim? She's been practicing her snorkeling (and French, just in case), but I fear I'm reading that neither destination will offer much to see underwater.

We would be super grateful for any insight you may have to share.
Many thanks in advance.

juliae_mei Mar 9th, 2012 09:01 AM


Sounds like a fun vacation!

On St. Barths, I would choose the Hotel Guanahani over Le Toiny as it is on a private peninsula with a blue lagoon, two beaches with watersports that are easily accessible. You and she could also go horseback riding, see turtles and iguanas! It is possible to reserve a room with a private pool for more swimming. There are 14 beaches with sparkling white sand throughout St. Barths It is a really wonderful place for a family vacation. The Le Toiny is gorgeous, but is up on a hillside and caters more to romantic getaways with candlelight dinners, quiet and private ambiance.

Also, instead of the Cap Juluca, look at the Viceroy Anguilla. Cap Juluca is designed more for romance whereas the Viceroy Anguilla is centered between two prime beaches and is more relaxed, but still sophisticated and glamorous. There are 2 beachfront restaurants, 24 hour room service and she can hop out of the pool and have lunch and hop back in the pool at the poolside restaurant.

Have fun!

Cidbob Mar 9th, 2012 09:06 AM

My wife and I have been to both, and we'd both choose Barties hands-down. Cap Jaluca is amazing, and the beach it's on is far and away our favorite on the island. But the two places you mention on Barties are superb, and the island manages to be both over-the-top and quite charming all at once. Your daughter would also doubtless enjoy the French style of the place--from the language to the food to the ambience.

To put it another way: St. Barts is St. Barts, while Anguilla is . . . well, trying to be a slightly Anglophile version of . . . St. Bart. Why not do the real deal?

Jimmie Mar 9th, 2012 12:42 PM

"Barties"? Really?

qwovadis Mar 10th, 2012 04:20 AM

Anguilla great beaches flat as a pancake hot expensive remote
Juliaca is Moorish/Americanized Viceroy is nice also no real
french vibe like St Barts hillier small cute little French vibe with lots to see and do great beaches shopping. Sort of depends on what you want. But SB for me unless you just want to lie on wonderful remote beaches then Angilla.

Happy Deciding!

blamona Mar 10th, 2012 08:17 AM

Every island has it's fan.
For my personal tastes and for taking a 5 year old you're much better off in Anguuilla. Much easier to get around, water is much more turquoise and clearer than St Barth.

I find St Barth much more adult, cosmopolitan atmosphere, Anguilla much more laid back ( in an upscale way) St Barth is hilly and much harder to maneuver.

Snorkeling is actually disappointing at both and at neighboring St Martin.

I travel with my now 10 year old all the time! Excellent idea. I'm taking her to Turks and Caicos in .April just the two of us for some mother daughter bonding. We are going to snorkel, water excursions, have fun!

My daughter started snorkeling in the ocean at 4. Now she's on a year round swim team and actually ranks in some events top 100 in country!

What you're doing is awesome!

Carib_Ian Mar 10th, 2012 12:21 PM

Really? Though I do not claim to be a ‘Bartie” (my best to Homer, Marge and the girls, by the way), I’ve been to St. Barth’s a few times. It is a fabulous place, and I love it. But I also adore Anguilla. But I adore it for what is it – which is its own very special island. It’s no more trying to “be like" St. Barth’s than London is trying to be like Paris, or Kate Middleton is trying to be like Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. And who would want them to be? These are two totally diverse experiences. To say one is "trying to be..." anything like the other shows an incredible insensitivity to both countries, peoples and cultures. If you are after a bit of flash, energy and a Caribbean-meets Riviera vibe go to St. Barth’s. If you looking for laid-back, relaxed Anglo-heritage Caribbean elegance, go to Anguilla.

Doh Mar 11th, 2012 04:45 PM

I love St Barts but I wanted to echo the "easier to get around" for Anguilla. A few (or more than a few) years ago, pretty much the only car rentals were mini mokes-- something like a cross between a beach buggy and a jeep and not really great for driving a 5 year old around in (maybe my over-protectiveness is showing, but I'd be nervous with anyone younger than a teenager). I've heard that there's a wider variety of car available these days, but just thought I'd mention that.

lhallsb_71 Mar 24th, 2012 05:46 AM

Hello everyone! We really wanted to do both, but in 10 days, getting to and from Anguilla - St. Barth's via little plane or rough seas (and packing and unpacking) seemed a bit daunting, so we've decided on Anguilla.

We're going to sample both Cap Jaluca and the Viceroy (thank you so much for the suggestion! It looks very child friendly!). At the Viceroy we're being joined by friends with more children, so Cap Jaluca will be a nice bonding time for us and then a bit of revelry at the Viceroy:)

So grateful for all of your help! It sounds as if the snorkeling won't be on par with what I've experienced on St. John or in the BVI, but we're practicing anyway in the tub, and I'm excited to start adventuring!

Many thanks,
Mama & Buggy, Anguilla-bound

Pimpernel Apr 4th, 2012 08:48 AM

<<- something like a cross between a beach buggy and a jeep and not really great for driving a 5 year old around in (maybe my over-protectiveness is showing, but I'd be nervous with anyone younger than a teenager). I've heard that there's a wider variety of car available these days, but just thought I'd mention that.>>

Mokes are museum pieces now,and probably less than half a doezen on the road at all.

Cars range from Asian compacts, through mid size SUVs, BMW convertibles, Mini Coopers and Porsche Cayennes.

Anguilla may be flatter than St Barts, but it is a lot longer so travelling times are also longer. Driving a left hand drive car on the left hand side of the road is a bit dodgy as well.

There is a lot more to do on St Barts, a lot

mamalama71 Jul 12th, 2012 09:39 AM

Hello everyone - I'm sorry I haven't checked in here sooner since our trip in April.
My daughter (5) and I both adored Cap Jaluca. It was exactly what I expected - an intimate, relaxing, bonding time.

I've seen a lot of people write reports complaining of Cap Jaluca being 'run down' or not what they had expected, and I had an entirely different experience. I tend to splurge on travel, so I consider myself fairly high maintenance and a bit OCD, and I found little to complain about at Cap Jaluca. Our room (Oceanfront Luxury) was clean and extremely comfortable. There was evidence of some wear, certainly (a few cracked tiles), but overall we found it luxurious and lovely.

Every single member of the staff was overwhelmingly kind and helpful, from housekeeping to concierge to waitstaff. My daughter's favorite part of the trip was getting dressed and going to have 'cocktails' in the bar area while playing cards and picking out our next restaurant. The staff was so gracious with her, they really stole her heart. One evening, they even called the restaurant we were going to to tell them her name and how she liked her drink served, and when we showed up and they referred to her by name and served her, she felt like a celebrity.

She also thought the chicken nuggets at the beach restaurant were the best in the world (panko encrusted - have to agree) and I adored all of the seafood options. We loved our terrace and the beach really was the highlight, aside from all of the kindnesses we encountered there. On our last day we discovered the 'pool,' which made us giggle - it's no wonder why no one is ever there, but with a beach like that, I feel they should eliminate it entirely, as it's a bit of an eyesore. Overall, we felt safe and pampered and very well taken care of at Cap Jaluca. I would return in a heartbeat.

At the Viceroy we were joined by family for an entirely different experience. When you arrive, it's impossible not to be just stunned by the views and how incredibly chic and beautiful the property is. It's really absolute perfection. Our room was brilliant (3 bedroom oceanfront residence), very modern and visually quite mind-blowing. Housekeeping was stellar. I suppose we must've lucked out, but the ocean was swimmable for most of our stay and that was a highlight. Service here was at times warm and fine, but other times frustratingly slow and just plain absent at the beach/pool. The spa was shockingly tiny - and, please, whatever you do, do NOT book outdoor massages - despite the to-die-for view, all you can hear is all of the kids screaming at the pool 200 feet away, and it ruined what otherwise would have been a great experience. The breakfast here is dance-worthy... they call it continental but it's really a full buffet with omelets, pancakes, baked goods, fruit galore and cheese and more. We made it a 2 hour experience each day:) All of that said, the Viceroy lacks the warmth of Cap Jaluca, in surroundings and to some extent in service (despite being less than half full during our visit).
For our trip, it was a nice balance to have experienced both, and I would probably do so again, but if forced to choose, I would take the simplicity and grace of Cap Jaluca.

Our favorite restaurants were Trattoria Tramonto (Bolognese sauce!), Mangos, Blanchard's Beach Shack (fun/casual), and we thought the food at Sandy Island was actually great (BBQ - or maybe it was all of the tequila....).

Thanks again to everyone for all of your input. It was truly one of our favorite vacations, and one of few that we would do again!

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