Need help choosing next vacation destination

Jun 21st, 2005, 06:21 PM
  #1  
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Need help choosing next vacation destination

Hi:

I'm starting to plan our next Caribbean vacation for next May. We went to Turks and Caicos this May and really enjoyed it. However, I want to try more islands thus ruling out Turks.

Initially, I like the looks of Harbour Island, Anguilla, and St. John. Harbour Island seems perfect and I was thinking Coral Sands would be good. I've heard raves about Anguilla, but I don't like how long it takes to get there from New Orleans. St. John looks equally as beautiful but it seems like you either rent a villa, which we've never done, or stay at the Westin (too many families and I've heard that the beach isn't very good) or Caneel Bay (too expensive for what I've heard are unimpressive rooms).

Can someone please steer me to some possibilities. We favor white beaches, good food, amenities at the hotel, and accessibility from New Orleans. I'd like to keep air and lodging around $2200 for five nights.

Thanks in advance for your help!
mah1980 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 07:01 PM
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There are condos for rent on St. John such as Gallows Point which offer a pool and is very convenient to town. Renting a condo or villa is not as intimidating as it may sound. Just make sure you get one with an air conditioner. The beach at the Westin is no great shakes but it is serviceable and there are not tons of kids running around. It's all quite civilized and the grounds are lovely. The Westin has lots of amenities, and you can always rent a car for a day or two and visit the many gorgeous beaches all over St. John. Also, you can take taxis to the famous north shore beaches. The Westin is a bit closer to town than Caneel Bay, but both are not in walking distance. Both are an easy taxi ride away. Good food at either resort, and lots of choices in town. If you can manage with a small inn type situation, I recommend Estate Lindholm which is lovely and situated right next to the famous "Asolare" restaurant.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 07:22 PM
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I'd love to help with good suggestions, would you consider Jamaica at all ?

Anguilla is SO wonderful and I think you can get there more easily these days.

Bel Air Plantation in Grenada is on my wish list.

Type in ejcrowe in the search box and read some of her posts. She really should write a book. Her research and advice is right on target.

Marion
MarionCK is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 08:13 PM
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Perhaps I should consider the Westin in St. John. For some reason I had the impression that there were a lot of kids there. I'm going to do some more reading into it. Tuxedocat: do you generally book through the Westin website, or is there an alternative travel site where you find good rates for the hotel? May is off season, or at some places, shoulder season so I imagine that we could probably get the Westin for around $200/night, is that accurate?

Marion: I'm going to look more into flights to Anguilla. I've heard it's fantastic. Do you have any recommendations? I've heard raves about Cap Jaluca but we don't want to spend that money next year as we are about to get our first house. How is Cuisinart? I've read HowardC's raves about a place called Frangipani(sp?).

I would like to go to Jamaica, but unfortunately my husband has read too much about the crime problems, etc., and he refuses to go. He says "there are so many other places to go in the Caribbean that don't have those problems." I imagine that Jamaica has a perception problem more than anything, but I try to change his mind to no avail. I was set on going to this place in the cliffs of Negril called Rockhouse after I saw it on the cover of Budget Travel 7 months ago. It looks really impressive and maybe that will be a trip I go on with my girlfriends.

I never even thought of Grenada. I'll look into that as well.

mah1980 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 08:28 PM
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Oh do explore Anguilla. I have stayed at Cap Juluca...but there are many more places for far less money that will still give you access to all the beautiful beaches and GREAT restaurants.

When I read that you live in New Orleans, I thought immediately that the food on Anguilla would measure up to your standards.

Frangipani is a wonderful place and Howard C will be happy to answer questions about it and all properties.

There are lots of Anguilla experts here, so if you are considering it, post with that subject and you'll get a lot of replies ;-) !

I understand Jamaica reticence ;-)...that's why I ask before I type !

Marion
MarionCK is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 08:36 PM
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rendezvous bay hotel,anguilla/check out on this website under anguilla/trip report2005...poster left a great review/report
tess53 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 09:03 PM
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Follow-up to the previous post about RBH. I stayed there for two weeks in April 2003.

I absolutely loved it ! It is one of the last resorts that reflects the old Anguilla.

It is family run and I was lucky enough to spend time with Jeremiah Gumbs.

It will get mixed reviews here regarding outdated bathrooms and such, but the feeling there and the views make up for any shortcomings in more modern amenities.

Bart, the general manager, is one of the most gracious hosts you will ever meet. And that's what RBH is all about to me...it's not a hotel, it's a family home on some pretty spectacular real estate.

It's a step back in time, and it's a good step.

Marion
MarionCK is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 09:08 PM
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I just looked at the flights to Anguilla. They are still prohibitive from New Orleans. It will require two connections and will be $900/each.

I think that Harbour Island is looking better by the minute. I can get there with only one connection. With work, we'll only be able to have a five night vacation so we don't want to spend a whole day each way in the air. St. John is a better prospect than Anguilla for that reason. However, it is still a longer flight than I would prefer for the length of our stay.
mah1980 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 04:24 AM
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mah1980: you can also fly into St. Martin and take a ferry over to Anguilla. To give you an example of this past May, Usiarways had special airfares to St. Martin for around $350 from practacally everywhere. Then take a taxi over to Marigot, leave luggage at ferry dock, eat, do some shopping, ferry to Anguilla takes about 20 min, then there will be taxis and car rentals at the dock in Anguilla. Call Frangiapani directly, as sometimes they can offer a bargain, such as 1-2 nights free. Cuisinart sometimes runs specials for a free night, and cheapcaribbean.com usually has specials to RBH.
all of your choices are great!
blamona is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 05:03 AM
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mah:

search for "Honeymoon cottage" on St John...it is only a 5 minute walk to Francis bay and looks very nice..I think that it is for 2 people though.(not sure how many you have traveling)We had never stayed in a villa before either until our recent trip to St John and if it would have been a different villa (Bamboo villa is were we stayed)we would have liked that kind of lodging.Someone has a thread that has a link to this villa somewhere..if you can find it..check it out.
christiegr is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 05:30 AM
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here is the link to the villa..just click on "Honeymoon cottage" and check it out.I heard that the AC works great!!http://www.stjohnusvi.org/new_page_2.htm
christiegr is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 07:16 AM
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Thanks for all of your suggestions. Blamona- I didn't know that you could fly into St. Martin and take a ferry to Anguilla. That would be a great idea, especially if we could get airfare for $350/each.

I'm going to call Frangipani, which gets high marks in all of the research that I've done, and inquire about possible specials for next summer. I will also call Cuisinart, although I'm not too confident about finding a good deal as it seems that 1) every honeymooning couple I know seems to go there or to CJ; and 2) May is the most popular wedding month so I don't think it's really Cuisinart's "low" season with respect to occupancy.

I'll let y'all know what I find. Thanks again!
mah1980 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 08:09 AM
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Just to answer your questions regarding the Westin in St. John. I would book through the Starwood hotel site. In fact, if you join Starwood, you will be able to take advantage of all their insiders' deals all over the world. Membership is free. At the Westin, if you agree to tour their grounds and sit through a pleasant 10 minute discussion of their time shares, they will give you free breakfast and $75. credit which you can use to rent a car for the day, or take a daytrip, or spend it in their restaurants or gift shop. The whole thing takes about 40 minutes and was kind of fun. We did ours at the beginning of our trip and got it out of the way. It was also informative. Speaking of which, the Westin has these mini villas they rent out for the week. Very nice accomodations and some even have their own little pool. The resort has many programs for kids so I think it is thought of as a "family" place but really, you are not fighting 10 year olds for the tennis court. Caneel Bay recently did an overhaul of their rooms. I haven't seen them yet, but I'm sure they're nice. It's more expensive but they have their specials too. Check their website. The advantage of Caneel is that they have 7 beaches and 4 are drop-dead gorgeous. Definitely not a lot of kids there. It really depends on what you want out of a vacation. If you choose to rent a villa or condo, either resort is still available to cater to your "spa" type needs. By the way, you don't even have to stay at the Westin to get the Westin tour/$75 deal. Whether you can depend on getting a $200/night deal at the Westin even during low season is not predictable for next May. I just got notice of a $199/night offer through the Starwood membership program but I don't know what the timeframe is.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 08:11 AM
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mah,

When you call Frangipani, be sure to inquire abou their "Sun, Sand and Sea" package. Howard says it's a great deal...and you need to trust Howard !

Maybe start a new thread, with Anguilla in the subject...you'll get a lot of great advice.

You might also want to post on Caribbean-on-line, Anguilla forum.

I'll propbably be blocked again for that advice...but it's a very active board !

Marion
MarionCK is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 08:38 AM
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Gosh...all this talk about vacationing is making me want to go "by myself"sooner than I will be able to travel again.I guess that I will go to a pool
christiegr is offline  
Jun 24th, 2005, 12:37 PM
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Is Anguilla hilly or flat?
cervonil is offline  
Jun 24th, 2005, 12:44 PM
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Anguilla is flat and arid. Spectacular beaches!
blamona is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 11:51 AM
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The USVI would be such a short trip for you. How many are traveling with you? Although we've always stayed at a hotel because of the ameneties, I don't think it would be a big deal to rent a villa, so don't let that stop you.
Knowing is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 12:00 PM
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Mah - I think you would really enjoy Anguilla, look at this site www.news.ai

I was there about a year and a half ago - stayed at Blue Waters - they are apartment-type and right on the beach, if you request a room downstairs on the first level your balcony is literally in the sand, they are not fancy, but are in a great location right on the beach and you can cook, etc. right there and there are a couple of nice restaurants within walking distance. We rented a car and there is a grocery down the street where we bought things for breakfast, etc. Blue Waters manager / owner Carolyn will stock your apt. for you ahead of time.

Also, I would just fly to SXM and take the ferry to Anguilla. We flew into Anguilla and took the ferry back to St Martin. Then spent several days in St Martin and then flew to Nevis for several days. It was a fantastic trip.

MIM04 is offline  

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