Please recommend a hotel or resort!

Nov 9th, 2004, 04:55 AM
  #1  
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Please recommend a hotel or resort!

Hi all!
I know similar threads have been posted before, but I'd like to get suggestions for particular hotels or resorts this time. I hope you can help us choose.

These are the islands we are considering: Nevis, Barbados, Young Island, St. Barts, T&C. We don't want anything too built up and commercialized, or anything where poverty is a huge problem and beggars will pester us the minute we step off property.

We are travelling as two adults and two teens, and will probably book this trip for the last week in June. We do not prefer AI, but an included continental breakfast would be nice! We can't go too pricey, as we will either need two rooms, or some sort of suite. We do not want a villa.

We don't do any water sports, and although it would be fun for the teens to try snorkeling, it is not a high priority. A fabulous pool is as important to us as a nice beach. A rain forest environment to tour one day would be fun! And some sort of historical sites or cultural events nearby to visit would be ideal. We like to "explore!"

Looking for a place to spend quality family time, enjoy some activities together other than lying in the sun, maybe a spa or shopping day for the ladies, and a couple fine dining experiences off-resort.

We have been to Bermuda and Atlantis at PI, but have never been to the Caribbean per se. Which resorts/hotels come to mind?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!


Dreamer2 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 07:48 AM
  #2  
 
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Scubamom can tell you better than I but I don't think Young Island is for you.

There's no pool and I personally don't think that much of the beach. Also, Young Island is an AI - I'd be surprised if you could do breakfast only.

As you may know, St. Vincent remains one of the less developed countries and there are poor people (including hotel staff sometimes) who will ask you, very politely, for help with their difficult lives (normally driven by medical emergencies or education costs).

There is no spa on Younf Island resort, though I am told that the services at the very simple Beauty Bar in Prospect are good.

Nor is St. Vincent known for its great shopping or fine dining (Young Island itself is probably the only place that could make that claim).

On the upside, the island is NOT commercialized (not even Mickey D!). It is an ecotourist's paradise with fantastic rainforests, valleys, volcanos, waterfalls, gardens and historic sites to explore (old forts, petroglyphs, colonial architecture, ruined sugar mills).

I love the island but just don't think it meets your needs as you have set them out.
curiousx is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 12:01 PM
  #3  
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Thank you for your thoughtful reply, Curious. We'll cross Young Island off the list for this trip.

Does anyone know if there is a hotel with a great pool, near places to explore, on my short list of other islands?

Dreamer2 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 01:40 PM
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I've been to St Barths a few times and would have to say that fabulous pools are more of the small great view vs Ritz Carlton cascading type. All of the hotels are very small for Caribbean standards - hence the fairly small pools.
If that is not a huge problem, check out Hotel Le Village St Jean as you could get 2 side by side suites that won't blow your budget.
Beaches are fantastic, food is superb, great shopping (upscale), but note most likely you are going to have to rent a jeep to get around.
CaribeMan is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 05:23 PM
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Hey, Caribeman, great advice. I checked it out on the web and it looks lovely. I think my family would love the French influence, as well.

Can anybody tell me about moderately priced accommodations in Nevis? Has anyone had any experience with Golden Rock or Hurricane Cove?
Dreamer2 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2004, 05:19 AM
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Though I agree that Young Island isn't a good choice for you based on your preferences, I believe it still does have a pool--small and lagoon style.

It's entirely possible you could find a good deal that time of year to the Four Seasons on Nevis that was a breakfast-only type deal. They have pool and spa on site, it offers rain forest to explore, and there are the various plantation inns for dining as well as lots of smaller local dining spots. Look at www.nevis1.com to get an idea of everything the island offers.

Conversely, last year Nisbet Plantation, also on Nevis, was offering an incredible deal of paying for one room and getting the other at half price.

I have no idea why this was the case, or even if it means that it's a usual pattern in fare sales, but for the past three years there have been airfare sales to the Caribbean that go on sale in the winter and are good for travel through about the middle of June. Then the price jacked up for the last half of June and through July. Then prices were lower for travel in August through much of the remaining hurricane season. Now, I've only been watching Caribbean travel prices for the last three years and I don't' know if it's a typical year in and year out pattern, or if the last three years have been a collective anomaly, but if there's any way you can move your travel up a couple of weeks there's a very good chance you could save substantially on airfare. Perhaps other could speak to this issue better than I.
ejcrowe is offline  
Nov 10th, 2004, 05:40 AM
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Perhaps you should expand your list to include Windjammer Landing in St. Lucia. The island and the resort meets your requirements quite well.
kfusto is offline  
Nov 10th, 2004, 06:23 PM
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Hmmm...EJ, I'm guessing the reason the airfare probably goes up end of June is most likely for the same reason we can't go mid-June: school vacations.

Your advice has me intrigued. I'd love to stay at Nisbet! Is the beach there decent? I think the pool is quite plain. But I'm sensing that Nevis might have more to "do" than St. Barts. Perhaps Nevis with the kids, and save St. Barts for an anniversary trip!

Thank you all for your advice. I'll check back periodically if anyone else has opinions.
Dreamer2 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2004, 10:17 PM
  #9  
Sunnyboy
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The beach at Nisbet is attractive - very light colored sand (when compared to most of the other beaches on Nevis which are darker sand and lined with tall palms. It's on the Atlantic side so the water can get a bit wavy at times but there is a reef about /2 mile off shore which acts as a break water. There are some rocky areas a few feet off shore so its not the best "swimming beach" on the island. There's usually a constant breeze blowing in from the ocean which helps keep you cool. You are right, the pool at Nisbet is rather plain. FYI - Four Seasons has two very nice infinity edge pools but I wouldn't describe them as "fabulous" but the are probably the nicest on the island. The pools at the other resorts on Nevis are similar to Nisbet's so you will be disappointed on that score. Nevis does have a rain forest and there are loads of ruins to explore, plenty of hiking trails, a botanical garden, two small museums (Nevis Nuseum and Lord Nelson's Museum), a couple of old forts and other places of interests. You'll find a world class spa (with prices to match) at the Four Seasons and the Jade Spa near the airport. Shopping on the island is just OK - limited to typical tourist trinkets, t-shirts, etc. If you are looking for jewelry, electronics or fashion clothing Nevis is not the place.

For more moderate priced accomodations look at Oualie Beach Resort, Inn at Cades Bay (both on the beach - Caribbean side) and The Hermitage - a mountainside "Inn" with several multi-room cottages of varying sizes that may accomodate you entire family.
 
Nov 11th, 2004, 03:24 AM
  #10  
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Thank you so much Sunny-boy, I'll keep those print-outs for reference. The places look great!

In a previous post we chatted about the various islands' characters. Although you said Nevis was one of your favorites, you wouldn't necessarily recommend it for a first time Caribbean visitor. Could you expand on that?

Also, am I mixed up, or is there a larger island for shopping a ferry ride away from Nevis... St. Kitts?

Thanks for any additional info!

Dreamer2 is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 06:04 AM
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Dreamer2 - Nevis is one of my two favorite islands but I don't normally recommend it to a first time Caribbean visitor. It is a very beautiful island, quite lush and has friendly people but it does not fit the overall image first time vistors usually have of a Caribbean destination. Most "newbies" have visions of A) long expanses of sparkeling white sand beaches - the beaches on Nevis are darker sand, almost brown, B) places where you can wade out for 50 to 100 feet in waist deep water - on Nevis the drop off from most (but not all) beaches is dramitic - you are likely to be in 5' to 8' of water only a few yards off shore, C) gin clear waters in varying shades of torquoise, aquamarine and deep blues - because of the darker sand the waters off of Nevis have a steel blue color, D) the island does not have any Duty Free shopping - only a few typical t-shirt, bathing suit and souvenier shops, E) great off the beach snorkeling - on Nevis snorkeling is almost non-existant (there are a few spots but nothing really great like in the USVI's or the BVI's although you will find slightly better snorkeling off of St. Kitts), F) Casinos, lots of beach bars with steel bands and an active night life - On Nevis there no casinos and are only a few places like Sunshine's and Eddy's (Wednesday nights) that offer live entertainment, G) hugh pools with swim-up bars, waterslides and waterfalls - on Nevis you won't find anything like that, H) a large number of beachfront hotels and resorts - on Nevis the Four Seasons with its 200 rooms is the only "full-service" resort on the beach - all the others are small by comparison having anywhere between 12 and 38 rooms and only 4 (Nisbet, Oualie Beach Resort, Inn at Cades Bay and Pinney's Beach Motel are beachfront), I) lots of restaurants (chains, fast-food, etc.) within walking distance of the hotel - on Nevis there are no chain restaurants and everything is spread out so you need a rental car or taxi to get around. I guess what I'm trying to say is that most visitors go to Nevis for what it doesn't have rather than what it does have - i.e, no hordes of tourists, no large cruise ships, no All Inclusives (some places offer meal plans) but lots of peace and quiet. Not meaning to sound snobish or elite but IMO Nevis is better suited to those people who have visited the bigger more well know islands of the Caribbean and feel they have been there, done that and are now looking for the "Old World Caribbean Charm" of a Plantation lifestyle when sugar was king as opposed to an Americanized vacation experience complete with video games, satellite TV's, para-sailing, McDonald's, etc.

To answer you other question, you can take the ferry to neighboring St. Kitts (about a 45 minute ride - departure times vary deprending on the day of the week) for shopping and sightseeing but if you are seeking bargains on jewelry, electronics, cameras, fashion clothing and the like you won't find them there - you'd have to got to St. Martin or St. Barths but unless you are willing to chater a plane you won't be able to get to and from either of those islands without an overnoght stay.
 
Nov 11th, 2004, 05:16 PM
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Sunnyboy

Please humor me as I am just curious. What is your favorite island and why? You are so well traveled that I would be interested in your opinion. You have kindly answered some of most previous posts about the Grenadines. I love the fact that you distinguish the different island characteristics. I have learned from this site that I am probably not the type for the "generic" Americanized Caribbean experience. Don't like casinos, or much shopping other than local crafts etc. Beautiful beach AND lush island would be nice but I would take lush with Caribbean influence any day over Mickey D's. We are leaving for STL and the day trip to the Grenadines in a little over 2 weeks. Maybe I will post a report when I get back. You and curiousx were a great wealth of info for our day trip. Maybe that will be the trip for next year! Thanks!!
brenandg is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 05:46 PM
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Dreamer,
Well you've hit on some of the best Carib travelers on this board so far, Sunnyboy (incredible descriptions), Curiousx and Ejcrowe (extremely knowledgable)...I can only add to what they've already posted.

I think Nevis is a great pick. Barbados is commercialized. St. Barts is tres chic but its really best for a couple, or couples trip. T&C is a good pick too.
I do 2nd the suggestion to consider St. Lucia and also think about Bequia, there is a neat hotel only 6 bedrooms called the Old Fort Hotel.

A comment on the "poverty", it all depends on how you view it. This is hard to describe so I'll do my best. Most of the islands you'll find local living conditions not nearly to the standards of US or Europe, etc however where I say how you view it means most islands the people live well to what is available to them. Where you see simple dwellings, some may consider "shacks", but generally they are well kept. The locals take pride in what little they have and work very hard, many walk miles to their jobs...very common to see communal transport (pick up truck full) or hitchhike (we've picked up locals). The locals are beautiful wonderful people with a wealth of knowledge, great to get out and chat and intertwine, enjoy. Good islands for this type of interaction would be Nevis, St. Lucia, Tobago, Bequia and Grenada (although in hurricane repair mode still)
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Nov 11th, 2004, 07:19 PM
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If you are looking at Barbados, check out Crane Beach. We loved it although without kids. It is on the Atlantic Ocean which is fun because ther are waves but crystal clear. Eat at Oinsten's fish fry which runs a few days during the week and is great but like a block partyThe Cliffs which is very expensive but exellent but worth it for the atmosphere. Look up info on the internet. Good luck.
katyhotr is offline  
Nov 12th, 2004, 09:16 AM
  #15  
Sunnyboy
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TO brenandg: That's like asking Superman to reveal his secret identity - just kidding! Of all the islands in the Caribbian that I've visited my all time favorite is Virgin Gorda. I think it has a great combination of beautiful golden sand beaches, very good to excellent off beach snorkeling plus easy access to hundreds of the best snorkel and dive sites in the Caribbean (I don't dive myself), a mountainous terrain that gives you opportunity to hike, observe the local flora and fauna and take in incredible views of the surounding sea and neighboring islands and gin clear waters with hues that run from torquoise, to aquamarine, to deep amythist blue. The island itself (except for the Baths) is uncrowded, home to friendly locals, has a number of good restaurants, is easy to get around, is blessed with generally good weather, is in proximity to numerous other island for day hopping and diversion, and it doesn't have casinos, fast food places, crowded beaches, hordes of tourists, and hundreds of jewelry and electronic shops. All in all, for me, it doesn't get any better anywhere in the Caribbean.

I hope you enjoy St. Lucia and your day trip to the Grenadines . When you get back you can use your experiences to become a valued contributor to this forum.
 
Nov 12th, 2004, 04:04 PM
  #16  
 
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Thanks so much for your response. Will definitely be doing some further research on the BVI. Don't think the USVI sound overly appealing (to me) with the exception of St John. I can't remember from all the posts I read, but is a day trip to St John feasable from the BVI?? Or, I'm sure there are other day sails. Any recommendations? My short list to check out were BVI, Tobago, Nevis, and The Grenadines (obviously, I am going there, sadly only for one day). I so wish we had time to order up a lobster to be cooked in The Tobago Cays. Do you think these seem like good choices based on what I have expressed that we like?
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Nov 12th, 2004, 05:27 PM
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TO: brenandg - IMO St. John is the nicest of the USVI's. You can get there easly from Tortola since the are right next to each other and there are several tour operators who make day sail. Getting to ST. John from the other BVI's is a little more difficult because of the distances involved but it can be done.

Based on your earlier posts you should be well pleased visiting the islands on your short list (if you count all the islands in the Grenadines you might want to call it a long list). When I first started going to the Caribbean forums like this one were non-existent and discovering the differences in islands was added to the excitement and alure of travelling. Today, one can pretty much experience any given island well before they step on to the airplane at their home airport. Keep in mind that everybody's taste is different so it is inevitable that in your future travels you will visit some islands you will love, some that you think are just OK and still others that you don't particularly like. Have fun as you begin your search for YOUR FAVORITE ISLAND!
 
Dec 13th, 2004, 07:17 AM
  #18  
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After further research, I think I have it narrowed down to Nevis or Virgin Gourda. (Will save St. Barts for an anniversary "adult" trip!) I'm still not sure about the resort, since I'd like to go with Nisbet or Biras Creek, but will have to look for very special off-season pricing! Any other thoughts?

Just to recap... Family of four with two teens looking for a place to spend quality family time, enjoy some activities together other than lying in the sun, maybe snorkeling and horseback riding, maybe a spa or shopping day for the ladies, a historical site to explore would be nice, and a couple fine dining experiences. Thanks again for all the past, and hopefully future, help!
Dreamer2 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2004, 08:09 AM
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Actually, Barbados has quite a lot in the way of activities....Harrison's Cave, Wildlife Reserve, touring the East Coast, Orchid Farm, etc. There really was plenty to choose from. Good luck. If your kids like animals, The Wildlife Reserve should not be missed.
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