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sweetandrew Dec 1st, 2010 09:15 AM

Seeking island/resort recs--late Jan. 2011
I'm planning a 4 night getaway for my husband's 40th birthday in late January. Having trouble because the islands and resorts I've pinpointed thus far are either too expensive (Jumby Bay and the Aman resort on T&C), risky because they are currently closed (Four Seasons Nevis), or are not a direct flight from Atlanta (Nevis and Turks & Caicos). Wish list includes luxury accommodations, great service, nice beach & snorkeling, great food & wine, good fitness facility & spa (ideally one that isn't $190 for a massage -- or will I find that everywhere?), few kids, warm weather & water for sunning & snorkeling, and, ideally, direct flight from Atlanta. Our last kid-free getaway -- a ridiculously long 3 years ago -- was to Little Palm Island in the Keys, and we didn't feel it was completely worth the expense. I'd prefer not to pay $20 every time I want a glass of wine. So I would add "good value for the money" to the list. We've been to the Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas years ago and enjoyed it but want to go somewhere new. My husband will not be comfortable without tv or phone. Suggestions?

blamona Dec 1st, 2010 09:33 AM

I saw your other posts about wanting T&C. Delta does fly to T&C directly 3rd week of Jan, but it's really expensive! ($714 includes taxes) Actually, you can use this website to find any place with direct flights from Atlanta, just check nonstop only, and plug in the different islands.:

OceanBreeze1 Dec 1st, 2010 09:44 AM

I am in Toronto so I know zip about Atlanta direct flights. But, if you can get a direct flight from ATL then I wld suggest Aruba for your 4 day getaway. Stay @ The Marriott on the north end of Palm Beach which is where all of the high rise hotels are located. (But, I just remembered....not too long ago, somebody here said they are constructing a Ritz next door to Marriott so check to make sure there is no construction noise...get a room away from construction site).
There are other nice hotels along Palm Beach if you decide against Marriott.

AA has flights from Atlanta but I think you have to go via MIA.

sweetandrew Dec 1st, 2010 09:55 AM

Blamona, I am getting no direct flights on and travelocity for our travel dates (1/21-1/25) to provo. I can try other dates (although that particular weekend is ideal as it's his b'day weekend), but if Delta only has once a week flights that is going to be a no go as we simply can't get away for that long. Will dig some more using site you recommend...

OceanBreeze1 Dec 1st, 2010 10:09 AM

sorry...I just saw "4 night" getaway. I was thinking you wld have 4 full days there. Aruba is probably too far...

sweetandrew Dec 1st, 2010 10:10 AM

Just spoke with Delta rep and flights from ATL-Provo in January are once a week only, on Saturdays, which won't work for us. She said the flight schedule "picks up" in Feb. I guess I should have specified that a direct flight that is available more than one day a week is what I'm looking for...

RoamsAround Dec 1st, 2010 10:12 AM

You are sending us some mixed signals by asking for "luxury accommodations" but then you say the places you've looked at are "too expensive". I'll assume that you do understand that, by and large, you are going to find high prices for food, drink, massages, etc. at just about every upscale resort. By the way, the Aman (Amanyara) Resort in the T&C is probably the most expensive resort on Providenciales. There are several other high end resorts on the island that are significantly less expensive so you might want to do a bit more research if you are interested in the T&C's.

I'm not sure which destinations you can reach on a direct flight from Atlanta. By the way, do you really mean "Direct" - i.e. where you stay on the same plane but make one or more intermediate stops before reaching your final destination plane or do you actually want "Non-stop"? It might make a difference.

Anyway, if you can get to Antigua check out Galley Bay - it's not as posh as Jumby Bay but meets most people's definition of Luxury. Other places on Antigua that may fit your needs are Curtin Bluff, Carlisle Bay, and Hermitage Bay.

Have you considered Caneel Bay on St. John - a short ferry ride from St. Thomas. Also, look at Sandy Lane on Barbados (assuming you can get there from Atlanta). Another suggestion is Casa De Campo in the Dominican Republic.

Another luxury resort you might find interesting is Cayo Espanto in Belize - this is a Private Island resort has everything you are seeking. If it fits your price range it just might be the perfect spot.

Zachstickler Dec 1st, 2010 03:06 PM

Caso de Campo in the Dominican Republic is indeed a good choice. I will also include the Brand new Hyatt in Curacao. I am not sure there are any flights directly to Curacao though...

sweetandrew Dec 1st, 2010 05:48 PM

Ideally nonstop from ATL.

Amanyara is $1600/night, exclusive of meals. That is way beyond what we want to spend for this trip. Some of the places I looked at in T&C (The Somerset, Parrot Cay) are in the $800-1,000/night range, also exclusive of meals -- that is more doable but wouldn't leave much wiggle room for spa treatments. Contrast with the Four Seasons Nevis, which I seem to recall was something like $560/night after you apply the 4th night free -- much more wiggle room for overpriced spa!

Nine years ago we stayed at the Four Seasons Maui, which I thought was amazing, and it was around $500/night. Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel was $500/night the last two years. Granted, different destinations (and Maui trip was eons ago), but I'm trying to figure out whether $800-1,000/night is really and truly going to make for a memorable trip or whether there are other islands and resorts that would fit the bill for a little less. I hate to pay almost a grand a night and still feel like the room needs some updating (Parrot Cay?), know what I mean?

We visited Caneel Bay on a snorkeling trip when we stayed on St. Thomas years ago and I would love staying there but my husband would not if they still don't have tvs.

I appreciate the input.

OceanBreeze1 Dec 1st, 2010 06:11 PM

If you just stay home you'll have lots of wiggle room & TV & you won't have to worry about updating your $1,000 per night room. I really do not think that you are going to find what you are looking for. Sounds like you are looking for champagne on a beer budget.

RoamsAround Dec 2nd, 2010 04:12 AM

Sorry, you seem to be living in the past. Trying to compare $500/night at a Four Seasons in Maui NINE YEARS AGO to today's prices in the Caribbean is just plain unrealistic. There are plenty of $500/night rooms in the Caribbean but the high end luxury resorts will cost much more than that. Either increase your budget or lower your standards.

FYI - Four Seasons, Nevis has some very attractive rates right because the resort has been closed for the past two years (which you already know from your other post) and will partially (only 1/2 of the units) reopen on December 15. When the entire resort is back in "full swing" you can expect rates to increase.

Now, you've indicated a willingness to spend $800 to $1,000/night - for that price you can stay at some very nice resorts. If you want to save money but still stay in a high end resort consider booking a "garden view", "mountainside" or other non-ocean front room at whatever resort you select - those rooms are often much less than the premium rooms but you'll still have access to all the resort's amenities.

blamona Dec 2nd, 2010 06:08 AM

For dates 1/21 - 1/25 you can go to Caymans, $612 per person plus tax nonstop. Leaves atlanta 10:20 Am, arrives 1:15 pm, the returns 2:15pm arrives back 5:20pm. You can get bottom of the line rooms at Ritz(no view) there for $500 plus taxes.

Most spa's, especially during peak season (Jan) will charge around $190 plus for treatments.

I personally love T&C and feel it's worth a "connection"-especially since you're not saving any time not connecting--for example, a Delta direct flight lands there around 2:30, as does the connecting AA flight. You actually gain more time returning--Delta leaves at 1pm, cutting your last beach day, AA doesn't leave until 3:30. (all the resorts there are only 15 minutes from airport too, except for the exclusive Amanyara)

Other of your choices, such as Nevis and requires a ferry after you've reached St. Kitts, you're only getting 3 days usage for the 5 days, flights usually arrive in the afternoons, and return early in the morning. Jumby Bay requires an additional drive and ferry after you've reached Antigua.

By your initial choices, everybody is correct-you're not going to get champagne at cheap beer prices especially at peak season. For the $500 price range, expect more of a decent Marriott, than a Four Seasons type.

sweetandrew Dec 2nd, 2010 08:02 AM

OK, I am sending these responses to my husband and will let him make the call. This is for his big 4-0, and he's the one who will be irked if he feels like he's paying out the nose and not having the most perfect experience. I don't know that he fully realized the expense involved in choosing the Caribbean in January. I know how his mind works and he'll be comparing the prices with some of the exclusive resorts we've stayed at domestically (San Ysidro Ranch near Santa Barbara and Blackberry Farm in TN).

We could definitely stay home but then I'd never get a break from caring for two young children, elderly cat, and puppy who needs long walks multiple times/day!

sweetandrew Dec 2nd, 2010 08:11 AM

Oh, and if my husband says to just book something, I'll probably choose The Somerset on T&C so someone stop me if that is a bad plan!

blamona Dec 2nd, 2010 02:18 PM

The Somerset in T&C is amazing! Just avoid the "lockout " rooms, they are basically an extra bedroom from a larger unit they lockout to rent out--so make sure that's not the room they are considering. Somerset is stunning-pure luxury and service at the pool and beach.

So not a bad plan at all! 8-)

lokeefe Dec 5th, 2010 04:19 PM

You should look at The Regent Pamls resort in T&C. My hubby and I went there for a 4 night get away in Nov 2006 - it is one of my favorite resorts in the Caribbean. I believe it's close to Somerset and is comparable.

OceanBreeze1 Dec 5th, 2010 06:34 PM

Is it guaranteed warm in T & C in late Jan/early Feb?

RoamsAround Dec 6th, 2010 07:47 AM

No one can "guarantee" the weather. The T&C's are fairly far north and are subject to occasional bouts with cold air sweeping down from Canada. Just how cool it will get in January & February is anybody's guess. Here are some weather statistics so you can decide for yourself:

Average Daytime Temperature - Jan. 76 F. / Feb. 77 F.
Average High - Jan. 80 F. / Feb. 81 F.
Average Low - Jan. & Feb. 73 F.
Highest Recorded - Jan. & Feb. 85 F
Lowest Recorded - Jan 65 F. / Feb. 62 F.

girlonthego Dec 8th, 2010 04:41 AM

Grand Cayman is a short flight from Atlanta and there is a Ritz there. There is also a nice Westin. The Marriott is smaller and has a smaller beach, but we stayed there and it was nice.

Aruba is hot year round and you can fly direct from atlanta from there as well. We stayed at the Marriott there too and it is a large complex. There is also a Radisson and a Hyatt that get good ratings. The Hyatt may be more luxurious than the Marriott.

girlonthego Dec 8th, 2010 04:41 AM

Aruba will be reasonably priced for dining and drinks.

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