So confused!

Old May 26th, 2008, 11:57 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2008
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So confused!

My husband and I are planning a 20th anniversary trip in February. We think we have settled on Jamaica due to it's proximity to Tampa. We want a great beach (we are kind of spoiled due to our beaches here), no kids, great food. Budget is under $500/night if possible. We think we want an AI as we don't want to worry about anything once there but the mixed reviews on this board are so confusing!! Any help would be appreciated.
lobo218 is offline  
Old May 26th, 2008, 01:38 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
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Move over to http://www.tripadvisor.com and use that as a comparison to here. The web makes it possible to hear so many good stories and horror stories too so narrow it down first by time to get there so you can maximize your time to enjoy the place. Since you are going during season to any Caribbean island it is going to be hard to find a high quality AI place for under $500 per night. Beware that many islands have a 15-20% tax and service charge added to the nightly cost. That means you can max out at $400 so you can absorb the $80 in service/tax costs. Best of luck to you. And Happy 20th!
graymeldan is offline  
Old May 26th, 2008, 03:16 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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Happy Anniversary! That's a great milestone!
If you are only planning on a small amount of tours off the resort, my vote would be an AI. Check your Sunday paper (or online) for consolidators - Worryfree & Apple are two - and see what they have to offer. For the last 10 years, I have taken trips from St. Louis to the Car. in Feb. (most of them AI), and used these two almost exclusively. I know USA3000 flies out of Tampa, and they may go to Jamaica from there. Once you narrow your choices (Montego Bay (MB), Ocho Rios (OR) or Negril), look on TripAdvisor to see what feedback others can give. I can vouch for Riu Tropical Bay in Negril, Riu in OR, Sandals Royal Caribbean (Sandals Inn has a public beach across the street that is not pretty) in MB, Sandals in OR beach is nice too. Last year our trip averaged $170 pp pd, because we allowed Apple to choose the 4 "apple" resort & were told which one the day we left. All Sandals resorts are adults only, and one or two Beaches (their mid-priced alternative) are also adults only. We always use a travel agent and buy insurance too - there is no extra charge for their services and sometimes you may get a discount or freebie. IMHO I can sleep better knowing if something goes wrong, I have someone to call.
widespreadpanic is offline  
Old May 26th, 2008, 04:32 PM
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Join Date: May 2004
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Hi Lobo-
We wouldn't stay at an AI in Negril (or Jamaica) if we were given it for free. Okay, we might if it was indeed "free". That being said, Jamaica is a wonderful island with color, culture and cuisine second to none in the world. You don't really indicate what you would be "worried" about, so it is difficult to pinpoint what exactly that may be to possibly ease them.
CaribbeanSoul is offline  
Old May 26th, 2008, 05:54 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Try Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios. It consistently has the best reviews on www.tripadvisor.com of any place I've ever looked at. The worst thing anyone ever had to say was that they thought the toiletries in the bathroom weren't up to their earlier standards. Lots of visitor photos too.
xkenx is offline  
Old May 27th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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We have spent the last 10 Anniversarys at a Sandals Resort.Try Sandals Negrilor Sandals Whitehouse. If they dont look like something you might like look into the Grand Lido chain of resorts, they are beautiful and NO KIDS!!!!.
Kimberly is offline  
Old May 27th, 2008, 02:59 PM
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Thanks everybody. I'm also looking at The Caves and Rockhouse. I know Rockhouse is not AI but the pricing looks good. I realize neither has a true beach but the water looks wonderful. If we do The Caves, we may put it off until late April when the prices drop. Can anyone give any kind of comparison between the two? We really want a relaxing vacation but wouldn't mind a night out on the town one night. Don't care about shopping, tours, etc.
Thanks!
lobo218 is offline  
Old May 29th, 2008, 10:39 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I prefer going non-AI also, I think it is a much better value and a superior, more personal experience.

BUT many AIs are available for auction on luxurylink.com and that may help them come under budget for you. Check the fine print before you bid.
liza is offline  
Old Jun 4th, 2008, 04:20 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Try something really different. Rent the villa- Wagwater- in Prospect Plantation, Ocho Rios. Check it out on the web at www.prospect-villas.com. Waterfront, own pool, butler, cook, maid, the works. It's 1000 acres of natural land but close to everything. It would fit your budget.
Jamiesa is offline  
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