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welch Nov 4th, 2009 01:08 PM

St. Lucia or Antigua?
Assuming we, like Sally in Seattle who just posted, can manage the trip to the Caribbean from the West Coast, which of these islands offers the nicest "beach" experience?
The two resorts I'm considering are Anse Chastanet and Hermitage Bay.
We're only going for a week and want clear beautiful water.
I know the sand at AC is volcanic but the photos I've seen of the water are gorgeous, although all look rather dark. Perhaps this is because the mountains limit the amount of sunlight?
We're traveling at the beginning of December.
We've visited St. Barths, which we love, and other Caribbean islands, but not these.

bellaboo Nov 4th, 2009 01:13 PM

The water is clear at Anse...due to the sands dark color it looks dark, but it is very clear.

Antigua would offer that typical white sand/ turquoise water expeirence....St Lucia/ Anse a little more "exotic".

welch Nov 4th, 2009 01:24 PM

My pricing on these two makes Anse a more expensive vacation.
Worth it? And is it less "sunny"?

KVR Nov 4th, 2009 03:31 PM

Comparing these two Islands are like comparing apples to oranges.

St. Lucia is very tropical, lush, and mountainous with flora, fauna and waterfalls. We found the water to be a dark blue and the sand a brownish/biege. Not great for snorkeling, but an excellant Island for sightseeing. Very beautiful and scenic. You can take a day trip by plane over to either Martinque or St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Antigua, will have more of the white sand and crystal clear water. At least from my departure area, St. Lucia takes longer to get there. I wholeheartedly feel that St. Lucia is a wonderful destination and worth it. If it wasn't so far and esxpensive, we would definatley go back. Haven't made it to Antigua, but it's on our list.

If your interested here's are pics of St. Lucia. Might give you a better idea.

bellaboo Nov 5th, 2009 03:58 AM

Out of the two choices...Anse would win for me if you can swing looks more original, exotic, memorable, stunning.....but hey! That's "me". If you really want that turquoise water/ white sand, not the place I guess. Did you look at Ladera? You get a free shuttle to Jalousie beach....

bellaboo Nov 5th, 2009 04:02 AM

eileen Nov 5th, 2009 04:32 AM

Hi, I have seen Hermitage Bay and was a bit underwhelmed . . . I guess it seemed a bit stark to me because there's not really palm trees or a lot of foliage near the beach. And the price is just exorbitant so I found it hard to believe it was worth it. If you are considering Antigua, you might look at Galley Bay. It's a gorgeous beach and the grounds and landscaping are very lush and tropical. We've been to lots of resorts and it is our favorite (and great sales now) Anse Chastanet is on my wish list, but I keep getting a bit put off worrying about mosquitos (they eat me alive) the fact that there is not a pool, and the darker sand beach is just not as appealing, but that's me.

welch Nov 5th, 2009 08:54 AM

Thanks for your replies.
Because of special circumstances I have very good rates at the two properties mentioned. I could go to Galley Bay for a little more than it would cost to go to Hermitage.
Eileen- thanks for putting into words what I just couldn't put my finger on about Hermitage Bay.It's the lack of lush foliage!
For me to travel to either island would be a trek taking almost 24 hours. The alternative for this trip is just a hop to Maui. The Maui trip would cost a little more and not be nearly as exotic- we've been there many times.
I just need to decide if the trip to the Caribbean is worth it!

KVR Nov 5th, 2009 10:48 AM

Yes, a trip to the Caribbean is worth it!!!!!

In MHO, Maui is an overrated, overpriced American tourist trap. (sorry Hawaii lovers) St. Lucia and other Islands blow it away. Would never go back to Hawaii after seeing as many Islands we have been to in the Caribbean/Mexico.

eileen Nov 5th, 2009 12:31 PM

Welch -- Can't believe Hermitage at less than GB -- you are lucky! GB has at least 25% off rack rates, last year we managed to snag 50% which was an incredible value for a wonderful resort. Sory, KVR, I disagree with you about Hawaii and I have been to 10 or more islands in the Caribbean and also to Oahu and Maui. I thought the scenery in Maui was spectacular and it was just so much fun driving around and seeing everything and going to all the various beaches to snorkel. I guess for me, Maui was one of the few islands we have been to where we spent much less time at the resort because there was so much else to do and see. In the Caribbean we tend to stay more resort bound (although on every trip we take at least one island tour and one boat tour). Welch, of all the islands I have been to, I think St. Lucia is the most Hawaii-like with the lush banana plantations, beautiful pitons, just gorgeous scenery everywhere. Nevis, Barbados and St. Kitts also have some good scenery. Antigua is all about the beaches and the water, as are many of the other islands. Maybe it's the novelty -- being from the east coast we can get to the Caribbean much easier, and Hawaii is a more special trip, if I was in Seattle I don't think I would forgo the Hawaiian Islands (especially Kauai and the Big Island which I hear are spectacular) for such a long trip to the Caribbean. I'd choose Hawaii or even the South Pacific which I think is closer to you.

Knowing Nov 5th, 2009 01:35 PM

Antigua! They have nice beaches. They also have many things to see.
We were disappointed in St Lucia. Food is expensive. They don't have nice beaches and the week we spent there, we were unable to get in the water at all due to red flags the entire time. We didn't care for the locals and that is the only island out of 13 Caribbean islands we have ever said that about.

welch Nov 5th, 2009 04:09 PM

It may take a lot of luck to go anywhere this time!
I just heard from my 24 year old son indicating that his re-injured knee may require surgery. That means moving home with mom and dad in the very near future- again!
And his 21 year old sister just moved out last Saturday after breaking her foot and the surgery that followed that. Big, big sigh.
We will certainly need that vacation!
It sounds like the simplest path may be the best this time and the Caribbean will have to wait for the summer.
Then it will be a choice of Galley Bay or Hermitage Bay. Perhaps the extra degree of luxury at Hermitage isn't worth the lack of Caribbean feeling?

eileen Nov 6th, 2009 03:56 AM

Everyone's definition of luxury is different. I already mentioned what I didn't like visually about HB. It is also my impression that they have fewer dining options than GB (which has three restaurants). GB's premium beachfront suites have every amenity and incredible views (I like the 2nd floor but some people choose the 1st so they can walk right out the sliding glass doors and be on the beach.) GB is very low density -- lots of property for 90 rooms and both times we've been there was hardly anyone else on the beach. And great service. But it is not quite five-star -- two things GB does not have that the lack of may be deal-breakers for some -- there isn't any room service and there is no waiter service on the beach -- you have to go to one of the bars to get drinks. The beach is so long and so sparsely occupied that waiter service just does not make sense. And every room has a mini-bar stocked with beverages (what's initially in the mini-bar is complimentary, then subsequent orders are charged but at very reasonable prices ($1 for diet coke, cheaper than the grocery store!) I do wish GB had room service though. I'm sure HB is very nice too, you really can't go wrong with either. It's just that after numerous beach resort trips (including high-end resorts such as Ritz Jamaica and Four Seasons Punta Mita) GB has captured our hearts. I hope your children have a swift recovery!

welch Nov 6th, 2009 09:09 AM

Thanks Eileen for your help in clarifying what you love about Galley Bay.
We never order room service unless in a large city at breakfast. Both dh and I like to be out of the room for meals. And if I can't get up to "fetch" my own drink the vacation has probably gone on a little too long!
Galley Bay gets such great reviews I think I will make that the go-to spot for the Caribbean vacation. My husband gets eaten alive by bugs making AC less appealing for him.

bellaboo Nov 6th, 2009 11:39 AM

I get eaten alive by bugs as well. I'm like a live insect repellant for everyone ELSE...just invite me to an outdoor-summertime party & all the bugs will devour me.

Oddly enough I get FAR more bites here in Quebec than any of our tropical destinations, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica....etc. Nothing compared to the swarms here in Canada!!! lol

welch Nov 6th, 2009 05:04 PM

My husband is Canadian. I think it's something in the blood. The bugs expect you and find you everywhere!

bellaboo Nov 7th, 2009 04:16 AM

The architect/ owner of AC is Canadian....

eileen Nov 7th, 2009 08:21 AM

Welch, when the time comes to book GB, I have the direct email to an elite island booking agent who has always gotten me great deals (In 2008 almost 30% off, in 2009 50%). You can always get in touch with me through this board -- hardly a day goes by that I don't check it!

DianeC Nov 8th, 2009 12:16 PM

hi Eileen

I have a friend who is interested in visiting GB in May, so would appreciate your agents email etc. We have been to GB 3 times & recommend it to all our friends.

thanks for your help

eileen Nov 8th, 2009 02:48 PM

I guess I am allowed to post it here, it's not a travel agent recommendation, she actually works for Elite Island Resorts. Her name is Nicole Merigelli and she has always been very helpful to me. [email protected]

By the way, in today's Phil. Inquirer, the president of Elite Island Resorts was quoted in an article about 2010 being the best bargain travel year of all -- he said something to the effect that they'd rather fill rooms and so they will continue value pricing for the foreseeable future.

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