Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Caribbean Islands
Reload this Page > Tired of AI's, need suggestions for a new island destination
Notices

Tired of AI's, need suggestions for a new island destination

Reply

Sep 27th, 2012, 09:58 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 76
Tired of AI's, need suggestions for a new island destination

My husband and I are in our early 50's and would like to plan a special vacation to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary next year. Our vacations typically over the years include a 7 day stay at an AI in such places as Mexico, Jamaica, St Lucia, Punta Cana and Aruba. I'm hardly an (non) AI snob as we really had great times on these trips, it's just that we're tiring of the sub-par food and crowds (towel game, etc).

The islands thus far that have caught my attention are:

Anguilla,
TCI
St John

What we'd like in a vacation:

Beautiful beach (turquoise calm waters), close proximity to great restaurants, (will rent a car if needed); Accommodations don't have to have extreme luxury, just clean and not ridiculously dated. A small kitchen for breakfast and occasional lunch prepartion would be nice. We're not into diving although DH enjoys snorkeling. Mostly we prefer reading on the beach (beach service a plus), hobie cats and perhaps a day excursion for shopping or exploration of another island via ferry.

We're planning on going in April or May 2013 and imagine leaving from NY (we're in Ct) would be the best choice for a direct flight.

As we're used to an "AI budget", we realize we'd have to up our budget to maybe 6K including food , possible rental car, but not airfare as we usually get our tickets from FFM/Amex points. We really do enjoy fine dining and I'm aware I picked some pretty pricy islands. Does this budget sound doable for what we want?


I'd appreciate any suggestions for which island and nicest resort would best meet our desires/budget.
Also, I just checked out Luxury link and saw 7 nites at Point Grace T&C for less than $2300.....does this sound like a great deal? I've used LL one time int he past without any problems.

Thanks for your help!
JLBRN is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 27th, 2012, 01:14 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 475
First thing to consider price wise is the time of year. As I'm sure you know, that will effect your prices. For 6K I would think you could consider a couple different options on St John. If you wanted to be on the beach, your best best would be Caneel Bay.

If you are okay with renting a jeep for the week and trying around to explore all the incredible St John beaches, I might suggest a condo in Cruz Bay like Gallows Point. At Gallows you can walk into town each evening for dinner, but have your breakfasts & lunches in the condo. A jeep rental is a must so you can get to all the great beaches with a very short drive...

Not sure about the Turks & Caicos, but I know you can't get a direct flight to St John (no airport) or Anguilla which you have to go through St Martin.

Pretty sure with 6K you should be able to swing just about any of the 3 islands depending on your lodging. You will need to figure out your "must haves" for where you stay.
Bassguy66 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Sep 27th, 2012, 02:49 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 87,120
You could go back to Mexico or Jamaica, just don't go All-Inclusive. It will give you an entirely different experience.
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 27th, 2012, 04:28 PM
  #4
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,075
Having done numberous AI vacations and several non-AI vacations, look at Turks & Cacicos, Grand Cayman or Barbados.

If you wait until the 2nd or 3rd week of May, you will find much better prices.

Though probably not what you are looking for, we spent our 10th wedding anniversary in Key West. Beaches there are sub par, but the food was amazing and reasonalbe priced. We stayed at a cute B & B with a pool side room. Pools are huge in that area instead of the beach. We had lots of fun sightseeing. Just thought I'd trhow that in there.
KVR is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 27th, 2012, 05:04 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 13
Turks and Caicos and Anguilla have the better beaches of the three. Anguilla is known for it's Caribbean feel and excellent restaurants. Many say Turks and Caicos has a more American feel. Better snorkeling on Turks and Caicos and I've heard Anguilla's snorkeling described as "something to do" which is a nice summation. Cuisinart on Luxury Link generally runs a pretty good deal for Anguilla and it would be easily in your price range for that time of year. Or if you want a smaller boutique feel, look up Frangipani.
daffy2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 28th, 2012, 03:21 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,807
Point Grace is a beautiful Condo / hotel. Nice suites, perfect spot on beach ( wide ) very quiet, includes breakfast & nightly apptz and 2 drinks/person at the bar in your rate. Walkable to many restaurants. Also look at The Somerset & Regent Palms on Turks and Caicos--both beautiful. beach service, breakfast.
Caribzack is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 28th, 2012, 04:45 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,312
We stayed at West Bay Club in Provo last year and loved it so much, we're going back in a month. I think it's a great value for luxurious accommodations, though on a quiet end of Grace Bay Beach, so you would need a car.

Friends of ours just returned from Ocean Club West, and really liked it. It's not as fancy as West Bay Club, but you're right in the middle of lots of restaurants, closer to the grocery store, etc.

You could also look at Seven Stars, and see if they are running any deals for that time of year within your budget. It's got a great location close to dining and shopping, plus lots of hotel services. The beachfront is not as uncrowded and wide as what's in front of West Bay, but a good area for your first visit.
Weadles is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 28th, 2012, 04:48 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,312
BTW, Jetblue flies nonstop from Kennedy to Provo. American stops in Miami, then connects to Provo. American is usually way cheaper, but with all their recent problems, you might consider splurging for Jetblue, which is a much more comfortable plane anyway!
Weadles is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 28th, 2012, 11:45 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,646
Jetblue had some sale prices recently, depending on when in December.

Ewr also flies direct on United
blamona is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 29th, 2012, 08:52 AM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 76
Thanks for all the suggestions. We're leaning toward TCI mostly because of it's easy access (direct flight from Newark).

I'm trying to get a handle on how much $$$ will be required above and beyond accommodations. We plan on eating most meals (breakfast and lunch in our room after a trip to IGA )Does $200/night for dinner seem reasonable for 2 of us? (including maybe 1 glass of wine each, we're not big drinkers)
JLBRN is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 29th, 2012, 10:58 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 195
Don't give up on Anguilla. I've been to Provo twice, then went to AXA-11 times. Prices go down in May. CuisinArt and Viceroy will have specials. If you will be cooking in your room, consider Carimar-not far from Food 95. Direct flight to SXM from Newark or JFK, water taxi, ferry or short flight to AXA. $200/night for dinner is very reasonable. Rental car to visit other beaches definitely in your budget. Snorkel from the beach at Mead's Bay (near Malli) or Shoal Bay East, can get a boat for off shore snorkeling. Anguilla is foodies heaven
beachykeen is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 29th, 2012, 11:00 AM
  #12
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,075
When we went to T & C, we stayed at the Sibbone, which included an extended Continential breakfast. I understand they don't do that now. We had lunch in our room if we weren't on a tour, and then dinners out. If was a more expensive vacation food, drinks and tour wise than any of the AI trips we've done in Mexico or Jamaica.

I wrote a very detailed trip report on Trip Advisor with restaurants and prices. It might be a little outdated now, but it will give you a good general idea. Though we enjoyed our trip, it's not a destination we would return to as it is just too quite for us, but that is what many people are looking for. For a non-AI vacation we preferred Grand Cayman. Better snorkeling, shopping and things to see and do around the Island.

Here is my report if you are interested:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...nd_Caicos.html
KVR is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 29th, 2012, 11:04 AM
  #13
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,075
PS. If you do go with T & C a car is highly recommended to get to restaurants and other places. We did not rent one and regretted it. They had a undependable bus service then, but it is not there now. We walked as much as we could, but the taxis prices started to add up.
KVR is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 29th, 2012, 11:22 AM
  #14
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 76
Beachykeen, we are definitely foodies and beach lovers but I'm afraid I might feel a little isolated on Anguilla; it seems to be even quieter than TCI in terms of shopping/excursions. I considered Shoal Bay Villas as the price and beach proximity seemed amazing, but the thought of no other amenities and being a 25 min drive away from the really good restaurants didn't appeal to me. I guess I haven't completely shaken my liking for the conveniences that AIs offer. Have you been to Cuisinart? I saw a deal for it on LuxuryLink that was reasonable- mentioned it to my husband and he replied: "oh, it's a golf resort" ; apparently didn't appeal to what he wants.

KVR: I read your TR-thanks, the food prices didn't seem bad at all, of course it was 6 years ago.
JLBRN is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 29th, 2012, 12:39 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 13
There is only one golf course on Anguilla and if you stay at Cuisinart, you won't even see it as it is not physically connected to the beachfront part of the resort.

But I hear you about the cost and ease of transportation and that Turks and Caicos is much easier and less expensive. While we are big Anguilla fans, we are trying Turks and Caicos for the first time this Nov. because of that very reason.

We choose West Bay Club as well as it seemed the best value, came highly recommended.

There is some shopping on Anguilla, boutique type shops, art galleries. Enough to keep you busy on a rainy day if you get one. I've never felt isolated there, but you should definitely choose something on the West End if that is a concern.
daffy2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 1st, 2012, 05:33 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,312
I loved Turks, but we did find the cabs VERY expensive. Round trip to restaurants from West Bay Club cost us about $26 per person plus tip! This is the number one reason why many people rent cars or try to stay within walking distance of restaurants.

The island is one of the pricier ones in the Caribbean, but I definitely think you can find wonderful dinners for two within your budget, probably less depending on what you order.

IGA supermarket prices are very high, too. But still cheaper overall than eating every meal out.
Weadles is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 1st, 2012, 05:54 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,312
Sorry, I checked with my husband and he thinks we paid a little less per person for the taxis, maybe around $10 or $11 per person including tip each way. Still not inexpensive!
Weadles is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 1st, 2012, 06:24 PM
  #18
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 76
Thanks Weadles, we pretty much decided that we'd rent a car if we end up going to TCI; For the person who "brought a rolling cooler" to the beach everyday ( maybe I read this in a TA review); did you actually purchase it on the island, or check it as luggage?
JLBRN is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 1st, 2012, 07:10 PM
  #19
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,075
In my review I mentioned we brought a rolling softside cooler with us. That was back when you could still bring liquids on planes. We filled it with a 30 pack of beer and took on as a carry on.
KVR is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 3rd, 2012, 11:43 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 110
I suggest Bermuda. It is not technically in the Caribbean though, so you would not be able to go in winter months if you want to enjoy the beach. It does not have many of the safety/crime issues that many Caribbean islands have and it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is a very calm, relaxing, and quaint island. To give you an idea of what I mean, there is truly only 1 AI resort on the island, so it does not have that “spring break/party” feel to it.

If you are coming from Newark/NYC it is only about a 2 hour flight. That is always a plus

The downside is that you can not rent a car, but the island has a wonderful public transportation system (bus/ferry) or you can rent a scooter or take taxis. The entire island is pretty small and you can easily travel from one side to the other within a few hours. All of the public beaches (and they are all oh so beautiful) are free. There are a couple high end/luxury hotels on the island although the most popular form of accommodation is vacation rentals. Most have pools/balconies/water views/full kitchens. I truly can not say enough good things about Bermuda. To me, it is the closest to paradise that you can get!

Here are some pictures from my last trip:

http://dontcallmecasss.blogspot.com/...o-bermuda.html
dontcallmecass is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:01 AM.