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sanda May 26th, 2004 02:24 PM

To Sunnyboy, need your advise Please!
Since you have been to over 35 different island which islands & resorts (Please give me your top 10 resorts/islands based on your experience. We want beautiful beach/clear water with nice accomadaton (doesn't have to be luxury)would you recommend for us to stay at? Lush grounds within the resort would be nice too. We would like to have nice/modern work out facility. Currently we are thinking about FS in Punta Mita but I know that the beach water is not clear.

Sunnyboy May 26th, 2004 02:38 PM

I'll post my list tomorrow.

Sunnyboy May 27th, 2004 06:01 AM

My first reaction to your question was this is easy but as I thought about it I realized there are some twists when naming top resorts which is probably why I don't make my living as a travel writer. One can stay at a truly fabulous resort but if that person doesn't like the island itself the overall experience is diminished and vice versa. There are trade-offs with every destination. For example, if your idea of a good time includes daily hikes through rain forests you are going to be very disappointed by visiting Anguilla which is arid and virtually flat as a pancake. On the other hand lush islands like Nevis and St. Lucia have beaches that pale when compared to Anguilla which has some of the spectacular beaches in the Caribbean but you won't find a lot of natural shade. Also, keep in mind that exciting nightlife and seculded beaches are often mutually exclusive. Some resorts have more amnities than others - my wife like resorts that offer full spa service and you mentioned a desire for modern work out facilities but for me those are not important - when I get the urge to excerise or get a massage I go down to the beach bar and have a few pina coladas until the urge passes - see what I mean? What I'm trying to say is no one island has it all so you have to do reasearch to fine one that will appeal to you. Keep in mind, for every rave you hear there is someone out there that has a bad experience to relate. I have also been to a number of upscale resorts where for one reason or another I was disappointed so I've eliminated them from my list. Finally, there are a handful of very exclusive private resorts such as Richard Branson's Necker Island that I have had the pleasure of visiting, albeit briefly, which have daily rates that would stun many a trust fund baby. Since those types of places a far out of the reach of the average traveller thay are excluded from my listings. That said, my list of favorites is:

Little Dix Bay - Virgin Gorda
Cap Julca - Anguilla
Peter Island Resort - BVI
Four Seasons - Nevis
K-Club - Barbuda
Curtain Bluff - Antigua
Firefly - Mustique
Cotton House - Mustique
Anse Chastenet - St. Lucia
Caneel Bay - St. John
Carneage Bay Resort (now Raffles at Carenage Bay) - Canouan, Grenadines
The Reefs - Bermuda

eileen May 27th, 2004 06:20 AM

Hi Sanda --

I was just at Four Seasons Punta Mita in April and I have been to quite a number of Caribbean/Mexico destinations -- Aruba, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, Bahamas, Bermuda, St. Thomas, St. John, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Turks & Caicos, St. Maarten, Acapulco, Cozumel, Playa Del Carmen and Puerta Vallarta. FS Punta Mita was the best resort I have ever been to in terms of an all-around fabulous golf/beach/service/food/scenery experience. The beach is not as spectacular as Turks & Caicos, but it is also a much more lush and scenic destination than places with spectacular beaches like Anguilla, T & C, Aruba. See my reviews on the Latin American section of this forum and ("Heaven on Earth.") Hope this helps. The spa and gym were incredible.

bosco May 27th, 2004 08:06 AM

Sunnyboy - What a great list! I notice you have Peter Island on your list as opposed to some of the other private island resorts. In your opinion, what makes Peter Island more special for you than other private island resorts such as Jumby Bay, Cayo Espanto, Guana Island and Palm Island?

Sunnyboy May 27th, 2004 08:41 AM

Wow, there are so many good places. My list was not meant to be all inclusive. I like places that offer a good combination of upscale accomodations, fine beaches, the ability to easily explore the surrounding areas and to experience island life "off-property".

As I mentioned in an earlier post (probably the one that led to this thread) Jumby Bay was not opened to guests when I was on Antigua so I only got a chance to visit but not actually stay there. It's on my list of places to stay.

Cayo Espanto is a very nice and well run private island resort and I enjoyed my stay but it was too small for me to put it on my list of favorites. There is literally nothing to do on the island itself.

I visited Palm Island when I sailed through the Grenadines but it too was closed for renovation so I can't really comment on it as a resort other than to say it looked nice - I've since read mixed reviews on it so in my mind the jury is still out. By the way, I stayed at Petit St. Vincent for a week and was very disappointed with the quality of the food and the lack of attentivenees of the staff. Many people like that resort but I won't return.

Have not stayed at Guana Island so I won't comment. I like Peter Island becase the seclusion of the island is offset by it's size. The staff was very friendly and helpful, the food quite good and a number of excellent off-shore snorkeling sites are only a short boat ride away.

I've done a lot in the Caribbean and plan to go back many more times. I've only just stated to put a dent in the islans of the South pacific (hard to get to and quite expensive). So many islands, so little time!

bosco May 27th, 2004 08:52 AM

Interesting. Thanks for the input. I've learned a lot from your posts.

sanda May 27th, 2004 10:54 AM

Sunnyboy & everyone, thank you so much for your advise and taking the time to wirte it. Best regards, Sanda

Dianebridle May 28th, 2004 03:39 AM


I am curious asefer Little Dix over Caneel? Is it the rooms? How does the snorkeling compare. I have only seen Little Dix on a Day Trip, and felt that I liked Caneel better, because of its spaciousness and seven beaches. I am considering doing a Caneel/Dix combo on the trip after next. Your input would be appreciated.

Sunnyboy May 28th, 2004 06:35 PM

I done both, LDB 4 times and CB once as a combo with LDB.

Snorkeling from the beach is beteer from Caneel since as Little Dix the offshore snorkeling is only so so (it's not very deep and only small fish). However, I found snorkeling off of other beaches on VG much better than on St, John - so that's the trade off. IMO rooms at Little Dix are much nicer - they are larger and better furnished. You should think Caneel as standard size motel room and LDB as having oversized rooms with comfortable sitting areas. The 7 beaches at Caneel are a draw but the beaches of VG have them beat although you will have to venture "off property" to find the best. Check out Mahoe Bay which is uncrowded and has the best snorkeling reef on the island just about 20 yards from shore. There's nothing wrong with splitting time between both resorts as this will give you experience on two islands which I think is a plus. While I prefer LDB over CB you are talking about slight differences between the two. If I were to grade LDB as a A+ I'd put CB at B+ mainly due to the size and appointments of the roome and the fact it is a larger resort (I prefer smaller thus less crowded). You won't be disappointed at either resort but having been to both I prefer LDB but that's just me. A lot will depend on what you like.

Dianebridle May 28th, 2004 09:56 PM


Think, Ill put the combo on the drawing board.

I_am_anonymous May 30th, 2004 05:14 AM

Sunnyboy, of all the places you have stayed (which are many!) what was the best for snorkeling from the resort and for snorkeling near the resort (by boat or wheels)? Thanks!

Sunnyboy May 30th, 2004 10:03 AM

TO: I_am_anonymous

I felt that overall the best destination I've been for snorkeling was the British Virgins, specifically Virgin Gorda however as I said in an earlier post the snorkeling directly off the beach at Little Dix Bay is only average. The draw of this island is there are numerous beaches (Savanah Bay, Pond Bay, Spring Bay, Mahoe Bay, Nail Bay, the Baths all with excellent snorkeling directly from the beach (there are several more locations who's name escape at the moment). In addition there are literally a hundred other sites which are easily reached by boat. St. John (USVI)is a close second in available (off resort)snorkel sites. You can snorkeling a diffenernt location each morning and afternoon for a month without repeating a location. One other suggestion, I heard that Bonaire has spectacular snorkeling directly from almost all of it's beaches (some say its the best in the Caribbean), however, this is one of the few islands I've not been to so I can't offer a first hand opinion.

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