What makes an "upscale island" upscale?

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Nov 28th, 2000, 02:28 PM
  #1
gwen
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What makes an "upscale island" upscale?

Like many Canadians, I look forward to my winter vacation in the Caribbean. Some islands are very resonable and some are very expensive. I'd like some thoughts as to why. Dominican Republican, Cuba and Margarita Island have great deals and other places like St Lucia and Antigua are very expensive. Is it just the cost of living? or is it the beauty of the island or the people? Is a 5 star resort in Aruba better than a 5 star resort in Cuba? It can't be the beaches because Cuba and DR have some beautiful beaches.
I have always gone to the more reasonably priced islands and am thinking of going to some others, but wonder if it is worth the extra money. I'm very serious about this and wonder if anyone can tell me how I can justify the extra cost.
Thanks for any thoughts.
Gwen
 
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Nov 28th, 2000, 11:37 PM
  #2
Blackbeard the Pirate
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A great deal of the disparity is caused by the low standard of living and poor economic conditions of DR, Cuba, and Venezuela. Margarita Island is a beautiful island but somewhat primitive and not easily accesible to North Americans. The Dominican Republic has a few 5 star resorts and some beautiful beaches, but is is still sadly a poverty ridden place with an ineffective government faced with massive social and economic problems. Cuba is by far the sadest place in the Caribbean. Yes, even more sad than Haiti, because this once was the crown jewel of the Caribbean. 40 years of Castro and American isolationism have turned this island into a place of no real hope. Cuba has made some good attempts at improving its economy through tourism. But until the US Government lifts its embargo, Cuba has no real chance of significant economic development. And there is NO 5-star resort anywhere on the island.
 
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Nov 29th, 2000, 02:17 PM
  #3
pat
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Perhaps Magarita Island is not accessible to Americans, but it certainly is to Canadians. There are tour operators offereing package tours there all winter.
But to answer Gwen's question, I'm not really sure why the upscale islands are more expensive. the five star resorts in DR are just as nice as other 5 star hotels. I do agree that the islands themselves are poorer, but that does not seem to affect the resorts.
There definately ARE 5 star hotels in Cuba. Beaches is 5 star and beautiful. Many, many Canadians go to Cuba and love it. The cuban people are wonderful.
MAybe, Gwen you should save your money and stick to these more economical islands.
 
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Nov 29th, 2000, 03:50 PM
  #4
Arubasun.
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What makes an island upscale

1. high standard of living.
2. Quality accomodations and service.
3. Cleanliness and low crime rate.
4. Expensive not a getaway for college kids.
5. Attracts a great deal of high income earners.



In the Atlantic Bermuda is the most upscale island. In bermuda there is a strict dress code. Aruba is also on the upscale side but does not have a dress code. Aruba has 3 five star resorts with great quality accomodations and some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. In addition Aruba has a good infrastructure and communication network. The standard of living of Aruba is amongst the highest in the Caribbean. The island is clean and crime rate is low. Aruba has the highest hotel occupancy rate in the Caribbean and there has been no additional hotel development since 1995 because of the moratorium. I must agree the airfare to Aruba from the U.S is sky high and that is because there is lots of demand for Aruba from the U.S. while there is a limited supply of accomodations. Believe me many U.S. carriers heading to Aruba are practically fully booked until April 2001. The money you pay in accomodations in Aruba is well worth it and the island is not a dissapointment unless you would prefer a lusher island.

Isla Margarita, Dominican Republic are much more mid priced to low priced and thus catered much more to European travelers who are eager to come to the Caribbean paying less. There is a clear differance between the accomodations provided on Aruba and those on Isla Margarita or D.R. cleary the rooms in Aruba do have more ammenities, most with their own kitchen and the interior design is of better quality. As a matter of fact most hotels on the island of Aruba do renovate every 3 or so years in order to stay in the strong competition amongst hotels on the island such as the Hyatt, Radisson and the Mariott. Not to mention that Aruba has more than great restaurants..

Tip if you choose Aruba I suggest you stay at the Radisson which is called the great madamme of all resorts on the island. The building in which the Radisson is located is 41 years old and it has recently completed a 50 million dollar renovation. If you would like more quiet and peace and get away from the high rise action than I would suggest Bucuti Beach Resort.

So being upscale is not about beaches it is about the tourism infrastructure of the island, and if the quality meets the desires of the upscale market it will turn slowly into an upscale destination.
 
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Nov 29th, 2000, 09:50 PM
  #5
Blackbeard the Pirate
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I am not an Ameican. I live and work right here in the Caribbean in the travel industry. Pat's statements on a few things are very misleading and WRONG on a few others. Margarita Island is not easily accessible to Canadians despite tour operators who take people there. It is still difficult to reach. There is absolutely no 5-star resort in Cuba!
 
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Nov 30th, 2000, 04:26 AM
  #6
sussette
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I have been to more than 12 islands in the whole Caribbeean, and I would like to say that the best in everything is the island of Aruba, so far.
 
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Nov 30th, 2000, 06:00 AM
  #7
BillK
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Susette,

Then you haven't been to St Barths yet.
 
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Nov 30th, 2000, 01:05 PM
  #8
pat
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My apologies to Blackbeard and any one else I may have mislead. I reviewed my books and have discovered that 'Beaches' resort in Cuba is classed as a '4* plus' resort, not a five star.....still very nice to stay there.
However, Air Transat ( a Canadian Charter Airline) has direct flights to Margarita Island. To me that makes it accessible. This is as well as tour packages that go there direct. I'm not sure what Blackbeard's definition is of 'accessible' is, but flying direct can't get any easier.
 
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Nov 30th, 2000, 02:37 PM
  #9
Doug
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Hi folks, just a note about Cuba and Beaches. We were there in December last year, at that time it was no where near a 4 star resort. Yes, they were still doing a lot of construction in an attempt to make it look like part of the Sandals chain, but fell short. The Italian rest. closed every other night leaving only the the buffet, it wore thin after a while. We did tour other resorts, from looking first hand I will agree that there are no 5 stars.
Gwen, save Cuba for last.
 
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Nov 30th, 2000, 07:34 PM
  #10
Gwen
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Thanks everyone for your input. Sounds like Aruba is a beautiful island. Maybe I'll make plans to go there.
Gwen
 
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Dec 2nd, 2000, 07:29 AM
  #11
Sussette
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This is for BillK, no I have not, but I will love to, to me it seems that you have been to many islands in the caribbean thats why you wrote that, in the near future I will love to go there, perhaps any sugestion as where to stay in St. Barts? thank you Bill.
 
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Dec 2nd, 2000, 01:04 PM
  #12
BillK
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Sussette,

There are many great hotels but my preference is to rent a villa in the hills (Columbier to be exact) the views are spectacular, the privacy unbeatable, and that feeling of home away from home. Yes we've been to over 25 caribbean locations and found St Barths 7 years ago and have been going back ever since. As a matter of fact its only 34 days to go and we're back for another visit. If you want to check out villas try www.wimco.com click on St Barths and away you go. If your planning a trip and want any info e-mail me directly.
 
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Dec 2nd, 2000, 01:35 PM
  #13
Linda Lovette
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Exactly where is St. Farts located?
 
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Dec 2nd, 2000, 04:50 PM
  #14
james
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You get what you pay for - the most dangerous islands, ie Jamaica can be wonderful, and frankly not that dangerous at all. Spend the money and you'll have a great time. Aruba is amazing, but cash will buy you the place to stay in. Cuba has great beaches but dreadful hygiene
 
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