Which Island/Resort for 25th Anniversary Trip

Old Aug 9th, 2009, 06:51 AM
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Which Island/Resort for 25th Anniversary Trip

Planning a trip to the Caribbean for our 25th wedding anniversary. I am looking at three different islands and resorts and would appreciate if anyone has any recommendations about which one. We like great views and relaxing on the beach and good places to eat. Also which might be the safest area. Thanks in advance; I always get great advice here

1. Oyster Bay Beach Resort Oyster Pond, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles

2. Marriott's St. Kitts Beach Club Frigate Bay, St. Kitts

3. Ramada Grand Caymanian Resort Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
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Old Aug 9th, 2009, 07:42 AM
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You are considering 3 very different islands. Perhaps this will help:

Grand Cayman - flat, arid, scribby island with exceptional 7 mile long stretch of white sand beach lapped by calm bright torquoise waters, very good diving and snorkeling. No real views of other islands. This is a relatively expensive destination especially when compared to the other islands on your list. Island has a "British" heritage and is considered a very safe destination.

St. Martin - hilly but somewhat arid island with a few lusher areas in the hills. Smaller "cove like" golden sand beaches dotted around the island with varying shares of torquoise and dark blue waters, lots of duty free shopping and hundreds of restaurants, some among the best in the Caribbean Decidedly European feel (both Dutch and French). Island gets visited by lots of cruise ships so the two main towns (Marigot and Phillipsburg) can be crowded at times. Depending on your vantage point the island has wonderful views of neighboring islands of Anguilla, St. Barth's (these two are easily reachable for day trips) and Saba as well as nearby unihabited islets and cays). Lots of watersports, some snorkeling, casinos, plenty of nightlife, scores of beach bars and other tourist oriented activities. Island does have some evidence of crime aimed at tourists so use common sense.

St. Kitt's - volcanic based islands with high mountains and lush rain forests, darker sand (anywhere from light beige to brown to black) cove like beaches with steel blue waters. This island offers ziplining, hiking trails, some very good restaurants, above average number of beach bars, golf, some duty free shopping, old ruins to explore, petroglyphics to discover, tropical gardes and one of the largest and best fortresses in the Caribbean. Depending on your vantage point you can see the nearby islands of Nevis (easily reachable for a day trip), St Eustatia and Saba (NOTE: The Marriott is located on the Atlantic side of the island so you won't be able to see any of those islands from the resort). There's only limited snorkeling around the island.
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Old Aug 9th, 2009, 10:30 AM
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thanks; just the type of information I am looking for; anyone have specifics on the resorts?
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Old Aug 9th, 2009, 02:06 PM
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I just returned from Grand Cayman but cannot speak to the Ramada. If it's on or near 7 mile beach, then you cannot go wrong. The beach is fantastic. I've stayed at The Westin, Treasure Island and The Ritz. I love Grand Cayman but I enjoy snorkeling and this can be done off the beach at Cemetary Reef or Governor's Reef. It's a pricey island but we had a few meals at Eats which is reasonable and some pizza and bought some of our snacks to keep things relatively stable. It is flat and arid with spectacular water, fun sunset sails, some touristy shopping, etc. Very civilized. I was only disappointed not to hear any steel drums.
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Old Aug 11th, 2009, 08:37 AM
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We haven't been to St Maarten yet. The thing that attracts us about it is the white sandy beaches and the awesome restaurants. It's on our short list.

The Marriott on St Kitts is nice enough. It is large though. You will know you're on island time there. The locals are very friendly - more than what we've seen on many other islands. If you're a history buff, there's good stuff to see but it's also a great place to just relax and do some "liming"

The Ramada in GC is on the north side lagoon. Ramada's are known for being a little more mellow. GC has it's followers. It's fun to swim with the stingrays. It's a very safe island, but a little more on the spendy side.

Which would I choose? Knowing that beaches and food are high on your list, my choice would be St Maarten.
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Old Aug 11th, 2009, 09:10 AM
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I would not go to St.Martin. I think the traffic is horrific there and it doesn't even feel like an island because of it. It's also IMO junky and in our experience the people have not been nice. Down right rude to be exact. I would go with Grand Cayman. It's no more expensive than any of your other choices. Any Caribbean island is expensive. Anyone who travels to the islands realizes that we don't go to save money. I think GC will fit your expectations in a great way.
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Old Aug 11th, 2009, 07:11 PM
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A variety of answers; thanks; I am still having a hard time deciding.

Let me throw two more in the mix...

Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort St. Thomas

Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino Curacao
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Old Aug 12th, 2009, 09:41 AM
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take frenchmans reef/ st.thomas off the list. on small beach, very near charlotte amalie which is an extremely busy town. if st. thomas interests you consider the ritz. stunning hotel with nice beach/infinity pool area and glorious view of small islands nearby. st.t has nice variety of dining options. and it is very easy to ferry to st. john or any of the bvi's for a day trip.
it would help us advise you if you could tell us what you might like to do in addition to chill/beach time.
also how long your vaca is and if you are willing to spend most of a day traveling. for example grand cayman is quick & easy to get to and st. kitts is a long trip from almost anywhere.
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Old Aug 12th, 2009, 04:26 PM
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Please take anguilla girls' comments with a grain of salt. she obviously does not like St Maarten, which is fine, but her comments are always one sided and not very informative.
I got the message from her a long time ago that she hates st maarten.

sxm has friendly people and rude people. depends on how you treat them. most visitors find st maarten very friendly.
traffic can be horrendous depending on where you go and at what time.
sxm still feels very much like an island even with the traffic. the traffic is not bad all over the island, just in the heaviest traveled tourist areas, like Simpson Bay, and in season.

SXM has the best dining in the Caribbean.

St. Kitts and Grand Cayman are nice too.
I am sure you will enjoy your vacation which ever island you choose.
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Old Aug 12th, 2009, 05:07 PM
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Curacao Marriott is my favorite Marriott in the Caribbean thus far (also been to Aruba Marriott and St. Kitts Marriott). It is low-rise, smaller than Marriott St. Kitts (which I found to be devoid of charm) and has more personality. There are beachfront "executive" rooms on the first floor (simply means they are a bit larger, and have a couch and a coffee table for a "living area")where you can walk out to the beach and the view is great. We enjoyed Curacao which has a great euro-caribbean charm, interesting town and nice cove beaches with decent snorkeling. Many good restaurants and easy to drive around. You didn't say when you were going, but we thought the Curacao Marriott was an excellent value in high season and the off-season rates and really reasonable.
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Old Aug 12th, 2009, 07:49 PM
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We are planning a one week vacation in September. The main thing we are interested in is beach/chill and some good restaurants (we love to eat out and enjoy good food); might do some snorkeling/water activities but not a high priority

Question about Curacao...from reading posts at this site there is an oil refinery; how much is this an issue?
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Old Aug 13th, 2009, 07:24 AM
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Well, it was a non-issue for me. In fact, it turns out there is a very slight view of it from the end of the Curacao Marriott's beach, but I didn't even know it was there for the first several days! You can't see it from most of the beach. Honestly, I wouldn't let that dissuade you from visiting a great island.
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Old Aug 13th, 2009, 02:17 PM
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I fully agree with Barbara regarding the comments of 'Anguillagirl'. Like many people who regard Anguilla as the most perfect place in the Caribbean, she obviously hates St Martin ! Personally, though I hold a British passport, I would far rather live on the French side of St Martin (as I do) than on Anguilla. The French side of the island - though Barbara will probably disagree ! - has a much nicer 'feel' to it than the heavilly overbuilt and highly commercialized Dutch side. The resort which you are considering is on the Dutch / French border, and you will have a few minutes drive to any of the good restaurants. The best ones are mainly in Grand Case, on the French side, which would be about a 15 to 20 minute drive for you. The beaches on St Martin / Sint Maarten are very pale brown - not white, but there are plenty to choose from and, as Barbara rightly says, the people ARE friendly - so long as you treat them as any civilized person should.
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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 06:49 AM
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Since you are now including the Marriott in Curacao - that would be my choice of journey!

Think about renting a car for at least a few days. There is much to see on the island. Whether you are drinking a cocktail,reading a book while enjoying the sunshine at the pool or sitting on the beach with the ocean breeze blowing in your face, this is the way to experience a 25th wedding anniversary.
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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 06:18 PM
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I have only been to St. Martin (French/North side) although we explored the whole island with a rental car. We stayed at the Radisson Spa and Resort in Anse Marcel. It was a lovely resort with a couple great restaurants (expensive though)on site. Our favorite restaurant was a small Italian one across the street. Everyone we encountered on both sides of the island were very friendly. We also went to Grand Case for dinner and there is a small restaurant right outside the resort with great pizza and not expensive. You can rent a car right at the resort. My daughter and I felt completely safe. The lobby is gorgeous! The infinity pool that overlooks the beach is huge! There is a French hotel next door that we walked to, but didn't end up eating there. Oh, this makes me want to go back! We did go to where the cruise ships dock on the South side of the island to shop and we ate at a sushi restaurant near the medical university.
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Old Aug 16th, 2009, 04:06 AM
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If thinking about curacao, I'd recommend Kura Hulanda Lodge and stay on the beautiful west punt area as opposed to in town. Much better!

Peace, Greenie
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Old Aug 16th, 2009, 08:48 AM
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Hi Alm9664,

Congrats on 25!

I see you have referenced 3 Marriott properties on various islands. If, by any chance you are Marriott Rewards members and have points to use, the Ritz on Grand Cayman allows you to use Marriott points for your stay and it is supposed to be very nice. The Ritz is on "points savers" until the end of September too. Of course there is a Marriott on GC too, but a week there is about the same cost in points as the Ritz when on point saver.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 10:02 AM
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25 years ago had a very rommantic dinner at oyster pond...always thought about going back for the 25th anniversary
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