You've seen more than one Caribbean sampler from us recently, and there are many more coming down the pike. Unlike Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates, however, you should know after reading this grouping of holiday deals just what you're going to get if you are looking for a way to spend time in sunny climes this winter. Rates at all-inclusive resorts from $150 and up should make almost anyone happy, I would guess.
$150 is the price (per person) you'll pay if you stay at the Jolly Beach Resort in St. John's on Antigua from December 21, 2003 through April 15, 2003, the high season. That includes standard accommodations (you share a double room), all meals and drinks, entertainment, non-motorized water sports, taxes and service charge. The resort has five restaurants, seven bars (including the swim-up "bistro" in the pool), four tennis courts lit for night play, a fully-equipped gym and scheduled exercise classes, a lounge, a cyber center, the Kids Club for ages 2 to 12, and best of all, the Jolly Beach signature Fantasy Pool (8,000 square feet) with waterfall and whirlpool. For more information and to make reservations, phone toll free 866/905-6559 or 800/652-2962 or visit www.jollybeachresort.com.
Down in Aruba, 17 resorts are offering children 12 and under (maximum of two per room) bed and breakfast free (the latter from the Kids Menu in hotel restaurants), daily free children's' activities (some restrictions apply), and a free family gift, as well as other special discounts and free activities. Other special offers (for one kid 12 and under per paying adult) include free island sightseeing and sailing & snorkeling cruise with De Palm Tours, free trip with Sea World Explorer, free 3rd day car rental or a 20% discount for the family with Economy Car Rental, free kids meal dinner at participating Aruba Gastronomic Association restaurants, etc. Participating resorts include the Aruba Grand, Best Western Manchebo Beach, Divi Village Beach, Holiday Inn SunSpree, Radisson, Renaissance, and Wyndham, to mention only a few places. For more information, go to www.aruba.com.
OK, it's not the Caribbean, but it wants to be, so we'll indulge it for now. Often more expensive than some places further south, Bermuda is running a "Compliments" package for the island's "Fall-Into-Spring" season, which most other places call "winter." You can book a four-day (three-night) Compliments of Bermuda getaway, including airfare, lodging and roundtrip airport/hotel transfers, for prices starting at $465 per person. (Prices vary depending upon your departure city, lodging and dates of travel, naturally. The $465 price is from Boston, staying at the Grotto Bay; from New York, the cheapest package is $525, also at the Grotto Bay.) Other hotels in the program include the prestigious Fairmont Hamilton Princess, but the range runs from Ariel Sands to Surf Side, alphabetically, that is.
If you book between now and March 31, 2003, you can travel through April 7, 2003, and get a $100 credit per booking upon check in that can be used the same as cash at participating Bermuda retail stores and attractions. Furthermore, each adult visitor gets a special Passport to Savings, with coupons for reductions in price on everything from retail shops and restaurants to attractions and golf course greens fees. For more information, phone 800/BERMUDA, your travel agent, or visit www.bermudatourism.com.
US Virgin Islands
Here's a nice, comparatively small, place to get a little beach and quiet this winter--the Chenay Bay Beach Resort in St. Croix. Situated on one of the island's nicest beaches, Chenay Bay consists of 50 West Indies-style cottages that hug the shoreline, overlooking the sea. From January 5 to 18, 2003, room rates for a garden view cottage (single or double occupancy) start at $175, then rise to $248 from January 19 through March 31, 2003, but fall back again on April 1 to $175, where they remain until December 20, 2003. (For the Christmas/New Year holiday period of December 21, 2002 to January 4, 2003, rates start also at the $248 level). Each cottage has its own private bathroom, air conditioning and fan, fully equipped kitchenette, phone, radio, and cable TV. This winter (2002-03), families can take advantage of the "Kids Stay & Eat Free" promotion, in which children 18 and under stay free of charge when sleeping in the same room as paying adults, and kids 12 and under eat free, too. For more information, contact Chenay Bay Beach Resort at 800/548-4457 or visit www.chenaybay.com.
The US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism and some hotels there are sponsoring a "Free Stay Caribbean" promotion. As part of the program, a USVI DOT rep meets cruise ship passengers as they disembark their vessels and provides them with a coin specifically designed "for your return visit," to be redeemed for free hotel nights at the hotels involved. Guests who present their USVI coins on check in will receive two free room nights when five room nights are booked at the following resorts: Bolongo Bay Beach Club, Holiday Inn Windward Passage, Point Pleasant Resort, Renaissance Grand Beach Resort, Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina, and Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa. Also, the Virgin Islands Charteryacht League provides you one free night when a wee-long charter yacht vacation is booked. For more information, visit www.freestaycaribbean.com.