Travelers who are looking for their traditional Easter trip or their late winter trip to Mexico or the Caribbean might be somewhat disinclined to do so because this year, Easter is so early that it's bumping up, perhaps uncomfortably so, against spring break travel periods. If you want to escape with your significant other or with the family, we've found some packages and promotions -- whether it's Easter travel or just plain old end-of-winter blues travel -- for places where you're less likely to be bothered by the student masses.
The Sheraton Grand Bahama Island (tel. 888/627-7129; www.sheraton.com) has the strongest offering of them all. It's a promotion that, for the second year in a row, restricts access to its resort to those over the age of 21 and encourages families. The hotel is not accepting reservations to people or groups under the age of 21 from February 25 through March 31. Those who do want to stay there can receive discounts of up to 40 per cent with the Sheraton Sunny Savings program. The rates start at $220 and include daily breakfast and access to the kids club onsite camp -- good for children ages 3-12 and available daily until 5pm. Make sure you request the code SUNNY when you book. Or, you can opt for the all-inclusive reef package, rates for that start at $295 and include food and beverages at three on-site restaurants and use of non-motorized water sports. Make sure you ask for rate code AIPKG08 when you reserve. The spring break booking restriction is also valid at the adjacent Westin Grand Bahama Island.
The island of Aruba does not receive the same kind of influx of travelers that other parts of the Caribbean do. The Radisson Aruba Resort & Casino (tel. 800/333-3333; www.radisson.com/aruba) has a special that will discount advance purchases, called Aruba Now. You must book by March 15 for stays through December 18. Rates start from $239 per room for either garden view or ocean view categories. If you stay five nights or longer, you can receive complimentary breakfast for two. The hotel, a AAA four-diamond resort, is located right on the beach in Palm Beach.
The Westin Cancun (tel. 888/625-5144; www.westincancun.com) is offering two separate spring promotions at the moment -- one designed for couples and the other designed for families. Westin's "Indulge" package, includes a full American breakfast for two via room service or the hotel restaurant, a late 4pm checkout, and sparkling wine or champagne and strawberries on arrival. For a lagoon room, the prices start at $214 and go up from there; ocean view rooms start from $235. There is a two-night minimum stay. For families, the "Reconnect" package might be appealing: kids eat free off the kids menu, with the purchase of an adult meal in the restaurant. This is valid for up to two children, 12 years old and younger and requires a two-night minimum stay. Children also receive complimentary access to the hotel's kid's club activity centers. The accommodations start at $189 for a lagoon room and $205 for an ocean view room.
The nine Hilton Hotels in the Caribbean have a romantic getaway package (tel. 877/GO-HILTON; www.hiltoncaribbean.com/romance), but some of them are located in places less immediately popular with students and are therefore better bets, strategically speaking. You're probably less likely to run into spring breakers at the Hilton Tobago Golf & Spa Resort, which is available from $149 (through April 30), or at the Hilton Curaçao, which is available from $239 through March 23 and starts at $189 for stays March 24-December 20. The rates include breakfast for two in your room or at the hotel restaurant, early check-in and late check out (upon request), in-room sparkling wine or cider up on arrival and discounts on entrees in the onsite restaurant.
Price tags might also be a natural exclusion for some student spring break travelers, who might be disinclined to head to the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino (tel. 800/223-0757; www.sonesta.com/MahoBeach) in St. Maarten, for example. The resort is offering a three-night couples package called Romantic Rendezvous starting from $349 per night, valid through March 28, with additional nights available from $299 per night based on double occupancy and availability. The package includes round-trip airport transfers, dinner for two including a special dessert and house wine from room service, breakfast in bed for two and 20% off treatments at the spa, along with turndown service.
Finally, the adults-only Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa (tel. 866. GO-SECRETS; www.secretsresorts.com) has a special called Secrets Escape. It's valid for March bookings for March travel. The package includes a $100 credit per room redeemable for spa treatments. Secrets is an all-inclusive luxury resort and your stay includes unlimited juices, soft drinks, full breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, pool and beach wait service, an outdoor Jacuzzi, and all taxes and gratuities. If that's not enough, Secrets also has a 24/7 concierge and room service. In high season, rates start at $461 per person per night -- for an unlimited, luxury, award-winning resort.
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