Thursday, 01 January 2015 00:00

Caribbean Romance

Written by  Melanie Reffes

There are weddings and then there are really great weddings and although taking the plunge in the Caribbean is reliably great, creative nuptials beyond barefoot on the beach come with pretty good odds that you’ll never forget your anniversary. Whether it’s the first time down the aisle, three times lucky or vow renewals, Valentine’s Day, or any day as the winter winds blow at home, it is the perfect time for a heart-pumping new beginning that comes with a laundry list of conversation starters once you get back home.

Sassy Suites
Couples with a flair for the dramatic are booking the new suites at Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort in St. Lucia. The two-story Water’s Edge Suites are fresh from a facelift that included new outdoor bathtubs and private walkouts to the beach. Butlers, unlimited fine dining and premium spirits sweeten the pot for couples in the mood.
For couples staying at Sandals Regency La Toc, Sandals Grande St. Lucian or Sandals Halcyon Beach, Island Routes offers transport from the airport in an uber-luxe Range Rover or Audi A6. “We are constantly looking to surpass our guests’ expectations and go above and beyond in customer service,“ said David Shields, general manager of Island Routes. “Luxury transfer service is just one of the most popular ways guests like to heighten their experience with their loved ones.” For twosomes who enjoy bonding in the bathtub, Island Routes’ “Fountain of Youth“ tour, sold at all three Sandals Resorts in St. Lucia, includes a dip in the Diamond Mineral Baths where Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife, Josephine, reportedly spent her days. Rounding out a perfect day in the sunshine, the tour adds a sail past the awesome Pitons and Anse La Raye where the fish fry is held on weekend nights, lunch at The Old Mill and shopping in Castries.
With the newly launched “Forever Begins in Barbados,” Barbados Tourism Marketing is making it easy for brides to have their dream wedding in paradise. Bookable through May 31 for travel through December 15, brides fly and stay for free when booking their wedding at select hotels on the island. Ten rooms for four nights includes the marriage license as well as a bottle of bubbly, wedding cake, decorated arch, music and a host of gratis activities and attractions from Harrison’s Cave, Atlantis Submarines, Tiami Catamaran Cruises and Mount Gay Rum Tours. Participating resorts include Sugar Cane Club, The Crane, Turtle Beach, Crystal Cove, Tamarind, Colony Club, The House, Bougainvillea Beach, Island Inn and Mango Bay.

Pop the Question
Greeted by vistas of French St. Martin and the Caribbean Sea, popping the question at CuisinArt Golf Club in Anguilla may not improve your game but it will earn you full marks for trying. If you share a passion for the greens with your hopeful ‘better half,’ Anguilla’s only 18-hole course is the ideal perch for a proposal. Picturesque spots include at the sand dunes that frame the drive at the 16th hole or at the fairway on the 18th hole that dips forty feet to green shrubbery. If you score with a hole-in-one, celebrate in a swishy suite and a couple’s massage in the Venus Spa.
In Jamaica and Turks & Caicos, hopeful grooms with a playful side can propose in the gracious company of the Sesame Street super heroes. With Big Bird, Cookie Monster or Elmo at your side, popping the big question during a Sesame Street Stage Show at Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos and Jamaica will warm any heart.
Skimming the ocean blue on a catamaran called Tango is picture-perfect for asking the big question. A two-hour sail past Mullet Bay in St. Maarten, Cupecoy (the only au natural beach on the Dutch side) and Long Baie which is home to the turtle nesting station spells romance on the waves. Boat bartenders pour plenty of rum punch and with the sail kept at a leisurely pace, there’s plenty of time along the way to get cozy.
www.stmaarten-activities.comCupid’s Little Helpers
Yes, it’s true that a butler-drawn rose petal-scented bath or a rum aperitif as the sun sets may get some couples in the mood, but it’s the natural mood-enhancers that grow on trees, snuggle the rocks and wash up on the beach that really get the juices flowing.
In Jamaica, it may not sound particularly appetizing unless you’re a fan of soup made with a goat head and simmered in a big pot for many hours over an outdoor flame. Add yams, green bananas, root vegetables, potatoes and dumplings and you’ve got a love tonic called “Mannish Water“ presumably because it’s popular with grooms on their wedding night.
In the Dominican Republic, the aphrodisiac of choice is a heady mix of twigs and leaves that are soaked in rum and honey. Known around town as “mamajuana,” it’s sold in pretty painted bottles on street corners in Santo Domingo and in gift shops at the fancy resorts in Punta Cana. Deep red in color and with a taste similar to port wine, some recipes add gin to the mix while others add cinnamon and raisins to cut the bitterness. For maximum results, master brewers might also add conch, octopus or the private parts of a sea turtle.
Across the pond from Martinique, the mojo-enhancing brew in Dominica is made from the bark of the Bois Bande tree. The petite isle’s answer to Viagra, the magical medicinal loosely translated from the French words for “potency wood“ is soaked in rum, brewed in tea, powdered in capsules or blended with wine. Sometimes called “mountain spice,” the mighty concoction works immediately and remains effective for three days. Cashing in on its reputation, staff at the Rosalie Bay Resort will deliver a dose at turndown and for those looking for a unique souvenir; it’s also sold in the gift shop.

Last modified on Friday, 09 January 2015 12:05
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