Deals and Discounts
All-suite and, indeed, all sweet, Sonesta Ocean Point is the newest playground on the Dutch side of St. Maarten. Fronting Maho Beach, a stone’s throw from the airport, the all-inclusive and adults-only resort appeals to summer wallet-watchers who plan ahead. With a thirty day advance booking, the twenty-five percent discount is hard to resist. Stay as long as you like from a weekend to a leisurely couple of weeks (some resorts on sale in the summer require a minimum stay) and make yourself at home in a swim-out pool suite with 24/7 room service. Unlimited dining runs the gamut from Azul for Chef Cober Phillip’s ribbons of pasta and seafood in a creamy blend of Chardonnay and basil, to all of the eateries at the adjacent Sonesta Maho Beach Resort. Thirst quenching gets a workout at the Sunset Lounge, Martin’s Bar and the Palms Grill; the epicenter of generous pours made famous by Cheryl the Master Bartender.
Across the sea in Anguilla, bring the entire brood to Cap Juluca where the biggest decisions are whether to join a game of volleyball on the beach, spend the afternoon soaking up the rays, or letting it all hang out in the Spa. The aptly named “Family Holiday” valid through August 23, tempts with a fifty percent savings on a second room for the kids and gratis dinner for four with a seven night stay (who would stay on such an a island less than a week?) Fronting Maundays Bay, the resort impresses with details like terraces that welcome the gentle wind through louvered plantation shutters, ocean views from all the rooms, sorbet served on the beach every afternoon and sunset cruises on the resorts own thirty-two footer.
Along the volcanic sands of Pinney’s Beach on the western coast of Nevis, across the channel from St. Kitts, beachside dreams are affordable during the summer. With the coveted AAA Five Diamond ranking and the only Four Seasons Resort in the Caribbean, Four Seasons Nevis is offering a “Stay Longer” package in July that includes a fourth night on the house. For eco-astute families, Sea Turtle Conservation Weekend from July 10 to July 13 is a must-do with Turtle Watch Walks, Turtle Camp for kids and gratis meals for turtle-watchers under 12.
Gratis Nights and Good Times
St Lucia rocks with hot deals for beds for heads, to snorkel tours, catamaran cruises and zip line rides. With summer rates that can dip as low as fifty-five percent below winter rates, staying a few extra days is easy on the vacation bottom line. Showstoppers like Anse Chastanet are offering four nights for the price of three, super spectacular Jade Mountain is dishing up the fourth and seventh night gratis in the crazy fabulous Sky suites and the flip-flop friendly Bay Gardens Beach Resort sweetens the summer pot with room rates nearly half of what they are in the winter and breakfast pour deux on the house.
Courtesy of fewer tourists during the summer and more direct flights that started in June, Martinique is a treasure chest of uber-affordable room rates and a colorful array of local festivals. The “Summer Splash Sale” is full of French flair in hotels like Bakoua in the charming area called Pointe-du-Bout with rooms as low as $141 per night from June to September, (www.hotel-bakoua.fr) and La Pagerie with the Tropical Café, Hibiscus Restaurant and rates from $131 nightly. www.hotel-lapagerie.com.
Get happy from July 3 to 25 as the Cultural Festival of Fort-de-France heats up the capital city with art exhibits, theatre and smoking hot concerts. From July 26 to August 2, it’s off to the races with Tour de la Martinique des Yoles Rondes; one of the prettiest and biggest boating events in the Caribbean, and for fans of the French Caribbean musical genre called Biguine; a fusion of 19th-century French ballroom and African rhythms, Biguine Jazz Festival gets groovy from August 6- 9.
Great for moms and dads on a budget, El Conquistador & Las Casitas Village in the east coast town of Fajardo in Puerto Rico is family-friendly with a cool package called “Summer Splash” that includes tickets for four to Coqui Water Park; the only seaside water park in the Caribbean, a $50 credit that can be used for a round of golf on the 18-hole course, massages at the Waldorf Astoria Spa, watersports on nearby Palomino Island and dining at a whopping twenty-three restaurants and bars. Nightly rates for a three-night stay start from $229 at El Conquistador and $289 at Las Casitas Village.
www.elconresort.com and www.lascasitasvillage.com
Sun and Surf on Sale
It’s called the “Summer of Freedom” and for travelers to the British Virgin Islands, that means big savings for stays in lavish villas, smaller hotels and private isles throughout the sixty cays and islands that make up the BVI. Paradise found for sailors, divers and snorkelers, big ticket low-season deals include one night on the house with a five-night stay at the swishy Peter Island Resort, (www.peterisland.com) beach picnics, bottle of bubbly and a pair of massages at Guana Island (www.guana.com), complimentary nights in Virgin Gorda at Rosewood Little Dix Bay with its seven secluded beaches and trio of seaside restaurants (www.rosewoodhotels.com) and at Scrub Island Resort, the “buy five and stay for seven” deal includes airport transfers, private ferry rides and a $500 credit well spent at the posh Ixora Spa (www.scrubisland.com). For history buffs and everyone else who likes a street party, Emancipation Festival from July 24 to August 9 in the capital city of Tortola is a bonanza of music, food and parades. www.bvitourism.com
In Jamaica, if the walls could talk, there would be a lot of chatter going on at GoldenEye in Oracabessa Bay on the north coast. For fans of spy thrillers, the easy-going resort has quite a storied past as the location where author Ian Fleming wrote all fourteen of the James Bond novels after discovering the island during a World War ll mission. For aspiring writers, “Goldeneye Revisited” is an awesome four-night package in the Fleming five-bedroom villa where his writing desk remains. Themed add-ons include snorkeling tours of his favorite reef, meet and greet with Ramsey Dacosta, Fleming’s former gardener who still works there, and a look-see at Firefly, the home of author Noel Coward who was Fleming’s friend and neighbor.