Winter Getaway
January 1, 2010 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Heading to a Caribbean resort for a week this winter, but can't narrow it down to a specific resort. Need some recommendations.

My girlfriend and I have been planning on heading somewhere warm in the Caribbean for a week this February. We're looking at going the week of February 15th. It has come to our attention that this is Spring Break, so we're looking for somewhere that is couples only or at the very least not geared to that crowd (i.e. somewhere nice and quiet to relax, not party it up). Nothing too crummy, but nothing too lavish.

We're having a hard time narrowing down where to go. We're flexible on countries, but were eyeing Cuba or the Dominican Republic. The problem is that looking at travel webpages, all the resorts look the same.

Please recommend some resorts that fit the bill!
posted by sah to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My brother got married at the Iberostar Bavaro (Punta Cana) and it might fit the bill. The resort wasn't couples only, but it had a quiet-ish feel (i.e. only one small nightclub on the property), and the whole family really loved staying there. Feel free to memail if you would like more info/link to photos.
posted by purlgurly at 1:35 PM on January 1, 2010

St. Maarten, so you can visit here.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:18 PM on January 1, 2010

Bonaire is very low-key and nice; it's a scuba/snorkling destination.
posted by The otter lady at 2:52 PM on January 1, 2010

Did you read the posts tagged "caribbean"? I've recommended the Grand Case Beach Club in a bunch of them. It's at the east end of the French side of St. Martin, not expensive, JetBlue flies right to St. Martin from JFK and you can take a cab from the airport. The club has its own beach with chaise-longues and little flags you put up to have the staff come bring you piña coladas — it's more popular with European couples than with American families, so there aren't generally kids running around. Here's my map of stuff to do in the area, but there's really no need to leave the club — it's seriously relaxing.
posted by nicwolff at 4:26 PM on January 1, 2010

Round Hill, Jamaica. Or Rose Hall.
posted by Zambrano at 5:03 PM on January 1, 2010

Mr. cabingirl and I went to Couples Swept Away in Negril, Jamaica over Christmas. It was very nice and is couples-only. Age range seemed to be mid-20s to mid-60s.
posted by cabingirl at 5:51 PM on January 1, 2010

When it comes to getting info on resorts, tripadvisor is invaluable, mainly for the reviews. Between the highly critical and the totally uncritical comments you can generally get a pretty good sense of a specific resort - what the food is like, if the 5-star should really be a 3-star*, if it's a sandy or rocky beach, if the rooms are run-down, if the place is overrun with lobster-skinned co-eds, etc. Your best bet might be to find a few resorts that look appealing and fall within your price range, and check out the reviews for each.

If you're going mainly for the beach experience, and only for a week, the country is probably not so important as the location of the resort. Resorts are often run as international chains and as such, can often be pretty interchangeable (this may be an advantage or may not, depending on your personality.) At the risk of stating the obvious, different sides of the same island can mean the difference between big waves and rocky shores vs. calm coves and placid, swimmable ocean, so it might help to figure out what kind of beach you want and make a decision based on that. (At any given resort you can come across a couple griping about the lack of pristine white sand and turquoise water, when a quick Google search beforehand would have told them they were on the wrong coast for that.)

If you care more about pools, look for resorts with a bunch of 'em for variety. My parents stayed at a resort in Mexico with a heated 'infinity' pool that let them soak in the evening and watch whales breaching in the ocean nearby. It's one of their favourite holiday memories.

If you want a city trip in the mix, I'd imagine Havana is quite a bit more tourist-friendly than Santo Domingo. (Disclaimer: I visited Santo Domingo as a single female and though it's an interesting and worthwhile place to visit, it's understandably a little rough around the edges in some areas). And for nature-oriented day trips, I think you'd probably find similar options in Cuba and the Dominican.

* - Remember that a 4 or 5-star hotel in a country like Cuba often won't compare with a 5-star by North American standards.
posted by nicoleincanada at 7:13 PM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

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