Beaches – The Luxury Included Family Resorts


Beaches Resorts were designed with families in mind, where everyone can enjoy their own perfect paradise and where families can create lasting memories.  They have been voted World’s Best Family Resorts, and no wonder with all of the amenities included.  Just to mention a few:

  • Certified nannies, kids camps, dedicated tween programs
  • Teens programs including their own Beach Shack and Club Liquid with music, beach parties, and more
  • Adults only restaurants and nightclubs
  • Unlimited Xbox 360 Game Garage
  • The Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street including Character Breakfasts
  • Dive-In Movies
  • Red Lane Spas and state of the art fitness centers
  • Water Sports – including scuba
  • Pirates Island themed action-adventure waterpark
  • Programs for infants up to teens
  • Romance for the adults including private beach dining
  • Weddings
  • Exclusive Beaches Best Friends Forever Girls Getaways (includes welcome cocktail reception, skincare classes, island dance lessons, beach bonfire PJ party, sunset catamaran sail, farewell dinner)
  • Beaches are also Green Globe Certified
  • And of course your Luxury Included vacation includes all of your meals, snacks and drinks. 

Beaches Turks & Caicos is a tropical resort with international flair with a French Village, Italian Village and Caribbean Village.  Just over an hour from Miami, this jewel-like strand of islands strung close together in the brilliant turquoise seas.  In this paradise, flamingos outnumber residents and humpback whales are seen close to shore.

There are 7 swimming pools including a zero-entry pool with a waterfall, a kid-size pool for the little ones, swim up bars for the grownups, Pirates Island, and the half-acre fantasy pool in the Italian Village.  Beaches Turks & Caicos also offers an exclusive scuba programs for kids 8 and up.

With 30 room categories, there is something for every family here, with suites that sleep up to 14 people.  And with 16 restaurants to choose from, you will be able to satisfy the most discriminating appetites. 

Beaches Boscobel at Ocho Rios, Jamaica is truly a resort with something for everyone.  Set on a beautiful white sand beach at the base of the St. Ann Mountains, this resort does the impossible – it makes everyone happy.As always you have the spa, unlimited water sports and land activities, but you also get unlimited golf and green fees for the whole family and a golf camp for 8 – 16 year olds.  There are 12 room categories, 5 restaurants, and 4 pools. There is also great sightseeing and shopping nearby.  You can visit the magnificent Dunn’s River Falls, Swim with the Dolphins, and more.  

Beaches Negril is set on the widest part of Negril’s famous 7 mile beach.  Get ready to let go, let your hair down, and just relax.  Negril is known for it’s laid back atmosphere where no building is taller than the tallest palm tree.  This resort offers it all from exciting water sports, relaxing beach activities, and all of the amenities of the Luxury Included Beaches experience.  5 restaurants, 3 pools, 11 room categories and full exchange privileges with Beaches Sandy Bay. 

Beaches Sandy Bay in Negril, Jamaica offers carefree relaxation in Paradise.  Relax and leave the real world behind, this unhurried place is all about kicking back and enjoying the warmth and relaxation of the tropics.  This resort offers a more intimate experience with just 128 rooms in 9 room categories, 2 pools and 4 restaurants.  Although there is no water theme park here, with full exchange privileges at Beaches Negril you won’t miss a thing.  

No matter your age, when you visit one of the Beaches Resorts you will feel like it was designed just for you.  And it was!

Sandals in the Bahamas


Sandals Royal Bahamian offers not only the sophisticated British elegance of the main resort, but a laid-back off-shore private island giving you 2 vacations in one!

The main resort offers 19 room categories including those in the secluded Royal Village – you’ll feel as if you are in your own private retreat.  Cottages are nestled beneath fantail palms and fruit trees – expansive bedrooms are divinely plush, intimate pools are places throughout the Royal Village.  You may also choose a room in either the Royal Windsor Suite Tower or the Bahamian Manor Tower. 

There are 10 restaurants at Sandals Royal Bahamian, including the exclusive “Gordon’s On The Pier” exclusively for Butler Level guests.  9 bars, 6 swimming pools and of course the offshore island, will keep you happily relaxed or as busy as you’d like to be. 

The exclusive Offshore Island has 2 beaches, one for swimming and snorkeling and the other for high energy watersports.  There is a lagoon style pool with a swim up bar, Café Goombay for some authentic Bahamian dishes, and the Red Lane Spa zen garden. 

Sandals Emerald Bay is the first All-Butler Resort in the Sandals line.  This was originally built as a Four Seasons resort, has 183 all suite accommodations, 5 gourmet restaurants and 5 bars, 3 pools including a one acre freshwater pool, an 18 hole Greg Norman designed championship golf course, and a 17 acre marina. 

Sandals Emerald Bay is on Great Exuma in the Bahamas.  All oceanfront and all butler (trained by The Guild of Professional English Butlers, as are all Sandals butlers). There are 16 room categories from the Exuma Honeymoon Luxury Suites all the way up to the top of the line Royal Estate 2 Story 1 Bedroom Beachfront Suite with Pool- prime location, sweeping views of the ocean & beach and a private infinity pool. 

While in the Bahamas, you might want to enjoy some off property excursions like Diving with the Sharks (you can learn to dive at all the Sandals resorts), Swim with the Dolphins, Deep Sea Fishing or Catamaran Cruises.

What’s Happening in the Riviera Maya?


This area south of Cancun on the East Coast of Mexico is growing so fast it’s hard to keep track.  One of the new All Inclusive resorts is Sandos Playacar Riviera Hotel & Spa.  This is a sister resort of Playacar Beach Resort and Spa and guests have access to both resorts.

 

Sandos Resort has 400 junior and 2-room suites, many have large in-room hot tubs and all have balconies.  Most rooms are in three story buildings containing a few dozen rooms each, but there are also two story hacienda villas which have 10 rooms each.  These haciendas are popular for family reunions, weddings and other special events.  Each has its own private plunge pool.

 

The property at Sandos is shaded with palm trees and other foliage and it is just a short walk between the 2 resorts.  The sister properties share a new spa with 22 treatment rooms, each with a private shower.  There is also a fitness center with spinning, yoga and aerobic classes – these facilities are free other than the actual spa treatments.

 

The Beach Resort also has a kids program.  Once every week they take over the 600 seat theater performing in Disney character costumes and skits.  The disco is for teens only until 10PM when it changes to adults only. 

 

Each resort has several restaurants serving gourmet meals. For those of you who want the VIP treatment there is a hotel-within-a-hotel component called the Royal Club.  For only $25 extra per day you can have features such as private check-in, a dedicated concierge and a private club room with free top-shelf brand liquors and Internet access.

 

While in the Riviera Maya there are a couple of things you shouldn’t miss.  Snorkeling and Scuba Diving are fabulous here.  The Mayan ruins of Tulum are close by.  And the Dolphin Discovery where you have an opportunity to swim and play with the dolphins.

Grand Bahama Island


A couple of years after my second cruise, my best friend called me from Hawaii (where she lives) to ask if I would like to join her and another friend on a trip to Grand Bahama Island.  The other friend had a timeshare and we would just each need to pay $100 for the week along with our airfare and spending money.  Well, you can’t say no to that!

 

I had just gone through a really rough 6 months – I had been diagnosed with Colon Cancer, had successful surgery (and I’m still healthy 8 years later!), while I was recovering from the surgery my father fell ill and passed away, then I got deathly ill from chemotherapy and ended up hospitalized again myself.  I was finally getting my strength back and a trip to the sunshine in a few months sounded like just the remedy I needed.

We went in May of 2001.  We all met up in Miami as we were traveling from different places and spent a night enjoying South Beach.  Then we caught our flight for the short hop over to Grand Bahama the next morning.

I loved it!  We were staying at the Ocean Reef Yacht Club so we were between Freeport and Port Lucaya.  Our condo was fabulous – 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and looking out at the marina.  There was a nice big living room, small full kitchen and a nice pool which we spent time around pretty much every afternoon.

We quickly found our way around with the “bus” system.  The buses are mini vans that keep to a particular route, but usually go when they are full.  It seems like it was about $1 per person to go to either Freeport or Port Lucaya.

We spent our first few days exploring both places, shopping and just enjoying the relaxed pace.  We went out in the evenings.  This was when I found out that in the Caribbean people go out late!  If you want to go enjoy the best places (where the locals go) you should probably take a nap in the afternoon. 

We shopped at the International Marketplace in Freeport which had some great shops and nice restaurants.  I really enjoyed the craft market at Port Lucaya – we spent so much time there that the vendors were getting to know us.  I also enjoyed the restaurants and they had music in the square most evenings.

We did the Dolphin Encounter one day.  I had wanted to do the swim but the ladies I was with thought they’d be more comfortable with the encounter and it seems we made the right choice.  It was so fun!  We sat around a “U” shaped dock and the dolphins swam around showing us their bellies and opened their mouths so we could see their teeth.  They would go under water and pop up and surprise someone, splash us as they went by.  We each got a few minutes on a platform at the end of the U where we could pet them and observe them up close.  This was one of the best parts of our trip.beth-and-dolphin.jpg

Wednesday night we went to the Fish Fry at Smith’s Point.  Unfortunately, we had a lot of rain this day and so this was not the party that it usually is.  The locals would drive up and get their food to go.  We were about the only ones walking around and we were soaked.  The food was excellent – several different kinds of fish, conch fritters (oh, I loved those) and some of the best Macaroni and Cheese I have ever tasted!

Around Thursday we decided to rent a car for a couple of days and do some more exploring.  The first day we drove East.  I was really amazed to see the pine tree forests – I expected Palm trees, but not pines.  bahamian-pine-forest.jpgWe had taken a tour early in the week that went to Garden of the Groves which was beautiful.  This time we went to the Lucayan National Park and Gold Rock Beach.  We then kept driving until we came to the end of the road (and went on down a dirt road until it really ended).  We did a little wading, but it was pretty rocky where we were.  We were hungry so on the way back we saw a sign for the  Bar at Pelican Point and thought this looked like a good place to stop for some food.   The bartender was surprised that on our first visit to the island we found them.

bar-at-pelican-point.jpgThis was a great place with good food, cold beer and a friendly bartender.  There was a group of maybe 12 people who were staying at the cottages next to the place.  Other than that there was no one around.  After lunch we went onto the beach.  Beautiful, white sand and blue water as far as you could see – with no people at all!  Now this is heaven!  beach-at-pelican-point.jpgWhen I go back I think I would stay out this way and just take day trips into Freeport and Port Lucaya.

The next day we drove to the West end of the island.  Gail had wanted to go snorkeling and we’d been told there was a place out this way that was best, but we had rain and some lightening so they were not letting anyone in the water.   We ended up just taking a scenic drive and stopping at another small beach – deserted as well.  As you drive along the highway there are piles of Conch shells – we stopped and picked up a few to bring home. 

We went on a sunset dinner cruise one night – that was a lot of fun.  Lisa and me on the Sunset CruiseI enjoyed almost all of our time on Grand Bahama – the people were extremely friendly and everything was very relaxed. 

I haven’t made it back yet, but really look forward to another trip there someday.  There are just too many other Caribbean islands to visit – and never enough time or money.

 

Iberostar Amazon Cruises??


I’m a travel consultant and I knew that Iberostar had hotels across Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.  But I just learned this week that they also offer Amazon River Cruises.  The Iberostar Grand Amazon is just 270’, has 72 cabins and 2 suites.  There are also 2 pools and one Jacuzzi, 2 restaurants, a fitness center, conference room for up to 148 persons, a ballroom and even Internet service.

 

This luxury cruise offers daily excursions such as hiking in the rain forest, swimming with pink dolphins, nighttime boat trips, and more.  The excursions are led by locals from the Manaus area and are grouped by language.  At least 2 guides accompany each group and are appropriate for most fitness levels as you will stop frequently for the guides to point our local flora and fauna.

These all inclusive trips range from 3 – 7 days, staterooms are a roomy 240 sq. ft., all have verandahs and are decorated with Brazilian hardwoods, art and crafts.  They are very reasonably priced, but will probably go up soon.  If you’re planning a trip to South America and want to explore the Amazon or Negro rivers, this would make a great addition to your trip.

 

For more information contact Perfect Paradise Vacations at 877-762-1446.