Summer Honeymoons: Bargains on the Beach
By Melanie Reffes
More often adored for cold weather lures rather than hot weather tours, a summer honeymoon in the Caribbean is easy on the wallet and a great way to audition an island before spending the big bucks for a winter vacation. There’s no shortage of beach chairs, the best seats in the house are waiting at top-notch restaurants, hotels are dishing up gratis nights and a boatload of local events are on the summer calendar.
In Love with Luxury
In the Turks & Caicos Islands, you’ll pay more than a pretty penny during the winter for a room with a view along the 12-mile marquee Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales. Quite the opposite during the summer at The Sands at Grace Bay where $210 nightly rates won’t break the bank and the ‘stay for 7 and pay for 5’ is ideal for couples on a budget. With savings of nearly thirty percent from heftier high season rates, 114-room resort is right on the beach in six three-story buildings that stand no higher than a palm tree. Upping the ante, there’s Hemingway’s island-famous for big breakfasts and generous pours and complimentary kayaks, snorkel gear and bikes for exploring the small island. www.thesandstc.com. At the swanky Shore Club on Long Bay Beach (less crowded than Grace Bay and just as pretty), rates for spacious suites go for twenty percent less during the summer compared to high season stays. www.theshoreclubtc.com
Upscale in Ocho Rios, Jamaica Inn invites with nightly rates starting at $339 and free nights when 4, 7 or 14 are booked. https://jamaicainn.com/index.php. At the exclusive Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay, ten percent discounts are tempting for 4-night stays with a gratis night with a 7-night stay. www.halfmoon.com. Also in Montego Bay, Reggae Sumfest from July 15-July 21 is the largest music festival in the Caribbean jam-packed with dancehall, reggae and good eats on the beach. http://reggaesumfest.com
Open for Business
As cleanup following the 2017 storms continues, Puerto Rico is inviting honeymooners to take advantage of a myriad of summer savings. www.seepuertorico.com/en/promo/. In San Juan, a night at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino including a daily $25 credit with a 3-night stay goes for $229, forty percent less than winter rates.
www.sheratonpuertoricohotelcasino.com. At the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, nightly rates through the end of August start at $239, thirty percent less than what you’d pay during the winter. www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sjupr-san-juan-marriott-resort-and-stellaris-casino/
Through the end of September at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort, rates start at $169 which is $100 cheaper than during the winter. Included in a 3-night stay is a $50 credit that can be used in the spa, on the golf course or at the restaurants. www.wyndhamriomar.com/en. Snorkeling is also on sale with 6-hour trips to Culebra going for the rock bottom price of $92 and for $68, hop a catamaran to the Cordillera Cays Nature Reserve; a string of ten islands on the east coast of the island. https://sailgetaway.com
St. Maarten is also up and running after Hurricane Irma’s unwanted arrival last year with summer sales in full swing. For couples on a budget, suites at the Simpson Bay Resort are, indeed, sweet overlooking the Caribbean Sea. On Kim Sha Beach, the resort is a great deal during the summer with a week in going for $893. With a modern kitchen and the ginormous Market Garden supermarket a short stroll from the resort, twosomes save a few more shekels enjoying meals on the roomy balcony.
For an afternoon on the water, catamarans sail at sunset at Aqua Mania on the pier outside the resort, for gamblers, Hollywood Casino is across the street and for foodies and night owls; there are plenty of restaurants, casinos and bars within walking distance. www.simpsonbayresort.com. “My personal favorites during the summer are driving around the island in a rented jeep that goes for $55 a day,” says May-Ling Chun, director, Saint Maarten Tourism Bureau, “I enjoy stopping at Mullet Bay Beach, digging into a snack at Karakter on Simpson Bay Beach and shopping in Philipsburg where many stores offer 20% summer discounts.” www.vacationstmaarten.com. For daring couples, Rainforest Adventures at Rockland Estate is open with zip lines, Emilio’s for tapas and an affordable summer pass valid through the end of September. www.rainforestadventure.com
Test-driving luxury in Anguilla is delightfully affordable during the summer on the British isle across the sea from Satin Maarten. On Shoal Bay East next to the Fountain Cavern National Park, Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa is the elegant newcomer with a rum bar, spa, dining on the beach and gratis nights when a 4 or 7 night stay is booked. Savings are substantial with nightly rates starting at $975 for a 1-bedroom penthouse suite; $1450 during high season. www.zemibeach.com. Also offering luxe for less, The Reef by CuisinArt is the star attraction on Merrywing Bay. Through August 18, summer rates start at $340; fifty percent lower than winter rates. Worth the splurge, Deluxe Beachfront Junior Suite goes for $536, per night, during the summer for a 7 night stay compared to $929 during high-season.
Sweetening the summer pot, stay for 4 and pay for 3 or book a 7-night stay and 2 nights are on the house. The island’s only golf course is next door, massages are poolside and sips and snacks are stellar at Breezes and The Yacht Club restaurant. www.thereefbycuisinart.com
At the Four Seasons Resort Anguilla, book 5 nights and pay for 4 with rates nearly fifty percent cheaper than what you’ll pay during peak season. “The Caribbean Sea is calmer in the summer, the beaches aren’t crowded and resorts you might not be able to afford in the winter are on sale,” says Jose Adames, general manager. www.fourseasons.com/anguilla/. From July 29 to August 12, Anguilla Summer Festival is a boatload of free family fun from street festivals and parades to calypso competitions and boat races. https://ivisitanguilla.com
For foodies, or at least those who like mangoes, the summer is the best time to visit Nevis where 40 varieties are ripe and ready and the Mango Festival runs from July 5 – 8. https://nevismangofest.com. Beds for heads are affordable like the top-shelf AAA Five Diamond Four Seasons Nevis with the fourth night on the house and nightly rates starting at $319 including breakfast; quite the reduction from the $995 rate the same room gets in high-season. www.fourseasons.com/nevis. There are more beach bargains at the Nisbet Plantation where nightly rates including breakfast for two start at $231, $210 less than what you’d pay during the winter. https://nisbetplantation.com/#/
Courtesy of fewer tourists during the summer and six weekly nonstop flights from Miami via American Airlines, Martinique is a treasure chest of uber-affordable rooms and a colorful calendar of festivals. The summer sale is full of French flair in hotels like La Pagerie with rates from $155 nightly until the end of September. www.hotel-lapagerie.com
Get happy from July 1 to 23 as the Cultural Festival of Fort-de-France heats up the capital city with smoking hot concerts. From July 29 to August 5, it’s off to the races with Tour de la Martinique des Yoles Rondes; one of the 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 12- 15. http://us.martinique.org
In Saint Lucia, summer is on sale with hotel deals, snorkel tours and catamaran cruises. With summer rates that 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 tempt with nightly rates as low as $390, compared to $630 in high season and a ‘6 nights for the price of 5’ summer deal. www.ansechastanet.com. Next door at the knock-your-socks-off gorgeous Jade Mountain, summer rates in the Sky Jacuzzi suites with infinity pools start at $1110, compared to $1480 for the same suites during high season. For couples staying a bit longer, the fifth night is gratis. www.jademountain.com
The green islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique are rolling out the welcome mat with a new #NextStopGrenada campaign full of savings for hotel stays, attractions and scuba trips. Stand-out deals include Mount Cinnamon at $4,999.00 for 7-nights in a 2-bedroom villa ideal for honeymooners with kids in tow. Inviting no-cost inclusions include babysitting and massages for mom and dad. https://mountcinnamongrenadahotel.com. At Le Phare Bleu on Petite Calivigny Bay, rates in a one-bedroom seafront villa goes for $158.00 and for wallet-watchers, rates at the comfy Siesta Hotel are uber-affordable at $89.00 in July and $119.00 in August. Gratis summer festivals include the Carriacou Regatta from August 3 – 6 and the big carnival blowout called Spice Mas from August 13 – 14. www.puregrenada.com/summerdeals