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All about the Caribbean April 2011
Your one stop guide
to all the latest news and developments in the Caribbean
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All about the
T IS CLEAR that people are still prepared to travel to the Caribbean. The region’s wonderful weather and diverse experiences continue to make it hugely popular with travellers of all ages, budgets and interests despite the ongoing economic crisis and its impact on UK holiday budget purse strings. Limited results from the first quarter of 2011 allow us to see that visitor numbers remain steady and we are confident that exciting new openings, renovations, flight routes and excellent value deals to the region, backed by our full marketing plan for the coming year, will continue to inspire people to visit and re-visit the region. Here, at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, we work with more than 30 member destinations from all over the Caribbean, as well as airlines, cruise companies, tour operators and hoteliers. Our varied range of members allows us to work together, tailoring information to our different audiences and obtaining a much wider reach. Over the last year, we have lobbied hard against the air passenger duty rises that have placed the Caribbean in an unfair tax band, putting the region at a disadvantage and harming Caribbean economies. In March, we witnessed our first
. . . e r e h Starts
important, albeit small, victory in the Caribbean’s battle against APD. George Osborne’s speech on 23 March acknowledged the anomaly in the current APD banding system in which a higher tax is placed on flights to the Caribbean than flights to California from the UK and also pledged not to increase the tax further in the coming year. This little bit of progress has given us hope and we feel optimistic that over the next year, we will be able to contribute towards a fair revision of APD and further encourage travel to the Caribbean. Over the coming year, we also hope to grow our membership and arrange a number of events where we will be able to interact directly with both consumers and the media. We look forward to hosting our annual Rum and Rhythm and Meet the Media events this summer, as well as running a number of road shows across the UK and training programmes in the Caribbean throughout the year. We are also keen to promote new and increased flight routes, including British Airways’ first direct flight to Puerto Rico which launched in March, and KLM’s increased services to Aruba via the Netherlands starting in October. With all this in mind, we hope you will agree that the Caribbean continues
to be an unrivalled year-round destination with plenty to recommend. You can find further information on our website www.caribbean.co.uk, through our training programmes, trade newsletters, or through our networking events within the Caribbean Tourism Organisation UK Chapter. Carol Hay, European/UK marketing director, Caribbean Tourism Organisation Published by
Lower Ground Floor, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London SW1W 0EX Tel: 020-7834 6661 Publisher: Jeanette Ratcliffe Written and researched by: Angela Cronin Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Design/Layout: Ranganath GS Printed by: Wyndeham Grange Limited Cover Picture: Carlisle Bay ISSN: 0956-2419
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w e N s ’ t a h W
The islands in the Caribbean are not ones to rest on their laurels, so they have been busy sprucing up their properties or opening new ones in time for the start of the new season, while operators have added to their programmes with some offering free nights and upgrades
Saint Lucia The Saint Lucian resort of Cotton Bay Village has teamed up with British Airways Holidays to mark the launch of BA’s new daily service to the island. The hotel, in conjunction with the operator, is offering seven nights for the price of six to celebrate the new flights, which also include the only first-class service to the island. The airline previously served Saint Lucia five times a week. BA Holidays features seven nights’ room-only from £1,209. The resort is also offering 14 nights bed and breakfast for the price of 11 and tickets to any event in the island’s world-famous jazz festival. The new ‘Jazzy Easter’ package leads in at £1,499 per person. Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort in Saint Lucia is marking its 21st
birthday yesterday with a raft of special offers. The resort is offering guests the chance to enjoy the Forever 21 rejuvenation package including a free 21-themed spa treatment, a shopping trip, sunset cruise and themed cocktails. Sample product: Thomson Tailormade offers seven nights’ room-only from £899 per person. St Vincent and The Grenadines Anyone who has the slightest interest in holidaying in the Caribbean would have found it hard not to have heard about the opening of the new all-inclusive resort of Buccament Bay this month. Part of the Harlequin Hotels and Resorts family, not only will Buccament Bay offer luxury on a grand scale but some of its facilities are a first for the Caribbean, in particular its Liverpool FC Soccer School.
There is also a Pat Cash Tennis Academy and the Harlequin Performing Arts Academy, along with a fitness centre, diving and water sports centre, private beach, marina and a collection of new concept bars and restaurants. Accommodation is also tailored to the family market with one, two and four-bedroom villas. Sample product: Virgin Holidays offers seven nights’ all-inclusive for £1,735 per person. Barbados Elegant Hotel Group has recently completed the refurbishment of a number of its properties. As part of the renovation work at the chain’s luxury, all-inclusive Crystal Cove resort in Barbados, all of the hotel’s 88 guestrooms and communal areas have been given a distinctively Bajan feel. Work on sister property, the familyfriendly Turtle Beach, is expected to be completed in June and includes the refurbishment of communal areas and all suites, the launch of a new Flying Fish kids’ club. Sample product: Caribtours offers seven nights’ all-inclusive at Turtle Beach, Barbados from £1,834 per person, while seven nights’ all-inclusive at Crystal Cove start at £1,886 per person. The Barbados Tourism Authority will be holding this year’s Barbados Sports Camp 2011 at the University of the West
Ex-England player starts search for Saint Lucian star Former England football player and current first team coach for Tottenham Hotspurs FC, Les Fredinand visited the Saint Lucian hideaway of Cotton Bay Village recently to start his ‘Search for a Star – Saint Lucia’ project. Ferdinand, together with Tottenham’s assistant technical coordinator youth development, Chris Ramsey and talent scout Leslie Fevrier, visited the island to lay the groundwork for the project that will provide up to two Saint Lucian boys with a chance to undergo training at Tottenham Hotspur FC.
Pictured from left to right are Debbie Melchor, project director, Search for a Star Saint Lucia; Michael Bryant, marketing director, Cotton Bay Village; Les Ferdinand; Chris Ramsey, assistant technical co-ordinator, Tottenham Hotspur FC; Leslie Fevrier, scout, Tottenham Hotspur FC.
All about the Caribbean
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Caribbean Indies, August 2-26, from 10am-2pm, Monday to Friday (excluding the first week) and will be open to children aged nine to 17. Famous names from the world of football, cricket and netball will be taking part and visitors who have kids keen to take part in the the camp, should enrol them at www.barbadossportcamp.com. Antigua and Barbuda The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority is rolling out its Summer Gold card again this year. The card, which debuted last year, offers holidaymakers savings and value-added deals at 30 companies on the island, including hotel day passes, diving trips, duty-free shopping, spa treatments, restaurants, discounts, tours and yacht charters. The card will be valid for use between 1 June and 30 September. Jamaica Discover Jamaica has added the island’s newest all-inclusive, adult-only property, SuperFun Beach Resport and Spa by SuperClubs, formerly Hedonism II, to its 2011 programme. Prices lead in at £995 per person for bookings made before May 1 for travel from May 1 to November 30. Meanwhile, in the hotel sector on the island, Sandals is marking the fifth anniversary of the opening of its Whitehouse European Village and Spa by unveiling a $10 million upgrade to the resort. As part of the upgrade, the top two categories of suites have been completely refurbished with updated furniture, upgraded soft goods and new plasma TVs. Couples resorts has introduced mini bars and room service from 6am to 11pm in all its rooms at Couples Tower Isle in Ocho Rios. The couples-only, all-inclusive hotel group, which has four properties in Jamaica, has also revamped its Romance Rewards programm. Couples runs an online agent training programme, www.resortacademy.co.uk. For every training module that agents pass or bookings that they log, they will receive free nights at any of the Couples resorts. Caribbean super all-inclusive resorts SuperClubs has rolled out a series of special offers for 2011. The Summer 123 offer includes one free night for seven-night bookings, two free nights on 10-night holidays and three nights free on a 14-night break. SuperClubs is also looking to raise its profile with the UK trade with the launch in May of an online training programme that will offer a range of incentives to agents and the appointment of Martin Grass and Tracey Denham-Hughes to head up SuperClubs’ new UK and Europe office. The 223-room Beaches Boscobel Resort and Golf Club has reopened after a $14 million upgrade with expanded restaurants, redeveloped pool area, new entertainment areas and updated guest rooms and suites. Island Outpost has celebrated the expansion of its famed GoldenEye resort with 11 new luxury beach cottages and lagoon suites, owned by Island Records icon Chris Blackwell. The Ian Fleming International Airport, formerly known as Boscobel Aerodrome, opened at the beginning of this year following a $300 million upgrade project. The airport can now accommodate up to six international aircraft and three small domestic planes. On the attractions front, Dolphin Cove has expanded its All about the Caribbean
operations to western Jamaica to make the swim-with-thedolphins tour more accessible to people holidaying in the resort towns of Negril and Montego Bay. Kuoni New hotels and destinations, along with free nights, room upgrades, early-booking discounts feature in Kuoni’s Caribbean and Mexico 2011 brochure. Brochure highlights include: transfers in Cuba in ‘50s classic cars; a bottle of champagne, $200 resort credit per room per week and one champagne breakfast at the Cove at Blue Waters in Antigua; free nights at Buccament Bay in St Vincent and the Grenadines; and free spa treatments at Anse Chastanet in Saint Lucia on bookings of seven nights. New properties include the all-butler, oceanfront resort at Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas, oceanfront apartments at Oceans Two Resorts and Residences in Barbados and the Sirenas Playa Turquesa in Cuba. Prices lead in at £889 for seven nights at the Turtle Beach in Tobago.
Villa-style accommodation at the new five-star Buccament Bay in St Vincent and The Grenadines.
Sunset Faraway Holidays Four new properties feature in Sunset Faraway’s 2011/12 brochure. These include: Buccament Bay Resort on St Vincent and the Grenadines; the Jalousie Plantation and Windjammer Landing in Saint Lucia; and the Viceroy Anguilla. The operator is offering seven nights at Buccament Bay for £1,619 per person for travel from May 17 to June 30, including two free nights, free internal flights and a room upgrade. Aruba Thomson Airways is extending its service to Aruba by a month due to increased demand. The weekly service from Gatwick was due to end in October but will now finish in November and start again two months earlier in March 2012. British Airways British Airways has launched a twice-weekly service to San Juan in Puerto Rico. The service will operate on Mondays and Fridays via Antigua. ■ 5
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AITO fam trips AITO Specialist Travel Agents is offering its eight top-selling agents in the first six months of 2011 a place on a luxury Caribbean fam trip, courtesy of ITC Classics. Ted Wake, deputy chairman of AITO Agents and joint managing director at Kirker Holidays, says: “The All-Stars scheme is an excellent way to drive competition and success across the AITO Agents community, as already seen with the 11% sales rise they reported in January compared with the same month last year.” The AITO All-Stars incentive scheme rewards its agent members for booking AITO holidays. The scheme involves an ongoing league table of topbooking agents and rewards them with monthly prizes and annual awards too. Jamaica AMResorts is offering six agents the opportunity to win a place on a fournight educational to Jamaica. The fam trip is due to take place from June 15 to 19 and will include stays at Secrets St James and Secrets Wild Orchid plus island excursions. To be in with a chance of securing a place on the fam trip, agents need to register at www.amragents.com and complete the training modules before May 1 to become a master agent and receive entry into the ballot for a place on the educational. Agents making bookings to any AMResorts hotels will receive an St Kitts Tourism Authority is hosting a number of educationals this year.
From educationals in St Kitts to holidays to Antigua, there are plenty of reasons for agents to get behind the Caribbean this year
additional entry, so make sure you register your bookings at www.amragents.com St Kitts The St Kitts Tourism Authority is continuing its series of operator and agent educationals this year. The fam trips will form a major component of its marketing strategy over the year to increase awareness of the island and to keep the travel trade informed about the island’s varied accommodation sector, visitor attractions and new initiatives such as the family programme, Kids r VIPs. The educationals taking place in September, October and November, will be open to agents who have sold five or more Caribbean holidays in the past year. The fam trips will take place from September 20 to 24 and October 4 to 8, with dates for the November homeworkers’ educational yet to be confirmed. The Bahamas Bahamas Flavour is offering 12% commission to agents throughout 2011. The online tour operator is also offering a complimentary stay for one to seven nights for any agents that book five or more holidays. Any agents who make two or more bookings with Bahamas Flavour could be in with the chance of winning a place on the operator’s next fam trip.
Antigua The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority is launching a new agent incentive. Consultants that accumulate bookings to Antigua to the value of £20,000 in a full holiday, including flights and accommodation will be enlisted into Antigua’s A List and will receive a crystal plaque, £200 worth of gift vouchers and free nights’ accommodation at the hotel that the booking was made for. The top 10 A-list agents will be invited on a special fam trip in December. The tourist board will also be celebrating Antigua Month in May with a number of events and incentives for agents around Britain. For more information, log on to www.visitantiguabarbuda.co.uk Sunset Faraway Holidays Sunset Faraway is offering a range of incentives to agents with its Sunset Rewards scheme. Consultants can earn points by selling holidays, which can then be cashed in for Capital Bonds, pamper days, theatre breaks, or if they accumulate 6,000 points or more, they could win a holiday to one of Sunset’s recommended luxury resorts. For April, all bookings made with Sunset Faraway Holidays to any of the Caribbean destinations in the operator’s brochure can earn £50 worth of Capital bonds on top of their current reward points. To register, go to www.sunset.co.uk/rewards. Almond Resorts The hotel group has an online training programme at www.almondtraining.com, which includes six training modules to become an Almond Specialist. There is also a picture library, downloadable resort factsheets, resort news, updates and information and all Team Almond information including ‘Report your Bookings’ available on the site. The hotel group is also supporting this year’s Gimme 5 and Fly Fam to Barbados, which will take place from June 23 to 28. All about the Caribbean
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The kids are alright
Sesame Street characters kept the kids entertained at the Beaches resorts
From soccer clubs to Baby Go Lightly programmes, the resorts in the Caribbean have got the family market well and truly covered
HEN IT COMES to catering for the family market, many hotels in the Caribbean have tailored their kids’ entertainment to their US guests, who have, for many years, provided the lion’s share of arrivals. However, things are starting to change this year as the resorts are starting to focus on the needs of the British market with the launch of the Caribbean’s firstever soccer school at Buccament Bay and story-telling week in conjunction with children’s publishers Puffin. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here is a round-up of how resorts make keeping the kids – and parents happy – seem like child’s play. St Kitts and Nevis Kids r VIPs is the new family programme in St Kitts and Nevis which is an all-island programme developed in conjunction with activity companies, hotels and restaurants across both islands with the emphasis on adventure, fun and learning. The programme offers discounts and special deals on activities from learning 8
how to sail with the St Kitts Sailing School, cricket coaching in St Kitts and Nevis, hiking and exploration with Gregs Safaris or even doing night patrols with sea turtles (St. Kitts and Nevis). Hotels, such as the Marriott, Ottley’s Plantation Inn and Frigate Bay Resort, are taking part too with offers including kids eat free or stay free when sharing with parents. Meanwhile, the newly refurbished Four Seasons Resort has a range of new activities for children including the ‘Kids For All Seasons’ complimentary programme that offers supervised creative, recreational and educational activities for kids aged three to nine. There is also the sea-turtle programme that allows kids the chance to track the migratory patterns of the Nevisian turtle via the Sea Turtle Conservancy. There’s also a Teen Centre for teenagers and a Sail Laser programme six-hour training course for families Grenada The True Blue Bay Boutique Resort and Aquanauts PADI dive centre have come up with a family package for 2011. The package, which is available from June 1 to September 30, includes seven nights’ bed and breakfast, transfers, 10 boat dives, free dive for children aged 10 to 14 when diving with paid parent, free bubble maker dive programme for eight
to 10-year-olds, free meals for kids, two babysitting sessions and kids’ activities. Prices lead in at £674 per person. Saint Lucia Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort is encouraging busy working families to mix work and pleasure. Managing director Mark Ozawa says the resort has seen an increase in the number of visitors combining their family trips with work, and as a consequence, the hotel is keen to highlight the facilities that allow for remote working. Windjammer Landing has internet connection in every room, conference facilities, fax, photocopy amenities and PAs to help business travellers with their virtual office experience. Sample product: seven nights’ room-only for a family of four starts at £2,324. Located on Smuggler Cove beach in Saint Lucia’s Cap Estate in the north of the island, Cap Maison boasts the perfect accommodation for families with villas that can host up to six guests, with large living and dining rooms and facilities such as internet connections and iPod docking systems. Families can take advantage of the island activities from zip lining and treetop gondola rides in the rainforest, turtle watching and mountain biking. Sample product: Seasons offers seven nights’ bed and breakfast for the price of All about the Caribbean
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Family six, starting at £6,460 for a family of four. Cotton Bay Village on the east coast of Saint Lucia has introduced a Bring the Baby, Not the Baggage concept in an attempt to help guests overcome airlines’ increasing baggage restrictions, charges and security procedures. All parents have to do is log on to the resort’s website (www.cottonbayvillage.com) and preorder anything they need for their baby, from nappies and baby food to car safety seats and armbands. Sample product: Pure Luxury Holidays offers seven nights from £1,389 per person. Bahamas The Atlantis, Paradise Island in Nassau does everything on a big scale, even when it comes to keeping the children entertained. Crush is its latest club for teenagers and it has an internet lounge, a gaming room with games consoles and iPads. Multi-purpose video walls decorate
Kids who love water will be keen to try out sea-kayaking Photo: Buccament Bay
the dance club’s VIP sections and a live DJ is accessible via a touch screen song request system. Meanwhile, the resort’s 2011 Fantasy Camp, which runs from July 11 to August 4, has teamed up with Lego for a camp experience led by one of the brand’s ‘Master Builders’. Aspiring marine biologist will be able to go behind the scenes to get a glimpse of marine habitat, snorkelling and a shark walk at Stuarts Cove, with the Atlantis Marine Adventure Camp. All these new
additions will join a vast array of existing entertainment for the kids. There’s Dolphin Cay where children can interact with dolphins, while the Atlantis Kids Adventures club offers an endless number of activities to stop the kids from saying ‘Mum, I’m bored’. Aquaventure is 140 acres of non-stop water thrills, with slides, tubes, drops, falls, lazy rivers and lagoons. Sample product: Caribtours offers seven nights’ room-only from £4,648 for a family of four.
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Family Antigua Rosewood Hotels and Resorts Jumby Bay Resort has launched a new Camp Jumby programme for three to 12-year-olds with lots of activities to keep the little ones entertained, including Little Chefs, Wildlife and Ocean Adventures, Discover Science, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dance and Sing and day at the beach. Kids will also be able to sign up for Turtle Watch from June to November to see the baby turtles as they hatch and make their way to sea. Jumby Bay has also developed a new special family package, called Rose Bud. Inspired by the Montessori Method of teaching, Rose Buds aims to give children endless opportunities to think, learn, experience and discover. Sample product: Seasons offers seven nights’ all-inclusive for the price of six with prices starting at £3,945 per person. The ultra-luxury Antiguan resort of Carlisle Bay has introduced a new programme of activities for teenagers. Crush has been created for 13 to 19-yearsolds, giving them access to their own chill-out room with a Wii entertainment system, the option to participate in exclusive teen activities and their own event evenings. The Crew Blue Programme, which is designed for children aged seven to 12 years old, includes a variety of supervised, daytime activities for children. Sample product: Caribtours offers seven nights’ full-board for a family of four for £7,769.
Children get cooking at the Atlantis, Paradise Island in Nassau
Meanwhile, the team at St James Club in Antigua are teaming up with Virgin Holidays, Elite Island Resorts and children’s publishing company Puffin to host story-telling weeks in May half-term and November. Rachel Bright, whose books include My Sister is an Alien, will be hosting the event, which will have workshops designed to encourage children to get involved and create their own tales and masterpieces. Sample product: Virgin Holidays offers seven nights for the storytelling week from £1,672 per adult and £875 per child. Barbados Almond runs kids’ clubs at their resorts in Barbados and St Lucia, which cater for
Saint Lucia keeps it in the family The Saint Lucia Tourist Board is encouraging families to ‘Go Bananas’ this summer with free accommodation and excursions for under 17s. In partnership with many of the island’s family-friendly hotels and attractions, children can play, eat learn and even stay for free, when visitors book a holiday to Saint Lucia from June 1 to September 30. Kids will get their chance to try their hand at ‘Go Bananas’ mixology sessions, learning to make tasty and nutritious banana beverages - while there’s also a choice of complimentary excursions such as a skyride, whale 10
watching and horseback riding. Parents can enjoy perks such as complimentary room upgrades and a discount card for participating shops and restaurants. In addition to all these freebies, families visiting Saint Lucia will have the chance to return for free when they take part in the ‘Go Bananas’ treasure hunt. After completing activities across the island and receiving special ‘Go Bananas’ stamps, families will be entered into a draw to win a return trip. For further information, visit www.saintlucianow.co.uk/gobanana
children from newborns to 16-year-olds. The children’s entertainment programmes make the most of the resort’s facilities, which include playgrounds, kids’ pools, activity centres and a teen centre. The Almond Beach Village is popular with families due to its location on the west coast of Barbados, its 10 swimming pools, two Jacuzzis and its vast range of water sports, a nine-hole, par-three golf course and tennis courts for day and night play. Sample product: Thomson Tailormade offers seven nights’ all-inclusive from £4,095 for a family of four. Beaches family resorts Too old for the kids’ clubs, but too young for the adult activities, tweens and teens are tricky to cater for. Beaches family resorts has decided to turn its attention to this age group this year with the Sandals-owned range of family-friendly resorts rolling out a whole raft of new facilities and activities to keep the tweens and teens happy at its resorts in Jamiaca and Turks and Caicos. These include the Scratch DJ Academy, Teen Concierge Room, Pirate’s Island water parks, teen spa experiences at the Red Lane spas, Club Liquid, Xbox 360 Game Garage, Trench Town teen and tween hangout and the Beach Stack. Sample product: Sunset Faraway offers seven nights’ all-inclusive from £5,995 per family. ■ All about the Caribbean
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Leave the sunbed
behind... and discover the history, heritage and adventure that the Caribbean has to offer
HE CARIBBEAN HAS built its reputation on its beautiful beaches and azure blue seas but as recent trends show people are looking to get more out of their holidays than just sun, sea and spa treatments. As luck would have it, the islands of the Caribbean can cater for all tastes; from foodies who love nothing more than to indulge their passion for a secret recipe while on holiday, to active types who cherish the thought of ziplining through the rainforests. Get sporty Britain’s former number-one tennis player and sports correspondent Jeremy Bates is hosting two professional tennis weeks at Antigua’s Carlisle Bay resort from July 10 to 16 and November 13 to 19. Guests take part in small group morning clinics taken by Jeremy, where they work on improving and perfecting their technique, skills and match play. The week includes two hours of coaching every day, an end-ofweek competition and a prize-giving dinner. The weeks are designed for people who are passionate about tennis and is also tailored for solo travellers as there is no single supplement and plenty of opportunity to meet and mingle with other players at the Sunday night welcome drinks’ reception. ITC Sports offers seven nights’ full board from £2,995 per person. Meanwhile, golf enthusiasts who fancy indulging in a little bit of golf during their holiday, should consider a stay at the newly refurbished Fairmont Royal Pavilion on the west coast of Barbados. The luxury resort has golf privileges at nearby Westmoreland Golf Club so is perfect for golfers who fancy a round or two, while their holiday partner makes the most of the hotel’s facilities, which include All about the Caribbean
Head to the Samana region of the Dominican Republic to experience the magnificent waterfalls and maybe see a daredevil diver or two
a swimming pool, complimentary water sports, tennis, gym and spa. Keen golfers should also consider a holiday in the Dominican Republic, which boasts a number of award-winning courses designed by golfing legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Nick Faldo. Water sports The Cayman Islands have always been a popular destination with divers but it’s likely to attract more divers to its shores following the sinking of the USS Kittiwake. The former submarine rescue ship, decommissioned in 1945, was sunk earlier this year off the Grand Cayman’s Seven-Mile Beach to create a new dive attraction that will provide underwater and overwater enthusiasts of all skill levels with a yearround diving attraction. The Kittiwake joins Russian frigate Captain Keith Tibbetts that was sunk off the coast of Cayman Brac in 1996, as well as central dive sites in the artificial reef movement in the Cayman Islands. Cabarete in the Dominican Republic is the kite-boarding capital of the world, so is well worth a visit to see hundreds of kite surfers in one place. The Dom Rep is also popular for the
number of other water sports it offers including surfing, white-water rafting and windsurfing. Museums and heritage Petrolheads will love nothing more than to take a break from their Cayman beach and head for a new museum that has opened on the island. The new Cayman Motor Museum has a priceless private collection of cars, including the original Batmobile and Batbike, the world’s first car and Elton John’s Daimler. This year sees the launch of the Barbados Tourism Authority’s new online trails programme that allows visitors to discover Barbados’ fascinating history and heritage including the island’s rum distilleries and the annual Oistins Fish Festival. St Kitts has a number of must-see sites on its tour agenda, including the newly restored 18th-century Fairview Great House and Botanical Gardens. The Brimstone Fortress National Park is also a remarkable attraction. Known as the Gibraltar of the West Indies, work on the fortress was started in 1690 by slave labour under British rule and is the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage site in the eastern Caribbean. 11
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Active Nature trails A new nature tour enterprise CaymANNature is offering visitors the chance to discover the less-visited areas of the destination, which range from mangrove swamps, wetlands, dry forests, shrubland and man-modified parks and gardens. CaymANNature Tours offers half-day private island overview tours, a full-day up-close nature tour of Grand Cayman and nature walks. Tours are priced from £95 per person. Promoting itself as the nature island of the Caribbean, Dominica is hoping to capitalise on its abundance of lush rainforest, stunning waterfalls, variety of exotic species and small, family-run hotels to attract visitors keen to pull on their walking boots and take to the hills. The island has just launched the first and only long-distance walking trail in the Caribbean. The new Waitukubuli National Trail runs for 115 miles from the south to the north of the island and is divided into 14 sections. There are miles of hiking trails in the Dominican Republic with the most popular walks around the Pico Duarte, the tallest peak in the Caribbean. The island also has a number of stunning waterfalls, the highest of which (at 492ft) is Aguas Blancas at Jarabacoa National Park. Festivals People in the Caribbean love to party so the yearly calendar of each destination is often packed with festivals and carnivals. Trinidad and Tobago have a number of events throughout the year including the Tobago Underwater Carnival, the Taste culinary festival, the Tobago Heritage Festival, the Carib Great Race and the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. Antigua hosts the week-long DeJam Festival from September 23 to 30 which involves beach parties, catamaran cruises, club discos and gala dinners. The festival aims to celebrate international DJs and acknowledge their talents. Meanwhile, November sees the start of Cricketfest at Antigua’s Sir Vivian Richards Stadium where Lashings World XI will play two exhibition matches against the Antigua National team. Over in Dominica, the Caribbean’s longest running diving festival, Dominica Dive Fest, takes place from July 8-17. Dive Fest aims to raise awareness about the diving
The wreck of the USS Kittiwake which was sank at the beginning of this year to provide another diving attraction
opportunities and unique marine life in Dominica. Other activities include a whale-watching excursion, beach parties and a canoe race. Culinary experiences Picking up a few recipes and cooking tips during a seven-night holiday is becoming a popular pastime with many visitors heading back to the Caribbean for a dedicated culinary holiday. Antigua is hosting the Caribbean Food Festival from May 9 to 16 where TV chef and BBC presenter Simon Rimmer will join A Taste of Rex Resorts to create Caribbean recipes during live food demonstrations. Meanwhile, over in Barbados, boutique hotel Treasure Beach, which is popular with foodies, has relaunched. One of the USPs of the resort is its newly named Kathy’s restaurant which offers a daily changing menu of the freshest Caribbean fare with international inspirations from awardwinning chef, Kirk Kirton. Dishes include wahoo on curried puy lentils, coconut-crusted flying fish with mango and sweet potato gnocchi with herb and parmesan cream sauce. Adventure and adrenaline Fancy getting up close with some stingrays? Head to Antigua’s Stingray City where people can feed and touch them while snorkelling in coral reefs. To get the adrenaline pumping, the Antigua Rainforest Company offers visitors the chance to go on a zipline tour, some of which are up to 300ft long and criss-cross a 300ft-high gorge. The Dominican Republic is the place to holiday if you don’t fancy being glued to your sunbed. There’s canyoning in Jarabacoa, cascading down rivers at Damajagua, caving in the Los Hatises National Park, ATV safaris through the countryside, helicopter tours, horse-riding, kayaking, monster truck tours, mountain biking, rock climbing and sand boarding. ■
All about the Caribbean
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A day to remember Just the two of you or bringing your family and friends along? A wedding in the Caribbean is a great way to enjoy your big day without the huge bills at the end
HILE THE RECESSION has forced many of us to watch the pennies, couples keen to get married are finding ways to beat the soaring cost of organising their big day. A great way to do this is to head abroad to the warmer, charming environment of the Caribbean where hotels have years of experience of organising weddings and honeymoons. There are packages to suit every budget, so for couples keen to feel the sand between their toes as they say ‘I do’, read our guide to give you an insight of what the Caribbean has to offer, so the next time a dreamyeyed, loved-up couple walk into your agency, you will know where to send them. Sandals and Beaches Sandals and Beaches has launched an online honeymoon and wedding gift registry, where friends and family can log on to buy the happy couple a Sandals experience they can enjoy when they are either celebrating their wedding or enjoying their honeymoon. Gifts range from a bottle of champagne, dinner on the beach, an Island Routes adventure eco-tour, an upgrade to a honeymoon suite, scubadiving certification or a day of deep-sea fishing, a romantic spa treatment for two, or a credit towards their honeymoon stay. All about the Caribbean
Couples getting married at Windjammer Landing have a choice of packages to choose from depending on their budget
The hotel group also offers couples looking to get married a series of Sandals Weddings by Martha Stewart. Couples booking a WeddingMoon before November 30 for arrivals between August 16 and December 15 in a premium room category at any of the Luxury Included Sandals Resorts will receive a free Beautiful Beginnings wedding by Martha Stewart. Sample product: a seven-night Sandals Weddingmoon costs from £1,049 per person at Sandals Carlyle in Jamaica, including flights, transfers and a Beautiful Beginnings wedding package.
stretch of white, sandy beach so guests can choose to say ‘I do’ on the beach, in a wedding gazebo or at any other location inside the resort. Beverley King, the wedding co-ordinator, is on hand to help guests devise their perfect wedding day, and while there are two wedding packages – the dream wedding and the silver wedding – to choose from, wedding extras can be included to help couples tailor-make their wedding day. Sample product: Virgin Holidays’ luxury wedding package starts at £1,229 per person, including flights and seven nights’ all-inclusive accommodation.
Jolly Beach Resort and Spa, Antigua Virgin Holidays recommends the Antiguan resort of Jolly Beach for couples on a tight budget. Jollly Beach is set along a mile-long
Windjammer Landing Located in Labrelotte Bay, this 99-room St Lucian property combines Mediterranean architecture with the warmth of Caribbean hospitality and service, and is a popular 13
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Weddings location for weddings and familymoons where the children come along to the wedding or honeymoon too. The hotel has rolled out new wedding packages, based on the ‘something old, something new’ proverb which lead in at £725 and include the civil ceremony, marriage licence, certificate, registrar fees, bridal bouquet, groom’s buttonhole, chilled champagne, a decorated setting and dinner at the couple’s villa. At the top end, packages cost £3,600 and include extras such as musicians, three-tier cake, ceremony music, cruise and three nights’ accommodation for the couple’s first anniversary. Sample product: Caribtours offers 10 nights from £2,814 per person including a wedding package. Rendezvous Boutique Hotel for Couples, Saint Lucia When it comes to finding your inner romantic, even the most die-hard cynic
A Beautiful Beginnings Wedding by Martha Stewart package is included in the price of a WeddingMoon at Sandals
would find it hard not to feel overwhelmed by the beauty and intimacy of Rendezvous and its location.
Saying ‘I do’ in Antigua We spoke to two couples who decided to swap the stress and strain of getting married in the UK for the peace and tranquillity of the Caribbean.
Romance factor out of 10? It has to be 10.
Helen and Jamie Bonner, from operator Seasons tied the knot in the Blue Waters Hotel in Antigua.
Graham and Jenny Jowers, from Seasons also chose the Blue Waters Hotel in Antigua for their nuptials
Why did you choose Antigua? The ease of flying to Antigua, and the hotel were the key factors for us. How did you find getting all your wedding outfits transported there? I carried my wedding dress in addition to hand luggage and the cabin crew took care of it for me. My husband’s suit went in his luggage. How many in your wedding party? Just the two of us. Did everything go to plan? No problems at all. Everything was well taken care of by the fabulous wedding staff at Blue Waters. Did you book any extras such as romantic excursions? We were given a complimentary sunset catamaran trip. We also took a snorkelling trip to a desert island and swam with the dolphins, and we had a champagne breakfast delivered to our room on the morning after the wedding.
Why did you choose Antigua? Jenny had always wanted to go there. How did you find getting all your wedding outfits transported there? No problem at all. We arranged for the wedding dress and my outfit to be taken into Club World and hung in the wardrobe. How many in your wedding party? Just the two of us. Did everything go to plan? Yes, all on time and no hitches. The photographer was great and the pictures were amazing. Wedding took around 30 minutes and then a quick change and into the swimming pool. Did we book anything extra? I arranged for champagne and chocolates to be in our room when we returned from our dinner on our wedding day. Romance factor, out of 10? I’d go for an 8.
Set in seven acres of tropical gardens on a two-mile stretch of Malabar Beach, couples have the services of a dedicated wedding co-ordinator. Being a couplesonly, all-inclusive resort, Rendezvous has all the ingredients required for a romantic getaway, including a brand new Spa in the Water Garden. There is also the opportunity to dine out at the The BodyHoliday, LeSport. Couples staying seven nights in a verandah suite receive the wedding package free. Sample product: Thomson Tailormade offers seven nights from £1,399 per person. Almond Resorts Almond Resorts can organise weddings at any of its properties in Barbados and Saint Lucia and pledges an “all about you package to ensure the wedding goes off without a hitch”. Almond also offers an exclusive ‘wedding for you’ package where the wedding organiser at the resort will tailor-make a wedding to the couple’s exact requirements at no additional cost. Wedding spa packages are also available with hairdressing and nail care included and the wedding organiser at the resort will organise treatments on behalf of the bride and other members of the party. Sample product: Sunset Faraway offers seven nights’ all-inclusive from £3,185 per couple. The price includes a Wedding For You package. ■ All about the Caribbean
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Relax and unwind From replenishing body massages to green coffee wraps, a stay in a spa hotel in the Caribbean is guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated
HE CARIBBEAN HAS its fair share of luxury hotels with impressive spas that offer a wide range of treatments from manicures and pedicures to Better than Botox programmes. We spoke to the experts to find out where are the best resorts to turn up, tune in and drop out. Red Lane Spa at Sandals and Beaches Sandals has expanded its partnership with Dermalogica which means the skin-
care range will now feature in 11 Sandals resorts along with being introduced to Beaches properties. Treatments include Dermalogica’s brand of signature concepts such as Skin Bar, Face Mapping and a variety of MicroZone treatments. Dermalogica offerings exclusive to the Red Lane Spa, include: Red Lane Renew and Revive, which replenishes skin by calming redness and reducing inflammation; Red Lane Rehydration, preparing jetlagged skin for the new climate through exfoliation, aromatherapy and a vitamin recovery pack; and Recovery Lane for Men, a 50minute treatment that includes the art of shaving techniques. Almond Resorts Almond Resorts has rebranded its spas to Praana Spas, with London spa company O Spa operating in all three Almond Resorts in Barbados.
Almond Beach Club and Spa has the largest spa in the Almond Resort group with six treatment rooms offering a wide range of spa therapies along with waxing, hairdressing, sauna, steam rooms and nail care. Praana Spa offers a number of different treatments that range in price from £20 for a lip plump treatment to £106 for some of the more involved treatments such as the fire and ice ancient stones. Some of the more unusual treatments which are offered at the Praana Spas include thalassotherapy algae and seaweed baths, couples massage, aromatherapy salt scrubs, fire and ice ancient stones and a royal polynesian head and scalp ritual. The Tamarind Resort and Spa, Barbados Formerly Tamarind Cove Hotel, the newly transformed Tamarind resort has the
Guests can enjoy treatments outdoors at the Red Lane spas in the Sandals and Beaches resorts
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Yoga is a popular pastime at La Source resort in Grenada
Tamarind Spa which promises intimacy and attention to detail. The spa has just two treatment rooms, a spa pool, and a team of therapists who will create a customised wellness experience for each spa-goer. Local ingredients, from Bajan sea salt to Barbadian Moscovado brown sugar are used in the treatments. These range from the spa’s signature treatment – an aromatic Indian head, neck and shoulder massage with warm aromatic oils – to massage therapies, body scrubs and wraps, facials by leading skin-care specialist Sothys, and a selection of manicures, pedicures and waxes. Complementing these treatments is an array of holistic therapies. The one-hour Tamarind’s Signature massage is a body massage using lemon grass and tamarind infused oil which increases circulation, boosts immune system and reduces tension. The treatment costs £73. Carlisle Bay, Antigua The Blue Spa at Carlisle Bay has launched a spa programme, products and signature tropical treatments following a new partnership with Spanish skincare brand Natura Bisse. The therapists at the spa, which has six treatment rooms and is located in a two-storey pavilion in the resort, specialise in treatments that combat the Caribbean heat, in particular sun damage, sun burn and dehydration. Signature treatments: Blue Spa has a number of treatments to choose from including the 90-minute diamond ice lift facial at £200 to the 50-minute honey and mango body treatment for £37. British Virgin Islands Rosewood Little Dix Bay is hosting two yoga retreat weeks from June 16 to 19 and June 23 to June 26. The classes will consist of multi-level yoga, meditation, core strength and stretch, and the choreography of asana and alignment. Sample product: Elegant Resorts offers seven nights’ bed and breakfast for £2,225 per person including flights and private transfers. Saint Lucia Located at the bottom of the World Heritage-listed Petit Piton Mountain, the Rainforest Spa at the Jalousie Plantation has the most idyllic setting, with streams and small natural pools lining the Rainforest Spa walkway. Facilities at the new spa include a couple’s treehouse treatment room, six multi-use single treehouse treatment rooms, manicure and pedicure room, specialist skin treatment room, a hairdressing salon, an al fresco relaxation area and a steam room warmed by mineral-rich volcanic spring water. Signature treatment: Romantic Renaissance is for couples and includes a 50-minute massage followed by lunch and sparkling wine in the double cabana. The treatment costs £198 per couple. A holiday for mind, body and soul, the BodyHoliday at LeSport promises to send guests home feeling fully restored and rejuvenated. All of the activities and food are included in the price so all guests have to do is decide how to spend their day. Guests can choose from a number of activities including 16
working out at the gym, water sports, golf, bicycle tours, volleyball, fencing, archery, aerobics, morning walks, tai chi, yoga and stress management classes. Guests can also use the Pavitra Ayurvedic Centre and Coubaril Valley which has floodlit tennis courts. For those who love to get their adrenaline pumping, they should try out the Extreme Sports/Extreme Spa programme, which involves abseiling, hiking and mountain climbing, complemented by spa treatments especially for men that have been devised to incorporate into the package. Sample product: Thomson Tailormade offers seven nights’ allinclusive from £1,729 per person. La Source, Grenada The marketing blurb that LaSource distributes says that the team at the resort “believes that amazing things happen when you introduce your body to your mind”. The Grenadian resort on Pink Gin beach certainly pulls out all the stops to cater for guests who want to look after their mind, body and soul. Guests can choose from a wide range of activities with diving at one end of the spectrum and yoga and tai chi at the other. LaSource is the only resort on the island to offer six spa treatments at the price of a seven-night stay. These include facial, massage and body treatments. Additionally, the a la carte menu offers hot stone therapy, facial acupuncture, reflexology, firming body treatments and high performance facials that are tailored, with prices from approximately £70. Signature treatment: the Spicy Grenadian Body Scrub for £60. Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos The COMO Shambhala Retreat at Parrot Cay has teamed up with Guinot to launch the Ultimate Facial Boot package. The ‘Better than Botox’ package is a seven-day programme, which includes three Guinot Hydradermie Lift Treatments, a relaxing signature massage, daily yoga and pilates, and a specially designed COMO Shambhala Cuisine menu that maximises performance by addressing energy levels and blood-sugar imbalances. Sample price: from £480 for the seven-day programme. ■ All about the Caribbean
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The high life
The its terraced ‘Versailles’ cloister gardens at the One&Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas
From private island retreats to old-time favourites, the Caribbean can really turn on the style when it comes to opulence, style and 24-hour pampering
HE HIKE IN air passenger duty and the continuing recession have put a strain on many people’s budgets but one thing people with money to spend are still prepared to pay for is luxury, of which the Caribbean has a limitless supply of. So, the next time a client contacts you about where to go for their next luxury holiday, make sure you suggest the Caribbean. Here is a just small selection of what the islands have to offer. British Virgin Islands Luxury knows no bounds on the private island retreat of the Peter Island Resort
All about the Caribbean
and Spa in the BVIs. With breathtaking views from any spot on the island, Peter Island is the largest island among the loose array of 60 islands, cays and reefs that make the BVIs. It’s steeped in history and if visitor books had existed hundreds of years ago, 21st-century guests would be adding their name to a long list of the rich and famous – think Blackbeard, Sir Francis Drake and Christopher Columbus. Part of the Peter Island experience is the VIP treatment visitors receive. The resort offers bespoke amenities: a guest to staff ratio of 2:1, a no-fly zone for celebrity guests and the piece de resistance – the Island Host 17
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Luxury Live like a king in one of Jade Mountain's Sanctuaries, with a 'major domo' to wait on you hand and foot
programme. From the minute guests arrive, they are given their own personal Island Host who will tend to their every need. Two of the island’s villas have been refurbished recently and new designer furnishings and technology upgrades have been added. Getting there: visitors can get international flights to the BVI of Tortola or the USVI of St Thomas and then charter a boat, yacht or helicopter to get to Peter Island. Sample product: Kuoni features seven nights’ full board from £1,850 per person. Grenada For your wealthiest of clients who want complete luxury and privacy, suggest they try the private island of Calivigny which is only available for exclusive rental to one party at a time. Accommodation comes in the shape of the Beach House that has 10 suites furnished with bespoke furniture by Oscar de la Renta and Richard Frinier. New luxury villas and beachfront bungalows opened at the end of last year that can house 20 guests. A team of staff are available 24 hours a day including chefs who tailor-make meals from locally sourced produce. The island offers a number of water activities including the use of fishing boats, speed
boats, a yacht, quads, jet skis and scuba diving. There is also a fully-equipped gym, a grand piano, a giant outdoor movie screen and a selection of games to choose from. Saint Lucia One resort that has certainly made a big impression on the UK travel industry this year is Jade Mountain. Images of five-star resort have been brightening up the pages of many travel magazines since it opened. For the ultimate luxury experience, advise your clients to take advantage of British Airways’ new first-class service to Saint Lucia. Upon arrival, they will be whisked away to Jade Mountain by helicopter as the resort has its own helipad. The rooms are referred to as Sanctuary – all with infinity pools – and each one has its fourth wall missing to allow guests to wrap themselves up in their surrounds. Also, every room as a ‘major domo’ to tend to clients’ every need. The hotel is an exclusive resort within the resort of Anse Chastanet, so guests can take advantage of the resorts facilities that include a world class PADI dive centre, ocean kayaking and mountain bike centre.
The Platinum collection For a taste of ultimate luxury, Virgin Holidays suggests visitors head to the smaller islands in the Caribbean. The Bahamian islands of New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Abaco islands are the perfect place to escape the rat race. A few days on the islands of St Martin, St Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, 18
Tortola, the Grenadines and Turks and Caicos are also guaranteed to help visitors forget the stresses of strains of every day life. Virgin has a Platinum Collection of 12 hotels to choose from, including The House in Barbados, the Cove Suites at Blue Waters in Antigua and Anse Chastanet in Saint Lucia.
Sample product: Caribtours offers seven nights’ half-board from £3,111 per person. Jamaica The adults-only, all-inclusive, luxury bolthole of The Caves ticks all the right luxury boxes. Perched away from the busy stretch of Negril with unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea, the resort’s 12 cottages, comprising of one, two and four bedrooms, are nestled deep in acres of vegetation and cavernous caves. The property also boasts two main dining gazebos, private cave dining, a cave rum and cigar bar, a swimming pool and an Aveda spa. Sample product: Virgin Holidays offers seven nights’ all-inclusive from £2,199 per person. The Bahamas A staple of luxury and opulence in the Caribbean for more than 45 years, the One&Only Ocean Club indulges guests in privacy, style and top-class service. Visitors have a choice of accommodation from suites with private terraces to villas perched on the beach with infinity pools and garden cottages, more suited to families. The hotel prides itself on its gourmet dining, provided by celebrity chef JeanGeorges Vongericten, its 18-hole championship golf course and its terraced ‘Versailles’ cloister gardens. The hotel also has a spa with eight private Balinese-style treatment rooms, a gym, a kids’ club and complimentary access to the Atlantis, Paradise Island resort. Sample product: Caribtours offers seven nights in the Bahamas from £2,314 per person staying at One&Only Ocean Club followed by Pink Sands, Harbour Island. ■ All about the Caribbean
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Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority, Suite UG 07, 25 Floral Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DS
Tel: 020 7031 8160
Bahamas Tourist Office, 10 Chesterfield Street, London W1J 5JL
Tel: 020 7355 0800
Barbados Tourism Authority, 263 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7LA
Tel: 020 7299 7175
Bermuda Department of Tourism, 675 Third Avenue, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel: 0800 883 0857
Breezes Resorts and Spa
Tel: 0161 884 0964
British Virgin Islands Tourist Board, BVI House, 15 Upper Grosvenor Street, London W1K 7PJ
Tel: 020 7355 9585
Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, 6 Arlington Street, London SW1A 1RE
Tel: 020 7491 7771
Cuba Tourist Board, 1st Floor, 154 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JT
Tel: 020 7240 6655
Dominican Republic Tourist Board, 18-21 Hand Court, High Holborn, London WC1V 6JF
Tel: 020 7242 7778
Grenada Board of Tourism
Tel: 020 8328 0644
Jamaica Tourist Board, 1-2 Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BZ
Tel: 020 7225 9090
Rex Resorts, Marketing and Reservations Int'al Ltd, 9 Galena Road, London W6 0LT
Tel: 020 8741 5333
Sandals, 34-36 Ives Street, London SW3 2NQ
Tel: 020 7590 0210
St Kitts Tourism Authority, 10 Kensington Court, London W8 5DL
Tel: 020 7376 0881
St Lucia Tourist Board, Lower Ground, 1 Collingham Gardens, London SW5 0HW
Tel: 020 7341 7000
St Vincent and Grenadines Tourist Office, 10 Kensington Court, London W8 5DL
Tel: 020 7937 6570
email@example.com www.svgtravel.com www.discoversvg.com
Trinidad & Tobago Tourist Office, Lion House, 111 Hare Lane, Claygate, Surrey KT10 0QY
Tel: 0800 804 8787
Tel: 020 749 9285
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...the worldâ€™s most romantic holiday...
Elegant indulgence for discerning romantics. The Caribbeanâ€™s premier All-Inclusive experience for your wedding, honeymoon or simply discovering each other again.
Perfect. Passionate. Priceless.
reservations 01582 794 420 click www.couples.com
Published on Jul 30, 2012