Jumby Bay Resort
By Melanie Reffes
A week away with the ladies is not only a guaranteed crowd pleaser, it’s also big business. Girlfriend Getaways, as they’re known, are offered by just about every resort in the Caribbean worth its sea salt. Whether it’s a gal pal vacay at a swishy seaside resort, an all-inclusive stay on the beach or a few lazy days in a quaint hotel, the sunniest region on the planet is rolling out the welcome mat for women on the move.
Catering to fitness buffs, foodies, those who like to shop, those who prefer swinging on a hammock and those who want to toss their schedule to the wind, gal-only vacations are making a big splash in the sunny tropics.
One Size Fits All
Aptly named and a whole lot of fun, Beaches Resorts’ popular ‘B.F.F. Girls Getaway‘ is back at the Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa. Girlfriends who book the four-night package are treated to a welcome cocktail party, catamaran cruise, seaside yoga classes and a bonfire party on the beach. To sweeten the pot, the package includes a US $200 Red Lane Spa credit, discounts at the gift shop and a complimentary photo of the girls just having fun. 'Girls Getaways' are action-packed from April 25 to 29 and September 26 to 30. www.beaches.com/bff
Meshing all-inclusive luxury with an authentic island experience, Hilton Rose Hall in Jamaica is the real deal with the new `Jerk Mo Cart’ that delivers a delectable selection of spicy snacks to the beach and to the pool. On the historic Rose Hall Plantation, the resort offers a bevy of perks for gaggles of gal pals from shuttles to the Shoppes at Rose Hall, refreshing rum cocktails at the Bar King Frog to the wildly popular Cool Caribbean Body Elixir at the Soothe Spa. www.rosehallresort.com
Formerly LaSource, the pretty property on pretty Pink Gin Beach in Grenada is now Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort & Spa and slated to open early this year. Brand new on the Spice Island, the all-inclusive is undergoing renovations to bring it up to Sandals standards including the addition of 100 new rooms and the Red Lane Spa. With a choice of cottages, bungalows with butlers and the brand’s signature Rondoval suites, the resort is ideal for gal pals looking for major bang for their vacation buck by tempting with extras like a high-tech fitness centre, piano bar and choice of fab eateries with menus from around the world. “We’re eager to share with guests not only the beauty of our new resort, but also the beauty of Grenada, its culture and its people,” said Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman, Sandals Resorts. www.sandals.com
Grand Case Beach Club
For gal pals who prefer retail therapy to hiking through the rainforest, a slew of resorts are close enough to the city for that hit of urban energy but far enough away not to feel like home. In San Juan, La Concha is dishing up a “Girls Want to Have Fun “package that includes cocktails at the Lobby Bar, discounts on beach massages and adventure tours, ocean view rooms and a shopping booklet full of coupons. www.LaConchaResort.com
Five minutes from Aruba’s capital city, Oranjestad, the all-inclusive and adjacent Divi & Tamarijn Aruba Resorts front Druif Beach and tempt with plenty of shopping and the Alhambra Casino just steps away. Guests at either resort can use the facilities at both and with all-inclusive rates, it’s an all access pass for fun in the sun with outdoor rock climbing, plenty of water sports and nine funky restaurants. www.diviaruba.com and www.tamarijnaruba.com
Bike Butlers, Best Friends & The Beach
Bike Butlers are the real deal at Antigua’s Jumby Bay Resort where every guest is matched with a bike chosen by the Bike Butler who also arranges cycling tours, fixes flat tires and teaches classes. Resort facilities are guaranteed fan favourites from restaurants and bars to the spa, tennis courts and plenty of lounge chairs for some well-earned relaxation. Primo for the vino lovers in the crowd, Wine Down is Friday night fun at the Pool Grille with a menu that pairs old-world tapas with new-world wines. www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/jumbybay
In Virgin Gorda in the BVI, Rosewood Little Dix Bay is hosting Wellness Retreats in April and June with yoga and fitness classes, deliciously healthy meals and massages in the cliff-side Spa. Four-night packages include two classes per day; breakfast and dinner; airport transfers and one massage per person. www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/littledixbay
Tailor-made for those who parle Francais or may want to learn a few phrases, Grand Case Beach Club on the St. Martin road-less travelled is a big hit with Canadians. “Thanks to the popularity of Air Canada Vacations and WestJet,” said Ronald Muzii, president, Muzii & Associates, the resort’s marketing representatives. “Canadians like to vacation here for at least a week.” A seashell away from Dutch St. Maarten, the resort is vacation nirvana with a petite and perfect sandy beach, tennis court and Sunset Café. www.grandcasebeachclub.com
A far cry from the mega all-inclusives in Punta Cana, Vista Mare Samana in the Dominican Republic is a cozy hotel ideal for an eco-astute group. Ranked by the World Wildlife Fund as a top viewing spot for humpback whales, the Samana Peninsula is one of the least known regions in the country. “Our three-bedroom condos with their fabulous balconies offer just the right amount of privacy and the service, well, it's second to none,” said Eliasal Juma, general manager. “The beach is tanning-central, the pools are perfect for cocktails and the spa is made-to-order for some serious pampering.” With 87 spacious apartments, the hotel is a magnet for whale watchers who covet the hotel for fabulous views of the gracious critters from the hotel balconies. “Whether it’s a girlfriend reunion or just plain gotta get away from the boys for a while, any excuse is a good one to come to Vista Mare Samana,” adds Eliasal Juma, general manager. Nightly rates during whale season start at US $140 per night for a one-bedroom condo and US $395 for a four-bedroom condo. www.vistamaresamana.com