Posts in Spring Break
If a resort is good enough for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, it is good enough for the Jones Family
body-pic-may.jpg

My family visited Grenada this Spring Break, and we all voted our trip one of the best beach vacations we have ever enjoyed.  It is a volcanic island with a mountainous and lush interior, but it is also surrounded by beautiful beaches.  We had a fantastic time relaxing on the beach, hiking through the rainforest to reach a fun waterfall and taking a snorkeling tour on personal zodiac boats.

We stayed on Grand Anse Beach at the Spice Island Beach Resort.  It is an all-inclusive resort on a beautiful stretch of the beach.  The service is beyond compare.  There was not one misstep.  The owner and general manager personally welcomed us to their beautiful resort with a fruity cocktail, and we were promptly escorted to our rooms.

seagrape-suite---new-look-5c8a8dd685341-480x300.jpg

We stayed in two connecting Sea Grape Beach Suites.  These are the best rooms in my opinion.  The verandah of each room steps down directly onto the beach just a few steps from the sea.  If you don’t care for sunbathing at resort pools, you could stay at your suite your entire visit.  There was routine beach service and plenty of lounges.  The resort’s beach is quite  long, so guests really enjoyed their own private section of the beach in front of their suite.

If you prefer a more private experience with your own private courtyard and pool, Spice Island Resort has quite a few large multi-bedroom suites.  These accommodations suited Prince Charles and Camilla perfectly.  Did I mention Charles and Camilla were guests at the resort during our stay?  The video below shows them on the beach right in front of our suite.  I think Charles might have enjoyed it better if he took off his dress shoes. There really wasn’t the security as you would expect, and it really is special shaking hands with the owner 5 minutes before he meets and shakes hands with Prince Charles.

There were more surprises at this very special resort.  One afternoon, a lovely man hand-delivered an invitation to enjoy cocktails at sunset with the owners, Sir Royston Hopkin and his family at their beautiful home on a point with magnificent views of the sun setting over the sea.  He invited all the guests and presented one member of his staff with an employee of the month award.  To say the staff at the resort treat you like family is an understatement.  We arrived as guests and left as friends.  Teddy was hugging his new friends good-bye.  When we left, the owner, general manager and others were again present to wish us safe travels home.  Spice has a huge percentage of repeat guests, and I now know why.  

Our family loved the pool with its nooks and crannies of private areas with lots of shade and direct sun.  We also got to enjoy a lot of what Grenada offers its visitors.  We took a hike through the rainforest to swim at a beautiful waterfall.  Our guide called over his monkey friend named Loverboy for bananas.  Loverboy climbed right on our sons’ shoulders and stuffed at least five bananas in his cheeks before retreating back into the jungle. 

We also took a private watercraft tour and visited different beaches.  Grenada really has beautiful beaches.  If we had more time, I would have loved to visit the rum distillery.  We will take the tour next visit.  Grenada rates as one of our kids’ favorite spring break trips and hope to return.  I’m happy to oblige!

Contact me for more information on Grenada and the fabulous Spice Island Beach Resort & Spa!  Click here to email me or call 314-780-8845.

WHERE SHOULD WE GO ON SPRING BREAK

I'm getting that question a lot recently.  It's a lot of fun exploring your options for where to take the family next Spring.  My first thought, however, is that you should have been asking me this question a few months ago.  At this point of the year, all the type-A planners, me included, have snatched up their favorite units in the best condos and the best family accommodations in the most popular resorts.  Don't despair.  I am still finding availability at my clients' #1 choice resorts and condos.

Unless you are driving or using frequent flyer points, your first place to look is at airfare. Airfare from one location to the next can vary dramatically.  With a family, you are talking about $1000-2000 difference in airfare.  Also, don't assume international airfare will always be higher.  Right now, it is cheaper to fly to Cayman Islands than to fly into Miami on certain dates next March.  I have also found that First-Class on American to the Caribbean can be cheaper than the coach tickets on the same flight;  I flew my family to Nassau last Spring Break in First-Class for almost half the cost of the coach seats on the same flight!

Next, the number of resorts and condominiums can be overwhelming.  Don't just rely on the statement that a place is "kid-friendly".  That usually means your kids ages 5-11 will have a blast.  If all your kids are younger than 5, go for the resort that is small and quiet. You will relax more and kids that age need little to be entertained.  Kid-friendly also usually means that you are going to be exhausted from the waterslides, noise and crowds.  What we do for our kids...At a small resort, you can leave the diaper bag in the room and the mountain of other kid-gear, because your ground floor room will be only steps from your spot in the sun.  If you prefer a higher room with a view, make sure there is an elevator,  or you will be lugging the stroller up and down the steps.

Once your kids are teenagers, adventure trips are awesome.  You have spent years on the beach, since it is easier on mom and dad and more fun for the kids.  Now that they are older, it is time to see new places, meet interesting people and try new things.  Costa Rica is a great place to start.  You fly to the Caribbean to hang on the beach with some of the best snorkeling.  You then head into the interior of the country for ziplining fun, ancient volcanoes and amazing animal and bird sightings.  Then you head to the Pacific side of the country for more relaxation and watching the sunset at fabulous resorts.  For urban adventures, I think Los Angeles, Washington D.C or New York are fantastic vacations with the family.  

Skiiers are much easier...they tend to return to the same mountain every Spring.  If you want to try somewhere new this year, I love to recommend Steamboat Springs.  It is my all-time favorite ski town!  It also has one of the very best youth ski programs available.

If you have kids at all ages traveling with you, from infants to grandparents, what should you do?  Take a cruise.  A cruise is the best way to make sure everyone in your group has a fantastic time.  Which cruise company and cruise ship to book is a much more complicated story that depends on your family's personality, how deep your pockets are and availability.  Cruises sell out a year in advance, because the cost only increases as departure date approaches.  When you check out the prices for last minute cruise bookings, you may very likely turn into the type-A planner and book the cruise for 2015 while booking a nice roomy condo for 2014.

I'm happy to help you sort through your many options to assure you choose the right vacation for your family and get the most value for your Dollar at 314-608-4553 or julie@topflighttravels.com.  Also, visit www.topflighttravels.com.

Happy Spring Break planning!

Spring BreakJulie Jones