Caribbean Family TravelJune 25, 2007 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
Family travel is back in style again, and the trend now is for trips that go beyond traditional family vacations and include more unique, more active and more meaningful travel plans. In the following pages, Travel Agent focuses on the Caribbean, helping agents narrow down the list of recommended family trips to this ever-popular region.
First, allow us to show exactly how big family travel is
getting. A recent American Express study found that family travel is on the
rise this summer, according to almost four out of five American Express Travel
agents polled nationwide (79 percent), who identified it as one of this year's
most significantly increasing travel trends.
This summer, family vacations are expanding beyond the
traditional getaways to include newer, broader, more active and meaningful
travel plans, say agents. Top motivators for family travel include the desire
to introduce children to different cultures, customs and lifestyles, experience
new things together and create lasting memories. Eighty-one percent of agents
are booking family vacations consisting of multi-generational trips that
include grandparents. Additionally, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of agents
are seeing grandparents traveling exclusively with their grandchildren,
independent of mother and father.
Other trends spotted by agents include adult children
traveling with their parents (69 percent); family and family friends traveling
together as one large group (67 percent); "blended" families,
consisting of divorced/re-married parents with their new spouses and children
all traveling together (31 percent); and extended family members including
aunts, uncles and cousins taking trips as a collective group (28 percent).
Here are just a few of the best options in the
The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort & Spa and The
Westin Grand Cayman both offer an array of amenities perfect for family travel.
Representatives of the properties recently sat down with Travel Agent to stress
how devoted the facilities are to the multigenerational clients. Both
properties offer agents a 10-percent commission.
The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort &Spa opened in
December and offers something for everything, from an extensive list of spa
treatments to various field trips for children.
A popular trip hosted by the Westin St. Maarten's Kids Club
visits the nearby Butterfly Farm. Agents can book these prior to a client's
arrival. There is an additional charge of $25 for these trips on top of the
regular $10 to $12 daily charge for the Kids Club.
To book any of the Kids Club trips at Westin St. Maarten,
call Brenda Wathey, destinations manager for Westin St. Maarten, at (011)
At Westin Cayman, which offers mostly the same amenities as
the St. Maarten property, children can go on visits to the nearby turtle farm,
which is also an additional charge of about $25.
The best rooms for families at either property are the Resort
View rooms. They have 450 square feet of space; they cost $149 a night from
August to November and $199 a night from now until August.
VIP car service from the nearby airports can also be
arranged. Westin St. Maarten is located about 20 to 25 minutes from
transfer costs about $30 a person. Service to the
airport, costs about $15-$20 a person.
Westin St. Maarten also offers culinary opportunities,
including wine tastings and cooking classes. Although the details are still
being worked out, Marcus R. Repp, regional director of food and beverage, told Travel Agent that cooking classes will be offered about once a month at a
charge of $35 to $40 a person.
The wine tastings will be incorporated into a full evening
of dining and will also most likely be offered once a month. Cost will range
from $100 to $120 a person. For more information on the cooking classes, agents
should call Daniel Roselle, food and beverage director of the property, at
(011) 599-543-6700, ext. 6007.
The spa at Westin St. Maarten has 15 treatment rooms. The
most popular treatment is the Dawn Beach Escape, a four-hour package that
includes the works: a massage, manicure, pedicure, etc. The four-hour package
costs $350 a person. It is also the most popular treatment at Westin Grand
Cayman, but there it has a different name, the Seven Mile Package. For more spa
information at each property, agents should call Pat England, spa director at
the Grand Cayman property, at 345-945-3800 and Carola Sjoer, spa director at
Westin St. Maarten, at (011) 599-543-6700.
The Four Seasons Nevis, West Indies
40-minute ferry ride from St. Kitts, is becoming another popular destination
with a host of activities for all ages. St. Kitts (its neighbor but polar
opposite) mainly consists of casinos, night clubs and bars;
however, is designed for pure relaxation—whether it’s enjoying the mountain,
the beach or the rainforest.
Perhaps the most family-oriented property in
families and offers agents a 10-percent commission.
Four Seasons can arrange for a host of activities popular
for families, including the nature trails excursion. These are very popular for
children, especially since you are most likely to see an array of green vervet
monkeys, butterflies and unusual trees in the rainforest and hidden ruins. Agents
should call Jim Johnson of Top to Bottom at 869-469-9080, Lynell or Earla
Liburd of Sunrise Tours at 869-469-2758, or Michael Herbert of Heb's Nature
Tours at 869-469-3512.
Nevis also offers mountain biking, tennis, horseback riding,
golf and hiking on
the same contacts provided for the nature trails to book hiking on
However, tell clients this might be a bit challenging for children, as the peak
is 3,232 feet high.
Four Seasons Resort Estates offer nightly villas ranging
from $975 to $5,500, depending on the size of the villa and the season. For
more information on the villas, agents should call 869-469-1111 or e-mail
[email protected]. Agents can also call Eva Chan, sales
director for Four Seasons, at 212-935-4955 or e-mail [email protected].
Cable Beach Resorts in Nassau, Bahamas
destinations in the
Some suggested properties here for families are Cable Beach Resorts' 550-room
Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino and the 694-room Sheraton
Cable Beach Resort, which recently underwent an $80 million renovation.
A new spa is scheduled to open in between both properties by
the end of the year; according to plans, it will be open to guests of either
Both properties are home to about 3,000 feet of beach and
have a Kids Clubs for children 4 to 12.
Each property offers a 10-percent commission.
Agents should call Tina Bernard, director of travel industry
sales for Sheraton, at 609-636-1240, and Crystal Collins, director of revenue
manager in travel industry sales for Wyndham, at 954-915-2941.
Arawak Beach Inn in Anguilla
Another aspect of multi-generational travel that has been
gaining steam is family reunion vacations.
Arawak Beach Inn is a great place for agents to book such a
vacation. Clients can rent out 15 rooms, which can accommodate 30 people, for
seven nights on Aguilla at a rate of $155 per night.
Rates for Arawak's Rent the
program are available year-round starting at $1,085 per person based on a
seven-night stay for the 15 rooms, which accommodate up to 30 people (based on
Vacationers will enjoy the all-inclusive meal plan, an
excursion to a private island, a round of welcome drinks upon arrival and all
transfers. This represents a savings of 30 percent compared to regular per
room, per night rates and comes out to as little as $155 per person, per night.
Guests can lounge by the pool, take a quick boat trip over
to Scilly Cay for live music and lobster, or go to nearby
and entertainment. It offers agents a 10-percent commission. Agents can call
Maria Hawkins, Arawak innkeeper, at 914-509-5875.
Somerset on Grace Bay, Turks & Caicos
This family-oriented property just opened in June of 2006 on
4.6 beachfront acres along
facility offers Extreme Beach Croquet, tea parties, infinity pools with underwater
sound systems and private outdoor hot tubs, all popular with families. Every
room comes with an X-Box.
Rates start at $500. The property's Estate Houses are the
best rooms to book. The Penthouse Estate is the best room of them all. It
offers the same amenities as the other Estate rooms, but it has two floors, as
opposed to the other single-floor rooms. All rooms have wraparound terraces
with outdoor hot tubs. The Penthouse Estate Room starts at $4,000 a night,
while the regular Estate Houses go for between $3,000 and $4,000 a night. The
estate houses all have five bedrooms, making it perfect for families. It offers
agents a 10-percent commission.
Agents should call General Manager Karen Whitt at
Selling Family Travel
Family travel is growing by the minute and the
has countless vacation opportunities for multi-generational vacationers.
Discover off-the-beaten-path family vacations. Nevis, Turks & Caicos, St.
Maarten, the Cayman Islands and
great spots for families looking to go somewhere different.
is anything but unknown but continues to be a force in family travel.
Family travel is a trend that is not going away. Agents selling the
properties offering an abundance of amenities for the whole family.