Whether you’re with an old flame, igniting sparks with a new one, celebrating Christmas, toasting the New Year or getting a jump on Valentine’s Day, a bouquet of allures tempt in the Caribbean. Graced with sandy strands, mountain-coddled coves and tie-dyed sunsets, plenty of passion is just a flight away. “With cupid’s arrows pointing toward these islands in the sun,” smiles Hugh Riley, incurable romantic and secretary general of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization, “the pressure on creativity is heating up with planners thinking of more innovative ways to satisfy the demands of couples from weddings underwater and in palm-fringed gazebos to the always romantic sunset backdrop by the soothing Caribbean Sea.”
From Curacao and Jamaica to St. Kitts and St. Lucia, the Caribbean is paradise found for brides and grooms saying their I Do’s on the beach, honeymooners in search of a hammock for two, anniversary celebrators, vow renewal takers and couples just wanting to get away from the nine-to-five.
St. Kitts Marriott is a good bet for couples who like to tempt lady luck in the casino, top off their tan on the candy sand, indulge in a revitalizing massage or a gourmet feast at the Blu Seafood restaurant or the inviting lobby bar. A taxi ride from a slew of funky beach bars, the resort is brand-reliable with air and hotel deals galore throughout the winter months including the ‘Super Sand Dollar’ package that tempts with rates as low as US$164.00, per room and three nights gratis when seven are booked.
Winter is on sale at the iconic Kura Hulanda hotels in Curacao with 40 percent off nightly rates through April 7. At both the Hotel near Willemstad and the Lodge on the beach, the ‘Spa Splendor’ package is relaxation-central for three nights and includes spa treatments, sun loungers and dips in the Jacuzzi. For larger groups, the thatched-roof Kalki Villas at the Lodge sleep six in two-storey comfort and come with espresso makers, gourmet kitchen, enormous patios and plunge pool. “Aesthetically stunning, the villas provide both the convenience of a private home and the advantages of a first-class resort,” said Peter Heinen, president, Kura Hulanda.
The only resort in St. Lucia to offer night snorkeling, Sugar Beach entices with an array of romance packages and nocturnal underwater tours where couples use waterproof flashlights to swim with parrot fish as they weave their cocoons and octopus as they venture from their daylight hideaways.
Sultry strolls on salmon-colored beaches are a daily ritual in Barbuda. Sandy sister to Antigua, the sandy sliver boasts one five-star resort, 360 degree panoramic views from the Lighthouse Bay Bar and the largest frigate bird sanctuary in the world. Welcoming couples (and everyone else), privacy is guaranteed at the plush nine-suite Lighthouse Bay Resort as the only access is via small plane or helicopter. “Couples who venture to Barbuda, says Terrence Linton, general manager, “may want to stay here forever.”
Take it to the Top
In Ocho Rios, sky-high weddings are taking off at Rainforest Adventures at Mystic Mountain where the “I Do at 700 Feet” ceremony dares couples to get hitched while flying through the treetops on the Sky Explorer chair lift or on the lawn atop Mystic Mountain. Packages include photographs of the high-octane ceremony and two witnesses if you forgot to bring them with you. www.rainforest-adventures.com.
The recipient of every award imaginable, Jade Mountain is a dramatic six-hundred foot spike above the sea with mesmerizing views of St. Lucia’s iconic Piton Mountains. The creative vision of architect Nick Troubetzkoy, rooms are without a fourth wall giving way to vistas that seem to reach for the sky. At the next door Anse Chastanet resort, a $500.00 certificate for a return anniversary visit is given to couples who book one of several romance packages.
Wedding Customs in the Caribbean
The High Five
- A shiny dime placed inside the bride’s shoe brings wealth and prosperity.
- If the wedding bouquet falls on the ground, the groom will cheat.
- A sliver of rum-soaked wedding cake kept under the pillow guarantees fertility.
- Bridesmaids wearing white chase away evil spirits. (Kate’s sister Pippa was dressed in white for the Royal Wedding.)
- Shoes tied to the back of a car show the father of the bride that the new husband is financially responsible for his daughter.