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Caribbean Mojo
An Island Sampler of Romantic Delights
By Melanie Reffes

Here’s the inside skinny on four Caribbean islands, and why they might be the perfect choice for your honeymoon clients. All four isles have what honeymooners crave – beautiful scenery, stunning beaches and lots of privacy. But each has subtle differences adding up to a singular appeal all their own.

To call Saba (SAY bah) a quiet island is an understatement. Twenty-eight miles east of St Maarten or twelve minutes by air, Saba is indeed, quiet but it’s also one of the most romantic isles in the Caribbean. So far it’s virtually unnoticed by mass tourism. Saba is a five-square mile dormant volcano towering 2,855 feet above sea level, named for the Arawak work ‘Siba’ which means rock. With ocean depths of more than 1,000 feet within a half mile from shore, tiny Saba is one of the top diving destinations in the world. Saba makes waves with honeymooners who covet their own sliver of Shangri-la.

There are no traffic lights, one gas station and one road simply named “The Road.” The island has four towns, four street sweepers, ten cab drivers, ten churches and three jail cells, for those who may have had three too many. There’s also a mountain aptly called Mt. Scenery. Mandated by law, gingerbread-style houses must be painted white with red sloping roofs and green shutters. If not decorated to those specifications, the government will re-paint or issue a fine.

The first car arrived on Saba in 1947, the first plane in 1959 and “The Road” was built in 1943 by a team of heavily-muscled men with wheelbarrows, fresh from their stud y of the “How to Build a Road” course from the International School of Correspondence in Chicago. Without the standard-issue Caribbean amenities like mega-resorts, casinos and beaches, Saba leans on what it does have, which is eco-perfection, gourmet dining and locals so friendly you’ll think you’ve met them before.

The island’s only four-star hotel is Queen’s Gardens Resort, perched 1,200 feet above the sea. The property is distinctive with rectangular towers that rise out of the rainforest. Its twelve suites – ten with Jacuzzis – are the most luxurious on the island. The property not only has the largest rainwater-filled swimming pool but also the only bathtub.

“Weddings are big business and we are delighted to host newlyweds and those about to be newlyweds,” says Claire Nuyens, manager, Queen’s Gardens Resort. “Saba law requires six people with Dutch passports be present at weddings and lucky for us, six Dutch citizens are on- staff and will happily stand in as witnesses.”

The resort’s Heavenly Honeymoon packages include nights in a superior suite that spans an entire floor of the resort. Lovers can jumpstart romance in a Jacuzzi with photo-ready views of the Caribbean Sea. There’s also fine dining under the shadow of a century-old mango tree at the King’s Restaurant, which is famous for its platters of succulent Saban lobster. Additional top- shelf amenities for newlyweds include airport transfers, Queen’s Signature Massages to relax the happy couple, snorkeling excursions and an ensuite bottle of bubbly.

Winair flies daily from the Princess Juliana International airport in St. Maarten, and ferry service from St. Maarten to Saba is available via Dawn II and The Edge.

Queen’s Gardens Resort:
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Saba Tourist Bureau:

Curacao charms lovers with a mélange of Caribbean flair and European panache. The island’s luscious lagoons, architecturally-fabulous capital city of Willemstad and thirty-eight beaches pack a romantic wallop. Although Dutch is Curaçao’s official language, Papiamentu, a blend of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, English and Arawak, is the favored language of islanders. “We call Papiamentu ‘Tutti Frutti’ because it represents the wonderful mixture of cultures that make up Curaçao,” said Andre Rojer, marketing manager, Curaçao Tourist Board, “Visitors who speak other languages can easily learn a few words like ‘dushi’ which you’d use to grab the attention of your sweetie.”

Hyatt Curacao

It’s no surprise that Avila Beach Hotel, the island’s oldest hotel, is also one of the most romantic. The family-run hotel is a Dutch Colonial mansion where Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands stays on official state visits. Nicolaj ‘Nic’ Møller is not only the owner of the sixty-year old hotel, but also a musician with two CD’s to his credit, and a jazz set often accompanies the sunset. Rounding out the picture are the legendary Blues Bar perched on the tip of a natural breakwater, and the hotel’s 1926 Rolls-Royce available for a glamorous spin after tying the knot.

Another Curacao favorite is Angelica’s Kitchen, where love is always in the air. A pharmacist- turned-foodie, Angelique Schoop runs the popular cooking school in her century-old childhood house in Otrobanda where chef wannabees prepare a five-course meal from plantain soup to pumpkin pancakes drizzled with Curacao liqueur. “Only 10 percent of the folks who enroll in the classes can actually cook,” she says, scurrying about the kitchen painted in sea greens and blues. “The rest just like to eat and learn.”

Avila Beach Hotel:
Angelica’s Kitchen:
Curacao Tourist Board:

It’s easy to fall in love on an island as sweet as St. Kitts. Love blooms year round courtesy of spectacular sunsets, starlit nights, beaches perfect for sultry strolls, and enthralling views from Mt. Liamuiga, standing proud at 3,792 feet above sea level.

Royal Plantation, St. Kitts

Affectionately dubbed Sugar City, the nickname also summons up the island’s history in a nutshell. Named “St. Christopher” by Columbus in 1493, after the patron saint of travelers, the island’s name was later changed to St. Kitts during its transformation into England’s wealthiest sugar colony. Sweethearts can still ride the Sugar Train; with an upper open-air observation deck that puts you high above the sugar cane fields; vistas are worth a million memories.

Caribbean canoodling is de rigueur at Rawlins Plantation Inn. The property even has an old windmill that serves as a cottage for honeymooners. Through December 18, 2010, the three- night “Paradise for Two” package includes a host of romantic amenities including spa treatments for the bride guaranteed to get rid of any last minute jitters. The wedding-bound couple receives a marriage license, expert advice from the Inn’s wedding coordinator, rose petals scattered on the aisle leading up to the altar, two witnesses if necessary, dinner en suite and a wedding cake pour deux. To keep the newlyweds mojo in high gear, a dreamy turn-down service includes flowers on the bed, a chilled bottle of bubbly and to seal the deal, chocolate-dipped fresh fruit.

“We do one or two weddings a month even in a slow economy,” says Karen Bennett, marketing manager, Rawlins Plantation Inn. “Romance is our favorite pastime and it’s always our pleasure to create fairy-tale weddings at our Inn.” St. Kitt’s Spice Mill Restaurant rolls out a romantic red carpet. Fronting picturesque Cockleshell Beach, comfy beds are planted in the sand for cuddling as the sun sets over the calm Caribbean Sea.

”We love hosting weddings on our beach,” says Roger Brisbane, owner, Spice Mill Restaurant.
“We work with the couple to make sure everything goes smoothly from the ceremony to the

With love in the air, it’s no surprise the hotels, restaurants and spas have launched ‘The Fall in Love with St. Kitts” program that dishes up a bevy of free nights and reduced airfares when hotel packages are booked via AA Vacations, Delta Vacations or US Airways Vacations. American Airlines flies non-stop from Miami and New York (JFK) and US Airways from Charlotte and Delta from Atlanta.

Rawlins Plantation Inn:
Spice Mill Restaurant:
St. Kitts Tourism Authority:

Tiny Nevis is pure paradise only a seashell away from St. Kitts. Adored by honeymooners for the many nooks and crannies offering privacy, and coveted by savvy travelers for its unspoiled natural beauty, Nevis is a lover’s playground par excellence. It was on this small isle that a dapper Captain Horatio Nelson courted the refined Fanny Nisbet and where hundreds of couples since have followed in their romantic footsteps.

Four Seasons, Nevis

“We encourage romance on our island,” says John Hanley, CEO of the Nevis Tourist Authority. “We have endless locales for couples to marry, honeymoon and have fun under the

Breezy beaches and magical sunsets are the main events with the aptly named Lovers’ Beach the star attraction. Off-the-beaten-track, this secluded sandy strand is often empty and ideal for sunbathing, morning strolls and perfecting the fine art of the Caribbean chill-out. After a day at the beach, luxury awaits at the only AAA Five-Diamond resort in the West Indies. Set to re- open on December 15, the ritzy Four Seasons Resort Nevis awaits with swank accommodations, glorious seaside massages, gourmet dining, championship golf and wedding planners who happily coordinate every detail of the big event.

“Visitors fall in love when they arrive here, “says Biddy Weekes, a Nevis tour guide for twenty years. “I see big smiles after couples swim in our sea and look at our mountain.”

To seal the deal, Sunshine’s on Pinney’s Beach is home to the Killer Bee that packs a potent rum punch. At Oualie Beach hotel, musical group Jazzique heats up the room with Marley covers and old-school favorites. Ask the bartender to whip up a Monkey Passion cocktail with vodka, banana liqueur, passion fruit juice and coconut cream.

For couples who prefer the road-less-traveled and the road one-thousand feet above the sea, Golden Rock Inn is an 18th-century estate bordered by bougainvillea and orchids. With fourteen cottages and a gourmet restaurant, the inn was named for the curious golden glow on the left side of the mountain visible before the sun sets. Perfect for honeymooners, the inn has no TV’s, clocks or radios; however the property does have Wi-Fi access.

“Our guests can truly unwind up here,” smiles Pam Barry, co-owner of Golden Rock Inn. “We host many weddings and delight when couples say ‘I do’ at our romantic inn.”

Four Seasons resort, Nevis, West Indies:
Oualie Beach Hotel:
Golden Rock Inn:
Nevis Tourism Authority: