Ride the Shoulder
By the end of this month, most New Yorkers will have succumbed to an acute case of cabin fever. What perfect timing, then, that airfares and hotel rates in the Caribbean drop dramatically at the beginning of April. Spring is the shoulder season in the islands, but we’re not sure why: Summer’s heavy rains are months away, and fewer travelers means you can sweet-talk your way into a hotel-room upgrade, score tables at top restaurants, and easily find a prime spot for your beach blanket. You can basically have an entire island all to yourself. It’s also during this time that the islands turn up their charm, luring tourists with a host of festivals and events. Among this year’s most notable are St. Lucia’s Jazz Festival (May 2– 11); Reggae Weekend on Grand Bahama Island, featuring the legendary Wailers (May 2–4); the Bermuda International Film Festival (April 11–17); and the tenth Bermuda Open Tennis Championship (April 14–20). Bonus: Travelers flying to Bermuda before April 20 get a free companion ticket or a $300 airfare credit (call 800-bermuda for details).
Deal of the Week
One of Anguilla’s premier resorts, Cap Juluca, will cut its rack rate by almost 40 percent in April. And if you can wait until May, you’ll get up to a whopping 52 percent off. (Rates during the high season start at $825 per night; 888-858-5822.)
Love for Sail
Springtime is prime regatta season in the Caribbean, and the two most popular events are as much fun for spectators as for crew. During the BVI Spring Regatta (March 31–April 6), you can watch hundreds of racing sailboats from just about any beach or cay in the British Virgin Islands; races last from dawn till dusk, followed by parties at Nanny Cay Marina (bvispringregatta.org.) The best view of Antigua’s Sailing Week races (April 27–May 3) may be from the deck of Curtain Bluff’s yacht, Sentio. The resort’s “Sail Away” package (meals, booze, and yoga included) sends you out on the yacht to watch the races ($5,995 for seven days; 888-289-9898). Or watch from the beach, then join the revelers at English and Jolly Harbours.
Best Beach Bargains
Come April, you can find a great deal just about anywhere in the Caribbean. Here are our favorites.
St. Barts’ super-chic Guanahani is slashing rates by 40 percent beginning April 15 (590-590-27-6660).
At the pristine Cotton House on Mustique, all rooms are 20 percent off through April 14 (877-240-9945).
Starting April 15, seven nights at Petit Saint Vincent, including unlimited room service and use of windsurfers, is just $3,910 for two (800-654-9326).
Stay at any of six Elegant Hotels on Barbados after April 12 and get $200 off each traveler’s airfare plus a free night’s stay (800-326-6898).
In Puerto Rico, the Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort’s spring package ($555) includes three nights and a free round of golf; starts April 1 (800-554-9288).
CANNES DO For the ultimate French Riviera experience, book a room at the newly renovated Hotel Martinez, where you’ll find a completely redone lobby and two-star Michelin restaurant, plus new, over-the-top penthouse suites complete with high-tech amenities; plenty of silks, satins, and suedes; and private terraces overlooking the Bay of Cannes. The best part: a Givenchy spa, opening April 15 (33-4-92-987-300; from $261).
JOIN THE CLUB New York’s City Club Hotel has just introduced three stunning duplex suites with spiral staircases, original 1904 moldings, arched windows, plasma-screen TVs, and a $975 price tag (212-921-5500).
CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ The Beverly Hills Inn has reemerged as the Mosaic Hotel, a south-of-Wilshire gem with 49 decked-out rooms—Bulgari products, Frette linens . . . you know the drill (800-463-4466; from $225).