Everybody’s idea of affordable luxury is different. What some consider a reasonable sum for a luxury hotel per night, offers may consider a fortune. However, reports show that some luxury villas cost the same per night as an average family sedan.
Take the 2011 Ford Taurus, for example. Described as a balance of beauty and strength with a well-appointed console of features, prices for a basic model start from $26,245. Not a bad price for hopefully seven years of comfortable family motoring. But would you be happy paying that same amount per night for a luxury villa?
The Caribbean island of St Barts is where the wealthiest travelers seek rest and relaxation, far from the stresses of the remainder of the world. But a six-bedroom, six-bathroom estate at the Sand Club apparently costs between $21,428 and $35,714 per night, depending upon the season.
A beachfront location, stunning pool deck and a wine cellar are included along with breathtaking waterfront views across Flambards Beach and staff at your disposal 24/7. Alternatively, checkout the luxury hotels on Anguilla, St Martin and St Barthelemy for great value with Luxique.com and put the savings towards that new sedan!
A debate has been raging in the media about the decision by the cruise line Royal Caribbean International to continue to dock its ships at a private luxury resort in Haiti.
Passengers have been enjoying the beautiful expanse of white sand at Labadee, only 60 miles from the capital, Port-au-Prince, where up to 200,000 people are believed dead in the devastating earthquake.
The burning question has been: Should vacationers relax and have fun with so much suffering elsewhere on the island, or would it be worse to stop the port calls and deprive locals of what they earn from tourism?
One cruise passenger wrote:
“I just can’t see myself sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue, and enjoying a cocktail while [in Port-au-Prince] there are tens of thousands of dead people being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water.”
But Royal Caribbean President and CEO, Adam Goldstein, defended the decision to continue with scheduled stops in Labadee. He said the site had sustained no damage and the Haitian government had welcomed the ship. The country reaped a fixed cost per passenger, plus annual fees and the cash that tourists spent on goods at a market where locals sold trinkets and crafts.
In addition, he said, Royal Caribbean was delivering food and water during every call and pledging $1 million (£620,000) plus net revenue from Labadee to the relief effort.
by Andy Moreton
Some of the hotels on Mexico’s Caribbean coast have offered free vacations for three years to any tourist catching swine flu while on holiday there.
The flu outbreak in Mexico, from which 58 people have died, has sparked mass cancellations of bookings to one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
“The ‘flu-free guarantee’ assures three years of free holidays to travellers who present flu symptoms eight days after returning from their trip,” said Fernando Garcia, the director of one of the participating hotel groups.
The hotel owners are also sending letters to the American government - to be published in US newspapers - calling for a lifting of the alert against non-essential travel to Mexico.
The Health Minister, Jose Angel Cordova, has underlined that several top Mexican beach resorts, including Cozumel on the east coast and Puerto Vallarta on the west coast, haven’t registered any swine flu cases.
“Tourist destinations are safe in Mexico, people can return calmly, we are carrying out intensive checks,” said Mr Cordova.
The flu’s impact, including on tourism, was expected to cost Mexico’s economy around $2.3 billion (£1.5 billion).
by Andy Moreton
If you’re reassured by the Health Minister’s statement, Luxique can offer the best rates at luxury hotels in both Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta.
The global recession is having a severe effect on the Caribbean region - five countries are reporting double-digit drops in tourist visits.
Statistics released last week by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) show Anguilla taking the biggest hit, with a decline of 18.8 per cent in the early months of 2009.
Visits are down in all twelve reporting nations and territories except Jamaica, Cuba and Mexico’s Cancun region. Tourist traffic fell 14.3 per cent in Antigua, 13.7 per cent in St Lucia, 11.6 per cent in Montserrat and 11.3 per cent in the Cayman Islands.
Winfield Griffith, acting Director of Research at the CTO, said the steep declines in the first quarter were the worst since the tourism slump that followed the Sept. 11th attacks in 2001. “The point at which it will hit bottom is not clear,” said Mr Griffith.
He said the small islands were finding it hardest, partly because airlines have started removing flights to save money.
There’s also been a decline in arrivals of cruise ship passengers, although these have considerably less economic impact because they don’t involve overnight stays on the islands.
by Andy Moreton
Now might be the time to get a top deal in the West Indies. Luxique has a wide selection of luxury Caribbean hotels at the best possible rates.
Among the many possibilities heralded by the election of President Obama is the re-opening of Cuba to American trade and tourism.
Although it lies only 90 miles from the southernmost point of the United States, Cuba is the only country in the world that Americans are banned from visiting as tourists. Exemptions are made for some journalists and academics with special permission from the State Department, while many other travellers flout the ban by flying via Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas.
Now Congress has introduced a bill that would allow all Americans to travel there. If passed, it would represent the most far-reaching revision of the restrictions imposed by Washington on the Caribbean island nearly 50 years ago.
The US imposed sanctions on travel and trade in 1962, three years after Fidel Castro took power. The US argument was that denying Castro revenue from trade and tourism dollars would undermine the Communist government.
One of the arguments put forward by members of Congress today in favour of lifting the ban is that Americans are free to visit other countries regarded as Communist, such as China and Vietnam.
But opponents argue that flooding Cuba with tourist dollars would only shore up the regime run by Raul Castro, who took over from his sick brother last year.
A thaw in relations seems increasingly likely. President Obama recently agreed to ease restrictions imposed by his predecessor, allowing Cuban-Americans to visit annually rather than once every three years. And the President is attending the Summit of The Americas in Trinidad later this month when new relations with Cuba are expected to surface.
What have Americans been missing? Well, according to the Lonely Planet travel guide, “Cuba, as well as having the usual Caribbean attractions in abundance … has one of the world’s most exciting (and bloody) histories, extraordinary musical and dance traditions all of its own and a rich national architecture that never ceases to astound.”
by Andy Moreton