SMART DEALS: In the Caribbean, Think Small (Hotel)
In the Caribbean, small can be beautiful. Very beautiful. Sure, I've stayed at plenty of sprawling Caribbean hotels, and they have their good points, especially if you have kids and need water slides, space and diversions. But if it is just the two of you, I say go to a small, affordable hotel. They're usually much quieter and offer the tranquility that many of us are seeking when we fly to the islands.
But the problem is that there are lots of mediocre small hotels out there, not to mention the truly bad places, rotten with mold, run down and managed by indifferent owners.
The good news is that there are gems as well. At Concordia Eco-Tents on St. John, there are 25 platform tents with jaw dropping views and privacy. A stay runs $155 per night in April.
At Jake's (both photos), an Island Outpost hotel on the island of Jamaica, the 45 whimsical rooms range from $95 to $295 per night for a one bedroom. If you stay four nights, the fifth night is free. On St. Thomas, I recently came across the delightful At Home in the Tropics Bed & Breakfast, a restored historic house in Charlotte Amalie offering four simply furnished guest rooms flooded with sunshine. The rates start at $200, including breakfast. That's not a bad deal, considering that breakfast at a resort hotel on St. Thomas can easily run $25 a head. And if you want to see the quieter side of Puerto Rico, forsake the big hotels in Condado and stay at the 14-room Luquillo Sunrise Beach Inn, close to El Yunque rain forest, where the simple, beachfront accommodations start at $135 a night.