Caribbean travel deals abound: Strike while they're hot

The Fairmont Southampton's private beach club is a

The Fairmont Southampton's private beach club is a relaxing oasis where you can lounge, explore reefs with rentals from Dive Bermuda or sip on a tropical cocktail. (Credit: Handout)

Don't wait until the middle of winter to plan a beach break. Fall is a great time to find Caribbean bargains, whether you travel now or book early for later. Get started with these eight prime deals, at resorts from Bermuda to the Dominican Republic to Turks and Caicos.

SNORKEL, SCUBA, LIMBO ON THE BEACH

Palms at Pelican Cove, St. Croix

THE SCOOP At this friendly 40-room hotel, guests "arrive as strangers and leave feeling like family," says general manager Julie Printy. Take a free beginner's scuba lesson in the freshwater pool or in the shallow ocean water. Go night snorkeling along Long Reef, just a few yards offshore. You'll go home with a CD of underwater photographs documenting your swim. A program of evening entertainment (fire dancers, live music and, yes, limbo), plus expert bartenders mixing exotic drinks, brings visitors together.

THE DEAL The Fall Into One Sweet Deal gives you one night free on a stay of four nights or more, plus a $50 resort credit when you book before Dec. 1 and travel before Dec. 21. For travel between Dec. 14 and April 15, stay six nights and the seventh free. Rooms from $199 a night.

INFO palmspelicancove.com

CULTURE BREAK

Hotel El Convento, Puerto Rico

THE SCOOP In Old San Juan, the historic Hotel El Convento offers culture for families in addition to sun and sand. Within walking distance of museums and landmarks, it is a good base to explore the old city. The hotel has a plunge pool, and guests are invited to enjoy the beach club at a sister property. Fifty-eight rooms in a Spanish Colonial building have exposed mahogany beams and handcrafted furniture. Three on-site restaurants specialize in Puerto Rican haute cuisine, pizza and tapas.

THE DEAL The Old San Juan Vacation Package for families includes accommodations, one kite per child to fly at the El Morro Fortress, admission to Museo de Los Ninos children's museum, free breakfast and lunch for the kids, and more. Room rates start at $225 a night; available through Oct. 21, 2014.

INFO elconvento.com

SOMETHING NEW

Blue Haven, Turks and Caicos

THE SCOOP Under new ownership, this beachside resort has undergone a renovation. There are thirty-five 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom suites and 16 guest rooms. The infinity pool has a swim-up bar. A marina accommodates yachts up to 220 feet and gives guests direct access to some of the best snorkeling, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing in the Caribbean. The SALT bar and grill, overlooking the boats, is up and running. A second restaurant, Fire and Ice, as well as a spa, will open on Dec. 5 (until then, spa services are provided in a gazebo over the water).

THE DEAL Take advantage of the resort's Pre-Grand Opening Special, for 30 percent off regular suite rates good for travel until Dec. 18. Suite rates start at $280 a night.

INFO bluehaventci.com

FAMILY FUN

Fairmont Southampton, Bermuda

THE SCOOP This old-fashioned resort on 100 palm tree-dotted acres offers enough to keep the whole family happy. There are indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, a spa, a fitness center, a dive center and a hotel trolley that takes you to a private pink sand beach. The Explorers Camp Kids Club includes regular arts and crafts, beach games and scavenger hunts as well as nature activities including tree planting and bird watching.

THE DEAL With the Family Getaway, book a room at full rate and a second one 50 percent off for travel until Dec. 31, and free from January through March. Children younger than 12 eat for free, and children younger than 18 eat for 50 percent off. Rooms from $299 a night.

INFO fairmont.com/southampton-bermuda

UNUSUAL ALL-INCLUSIVE

The Villas at Sunset Lane, Antigua

THE SCOOP The Villas at Sunset Lane offer something unusual -- boutique hotel atmosphere and attentive personal service in an all-inclusive package. The pretty pink building and its sparkling pool are nestled into a hillside overlooking the Caribbean. Owner Jacqueline Thomas is legendary for her cooking and hospitality, anticipating and seeing to each guest's need, for a boat tour, a massage, a vegetarian dinner. An adults-only policy promotes tranquillity.

THE DEAL For the Holiday Special, book online directly with the hotel by Nov. 15 for stays between Dec. 15 and Jan. 4 and receive 20 percent off a Premium Suite with a seven-night minimum stay. Includes airport transfers, meals, an island tour and more. Use promo code NYND20. For the Winter Getaway Special, book between Nov. 16 and Dec. 22 for stays between Jan. 5 and April 12. Get 15 percent off a Premium Suite, with a minimum stay of 5 nights. Includes airport transfers, meals, an island tour and more. Use promo code NYND15. Rooms from $562 a night.

INFO villasatsunsetlane.com

WELLNESS AND RELAXATION

The BodyHoliday, St. Lucia

THE SCOOP The focus is on health at this all-inclusive resort on a secluded beach, with fitness classes, water sports, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, tennis, archery and more on the activities menu. A wellness center offers massage,

aromatherapy, body wraps and facials. Meals and drinks at seven restaurants and bars, including a wine tasting room, are part of the package. Between activities, relax by the beautiful pool, with its Moorish arches and view of the Caribbean.

THE DEAL A pre-Christmas Restorative Break, for travel from Dec. 1-21 will will help you get healthy for the holiday and teach you how to stay that way in the new year. In addition to the regular program, the offer includes: free blood pressure and BMI readings, a nutrition seminar, a cooking class, seminars in yoga, ayurveda, de-stressing and meditation. Rooms from $450 a night per person.

INFO thebodyholiday.com

EXCLUSIVE DOMINICAN RETREAT

The Peninsula House, Dominican Republic

THE SCOOP Punta Cana is teeming with all-inclusive resorts. But if you are looking for a more refined Dominican experience, check into this six-suite Victorian gem, on the Samana peninsula on the northeastern coast. The owners, a transplanted French couple, have created an elegant environment filled with art and antiques (an adults-only policy protects the precious collections). Creative cuisine is served on the inn's breezy veranda and at the nearby beach house. Off-site activities include horseback rides to the El Limon waterfall and whale watching off the coast.

THE DEAL From now until Dec. 20, the Peninsula House is offering three- or four-night packages for two (coordinated with JetBlue flights but not including airfare) for $1,350 and $1,650. These include a junior suite for two, a bottle of wine and continental breakfast.

INFO thepeninsulahouse.com

LUXURY IN THE SUN

Le Sereno, St. Barths

THE SCOOP St. Barths attracts the superwealthy with relaxed but ultra-luxurious small hotels such as Le Sereno, which boasts a concierge who will whisk you through customs, 36 suites and 4 villas (each with its own pool and a fully stocked Bosch refrigerator), a beachfront spa, and one of the island's best restaurants. If lounging on the white sand beach in your Hermes bikini is too boring for you, the hotel offers kite surfing, paddle boarding and tennis on a clay court.

THE DEAL Wealthy people like savings, too. That's why Le Sereno offers the Real Relax package, including round-trip flight on a private Magellan Jet and a 10 percent discount on a villa rental with a six-night stay. Prices start at $35,000. If you're willing to fly commercial, the Escape to St. Barths package includes similar perks and is available for stays until Dec. 14 and between April 28 and Aug. 24. Rooms start at $670 a night.

INFO lesereno.com, magellanjets.com

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misstated the opening date for Blue Haven and the number of rooms at the Peninsula House.

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