Find a Sunny Spot and Lie Still

25 Jun

Coconut Bay

I recommend that to anyone for Christmas vacation, if you possibly can.

Cari lives in Dominica, a small island in the West Indies (near Venezuela). She didn’t much want a crowd at her home for Christmas–tiny island, tiny houses–so it made sense to plan a trip to one of the nearby islands. We wanted someplace family friendly, a local with enough of a tourist focus to have A/C and decent beds, but with a low fromage factor–not one of the adult playgrounds where the I-peaked-in-high-school set go to misbehave. It took two months of obsessive research and way too many phone calls between sisters and mom, but we settled on St. Lucia. White sand. Shocking blue water. Palm trees. Why does everyone romanticize snow at Christmas?

When you’re dealing with family, especially family in numbers, all inclusive resorts are the way to go. If half the number of your relatives are picky eaters and ill-tempered in the morning as mine are, picking a restaurant requires Glasnost-level diplomacy that no one can muster for more than 24 hours. All inclusive resorts give everybody lots of choices for food, at all hours of the day. The beds are good, and someone tidies up the room (which everyone likes even if they won’t admit it). OK…some all inclusives are NOT my speed. I don’t want some chirpy nametag twit picking my dinner companions, I don’t want to be forced to do the hula (or anything), and I have no interest in floor shows. But if you do your research, you can find a place that suits your taste. For our family, it was all about food, free time, and space.

So we ended up at the Coconut Bay. Great views, good rooms. The food’s consistent, and made from scratch. They had a kid’s club, so we got to spend most of the time thinking my nephew is the most adorable 4-1/2 year old on the planet, with very few reminders of what a natural disaster he can be. This was a BIG lure for Cari. The staff’s friendly without being overbearing, and competent.There are activities and excursions if you want them, and they leave you the hell alone if you don’t. Mostly, they just us get on with what we really wanted to do: find a spot in the sun and lie still.

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