Island Vacations – Part 2: How to Pick a Resort

This is a continuation of the series on helping you plan an Island/ Resort Vacation.

Part 1: How to pick an island

Part 2: How to pick a resort

While embarking on an island resort vacation, there are so many choices that need to be made before you zero in on the ideal destination. In this article we attempt to share some of the knowledge that we have gleaned through our travels in Costa Rica and Seychelles. Below are some factors to be considered in no particular order.

Pick a sub-island

If you are traveling to an archipelago like Maldives or Seychelles, then it is good idea to first zero in on which sub-island you would like to visit. This can be driven by several considerations such as trekking opportunities, photo ops, watersports or simply the natural beauty of the island. Many a times we also end up choosing an island based on the resorts available! For example: Hilton Labriz resort in Seychelles is the only resort on Silhouette Island, so if your preference is Hilton, then your choice is already made for you!

Pick a resort

This is the most difficult part for us. We are not loyal to a particular chain (although we have some bias for Hilton) so we always end up looking through the entire list! But some things to keep in mind are:

  • Resort Type: Several resorts have an adults only policy and this can be a deal breaker for families. Hence, depending on the entourage you are traveling with, your choice of resort should factor in these limitations.
  • What is included: One of the most important considerations, especially if it is the only resort on the island, is what is included in your booking. We have come across four types of package types: Bed & Breakfast, Half-board (one meal included), Full-board (all meals included) and All-inclusive (all meals, snacks and beverages included). We have observed that most of the times activities such as scuba and snorkelling are always charged separately.
Our breakfast chef, Dennis, creating some fresh tropical concoctions

Our breakfast chef, Dennis, creating some fresh tropical concoctions

  • Things to do: Does it have a private beach? Most resorts have this, but it is still worthwhile to check since it would mean lots of facilities available for you to swim and relax under the sun. It is also important to check if it is the only resort on the island? If yes then make sure the resort provides enough activities such as snorkeling, zip lining, scuba diving, trekking, cooking classes, etc.
Zip Lining in Costa Rica

Zip Lining in Costa Rica

How do I get there?

In most instances private transportation options are the only ones available to get to an island. Sometimes these are by a boat, and sometimes by a sea-plane. We have come across situations where the resort makes most of its money through the sea-plane transfers. It is important to consider the cost of this before you decide on an island or a resort. We have seen resorts that charge you $200/ person for a 10-minute sea-plane transfer!

What room-type should I get?

It is important to understand the terminology used by various resorts. Ocean-view is not the same as ocean-front. And would you like to be in garden-view room in a beach resort? Many a times the cost considerations will decide this for you, but it is always good to make an educated decision.

  • Ocean-view: You would be able to see the ocean from your room, but it might be in the distance
  • Ocean-front: Your room in most cases will be right on the beach or a few steps from the beach
  • Garden view: This will be a room in the second row behind the more expensive ocean-front rooms and will not have a view of the ocean
  • Pool-facing: These are rooms that face the swimming pool, but may be either on a higher floor or slightly away from it
  • Pool-front: These will be rooms that are at the level of the swimming pool. We generally stay away from these since they can get noisy with all the guests and kids using the pool

Other points to keep in mind

  • Make a note of the tipping culture in the region before arriving at the resort. If there is a tipping culture, make sure you have enough small notes/ coins to tip
  • Is there an interesting town around and would you want to plan sometime to visit that, sample the local life? For example, we found Victoria in Seychelles to be a marvellous small town that you could spend some time wandering around
  • Last but the most important tip, things could sometimes be out of your control, like weather or noisy kids in the next room, but be determined to have a gala time!!

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