There’s many a resort in the Caribbean where sunloungers are lined up in pairs, tables are always for two and sunsets are viewed holding hands. Send a single customer to the wrong hotel and they’ll come back feeling less young and free than single and suicidal.
However, this doesn’t mean the Caribbean is a no-go area for those with no significant other to travel with. Pick the right destination for your client and they’ll never play the field with another travel agent – or one of those flirty direct booking websites – again.
Certain spa resorts pride themselves on catering for the single traveller. La Source in Grenada has luxury single rooms so they can avoid paying that pesky supplement, and with only 100 rooms in all, the resort won’t swamp those staying alone.
On top of the spa treatments, guests can take classes in yoga, t’ai chi or meditation. Water babies can scuba dive, snorkel, kayak, waterski, windsurf and sail.
The earthbound can tee-off on the nine-hole golf course or raise their heart rates with tennis, fencing, archery, beach volleyball or gym activities.
If they’ve got any energy left, evenings are catered for too, with a hosted cocktail hour every night in one of the three bars followed by a hosted singles table for dinner, so there’s no need to be alone unless guests choose to.
On St Lucia, TheBodyHoliday, LeSport has 29 single rooms that carry no supplement, and even has a special solos programme in September, giving single travellers added-value activities.
On top of the usual package (which includes a personalised schedule of daily spa treatments, all water sports and land sports including tuition and all holistic and exercise classes), single guests can also attend a weekly concert with champagne, masterclasses, sports tournaments, and a sunset cruise.
Popular periods for singles also include pre-Christmas and Yoga June, a month in which the hotel offers many extra yoga-focused activities, nature walks and special themes in the bars and restaurants.
Another option for clients who don’t want to feel like the ‘odd one out’, or be hit with single supplements is to travel with a niche operator. Solo’s Holidays has a Caribbean programme featuring Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Antigua and Tobago.
The company even holds newcomer events so customers feel comfortable about booking a holiday on their own, and a tour leader meets everyone at the airport during a complimentary visit to the Executive Lounge so the group can get to know one another early on and no one needs to fly alone if they are uncomfortable doing so.
Accommodation is sole occupancy and the leader organises receptions and cocktail parties, dinners and drinks – all covered in the all-inclusive package cost. Solo’s has been running for 27 years and repeat business stands at 58%, so the company knows what it’s doing.
Singles looking for more adventure than beach time are also catered for in the Caribbean. The biggest destination for escorted culture and adventure tours is Cuba – this vibrant, friendly island is packed full of cultural highlights and activities.
Specialist operators such as Exodus, Intrepid Travel, Imaginative Traveller, Tucan Travel and Explore offer group itineraries. These adventure holidays can feature urban tours around the crumbling glory of Havana, charming Trinidad and historical Santiago de Cuba. There’s also beach time including water sports such as diving or catamaran trips, plus cycling or walking.
Add to that hiking in the Sierra del Escambray or Sierra Maestra mountains or exploring the dramatic limestone mogotes in Viñales, and – of course – learning to salsa.
Captivating Cuba offers specific singles breaks with archery competitions, Spanish and salsa lessons, treasure hunts and quizzes, all based in a beach resort in Varadero.
Other islands are also noted for their beautiful scenery and outdoor activities. Explore runs a trip around Dominica, Martinique and St Lucia. In the latter there’s the chance to explore the rainforest, visit sulphur springs and the laid-back town of Soufriere.
Martinique – a department of France – has fascinating history and a volcano to climb, but to visit it alone a reasonable level of French is recommended. Dominica is only 29 miles long, but 5,000ft high. There are walks among the mountains to waterfalls and boiling volcanic springs, rivers to canoe on and even whales to watch.
Singles in groups looking for a party will probably do best in Jamaica, where the relaxed vibe and lively nightlife will give them the chance to let their hair down. There are also loads of exciting activities to keep them busy, from zip-lining and river tubing to swimming with dolphins and riding in cable cars high above the rainforest canopy in Ocho Rios.
In Negril, The Caves and Rockhouse – set just minutes from Seven Mile Beach and plenty of bars– are ideal for groups. Casa Blanca in Montego Bay is set at the top of the Hip Strip next to Doctor Cave’s Beach with Margaritaville and other nightspots only an amble away. In Ocho Rios, young singles can choose the great budget option Rooms on the Beach.
The option to cruise around the Caribbean is open to singles too, though many will be slapped with steep supplements on their cabins – often as much as 100%.
However, some companies are more single-friendly. Crystal Cruises offers cabins with just a 25% single supplement and Ambassador Hosts on every sailing. These cultured gentlemen accompany single ladies of a certain age to dinner, dancing, games of bridge and shore excursions.
P&O Cruises’ new ship, Azura, which will sail in 2010 and spend winter in the Caribbean, will have 18 single rooms.
Hayes and Jarvis offers seven nights at the BodyHoliday at LeSport in St Lucia, priced at £1,649 per person, including all-inclusive accommodation in a single room and flights from Gatwick with Virgin Atlantic, departing on June 16. (Tel: ?0871 664 0246,??hayesandjarvis.co.uk/agents)
Explore’s 14-day itinerary through Dominica, Martinique and St Lucia starts from £2,070 departing November 1, including flights and some meals and activities.
(Tel:?0844 499 0904,??firstname.lastname@example.org)
Captivating Cuba offers singles itineraries leaving on May 31 and June 7, 14 and 21. Prices start from £1,045 including flights from Gatwick, all transfers, six nights’
all-inclusive at the five-star Melia Las Americas in Varadero and one night’s bed and breakfast in the four-star Telegrafo in Havana. (Tel: ?08444 129 917)
Solo’s Holidays offers seven nights’ all inclusive at the Victoria Golf and Beach Resort in the Dominican Republic’s Playa Dorada starting from £899, departing July 6. Price includes flights from Gatwick, transfers, single occupancy of a room, services of a tour leader, welcome drinks and a show night at a sister hotel. (Tel: ?08448 150 001)
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