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Questions Barcelona Marriotts - St Kitts in General

AlmostRetired

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I am planning a 6 day trip the last week in April for my wife’s 60th. I am thinking of two opposite vacations - Barcelona or St Kitts… I think she will go with Barcelona but I will let her decide.

Looking at the following either the Cotton House Hotel, Autograph Collection or Renaissance Barcelona Hotel. I am leaning towards the Cotton House because they have a concierge lounge. Thoughts on both please

St Kitts – we enjoy the beach and of course eating. What else is there to do on the island and should I rent a car. Since 2008 we have been to Aruba 3 or 4 times so how does this compare beach wise? (I know it can't possibly compare food wise). Interesting on rates at the Marriott…I can use Marriott reward points (240,000) for a studio and can add 100 upgrade to get a one bedroom or pay a marriott rewards rate of $179 for that same 1 bedroom no points. I actually booked the room and cancel later.

Thanks
 

AlmostRetired

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Found a number of Tug posts on St Kitts but if you can add recent information, that would be helpful
 

bazzap

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These are certainly very diverse options.
We really enjoy both.
Barcelona is a large, vibrant city with plenty to see and do. We last spent a very busy 5 days there whilst barely scraping the surface.
St Kitts is a laid back, relaxing place with more to see and do each time we visit but still relatively undeveloped and mainly a beach holiday.
You don't need to hire a car, as the taxis are reasonable value and mostly very friendly, helpful and enthusiastic about showing you their island.
The beaches on the Southern peninsula are very good and quiet (dependent on cruise ship visits).
The Marriott is on the Atlantic ocean, which can be windy and occasionly rough.
Less than 10 minutes walk away though and you are on the Caribbean Sea which is always calm.
For an idea of what to see and do, you might want to read
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destination/stkittsandnevis/78334/St-Kitts-travel-guide.html
and this video gives you a good overview
(BUT don't watch it if you prefer the element of surprise)
http://youtu.be/Mx9xOZEtRCs
 

DCBoy

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Considered both Barcelona hotels last year for a stay after a cruise. Decided on the Ren for reasons that escape me now. It was a very nice property in a very convenient locations to most everything including tours (Big Red Bus), many great restaurants, Gaudi sites and La Rambla. Great roof deck for a drink or to just relax. Very modern decor. Would definitely stay there again. Full Breakfast for elites too, but I think that's the case at all European Marriotts. Let me know if I can be more helpful.
Doug B
 

turkel

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We went to st. Kitts 2 years ago. The timeshares are only 2 and 3 bedrooms. Any studio or 1 bed is hotel or corporate type housing. We met a couple that had exchanged into a "1 bed" and they complained it was nothing like they expected. Didn't have dishes or other kitchen items.

Although I enjoyed our visit my more frugal boyfriend has said never again. We spent a fortune on taxi fare approximately $70 to $100/day. You will need an international license to rent a car.

We found dining very expensive as well. Even compared to other carribean islands and Hawaii. The best deals were the early bird specials at the Marriott.

St. Kitts is home to a medical school, the med students hung out at the Marriott not sure why Marriott allows this but they do have a posted sign that says cruise members can access the pool and beach for a $35 fee.
 

ilene13

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We stayed at the Ren in Barcelona in September, 2014. Very convenient property but services were not exceptional. Only 1 concierge on duty at any 1 time and they catered to the Disney cruise people who stayed there before or after cruise rather than Marriott elite guests. I would not stay there again--I'd probably stay at the Mandarin Oriental.
 

n777lt

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What a choice! If you do go to Barcelona, leave a full day for the Municipal Museum of Barcelona (don't remember the Catalan acronym) - there are several different sites and they are all fascinating, if you are into culture, history, archeology and architecture. Marvelous Roman ruins. Also Montjuic.
 

bazzap

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We went to st. Kitts 2 years ago. The timeshares are only 2 and 3 bedrooms. Any studio or 1 bed is hotel or corporate type housing. We met a couple that had exchanged into a "1 bed" and they complained it was nothing like they expected. Didn't have dishes or other kitchen items.

Although I enjoyed our visit my more frugal boyfriend has said never again. We spent a fortune on taxi fare approximately $70 to $100/day. You will need an international license to rent a car.

We found dining very expensive as well. Even compared to other carribean islands and Hawaii. The best deals were the early bird specials at the Marriott.

St. Kitts is home to a medical school, the med students hung out at the Marriott not sure why Marriott allows this but they do have a posted sign that says cruise members can access the pool and beach for a $35 fee.
You make good point about exchanges into a 1 bedroom unit in St Kitts.
Interval show both the timeshare (2 & 3 bedroom, as you say) and the hotel (1 bedroom with no kitchen facilities...etc), so you do need to select the timeshare resort.
I guess you must have been taking taxi tours, multiple daily trips, night trips... for $75-100 spend per day?
The normal fare to the furthest part of the island is EC$72 = US$26 for a full taxi with 4 passengers.
http://www.stkittstourism.kn/explore-st-kitts-getting-here-airport.php
"Taxis meet every flight at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport on St. Kitts and Newcastle Airport on Nevis. The taxis are not metered, but fixed rates, in EC dollars, are posted at the airport and at the jetty. Note that rates are the same for 1-4 passengers. On St. Kitts the fare from the airport to the closest hotel in Basseterre is EC$18; to the farthest point, EC$72. Before setting off in a cab, be sure to clarify whether the rate quoted is in EC or U.S. dollars. There's a 50% surcharge for trips made between 10 PM and 6 AM. You can call the St. Kitts Taxi Association (PHONE: 869/465-8487; 869/465-4253; 869/465-7818 after hrs)."
The Veterinary University students used to be accommodated in the neighbouring Marriott owned buildings, these are now being converted into Marriott condos for sale.
I am sure there will still be some students on the resort, but they have never been a problem on our visits although we use the pool by the MVC buildings and they would probably use the main pool.
The number of cruise ship day visitors was a problem on just one day in all of our visits and this was just the sheer number of them.
We raised the issue with the GM and they claim to now limit the numbers based on resort occupancy. We have not had a similar issue since then.
 

Fairwinds

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Two totally different vacations and both fantastic ideas. I envy your dilemma and would not venture to make a recommendation there. Although my personal preference is to always rent a car I do agree that St. Kitts can be done without one if your just looking to relax. I was issued an international drivers license at my local AAA office for a small fee. No test required. I really don't see the point of them. If you prefer to drive St. Kitts is an easy island to drive on even with the wrong side pattern.
 

AlmostRetired

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Thanks for the feedback. I was thinking the one bedroom on St Kitts was at the timeshare. Without a kitchen, no sure a one bedroom matters that much to us.

My wife works in a school and the school is closed for a week in April so based on a family diner on her birthday, we will only have 5 days no matter what we pick.

We have been to Europe twice and both times they were for 3 weeks visiting multiple countries/cities given the infrequency of the visits. If we had more days, no doubt we would be going to Europe.

If the kids were able to join us, ST Kitts would be a lock giving us plenty of family time.

It will be interesting for me on what she picks. I can see her dismissing both given the short stay. I was discussing this with a friend who thinks we are spoiled yet every time I discuss timeshares he dismisses it as a scam industry. I look back on what we have done, on what I hope we can do when I retire and I believe much of this would not be possible without my investment in a Marriott timeshare 20 plus years ago and my loyalty to Marriott for 30 years. Europe was funded by the old MR travel award that gave 4 round trip tickets to anywhere in the world, 2 weeks at a hotel and a week car rental. Renting out my HHI unit changes the MF into a higher percent travel dollar spend.

I just gave away a non Marriott TS that served me well. If my kids do not want the Marriott timeshares and I give them away, that monetary investment paid off 10 fold in a non monetary way.

Again thanks for the feedback.
 
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jtp1947

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"Looking at the following either the Cotton House Hotel, Autograph Collection or Renaissance Barcelona Hotel. I am leaning towards the Cotton House because they have a concierge lounge. Thoughts on both please."

Flyertalk shows that the Cotton House Hotel does not have a concierge lounge. I hope you are correct because we will be there in April.
 
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AlmostRetired

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Flyertalk shows that the Cotton House Hotel does not have a concierge lounge. I hope you are correct because we will be there in April.

I got that information by calling the platinum reservation desk. They told me the Cotton House has one and the Renaissance Barcelona Hotel goes not. They also said that the Renaissance does not provide breakfast for platinum members because of it.
 

pedro47

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We have been to St. Kitts and Barcelona, Spain.. They are totally opposite.
St. Kitts is laid back and with very limited activities and Barcelonia is somewhat like New York City. Full of action, night Light, excellent tour of the city, full of history, wonderful family own small pubs, outstanding architectural buildings
fine wines, excellent hotels and restaurants, excellent musuems, high end shopping bouties, and beaches.
 
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hhoope01

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I got that information by calling the platinum reservation desk. They told me the Cotton House has one and the Renaissance Barcelona Hotel goes not. They also said that the Renaissance does not provide breakfast for platinum members because of it.
The Cotton House website does state there is a Concierge Level, but they don't seem to actually have any inventory of such rooms (i.e. you can't book one on the website). That plus the eye witness accounts in the FT Cotton House thread stating there is not a concierge lounge would lead me to believe there is not one there. The Plat line may have just been going off the hotel website description which looks to be in error.

The Barcelona Ren website and eye witness accounts state no lounge there either. But those same accounts state that Plats were offered the full breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Note that this hotel is not designated as a Resort hotel. As such, it is required to provide at least free continental breakfast for Gold/Plats staying there. It doesn't have to provide the full breakfast but seems to be doing so anyway.
 

turkel

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You make good point about exchanges into a 1 bedroom unit in St Kitts.
Interval show both the timeshare (2 & 3 bedroom, as you say) and the hotel (1 bedroom with no kitchen facilities...etc), so you do need to select the timeshare resort.
I guess you must have been taking taxi tours, multiple daily trips, night trips... for $75-100 spend per day?
The normal fare to the furthest part of the island is EC$72 = US$26 for a full taxi with 4 passengers.
http://www.stkittstourism.kn/explore-st-kitts-getting-here-airport.php
"Taxis meet every flight at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport on St. Kitts and Newcastle Airport on Nevis. The taxis are not metered, but fixed rates, in EC dollars, are posted at the airport and at the jetty. Note that rates are the same for 1-4 passengers. On St. Kitts the fare from the airport to the closest hotel in Basseterre is EC$18; to the farthest point, EC$72. Before setting off in a cab, be sure to clarify whether the rate quoted is in EC or U.S. dollars. There's a 50% surcharge for trips made between 10 PM and 6 AM. You can call the St. Kitts Taxi Association (PHONE: 869/465-8487; 869/465-4253; 869/465-7818 after hrs)."
The Veterinary University students used to be accommodated in the neighbouring Marriott owned buildings, these are now being converted into Marriott condos for sale.
I am sure there will still be some students on the resort, but they have never been a problem on our visits although we use the pool by the MVC buildings and they would probably use the main pool.
The number of cruise ship day visitors was a problem on just one day in all of our visits and this was just the sheer number of them.
We raised the issue with the GM and they claim to now limit the numbers based on resort occupancy. We have not had a similar issue since then.

Yes you are correct we used multiple taxis a day. Very easy to do. A round trip to the beach at the rates you mentioned $52 plus tip beach to room to clean up and a ride to dinner round trip your already over $75 a day. We stayed 2 weeks. Spent more time at the Marriott the second week. Vacationing is expensive I ok with that. My point was in all the places we have traveled in the Carribean and Hawaii my significant other says never again to St. Kitts even though we had a fabulous time.
 

sun&fun

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Given the short time for your getaway, the longer distance and flight time to Barcelona might be a factor, not to mention jet lag. I would want at least 5 full days in Barcelona.

I think it depends on the type of vacation you and your wife want. IMO St. Kitts is more of a beach and low energy type getaway. Barcelona more satisfying in culture and history but not so restful.

BTW: There are good to very good restaurants in St. Kitts. It would be a shame to stay on the resort for most meals.
 

bazzap

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Given the short time for your getaway, the longer distance and flight time to Barcelona might be a factor, not to mention jet lag. I would want at least 5 full days in Barcelona.

I think it depends on the type of vacation you and your wife want. IMO St. Kitts is more of a beach and low energy type getaway. Barcelona more satisfying in culture and history but not so restful.

BTW: There are good to very good restaurants in St. Kitts. It would be a shame to stay on the resort for most meals.
Yes, I agree re: the restaurants in St Kitts.
Even the best/more expensive ones are very good value compared to the resort restaurants.
Marshalls, Serendipity, Nirvana, Carambola, Pavilion - there are many great choices.
 

Big Matt

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Here's the easiest way to explain it. St. Kitts has about 45,000 people on the island most of them have been there with family lineage for a few hundred years starting with Africans being brought there as slaves. Other than tourism, there isn't much to the economy. People don't move there much, but lots of people grow up and leave for Canada, Europe or the United States. There is not a lot there. The economy can't support it.

Barcelona has over 4 million in the suburban area and is like any big city in Europe with modern amenities among ancient historical sites.

I couldn't imagine two more different choices for Marriott timeshares locations.
 

bazzap

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Here's the easiest way to explain it. St. Kitts has about 45,000 people on the island most of them have been there with family lineage for a few hundred years starting with Africans being brought there as slaves. Other than tourism, there isn't much to the economy. People don't move there much, but lots of people grow up and leave for Canada, Europe or the United States. There is not a lot there. The economy can't support it.

Barcelona has over 4 million in the suburban area and is like any big city in Europe with modern amenities among ancient historical sites.

I couldn't imagine two more different choices for Marriott timeshares locations.
I also couldn't imagine two more different choices.
Barcelona of course does not have a Marriott Timeshare location, so hotels would be the only option there.
I don't share the same views on St Kitts though.
Since the rich sugar plantations ceased to be viable as the mainstay of the economy, tourism has been growing substantially and the island has become one of the three fastest growing economies in the Caribbean and there is more to see and do there every year.
http://caribjournal.com/2015/08/03/this-is-the-caribbeans-fastest-growing-economy-in-2015/
 

Big Matt

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Bruce, I'm not arguing about the progress on St. Kitts. The tourism business is definitely growing. I was just trying to point out that even if it is a tourist destination in the Caribbean it isn't the same as Barcelona (thank you, I was thinking we had a time share there...thinking about the other ones in Spain).

I studied in a neighboring island to St. Kitts while in college one summer for a few credits and a boondoggle and it was a wake up call regarding civilization and a lack there of. We did go to Antigua and St. Kitts/Nevis and back then there was nothing there (except the Medical School)
 

Fairwinds

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I know OP didn't ask but here's something to do on St. Kitts.
 

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AlmostRetired

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We decided on Barcelona. We are strongly leaning towards the Cotton House because it has more of a European feel. We tend to run ourselves ragged on major city vacations, so what are must see sites and must eat restaurants. We will spend 5 or 6 nights depending on flights.

Thanks in advance.
 

Passepartout

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Boy, Barca is one of my favorite cities. Here is a list of the walking or taxi distances from this hotel:

Paseo de Gracia, 5 minutes
Casa Batlló, and La Pedrera, 5-10 minutes
Cathedral, 10 minutes
Gothic Quarter, 10 minutes
Las Ramblas, 10 minutes
Camp Nou, Futbol Club Barcelona Stadium

Add La Boquirea, and the Miro museum and day on a hop-on hop-off bus and Montjuic and Sagrada Familia and Tibidabo. Here's a link to FREE walking tours: http://www.runnerbeantours.com/ they are a great way to see a great city and just take free offerings.

Food. There are too many great places to single any out. But in the neighborhood where you'll be, just follow the crowds. Go from place to place for tapas. 2-3 and a drink and move on.

99% of the information you will need is here: http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/

Jim
 
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AlmostRetired

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Boy, Barca is one of my favorite cities. Here is a list of the walking or taxi distances from this hotel:

Jim

Thank you very much for the information and quick reply..... ,
 

bazzap

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As everyone says, Barcelona is a great city but it is also well worth taking a trip or two out of the city (either by car or the train has a very good service) to
- the spectacular retreat of Montserrat, in the mountains to the North
- the beautiful and lively resort of Sitges, just along the coast to the South
 
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