Spring breaker-free beaches

Looking for a sandy escape but loath to share your stretch of beach with beer-guzzling college students?

We don’t blame you. Over 100,000 students travel to resort areas throughout Mexico each year on spring break, according to the U.S. Department of State. Other favorites include Nassau, Bahamas; Panama City, Fla.; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Most see rambunctious revelers from mid-March to mid-April.

Then there is Cancun. Arguably the mother of all spring break destinations, it is living up to its reputation by hosting MTV Spring Break 2007 through the end of this week. But there’s little doubt the party will carry on long after the cameras are packed away.

Fortunately, for those seeking a more peaceful setting than the satellite set of Total Request Live, there is a select group of properties across Mexico, the Caribbean and the southern half of the U.S. that cater to a more sophisticated, upscale clientele.

One such locale? Barbados. Brokers at the Sandy Lane-based Altman Real Estate company, which rents out several high end villas along the West Coast of Barbados to honeymooners, families and sometimes larger groups, take extra precautions when interviewing potential clients in the spring. “Our reservations agents will not permit a house full of college-age revelers,” says Jan Gordon, the company’s marketing consultant. If a group of college kids finagle a reservation and arrive, the house manager, who greets all guests at the airport, can refuse to escort them back to the villa. The island in general emits a super-posh vibe, ensuring public beaches aren’t riddled with breakers.

Other spots, including the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, are relying on reputation–and price–to draw in a quieter crowd. With an oceanfront room and the presidential suite ringing in at $659 and $3,200 per night, respectively, cash-poor students might well be deterred.
“We think of this as a coastal retreat,” says Farley Kern, director of public relations at the resort. “The prevailing feeling on the island is quiet, casual and comfortable–it’s not that typical spring break scene.”

The Ritz has upped its own ante by relaunching the highly acclaimed Salt restaurant this past December. The revamped menu, created by Catalonian chef Jordi Vallez, has received a five-diamond rating from AAA, the highest in Florida. Those seeking tequila shooters best look somewhere else.

Mexicali Masterpiece But the ultimate escape from spring break enthusiasts just might be the Casa Triton in Careyes, Mexico.

© Villa AmanecerLos Cabos is a favorite among Californian college students, so it’s no wonder upper-crust escapists find refuge on The East Cape, just an hour south. Here rests the secluded Villa Amanecer de los Sueños. It comes equipped with a jacuzzi, barbecue and incredible views of the Sea of Cortez. Each bedroom includes its own patio, bath and king-size bed.

At $75,000 per week, guests of this out-of-the-way villa experience the convenience of a personal chef, butler, driver and masseuse as well as the opportunity to partake in all sorts of outdoor activities, from whale-watching to horseback riding. The six-bedroom house, noted for its aesthetic appeal in publications including Architectural Digest, books up fast, says reservations manager Wayne Hudson, especially in spring, its most popular season.

Bahamian Beauty Developers are expecting spring to also prove a prime period for The Cove Atlantis — the highly-anticipated Bahamas resort opening next month.

George Markantonis, president and managing director, Kerzner International Bahamas, is hoping to create a scene at The Cove that’s “more luxurious, more edgy and truly different than anything that exists right now in the resort category,” he says.

The property has 600 suites (featuring French balconies and step-down living rooms), as well as outposts of celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s Tex Mex Mesa Grill restaurant and hip Las Vegas nightclub Aura.

But however hot these Cove spots might become, don’t expect students to pop up at the next table. A week-long stay in a two-bedroom Azure suite will run you upward of $9,000.

Beachy Keen Over on the West Coast, vacationers will find a discreet alternative to the busy streets of Los Cabos, another popular spring break site. The Villa Amanecer de los Sueños, right on the Sea of Cortez, is just an hour south. An enclave boasting incredible ocean views, it also boasts modern furnishings that include marble floors and granite countertops.

But perhaps most important of all, it has access to pristine private beaches. Which means it’s certain you won’t have to relive your college years this vacation season–unless you want to.

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