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Solo Caribbean & California beach vacations

Image: Santa Monica Beach solo
If you want to go it alone in California, book the fantastic solo package at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica. Their Single & the City package for $399 per night covers lodging, continental breakfast and a kit with maps and info about Santa Monica, encouraging single visitors to explore the city on their own.Paul Buck / EPA file
/ Source: Sherman's Travel

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Various through 2008

The deal
Can't find a compatible travel partner or would rather just vacation alone? Now, especially with Valentine's Day around the corner, is as good a time as any to celebrate flying solo! It'll be a lot easier this year, as hotels and tour operators are finally rolling out specials that cater to single travelers. In fact, we've found four beach vacations where your solo self can revel in the same benefits usually extended to couples — without paying a single supplement for the privilege. Best of all? You can count on some well-deserved "me" time to boot!

Single fun in Anguilla for a song
How about some solo beach fun on the small and secluded Caribbean island of Anguilla? We recommend the intimate 17-room Arawak Beach Inn that Fodor’s claims is “a good choice for a funky, low-key island respite”. Those looking to indulge in some well-deserved alone time can enjoy a three-night Me, Myself & I package here, especially designed for solo travelers. Priced seasonally — winter rates run up to $699 for a four-day stay while summer rates drop to $469 — it covers oceanfront accommodations with breakfast for three nights; lobster dinner at the Arawak Beach Café; airport or ferry transfers; and a day trip to an uninhabited island (with a gourmet packed lunch) or an opportunity to swim with the dolphins.

Private time in St. John for less
Another Caribbean option for singles is a sojourn at The Westin St. John Resort and Villas. Of this tropically elegant property, writes, “While it is easy to find a quiet oasis at this full-service beachfront resort, a full roster of activities entices active guests.” For those in need of a little ‘me time’, choose the resort's Solo-cation! package. This three-night program starts at $2,549.72 for villa accommodations with private pool; reserved use of one of the resort's private cabanas with plasma-screen TV, iPod docking station and butler service for cocktails and dining; private jeep with driver for six hours per day; a private snorkeling excursion; spa treatment; resort fee and taxes; and roundtrip transfers via private water taxi.

Club Med for solo travelers
You may not think of a Club Med resort as a solo destination since the all-inclusive properties are particularly popular with families and groups of friends. But now there’s an incentive for single travelers to book a Club Med vacation so you won’t feel so out of place. In fact, you’ll have the same advantages as couples and families! Club Med offers its single guests the comfort and amenities of a double occupancy room at a reduced or no singles supplement. These stellar savings range from 30 to 100 percent off the regular rates and apply to sojourns in the following resort destinations: Turks and Caicos; Cancun; Guadeloupe; the Bahamas; Martinique; Dominican Republic; and Florida. 

Hit Santa Monica on your own
If you want to go it alone in California, here’s a fantastic solo package at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica. The illustrious property is, as claims, “a place of legend” that “does a fine job of maintaining its historical ambiance while keeping up with the times, most recently to the tune of a $16-million renovation.” Their Single & the City package for $399/night covers lodging, continental breakfast and a kit with maps and info about Santa Monica, encouraging single visitors to explore the city on their own. Guests receive a complimentary class at Exhale Mind Body Spa overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Based on a two-night minimum stay, the price is good through March.

Packages & cruises for solo travelers
Not only hotels are catering to the rising popularity in solo travel. Tour operators are also making their trips more attractive to single travelers by offering discounts. Case in point: the Connecticut-based Tauck World Discovery is offering an assortment of 2008 river cruises and tours where the normal single occupancy surcharge is dramatically reduced or even waived. These rates, with savings of up to $1,190, apply to some 44 departures on 14 river cruise and tour itineraries in the U.S., Europe and Canada. Another popular travel phenomenon are singles cruises, with a number of companies now specializing in sailing solo, an experience defined as “a pleasure voyage on a ship, usually with stops at various ports with persons pertaining to the unmarried state”.

The dollars
At Arawak Beach Inn, you’re saving about 20 percent off the price you’d normally pay as a single traveler without the included package perks. At The Westin in St. John’s, you’d pay about $2,200 just for lodging, if you had a travel companion. So for just $350 more, you’re getting a bag full of inclusions, especially designed for solo travelers. In Club Med, we’ve checked exact savings on various dates and some of them amounted to a hefty $1,400 for a seven-night holiday! In Santa Monica, the regular rates for a single room with breakfast run north of $450 during winter months so this package saves you a serious chunk of change.

The catch
There’s always a chance the solitude may wear a little thin.

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