Romantic Caribbean :: Wallet Friendly {2/2}

[trip style = budget conscious + beach + sun + cruise]

Yesterday we talked about our high-end hotel picks for romance in the Caribbean; think of these as a pair of red-soled Louboutins. Today we're taking it down a notch in price point, but not quality, with wallet-friendly escapes. Think of these as a comfortable, yet stylish pair of Cole Haans. Catch my stride?

{Trip Styler Tip: $1,000+/night rates don't necessarily indicate a hotel is that much nicer than a $250/night hotel. The lower price point could just mean the property is in an area with less cache or acclaim, a smaller marketing or PR budget, or a lack of direct airline routes.}

1} St. Lucia Ladera: Crowned by the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List 2010 + 2011, plus a ton of other major designations, this resort prides itself on three walls with an open air space to gaze at the view. Nine villas and 23 suites {many with their own plunge pools} are dotted throughout this rainforest retreat. Cost: from $480/night

2} Jamaica RockHouse: With facilities and villas connected by bridges and boardwalks, this boutique hotel and spa sits on the rocky cliffs of Negril. It's one of the Travel+Leisure editor’s fave hotels in the world, plus it has an award-winning restaurant. With thatched-roof villas and private sunbathing decks, privacy abounds. Has consistently won best boutique resort in the Caribbean for many years running. Cost: From $160/night

3} Virgin Gorda, BVI Bitter End Yacht Club: We featured this property in last week's Roam+Board, and wanted to mention it again for the romance factor. Yes, it allows kids, but if you go in the fall or late spring, you won't encounter the Spring Break rush, and can take advantage of off-peak prices. A garden room starts at $500, but that includes three meals per day for two. Cost: from $500/night

4} Turks and Caicos Parrot Cay: With a mile-long white powdery beach, this private island retreat draws those who really want to slip away in style. Case in point, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck got married here. Cost: from $450/night

5} Caribbean Cruise Mega ships that weave their way throughout the Caribbean Islands don't exactly create a secluded, romance-filled experience, but book a Caribbean itinerary with a smaller cruise line and you may find that romance you're seeking---and be able to visit multiple islands in one trip! Smaller cruise lines have the price tags to go with them, but if you search via {click on the "90-day ticker" link for best deals} you can find reasonable rates on exceptional boutique lines like Silversea, Seabourn, Crystal, Windstar, Regent and Oceania.