Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 91
January 1, 1999

Last Update 31 Dec 98 1800et

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JAMAICA: GRAND LIDO BRACO TRIP REPORT BY DEBBIE HOFFREN TRIP

November 26-December 1, 1998

Getting There

This  is  the  dullest  part  of  the  trip  report, but I like to
document  it,  as  it  helps  me  remember my experiences over the
years.

We  got  up  at  a grueling 3 a.m. to get ready and do those final
things  before closing the suitcases. We left for the airport at 4
a.m.  and  drove through very thick fog. This made the trip longer
than  usual,  as  visibility  was  just a few feet in front of the
car.  We  were  wondering a bit why we were leaving 82-degree days
to  go  to  85-degree  days, but we love Jamaica! We parked in the
city  lot,  as we usually do. A bus was waiting for us, and we got
to  the  American check-in line at 4:45 a.m. As they have the last
couple  of  trips,  they had a Miami line. We got through quickly,
as  they  "officially"  open at 5 a.m. Unlike the typical frequent
traveler,  we checked all of our bags except the laptop/camera bag
and  sat  down  for  a  few  minutes. We went down and sat for our
gate.  Boarding  for our 6:40 flight was at about 6:15. We got the
usual  banana,  weird  breakfast bar, and juice, along with yogurt
we  promptly  disposed of. The flight was eventless--we were in an
exit  row--and  we landed in Miami and arrived on time at our gate
at 10:05.

We  moved  along  to the D terminal and waited a bit for our 10:55
flight  to  Jamaica.  We  boarded  at 10:40 and left the ground at
11:40.  Hey,  it  was  Thanksgiving Day. They were giving $200 for
seats  and  must have taken too many volunteers because there were
about  5  seats  open.  We had the usual mini sandwich with turkey
deli  meat  and  cheese. There was a cookie and plantains, which I
gave   to  Todd.  They  were  serving  wine,  champagne  and  beer
complimentary  to those who asked. Typical American style, this is
unadvertised.

We  arrived  on  time  at 12:37. We passed the Jamaican singers in
costumes  and  went  far  to  the left to stand in the immigration
line.  We  got  our  bags  downstairs  very  quickly.  Went to the
SuperClubs  desk  and  were  told it would be 10 minutes until the
bus.  I  went  to the bathroom and came back, and Todd already had
gathered  my purse and everything and was telling me to hurry. The
skycap  that  loaded  our  bags  sought  us  out for a tip and was
unenthusiastic  with  what he got. We got in a Mercedes van with 8
other  guests  who  all  went to Braco. The 50-minute ride took an
hour  and  5,  due to the traffic and the fact that the bus driver
did  not drive like a maniac. We did have one close encounter with
a cow and another with about 8 goats.

Check-In

We  arrived  at  2:08.  We checked in with several others and were
given  cold  towels.  Next  came the champagne. We filled out some
forms.  This  is  the  time  where  you fill out whether you are a
SuperClubs  returnee  and  how  many  times you have been to Grand
Lidos.  We've  been  to SuperClubs 8 times (including Couples when
it  was  a  SuperClub)  and  Lidos  4 of those times. Everyone was
given  a  cold  towel  and  offered  champagne,  orange  juice, or
Mimosas.  Todd  and  I  met Sylvan Walker, the executive assistant
manager,  who  came  out  to  greet  us.  He  was  very  nice.  We
identified our bags and were off to our room.

Thursday

We  landed  at  La Pasta for lunch after scoping out the property.
See  La  Pasta section for more information. Todd went out for the
golf  lesson  with  the visiting pro, Ray Crayless. He enjoyed the
lesson  and  the  course.  I went for the 4:30 reggae aerobics and
enjoyed  that,  also. We did a little bit of step, some low impact
and  some  kickboxing.  Six people attended. Others were using the
weights  or  treadmill.  The gym equipment was in mixed shape. One
weight  machine  was out of order, and the not all of the displays
on  the  treadmills  or  exercise bike worked. Later in the visit,
some  guys were repairing the treadmills. They were always usable,
but  you  had  to watch your watch for the number of minutes you'd
been on.

I  came  back to the room at about 5:45. There were flowers on the
doorstep.  I  opened  the  door  and apparently left my key in the
door.  Todd  was  in  the shower. In the room there was a plate of
seafood  snacks,  some  cooked,  some  raw.  I  ate the shrimp and
mussels  and  tasted  the  fake  crab (I am sure there is a better
name  for  it).  The smoked salmon and marlin and dollop of caviar
remained  uneaten,  as  we  like our food completely done. We also
received a bottle of Moet champagne on ice.

We  went to the Jacuzzi by the beach clubhouse and met the head of
watersports.  He  was quite friendly. We stayed in the tub for the
tail  end  of  the sunset and listened to the water crash over the
rocks.  The  bar  is  right there, so it is convenient to get some
refreshment.   Throughout  the  day,  the  room  service  menu  is
available there. We stayed about an hour.

We  had  7:30  reservations  at  Piacere, which I faxed ahead for.
Before  the  dinner,  we  opened the champagne and had a glass. We
went  on  quite  a hunt for my key. We didn't find it. See Piacere
section for dinner information.

After  dinner,  we  went  outside for the rest of the talent show.
Todd  stayed  and  listened  to a few songs from a singer that was
either  professional or staff. When the guests started singing and
dancing,  he  went  to bed. I stayed until after 10:30 to see what
people  wore  to the pajama party. I saw men and women in boxers--
women  with bikini tops with the boxers. I saw one woman in a pair
of  baby dolls. I came back to the room, and Todd was watching TV.
We  went to bed when I got some more covers out for myself--it was
around  11.  I woke up freezing in the night, piled up more covers
and  then  woke  up  later  hot. We went to bed with the sounds of
frogs  and  the  ocean.  We  got  up around 8 a.m. (7 at home, but
still very late for me).

Friday

We  got  up about 8 and got ready for the day. Both of us were too
full  for breakfast. We set out about to get Todd to the 8:30 golf
lessons  and  to  find my lost key. We searched frantically around
the  room.  I  called the front desk, and someone had turned it in
from  the  nude  side where I had not been. Now Todd is teasing me
about  sneaking  over  there.  Todd brought his clubs on this trip
and  3  of  mine  (at  my skill level that is about all I need). I
went  to  Victoria's  market to get him some orange juice while he
waited  in  the  street  with  his  golf  clubs. He went on to the
course,  and  I  went  to  the Town Hall lobby for my key. While I
waited  for  the  key,  I  was reading the restaurant menus posted
outside  to  the left. Michelle walked up. She is the one who came
after  me  in  April  and gave me the property tour then. We had a
good  conversation,  and  then  Anil Sud, the general manager came
along.  We  exchanged  hugs  and  had  a  nice  chat. He was quite
excited  because  the  previous  day  had  been  the returnee get-
together.  He  said there were already people there who had stayed
there  3  times  since the resort was a SuperClub (in a year). His
feeling  is  the resort is catching on a lot with SuperClubs fans,
and  that they are telling their friends. We saw others in various
other  SuperClubs  resorts shirts like us and heard some people at
various times comparing the resorts.

Anil  also  mentioned  that  the  4 new resorts in Brazil would be
called  Breezes  Village  with  a family emphasis, he believes. Of
course,  I put in my plug for Lidos in other countries right after
Michelle  asked  if  I  had been "won over" from Sandals yet. Anil
indicated  he  would  soon be leaving for a week and invited us to
breakfast  the next day. He was quite interested, as was Michelle,
in  how  we  were  enjoying  our stay. I was introduced to several
staff  members. My general feeling about the staff and most of the
service  was  very good. Some of the employees don't smile at all,
and  when  I  called  about  my  key,  I felt slightly scolded. Of
course,  leaving  the key in the door just isn't wise. Thankfully,
all seemed to be in order.

I  went  back  to  the room to wait for the maintenance man to fix
the  drawer  in our armoire. He never did come, even though when I
called  again, I was told he had already been by for the room key.
Perhaps  he  came  when  I was talking to Michelle and Anil, as it
was  20  minutes.  Todd  and  I  eventually  fixed  the  drawer by
ourselves so it was at least usable.

I  had  the manicure and pedicure at 10 a.m. I was asked to pick a
color.  They  had all the modern pastels of green, blue, etc., but
I  chose  a  traditional color. Hopelyn bathed my feet and did the
manicure  and pedicure. This included a massage of the arms, hands
and  feet  and was quite pleasant. This is complimentary with your
stay.  After  the  pedicure,  she  asked  me  to stay for about 20
minutes  for some drying. I found Todd asleep on the beach with no
sunscreen. Thankfully, he had not been there too long.

We  went to the beach house for some room service food. Todd asked
for  fish  and  chips.  They  were  out  of  fish,  so  he  ate  a
cheeseburger.  I  had  lamb chops. We both had potato skins, but I
didn't  like  them.  Too  much  sour cream. I tried to claw it off
with  a  fork  but  couldn't  get enough off. These were different
from the ones at Negril which I liked a lot.

We  headed  over  to  the  buffet and had some fruit and tried one
slice  of "crab" quesadillas. Of course they use fake crab and put
beans  in it. All the quesadillas we've had in Jamaica and Bahamas
have  had beans, but we don't get it that way in our Texas TexMex.


At  3:30,  Todd  went  to  the  golf  tournament after putting. (I
putted,  too).  The pro helped him some putting tips and discussed
with  Todd  the  best  approach for lessons for me. Todd "won" the
tournament  because  no  one  else came. He got a sport bottle and
keychain.

I  went  to  the  main  pool Jacuzzi. It was quite hot, so I moved
down the beach to the other Jacuzzi.

At  4:30,  I  went to the aerobics class. It was to be weights and
abs,  but  he  did  low  impact,  abs,  and  legs.  There  were  7
attendees.

After  the  workout,  it  was nearly 6. I came back to get Todd to
watch  the  rest  of the sunset in the Jacuzzi. We stayed there an
hour.

We  attended  the  street  dance and gala barbecue. Selection here
wasn't  a  huge  number  of things but all was very well presented
and  wonderful.  I  only  took  grilled  lobster, pasta salad, and
strawberries.  The  lobsters  are really large crayfish. Some were
the  size  of  shrimp. Others were quite huge. All guests ordering
asked  for  two.  I  ate 4 of these. Todd ate 3 large ones and had
some  chicken  and rice. I tried the fruit tart, and it was tasty.
Items  we  didn't  eat: California roll, tempura shrimp sushi, raw
fish,  carved  meat.  Corn  soup,  curry  beef,  many  vegetables,
plantains,  fish, stuffed chicken, variety of salads, including to
order  Caesar,  and  meats  and cheeses. The ice carving was huge.
There  were  many  desserts  and  some  bread.  I  took  back some
lobsters  for  the next day to the room. Drink service was rare at
this meal, but the main bar is nearby.

The  meal  didn't take too long, so Todd rested in the room for 30
minutes  while  I guarded the table and listened to the music from
the  stereo.  The  activity  coordinators hosted the street dance.
They  did  the  Dollar  dance and that dance where you move to the
left,  move  to  the right, down south, go north. They had a dance
contest  for  prizes.  Lots of people were dancing. I got Todd out
for  two dances. I did a lot more. They played reggae, disco, rap,
and  50s to 70s. We left about 10:30. We could hear the music from
the  room, so I sat on the balcony listening to the water over the
rocks and the music. We went to bed at about 11.

Saturday

I  woke  up at 6. I was surprised at the amount of wind outside. I
sat  on  the  balcony  munching  the  rest  of my lobster from the
fridge  that  was  nearly  frozen. I got ready for my day and then
got  Todd up to get ready for breakfast at 8. We've both liked the
shower  and  tub,  as  everything  is  adjustable,  and  the water
temperature  has  been  good.  They  have  typical  Lido  shampoo,
lotion,  and  soap  from a dispenser. Also, bar soap is available.
At  8:30,  we  had  breakfast  with  Anil  Sud. Sylvan Walker, the
executive  assistant manager, also joined us for breakfast. We had
a  lovely  chat.  He  discussed  how much SuperClubs is anxious to
expand  and  that  they  want investors and might eventually go on
the  stock  exchange in the U.S. Anil said the resort was 90% full
and  fully  booked  for the upcoming days. The resort is no longer
loosing  money,  but they are reinvesting to improve things so not
really  making  a profit yet. They are quite pleased that Braco is
catching  on  and  have good expectations for future. They want to
make  a  lot  of  improvements  but  are  having to keep an eye on
money.  Anil also stated that there are still 50-60 percent of the
old Braco Village staff still working at Braco.

At  the  breakfast,  I  enjoyed the dried mango and apricot. I had
roasted  egg,  bacon, potato, and toast. Todd had eggs, bacon, and
potatoes.  Anil  ate,  Sylvan  did  not.  We left because the maid
came.  I  went  around  the property video taping things and saw a
wedding  with  a guy in shorts and a girl in a casual dress. Since
the  wedding  reception  area  wasn't  far from our balcony, I saw
quite  a  few receptions and photography sessions. Todd went for 4
holes  of  golf  and  saw  the  visiting pro from Indiana one more
time.  We met back in the room and went to the beach for swimming.
The  water  was  cold for me at first, but we got on mats and went
out  to  the  waves and rocks. Aqua socks would have been helpful,
so  we  stayed  on  our  mats.  Some  people took snorkel gear out
there.  We  planned  to  do  that  another  day but just never got
around  to  it.  Next,  we  got  in  the  Jacuzzi.  It was perfect
temperature  again.  Had  some champagne here. Another couple came
in.

At12:30,  I  had  an aromatherapy facial. The price was $70 for 60
minutes.  It  was  so relaxing I heard myself snore twice. Carolyn
who  came  down from San Souci a month ago remembered me from last
year  when I had fell. So did the manager, Miss Grant (not sure of
her  first  name).  The  spa offers a full menu, and it is worth a
look.  I came out feeling so pampered and relaxed. Carolyn steamed
my  face,  used  many  things  on  it, and massaged my back, neck,
face, arms, and legs.

On  the  way  back,  first  I  tried  the  hand  weights for a few
minutes.  I noticed some aqua weights there for the water, also. I
ran  through  the  buffet at Victoria Market. I grabbed two-minute
steaks  and  3  pieces of bread for the two of us and took them to
the  room.  We  ordered  lamb  chops with fries and wine. The wine
came  unopened with no opener. The maintenance guy came to fix the
drawer  and made it good as new in 10 minutes. Every day there are
flowers  on  the  bed  and  in  the  bathroom--different colors of
hibiscus.  I  found  this to be a lovely touch. I really like that
you  don't  have to sign out towels at the beach. There are plenty
of floating mats.

I  scheduled  Todd  for a 1/2-hour facial and 1/2 hour reflexology
at  2:30.  This included lotions and some massage. Todd never says
much,  but  Carolyn  later  told  me  that Todd looked like he was
enjoying  himself.  Todd  decided  to  play  some more on the golf
course.  I went to the Jacuzzi by the main pool. The previous day,
it  had  been  scalding,  but  on  this visit, it was nice but not
quite  warm  enough.  Some other people came along during my stay,
which  was  from  4-5.  I  was able to stay an hour without even a
drink  of  water.  Everyone  commented that it was scalding Friday
and  not  quite  hot enough on Saturday. The conclusion was that a
lot  of people must have complained the day before. Also, Saturday
was  a  very  windy day. While in the Jacuzzi I met some Canadians
there   on  the  Lido  Surprise.  I've  always  wished  that  were
available  in  the U.S. They had stayed at Braco Village twice and
didn't  think  things had changed that much except for some of the
amenities  offered. These people had stayed several times at Swept
Away  and  Enchanted  Garden. I think they had been to a few other
places,  too.  I  met some Americans also which I know have an AOL
account.  I  realized  that  I didn't have my room key. I got some
drinks  and  went  to meet Todd in the room. He was not there yet,
so  I left the drinks and went to the other Jacuzzi. It was warmer
but  not  quite  as  warm  as  it had been. The intense wind is my
guess.  I  stayed until 5:35 and went to the room. He was there in
the shower.

We  went  out  for the 6 o'clock crab races. These are held on the
street  in  front of White Gaulin (the main bar). This brought out
about  30  people. Some were betting. Others were just spectating.
In  each  race,  there were different crabs. The first 3 races are
pure  pari-mutual  betting.  The last one is for charity. The odds
are  set  after  people  are  finished  betting or a minute or two
before  post time. The crabs are in a circle and are under a glass
bowl.  On  the  fast races, the crab out of the circle first wins.
Bets  are  in  increments  of $3. For instance, if you want to bet
more  than  $3,  you  must bet at least $6. You can bet on as many
colors  as  you want. There are 6. On race one and two, we bet two
colors,  yellow  and white. Each race one or the other won, and we
got  back  $5  of our $6. On race 3, it was the slow race, betting
to  lose.  Unfortunately,  our fellas came in first and second (we
switched  to  black and blue), so we lost our $6. On the 4th race,
it  was  held  with 18 international crabs from 6 countries (true?
Who  knows).  That was the charity one. I left to get drinks. Todd
was  supposed to bet $6 on one color and $3 on another. The winner
with  the  most  money on the winning color was to get a bottle of
wine.  When  I  came  back,  Todd  had bet 3 different colors. Our
white  paid  off  3 to 1, and we got our $9 back. We were the only
ones  to  bet  on white, but the guy didn't give us our wine, even
when  I  asked  who  got  it.  He  ignored  me  like I wasn't even
speaking.  I  didn't care too much since we could get all the wine
we  wanted,  but  I thought that was a bit false. Anyway, that 4th
race  there  were  3  of each color, so you got paid off if any of
the  3  won.  These  races  left a lasting impression on us, as we
enjoyed  this  unique  and  fun activity. We went back to the room
for  5-10  minutes  before dinner. We had 7:30 dinner reservations
at  Muna  Hanna,  the Japanese restaurant. See the section on this
restaurant for details.

It  was  9:45  or so after dinner. The entertainment in Victoria's
Market  was  a  male  cabaret  singer  and  a band. The singer was
singing  around  in  the audience to different people. After a few
reggae songs, we went to the room.

Sunday

I  woke  up  at  6  again. I sat on the balcony for a while. I got
ready  and  went down for the nature hike. No one came, but I left
at  7:32.  I woke up with a raw sore throat and didn't think I was
up  for a 5-mile hike. Also, I didn't know if I would be back by 9
for  my  massage. I went instead down a Braco road that eventually
ended  at  the  east  end of the property. I went walking down the
beach  as  far  as I could. There was a lot of rock and driftwood.
The  advantage  at  Braco  is  no one at property's edge trying to
sell  you anything. This is due to the rough water. My entire walk
was 30 minutes. Next, I rode the treadmill for 30 minutes.

I  came  back  to  the room at 8:25 and got Todd for breakfast. We
had pancakes, eggs, bacon, and fruit. I again had dried mango.

I  had an aromatherapy massage, again with Carolyn. She used a lot
of  pressure, and it was nice, but an hour seemed way too short. I
went  out to find Todd on the golf course. He was on the 9th hole.
He  was  telling  me  that he was losing a lot of balls on the one
par  4.  He  continued  to  remark  how much he enjoyed the course
because he needs practice on the shots he had to do there.

We  relaxed in our room a bit and then went down to the pool after
11 for some of the activities.

At  11:30,  a local weaver showed Todd, another guest I met in the
hot  tub,  and  I  how to make roses, hummingbirds, and bracelets.
With  a  lot  of  help,  all of our stuff looked very nice. If you
want  to  make  these  crafts, check the schedule. The classes are
not offered often.

Next,  Sashia  led  an  international  trivia  contest. It took 10
points  to  win.  I  got 6 1/2. One woman was answering before the
question  was  all the way out of Sashia's mouth, so she was a bit
upset.

By  this  time, Todd had already gone off for beach volleyball and
then  some  more golf. At 2 p.m., bingo for prizes was held. There
was  no cost, and there were two cards per guest. Some guests came
back  and  got  more.  Usually,  I  win a lot at bingo, but I find
myself  always  needing  one  or two numbers after the people with
all  the  cards  won.  Prizes  for  all  the games (including golf
tournament) were key chains, sports bottles, or a zip up bag.

After  the  bingo,  I  went  to  the  buffet for some soup. It was
pumpkin  and  chicken. I looked around. The entrees were not to my
liking  or interest at the moment--chicken in a thick sauce on the
bone  (stewed,  they called it), escovitch fish, roast pig, island
style  with the head on, and some other Jamaican delights. I tried
the  pot  roast.  It  was  very  good.  Next,  I went to the pasta
restaurant  and  ordered pizza salami with pepperoni and salami on
top.  While  waiting  for  that,  I had some bowtie pasta salad. I
took  the  pizza  back  to  the  room to share with Todd. We spent
about  20  minutes  opening  the wine from yesterday with a cheapy
opener  Todd  found  in his golf bag. We went to the lobby to head
out  for  fishing.  Another  couple  came,  also,  Sashia took out
bamboo  poles  and  bait (some beef chunks). She baited everyone's
hook,  although  no  one  expected  it. She left after making sure
everyone  was  OK.  My  line was long and had a cork for a bobber.
Todd's  line  was  too  short. I caught the only fish. It was a 4-
inch  something. I was very excited because it was great fun. This
is  the  kind of fishing we did in Missouri with my grandfather as
kids  in  my  uncle's  catfish  pond and in my dad's catfish pond.
Sashia  had  told  us they would cook what you catch but that most
fish  caught were 2 inches. We stayed longer than the other couple
because  they  had  a  5  o'clock appointment. We stayed until the
sunset  was  in  progress and then fed the rest of the bait to the
fish.

About  5:30,  we arrived at the east end Jacuzzi for the sunset. I
had  trouble keeping my diet 7-up from dumping over from the wind.
We  stayed  until  6:50  when  we  left  to get ready for our 7:30
dinner  reservation  at Piacere. Todd was wishing we were going to
Victoria  Market  because  I  told  him  they had prime rib on the
menu.  After  dinner, the walk to the room was in the rain, as the
night  before. The band was playing at Victoria Market. It sounded
very  nice.  The  rain  was  soft, so sitting down would have been
possible.

We  watched some TV, but Todd was irritated that I didn't want the
room  at  22  degrees.  He  took  off somewhere, so I thought that
maybe  he went for his prime rib. I was asleep when he came in. He
had gone back to the Jacuzzi and also laid in a lounge chair.

Monday

We  awoke  at  6  a.m.  to  the  door  pounding  and a shout "room
service".  I  had  placed a ticket on the door for 6:00-6:30. Todd
had  to  be  on  the  bus  by 7 a.m. to go to Breezes for golf. We
arranged  it  the  previous day. Sunday is the best day to go over
there  if  you  only  plan  to  go once and enjoy the golf lessons
offered  at Braco. That is because each week, they change visiting
golf  pros.  Sunday  is  the  day  there  are no lessons. Saturday
night,  we  tried  to sign Todd up to go Sunday at 7. Since no one
else  had signed up, they had not arranged for transportation. She
was  willing  to let him go at 10:30, but he opted for Monday even
though  he would miss a lesson. The lessons were valuable. See the
golf section for more information.

I  stayed  in the room working on this report and then went out to
take some panoramic shots of the property.

I  went  back  to the logo shop (upstairs) and bought two pairs of
shorts. They were $20 each, and nothing was added on top.

I  looked  at  all  of  the  pictures  from  all  of the days. The
pictures  are  outside  of  the  disco and are available for $8, a
buck  or two higher than other resorts and trips. There were a lot
of  pictures.  A  nice  touch,  I  thought, was there were lots of
pictures  available  that  a person might want, even those with no
people.  For  instance,  there were several copies of the huge ice
sculpture  and  the  food presented around it from the Gala street
dance  party.  There  were  also  a  lot  of pictures of the staff
behind  the  scenes.  There  were  many  pictures  from the street
dance.  I  bought  one picture of Todd and I taken at the Japanese
restaurant.  Somehow,  we  always look sunburned in those pictures
(sometimes  when  we  are  not).  Next,  I  went off to the spa to
investigate  the  steam  room  and  sauna.  I inquired at the desk
about  the  steam  room.  I was told to let the attendants know 15
minutes  before  I  wanted  to  get  in so they could make it hot.
However,  the  steam room was already hot, so I was invited to get
right  in.  I  was shown an indoor and outdoor shower. I chose the
indoor.  Right  behind  me was another lady who didn't stop at the
attendant  and  seemed  interested in the steam room. However, she
opted  for the sauna when hearing I had already selected the steam
room.  She asked again to make sure I didn't prefer the sauna (she
wanted  the  steam  room)  and then headed to the sauna. The steam
room  is big enough to share, however. It is one L-shaped bench. I
set  the timer for 25 minutes and got in. This wasn't as steamy as
the  steam  room  I  experienced in Hong Kong. That steam room had
steam  so  thick you couldn't see. This was similar to some others
I  had  been in. About every 10 minutes, a gust of steam came down
out  of  the ceiling. The room was nice and toasty the whole time.
Do  not  stay in more than 30 minutes. After the steam room, I got
some  water  in  the  gym.  Michael,  the  aerobics instructor was
gathering  up  the  aqua  weights for the class. He told me that I
had  to  attend  his  class.  I  told  him  that  it was too cold.
However,  I  headed over there to see what other brave souls would
go  in  the  cold  water. There was one regular aerobics attendee,
Rick,  with  his toes in the water. Sashia was shouting for people
to  come  over the speaker. There was no sun and a lot of wind. By
the  time  it  got  going, there were 12 of us-all had experienced
various  levels  of  prodding,  including  one girl who was almost
thrown  in  the  cold  water  by  Michael. Even I warmed up enough
after  a few minutes. It was a good thing, because a big rain came
up.  Michael  informed  us  that  we  were  already wet and had to
finish  but  that  we could put away our stuff. I stuffed my watch
in  my  shoe and got back in. The class was fun, and I am going to
get  some  of  the  water  weights for the pool we are building. I
know milk jugs also work.

Next,  I got in the main pool Jacuzzi. By now, the sun was out off
and  on.  I  turned on the Jacuzzi and got in. There was already a
couple  in  there,  and  they seemed pleasantly surprised when the
bubbles  came.  I  don't  think  they  had  ever been in a Jacuzzi
before.  The tub was warm enough to spend a while, but not toasty.
Three  staff  guys  came  by  to ask us about the temperature. The
couple  said  it was fine, so I didn't say anything. It wasn't too
bad.  When  I got out, the wind was still flapping. I decided that
I  was officially frozen, so I headed to Nanny's Jerk Pit for some
soup.  The  soup was red peak. I took it back to my lounger by the
pool.  There  was  a little sun. The soup was quite good. It had a
thick  stock  like  I  like and red beans and rice and carrots and
potatoes.  At 12:10, I went back to the room. Todd was there, back
from  his  round.  We ordered up a ton of room service. We ordered
BBQ  buffalo wings, lamb chops, a salad, and a cheeseburger. While
waiting  for the food, I went to check out the buffet. There was a
wonderful  dish--I  am  not  sure of the name. It had yellow rice,
scallops,  shrimp,  and mussels, all in generous proportions. This
was  just  like  a dish I loved at Royal Bahamian. I know Stephen,
the  GM there, and Anil used to work together as chefs. I wondered
if  this  was  a  mutual  recipe  or  a coincidence. I took a nice
serving  of  that  and a piece of chicken and some other dish that
was  like  meatloaf with cheese on top. I headed back to the room,
and  we  shared  this  food  while we waited for the room service.
They  came  within  30  minutes, as promised, and brought our wine
and  champagne, making sure we had ice. We were ordering these for
stocking  our fridge for the whole day. From this big feast, I ate
a  chicken  wing,  1/2  of the wonderful seafood dish, some of the
meatloaf  with  the fancy name (salty), one piece of BBQ wing (not
as  good as Tex-Mex), salad, and lamb chops. Todd munched down the
rest.  I  noted  on  the buffet that they had pea soup. We watched
part of Revenge of the Nerds III while we ate.

We  went  to the beach house Jacuzzi. It was nice again. We stayed
there  a  long  time.  The  sun was out through partial clouds the
whole  time.  A  wasp swooped down out of nowhere and stung me. We
stayed  1  to  1.5 hours. We got out in time to make the 3:30 golf
lesson.  On  the  way back to the room, we got rained on a bit. By
the  time we left the room, it wasn't raining. We went out to wait
for  the  new  visiting golf pro. He wasn't there, and it began to
pour.  On  our way back in, we saw the pro come out. As soon as we
were  back  in the room, the rain was over. It started again a few
minutes  later.  It was over by 4:20. I went to the 4:30 aerobics.
This  time, Michael had reggae circuit. He set up various stations
for  step,  abs,  and  weights.  There  was  6-8 of us. We did the
circuit  3  times  through.  As  always,  he  did  a  good  job of
motivating  everyone and gave us a good workout. At the end of the
workout,  I  told  Michael  that I was going home the next day and
how  much I had enjoyed it. He told me that he is in the 2nd month
of  his  trial  and  whether  he  gets  to stay depends on how the
guests  like him. I told him he was great and that at some resorts
the  instructor doesn't come or cuts the class short. Michael said
he  has  to  be  here  for  us  guys and that he loves his job. He
hugged  each  of  us.  Rick,  the  single guy, was also leaving on
Tuesday, asked me to take his picture with Michael.

Todd  and I hung out in the room a while and then went back to the
Jacuzzi  for  a good long while. It was a little hotter. We stayed
in  an  hour.  Of course no sunset tonight due to the weather, but
it  did  not  rain, and the moon was beautiful. We got out at 7:40
and  went back to get ready for dinner at Victoria Market. When we
came  back,  the  bed was turned down, and the reggae from Irie FM
was playing on the CD/fm box.

Dinner   was  at  Victoria  Market.  See  that  section  for  more
information.

By  the  time  we  finished  eating,  it  was  almost time for the
Caribbean  show  to  start.  The  singer  sang  one song, and Todd
decided  it  wasn't  worth  staying  for. Sometimes getting him to
stay  for  these shows is a trial. I sent him to the room with the
camera  in  fear  of  another  walk back in the rain. I wish I had
kept  it.  The  entertainment got quite good. The songs alternated
between  just  the singer and the singer with costumed girls. They
managed  to  change  in  between  just  one song. They did various
dances.  One  was  Tahitian.  I  stayed  for  40 minutes and found
myself  getting too sleepy. The singer did involve the audience in
the  show.  When  I left, some people had formed a Congo line, and
then a lot of people were up dancing and having a good time.

Tuesday

I  awoke  at  4  a.m. with that "last day" feeling. I went back to
sleep  until  5 and then again until 6. The previous night, we got
our  flight  confirmation  ticket  in the room and the request for
our  bags  at  10 and our bus would depart at 11. The flight would
leave  at  1:46.  I  sat  out  on  the balcony watching the wind's
affect  on  the  waves some more. This was the one thing about the
wind that I just loved.

When  Todd  got  up, we finished most of the packing and champagne
from the fridge.

At  8:30,  we  headed out for the golf lessons. By 9:30, we headed
out.  We  were  nearly ready to zip the bags at 10 o'clock and the
bellman  came.  He  patiently  waited  and  said, "No problem". He
laughed  after  we  told  him  that he was too prompt. We kept the
golf bag and computer bag. We were in our swimsuits.

We  headed off to the breakfast buffet. I had eggs and toast. Todd
had  a ham and cheese omelet. We grabbed some fruit and headed for
the Jacuzzi by the main pool. We stayed in about 15 minutes.

After  one  last  short  walk  down  the  beach  until hitting our
building,  we  went  to  the  room  and changed for the flight. We
checked  out  and paid for our spa visits--$215. Sylvan Walker was
out  to  wish  us  farewell  and  a safe trip and hoping to see us
back.

The room

Nice  touches--long  mirror for full-length view, iron and ironing
board.  Bar  soap and GL standard shampoo, soap, and lotion in the
wall  dispenser.  Clothes line in bathroom. The bed was king-sized
and  very  comfortable.  Plenty of pillows were provided, and they
were  comfortable as well. We had a remote control TV and channels
were  in-house (never on), NBC, CBS, HBO, Cinemax, CNN, ESPN, TNT,
USA,  and  TBS.  There  were  two  local  stations  and  NO ABC. I
mentioned  the  disappointment of no ABC to Anil Sud. He indicated
that  they  were looking at getting more satellites to offer more,
including  the  possibility  of  foreign language stations. I just
need  my  ABC  for  soap or two and Todd a football game. I know a
lot  of  people never turn on the TV, but we like to hear news and
weather  from home. CNN worked for that, and we learned that there
was  the  first  ever escaped death row inmate from the Huntsville
prison  about 45 minutes from our house. We learned on Monday that
there  were  thunderstorms. The wild roaring sea at Braco was much
more  preferable.  There  was  a  nice  writing  desk and chair, a
bamboo  chair  in the corner, and the armoire for the TV. We had a
lot  of  trouble  with that the first two days, but once fixed, it
was  fine. There wasn't enough space for over-packers. The drawers
were  large,  but  there  was  one per person and not quite enough
hangers.  We left a few things in the suitcase. I had begged for a
refrigerator.  Of  course, it wasn't stocked but we solved that by
ordering  room  service.  The  refrigerator also kept my left over
lobster  from  Friday  that didn't make it long before I ate it on
Saturday.  Don't count on getting a refrigerator unless you book a
suite.  We  heard from the people from San Souci that there was no
lobster  that  Friday  night at the Gala night. That happened last
time  we  were  there,  too, and it was December. There was a menu
item  with some lobster in it, though. Many guests expect and want
the  lobster  and get disappointed if they go home without any. Of
course,  during  the  April-end  of  June ban, the resort managers
can't do anything.

The  room  had  a good view. We were in 225 on the main side. Some
of  the  ocean  view was obstructed by palm and other trees and on
the  first  floor,  there  might be much less view. However, those
rooms are more convenient.

Since  there was usually so much breeze, it was beautiful to watch
the  waves.  You  could  also open the drapes to the wall of doors
and  see  right  from the room. The main room was smaller than the
junior  suites  at GL Negril, but no step down. Rooms are the best
at  San  Souci,  category  for category. There are 6 suites on the
main  side  at Braco, but the biggest rooms and widest variety are
on  the au-natural side. If you want to use the main side and stay
in  a  better  room, you might ask for block one on the au-natural
side.  They  were  going  to  place us there, but we opted for the
lesser room.

Guest Make-up

The  majority of the guests were married or significant other type
couples.  There  were  a  few  singles traveling with friend(s) or
alone.  They mixed with the others but didn't necessarily have the
opportunity  to  meet someone for a romance. We saw every age from
20s  to  70s.  Most  in  the 70s, but not all, were traveling with
younger  family  members. There were quite a few couples traveling
with  one  of  the  two's  parents.  We met and encountered a good
number  of  Germans. There were mostly Canadians and U.S. citizens
besides  that. There were a number of racially mixed couples and a
notably obvious same-sex couple.

Disco

Opens  at 10 p.m., but no one is there at that time. I am guessing
people  go  after the entertainment, but we didn't make it up late
enough  to  go.  The  disco  is made to look like a Jamaican dance
hall.  It even has a graffiti board. The pj party is held there on
Thursday nights.

Spa--packages

There  are  a  number  of a la carte services available. There are
various  massages,  facials,  wraps, loofah, body scrubs, paraffin
treatments,  waxing,  and  hair  treatments.  Some  treatments are
offered  in 30 or 60-minute versions. There were packages offered,
but  I  was  told  all  the services would be booked back-to-back.
This  was  not a requirement at any other spa I have ever been to,
and  that  is quite a few. I decided to just book what I wanted. I
think the policy should be changed.

The  staff  was  knowledgeable and friendly and willing to discuss
what might be best for a particular need or desire of a guest.

Don't  miss  the  free  stuff  at the spa--the manicure, pedicure,
sauna, and steam room.

Also,  don't be afraid to ask about the products or what treatment
is best for your particular needs.

Activities & Entertainment

Pick  up  a  schedule  at the social directors' desk in the lobby.
There  are  things  going  on from 7:30 a.m. until evening. If you
don't  like  the  screaming  over  the  loud  speaker  variety  of
activities,  those  to avoid from 11-3 by the pool. You don't have
to  participate  in anything, and people have a good time watching
or  participating.  A  sampling  of  activities:  fishing, crafts,
trivia,  bingo,  dance  classes,  volleyball, pool tournament, and
scavenger  hunt.  There  is  usually something going on and enough
participation  that  things  are held as scheduled. However, there
is  not  that  "bustling"  feeling  that  inhibits  the chance for
relaxation  if  a  really  laid back time is what a guest wants. I
thought  it  was a good balance. Entertainment starts at 9 or 9:30
every  night  and  is  usually  some  sort  of  Cabaret  show. The
exceptions  are  the talent night and the theme party nights. Some
nights,  the  band plays during dinner at Victoria market starting
at  7:30,  and  musicians  play at Piacere. Sometimes on breaks at
Piacere,  the musicians would pick one or two couples and serenade
them.

Cynthia and other Vendors

The  fruit lady, Cynthia goes around with her basket of fruit. She
wears  her native costume and Adidas. She had papaya the first day
and  jack fruit another day. Every day, she had pineapple, orange,
and  tangerine.  She  will  explain  fruit seasons, tell you about
anything  you  want  to  know,  and even sing for you. The coconut
vendor  was  out  a  couple  of  times, but I never saw the peanut
cart.  Craft  vendors  set  up  and sell different arts and crafts
most,  if  not  every  day.  No  one  nags  you  to buy. They will
occasionally  call out to you, however. We felt it was a "I'm here
if  you want to look" rather than the usual "get over here and buy
right now" kind of thing. We liked it.

Strolling musicians

There  were  a  trio  of  guys that went to different areas of the
property  singing.  Most  of  the  times  I  saw  them,  they were
strolling. Laundry service

Take  advantage  of  the laundry and dry cleaning. It is included.
We  had  our  items  (quite a few) picked up on Saturday at 10:30.
They were returned in the afternoon on Sunday.

Plan  on  2  days  for  dry cleaning and don't be surprised if the
laundry  takes  that  long, since they say 48 hours. Get a laundry
list from the folder of information in your room.

Breakfast Buffet

Served  daily  at  Victoria  Market  from  7:30-10:30  a.m.  Items
available  are too much to describe. Here are some things of note.
There  was  always bacon and eggs. Eggs were not done enough to my
liking,  but  that  was  no  problem  because a cook made eggs and
omelets  to  order.  There was never a wait of more than 3 persons
in  front  of us. There was always a carved meat, bacon, some sort
of  sausage  (we never eat sausage in Jamaica), a Jamaican dish or
two,  lunch  meats,  smoked meats, various fresh and dried fruits,
cereals,  pastries,  toast  or bread, bagels, yogurt, pancakes and
waffles.  Waffles  were available on request, so there was a wait.
Orange  juice, champagne or mimosas were available, as well as tea
of  choice  and  coffee. I would have liked to have seen a variety
of  juices. Champagne or mimosas was available, but this worked on
a  request  basis,  rather  than  an  offer.  Beverage service was
inconsistent  and sometimes non-existent. For instance, if we came
around  10,  we  were not even offered anything and drank water if
we  could  get  it.  There were not even coffee cups on the table.
Sometimes  orange juice was served without asking and nothing else
offered.  Other  days,  service was superb. I was irritated on the
days  I was not able to get tea because the tea I made in the room
had  that  coffee/tea  taste  that makes it almost undrinkable for
me.  When  I  did  get  tea,  I  was allowed to choose from a nice
variety.  The  spotty  service  here was not inconsistent with any
other resort we have visited but always annoying.

Room Service Breakfast

Available  from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. Various continental breakfast
choices  are  available,  as  are  a number of juices. We tried it
once,  and  timeliness was to a fault, even though not all ordered
was  100  percent what expected. This was a nice offering. I would
like  to see hot items offered. Put the ticket on your doorknob by
2  a.m.  for  breakfast.  On  Monday, this was our experience: For
breakfast,  I  ordered  a  bagel  with  cream cheese for Todd, two
fruit  plates,  and toast. They brought two bagels. I wouldn't eat
one  because  the  cream cheese was already on it. Instead of just
toast,  they  brought  an entire pastry basket. I ate one piece of
toast  with  black cherry preserves. I ate part of a small Danish.
Very  good.  The  fruit was pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, and
honeydew,  one small slice each. Todd drank the two orange juices.
I  had  cranberry. We shared the mango nectar. I would like to see
hot  food,  such as eggs and bacon, offered for room service. This
service  does  solve  our complaint of many resorts. Todd likes to
leave  for  golf by 7 or on the earliest bus. Some resorts have no
breakfast  of  any kind early enough for him to eat. Sometimes, he
gets  back  after  lunch,  so  he  ends  up  eating  a  burger  or
something.

Lunch Buffets

Available Daily from 12:30 until 3:00 p.m.

Both  La  Pasta and Victoria Market serve white or red wine from a
bottle,  and  they  always  have  something different, whatever is
offered  is  one  choice.  The  white around the property would be
Leifermilch  (sweet), various Chardonnay's from various countries,
including  Chile  and  France,  Italian  Soave,  and several other
French  wines. The champagne was almost always Kramer from France.
When  we  arrived  the  first day we had Moet in our room. The red
wines  I saw were cabernet sauvignon and Merlot. There were always
at  least 3 or 4 entrees and carved meat. Many of the soups didn't
appeal  to  me,  as  was the case all over the property. We always
love  the  soup  in  Jamaica.  While  we had a few good soups this
trip,  we  were  mostly disappointed in that area, and I noted the
same  at the lunch I had when spending the afternoon at the resort
in  April.  The  buffets at resorts are usually our least favorite
thing  about  the  visit. Selections here were not of as wide of a
range  as at some resorts. I felt that most of what was offered at
the  buffets  was  of  a  high quality and presented well. I think
there  was  plenty of choice and options to the buffet if a person
never  wanted  to go to a single buffet. We generally supplemented
another dining option with the lunch buffet.

Dinner at Victoria Market

Available  from  7  p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Casual. Dress at Victoria
Market  is  casual.  On  Monday  night, I wore a skirt and jacket.
Todd  wore  slacks  and a golf shirt. Shorts are allowed here, but
it  was  quite  cool  and windy. We arrived at 8:10. The meal took
about  an  hour  and  10  minutes.  We had antipasto for the first
course   to  get  the  shrimp.  It  also  had  some  smoked  meat,
vegetables,  and  sausage.  For soup, Todd had French onion, which
seemed  to  not  be as good as some other French onion he has had,
and  I  had minestrone, the only other hot choice. It was only OK,
but  this  isn't  my  favorite soup. For salad, I had mixed greens
with  vinaigrette.  Todd  had  tomato  and  cheese. This salad was
better  than  the one in the room. For the entrée, I had blackened
snapper.  Todd  had  beef  tornadoes.  The vegetables were a mixed
medley  and quite good. The snapper was quite good, almost holding
up  to Tex-Mex, Cajun that we get in Houston. For dessert, I had a
sorbet  trio. This was good but not as good as the one in Piacere,
as  it  was  partially  melted.  Todd  had a chocolate cake at the
waiter's  recommendation.  He wasn't too pleased but ate about two
thirds.  My  entire  menu  was  from  the low-fat, low cholesterol
selections  on  the  menu. These are denoted with an asterisk. The
wine  and  bar  service  was almost non-existent most of the meal,
but  we did get offered some wine and were asked if Chardonnay was
OK.  Later,  we  asked  for  more.  Someone eventually came. Right
after  that,  the girl came with the basket when our cup was full.
Service  for  the  courses was also each course when the last bite
of the previous was done.

La Pasta Italian Restaurant

Open  every day, no reservations, casual attire, noon until 2 a.m.
It  is  a  sidewalk  café  on  the  Village  Square.  They have an
antipasto  bar  for  salad. Thursday, I tried a bowtie pasta salad
and  a  salad  with papaya and chicken. Todd skipped salad. We had
eggdrop  soup  with Parmesan. For the entrée we both had a seafood
pizza   which   was  named  something  more  complicated.  It  had
scallops,  shrimp,  mussels,  and  calamari.  The  crust  was very
crisp,  and I enjoyed the pizza. It took quite a while to come, as
they  are  cooked  when  ordered, I believe. Todd ordered 4-cheese
pasta  with  broccoli  that came after everything when he was full
and  ready  to  leave. He ate some of it. Next door in the bakery,
there  were  desserts  available.  We  did not have any, but I saw
eclairs,  cherry  cheesecake,  and  quite  a  few  other chocolate
things  and pastries. All were labeled. There was a soda fountain,
also. Wine was served at lunch.

Piacere French Nouvelle Cuisine

Service  6:30  p.m.  until  9:30 daily except Friday, reserve with
concierge, jackets required.

On  Thursday,  we  showed  up  to dinner about 10 minutes late and
were  seated immediately. The dinner was very lovely. We had every
course.  A violinist and guitarist played until around 9 when they
had  to compete with the music outside from the talent show. There
were  a  few  tables  empty  throughout  the meal. The meal took 2
hours.  Describe  courses.  Appetizer:  we both had peanut shrimp.
Soup:  we both had seafood vegetable broth tomato based broth with
a  few  vegetables  garnished  with  a  shrimp and a piece of pita
bread.  Salad was some European greens in a potato chip shell with
balsamic  vinaigrette.  After  the  salad was lime sorbet. For the
entrée,  Todd  ordered the beef tenderloin and I ordered veal with
shrimp.  We split it all. The tenderloin was the best, but all was
superb.  It  was  served  with  vegetables  that I didn't care for
except  the  snow  peas.  Although  we were quite full, we ordered
desert  Todd  ordered  the orange and vanilla crème brulette at my
suggestion.  I  ordered  the  trio of sorbet. He claimed to not be
that  enthusiastic about the crème brulette, but he ate every bite
except  the one I stole. I thought it was heavenly. The sorbet was
exotic  flavors  and very good. There was a wine menu with several
reds  and  whites. We chose the French, and it was quite good. The
waiters  served  us  with  while  gloves. Entrees were served from
silver  trays with lids for fanfare. Wine was served by the bottle
and  topped  off after every few sips. The waiters were very happy
to  offer  any  guests interested a second bottle. This restaurant
requires  a  jacket  and  pants  for men, but it is well worth it.
There  were singles at the resort dining together or with couples.
There  were  two  girls there--one very tipsy and quite "friendly"
with  the  other. She was stumbling out by the time they left, and
the  staff  told  her to be careful. These two were together every
night  until  they  went  home.  Sunday--  We arrived for our 7:30
reservation  at  7:20.  There weren't too many people, but by 7:35
it  was filling up. Our waiter was Leome. We ordered the same meal
as  last  time, except we both ordered the tenderloin this time. I
gave  Todd  one of my tenderloins. He was insisting the whole time
that  he  wanted  to  go for that prime rib at Victoria Market. Of
course,  he  didn't. This meal felt rushed to me. Each course came
after  the  last  bite of the previous course. We were finished in
90  minutes.  The violinist and guitarist where playing again, and
we enjoyed them tremendously.

Muna Hanna Japanese Restaurant

Service  6:30  -  9:30  p.m.  daily  except  Friday,  reserve with
concierge, dress casual elegance

Saturday--None  of  the  other guests in our group had arrived, so
we  were  invited  to sit, given some Chardonnay and chatted with.
One  of  the waiters and another staff member were fascinated with
our  digital  camcorder,  so they wanted to look at it. I let them
video us, and they had fun.

The  waiters were in oriental jackets. The restaurant itself had 6
tables  for 8, I believe. There was also a sushi bar in the middle
that  a couple of guests were enjoying. There was a fish tank full
of beautiful tropical fish.

Four  of  the  others  at our table had come down for a visit from
San  Souci  on  a bus. They were from New York and related to each
other. The other two guests were from Canada.

The  menu  offered  choice of chicken, beef, or seafood. All of us
wanted  to  create  our own combination, and we were allowed to do
so.  They  brought  around  wine in a basket. They had a couple of
reds  and  one white. I didn't want the German wine, so I had some
cabernet  sauvignon.  It  was  good. They brought out sake. It was
good  when  warm.  Courses:  salad was rice noodles with fake crab
and  some vegetables in a vinegar sauce. Soup was miso--broth with
seaweed  and  tofu.  For  the  appetizer,  they brought California
rolls  and  something  similar but with a spicy center. I read the
Sunday  menu,  and the appetizer was shrimp and vegetable tempura.
I  would  have  enjoyed  that. Also on Sunday, the menu showed the
entrée  as  a mixture of all the meat items above. For our entrée,
the  cook  fried  up egg and small (already cut up) vegetables and
cooked  rice.  The  all  became  fried  rice.  The vegetables were
different  from  Benihana  and other steak houses. We had some bok
Choi,  eggplant  (yuck),  cabbage, zucchini, onion, and one or two
others,  I  think.  Everyone  except Todd ate with chopsticks, and
Todd  had to request his fork. Dessert came out after a long wait.
Four  people gave up and left but were called back before they got
out  the  door.  This  meal had a long gap between each course and
took 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Nanny's Jerk Pit

Casual, service 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily

They  offer  Jamaican fare. Choices are offered from a chalk board
menu.  They  have  items  such  as  jerk  chicken, jerk pork, jerk
burger,  meat patties, curried goat, oxtails, soups, fruit juices,
and  sodas. I didn't like the piece of chicken I tried because the
sauce  wasn't  cooked  in. The service was friendly on both visits
and  very  fast.  The time I went for the soup, they offered it to
go,  which was appealing. This is a good option for those who like
to  come to Jamaica for plenty of the local cuisine. Maid service,
turndown  service, towels, loungers & sponge floats The maids came
twice  a  day.  Ours usually came around 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. We got
towels  as needed both times. The first two days, we had wonderful
towel  sculptures  on  the bed-one day a swan, the other, a heart.
Both  were  filled  with hibiscus blooms. These blooms were placed
around  the  room in towels and other things. Sometimes, the maids
turned on music.

Beach  towels  were  available  at  the pool and watersports area.
Often,  they  were  out,  but there was no annoying policy to sign
them  out  or trade them and no feeling that your life depended on
the  safety  of your towel. Also, there were tons of floats at all
water areas and plenty of lounge chairs.

Golf

Almost  every  day,  there  are beginning lessons at 8:30 a.m. and
advanced  lessons at 4:30. These are taught by a visiting golf pro
who  gets  a  complimentary  stay  for  giving  the  lessons. Take
advantage  of this if at all interested. There is a similar set-up
for  tennis.  The  9-hole executive course has all par 3s with the
exception  of  one par 4 where Todd lost a lot of balls due to the
long  shot over the water. The course was fun. If you want to play
a  lot, bring your own clubs. I believe you have to rent the clubs
otherwise.  The  shuttle  for  Breezes  leaves at 7 a.m. and 10:30
a.m.  Sign up at the concierge a day in advance. The ride is about
20-25  minutes.  The  course  is worth playing but not the best on
the  island. Todd always enjoys it, and sometimes caddies remember
him  from  trip  to trip. On Monday, Todd's golf bus came right on
time.  However,  they had to wait 20 minutes to leave because some
people  had  called  saying  they  were eating in their room. Todd
brought  along  old  golf  shoes  for his caddie. The ride took 25
minutes.  Todd  was  very impressed with the new golf clubhouse at
Breezes.  The  caddies  were impressed that he knew the history of
all  the  places  the clubhouse had been the last few years. We've
stayed  at  Breezes  twice,  and  Todd  has played the course many
other  times  when  we  stayed at various other SuperClubs. Todd's
caddie  was.  Todd  enjoyed his round and Freddie. He gave Freddie
the  shoes  and  a tip. Todd usually pays the regular fee and then
tips  more  than the fee. However, this time, Todd was thinking he
paid  before  going  (even  though  he  has  been  there countless
times),  so  he  paid  $13.  The fee was $9 or $10, so his tip was
very  small.  The  guy looked disappointed, and Todd was wondering
why.  However,  Freddie  considered  the  shoes a blessing and was
happy  with  that. Todd always makes a point to take care of these
guys,  and  he was wishing he was going back so he could bring the
guy some more money.

My  golf lesson on Tuesday: The morning is supposed to be beginner
and  the  afternoon  advanced.  Usually, there were few people, so
Todd  had  good  lessons. This day, there were 6 people at various
beginner  levels. Todd went off to play nine holes. I was the most
advanced  of  the  bunch  having  had some lessons and played some
games.  Mario,  this week's pro started us from the very beginning
and  showed  me  a  few  things. We practiced the basics of setup,
grip,  swing,  stance, club placement, and hitting the ball. After
the  first  hour,  Mario  took the others out to actually play the
course.  He  was  regretting  not being able to have more sessions
with  me.  Some  of  the others didn't speak much English. I think
this   ends   up  being  a  challenge  for  the  pros.  They  stay
complimentary  in  exchange  for spending a few hours with guests.
Anil  Sud told us that he really has to watch some of the visiting
pros  because  they  don't  show  up.  We have experienced this at
other  resorts.  We had great luck this trip. Mario was great, and
I  wish  I  had attended the previous week's lessons with Ray. The
beginning  of  the lesson was interrupted by another downpour, but
it lasted 5 minutes.

Room service

Breakfast  6-10 a.m. Regular menu 11 - 6. To me, this is not quite
24-hour  service,  but it really works and is something a guest is
wise to use.

Don't  be afraid to ask for wine, champagne, etc. not on the menu.
We  had  great  luck.  Service was always quicker than promised, 5
minutes  to 25. The staff made a few wisecracks if they thought we
had  called  too recently or ordered too much. This was a big turn
off.  Also,  there were always calls wanting the room service tray
back pretty quickly.

Since  we  had  managed  to  get  a refrigerator, we tried to keep
wine,  champagne,  and  sometimes  diet  soda, along with glasses,
chilled.  There  was  always  ice  delivered  with  any drinks, so
having no refrigerator would not have been a problem. Jacuzzis

There  are  two  on the main and two on the au-natural side. Those
on  the  main  side  were usable temperatures most times. One day,
the  main  pool  Jacuzzi was almost scalding. This was remedied by
morning.  We  were  also  told  by  a lot of guests that the beach
house  Jacuzzi  wasn't  working  for  a  couple  of days before we
arrived.  We  had great luck with it and watched stars and sunsets
and moon there every night.

Watersports

These  are some of the friendliest guys around, and they know what
they  are  doing. There is a glass-bottom boat ride at 9 every day
and  snorkeling at 9 and 5 or off the beach. Ask them about diving
or  water-skiing,  kayaking,  etc. We were told that if we weren't
up  for  water-skiing  that  they could give us a ride to see some
things in the boat. I thought that was friendly.

Weather

The  first  two days were very calm but after that, it got windier
every  day.  Watersports  were  almost  all canceled, and the last
three  days,  it  rained  off  and  on,  but  in  just 5-10 minute
increments  a  few times a day. Temps were 85 degrees upon arrival
and  slowly  going down or felt that way because of the wind, I am
sure,  after  that.  Sometimes,  I  had  Goosebumps.  As sometimes
happens  with  a  late fall trip, it is sometimes warmer for us in
Houston,  as it is still in the 80s here, although it is December.
There  was a hurricane far out in the Atlantic, but you would have
thought  it  was  going  to  hit landfall soon with all that wind.
When  I  visited  the  property in April, there was a lot of wind,
too.  For diving, I would choose one of the other two Lidos to get
more  of  a  chance  to go out, perhaps Negril. We've made many of
our  trips to the North Coast. There have been plenty with no wind
at  all  and  some with a lot of wind and cooler temperatures than
Negril. You just never know with the North Coast.

The Trip Home

We  got  on  our  bus  and  departed at 11:15. There were no other
guests  in the Toyota van. We arrived at the airport at 12:10. The
line  was  very  long.  We  got  through  at just after 1 p.m. The
departure  tax was $21 U.S. or $750 Jamaican. From the time we got
into  the  airport to the time we left, we went through 2 security
belts.  My purse was searched thoroughly, down to going through my
money  and  separating  the  bills.  The woman finished by saying,
repeatedly,  "I  guess  it  isn't  there".  I  don't know what she
thought  she saw. They used that laser thing that scans your body.
We  had  our tickets checked 5 times. We tipped the bus driver and
skycap.  There  was  no sign asking for tips in the bus. We didn't
tip on the way up, and no one asked us for one.

Our  visits  always require a visit to Jamaica Farewell for Todd's
dad  some  banana  rum. There was no Sangster. I went to the other
shop.  They  had  none  either,  and the brand both stores had was
cheaper  at  Jamaica Farewell, as is usually the case. I went back
and  bought  the $6 bottle and a liter of Myers, still $8. We went
to  the  gate  at 1:15. They were boarding, but the line was quite
long.  We  left  at  2:07,  the  time  my  itinerary  said we were
supposed  to  leave  in  the  first  place.  We  landed  at  3:25,
unbelievable.  When  looking for a restroom, I found a 5:48 flight
to  Houston  IAH  leaving  from  C9 at 5:48. We stood in a standby
line  from  4:55-5:25.  We were second in line the entire time but
never  got  waited  on.  By  then, we decided our bags could never
make  the  plane.  We  went  back to the departure screen, and the
flight  was  gone,  and  the  7:20  flight was up with gate E2. We
wondered  if the 5:48 flight was a phantom. I certainly would have
booked  that rather than lay over 3 hours and 45 minutes in Miami.
Of  course, our itinerary said we were to arrive in Miami at 3:50,
not  3:25. We shared a $5 pizza and headed to our gate to wait. Of
course,  there, they had pizza for $3.45. Our flight was to arrive
in  Houston at 9:06. It did, and not a moment too soon. We arrived
home  at about 10:15 after a long wait for our bags and bus to the
car. General comments

Menus  are posted for all restaurants right outside the lobby/town
hall.  Also  in the lobby is the social director desk. I never saw
a  social  director  there,  but  on  the  desk  is a full list of
activities  by  the  day  of  the  week,  a  map,  and  a  list of
restaurants,  hours of operation, and attire required. There is an
activity  board  by  the main restaurant. The au natural side also
has  organized  activities every day. These are listed on the same
hand   out   as  the  main  side  activities.  Brochures  for  all
SuperClubs  are  available  in  the  lobby.  Shops  want  cash, no
charging to the room, at least at the logo shop.

Service   was   often   outstanding,  usually  swift,  and  always
acceptable.  Some  of  the  drink  waiters  weren't too anxious to
serve  or  didn't  come  around.  Only Piacere had a wine list. We
order  and  like  by  taste,  not  price. We only found one or two
wines  on  the  property that we didn't like, and we simply didn't
have  them  again.  I  am  not  a  beer  drinker but know they had
Heineken at the White Gaulin.

Each  Lido has a truly different ambiance, and each has appeal for
various  reasons. I think this resort is well on the way to having
the  luxury  standard  of  the  other  Lidos  and offers very good
value.  I believe the resort has good advantage over the others in
the  distance  from  the  airport,  if  you  are  going  by ground
transportation.  I  think  it  is  the best resort to experience a
little  of  it  all, as we felt it was like a very upscale version
of  what  Jamaica Jamaica used to be before it was Breezes. Funny,
on  that  first  visit  in  1992, we went to a manager's party and
were  surveyed.  We  asked for them to make the place more upscale
or  get  a  place  just  as active but with more luxury. They have
almost  done  it.  Breezes still has more activity and a different
ambiance, as there are more singles than at Braco.

We  both felt we had a very good vacation and would enjoy a return
to this resort.

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