Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 102
February 1, 2000

Last Update 28 Jan 2000

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JAMAICA: GRAND LIDO BRACO BY DEBBIE HOFFREN

Trip 11/99

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.

After  finishing  last-minute  packing items, we left for the airport 
around  7  a.m. We ended up in the overflow parking in North 23 (This 
reminded  me  of  the  North 40. There was a bus waiting near the car 
with  two  seats  not  together. When we got to the check-in line, it 
seemed  long  but moved quickly. We were at our gate waiting around 8 
or  8:15 for our 9 a.m. flight to Atlanta. The Atlanta flight was not 
nearly  full,  but  we  were  given  soft  drinks  and  some cinnamon 
crackers  instead  of  breakfast.  We  were  due  in Atlanta at noon; 
Eastern  Time but arrived at about 11:35. There was a Burger King and 
restrooms  nearby  our arrival gate. We stood in the Burger King line 
and  both  ate  sandwiches  and  fries  for  $7+, total. We drank the 
bottled  water  we  brought and then refilled them from the fountain. 
Next,  we  took  the  tram  to terminal E and went to the Air Jamaica 
area. We were hours early for our 2:35 flight. I watched a DVD on 
my laptop while Todd read the paper. 

The  Air  Jamaica  flight  was only about 1/2 full. We were fed a hot 
meal.  They offered a choice of chicken or pasta. We had the chicken, 
which  was  tasty.  It was in a brown sauce with capers over rice and 
peas  and  was  accompanied  by  green  mixed  vegetables, salad with 
vinaigrette  dressing,  and  cake  with  coconut  icing. They offered 
complimentary  wine,  champagne,  and  Red Stripe. They came around a 
second  time and also offered coffee. Soft drinks and juice were also 
available.

On  both flights we sat in exit rows. On the first flight, a lady sat 
next  to  us, although there were rows that were completely empty and 
a  guy  in  another exit row with two empty seats next to him. It was 
kind of annoying, but she just read her book.

We  arrived  on  time  at  5:15. The singers greeted us, as did short 
lines.  There  are advantages to traveling on Thanksgiving. We always 
go  to  the far left line in immigration, but the last two times, the 
line  next to that one has moved quicker. Our bags were already there 
when  we got downstairs, and we were able to use the restroom and get 
right  on  the  van.  There  was  another  couple on the bus that had 
stayed  at  the  resort  when  it was Braco Village. There was a lady 
speaking Spanish and an interpreter from Braco on the bus and a few 
people getting dropped off at various places along the road. 

The  traffic  was  quite  bad,  but  we made it to Braco at 6:55 p.m. 
Although  we  didn't  see  much  scenery  due  to the hour, I enjoyed 
looking back to the west at the beautiful sunset as we rode along. 

Check-In

We  were  not  greeted  by  anyone  in the lobby and sat there for 30 
minutes  before  getting  anyone's attention. By then, all the others 
had  checked  in.  No  one  received  drinks.  They  were out of safe 
deposit  keys  and  said to come back the next day for them (they got 
them  in  the  day  we  checked out). We had signed for one, so I was 
worried about being asked to pay for a "lost" one later.

A  bellman took us to our room, 1037/1038. It was a one-bedroom suite 
in  the  gardens  on the textile side. We stay in the textile side at 
every  resort, and our views and perspectives are from guests of that 
side, so keep that in mind as you continue to read.

We  got  into the living room side but could not get into the bedroom 
side.  The  bellman  asked  us if we wanted to sleep on the couch and 
then went off for the key. 

I  went to the White Gaulin for drinks while Todd waited for the key. 
I  waited 25 minutes for drinks while I watched all of the people who 
arrived  after  me  get  drinks. By then, I'd been 13 hours trying to 
get  to  paradise, so I was ready for some. I had a good chat with an 
Indian  gentleman  while I waited. The very nice bartender joked that 
he  saved  me  until last because they like to keep the pretty ladies 
in the bar longer. 

I  brought Todd a drink special, Island in the Sun and got white wine 
for  myself.  By the time I made it back to the room, he had received 
a key and the rest of our luggage.

Breakfast

Buffet--Located  in  Victoria  Market  Daily  from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 
a.m.  There  are also continental breakfast items available from room 
service from 6-11 a.m.

They  serve  a  good  variety  of  foods and have a very friendly and 
attentive  staff.  They  still  have the too-runny scrambled eggs, so 
people  sometimes  stand  in  a  LONG line for eggs to order. The two 
cooks  at  the  egg  station are swift, but it can take 20 minutes to 
get  an  egg  over  easy.  The  weekends, especially Sunday, are good 
times  to  get  eggs  to  order  because a lot of people leave in the 
morning, and the new arrivals usually come in the afternoon.

Other  items  offered  are  toast  (fresh  bread),  English  muffins, 
bagels,  cream  cheese,  jams,  cheeses, fruits, meats, including raw 
fish,  sometimes  carved  ham, bacon, French toast, pancakes, Jamaica 
don't  touch me sausage, one or two local dishes, cereal, and yogurt. 
I  only saw orange juice, coffee, and tea available for drinks, but I 
saw  someone  with  cranberry  juice  more than once. There is a wide 
variety  of  tea available, but it is impossible to get a second cup. 
Juice,  however  flows like a river. They also offered the same style 
of  potato every day, and they were quite good. They continue to have 
the  wonderful  dried mango that I am crazy about (similar to what my 
friend's  mother  brings  from the Philippines). They also have other 
dried  fruits  and  nuts.  One  day,  they  had  fresh papaya. Fruits 
usually  consisted  of pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, apples, and 
grapefruit.

We  typically ate breakfast at about 8:15. The day that we went at 9, 
it was VERY crowded.

Lunch 
La Pasta-open from noon until 2 a.m., casual dress & no reservations

We  landed here on Friday for lunch after scoping out a little of the 
property. It is a sidewalk café on the village square. 

They  have an antipasto bar for salad with calamari (not into it) and 
quite  a  few  salads  and olives. I tried a bowtie pasta salad and a 
bit  of  lettuce  with vinegar. Todd skipped salad. For the entrée, I 
ordered  the  seafood  (frutti)  pizza,  and  Todd ordered the salami 
(with  salami  and  pepperoni). On our last stay, this restaurant had 
the  worst  service.  This remains the case and seems to me to be one 
of  the  few  things  that  need to be fixed. The waitresses don't do 
anything  to  make sure you find a seat and may not even be motivated 
to  get you a glass of water. We asked about drinks (and really meant 
water  and/or  wine).  I guess the girl thought we were looking for a 
barmaid.  She pointed to another girl that never came by. After about 
15  minutes,  Todd  went  to  the  bar,  as we had no water. When our 
entrée  came,  I  had  seen  the  waitress get some other couple some 
wine, so we asked for some. When we received it, it was a good 
Italian wine. 

They  serve  very  fresh  bread  here  when they get around to it. No 
fault  of  the  staff,  but the pizza just takes a long time to come. 
This  is  OK  if you order all of the courses, but if you really just 
want  a  pizza,  there  can be quite a wait, and there might just not 
even  be  a table available, even in the middle of the afternoon. One 
couple  solved this by ordering a pizza and saying they would be back 
in 20 minutes. They then went to the pool bar to wait it out. 

When  we  got our pizza, we took it back to our room to eat it & find 
something to drink.

Another good antipasto was the huge bay scallops that had a teriyaki-
type sauce.

On  Monday  Todd  ordered  one to go while I checked out, and then we 
went to the lunch buffet for a few items while it cooked. It took 15-
20 minutes.

Lunch Buffet at Victoria Market-12:30-3:00 pm

Saturday

They  had  BBQ  ribs, Southern Fried Chicken (good but ice cold), and 
grilled  steaks,  burgers and huge hot dogs. The steak was generously 
sized  and  good.  They offered various salads, including Caesar made 
fresh,  fresh  fruits,  breads, desserts, and ice cream. The soup was 
seafood  and  was  full  of  scallops  and  shrimp.  Service here was 
friendly  and  prompt.  We  got  a  seat with a good view of the main 
pool.

Sunday
The  menu  wasn't  much to my liking. I had a small piece of escovish 
fish.  It  was  well  prepared but not hot. I also had salad and some 
wonderful  red  pea  (pinto  bean)  soup.  Other  items  offered were 
roasted  pig; carved off the whole pig, pepper steak (which Todd had) 
and  a couple of other items. This gave us a good chance to try other 
dining options.

Monday

We  were  in  a  real rush that day and came by here while waiting on 
the  pizza  that  I wanted. Todd was much more interested in a burger 
before  hopping  on the bus, so he ran down to the beach grill. I ate 
my pizza there along with some great soup, a pepperpot. 

Beach Grill & Room Service

They  offer the room service menu (on both sides of the property) and 
a  good place to sit and eat it. The service will be faster than room 
service.  On  the textile side, the grill is way down at the east end 
of  the  property. There is a Jacuzzi there that is little known. The 
grill  and  bar  has  terrific  service.  You  can get things for the 
Jacuzzi  (sometimes  too  hot  to  get into, other times great). Room 
service  is  offered  all hours, but for a few hours, it is breakfast 
only and has no hot items.

The  room  service  guys ride around mostly on three-wheeled bicycles 
with  baskets.  I  saw  one  guy riding a two-wheel with one hand and 
balancing a huge tray in the other way up in the air.

They  offer  buffalo wings, potato skins, tilapia fish, burgers, club 
sandwiches,   build-your   own  sandwich,  lamb  chops,  salads,  and 
desserts.  You  can  also  order  up  bottles of wine or champagne or 
sodas  or other drinks. The time we ordered food, we ordered the lamb 
chops,  a  burger,  and Buffalo wings. We also ordered two salads. It 
took  over  an  hour  to arrive. The Buffalo wings are more like BBQ. 
The  salad  was good and had their house creamy vinaigrette dressing. 
Ordering  drinks  was  much  faster,  or  you  could simply pick up a 
bottle  of  wine  at  a bar with glasses to go or pick up food to go. 
This was a speedy thing.

Dinner  at  Victoria Market-6:30-9:30 p.m. Daily except Wednesday and 
Friday

Thursday

They  did  not  have  the menu that was posted outside the lobby, but 
what  was  offered  was better than what was posted, so we were great 
with  that.  They  had  a different menu every time we went, I am not 
sure  how often they rotate. We went to Victoria Market and were told 
there  was  a 20-minute wait. We went to White Gaulon and were waited 
on  quickly. We walked around a little and got back in to eat in just 
under 20 minutes.

It  was  after  8:30,  and  entertainment  was  going on, a wonderful 
singer  and band. Todd noticed that they played lots of Lionel Richie 
and thought the singer sounded like him. We danced to one song.

For  the  appetizer,  we  had  spring  rolls.  I  noticed some people 
ordered  the tempura from Munahanna and received it. I do not know if 
this  could be done on a regular basis or not. We received white wine 
during  dinner.  We  were  not  offered  a choice, and they brought 2 
kinds  throughout  the meal. One was delicious, and one was dreadful. 
They  would  mix  the  two  before  the glass was empty and spoil the 
taste  of  the  good  one. However, our glass was kept full. Our next 
course  was  pepperpot  soup.  The  soups  at  Braco have always been 
different  from  Sandals.  I  feel  this  is  the  strongest  suit at 
Sandals.  Their  soups  are  thick, while the ones at Braco are often 
broth-based.  However,  the  soup  had a wonderful flavor, and during 
our  visit,  I  noticed the soups had improved drastically since last 
year..  We  had  salad  with  vinaigrette.  The main course was strip 
steak.  They  also offered grilled tuna, steamed snapper, pork, lamb, 
and  chicken.  We  ordered  the steaks medium to not receive them too 
well  done like last time. This worked better. These were of a better 
quality  than the lunch ones. We almost never eat dessert but ordered 
some.  Mine  was truffle cake. I didn't care for it. Todd had vanilla 
ice cream and ate that. 

During  the  rest of the meal, the guest and staff talent show began. 
Maurice,  the sales manger, sang some songs, as did some other staff. 
The  activities coordinators did a skit we had seen before at Sandals 
Dunns  River.  It  was cute. One guest sang, and a lot of people were 
quite supportive and got up and danced.

We  left  about 10:05 p.m. when they were just getting ready to round 
people  up  for  the  pj party. This time, we didn't stay to see what 
people  wore.  I  heard later that there was a fierce contest between 
two  guys  for  the  male  contest  and that one guy started flashing 
people to win.

Sunday

We  arrived  at  about  7:50. About 120 people left that day (I don't 
know  how many new people arrived but it was quite a few). There were 
tables  available.  We  had  been on the waiting list for Piacere but 
didn't  get  in. We considered going up there and begging for a table 
but  didn't  want  to  dress  for  it  just  to  be  turned  away. In 
retrospect,  I  wish  we  had  tried.  This time at Victoria, we were 
given  yet  another  (different)  menu than what was in the lobby. We 
ordered  a  ravioli  appetizer.  I  didn't  like  it.  It was full of 
mushrooms  (I  am allergic and also don't like them) and liver. I ate 
the  pasta  part  and  the liver. The soup we ate was creamy pumpkin. 
This  was  exactly  like what I am used to and was spectacular. Next, 
we  had  the  tomato,  lettuce,  and  cucumber  salad with the creamy 
vinaigrette  dressing.  Todd  ordered  prime  rib,  and I ordered the 
mixed  seafood  grill.  Mine came with a chunk of tilapia, a chunk of 
snapper  (good),  one  mussel,  two scallops, and two shrimp. It also 
came  with some very well prepared vegetables and the orzo pasta that 
is similar to rice. 

Todd's  came  with  the  same vegetables and a twice-baked potato. He 
didn't  like the potato at all. I was amazed because he has never met 
a  potato he didn't like. The presentation was quite good, as was the 
food  quality. Wine glasses were full at all times, and a bar service 
was  offered  for those that wanted it. For dessert, Todd ordered the 
apple  and  cherry  strudel with ice cream. It was served hot in filo 
dough.  I  had  a pineapple tartan, and it wasn't what I expected. It 
was  basically  canned  pineapple.  I  had  envisioned  some  sort of 
pudding. I ate the kiwi slice and some of the tart.

The  house  band  and  singer played again. They were good. Next were 
two  musicians  singing  in Spanish. One played guitar, and the other 
played  mariachis.  They  serenaded table by table until they visited 
them 

all.  We  met  them  on  the property on Monday. They were from Cuba. 
There  was  a  gap in the entertainment from 9 to 9:30, and we waited 
since  it was our last night. The cabaret singer was Maurisco. He was 
very  good.  We danced to one song. At about 10, he started involving 
the audience in some group dances. We left shortly after that.

Muna  Hanna  Japanese  Restaurant  -  6:30-9:30,  Closed  on Fridays, 
Reservations Required, no shorts

We   had  6:30  dinner  reservations  at  Muna  Hanna,  the  Japanese 
restaurant.  On Friday morning, I had made the reservations at 9 a.m. 
and  took the last slot. However, half of the seats were empty during 
our  meal.  This,  again,  rubbed  a  nerve that people just blow off 
these  reservations  when  others  don't get to dine at the specialty 
restaurants.  Wine  was served in half carafes around the table. They 
had  horrible  white  and red. At our table, we had the visiting golf 
pro  and  his  wife, both from Canada, and another couple. We ordered 
up champagne, no problem. 

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.  I believe if you want sushi, you call the 
restaurant or some number other than the concierge.

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 out sake. It was good when warm. Courses: salad was the 
Benihana-style  with  the  ginger dressing. Soup was miso--broth with 
seaweed  and  tofu.  For the appetizer, they brought a great battered 
shrimp  and  some  tempura vegetables. 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. Several 
people  used  chopsticks, and others were into forks. We were offered 
shrimp,  fish,  chicken,  steak, and pork. We might have had scallops 
(but  I  know  we did last year). Dessert came out after a long wait. 
There  were  various chocolate items. We also had tea. The couples at 
our  table  were  quite  into  chatting,  and  we  eventually excused 
ourselves.

It  was 9:45 or so. 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.

Street  Party-Friday  Night,  beginning  at  7  p.m.  around the town 
square

We  attended  the  street  dance  and  gala  barbeque. 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  (spiny 
lobster).  Some  were the size of shrimp. Others were quite huge. All 
guests  ordering  asked  for two. I ate 3 small and 1 large of these. 
Todd  ate 3 large ones and had some chicken and rice. Items we didn't 
eat:  California roll, sushi, raw fish, carved meat, curry beef, many 
vegetables,  fish,  chicken,  variety  of  salads, including to order 
Caesar,  and  meats  and cheeses. There were some breads. I took back 
two shrimp-sized lobsters for the next day to the room.

The  presentation  was beautiful, and the streets were all lit up. It 
took the staff hours to prepare.

After  the  dinner, there was dancing in the street. There were a lot 
of professional photos taken that were 
available later for purchase in the room next to White Gaulin.

Nanny's Jerk Pit-11 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily

On  our  last  visit, this place wasn't as well visited as this time. 
The  soup  remains  good,  as  does the service. Although I very much 
prefer  my  sauce  cooked  into  the meat, I gave them a try with the 
sauce  the  way  they  do  it, on the side. They serve stuff with it, 
slaw  and  something else that escapes me whether you want it or not. 
I  brought  this  out for Todd and I to share at the Jacuzzi one day. 
It  was  very  good  and  not dry like last year. They serve Jamaican 
meat  patties,  jerk  items,  and  a  daily special. For drinks, they 
serve various sodas (no diet), beer, and rum.

Piacere   French   Nouvelle  Cuisine-6:30-9:30  p.m.  except  Friday, 
reservations and jackets required

We  didn't  get  in  this year, but last year we enjoyed our 6-course 
dinner  and  the  great  music  that  played.  Book  early and expect 
trouble  getting  in  on  the weekend. Go here hungry. Previously, we 
found  a  choice  of  4  appetizers,  2 soups, 2 appetizers, a sorbet 
course, 8 entrees, and 7 desserts. 

Activities

Thursday

We  got  in  at about 7 p.m. so we missed the activities for that day 
during the day. 

At  night,  we  attended  the  staff  and guest talent show. This was 
mostly  an  outlet for one of the playmakers and the sales manager to 
sing,  but  we  saw a couple of guests sing and a playmaker skit. The 
pj  party was at 10 p.m. but we didn't go. They have several contests 
at that event, and it is held in the disco.

We  managed  to  get  in  drinks,  dinner,  and a Jacuzzi room before 
retiring  from  a long day. After walking the grounds, we noticed not 
much  had  changed in the last year except that the foliage had grown 
up quite a lot.

Friday

I  got  up  early  and  saw the sunrise. Todd got up fairly early. We 
headed  to the breakfast buffet at about 8:15 and made it over to the 
golf lesson right at 9 a.m. 

The  morning  golf lessons are mainly for beginners and intermediate. 
Todd  dropped  me  at  the lesson after we met Mike, the visiting pro 
and  Oscar,  the  resident  pro. The Canadian visiting instructor and 
the  resident  pro  helped  us out. There were two Germans who barely 
spoke  English  and  several  other guests who came to try. They went 
through  the basics that I am beyond, such as grip. When we practiced 
our  swing,  I  believe  I  got  quite  a bit better. Meanwhile, Todd 
played  a  round  with  his  own clubs on the 9-hole course. The pros 
made  sure  we  all  had  plenty of water, and it was possible to get 
instruction  for  two hours. I left at about 10:15. I brought several 
of  my own clubs and used them. At the lessons, they bring clubs, and 
they don't charge for using them at that point.

I  saw  Anil  that  day but didn't get to speak to him long and could 
never  get  anyone  to  tell me when he'd be back and never found him 
again  the  rest  of  our stay. I was locked out of the room that day 
because  Todd  had  locked  one  of the doors from the inside, and it 
takes  a master key to get into the room if it is done that way. Anil 
got someone from security to let me in.

I  went  off to do aquacize and had arranged to meet Todd at the main 
Jacuzzi   after  that.  Michael  was  still  there  as  the  aerobics 
instructor  and still just as enthusiastic, if not more so. There was 
a  good  turnout  for  the water aerobics, 15-20 people. The wind was 
blowing,  and  the  weather  was overcast. The water was cold, but we 
warmed up. 

After  the  workout,  I  got in the Jacuzzi. After a long while, Todd 
finally  showed  up. I got us a Nanny's jerk chicken to share. It was 
excellent.  The  sauce  was spicy, but I still prefer my sauce cooked 
into the meat. 

The  Jacuzzi  temperature  was nice, and we enjoyed some drinks and a 
good  sit  there.  There  were  a  variety  of people that came in to 
visit,  mainly  Canadians  on  the  Lido Lottery, as was the case our 
whole visit.

We  participated  in  the  Jamaican  trivia  class  and  got close to 
winning, but I didn't speak loud enough on one or two.

Todd  went  out  for the golf tournament that afternoon after we swam 
on  rafts  in  the  ocean. He won, no big crowd. He played a round or 
two before coming in.

Meanwhile,  I  hung  out  at  the  beach  and  then  went  on to 4:30 
aerobics.  Michael had various stations we had to go around to and do 
various aerobic and weight things to, all to soca music.

That  night  was  the  street dance party. We came right at 7, and it 
was  already  difficult to get a prime seat. This evening can drag on 
if  you are tired. It takes a long time past dinner (if you expect to 
get  a  good  seat)  for  the fun to start, but make sure you bring a 
camera, and wear something casual and comfortable.
 
We  enjoyed  sitting  on the patio and watching the gardens lit up at 
night before going to bed.

Of  course,  that  day we fit in a good bit of Jacuzzi time. The East 
End  Jacuzzi was scalding (112), so we went to the main pool one. The 
crowd  was  loud  (in  foreign  language).  I  managed  to sit in the 
Jacuzzis for hours and hours on our whole stay. 

Saturday

I  woke  early  again  and  saw the sunrise. I munched on my leftover 
lobster  from  the  day  before. This was heaven. It was nice to have 
the  separate  sitting room with the door so I wouldn't wake Todd up. 
I  wanted  to go on the botanical tour that morning but was afraid of 
missing the golf lessons. Instead, we had breakfast at the buffet.

At  the golf lessons, the Germans were back, and several other people 
came.  Todd  played  a  round by himself. The advanced lessons are in 
the  afternoon.  That afternoon, I practiced and videotaped his swing 
as Mike; the visiting pro gave him some tips.

We  decided  to get some snorkeling equipment and went out around the 
offshore  rocks.  We  didn't  feel like going on the structured trip, 
and  several were canceled due to the wind. Some windsurfing occurred 
by  the  truly initiated. It was impressive to see. We also saw water 
skiing  at the East End of the property. By this day, the weather was 
overcast,  but  we  took  the  GL-style  floats out and floated as we 
snorkeled.  We  saw some fish, and it was a blast, but we did not see 
anything spectacular. The waves were fun, and the water 
was beautiful.

We  tried  the East end Jacuzzi again. The water temp had been cooled 
off. We had some drinks down there.

We  changed for dinner at Muna Hanna and went off for the crab racing 
at  6.  A  couple sat down with us. We had fun but didn't win, and we 
had  to leave early for our dinner reservations. The crab races offer 
Para  mutual betting at $3 minimum for race. This is something unique 
that  I  really  enjoy. In each race, there were different crabs. The 
first  3  races  are  pure  Para  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.  On the slow races, the crab out of the circle last 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.  After  dinner,  we  heard a little of the 
entertainment, but we turned in early.


Sunday

We had breakfast at the buffet. 

Todd  played  golf around the course while I sat for a very long time 
in the Jacuzzi. He eventually joined me.

We  had  a few lunch items at the buffet, and we also ordered chicken 
wings,  lamb  chops,  salads,  and  one  burger,  along with wine and 
champagne. It was our last full day, and we were enjoying it.

We  played  Jamaican trivia and then Bingo. Todd won a really nice T-
Shirt.  Guests can sit at tables outside of White Gaulin or around or 
in the main pool to participate in these games.

We  went  out  for  fishing.  They use bamboo poles and fish and beef 
cubes.  It  was  unbelievably  crowded.  We  had to share a pole. The 
first  pond  yielded two-inch long fish. We all moved to another pond 
and  caught  them  4-6 inches long. Everyone threw the fish back, and 
we  threw  in  the  rest  of  the bait at the end. Todd helped things 
along  by  throwing  bread to the fish and watching them stir. It was 
fun.

Todd  went  back  for more golf; I went back for more Jacuzzi and the 
treadmill.   Also,  I  had  a  trek  into  the  steam  room  and  got 
reacquainted with some of the spa staff.

We  had a wonderful time watching the sunset together in the Jacuzzi. 
We  got  out  to  go  for dinner at Victoria's and watched all of the 
entertainment  that  night.  I  like  the  fact  that the shows start 
early.  At some resorts, everything starts so late that me often miss 
it due to being tired from too much sun.

Monday

I  awoke  very  early.  I watched the sunrise and then packed most of 
the items in our suitcase. 

When  Todd awoke, we went to the breakfast buffet and then called for 
our  laundry  to  be returned. We called for a late checkout and were 
given an extra hour to check out at one p.m.

At  9  a.m.,  I  went for the manicure and pedicure while Todd played 
more  golf.  Several  of  the  girls  remembered  me  from last year. 
Hopelyn  did my nails both years. Veronica was talking about her trip 
to  Hedo  III  the night before to check the place out. She went with 
another  girl  from the salon, who she claimed danced all night. They 
had  a  good  time  and  spoke  of  cameras  all  over and impressive 
architecture and lively guests.

The  manicure  and  pedicure  took a little over an hour. Sign up for 
this early in your stay.

I  visited  the  logo  shop and bought some items. As last year, they 
require  cash  and  have  very  little change. I looked at all of the 
pictures  from  all of the days. The pictures sell for $8. 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  a  lot of pictures of the staff 
behind  the  scenes. There were many pictures from the street dance I 
went  out  for  the aquacize. After that, we did one last trek to the 
Jacuzzi,  a  final  walk on the beach and then went about getting the 
sutcases  closed  and  eating  our  lunches. We ordered a pizza. Todd 
brought  me  that at the buffet, where I had soup. He took off to the 
snack  shack  for  a  burger and fries. I had to run get him to board 
our 2:30 bus in time.

Our  check  out  had  not  been  a problem, they did mention the safe 
deposit  key,  but I indicated that we hadn't ever got one, so it was 
no problem.

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

The room

Nice  touches--long  mirror  for  full-length  view, iron and ironing 
board  in  both halves of the room. Bar soap and GL standard shampoo, 
soap,  and  lotion  in  the  wall  dispenser were present, but we had 
baskets  of  European  toiletries in each bathroom. I liked that nice 
touch,  too.  Our  suite  was really like two rooms, but one had been 
turned  into a living room. There was a clothesline in each 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  in  the  armoire  of  each room and channels were in-house (never 
on),  NBC,  CBS,  HBO  Cinemax,  CNN, Espn, TNT, USA, and TBS. They'd 
added  a  Japanese station and Playboy. There were two local stations 
and  NO ABC. The channel sheet now shows that they have ABC, but they 
didn't.  I  mentioned  the  disappointment of no ABC to Anil Sud last 
year.  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.

  The wild roaring sea at Braco was much more preferable. There was a 
nice  writing  desk  and  chair  in  each room, a bamboo chair in the 
corner.  We  had  a  safe in each room but not key. With two armoires 
and  closets,  we  had enough room. The drawers worked this year, and 
we  found enough hangers. I had begged for a refrigerator. Of course, 
it wasn't stocked. I did get them to stock it once.

We  were in room 1037/1038. If we strained from our balcony, we could 
see a glimpse of ocean between room blocks and mass foliage. 

The  balcony  was  like  a  gazebo and had two chairs. Our view was a 
cactus  garden  to  the right and more gardens and rooms to the left. 
We  got  a  lot  of exercise going up the stairs to our room. We were 
about  midway  down  the  main  beach between the town square and the 
beach grill.

Disco

Opens  at  10  p.m.  The  disco is made to look like a Jamaican dance 
hall.  It  even  has  a  graffiti board. The pj party happens here on 
Thursday at 10 p.m. or so.

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, even 80 minutes. 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.

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


Towel Policy

There  is no annoying signing in of beach towels or trading towel for 
towel.  You  get towels at the watersports area or pool. They are not 
always  available,  but  you  don't  feel like you have to guard your 
towel with your life.

Vendors

The  fruit  lady,  Cynthia  goes around with her basket of fruit. She 
wears  her  native  costume  and  Adidas. We didn't catch up with her 
once  but  saw  her  going here and there a time or two. Once, we saw 
some  people  with  Popsicles on the beach. The peanut cart was out a 
lot  with  no  attendant,  and  some people were getting coconuts cut 
down  for  them  for  the coconut milk. Craft vendors set up and sell 
different  arts and crafts most, if not every day. No one nags you to 
buy.


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. 
We also saw the Cubans a few times.

Laundry Service

Take  advantage  of  the laundry and dry cleaning. It is included. We 
had  our  items  (quite  a  few)  picked up on Saturday. We called at 
10:30,  and  they  came  for  our  things  at  about  5:30. They were 
returned  on  Monday  morning  after a phone call. Plan on 2 days for 
dry  cleaning  and don't be surprised if the laundry takes that long, 
since  they  say  48  hours. We have never had laundry done at a Lido 
where  we  didn't have to call to get our stuff back, but they always 
do a fine job.

Maid service, turndown service, and towels

The  maid  came twice a day and was pleasant. She put petals all over 
our  two  bathrooms  and  made  a  decoration with towels and flowers 
every day on the bed.

Staff & Service

The   staff   is  very  friendly,  and  the  service  is  outstanding 
everywhere  except  the  pasta place and bakery and a glitch here and 
there.  We  really  enjoyed social director Tyrone, and I enjoyed the 
girls in the spa/beauty salon. They remembered me from last year.

Golf

The  resort  has a 9-hole executive course. They are all par 3 except 
for  one  par  4.  It  is  a great place to practice your short game. 
Lessons  for  beginners  and intermediate are offered in the morning, 
advanced  lessons  are offered in the afternoon. There are no lessons 
on  Sundays.  That  is a good day to go to Breezes Golf and Beach for 
the  18-hole  course  because  a lot of people arrive and depart that 
day,  making  everything  far  from  crowded. You need to sign up for 
Breezes  with the concierge a day in advance, two days is better. The 
ride to Breezes is about 25 minutes.

Room Service

Breakfast available from 6 a.m. - 11 a.m.
All-day menu available from 11 a.m. until 6 a.m.

Snacks:  Nacho  chips  with chopped onions, tomatoes, sliced jalapeno 
peppers,  cheddar  cheese,  and  salsa  picante; stuffed potato skins 
with  bacon  bits,  sour  cream,  and escallions; bbq buffalo chicken 
wings with blue cheese dressing and crunchy vegetables

Soup of the day: inquire with the clubhouse.

Salads:  mixed  garden greens with tomato and cucumber, choice of red 
wine  vinaigrette,  thousand  island,  and  creamy  mustard dressing; 
fattoush  salad  with  hears  of  romaine  lettuce, pepper, cucumber, 
tomato,  chopped  parsley,  spring  onion, and toasted pita croutons, 
marinated with lime juice and olive oil.

Sandwiches:  Braco  clubhouse-smoked  turkey,  bacon,  cheddar cheese 
served  on 7-grain bread with lettuce, tomato and pickles served with 
shoestring  potato;  build  your own sandwich with assorted cold cuts 
and  cheese  with  spears  of dill pickles tomato and cherry peppers, 
served with a variety of breads.

Main  courses:  Charbroiled  hamburger prepared to your liking served 
on  a  sesame  seed  bun;  marinated lamb chops accompanied with mint 
jelly;  fried tilapia fillet smothered with tartar sauce on a toasted 
English  muffin; grilled boneless chicken breast served with a fluffy 
coco bread and garlic dip.

All entrees are served with French fried potato, tomato and pickles.

Desserts:  tropical  fresh  fruit  salad  with toasted coconut curls, 
banana  bread  and  yogurt,  mint dip; coupe Braco: Vanilla ice cream 
with  Caramelized  Pineapple and Banana, covered with chocolate sauce 
and whipped cream; marbled chocolate brownie with whipped cream

Jacuzzis

They  have  some  trouble,  but  there  are  two  on each side of the 
property.  The  foliage  has really grown up since last year. This is 
great  if  you want privacy, but if you want to see the ocean, it has 
become difficult.

Watersports

We  didn't  do  anything  but  swim  and snorkel, but the scuba staff 
seemed  to  be very knowledgeable. The windsurfing instruction looked 
good,  too,  but  it  was  windy. The water sports hut on the textile 
side  offers  a  staff  that can answer anything and schedule things. 
They   have  sunfish  sailing,  windsurfing,  snorkeling  excursions, 
kayaking,  glass bottom boat rides, and water skiing. There are daily 
dives  for  all  levels.  For  optional  activities,  they offer PADI 
certification courses and night dives.

Trip Home

The  ride  to the airport was over an hour due to a lot of traffic in 
Falmouth.  We  enjoyed  the  ride,  as it was daylight. I noticed the 
Ritz-Carlton  along  the  way still looked that it had a long time to 
go.  Other  resorts and areas looked about the same as last time. The 
line  was long at Air Jamaica but moved quickly. We again got in exit 
rows.  We  stopped  at Jamaica Farewell to get Todd's dad some banana 
rum, it still hadn't gone up, it was $9 a bottle for a litre.

The  departure gate for Air Jamaica is more convenient than American. 
We  again,  got a hot meal. It wasn't as good as the trip TO Jamaica, 
but  it  was  edible,  and  we  were  offered  a  choice. We both had 
chicken.  I had the champagne, and Todd had beer, the whole can. They 
showed  some  television  shows and even had a duty-free cart come by 
to sell all kinds of items, cash only.

We  had  some  time in Atlanta before our Delta flight. Todd read the 
paper  and  magazines,  and I watched Armageddon on DVD on the laptop 
and  continued watching on the flight. Even two lithion-ion batteries 

didn't get me through this movie!!

We got home very late, about 11 p.m.

General Comments

Every  day  there  are  flowers  on  the  bed  and  in the bathroom--
different colors of hibiscus. Lovely touch.

I  really  like  that you don't have to sign out towels at the beach. 
There are plenty of floating mats.

General  stuff:  menus  are outside the lobby. Also in the lobby is a 
list  of  activities for the entire week. You can view the day's main 
events  on  a  board  by Victoria's market. There are things going on 
from  7:30  a.m.  until evening. If you don't like the screaming over 
the  loudspeaker  variety  of activities, those to avoid from 11-3 by 
the pool. You don't have to participate in anything.

Brochures  for  all  SuperClubs  are available in the lobby. They did 
not  have  safe  deposit  keys  until our departure day, but we never 
felt  unsafe.  Shops  want cash, no charging to the room, at least at 
the logo shop.

On  both  of our stays (at Thanksgiving time) we had partial overcast 
on  at least half the days. There is often a lot of wind at Braco and 
other areas of the north coast.
 
Braco  is  a  very unique property that seems to keep getting better. 
Service  is great in most areas, with a few glitches. Rooms are nicer 
(and  pricier)  on the a/n side of the resort. I wish this wasn't the 
case,  as  we are very much room people but have no desire to stay on 
the  a/n  side.  For  those  that  like that side, the facilities are 
huge,  they  have  tennis  courts, two Jacuzzis, a pool that you walk 
into  like  you  walked  out  from  a beach, and a long beach. On the 
textile  side, you have a huge pool th
+++++++++++++++++
JAMAICA: GR
and  hosts  a variety of activity and leisure. There is a swim-up bar 
there,  also.  There  are lots of friendly people to meet, or you can 
keep to yourselves.

Whatever  side  you  pick  and  however  long you stay, you will most 
likely want to return and wonder why you didn't book more days.


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