Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor

Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 103
March 1, 2000

Last Update 27 Feb 00

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Trip 10/99

This  is  the  story of our wedding and honeymoon at Sandals, Negril, 

First,  I  must say that if you intend to go to Jamaica, whatever you 
do  you  cannot  be in a hurry. We left on a Wednesday red-eye flight 
from  Los  Angeles.  Our  plane  departed  the  airport an hour late. 
Needless  to  say you certainly get the slow pace of Jamaica straight 
from  the airport. We intended on sleeping through the 5-hour flight, 
however,  my  husband (fiancée at that time) could not sleep. I being 
a  little more prepared took my sleeping mask and earplugs so I slept 
almost the entire flight. I recommend this for the flight.

The arrival:

We  arrived  early  in the a.m. at Montego Bay where we were met by a 
bus  to  take us on the road to Negril. This road really isn’t as bad 
as  everyone  says,  it  actually  allows  you  to see more of native 
Jamaica.  Upon  arriving  at the resort, we were met and taken up the 
VIP  check-in  lounge.  We decided to pay the extra money and go with 
the  concierge  service,  this  was  our  weddingmoon,  and  I HIGHLY 
RECOMMEND  IT!!  We  were  given  glasses  of champagne and were then 
taken to our room.

The Room:

We  got  a  room  located  in the Paradise block, our room was on the 
ground  floor  and  a  mere  10  feet from the beach. The room wasn’t 
spectacular  but we were very happy with it and it’s location. We had 
a  fully  stocked  in  room  bar.  It was great, whatever alcohol you 
wanted to drink, they make sure you would get it.

The Food:

We  found  the food to be excellent at virtually all the restaurants. 
Our  favorite  was  the  Sundowner,  where  you are treated to white-
gloved  waiters who won’t allow your glass to get half empty. We also 
had  24-hour  room  service. Whenever we called in an order they were 
very  polite  and  would even call us when the food was on its way. I 
must  say  it was all done with great deal of class. Definitely go to 
Kimono’s,  this  restaurant  was a lot of fun and the food was great! 
There’s  nothing  like  seeing  a Jamaican man cooking Japanese food. 
You  must dress up for Kimonos. Nothing fancy, men must have collared 
shirts  and  dress pants and women can get away with a nice sundress. 
Otherwise  unless  you’re  getting married at the resort, there is no 
reason to get dressed up.


There  was  always  plenty  to  do.  We  did  some  scuba diving; the 
underwater  corals  and  marine  life  were  beautiful.  I definitely 
recommend  the  scuba diving but I would get certified prior to going 
or  you  will  have  to  spend almost an entire day going through the 
resort  course.  We  were  already certified so we did not have to go 
through  the resort course. We took a trip over to the island, it was 
gorgeous,  the  water was very clear. Beware of the vendors, a polite 
“no”  should  do. We took out a sea kayak, and that was a lot of fun. 
The  only  complaint we had is that we did not have enough time to do 
everything.  On  our  last  night  at  the resort, we opted to take a 
cruise  aboard  “The  Jolly  Mermaid”.  We  had such a great time, we 
danced,  we  drank,  and  we  laughed. This yacht takes you for a fun 
filled  few  hours for snorkeling, drinking, limbo, and they take you 
to  the  Pickled  Parrot  Bar.  Once you arrive at the Pickled Parrot 
there  are  two  ways to exit the boat. You can take the skiff or you 
can  take  the more imaginative route. Jump from the third floor into 
the  water.  We chose the fun way, once we swam over to the rocks and 
climbed  our way up, we then chose to do some cliff jumping. It’s not 
very  safe and quite scary so if you choose to attempt it, don’t wait 
too  long  while  you’re standing there or you just might change your 
mind.  I  really don’t know what possessed me to do such a thing. But 
now I can say I did and it was a blast!

The Wedding:

On  the  most  humid  day  of  our stay, we were married on Sunday at 
4:30.  I had on a traditional wedding gown (sleeveless of course) and 
my  husband  wore  a  tuxedo.  Poor  guy  was  about to melt from the 
humidity.  It  was  so  nice  not  to  have  to worry about anything. 
Sandals  took  care  of  all the details, we told them what we wanted 
and  they  made  sure  it all came together with no problems. We also 
had  the  pleasure  a  having our wedding photographed for a magazine 
called  Fantasy Weddings. We had met these people at the airport, and 
they  were on their way to Sandals Negril for a photo shoot. After we 
had  been  at  the  resort a day or two, they had asked if they could 
photograph  our  wedding  for the magazine. These people (Leon, Rene, 
and  Bob)  were  so wonderful to us. They had my makeup done by their 
professional  makeup  artist  and  took an infinite number of photos. 
The  ceremony  was  beautiful  and afterward we had a small reception 
with  2  of our friends (Donna & Kurt) that came with us to celebrate 
our  day.  (Note:  The  last night of our stay our friends, Donna and 
Kurt,  were engaged aboard the Jolly Mermaid.) Then we went on to the 
beach  for the rest of the photo shoot. It was sunset and we couldn’t 
have  asked for a more beautiful setting for our wedding pictures. It 
was  wonderful  and  we are extremely grateful to Bob, Rene, and Leon 
of  Fantasy  Weddings  for  making  our wedding day so memorable. The 
magazine should be coming out sometime in February.

Needless  to  say,  before  we  left on our weddingmoon, we read many 
posting  to this site and were a little disappointed in what we read. 
That  is  why  we  felt  it  important to let you know that we had an 
incredible  time  and  we  are  going back in October for our friends 
wedding  and  our  anniversary.  We  hope that you’ll have as great a 
time as we did and remember: Everything is Irie and no problem mon. 


Trip 12/99

For  some long-awaited serious rest and relaxation, my girlfriend and 
I  booked a trip to Grand Lido Sans Souci, and before you know it, we 
were  sitting  in  first class in Air Jamaica sipping mimosas for our 
morning  flight.  Air  Jamaica,  as  usual, was quite pleasant to fly 
with,  with  good  food  and good service... for the trip down. I had 
one  run  in  with a snotty flight attendant on the way home, though. 
They  had  run  out  of  beef for the dinner for first class, and the 
only   option  they  had  was  a  vegetarian  meal...  I'm  an  anti-
vegetarian!  :) Rather than apologize, I was asked "Do you want it or 
not?"  in  quite  a  nasty  tone.  I  decided  not  to  eat anything. 
Eventually,  my  companion  finally  asked  what they were serving in 
coach...  chicken.  Why  they didn't offer me a coach meal, I have no 
clue.  I  can  do  without the china, and have no problem with eating 
out of plastic. I ate the chicken after all.

We  arrived  in MoBay a little early, which was fine with me. A quick 
wait  at  immigration,  a  short  stop  at  baggage claim, no line at 
customs,  and  we were at the SuperClubs desk. As usual, we were told 
to  wait  20 minutes outside while the bus was being readied. Also as 
usual,  we  were  asked  if we wanted "Jamaica Smoke" or a Red Stripe 
more than once while we waited.

We  only  waited about 10 minutes, when we saw our luggage go by on a 
cart with a guy yelling "Sans Souci!" and looking around for us.

We  were  on  the  bus  with two other couples, both going to Breezes 
Golf  and  Beach  Resort.  Small bus... cramped bus... we didn't stop 
along  the way, much to my girlfriend's disappointment, as she wanted 
to meet and mingle with the locals.

We  did  stop,  of course, at Breezes to let those two couples off. I 
had  stayed  at  Breezes  a  few years earlier with my then wife (now 
ex).  I  think she must have left a curse there, because as my GF and 
I  got  out  of  the van to stretch from the ride, she slipped on the 
tile  (which  IS  slippery!)  and  hurt  her arm fairly badly! (After 
returning  to  the states, we learned her a small bone in her arm was 
probably broken!)

After  the  cussing  stopped, we hopped back into the bus, and headed 
for Sans Souci... about another 40 minutes East.

We  got  out at Sans Souci, after the typical "Bus Ride From Hell" (I 
have  had  worse  bus rides in Jamaica, but I have also had better!), 
tipped  the  driver  and  in we went to check in. My girlfriend noted 
that  the  lobby  of Sans Souci was not as nice looking as Breezes... 
but  that  is  about where that ended! (More on the grounds, and room 
later.)  They  handed  us  some  fruit, and some champagne, as we sat 
down,  and  a  cold  towel,  as other trip reports have reported. Our 
room  was not ready and we were told to follow <forgot his name> down 
to  lunch.  We passed, and said we would investigate the resort while 
we  waited.  At  that  point  we realized we had left a camera on the 
bus,  so we reported it to the front desk. As usual, the response was 
"no  problem,  mon. We'll get it back for you." while the cynic in me 
thought,  "We  wont see that camera again". (To save you from waiting 
for  what  happened with this, I will tell you now. Two days later, I 
called  the front desk to say I hadn't heard from them, and wanted to 
know  if  they  had  heard about our camera: "Ya, mon... he came back 
and  dropped  it off the day you left it in his van!" My question is, 
if  Sans  Souci  is  supposed  to be about pampering, why didn't they 
call  us  to  let  us know they had our camera?? That would have been 
standard  service/common  courtesy  in  any  other  resort... why not 

Just  about that time, our room was suddenly ready (Woohoo, we didn't 
have  to  wait  after  all!)  so we hopped into one of the Sans Souci 
owned   vans  for  the  drive  to  "A"  block...(I  had  specifically 
requested  a  Jacuzzi  suite  in  "A" block). The bellhop carried our 
luggage  in,  showed  us  the room and it's features, said that if we 
wanted  "anything" he would take care of us (I think anyone who works 
at a resort in Jamaica says this!) and quickly left.

The Room:

What  can I say? Leaps and bounds over Breezes Golf and Beach Resort. 
Large  two  room  suite  (One=sitting  room with couch, chair, coffee 
table,  end tables, TV cart with satellite TV. Two=bedroom with small 
dresser,  large  closet, high backed chair, and king-sized bed... all 
with  ample room around them!). The bath was huge, and decorated with 
marble  from  top  to  bottom. The Jacuzzi was quite large... able to 
fit  three,  but since we were not at either of the Hedos, we kept it 
at  two  <wink>. The shower was just as large! (note: The shower gel, 
which  comes  gratis  along  with the shampoo and body lotion, smells 
like  Chloraseptic...  I'd  recommend  bringing  your  own  soap  and 
stuff!)  The  room  came  complete  with  a  remote  control  for the 
AC/heating  unit,  which  we  used  constantly.  I need to get one of 
those  for  home,  now.  <grin>  The  balcony  had two sets of double 
doors:  One  leading out from the sitting room, the other leading out 
from  the bedroom. Also, there were two sets of French doors that led 
out  to  either  the hallway, or the sitting room. Both sets could be 
closed  to  section  off  the  bedroom  from  the sitting room if you 
wished.  A  small,  nicely  stocked  refrigerator  was  located  in a 
"foyer"  as  you walked into the room. It did not have any Red Stripe 
at  first,  but  a  short  note  left  on  top of the 'fridge quickly 
remedied  that!  (though  I could not get them to stock it with Ting, 
and  my  girlfriend's  favorite  Diet  Coke  took  a  day  or  so  of 

A  note about where we stayed: Room A16 in the "A" block. If you plan 
on  spending  most of your time on the nude beach, STAY IN A BLOCK or 
B  block  if  you cant get A. Otherwise, the walk will kill you. Same 
goes  with the regular beach. The best places to stay for the regular 
beach  is  either  B,  C or A block if you cant get those. Unless you 
really  want  a  spectacular  view  from  your  room,  or  you want a 
penthouse,  avoid D, E and F blocks, as they are on the other side of 
the  resort  from the beaches, and up LOTS of stairs. LOTS of stairs. 
We  couldn't have asked for a better room with A16, and I am thankful 
I  specifically  asked  for  A  block!  So  is  my  girlfriend, who I 
impressed by planning that aspect ahead of time.

Also,  a note about A block... from the "door" side of the block, you 
are  afforded  a  simply  AMAZING view of the mountains of Ochie, and 
the  Sans Souci duck pond is just across a small path from it... also 
giving a nice view. (Feed the ducks! They are very friendly!)

More Venturing:

We  didn't  bother  to  unpack... Me being a naturist, we just headed 
right  out  the  door to check out the nude beach. We walked down the 
short  path  to  "Sunset  Beach"  (so  named due to it's facing West, 
offering  a  beautiful  view  of the sunset) and half way down we run 
into   a   staff  member  wearing  what  would  become  the  familiar 
"watersports"  uniforms.  "Just  get  here?"  he  asked? "How can you 
tell?  Is  it the jeans? The lily-white skin? The confused, and tired 
yet  excited  looks  on  our  faces?" Without pausing for an answer I 
asked  "Where's the nude beach?" since at that point I didn't realize 
we  were  almost  on  it!  "That's  my  beach! I take care of it!" he 
answered  as  he  walked  with  us.  We got to know this bright young 
fellow  pretty  well...  his  name  is  Brian,  and  I  recommend you 
becoming  friends  with  him as well! He may tell (REALLY) bad jokes, 
but he's an excellent guy and will do just about anything for you.

The Clothing Optional Beach and Facilities:

One  of  Jamaica's best-kept secrets is the clothing optional section 
of  Sans  Souci.  When  we were first shown the beach by Brian on the 
afternoon  we  arrived,  there was ONE couple out there on the beach. 
This  was  my  girlfriend's first time to a CO beach so she was happy 
the  beach was dead! The place was quite beautiful, though... The new 
pool  was  large,  with  the  little  splash cave/fountain to swim in 
(though  the  water  was  frigid!),  a swim up bar, and a grill which 
served  some darn good beef patties and jerk! (And better yet... beef 
patties  with  jerk  sauce!) The place stayed mostly empty the entire 
week  we  were there, even though the resort was booked solid! I have 
to  say,  one  drawback,  at least for the week I was there, was that 
half  the people who DID show up for the clothing optional area never 
shed  their  clothes,  making  it  a little uncomfortable at times. I 
think  I'd  prefer this beach to be a nude beach rather than clothing 
optional  because  of this. Another drawback is gawkers: The beach is 
bordered  by  a  river  where  several  small fishing boats enter and 
leave  each  day.  While most of the fishermen seem to be used to the 
nudes  being  out  there,  some  still  gawk.  Also, the tour boat at 
Ciboney  resort  kept coming by and stopping for a few minutes to let 
folks  get  a  look.  Very  uncool,  and I have thought about letting 
Ciboney know I will never stay there because of this.

If  you  plan  on  going in the water on the clothing optional beach, 
BRING  WATER SHOES! While the beach is beautiful, and the view of the 
mountains  over  Ochie  quite stunning, the edge of the beach and the 
water  is  simply  littered  with  stones,  rocks,  (even  some small 
boulders!),  broken  coral...  and  worst  of all, urchins. While the 
shell  finding  is  quite easy and fun (I found 5 conch shells in one 
afternoon...  not the little ones with the hermit crabs in them which 
are  also plentiful, but the BIG ones you'd see venders selling, or a 
native  blowing  like a trumpet! I put all but two back... one I kept 
myself,  and  one  I gave to our new friends from Canada, eh? Michele 
and  Marie  (Hi,  guys!)  so  there  are still some out there for the 
finding! :)

While  the bartenders seem to rotate from bar to bar, two of the best 
bartenders  we  encountered  at the nude beach were Monster and David 
(David  we  saw  all over the place). According to everyone we talked 
to  (and  my girlfriend who is a Bloody Mary conassierre) David makes 
the  BEST  Bloody  Mary's  in  the  world!  He can also get you Cuban 
cigars  for  MUCH  cheaper then the gift shop. ;-) Monster is just an 
all  around  good  guy  and  I don't think I ever saw him without his 
floppy fishing hat on.

Back  to  Brian.  Ask  him  to take you on the trail sometime.... And 
half  way  up  the hill, ask him "are you SURE you know where you are 
going  now??". Here's the story behind that. :) When Brian first took 
us  down  to  the  CO  beach  when we first arrived at the resort, he 
bragged  about a "cool little place" where all the staff go to "chill 
out".  You  see,  there  is this large outcrop of trees climbing up a 
mountain  right  smack between the CO beach and the regular beach. In 
the  middle  of  this  is  a  little hut (who knows how or why it got 
there)  which  offers  a  nice  view of the water. He said it was his 
favorite  place to go, and wanted to take us there... so we followed. 
After  a  5-minute  climb  to the top, Brian got lost! "I swear, this 
NEVER  happened to me before" he kept saying along with murmurs of "I 
come up here all the time... really!".

Eventually,  we  gave  up  and  went back down to the beach... but he 
promised  us he would find it, and take us back up there! He did find 
it,  and  told us where it was, but we never did get a chance to have 
him  take  us! On our last day there, however, we decided to take the 
trek  alone (We could not find Brian as he was off cleaning the algae 
off  the conch shell I had kept). We found it, and hung out there for 
a  half an hour or so. Not spectacular, but nice... almost feels like 
you  have the island to yourself! The smell of ganja is very present, 
so  I  think  I  know  why the hut is there, and so far away from the 
resort. :)

The  hot tub at the CO beach was quite small, and filled with tons of 
sand...  very disappointing. On our first night there, we grabbed our 
"welcome  bottle"  of champagne, and headed out there. We were alone, 
the  sky  was  clear with no moon, so the stars shined like diamonds. 
Was  quite  nice! Four nights later, we went back to find the tub was 
very  cold.  I reported it the next day, and twice the day after, and 
each  time  I was told "we're fixing it, mon" though it was still not 
fixed by the time we left.

I  heard  tale  of  the main hot tub becoming a clothing optional hot 
tub one night because of this! I'm bummed I missed that!

Also,  at  closing  time at the CO bar one night, they started moving 
all  the  equipment  out  of  the bar. "Replacing the tiles, mon" was 
what  I  was  told.  "We  be  back open tomorrow morning... don't you 
worry!"  Tomorrow  came,  and the place still wasn't fixed. Seems the 
workers  who  were  supposed  to work through the night to fix it did 
not...  and  continued  to work off and on that day... the bar didn't 
open  back  up  again  until  almost  closing time! The poor CO beach 
workers  (Brian, Monster, etc) were running (sometimes being shuttled 
by  a  truck)  over to the main bar and getting us all drinks, though 
they only did this a few times.

The Grounds:

What  can  I  say...  large,  and beautiful. The place is paradise. I 
have  not seen a place quite like it, ever. The many different palms, 
cacti,  trees,  bushes and flora smothered the place! It is, in fact, 
one  of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. When I had stayed 
at  Breezes  in  Runaway Bay a few years earlier, I was dumbstruck by 
it's  beauty...  with  SS,  I  was  awestruck! The groundskeepers get 
kudos from me, that's for sure!

As  you  may  have heard, one of the drawbacks of Sans Souci are it's 
major  climbs...  stairs  are  everywhere, or steep hills to climb to 
get  to  the  lobby  (the gift shops, the Casanova, the gameroom, the 
spa  room,  etc.).  While  some  of these can be quite tiresome after 
climbing  them a few times.... especially after a few to many "Get It 
Rights"  and pina coladas :), I found them to be a quaint part of the 
grounds,  and  appreciated  them  more  than cursed them! The tops of 
most  of  these  climbs offered some of the best views of the resort! 
Some  of  the  landscaping  around  the  stairways  were  done  extra 
special,  as  well,  so  it  made  it  all  the better. I suppose the 
landscapers  did this on purpose, so that suckers like me will forget 
about  those  stairs  and just dig the greenery! Either way... if you 
have  a  difficult  time with stairs, have bad health, etc... you may 
want  to  try  another  resort... You have to climb those stairs from 
time  to time, and there is no way to get around them unless you stay 
in your room all day and all night!

The Service:

Need  I  mention the camera incident again? Besides that, I had mixed 
emotions  about  the  service  at Sans Souci. The first two days, the 
service  was  impeccable! People bent over backwards to serve us, and 
please  us.  At  the  main restaurant, for example, my glass wouldn't 
even  get  half  empty  before someone would come along to refill it. 
Then,  after  day  three, things changed... especially at La Palazina 
(the  main  restaurant  I referred to). I can even recall one morning 
where  no  tables  were ready. We waited and waited for one to be set 
up.  Finally, someone came over and said "Seat yourself." And when we 
pointed  out  that  no tables were ready, he said "Just sit...someone 
will  set  it  up  for  you!".  So  sit  we  did...  5  minutes... 10 
minutes...  15  minutes  went  by  and the table still wasn't set. We 
finally  went  into the buffet area and got our food. Getting back to 
the  table,  it  still  wasn't  set. I finally went up to the waiters 
station  and  asked  for  some  silverware,  and I was handed some. I 
asked  for  water  and  OJ  while  I was at it. The waiter said "Will 
bring  it  to you." It never came, despite me asking a waitress twice 
for  some.  That  was  the  worst situation we had, though there were 
several  other incidents at some of the bars and at La Palazina, such 
as  standing  at  a  bar for 5 minutes before even being acknowledged 
(the bartenders seemed to busy talking to other workers).

Room  service,  on  the  other hand, was always prompt... even on the 
day  it rained and EVERYONE was ordering room service. Bravo for them 
for  that,  as I know they were swamped that day! My one complaint is 
that  they have a limited menu and they stick straight to it. I had a 
huge  craving  for  a beef patty one afternoon when it was raining... 
all  they  had to do was make a quick stop at the beach grill to pick 
one  up  to  add  to our lunch order, but they refused. Doesn't sound 
like pampering to me!

So,  to  wrap  it  up,  some of the service was A#1! But many times I 
wondered  why I paid so much extra money to stay at a Lido when I got 
MUCH better service at the outdoor buffet at Breezes Runaway Bay!

The Food:

Speaking  of the food, I just wanted to make some quick comments. The 
food  at the beach bars, though limited, was always good! My favorite 
was  a  beef patty with jerk sauce on it. Yum! The food at the buffet 
was  a  wide  variety,  and my like of it the same. :) Some of it was 
bland,  some  of  it wonderful. It was a small buffet compared to the 
buffets they have at Breezes Runaway.

On  the  Beach  party  and Gala nights, though, the buffet was rather 
grand and topped what I had experienced at Breezes.

Overall, I'd say the experiences my taste buds had were good!

The Spa Treatments:

As  per  suggestions by hotel staff at check in, and trip reports, we 
signed  up  for the Spa treatments the day we arrived. I was a little 
annoyed  that  we could not call in the treatments, rather we have to 
show  up  in person to sign up for them. Seems "counter-pampering" to 

For  the  most  part,  the  experiences I had with the spa treatments 
were  very  nice!  I  had  reflexology  first...  my  god what a nice 
treatment!!  We  were  seated  with some other folks just outside the 
spa  office,  right next to the water, and if I weren't busy chatting 
with  the spa personnel about their lives, I would have fallen asleep 
like  the  Japanese  couple  next  to  us!  I  highly  recommend this 
treatment!  Next  was  the  massage.  Mediocre  at best. I was in the 
habit  of  getting  a  massage every two weeks from the local massage 
school's  students,  and  have always had a better massage there than 
the  one I received at Sans Souci. It was rushed, and rough. But this 
was  the  only treatment I could have done without. The day after the 
massage,  I  had  the  facial  (which  I almost didn't get due to the 
beard...  and  it  being... girly <grin>) but it felt simply amazing. 
This  time,  I  DID  fall  asleep. Last but not least, I had the body 
scrub.  Very  nice  treatment. It hurt when it was being done, I have 
to  say...  as it's akin to having wet sandpaper rubbed all over your 
naked  body, but by the time I had the aloe on me, and had walked out 
of  the place, my skin felt like it was breathing better than it ever 
had  before!  Also, a highly recommended treatment! The showerhead in 
the  room  I  was in for the treatment, though, leaked, so it sprayed 
water  all  over  the room. I would think they would have that fixed, 
but I was told it had been like that for months.

The spa staff, for the most part, was very nice and professional.

The Trip Out Beyond the Walls:

I  have to admit... I am one of those guys who the hard core Jamaican 
travels  like  to  call  an  "All  Inclusive  Wuss". I like to hit my 
resort,  and  only  leave the gates to go to the falls, or some other 
little  excursion. My girlfriend, on the other hand, has traveled and 
lived  in  other  countries,  has  a foreign studies degree, speaks 5 
languages,  and  HAS to go out and see the real Jamaica! So, we asked 
Brian  to  take  us  out  into  town  one night when he got off work. 
Thursday  night  was  our  plan,  and  we  met Brian just outside the 
resort  at  a  local bar (which is literally right outside the gate). 
We  hailed  a cab (which is just a person in their own car going into 
town,  and  if  they  can  fit  you,  you pay them $60JA in fees). We 
stuffed  ourselves  in  (they  will  fit as many people into a car as 
they  can)  and  10  minutes later we were in downtown Ocho Rios. Not 
the  tourist  part...  but  the true heart of the city! I must say it 
was  quite  an  adventure.  It  seemed as though NO one was home, and 
EVERYONE  was  out  in  the  streets.  Reggae tunes were playing VERY 
loudly  from  a  local  disco  (not one on the "Disco Tour" that they 
have  for  the  guests  at  GLSS!),  and people danced in the streets 
while  openly  smoking  their  ganja (and hash, and other things) and 
drinking  their  Red  Stripe.  It  was  one  big  party!  I'd say the 
Jamaicans  really  like  their fun, and they seemed to be having just 
that on that Thursday night.

We  ate  at  one  of  Brian's favorite restaurants... a small outdoor 
place  right  next  to the loud disco. It was popular with the locals 
and  they  were busy when we arrived. We ordered LOTS of food (to try 
as  much  as  we  could!), though despite that the cashier complained 
when  I  said  I  only  had  US  dollars  (I  thought those were good 
ANYWHERE!  <laugh!>).  I  think  she over charged us in the exchange, 
but no biggie...

We  ate,  and  talked,  and  heard  some  Jamaican humor (Jokes I had 
already  heard  in the states for the most part, but names changed to 
match  Jamaica...)  and  soaked  in the sights, smells (while I don't 
smoke  anymore, I love the smell of hash!) and the taste of the local 
food  (not much different from what we had at Sans Souci, really). We 
headed  to  the  pool hall next door and shot a few games. For anyone 
trying  this, get the rules ahead of time... 8 Ball in Jamaica is not 
the  same  as  8 Ball in the states! 8 Ball in Jamaica is more like 9 
Ball, but with 18 balls! :)

While  the  encounter  itself was neat, and an experience I would not 
trade  in,  I  would  not  recommend  it to everyone. I would suggest 
going  into  town  in  the  daytime, rather than at night. Many times 
during  the  evening, I felt like I was resented for being in "their" 
part  of town, and even at times like a target. Were I alone, and not 
with  a  Jamaica  guide,  I  might  have  been  for all I know. I was 
uncomfortable  for  a  good part of that trip out! But again, I would 
not  have traded it for anything, as it was a nice experience! (and I 
could  tip  Brian  legally  without the fear of him getting fired for 
taking a tip on SS property!)

The Trip Home:

On  Wednesday,  halfway  through our week at GLSS, I called the front 
desk  to verify my reservations with Tim Air for the return flight to 
MoBay.  I  confirmed everything with out a hitch. Friday night comes, 
and  our  departure  info  is in my room... with instructions to meet 
the  bus  at  such  and such a time to go back to MoBay. I called the 
desk  to  remind  them  again  that I was not taking the bus, but Tim 
Air,  and  had  already  confirmed. "We'll call you back" I was told. 
Later  that day, I had not heard from them, so I called them again... 
and  confirmed  again  my flight, though now they said the flight had 
been  changed to a half-hour later. I called Tim Air to confirm this. 
Tim  Air  said "No way. We didn't change the flight". Called the desk 
back  again.  Desk  person  said "Sorry, that is the time we have for 
you".  After arguing with them for a few moments, I was told again, I 
would  get  a  return  phone  call.  Never  did.  Went to the desk on 
Saturday  morning,  which  was the day we were to leave. I checked to 
see  when  we  were supposed to leave and was told my bus was leaving 
at  2. So, who hired and trained these people? :) I, again, explained 
the  situation,  and  sat there as they called Tim Air, and confirmed 
my time with all parties.... Finally.

We  were  then  told  we  would  get  a  hospitality  room  "for  our 
troubles".  It  wasn't  ready then. In fact, each time I went to find 
out  when  I could get into my hospitality room, I was always told it 
wasn't  ready.  It  still wasn't ready when I left the resort to come 
home.  It  wasn't  that  big a deal to me, but I just thought I would 
mention another strike against them.

We  met  the JUTA taxi at the appropriate time, and he took us to the 
airport  while  talking  to  us about Jamaican history along the way, 
and  pointing  out  the  houses  of  famous  people  as well as other 
resorts.  Got  to  Boscobel airport, and it started to rain. :( There 
go  my  chances  of getting decent shots of the GLSS from the air! We 
hopped  the  plane  with  a  very  nice pilot, and headed out for the 
ride.  I  had  never been in a small plane before, so it was a little 
scary  for  me  at first... especially in the rain! But sat back, and 
watched  the coast, and picked out the resorts I knew from the air... 
I  did  get  some  pictures  of  the  resort  from the air, but, as I 
mentioned,  it  was  raining,  so  they  were not that good. The rain 
finally  broke  just  as we hit Grand Lido Braco, and the view of the 
resort  was  WONDERFUL.  I  have to say, flying Tim Air is the way to 
go.  Instead  of a 1:45 minute bus ride seeing same ol' same ol' (not 
to  mention  the scariness of some of those rides!), I saw the island 
in  a  way  I  had  never  seen  before,  and the trip lasted only 20 
minutes!  I  recommend  it  to  anyone...  especially  going into the 
resort, since that gives you more beach time. :)

Other  than what was mentioned above, the ride home was pleasant, and 
one of the smoothest flights I have ever had in my entire life.


I  have  to  say that overall, I was disappointed. My expectations of 
Sans  Souci  were  much higher than my experiences. I had heard tails 
and  seen  advertisements  of  pampering,  strolling  musicians, even 
someone  who would time your suntanning so you wouldn't get burned! I 
saw  or  experienced  none  of  this,  and  I did not experience "the 
ultimate  in  pampering"  like  some  of their adverts have claimed I 
would.  Instead,  I  got a nice room with available room service, and 
some  included  spa  treatments.  I honestly don't think the trip was 
worth  the  extra  money  for  this. Maybe I would fare better at the 
other  Lidos?  Or maybe I was just there at a bad week for the staff? 
(We  came  in  just  as  all  of  the  guests from the TNT Bob Marley 
concert  were  leaving... So maybe they were worn out from waiting on 
the stars?)

Either  way,  were  I to get GLSS in a super surprise, I would not be 
disappointed.  The  majority  of their staff are wonderful, the views 
and  atmosphere  are  excellent,  the food is great, and the clothing 
optional  facilities  were  nice  (minus  the  problems  I  mentioned 
earlier).  I  would  even  consider  going  back  by choice to see if 
things  have gotten better (or if we just had bad week!), but I don't 
think  I would until I had experienced GL Braco or Negril though so I 
could compare.

It's  hard  not to like the resorts of Jamaica, though, regardless of 
the  experience.  I still came home relaxed. I still would like to be 
back  there, lounging in a hammock listening to the wonderful song of 
those  pretty  little  blackbirds  the  natives call crows. And can't 
wait to get back regardless of which resort.:) 


Trip 2/00

I  should probably begin this report with our arrival at Sandals Ocho 
Rios in order to start on a positive note.

Sandals  Ocho  Rios is a great all-inclusive resort. Having stayed at 
Braco  Village  (now Grand Lido Braco) in October of 1996 and Sandals 
St.  Lucia  Golf  and  Beach Resort in February of 1998, we have some 
baseline  to  compare resorts with. Sandals Ocho Rios overall was the 
best  of  the  three, with Braco so close behind it that it was quite 
difficult to favor one over the other.

After  a rather difficult and trying arrival in Jamaica in the middle 
of  the  night,  and  problem  circumstances  in  the  resort we were 
originally  book  into,  our  greeting  at  Sandals was as if someone 
opened  the  door  to paradise for us. A reception manager greeted us 
at  the  entryway  with a warm smile, "Welcome to Jamaica and Sandals 
Ocho  Rios,"  while  handing  us each a cool glass of champagne and a 
cool,  damp,  scented  facecloth to was away the travel dust while we 
checked  in.  He  seemed  aware of our earlier ordeal, handing us our 
Sandals  package  of  complimentary toiletries, keys, cards and towel 
token,  saying  "You  will  be  our guests in room 4220, an oceanview 
room  in  the  main building, compliments of Nadine." (Sandals rep at 
the airport). 

We  followed  our  bell captain through this beautiful lobby and into 
some  of  the  most  lush  foliage  and  landscaping we've ever seen, 
around  a  pool  of  ornamental fish, up a winding walkway lined with 
flowers   and  shrubs  and  plantings  and  into  the  main  building 
oceanfront.  Up  the elevator and at the top of the stairs, we turned 
right  and  were  standing right in front of 4220. When he opened the 
door,  our first sight was of the Caribbean. No disappointment there! 
The  room  was  attractively  furnished, clean, large, king size bed. 
The  bathroom  was  bright, clean and attractively appointed. Lots of 
towels.  Ample  storage  for  our  clothing  and  gear  and plenty of 

After  the  bell captain left, we just stood there staring out at the 
ocean.  Eventually we realized we had but somewhat mesmerized by this 
view  after  the long travel day. We freshened up and went downstairs 
to  scout  the  "lay  of  the land." Everywhere we looked people were 
smiling,  saying  hello  and looking rested and relaxed. We found our 
way  to  a  bar,  ordered  a Jamaican Rum Punch, our official arrival 

After  awhile, we went upstairs and changed for dinner. We ate in the 
main  dining  room,  the  Bayside.  I  had  snapper and Andy had lamb 
chops.  Everything  was  very good, service was too. Each day we were 
guests at Sandals, the food was good and the service was good.

We  both  needed  sleep  and  would  rather  begin  a new day feeling 
refreshed  and  re-energized,  so  we went up to the room around 9:00 
p.m.  Watched a little tv from a good selection of cable channels and 
fell  sound  to  sleep  with the doors open to the sound of the ocean 

Weather  during  this  week  was  warm, overcast, rain one day, sun 2 
days.  Water  was  a  bit  choppy  so snorkeling was hit and miss. We 
noticed   people  out  on  windsurfers,  sunfish,  kayaks  and  water 

The  Playmakers  were very energetic, enthusiastic and managed to get 
people  involved  and  having  fun.  We  noted that if they invited a 
guest  to join and the guest turned them down, they weren't pressured 
into  it.  We  participated  a  bit - pool volleyball and a few other 
events - and enjoyed it.

I  met a very nice woman whose husband "gifted" her with the Jamaican 
vacation  as  a  combined  Christmas and Birthday present. He treated 
her  to  the  $150  hot  rock  massage,  hair treatment, pedicure and 
manicure.  She  said  it  was wonderful. The Sandals staff helped him 
decorate  their  room  on  her  birthday  while  she was in the "Body 
Shop,"  bringing  in  birthday  cake, balloons, banners and champagne 
and  white wine in iced champagne buckets. He couldn't say enough for 
their  cooperation  and enthusiasm in helping him make this a special 
birthday.  I  also spoke with a young newlywed who treated herself to 
a  massage and body wrap, manicure and pedicure and her comments were 
similar.  The  "Body  Shop" looked neat and clean and everyone we saw 
walk out was smiling!

We  watched  at  least  10  weddings  while  we  were there. While it 
wouldn't  probably  be something I would have done, it was lovely and 
in  talking  with them later in the week, they seemed very pleased by 
everything.  The  wedding  area  is at the end of a pier in a gazebo. 
When  we  checked out, I noticed a reception clerk helping a newlywed 
couple  with  the  final  paperwork  to  take  back to the states. It 
looked like Sandals had everything under control and in good order.

I'm  not going to bore anyone with a long litany about the resort. At 
the  manager's party for returning guests, we listened to testimonial 
after  testimonial  of people who were returning to Sandals Ocho Rios 
for  the  3rd, 4th, 7th, and 8th time! It's sufficient to say that we 
too will return to Sandals Ocho Rios.

If  I  had  one  negative comment to make, it would be with regard to 
the  shower.  Little pressure and sometimes luke warm was the best we 
could  do  with  the lever turned all the way to hot. We mentioned it 
to  the guest services manager, and they sent someone up who tinkered 
a  bit  (with no results) and told us they were having a problem with 
water pressure in the main building and were working on fixing it. 

I  believe  the  goal of a travel forum is to inform/advise others of 
travel  experiences  in  order to help them avoid problems or to make 
decisions  about  where to stay. With that in mind, I'm going to give 
a  brief summary of problems we encountered with Apple Vacations, the 
sale  package  we  bought  and  the  chartered airline Apple Vacation 

We  experienced long delays in our departure from Detroit (3 hrs) and 
long  delays  in  our  departure  from  Jamaica  (3  hrs).  The Apple 
Vacation  desk  at Detroit Metro International Terminal was very slow 
and  somewhat  disorganized.  Those of us who arrived on a ticketless 
booking  didn't  get  the  proper voucher and tickets and this caused 
all  kinds  of  problems  in  Jamaica at the airport and our original 
booking resort.

Apple  Vacations  in  Detroit  and Milwaukee uses Allegro Airlines, a 
Mexican  airline  with a Mexican crew, for their charters to Jamaica. 
We sat on the runway at Detroit for over an hour and a half.

The  passenger  compartment  was  in poor repair. Some seatbelts were 
non  functional,  table  trays  broken,  here  and  there an arm rest 
stuck.  The bathrooms were dirty and very tired looking, with pealing 
paint  on  the  seats. The meal was atrocious - not even as good as a 
mediocre  tv  dinner.  The  crew seemed tired, disorganized and there 
was  a definite language barrier. Most of us couldn't understand them 
as  they  spoke  to  us in heavily accented English. Our takeoffs and 
landings  weren't  the most graceful. Someone behind me described our 
landing in Jamaica as the bootscoot boogey down the runway.

Once  we  arrived  in  Jamaica  and  went  through  customs,  we were 
directed  to  a  chaotic  scene  near  the arrival exit. This was the 
Apple  Vacation  desk.  It  was a thorough mess. We were told to wait 
right  where  we  stood for the van to take us to our resort. The van 
was  overfilled  and  we  were left behind. We were told arrangements 
would  be  made.  Around  2:30 a.m., almost an hour from the time the 
first  van to our resort left, we looked for an Apple rep. An airport 
official   said   they  had  left  the  building.  We  explained  our 
predicament and he arranged for a van to take us to our resort.

We  booked  an Apple Super Club Surprise - and we've learned that the 
only  surprise  in this package is that we were stupid enough to fall 
for  the  misleading  advertising  Apple puts out with regard to this 

Unless  you  have  children,  you  are  almost  bet  you are going to 
Breezes  Montego  Bay  unless  you  pay extra for the Plus program to 
eliminate  one  of  the  resorts.  Couples  with children are sent to 
Boscobel   Beach   Resort  near  Ocho  Rios.  If  Breezes  Mo'Bay  is 
overbooked,  then  you  are  sent to Boscobel Beach even if you don't 
have  children.  Without  the long story, it was confirmed by a Super 
Club  resort  manager  that the cheapest properties are booked first, 
and  that  is  the way they fill their least popular resorts. It is a 
rare  occurrence  for  anyone  to be sent to a Grand Lido property or 
Hedonism  II  or  III.  The  manager at Grand Lido Negril said he has 
only booked in one Super Club Surprise package couple.

When  we  finally  arrived  at  Breezes  Montego Bay, we expected the 
lobby  to be empty and a night manager on duty. To our surprise, some 
of  the people we traveled from Detroit with, and who had also booked 
the  Super  Club  Surprise, still waiting to be placed in a room. The 
night  manager was overwhelmed and annoyed - no warm welcome here. He 
said  some  of  us  were  missing vouchers, some of us weren't on his 
"list,"  and  that  the resort was overbooked. No one offered to take 
us  to another Super Club Resort. Our requests were ignored. We later 
found  out  that  Grand  Lido Negril was only 2/3 booked with lots of 
empty  rooms.  We  finally  got  a  room just after 4:00 a.m. We were 
directed  to  our  room  overlooking  the  city  street  side  of the 
building  via  a  walkway, with guest rooms windows so close we could 
touch  them. He opened the door and our mouths dropped open. It was a 
dark,  10x12  room almost completely filled up with a Queen size bed. 
No  room  to place your luggage on the floor or closet. If you put it 
on  the  floor  you  would end up climbing over it, stepping in it or 
vaulting  the  bed to get from one side of the room to the other. The 
tv  remote  didn't  work.  The  bathroom was very tired looking, with 
nothing  more  than a painted wooden top on stilts for a vanity which 
was  snugged  up  so  close  to  the toilet that no matter your size, 
you'd  have to sit sideways to be comfortable - and the toilet didn't 
flush  well.  The  shower  had  no  water pressure and only luke cool 
water  coming  out. We left our luggage and started walking around in 
the  dark, deserted hallways and common areas since we were too wired 
to  sleep  although very tired from the long and difficult flight and 
problems  at  the  airport and hotel check in. Having stayed at other 
all-inclusive  deluxe  resorts, we had a benchmark of expectation for 
a  Super  Club.  This resort didn't fit those expectations. We summed 
up  our  opinion  with this review: Standard hotel with a nice beach. 
No  real  grounds  to  walk and little swimming pool. We didn't get a 
chance to dine at all.

At  8:30  a.m.  we  met with an Apple rep along with 7 other couples, 
all  of us complaining about the flight, the treatment at the airport 
and  our  arrival  at  an  overbooked  property  in the middle of the 
night,  with  poor  room  condition  and  size. Two of us asked to be 
changed  to another resort at our own expense. The Apple rep said all 
Super  Clubs  were  booked  full (and as we later learned, this was a 
lie).  We  requested  to  be changed to Sandals. She said we could do 
this,  but  all  sales  were off and she would figure the price. When 
she  told  us it would be $1500, we couldn't hand her the credit card 
fast  enough,  although  some of the people at this meeting must have 
thought  we  were  nuts.  We  decided  it was because they have never 
experienced  a  Super  Club or Sandals or truly DeLuxe resort not the 
kind  of  DeLuxe  that  Breezes  states  that it is. At that point, I 
think  we  were  abandoned  by the Apple rep who told us to go to the 
airport to find our rides to the resorts.

While  at  Sandals,  we  left  messages  for the Apple rep because we 
wanted  the  travel  voucher  issue resolved before our departure. We 
never received any communication from a rep during our stay.

On  the  day  of  our  departure,  back  at Sangster, many of us were 
trying  to  find our check-in counter, looking along the walls at the 
impressive  signs  for  Air Jamaica, American Airlines and others. We 
were  directed  to  another  room, and there in the back corner was a 
handwritten  sign  on  an  8-1/2 x 11 paper taped to a post, "Allegro 
Airlines,  Flgt  302." We stood in line and when we got to the front, 
we  were  pulled  from  the line and detained by an airport official, 
demanding  our  vouchers.  Those  damn  vouchers! We still don't know 
what  it is we should have had. The airport official and an Apple rep 
began  interrogating us, bullying us and were unrelenting in the fact 
that  we  must present this voucher. I had just had it at that point. 
It  was  all  just  too much. I began crying. Another couple from our 
flight  moved  over  by  us and said that the flight had been delayed 
and  not  to  worry,  that we wouldn't miss the flight. I maintain it 
should  have  been  the Apple rep calming us and working on solutions 
rather  than  this  crazy interrogation. My tears drew attention from 
the  other  people  in line and finally the official from the airport 
went  behind  the  desk, pulled out a blank ticket for each of us and 
wrote  something  on  it,  stating my age as 11!!! He said, "Here, Go 
...  here  are  your vouchers." Back in line. Another couple from our 
flight  approached  us  making  sure  we were okay and said there had 
been  another flight delay and now we wouldn't be leaving for another 
hour  after the first delay time. Our gate wasn't written on anyone's 
boarding  passes and it didn't appear on the terminal screen until 15 
minutes  before  the  aircraft  was  to  take  off.  Many  of us were 
standing  at  the  entrance  to  the  gateways  just  waiting for the 
posting  when  we heard an announcement, "Would the pilot for Allegro 
Airlines  Flight  302 please return to his craft." Within seconds, it 
seemed,  the  pilot  and  flight crew came blowing by us running down 
this  gateway  hall. Panic ensued and we all started running. We were 
quickly  herded  onto  the  plane  with the attendants calling to us, 
"Vamonos,  Vamonos!"  As  we  were  buckling  up, we once again heard 
complaints  from  others  that the seatbelts were broken. I looked up 
and  here comes an attendant with a roll of duct tape, taping a table 
tray  here,  an  arm  rest  there,  an overhead compartment shut, and 
something  in the galley. This aircraft may have been the same one we 
flew  down  on,  maybe  not,  but  it  was also in poor repair in the 
passenger  compartment  which made us wonder and have concern for the 
overall condition of the aircraft.

Once  in  the air, we were served the same substandard tv dinners. We 
experienced  turbulence  and  the  flight attendants tried to give us 
instructions   but   we  could  barely  understand.  We  resorted  to 
charades,  hand  signs  in  some cases. Twice I asked for a diet Coke 
and  first  got  a  Dos  Exis  (sp?) beer, then when I explained this 
wasn't  right,  she  brought me a Miller Genuine Draft. I gave up and 
drank it.

That's  the  end  of  our sad story, except to say that we will never 
book  another  vacation  through  Apple  Vacations,  nor  fly Allegro 
Airlines.  And we will most likely always chose Sandals as our resort 
destination  because  we can count on it meeting our expectations for 
cleanliness, neatness, good service, good food and lovely grounds.

Beware  the  Super  Club  Surprise  and  Surprise  Plus packages, and 
beware of Apple Vacations and Allegro Airlines!

Other  than  that,  hey,  no  problem,  mon',  just  have  fun in the 
Caribbean! It's a great place to vacation. 


Trip 1/00

Our second trip to Negril, our first to Rockhouse

Saturday, January 29th 

The  Air  Jamaica  flight departed at 6:35am. This was our first trip 
on  Air  Jamaica-  we  were impressed. Unlike the charter flights, we 
didn't  have  a  long  check-in  line  and  the  service was far more 
pleasant.  The  flight was non-stop (4 hrs from Chicago) and the time 
passed  by almost too quickly, as we sipped our early morning mimosas 
and eagerly awaited our landing in paradise.

By  noon  we were on the bus to Rockhouse. The driver finally stopped 
so  we could get our first Red Stripes at a little restaurant not far 
from  Negril.  The ride is much better once you've got your stripes!! 
I  can't  remember  the name of the place we stopped at, but it had a 
steep  set  of  stairs  built  up  to  an overlook- where you can see 
nearly all of Jamaica (or at least a good part of it). 

The  road  to  Negril  is  still  potholed,  and  it  looks  like the 
construction  is  nowhere  near  finished.  Watching  the  ocean  and 
mountains  from  the window, the effect of the potholes is diminished 
(could also have something to do with the beer)!

After  dropping off the other passengers, we pull up to Rockhouse. It 
looks  just  like  the  website, and better! We booked Rockhouse on a 
tip  from  a friend who had been a few years back and had the time of 
his  life.  It  is a small hotel on the cliffs- a series of thatched-
roof  cottages  and  a  set of two 2-story brightly painted buildings 
with  studio  rooms. The grounds have plenty of trees and plants with 
winding pathways. 

We  checked-in  to  our  studio  room complete with 4-poster bed with 
mosquito  netting  and (the best part) an open-air shower!! The world 
would  be  a  better  place if everyone could start their day with an 
open-air  shower  in  Jamaica-  the  sun shining, the birds singing…. 
Back  to  the  room- there is a minibar stocked with beverages, a set 
of  shelves  and  a  rack  for  clothes, and a mirror and vanity with 
wooden  bench.  It was completely charming. I should mention that the 
rooms  are  not  air-conditioned  and  there  is  no TV (who needs it 
anyway).  There  is  a  ceiling  fan and another fan near the bed for 
circulation.  All  the  windows have screens so you can avoid getting 
bugs in your room at night. 

We  head  out  to  the pool overlooking the ocean. It's so good to be 
back!  We  have  lunch  at  the pool- jerk chicken sandwiches and Red 
Stripes.  I  let  my  husband  know that he can send my stuff when he 
gets home because I'm never leaving this place!! 

Later  we  have  dinner  at  Rick's  Café  (don't forget the mosquito 
repellent  at  night).  There  was only one other couple in the place 
(it's  more  of  a  sunset hangout than nighttime party spot). We had 
dinner  by candlelight under the stars and next to the ocean. I can't 
think  of a better setting for dinner! The food was good- snapper was 
great,  lobster  was a little dry. There was a reggae band playing on 
the  stage  to  an  empty dance floor. We'll take care of that! A few 
daiquiris  from  the  helpful bartender and we're slow dancing in the 

Sunday, January 30th

We  walked  over to the Pickled Parrot for breakfast. It was good for 
the  price,  but  no  fresh-squeezed  OJ. It gave us a good chance to 
check  out  the  cove for snorkeling. There are several places at the 
Parrot  and at Rockhouse where you can use ladders to enter the water 
from  the  cliffs.  We  snorkeled  around  for  a while- the water is 
great.  I would say the depth is 15 to 20 feet or more. The coral and 
rock  formations give you a chance to see countless types of fish and 
marine  life.  We  even  saw a few stingrays hover across the sand at 
the  bottom. We brought our own snorkel gear along this time, but you 
can  rent  it all over the place if needed. We also took a disposable 
underwater  camera to prove that we actually did all this great stuff 
when questioned by relatives and coworkers! 

Later  we  hang  around  at  the  pool  at RH. We get a good start at 
trying  all  of  the different tropical beverages offered at the pool 
bar.  All  are  tasty,  but  the  banana daiquiri and pina colada are 
still  my  favorite.  Banana  daiquiris make a great breakfast drink- 
it's  like  a smoothie! My husband and I decide that there is nothing 
better  than  jerk chicken sandwiches and banana daiquiris- why don't 
more places offer these in Chicago? It wouldn't be the same anyway. 

RH  has  a  bar  and  restaurant  overlooking  the  cove.  Happy hour 
(poolside  or  at the main bar) is 5-7pm with 2 for 1 drinks! We went 
to  happy  hour  and  had  a  few  drinks  before  getting  a  cab to 
Margueritaville  to  watch the Superbowl. Margueritaville was packed, 
we  got  one  of  the last tables! We got a fried appetizer plate (it 
was  not  that  great)  and the most wonderful black bean soup I have 
ever   tasted.   We  ended  up  ordering  chicken  fajitas.  We  were 
originally  reluctant  since  we  are  both from Houston and consider 
ourselves  authorities  on  all  things  tex-mex,  but  were  we ever 
surprised  -  the  chicken  was  excellent!  A  man at the next table 
ordered  the shrimp fajitas and was not happy at all- the shrimp were 
too  small.  During  the half-time show, the DJ hosted crazy drinking 
games  involving  men drinking as much beer as fast as they could for 
a  wonderful  prize  of……more  beer!!  These men were very happy! For 
desert  we  tried  a  coconut  pie  (kind  of like cake). It was very 
tasty.  I  think  that there was a bonfire on the beach, but we ended 
up  calling  it  a  night  before it was too late. On the way back we 
stop  at the little convenient store to stock up on bottled water and 
soda (they are a little pricey at the hotel).

Monday, January 31st 

Breakfast  at  the  hotel  today.  We both get the Rockhouse special- 
something  like  eggs benedict but Jamaican style with callaloo. Love 
it!  The  price was around US$7 each, and worth it. We snorkel in the 
cove  again,  this time we explore a cave (Joseph's cave I think), it 
has  a  full  bar  inside  where you can climb up a ladder and have a 
drink  if  you're  thirsty  (what  planet am I on and do I have to go 
back?).  There  are  also  stairs leading up to street level from the 

More  hanging out at the pool and trying fruity drinks. At sunset you 
can  enjoy  happy hour poolside watching all the cruise boats pass by 
on their way to and from the lighthouse. 

We  had  dinner  at  RH.  I have curried chicken, my husband has jerk 
chicken.  They  are  reasonably  priced and very tasty! We also found 
that  the  bartenders  were very attentive and go out of their way to 
make sure you are having a good time. 

Tuesday, November 1st 

We  get  up  early and decide we want to go to Grand Lido Negril on a 
day  pass.  Our  first  trip to Negril was last May when we stayed at 
Grand  Lido  for  our  honeymoon. We had a great time then, but never 
actually  left  the  resort  during  our stay. We thought it might be 
nice  to  visit and indulge ourselves for the day. My husband read an 
ad  in the Air Jamaica magazine that said the price of a day pass was 

When  our  taxi  arrived at Grand Lido, the concierge/security guy at 
the  front  entrance  told  us  we  could  go  to  the front desk and 
purchase  a  day  pass  for US$75pp. Perhaps this was the penalty for 
not  purchasing the pass in advance, in any case, we weren't about to 
pay  it!  We  offered  the guy US$30pp, he finally settled at US$40pp 
cash  to  let  us  in.  Next  time  we'll  buy  in advance and get in 

We  were  just  in  time  to  have breakfast. The breakfast buffet at 
Grand  Lido  is not to be missed, and I am indeed a breakfast person. 
The  coffee  is delicious and the champagne even better- perfect with 
the  delicious  chocolate croissants! Of course there are a multitude 
of  breakfast  dishes, but we try not to stuff ourselves too much, we 
have to save room for the famous lamb chops later!!

After  breakfast  we're off to the beach. The clothing optional beach 
is  our  favorite with more foliage and greenery than the main beach. 
It's  usually less crowded also. We tried snorkeling for a while, but 
there  is not much to see when compared to snorkeling off the cliffs. 

During  our previous visit we found the beach waitservice infrequent, 
and  usually  just went to the beach bar to get our drinks. This time 
we  could  barely  finish a drink before the waitress was back at our 
chairs  with  another  round!!  "Why thank you very much, I believe I 
will  have  another  daiquiri!"  We  noticed that Red Stripe is still 
served  out  of  the  tap in a plastic cup- usually on the warm side. 
Bad  news  for  beer  drinkers,  but there are so many other types of 
drinks  to  choose  from  that  your  bound to find something to your 

Lunch  was  lamb  chops on the beach- my favorite! To think that I've 
been  in numerous fine dining establishments all around Chicago since 
my  last  visit,  and I still haven't found lamb chops as tasty. They 
are  small, just the right size for snacking, and perfectly seasoned. 
We  also  made  a point to get a few meat patties from the bar before 
they vanished- they also make great snacks.

After    numerous    frozen    beverages    and    trips   into   the 
pool/Jacuzzi/ocean,  we  decided  to head over and see what was going 
on  around  the  rest  of  the  resort. We stopped and chatted at the 
timber  house  while  the  good-spirited bartender supplied us with a 
bottle  of  champagne and ice bucket. We originally thought we'd take 
a  break and head in for some a/c in the TV lounge, but it was closed 
for  renovation.  Instead,  we  drank our bubbly by the main pool and 
enjoyed  the  view.  We  then  found  out that it was tea time in the 
lobby!  I  don't  know  why  we  never made it to tea during our last 
visit,  but  we  sure did miss out. There were several types of tasty 
finger  sandwiches  as  well  as freshly baked cookies. I had several 
cups  of  a  sparkling  lime drink- refreshing. We stayed for a while 
but no one else showed up. 

The  sun  was  setting, and as we lounged in the Jacuzzi, we wondered 
when  the Lido police would come and take us away- we would surely go 
kicking  and screaming!! No one had said anything about what hour the 
pass  expired.  It was dusk and the restaurants were opening. We were 
both  wearing  shorts (the restaurants require pants), but we decided 
to  go for it anyway. After neatening up as much as possible, we went 
to  beg  the  hostess  at  Café Lido to take pity on us and let us in 
with  shorts.  She  did  take pity and (after consulting the manager) 
let  us  in!  Café  Lido  was  our favorite place to dine on our last 
trip.  The  snapper  is excellent, and I didn't need a menu to decide 
what  I wanted- the mountain pepper soup, the salad, the snapper, and 
for  dessert  crème  brulee!  Delicious!  The  food  and service were 
better than ever. 

I  think  that  we  could have stayed at Grand Lido all night without 
being  asked  to  leave,  but  after  dinner (and the Chardonnay with 
dinner)  we  decided to head back to Rockhouse. That night we watched 
the  stars  from  lounge  chairs  on  the  cliffside pool deck, waves 
crashed on the rocks below us. We don't ever want to leave.

Wednesday, November 2nd

Our  last  day!  My husband has to drag me out of the water after our 
daily  snorkeling-  the bus will pick us up at 2. We pack, check out, 
and have our last jerk chicken sandwich with Red Stripe. 

The  bus  pulls  up  and  we wave goodbye, "see you next time"! As we 
ride  on  the  pot-holed  road to the airport, I think about our next 

The cover of Rockhouse's menu reads something like this:

Warning-   eating   dinner  at  Rockhouse  may  lead  to  staying  at 
Rockhouse,  which can cause the need for regular vacations to Negril. 

I  laughed  when  I first read it, but now I know it to be true. I've 
already booked our next trip. 

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