Caribbean Travel Roundup
Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor
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This trip to the Copacabana is our fourth to Mexico and twentieth in the Caribbean area. We traveled on December 1 and this is our first trip during this time of year. The price is certainly attractive. Grounds This resort has a unique concept as the buildings containing the rooms are at the edges of this narrow but deep property. The central part of the property remains jungle and has a meandering path from the front lobby/buffet area to the beach. Lunch is held in the beach buffet area. Be aware there is lot of walking required. Reception the staff are very friendly and attentive. We had requested a king size bed but none were available until the next day. Our bags were taken to our room very quickly and we settled in. Room Our room was on the ground floor right next to the entrance to the building. The room was large and spacious. There were two very firm double beds, and armoire containing the television, mini- bar and free use safe. There were also three drawers for clothes. The bathroom was huge with a walk-in, stand up shower with removable, positionable showerhead. A sink and toilet completed the bathroom. We noticed a strange smell in the room and reported it to the front desk. They explained that it was from the bathroom drains and offered another room. We went and saw a room same smell. The smell was coming from the air conditioner and this was reported as well. Due to the fact that we were on the ground floor and surrounded by trees we did not need the air conditioning running and therefore the smell decreased. The rooms were cleaned each day. Make sure you hang out the do not disturb sign before going to bed or the maid will be knocking and trying to enter any time after 7:30 in the morning. Complained about the noise and early intrusions. The towels are of very poor quality and need changing every day. Linens are nice and you don't really need a change every day. Beach _ There is a lovely beach at this resort and lots of distance to walk. To the north is Xpu Ha Palace and to the south is the Robinson Club. There are some shops and restaurants on either side of the hotel. Locals were not a bother but rather were pleasant and fun to associate with. The beach and water allow for a gentle entry and there are no surprises. Take a bun into the water and feed the Permit fish for some fun. There is great snorkeling right off the beach either on the left side at the property end or on the right side, walk down to the red bouy marker or the catamaran. There is not a great water sports center as they only have sailboats and some kayaks. You can also get snorkel gear for free. There is plenty of shade available. Some topless was evident although it is not allowed in Mexico. Pool area There is a huge pool area with many palapas(umbrellas) and therefore lots of shade. There are plenty of lounges and the usual extra stuff at the pool. They have a great kid's play area and care center. The pool social staff is very pleasant and more quiet that usual. Carlos, the director is a great guy and runs a tight ship with his staff. We had lunch with him one day and very much enjoyed his company. The music had good variety and not too loud. Lots of activities are offered but no pressure to participate. It is near the pool that the lunch buffet is served.There is a decent pool bar although the mixed drinks were not as good as those at the lobby or theatre bars. There must be a way to have a Pina Colada taste the same everywhere. Try a Cancun Maya or two. There is also a massage center, covered sports area, three Jacuzzi tubs and a craft center. This is a safe resort for all ages. There were several families with very small children. Lots of fun stuff for all to do. Food There was not the variety we had hoped for from a five star resort. The food was tasty and wholesome. Sometimes certain dishes could be warm, not hot. We did not go hungry mind you, but there could have been more. The salads were fresh and a good variety here. Fruit was fresh and tasty. Pasta was okay if not a little too watery a sauce. The desserts again were okay but not 5 *****. The regular coffee is very good, but for decaf you get the Nescafe bottle. Good selection of teas. Beer on tap. Red and white wine on tap as well. The red wine tasted a bit musty. This is the one location where this hotel fails to meet expectations. Specialty restaurants We much preferred the Italian experience. The food was very good and the service excellent. The Spanish restaurant just didn't have it for us. Our opinion only. The cafι flambι is great. Entertainment Every night you can play Bingo for prizes. They have some professional entertainment don't miss the Mayan Night. Most nights it is fun and worth a laugh as they really do try to get the guests involved in some fun activities. It all starts about 8:00 and wraps up about 10:15. Check out - If you have one of those early morning up and outs gather a little care package from the dining room the night before. They serve coffee at about 6:00 and a few rolls are tossed in as well. Sunquest Rep. We had dealings with Roger only one time to book tickets for Xel-Ha but after that he was not evident. New rep., Rafael was assigned but never saw him. Glad we didn't have any trouble. Tours We can highly recommend Xel-Ha and Xcariet for day trips. These are terrific places for all ages. Great snorkeling and many activities for all ages. Tulum was a disappointment over subscribed and poorly guided. A waste of money after seeing the inland ruins of Mexico and those on Cozumel. A call to the front desk after 5:00 a.m. gets your luggage picked up very quickly and delivered to the lobby. Airport Getting out of Mexico this time was the most challenging yet. Security checked through all out carry on luggage twice and did some body checks. There was a greater presence of armed personnel. Cancun Airport is very pleasant. Some newly constructed areas and lots of shops, food and drink. Flight - Skyservice is okay. The meals were terrible and simply should be left out if that is the way they choose to treat their customers. Bring a care package. General Comments - All in all we had a great vacation. Very relaxing and pleasant. BUT this hotel is definitely not a FIVE STAR resort. Copacabana Beach Resort should be reclassified as FOUR STAR.
My wife and I vacationed in St. Croix from January 24 thru January 29, 2002. We had a ball! Yes we did do some research, including reading trip reports on the site, hence my return here to talk about our adventure. Airfares are very low right now--RT Philadelphia to St. Croix was $343 pp, we also got discounted hotel rooms. Many hotels are offering "buy 3 get one night free" We stayed at The Waves At Cane Bay, and we loved it. Very friendly and helpful owners. Restaurant onsite is good but very pricey. Right next door is Off The Wall, open for breakfast lunch and dinner, live music 6 nights a week, great island food at reasonable prices, nice beachy atmosphere. Great location, out of town away from urban hustle and bustle, yet a short drive into town for restaurants, shopping or siteseeing. Cane Bay is a nice area, more lush than the East End, nice beach with good diving and snorkeling right from the shore--- tradewinds were blowing the week we were there, we tried to snorkel (Waves At Cane Bay offers free gear) but the winds made it difficult. We took a boat trip to Buck Island, VERY good snorkeling there. Rented a car and explored the whole island: the rainforest, Fredericksted, Whim Plantation Museum, St. George Botanical Garden (awesome), Christiansted Fort, shops in Christiansted, Point Udall, we never made it to Columbus Landing. Also never went horseback riding, we talked about it, but never got around to it---best meal: KIM'S on Strand St. in Christiansted. Curry Conch w/seasoned rice & fried plantains, small salad. EXCELLENT! we went back twice it was so good. People of St. Croix are very nice, they have a beautiful island, we'll be back someday soon I hope.
St. Kitts is an island that offers frequent air charter service from Toronto, Canada. This past February, my husband and I decided to book a place not offered by the tour operators and this worked out very well. After a good flight on Air Transat (which actually arrived early) we were greeted with the low-key charm of the St. Kitts people. We found that the people of St. Kitts were friendly, helpful and genuine. This impression stayed with us throughout our one-week stay. Thanks to a special internet deal, we took advantage of a good package from Ottley's Plantation Inn. Both the hotel and the island were terrific. (I will describe my impressions of both separately.) The island St. Kitts is a lush, volcanic island in the Leeward Antilles. As such it is geographically very stunning, with mountains and hills running through the centre of the island. It has a long, interesting history (basically fought over by the French and the British). Sugar cane harvesting is still very predominant here. The main town, Basse-Terre is small and quiet at night. It's easy to get around by rental car. There are several sightseeing spots to visit (Brimstone Hill, Romney Manor etc.). For those who enjoy hiking, there are several trips available into the rainforest and to the volcano. As a beach destination, St. Kitts does not offer the manicured, sugar-white beaches that many people would be looking for in a Caribbean destination. Instead, the beaches are concentrated in the southern peninsula of the island, and do offer peace and seclusion. The Atlantic side is rough. There are good restaurants and lunch spots to choose from (e.g. Fisherman's Wharf, Balliahoos, Turtle Beach Grill). There is also regular ferry service to the sister island of Nevis, which is smaller than St. Kitts and is equally as charming. There is a lot less to see on Nevis, however, there are quite a number of upscale inns and small hotels. It would make for a good day trip. The main resort area is the Frigate Bay area, located in the southern part of the island, just before the peninsula. There are a number of resorts, condos and villas to choose from. Generally, the hotels are small with the Allegro Jack Tar being the largest resort on the island. The Marriott is currently constructing a large resort scheduled to open in October of this year. For golfers, there is one golf course on the island (the Royal St. Kitts), there is also a golf course on Nevis at the Four Seasons. Renting a car is the best way to get around the island, as the roads are generally good and it's hard to get lost. It's also a relatively safe island. The Resort: Ottley's Plantation Inn is located on the north side of the island in the foothills. It was an original plantation over three hundred years ago. The family who owns the hotel restored the Great House and added cottage suites to the grounds. It is a beautiful establishment, with lovely landscaping, a view of the Atlantic, its own rainforest trail and a daily shuttle to town and to the beach. The restaurant - the Royal Palm - offers gourmet cuisine in an outdoor setting by the hotel's pool. As we ate most of our meals here, we were never disappointed. The hosts and staff of Ottley's are great and although it is an upscale place, it is not pretentious and we found a good mix of travelers from Canada, United States and England. The accommodations range from standard rooms in the Great House to larger rooms in the cottages. All are comfortable, nicely decorated and have great views. It is almost like a step back in time (but with modern conveniences). Conclusion: St. Kitts is a beautiful island with friendly people. It offers a different kind of charm. However, if you are the type of person who likes to roll out of bed onto a beach, you may not find that it's the place for you. I would definitely go back, as it is still less developed and unspoiled.
The official The Caribbean Travel Roundup World Wide Web site is http://caribtravelnews.com. The CTR is also available on America Online. Contact: Paul Graveline, 9 Stirling St., Andover, MA 01810- 1408 USA :Home (Voice or Fax) 978-470-1971. E-mail via firstname.lastname@example.org or CTREDITOR@aol.com
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