Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 76
July 15, 1997

Final updated 10 July 97 1100ET

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HAITI BY L. J. POWLEN III

My  thoughts on Haiti is a continuation on my views and experiences in 
the  Caribbean after living in PR for three years and traveling around 
to  some  of the other islands for business and pleasure. The stuff on 
Haiti  is  going  to  pertain mainly to Business travelers. I traveled 
fairly  extensively  in  Haiti from 95 through 97 and I would not call 
it  a Tourist destination, with one exception. They do have a Club Med 
there  and  if you're French looking for a French vacation, this could 
be a reasonable destination.

On  all  my  trips  I stay in Port Au Prince and made day trips to the 
other  locations I needed to visit. Traveling by vehicle through Haiti 
is  a  chancy  business  at  best.  On two of my trips I had to travel 
north  to  Cap Haitian and Goniaeves. On both occasions blockades were 
built  across the road and attempts made to rob us, this is definitely 
not a country to tour the boonies in. 

In  Port  Au  Prince  there  are  three  major  hotels in Petionville, 
Montana,  Villa  Creole,  and  El Rancho. I stayed at both Montana and 
Villa  Creole.  Villa  Creole  is right next to El Rancho and I talked 
with  folks who stayed there. I should add that there is another hotel 
used  by  the  US  Embassy  and  some of the Business people, which is 
close  to the Presidential Place in Port Au Prince, I don't recall the 
name, but everyone I talked to who stayed there, hated it. 

Montana  was  my favorite, its located on a hillside with a great view 
of  Port  Au Prince and the Harbor area. It was somewhat more secluded 
than  the  other  two and quieter. This is a favorite of the UN and US 
Forces  personnel.  The  pool  was  meticulously  maintained the staff 
friendly. 

I  had  no  problem with the food or the water, but I'm pretty careful 
about  sanitation when I travel in places like Haiti. Basically if the 
it  doesn't  come  out  of a sealed bottle, don't drink it. I did have 
ice  in  my  drinks and didn't have any consequences from that, but in 
retrospect that was a bit risky. 

The  meals  served  in  the  hotel  were  great, basically continental 
cuisine  and  I  enjoy it a lot. The patio with a view overlooking the 
valley  for  fruit,  croissants,  and cheese was idealic. Don't eat or 
drink  ANYTHING  off the street. If you're not going to be back at the 
hotel for lunch, have them fix something for you to take with you. 

Always  carry  a  bottle  of  water too, it can be a harsh climate and 
safe  drinking  water  is  impossible  to  find  outside  the  hotels. 
Particularly  DO  NOT  DRINK any of the local liquor, which comes as a 
red,  green, or yellow colored liquid found in recycled bottles. I did 
get  backed  into  a  little  bit  of a corner while haggling for some 
paintings  and  had a quick shot. I spent two days in the Hospital and 
another seven flat on my back at home afterwards.

Villa  Creole  is  a  close  second  choice. It is the favorite of the 
Embassy  personnel. The accommodations are larger, but pretty much the 
same  in  quality  to  the Montana. Don't drink the water left in your 
room,  even  though  they tell you its had extra processing. This is a 
cardinal  rule  in  Haiti,  if it isn't a SEALED NAMED BRAND BOTTLE OF 
WATER, don't drink it. 

El  Rancho  is  definite  third.  They  have a casino inside, that not 
withstanding,  the  people I talked to who stayed there thought it was 
a  distant  third  to  the  other  two. The meals at Villa Creole were 
good,  continental  cuisine, heavy on the French flavor. Breakfast was 
phenomenal though.

For  people  going  on business, check with the Economic office at the 
Embassy,  I  found  the  Embassy people unbelievably accommodating and 
the  Economic  Office  is  very  interested  in  encouraging  business 
investment  in  Haiti  and  everyone  I talked too said they made life 
real  easy, particularly when dealing with a disorganized and somewhat 
corrupt Government.

CIGARS:   Yeah,  we're  back  to  those  again.  Lots  of  Cubans  and 
Dominicans  at  pretty  good prices. You can find pretty much what you 
want  although  sometimes  they  aren't  well kept. Plus the influx of 
UN/US  people  has  lead  to  a rise in prices. The Montana kept Maria 
Mancini's  as  their bar brand, these are my all time favorite Cubans. 
I  heard  a nasty rumor they weren't making them anymore, if its true, 
its  really  too  bad.  Generally Cubans will run about $5 to $7 each. 
There  are  a  couple stores up in Petionville, I really didn't have a 
preference,  everyone  had  about  the  same prices and willingness to 
negotiate.

SHOPPING:  Primitive  paintings, leather wall hangings, wood carvings, 
and  steel  drum  art,  were  prevalent on about any street corner. Be 
advised  the  Haitians  are  well aware of what their art sells for in 
Miami  and  NY  and  getting a bargain can be work. Basically anything 
you express interest in starts at $200.00 US. Ignore that. 

Haiti  has  two currencies, Goudes, which are about 16 to 18 to the $1 
US  and  Haitian  Dollars  which  are 5 to $1US. Haitian Dollars don't 
exist  as a currency, its a scam to rip off the Tourists. The best way 
to  get  a bargain is deal strictly in Goudes, don't let them know you 
have  any  $US. Most of the street vendors and off the main drag shops 
can't  do the conversion rate in their heads, so as long as you have a 
good grasp of what it is you can make out. 

Be  prepared  to  be bombarded by vendors anytime you stop and show an 
interest  in  anything.  Basically  look  around,  pick what you want, 
decide  what you're willing to pay for it, then start negotiations. If 
you  can't  get  the  price you want, walk away. Usually they'll chase 
you  down  the  street dropping the price, till you get what you want, 
if  they  don't,  you'll be able to find it on the next corner for the 
price  you want. Remember the old adage, if you're happy with what you 
paid,  be  happy. Don't listen to what other say about what they paid, 
they're probably lying. 

Painting  off  the  street  corner  should  run around $30 for the big 
ones.  Leather masks, $5 - $10, wood carvings about the same depending 
on  size. Steel drum art, shouldn't exceed $20.00 for a big one unless 
you REALLY want it, small ones run $5 or less.

TAXIS:  Taking a taxi can be a risky proposition in Haiti, even if you 
hire  it  through  the Hotel. If you take one, be ALERT and know where 
you're  going.  Otherwise have whoever is sponsoring you in Haiti hire 
a regular car for you, or use the Embassy transportation.

JAMAICA: OCHO RIOS RESTAURANTS BY MARTY BUSH

For  those  of  you visiting Ocho Rios for one or more days, a good or 
'specialty' restaurant may be just what you are looking for.

As  a  property  owner  in Ocho Rios who is on the island for extended 
periods,  and  also  must  provide tourist information to guests of my 
condos,  I  put  together a short list of Ocho Rios eateries where you 
can  sample  the  local  cuisine,  or  eat strictly continental if you 
desire.  Each  of the restaurants mentioned below have been visited on 
numerous  occasions  by my wife and I, as well as many friends, and we 
recommend each and every one.


 ************ OCHO RIOS RESTAURANT INFORMATION **************

The  Little  Pub  -  Little Pub Complex, 59 Main Street, 974-2324. The 
Little  Pub is located 1/4 mile to the west of Carib Ocho Rios (to the 
right  as  leaving).  Their  hours are from 7AM to 1AM daily. American 
and  local  steak  &  seafood  selections  are  served  in on the most 
unusual  shopping  centers  in Jamaica. Take a break from shopping and 
feast  on the succulent lobster luncheon. Other features of the Little 
Pub  Complex  include  a  sports  bar with live sports programming, an 
outdoor  grill,  slot  machines, a Spanish theme bar, and the original 
musical  "Caribbean  Dream",  which  plays every Wednesday, Friday and 
Saturday  at 10PM. Don't miss this dinner show as you will enjoy every 
moment of your dinner and the show.

Evita's  Italian  Restaurant  -  Edan  Bower Road, 974-2333 - You will 
need  a  car  or  taxi to get to Evita's. It is located to the west of 
town  on  the way to Dunns River Falls at a turn-off on the left going 
up   the  mountain.  This  is  an  authentic  1860  Gingerbread  House 
overlooking  the  Ocho Rios area and Mallards Bay from the side of the 
mountain  with  outside  verandah  dining.  Don't  worry  if inclement 
weather   arrives   since   there   is  plenty  of  excellent  seating 
arrangements  under  roof. Eva is your Italian hostess and also speaks 
German,  French  and  Spanish.  It  is "The Best Little Pasta House in 
Jamaica"  as  their  own  advertisements  say. And we can't agree more 
after  dining  here  for  many  years.  Evita's  is  famous  for their 
excellent  Northern  Italian  cuisine  with  superb  pasta and seafood 
selections.  For  a  special birthday, with one day's notice and proof 
of  birth  date,  the  birthday person receives a free dinner and free 
party  cake. And for your wedding anniversary (also one day's notice), 
a  free  celebration  cake  for  the whole party is provided. The only 
requirement  (and  a  pleasant  one)  is  that you are celebrating the 
event at Evita's. 

Parkway  Inn  Restaurant  &  Lounge  -  60 Main Street, 974-2667 - The 
Parkway  is  one of the truly 'local' restaurants which also caters to 
tourists.  The  food  is very good and the prices even better when you 
take  advantage  of  the  discount  coupon  provided by us. On weekend 
nights,  you  will  enjoy  a  fashion show within the restaurant while 
dining.  Please  be  certain to request the 'Local Menu' for discounts 
from the 'foreigner' menu.

Minnie’s  Restaurant  -  On the grounds of Carib Ocho Rios, 974-2445 - 
Minnie’  s  is  nestled  in  a lush tropical setting among foliage and 
palms.  It offers exceptional cuisine including exceptional vegetarian 
and  seafood  dishes.  Here  at  the water's edge, you are embraced by 
nature  as  you  dine in casual elegance. The location can't be closer 
to  you  as  it  is  right on the grounds of Carib Ocho Rios. Minnie’s 
also  has  a fine wine selection from all over the world. And while on 
the  private  beach  of the condo, you can either take a short walk to 
the  outdoor  portion  of  the  restaurant to have lunch or drinks, or 
have  them  brought  to  you.  There  is also a bar and outdoor lounge 
available to simply relax or swap information with other people.

Ocho  Rios Jerk Center - DaCosta Drive - (No Credit or Charge Cards) - 
You  will  need  a  car  or  taxi  to  get to the Jerk Center. For the 
absolute  best in Jerk Pork, Jerk Chicken, and Jerk Fish (including my 
favorite  Jerk Conch), this is the place for the lunch before or after 
doing  some  shopping in town. One of our favorites is Jerk Fish where 
you  are served up a beautifully cooked Red Snapper. The dress code is 
extremely  casual  and  you  will eat in the open air with local music 
and  probably meet many other tourists and Jamaicans who know where to 
find some of the best Jerk food in town.

Tradewinds  Restaurant  - 47 Main Street, 974-2433 - A true commitment 
to  quality  is  rare,  but at the Tradewinds Restaurant, quality is a 
way  of  life.  Lobster  is one of the house specialties, along with a 
heaping  fresh  seafood  platter,  zesty barbecued chicken and lots of 
other  tempting  suggestions. Dine indoors or under twinkling stars on 
the  patio  amid  lush foliage. The decor is all natural with a rustic 
thatched  roof  and  comfortable  wicker  furniture. There is hardly a 
visit  we  have  ever made to Ocho Rios where we didn't have dinner at 
The Tradewinds during the trip.

The  Almond Tree Restaurant - Hisbiscus Lodge, Main Street, 974-2676 - 
The  Almond Tree is located right next door a few hundred feet walk to 
the  west  of Carib Ocho Rios (to the right as leaving). This relaxing 
restaurant  is  famed  for  its  large  menu of international cuisine. 
Whether  you're  in the mood for fondue bourguignon, Caribbean lobster 
prepared  in  any of several succulent ways, prime beef or fresh local 
seafood,  the  Almond  Tree has it all. The Almond Tree sits above the 
Caribbean,  where  cool breezes and beautiful vistas delight you. Note 
that  this  is  a  very expensive restaurant, but usually, the cost is 
worth it.

Ruins  Restaurant  -  DaCosta  Drive, 974-2442. You will need a car or 
taxi  to  visit  The Ruins (about 1-1/2 miles), but it is usually well 
worth  it. Here the surroundings are as spectacular as the food. While 
you  feast  on  superb cuisine such as fresh Caribbean sea specialties 
and  succulent  meat  entries,  most  with a Chinese/Jamaican 'twist', 
you'll  enjoy  the  natural  beauty  of  the  locale.  Dine  beside  a 
waterfall  that  tumbles  40  feet  into  a  tropical pool amidst lush 
forests. It's an experience to be treasured.

BiBiBips  -  Main  Street,  974-1287. (No Credit or Charge Cards) This 
fairly  new  restaurant may be seen from the beach of Carib Ocho Rios. 
As  you  look to the left facing the water, a set of winding steps are 
built  into  the  cliff  leading up to a very nice restaurant. We have 
found  their  food  to be good, local cuisine you should sample during 
your visit, and their prices are reasonable.

Hong  Kong  International  Restaurant  -  50  Main  Street,  974-0588. 
Serving  Chinese,  Mongolian,  Thailandese,  Jamaican  and Continental 
food,   this  restaurant  is  one  not  to  miss  if  you  enjoy  this 
international  flair.  The  restaurant  is  on  a  second  floor  of a 
building  in  the  center  of town, and there is little if any view of 
the  surrounding  town.  But  the  food  is  excellent. My favorite is 
Steamed  Snapper  with garlic, onion and vegetable toppings. They have 
two  sizes,  and the larger portion may suit two people, or one with a 
BIG  appetite.  All  of the other oriental type foods are abundant and 
well prepared.

Double  V  Jerk Pork Centre - 109 Main Street, 974-0174. (No Credit or 
Charge  Cards)  The  Double  V is the main competitor to the Ocho Rios 
Jerk  Centre,  and  has a better ambiance and equally good food. Being 
much  farther  from  where  the cruise ships dock for the day, it does 
not  have  the  same  amount  of tourist traffic. The Jerk Chicken and 
Jerk  Pork  are  very good as long as you are there around lunch time. 
After that, everything tends to become over cooked.

Mug  Restaurant  -  Highway  1A, St. Anns Bay, 972-1018. (No Credit or 
Charge  Cards) Just a short 15 minute ride to the west of Ocho Rios is 
this  excellent  small  restaurant  and  bar  where  the best of local 
seafood  may  be  had  for a reasonable price. The dining area is on a 
patio  adjacent  to  the  sea  with  the  low sounds of swishing water 
providing  a  good  background.  Their menu consists of many different 
types  of  seafood,  octopus,  leeks  and  everything  else  you would 
expect,  but  don't  be surprised if they don't have everything on the 
menu  when  you  are there. Everything is freshly cooked at Mug's, and 
if they didn't catch it that day, you won't be eating it.

Glenn's  Restaurant  and Pub - Tower Cloisters Tower, 975-4360. Glenns 
has  excellent  continental  dishes, and is also a Jazz club. A famous 
Jamaican  artist who frequently plays there is Sonny Bradshaw. Glenn's 
is  a  15  minute ride to the east, and if you do not have a car, they 
will  send  a  driver  to  bring  you  to the restaurant, and take you 
'home' after your fine meal.

Pineapple  Pizza  Pub  - Pineapple Place, 974-6426. So you want a good 
pizza  while  in  Jamaica?  Look no further as this is the best in the 
area.  They  also  have hamburgers and fried chicken. Their pizza is a 
complete  meal  with  the  best in pizza dough and toppings. This is a 
small  place  adjacent  to  the  Pineapple  Place  Hotel and is inside 
dining  only.  The "manager's special" is a very heavy and tasty pizza 
you  won't  soon forget. And don't forget to try their Pineapple Pizza 
which also includes a Canadian Bacon topping.

Blue  Cantina  -  81 Main Street, 974-2430. If you are looking for the 
best  in  Mexican tacos (yes... in Jamaica), look no further. The Blue 
Cantina  may not look like the best place to eat, and is pretty much a 
little  shack  on  the  side of the road with a small dining room. But 
their  tacos  are  second to none, and if you want to sample the local 
food  in  a  'boxed lunch', try the fried chicken or curried goat. You 
won't be sorry you did.

JAMAICA: GRAND LIDO BY JOHN SMILEY

Grand Lido continued to live up to its reputation of a high 
quality resort. This was our second visit and in the 18 
months improvements in food quality, staff and facilities 
were evident. I dived this time (SCUBA) and it was fun. Here 
are some tips and tidbits on what to expect. These notes are 
based on our trip 5/97. See my previous trip report 11/95 for 
additional info.

Getting There Was a Drag

Our best laid plans were crushed by Northwest Airlines 
canceling its ONLY Tampa to Montego Bay flight. They kindly 
transferred us to American Airlines; who placed us on a 
shuttle to Miami and then a 6 PM flight to Montego Bay. I 
give Northwest 2 points for coordinating with American and 10 
points to American who got us there.

We were concerned our room would be reassigned with our late 
arrival and I tried to get in touch with GL from the airport. 
It turned out GL changed their phone number to 1-809-957-
5010. We got the correct number by calling International 
Lifestyles 1-800-858-8009 (another number I had with me from 
the brochure). Make a phone number list; you never know when 
you will need it.

The BIG bummer for us was charter flights from Montego Bay to 
Negril stop at 5:30PM (VFR Flight Rules). We got to 
experience the Montego Bay bus ride to Grand Lido. It was 1 
hour and 40 minutes at night on twisty, windy roads that all 
look the same (for those of you that remember Zork). It was 
interesting with righthand drive, cows and afterdark cyclists 
for about the first 20 minutes. We made sure we got 
reservations on TimAir for the return to maximize beach time.

I have to compliment TimAir. I called them trying to arrange 
my schedule changes and they volunteered to contact GL about 
our late arrival. They get my business (Montego Bay (809) 
952-2516). 

Super Clubs was efficient getting us onto a bus. 
They have a fairly large counter in the MoBay airport. But we 
missed an afternoon of sun and our total travel time exceeded 
16 hours from Seattle to Negril!

We heard there is a non-stop Air Jamaica flight from LA to 
MoBay once a week. This might be a better option for West 
Coast folks than the US tour we had.

Reception

Reception was nice as last time. They have you fill out a few 
forms to help confirm flight reservations for your return. 
Bags are delivered direct to your room from the bus. GL 
thankfully held our room and gave us our room preference. 
Andrea did a good job. Yea, we got there!

GL Staff

We found the staff to be more friendly this visit (not that 
last visit was bad) and even better if you engaged them. Make 
an effort to remember names and act like a guest. They were 
wonderful.

We consistently got great service from everyone. Housekeeping 
did a great job with our rooms. They did more than just clean 
the rooms; they paid attention to how we used the rooms (more 
towels, floor mat at the patio door). 

I spent some time 
chatting with Lennox. The bar tenders at the c/o beach bar 
were great all week, Clifford , Madolie and Godffrey. The 
people appeared to like their jobs and the guests.

GL Food 

Food had improved. Generally, I rate the food as follows; 
appetizers (good-excellent), soups (good), salad (good), 
entree (good), desserts (excellent). The buffets were good to 
excellent and room service was good. Fresh fruits were 
abundant; the papaya and pineapple were our favorite.

The room service menu wasn't extensive but offered chicken 
sandwiches, burgers, lamb chops, fruit, salad, etc. They 
added veggie burgers. The longest we waited for room service 
was maybe 30 minutes. People were ordering room service 
directly to the pool and the hottub area this time. There was 
a phone in the bar and you just ordered it from the Timber 
House. We ordered drinks one night from the hot tub and they 
were there in under 5 minutes!

Piacere

Piacere requires a coat (tie not necessary). For the 
improperly dressed male, they had some one-size-fits-all 
loaner coats. You must make reservations. We ate here twice 
and it's worth taking the effort to eat here as many times as 
possible. White glove service, piano music, best food in the 
resort, good atmosphere. Get on the reservation list ASAP 
when you check-in. Don't miss-out on this place. 

The food improved measurably since the last visit (it was 
good before but now it's excellent). Salads showed the most 
improvement from being forgettable to memorable. They added a 
palate cleanser sorbet before the main course. Grandville was 
there from before. We got great service from all of our 
waiters; Anthony, Oral, Orville and Grandville. We had an 
Angus filet prepared with a mushroom and pate sauce; it was 
so good I had it both times. The Tropical Passion dessert was 
a chocolate lovers delight.

Buffets and Other Food Comments

They totally redid the buffet line to break it up and added 
hot/cold areas and sneeze guards. It made access to the food 
a lot better than the single file line from before. It was 
easy to drop by the buffet and just get a few items without a 
major time commitment. From 8 to 10:30 AM each morning, there 
is a full breakfast buffet. The breakfast buffet was pretty 
much everything you could want, all of it good. They open a 
lunch buffet around 11:30; again quite good.

We generally sat in the same area when the buffet was going 
and got to meet Mark, Terrence, Everton and other staff. All 
did a great job of service. 
The buffet and food changes, and staff made eating in the 
terrace nicer than before and more relaxed.

We got into a habit of doing room service for breakfast. I 
did the 9 AM scuba dive; wife did the aerobics; met in the 
terrace for the end of the breakfast buffet; and then to the 
beach.

Twice a week they have a Gala Buffet that starts at 7:30. It 
was great, go a little early and lock down a nice table. Some 
of the tables were outside and romantic in the evening 
breeze. The barbecued shrimp and jerk chicken were the best 
and were served outside near the pool; look for it.

GL Drinks

Wine improved considerably since our last visit. You now had 
a choice of 4 or 5 different blends (Chilean and French). Not 
exceptional wines but far better than the discount Chilean 
wine of our past visit. Champagne was still the Concha y' 
Toro; not real memorable except the day after.

Fruit juice drinks were good. Ask for Fruit Punch (without 
the syrup); Virgin Pina Colata's or Ting (grapefruit & 7-Up). 
They were really refreshing; we drank and ate lots of fruit. 
They had slurpee-like (granita) coolers at the beach bars. 
One of them had a drink called a Hummingbird; real tasty with 
rum cream.

GL Rooms

This time we had room 1066, a ground floor, ocean view room, 
junior suite on the c/o side and loved it. The building with 
rooms 1065 to 1074 seems to be the best as far as view and 
distance/proximity to bar/pool/tub arrangement. Ground floor 
units allowed you to spread out in front of the unit. The 
second floor units had a small balcony and you had to walk 
around to get to the beach side.

We talked to one couple that had a room directly over the 
pool/tub area and hated it because of the noise from the late 
night guests and the whine of the hot tub most of the night. 
They immediately asked for, and got, a room change.

Rooms were good, clean. They had removed the carpeting from 
the upper area and tiled the whole room. It made the room 
appear cleaner and cooler than before. "Guests don't get rug 
burns now.", the staff explained. Rooms were in 
better condition than our previous visit. Beds were comfy. 
Each room had a wall safe. It was relaxing to lock-up 
passports, tickets, money, etc. and then walk around 
unencumbered with wallets & purses. We specified our room 
preferences on booking and then a week before by fax. 

Repeat Visitor Reception

Since this was our second time there, we were invited to a 
repeat visitor reception before dinner. They had a nice 
spread of appetizers and the senior members of their staff 
were there. It was nice to meet them and some of the other 
visitors. Some people have returned there an incredible 
number of times. One couple got married there and returned on 
their anniversary every year. I think they were up to 7 
times! 

Those of you thinking about a wedding at GL can be a little 
less apprehensive (at least about GL). We met Sophia the 
wedding coordinator. She has been there since GL opened. She 
was warm, friendly and appeared quite competent. There was a 
wedding while we were there at the new Gazebo and it looked 
like it came off great. We asked one of the family members 
and they were pleased.

Facility Changes

They added a Gazebo that sits above the water and rocks on 
the c/o side for weddings. They decorate the posts with 
flowers for the weddings. I was a nice place to sit in the 
evenings. The Timber House has a hottub area I didn't 
remember from before. 

They are planning to make the gym/aerobics area enclosed and 
air-conditioned. They are also going to add a presidential 
suite building on the main beach. It was clear SuperClubs 
wasn't sitting on its laurels with all the vacation 
competition from Braco, Sandals and Couples.

GL had enjoyed the luxury of being the only large resort on 
Bloody Bay. Couples is in on the process of building one of 
their resorts next to GL. I hope it doesn't change the 
serenity of Bloody Bay but it's got to make a difference.

Beaches

There are two beaches clothing optional and textile. The 
textile beach is nice, large, straight, sandy beach and kinda 
like you'd expect with lounges parked side by side. The c/o 
beach was convoluted, smaller and with more shade. We liked 
the c/o beach better; it had more personality. If naked 
people bother you, I don't think you would be disappointed in 
the textile beach.

They groom the beach each morning and cleanup in the 
evenings. They rotate through the pools and hot tubs daily 
with a chemical maintenance.

Entertainment

The entertainment was better and more professional this time 
around. One day we sat in the piano bar and Ike personally 
entertained and talked with us like we were the only ones 
there. The jazz bands were good. They had a steel band for 
the beach party. Had some cabaret type entertainment.

We went to the pajama party and felt overdressed. It was a 
disco and like you'd imagine it was loud and a little smoky. 
Folks were having fun. We left early and headed to the hot 
tub.

The Fitness Center was nice. My wife did the aerobics class 3 
times and rated it pretty high. They had a temporary 
instructor Sharren who really drove the class.

MY Zein

The sunset cruise was fun and improved since last time; do 
it. They added a calypso band; better h'orderves; the cruise 
went down to the Negril Lighthouse and returned just at 
sunset. Guys must wear slacks; ladies get away with dress 
shorts or better. Again get reservations ASAP; I can't 
imagine going there and missing out on the cruise.

Scuba

I got certified at home before this trip. Bring your card; 
they did ask for mine. They have 2 dives a day; 9 AM (deep 
dive) and 11:30 AM (shallow & class dive). We arranged for 
one 1:30 PM dive during the week with some haggling. The deep 
dives are generally about 60 feet; the shallow dives about 
20. 

I did the 11:30 AM dive first to learn the boat procedures. 
The 9 AM dives were the best. The 11:30AM dives were crowded 
with the resort scuba class.

The dive masters and crew were safety conscience. They kept 
the dive times in the 30 minute range, rehearsed dive signals 
each dive, assigned buddies, did safety stops. First person 
to hit 1000 PSI and the dive was over. Exactly what I wanted 
being new to the diving scene. It was a great place to go if 
you were recently certified; I got 7 dives in.

The staff were good and fun to be with. Norman and Llyod are 
the senior staff and do the PADI classes and class dives. 
Randy and Keith took out the certified divers at 9. The boat 
crew Valentine and Andy made sure all the gear was on the 
boat for the dives.

You signed up a day ahead for the dive and they placed the 
BCD (small, medium, large) and tank on the boat for you. You 
picked up your weight belt, fins etc. and took them to the 
boat. On return you took them back to the Scuba hut and 
signed up for the next day. They had mask defogger on the 
boat (I think it was Lemon Joy).

Their equipment was in fair to good condition. I would bring 
your own mask, snorkel and fins. Their fins were not very 
stiff and I had trouble at times getting my size because the 
snorkelers had checked them out. BCD and regulators were well 
used but were fine. 

They video tape the 9 o'clock dives and then sell you the 
tapes for $30. They also offer the certified divers PADI 
Advanced Diver training.
 
This was my first time doing warm water diving and it was a 
breeze compared to Puget Sound. Water temperature was 80+ 
degrees. I wore a dive skin but didn't need it; it gave me 
abrasion protection but I didn't need that either. We had 
clear and calm water. People that were there the week 
before had some surge, waves and stronger currents. 

It was 
like an aquarium for us. Saw sea turtles, arrow crabs, 
lobster, eels, mostly smaller colorful fish, lots of sponges 
and coral. Best dives for me were Shark Reef, Turtle Bay and 
Throne Room.

Tim Air Back to Montego Bay

We used the concierge to arrange our return flight to Montego 
Bay. The flight was scheduled for 12 noon; we left the GL at 
11:45. The Negril Airport has expanded some since our last 
visit. Air Jamaica Express had a large hut at the airport; 
TimAir still had their smaller building. 

The TimAir plane was there right on time and we were off to 
MoBay. Flight was a scenic 20 minutes. Cost was $137 for both 
of us; one way to MoBay. I like it! Plan on tipping the 
baggage handlers on both ends.

Phone Calls

We had difficulty placing calls to home. We never 
successfully made an MCI Card call without getting MCI 
Customer Service involved. Our card kept coming up as not 
valid but within the US it was valid. MCI didn't know if it 
had to do with the area code changes in Puget Sound, Jamaica, 
blocked card calls (fraud control) from the Caribbean or 
what.

We got bounced from automated service, to operators, to 
customer service. MCI customer service did fiddle around with 
it and both time just forced the call through. But it took 
10's of minutes and lots of button pushes (over and over 
again) to call home. I hear long distance within Jamaica is 
frightfully expensive be careful you don't connect over a 
long distance line to your card provider. Call your service 
provider before the trip to understand the current situation.

Conclusion

We continue to recommend GL. They deliver a good product for 
people that want a classy, relaxing vacation. It is laid 
back; not the party crowd of Hedo but still fun. The water, 
beaches, buildings and grounds were immaculate. SCUBA added a 
new dimension for me. The food was good to excellent and 
plentiful all day and night. The staff was charming and 
helpful; if you wanted it just ask. Next time we'll shoot for 
10 days.

JAMAICA: GRAND LIDO BY CAROL HILL

(Ed note: Carol first provides a description of Grand Lido and the relates in diary form her vacation at the resort. Pictures and full text of both reviews are on Carol's home page at http://www.jnpcs.com/ehill)

The  Grandiose  Grand  Lido--it's  not  perfect, but it is pretty damn 
GRAND!!  We  just  returned from a trip from 6/14/97 to 6/21/97 at the 
Grand  Lido  in  Negril,  Jamaica.  This was our third trip to Negril, 
with  previous  trips  to  Negril  being to Hedonism II and the Negril 
Beach  Club. Our favorite vacations before this have been cruises (20-
some  cruises,  all but one to the Caribbean) and St. Martin, which we 
have  visited  several  times.  We have also traveled to Aruba several 
times, as well as Antigua, Cancun and the Bahamas.

We  booked through Go Classy Tours, as we always do for Jamaica. Based 
on  recommendations  from  the  Prodigy  BB,  we  paid  for beachfront 
accommodations  and requested nude first floor rooms. Unlike Hedonism, 
Grand  Lido does not currently have different room categories for nude 
and  prude  side beaches, although I wouldn't be surprised to see that 
next  year.  (HII  has  room  categories  of  prude  gardenview, prude 
beachfront,  nude  gardenview and nude beachfront). GL room categories 
are  gardenview,  oceanview  and beachfront, plus the full suites. The 
full  suites  were about $500 per person more for the week. We did not 
see  any  of  the suites which appeared to be in use, but we seriously 
doubt  that  they  could  be  worth the extra money for them. Based on 
brochure  rates  (which  are not necessarily what one pays) gardenview 
is  only  approximately  $100  per  week  cheaper  than  oceanview and 
oceanview  is  only  approximately $100 per week (per person, that is) 
cheaper  than  beachfront.  Based  on  the  layout  of  the  place,  I 
personally  would  never  book  the  gardenview  rooms,  especially if 
you're  interested  in  the  nude  side,  as  they  are  so  far  from 
everything  and  the  view  is  really  horrible.  If you are pinching 
pennies,  actually  the  oceanview  rooms are not bad as they are just 
down  from  the  nude beachfront rooms. It's a little bit of a further 
walk,  but  you  should  have  no trouble with noise from the nude hot 
tub, if you're a light sleeper. 

As  I  said,  we  requested  first  floor nude rooms, and we were very 
happy  that  we  did.  On the first floor rooms, one can walk directly 
out  of your french doors directly to the beach without putting on any 
clothes.  On  the  second  floor,  one is expected to don some type of 
clothing  to  head  to  the  beach. Also, the first floor rooms have a 
patio  with  two  small  chairs  and  a dining-height table, plus most 
people  did  as  we  did, which was pull up a couple of chaise lounges 
right  by  your  patio to lay on. This was especially nice first thing 
in  the  morning and toward sunset. The balconies for the second floor 
rooms  were  very  small--maybe 3 feet by 6 feet and had only 2 chairs 
and I don't believe they had any table at all. 

Other  than the full suites, all rooms at GL are the same. We had room 
1061,  which  was  a  great  location  for us, on the first floor nude 
beach  and  close  to  the  hot  tub.  You  entered the room through a 
hallway  with  bathroom  on the left and storage on the right, leading 
to  the  bedroom  area, down two steps leading on to the seating area, 
then  out toward the beach. Storage space consisted of about 5 feet of 
hanging  space,  with about 15 hangers provided, 4 drawers, and 3 open 
shelves. 

A  4-cup  coffee  maker  with coffee and tea were provided--and really 
appreciated.  There  was  also  a  coffee  pot  with regular and decaf 
coffee  at  the nude bar in the morning. There was an iron and ironing 
board  in  the  closet, as well as a keyed safe. And speaking of keys, 
GL  provides  their  keys  on  wrist  bracelets, which comes in pretty 
handy  on  the nude beach. However, the room number on our key was not 
our  actual  room  number.  I think that this was probably on purpose, 
and  a  good  idea,  especially since Eric left his key (including the 
safe  key!!!!!)  out  by  the  nude  hot tub one night. We went to the 
front  desk  and  they  had  no problem whatsoever finding what key to 
give us, so I'm sure they have a code for such things. 

The  bathroom featured a bathtub, shampoo/lotion/bath gel dispenser, a 
5  foot  vanity  and  hairdyer.  Lights  in  the  bathroom--as well as 
elsewhere  throughout  the  room--were  a  little  dim. We enjoyed the 
provision  of  4  nice-sized  bathtowels,  complete the with raised GL 
logo.  I  thought  they  would  look  wonderful in my bathroom here at 
home,  but  Eric  didn't  feel  like  spending  a couple of years in a 
Jamaican  jail, so he refused to pack a couple when we came home. Boo. 


The  bedroom  area of the room was around 10 by 14 and featured a king 
sized  bed, table on each side of the bed, phone, 2 bed lamps, a make-
up  table  with  chair,  and a full length wall mirror. Down two steps 
from   the   bedroom   area  was  the  living  room  area,  which  was 
approximately  8  by  14  and  consisted  of a couch and chair, coffee 
table,  and remote control TV and stereo/boombox unit. The TV channels 
were  CBS,  NBC, ABC, Discovery, HBO, Fox, Playboy, a Spanish channel, 
and  TBS.  There was a boombox dual cassette tape player, as well as a 
radio  (but no CD player). French doors from the room led out onto the 
beach.  Unfortunately,  the doors did not lock with the key. They only 
locked  with  deadbolts at the top and bottom. So, we basically had to 
leave  the french doors unlocked or go around to the front door to get 
into  the  room.  Obviously,  we  opted  for  the former. We basically 
locked  up everything important in the safe, with the exception of our 
camera,  so  it  wasn't a major problem. Next time we go to GL, I will 
probably  leave  the good camera at home, so there will effectively be 
nothing  to  steal  in the room except our clothes. ("He who steals my 
clothes steals trash" ???) 

Nude  beach  facilities  are  important to us, and the availability of 
same  was  one  of  the  main  reasons  we  booked  at  GL. Nude beach 
facilities  were good, although frankly not as good as Hedonism at the 
current  time.  The  prude  beach  at  GL  is a long, pretty wonderful 
traditional  beach  with  some shade (not a lot), and almost no rocks, 
etc.,  in  the  water.  The nude beach has lots more shade, is quite a 
bit  shorter  and  has some rocks, seaweed, coral, etc., in the water. 
It  is  not  the best beach we have seen, by far, but adequate. If you 
want  to  spend  a  whole  lot  of time in the water, some water shoes 
might  be  in  order.  There  is  a nude pool and hot tub right on the 
beach  with a bar which is open 10 AM to 6 PM. Unlike Hedo there is no 
swim-up  bar  and  in  fact, no place to sit at the bar at all, and no 
grill  CURRENTLY.  As  of our trip, they are building a grill right by 
the  nude bar. I'm not sure exactly what the situation will be when it 
is  finished,  but  I  hope  that  one will be able to just walk up at 
lunch  time  and  get a hamburger or hotdog, etc., from this grill, as 
we perceived this to be a major deficiency at GL. 

It  was  kind  of  a  big  deal  sometimes  to get something to eat at 
lunchtime,  as  one  either  had to put on clothes (taking for granted 
that  one  was on the nude beach) and head to the main dining room, or 
order  room  service  for  lunch.  Room service could be ordered to be 
delivered  to  the  nude  bar  area,  but it still was a little bit of 
trouble to do and usually took 30-45 minutes to arrive. 

OK,  so  what  about food at the Grandiose Grand Lido? There are three 
restaurants  for  dinner,  plus  buffets for breakfast and lunch every 
day,  and  buffet for dinner on two nights, plus 24 hour room service, 
and  the  three  24  hour "Houses", the Timber House, Stone House, and 
Beach House. 

The  room  service  and "House" menus were the same, with the addition 
of  breakfast items on a separate hang-tag system. One could go to the 
Timber,  Stone  or Beach House (24 hours) and be served by a waitress, 
including  drink  orders,  and generally service was quicker than room 
service.  Items  included  a tossed salad, chef salad (GOOD!), soup de 
jour,   club  sandwich  (decent),  lamb  chops  (GREAT!!!!!),  snapper 
sandwich  (OK,  but  one  had  to order french fries separately--which 
were   very   good,   by   the   way),  deli  sandwich,  potato  skins 
(WONDERFUL!!),  hamburger  (AWFUL!),  hotdog,  ice  cream, fresh fruit 
plate,  brownie  (GOOD!!),  and an ice cream with banana dessert which 
sounded  wonderful but we didn't have. We ordered room service several 
times  and  it always was what we ordered and generally arrived within 
15-20  minutes,  although one or two times it took close to 40 minutes 
around lunch time. 

Breakfast  from  room  service is served from 6 A.M. to 10 A.M., in 15 
minute  increments  and  one  orders  it by placing a hang-tag on your 
door  by 2 A.M. Breakfast choices were supposedly The Executive, which 
consisted  of  fruit,  cereal,  yogurt, danish, coffee and mimosa, and 
the  Negril Eye Opener, which consisted of danish, coffee and OJ. Side 
orders  included  cottage  cheese,  fruit  plates,  and  various fruit 
juices.  Of  course, we wanted a combination of both, so we just wrote 
in  what  we  wanted  on  the  tag  and  it  always arrived within the 
designated  time  frame  and  was  exactly what we ordered. Especially 
since  we  were staying on the first floor on the nude beach, I really 
preferred  the  breakfast  served  on  our  patio to going to the main 
dining room. 

The  breakfast buffet at the main restaurant was served from 8 A.M. to 
10:30  A.M.,  and  included  made-to-order  omelettes  and  eggs, plus 
scrambled  eggs,  sausage,  bacon,  hash  browns,  plantains,  fruits, 
salmon,  and  either  pancakes or french toast and several other items 
which  changed  daily.  Coffee,  orange juice and water were served by 
usually  very  attentive servers, who generally seated us, drawing out 
our chairs and placing our napkins on our laps. 

Lunch  buffets  were  served  from  12:30  to  3  P.M.,  and  normally 
consisted  of  some  luncheon  meats, fruits, salads, and about 3 or 4 
hot  entrees and a couple of hot vegetables, plus various desserts and 
ice  cream. Servers served mixed drinks, plus 4 different varieties of 
wine,  iced  tea and coffee. Service for lunch was generally excellent 
also,  although  iced  tea  seemed to take much too long to deliver. A 
couple  of  days,  the  luncheons  had "themes"--Cajun one day (with a 
great Cajun steak and Cajun fries) and Mexican another day. 

Dinner  offered  three choices on most nights, La Pasta, Cafe Lido and 
Piacere.  Buffets  were  offered at dinner on Friday and Wednesday and 
(other  than  room  service  and the Houses), buffet and La Pasta were 
the  only  choices on Friday night. Wednesday night was supposed to be 
Carnival  night,  but  I  didn't  really  see anything which signified 
Carnival  to  me.  We  arrived  for the "Grand Buffet" on Friday night 
very  late,  and  just  picked  up  a  few  items.  I presume that the 
selection  was  much  better  earlier on. La Pasta is open 3 P.M. to 2 
A.M.  and  shorts  are  perfectly  acceptable. La Pasta offered garlic 
bread,  one  meat  dish  and about 4 different pastas with 4 different 
sauces,  plus  some  desserts.  We  ate  there  once  and  I  was  not 
particularly impressed. 

Cafe  Lido  is  open 6:30 to 10:00 P.M. Cafe Lido serves a continental 
menu  which  varies  each  night.  Written  materials  for  Cafe  Lido 
indicate  that no shorts are allowed. We would not have a problem with 
that  policy,  if  that  really  were  the policy. However, the shorts 
policy  was  enforced  sporadically. On Saturday night, Eric wore long 
pants  and  observed  50%  of the men in shorts. On Sunday night, Eric 
wore  shorts--nice  shorts, and not particularly short shorts, and the 
maitre  d'  quite  snottily  told  us  that  he  would allow us to sit 
outside  that  night  but  that  they  only allowed "dress shorts". Of 
course,  on  subsequent  nights,  we saw a gal with VERY short shorts, 
plus a fellow with ragged jean shorts, dining there. 

We  ate  at  Cafe Lido on three occasions and were very impressed with 
food  and  service  on  the first two. The menu varied each night, but 
consisted  basically of about 3 appetizers, a couple of soups, a salad 
and  about  4 entrees. We enjoyed some wonderful spring rolls, grilled 
salmon,  and  pork with vegetables and a merely adequate prime rib and 
creme  brulee. On the first two times we arrived fairly close to 6:30, 
sat  outside  and  had  absolutely  wonderful  service.  On  the third 
occasion,  we  arrived  at  approximately  8  P.M.  and  wanted to sit 
inside.  We  were  told  that  in  order  to  eat  inside,  there were 
approximately  15  parties  in  front  of us, which would have roughly 
translated  to  about  an  hour wait. We took the last table available 
outside.  Service that night was very slow, the meal was interminable, 
my  wine  glass  remained  empty for about 10 minutes, and in general, 
the  comparison  to  the  first  two  nights at Cafe Lido was amazing. 
Frankly,  considering  the  other  two  choices for dinner are Piacere 
(reservations  only  and  about  20 tables only) and La Pasta (about a 
dozen  tables,  plus  service  at  the bar but no reservations), I was 
pretty  distressed  that  one  could  not  go to Cafe Lido at 8 PM and 
expect  to  be served for an hour, and that the quality of the service 
when  the  whole restaurant was full was so much worse than it was the 
first  two  nights. It seems to me that if the resort is anywhere near 
full,  that  there  are not nearly enough tables available for dinner. 
Even  though it didn't appear to us to be the case, at least by Friday 
night, the resort was supposedly 100% full. 

Piacere  is  the  French  restaurant,  and  the only one that requires 
reservations.  Jackets,  but  not  ties,  are  required  for  Piacere, 
although  the  restaurant  does keep a couple on hand for emergencies, 
as  the  fellow in front of us used one of the resort's coats. We were 
able  to  only  get reservations for one night there. Service and food 
at  Piacere  are definitely worth the trouble for reservations and the 
dress  code.  We had lobster bisque soup, crab cakes, fabulous steaks, 
and a very decent red wine. 

One  neat  aspect  of  Grand  Lido is the M/Y Zein, which is the yacht 
that  Princess  Grace  of  Monaco  supposedly  spent her honeymoon on. 
There  are  sunset  cruises  every  day  of the week except Friday and 
Sunday,  I  believe,  as  well  as  a nude cruise on Thursday morning. 
Technically,  one is supposed to sign up through the concierge, but no 
one  checked  names  on either cruise. I think that they mainly wanted 
to  get  an  idea  of  how  many are coming. The sunset cruise is from 
approximately  4  P.M.  to  6:45 and offers drinks and very light hors 
douvres.  Dress for the sunset cruise required long pants for the men. 
The  nude  cruise  is  on  Thursday morning from about 10:30 to 12:15. 
There  are  drinks  but  no food served onboard. And it is HOT, so the 
hose  on  the  top  deck to spritz oneself with water is very welcome. 
The Zein is also used for some weddings and reaffirmations. 

GL's  brochure  proclaims  that  they  serve premium liquors and local 
brands.  This is true, for the most part. Tanqueray, Jack Daniels, Jim 
Beam,  Grand  Marnier,  etc.,  were  available,  as  well as wines and 
champagne.  However,  my  personal  favorite,  Bacardi  rum,  was  not 
available.   The  main  reason  is  basically  political,  as  one  of 
Jamaica's  main  products  is Appleton rum, which is the only rum that 
they  served.  Also, there were no beers available, except Red Stripe, 
which  is the Jamaican beer. The absence of a Bacardi was a major deal 
for  me,  and  I ended up going over to Hedonism II and buying Bacardi 
at  the  store  there. Bar service in general was excellent at GL, and 
there  was  no  problem  with  weak drinks whatsoever. During the main 
daylight  hours,  from  about  11 A.M. to 4 P.M., there was a waitress 
walking  the  beach taking drink orders. Bar service at the Houses and 
the main buffet restaurant was generally excellent. 

Maid  service  during  our  visit  was problematical. I have to assume 
that,  based  on  the  level of service which we observed elsewhere in 
the  resort,  that  the quality of our maid service was an aberration. 
The  timing  of  the  service  was odd, both in the morning and in the 
evening.  Most days, the maid did not arrive to make up the room until 
after  noon.  Also,  several days she did not leave us any hand-towels 
for  the  bathroom. Evening service was even more problematical. On at 
least  two  occasions,  she arrived at approximately 9 PM, when we had 
just  arrived back from dinner. We basically just told her to leave us 
some  fresh towels and get lost. Then, on one other night, she arrived 
at  after 10 P.M. Two nights she did not come at all. I have to assume 
that  this  was not the normal level of service to be expected at this 
resort.  The  resort was full, at least on Friday night, so this might 
have had something to do with it. 

OK,  so  what  about  entertainment  and activities? Most days, we had 
breakfast,  read or sunned or talked with other beach inhabitants, had 
lunch,  sunned  some  more,  watched  the sunset from the hot tub, had 
dinner,  spent an hour or two in the hot tub and went to bed. A really 
full  schedule!!  There  were  lots of activities available during the 
day  and  some  during  the  night,  although we ignored most of them. 
There  was  snorkeling  gear  available during the day and many people 
snorkeled  just  off  the  beach,  and  there were two boat snorkeling 
trips  per  day, plus scuba diving and glass bottomed boat. There were 
sunfish  sailboats  plus  sailboards and giant trikes and waterskiing, 
all  included.  There  were parasailing and jetskis available for rent 
for  an  additional  fee,  in  addition  to  a  catamaran  cruise with 
snorkeling down to Rick's for about $40 PP. 

The  resort  also  offered  various  excursions,  including  tours  to 
Kingston,   YS  Falls,  Dunn's  River  Falls,  a  plantation  tour,  a 
submarine  ride,  Negril  highlights,  horseback  riding,  countryside 
tour,  shopping  to  Negril ($10 PP) and transfers to Rick's Cafe ($13 
PP). 

Evening  entertainment  for  us  consisted mostly of dinner then a few 
hours  in  the  hot  tub  or  laying  out  by  the  ocean.  There  was 
entertainment  in  the main dining area from around 9 P.M. There was a 
50's/60's  night  and there was kareoke several nights, which we think 
is  the  rough  equivalent  of "stupid people tricks", so we don't go. 
There  is  no  toga  night,  like at Hedonism and, while there is a PJ 
night,  unlike  when  we went to the Hedo PJ party, there were no cows 
that  gave their lives. The disco is open from 10:30 P.M., but we only 
went  there the one night for the PJ party, as I hate that loud noise. 
The  piano  bar is nice and cool and is a nice place for a quiet drink 
before  dinner  and  they  do serve some nice hors dourvres there, but 
you have to get there somewhat early to get them. 

In  general, we were very impressed with the level of food and service 
at  GL.  Except for the maid service, it compared about equally or was 
above  the  level  we have come to expect from cruises. There are lots 
of  amenities,  from  the room service to bar waitresses on the beach, 
to  the  wonderful floats provided on all the chairs, to the yacht, to 
the  food  and service at Cafe Lido and Piacere, to ordering champagne 
and  potato  skins at 1 A.M. in the nude hot tub, which make the Grand 
Lido truly Grand. 

(Ed Note: Carol now provides a day by day account of her visit.)

This  report  will  be kind of a diary for the week for those who have 
been to GL before, as opposed to a description of the resort. 

QUESTION--How  do  you  know  you're  back  in  Jamaica? ANSWER- -When 
you're  propositioned  TWICE  to  purchase  ganja and you haven't even 
left  the  airport terminal building yet!! True story, from this trip! 
Anyway,  we  had  collected our luggage, gone through customs and were 
in  a  van  leaving  the airport within 35 minutes of landing. We were 
placed  in  a  minivan  with  only  one  other  couple. We had a semi-
reasonable  driver  who  didn't  threaten  the lives of too many dogs, 
cats,  cows,  horses,  chickens,  etc,  on  the  trip  to Negril. Most 
endearing  to  us, he actually asked if we wanted to stop at a bar and 
when  we  said  no, we sailed on to the resort, arriving at about 2:45 
P.M. 

We  were greeted with a handshake and a "Welcome to Grand Lido" smile. 
Check-in  is  accomplished  while  you sit and enjoy the drink of your 
choice.  Still,  it  seemed to take forever, possibly because they had 
erroneously  put  on  our  reservation  that  we  were  supposed to be 
leaving  on the 16th, two days after we arrived. Strangely enough, the 
other  couple  we  rode with from the airport had their check out date 
incorrect also. 

We  didn't  ask  what room we had been assigned, but as our guide took 
us  to  our room and I saw that she was taking us to 1061, I knew that 
we  had  a  great  room. 1061 is just about a perfect location for us, 
just  down  from the nude pool and hot tub. We would certainly request 
another room within the range of 1059 to 1064 the next trip. 

Since  we hadn't had any lunch, we had a sandwich at the Timber House, 
then  headed  back  to  the  room  to  check  for the suitcases, which 
finally  arrived  at  the room (delivered inside the room) at 4:30. We 
watched  the  sunset from the nude beach and determined that, for this 
purpose,  the  facilities  on  the  Hedo nude beach are better, as you 
can't  actually  see the sun set from the section of nude beach by the 
hot  tub, as there is a piece of land in the way. We had a very lovely 
dinner  at  Cafe  Lido,  including  spring  rolls, salmon pate, salad, 
grilled  salmon,  pork  with  vegetables, and a rather light chocolate 
dessert,  accompanied  by a Chilean white and a French red wine. Tired 
from  the  trip  and  a short night the night before, we retired early 
around 9:30.

Sunday  we  ate breakfast in the dining room and went to the Concierge 
to  sign up for Piacere and for the nude cruise and the sunset cruise. 
We  spent  the morning on the beach until around 12:30 when it clouded 
up  and started raining. We decided to use the occasion to head to the 
dining  room  for  lunch  and  enjoyed  a nice leisurely lunch, plus a 
couple  of drinks at the bar. We headed back to the room and spent the 
afternoon  sleeping  and  reading  in the room, as it basically rained 
until  about  4:30.  Fortunately  this was the only protracted rain of 
the week. 

Dinner  on  Sunday  was  again  at  Cafe Lido and the food and service 
again  were  excellent,  with prime rib and creme brulee. However, the 
shorts  policy at Cafe Lido provided one of the few bad moments of the 
week.  The problem is that half the people we had seen dining there on 
Saturday  night  had  been in shorts. Therefore, on Sunday night, Eric 
wore  shorts--nice  shorts, and not particularly short shorts, but the 
maitre  d'  quite  snottily  told  us  that  he  would allow us to sit 
outside  that  night  but  that  they  only allowed "dress shorts". Of 
course,  on  subsequent  nights,  we saw a gal with VERY short shorts, 
plus  a  fellow  with  ragged  jean  shorts, dining there. Frankly, we 
would  not  have  had  a  problem  if  they would just have enforced a 
strict  no  shorts policy, but this some shorts are OK and some aren't 
is kind of pretentious. 

Monday  the  16th  was  our  anniversary  and  we  began  the day with 
breakfast  of  Danish, Mimosa, fruit and coffee served on our patio. A 
wonderful  way to start the day! We spent the morning on the beach and 
ordered  cheeseburgers  from room service for lunch, which were merely 
OK.  What  was  great was calling room service and having it delivered 
to the nude hot tub and eating it on the beach. 

On  Monday,  Eric  played  some  volleyball  in  the  nude pool and we 
finally  started  blending  in  with  the  group.  This  vacation  was 
somewhat  different than our usual vacations, which are either cruises 
or  St.  Martin.  Usually  on  our  vacations, we spend the whole week 
basically  by  ourselves  and  are perfectly happy. At GL, on the nude 
beach,  in  particular,  a  lot  of  the crowd kind of sits around and 
talks  for  a  good portion of the day, either sitting on the beach or 
on  floats  in  the  ocean or the pool. You can be alone for the whole 
week  if  you want and no one will bother you. However, if you do make 
a   little  bit  of  an  effort,  you  can  join  right  in  with  the 
festivities.  When  we first go on vacation, we are still too stressed 
out  to  be  too much fun, but by the end of the week, we were joining 
right in. 

We  thought  we  needed  some  more  champagne  to make it through the 
afternoon,  so  we  ordered  champagne  and  brownies for an afternoon 
snack.  They  said  it  was  going  to take 45 minutes to bring and we 
missed  it  when  they  brought it, so we called them and had them re-
deliver  it  to  the room. Eric got several cat- calls as he delivered 
the  tray  to  me,  sitting  in the nude hot tub. Six o'clock came and 
time  to  get  dressed  for  the first time this day, as we had to get 
ready  for dinner at Piacere. A trip to Piacere is a great experience, 
with   fabulous   service  and  food.  We  had  a  wonderful  Cabernet 
Sauvignon,  beef  we  could  cut with a fork, wonderful crab cakes and 
lobster  bisque  soup.  Unfortunately  for  us, we made the mistake of 
telling  them  it  was  our  anniversary  and  they delivered us their 
standard  anniversary  cake.  Trust me, the anniversary cake stunk. We 
wanted  the hazelnut torte!! We should have just refused the cake, but 
they  seemed  to enjoy bringing it so much!! NEXT time we will disavow 
all knowledge of anniversary dates!! 

We  were  surprised  though, at how warm it was in Piacere, especially 
since  they  require  a  jacket.  They needed to shoot some of the A/C 
from  the piano bar (which was VERY cold) over to Piacere, and also to 
La Pasta, which was also warm. 

Tuesday  morning  we  had  breakfast  at the buffet, then went over to 
Hedonism  II  for  a  tour of the new nude beach facilities. There are 
tours  of  Hedonism every day at 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. Basically, all you 
have  to  do  is  walk  out  the  front gate and across the street and 
report  to  security  at Hedonism. We were the only ones there for the 
tour  and we told the lady that all we wanted to do was to see the new 
nude  hot  tub  and pool and go to the shop. Technically, I think that 
they  are  not  supposed to give people a tour of the nude facilities, 
so  the girl just took us to the edge of the nude area and let us walk 
around  on  our  own.  The new nude pool, swim-up bar and misting area 
make  the  nude  facilities  at  Hedo much nicer than at GL right now. 
Also,  there is a grill right there by the nude pool at Hedo. They are 
in  the  process  of  building  a  grill  at  GL  at the nude pool, so 
hopefully  in  the  near  future, one will be able to just walk up and 
get a burger, etc., on the nude beach at GL. 

We  then  went  to  the  gift  shop at Hedo and I bought an additional 
paperback  book,  plus  some  Bacardi rum. This brings me to one of my 
other   pet   peeves  for  the  week--even  though  the  brochure  for 
Superclubs  states that they have premium liquors, they had no Bacardi 
at  GL.  I  had  posted a note requesting info about Bacardi before we 
left  home  and  some  people  on Prodigy reported that they did serve 
Bacardi  and  some  other  guests  at  GL  reported that they had seen 
Bacardi  there  before,  but there was none during our stay. We talked 
to  the  fellow in the store at Hedo about the subject and he said, as 
we  suspected,  that  the  lack  of  Bacardi  was  political.  Because 
Appleton  rum  is  made in Jamaica, Superclubs does not serve Bacardi. 
GL  at  least--don't  know about the rest of the Superclubs--also does 
not serve any beer except Red Stripe. 

After  a  successful  shopping trip, we headed back to the beach for a 
couple  of  hours of sun before heading to the dining room for a lunch 
of  BBQ chicken, BBQ port sandwich, stuffed shells and assorted salads 
and  desserts.  Having  acquired my Bacardi rum, I thought it would be 
nice  to have a real rum and coke after suffering through Appleton and 
coke  for  three  days.  So,  I  put  some Bacardi in the bottom of my 
sipper  cup  (of course, a HEDO cup) and went to the nude beach bar to 
have  it filled with coke. Of course, the bartender took a look in the 
cup  and  saw  the  rum and thought it was water and proceeded to DUMP 
OUT  my  rum!!  I  squawked,  but not soon enough and had to go in and 
replenish  the  Bacardi. For the rest of the week, I made sure to tell 
the bartender not to dump out my rum when I went to the bar. 

We  went  on  the  sunset  cruise  on Tuesday, which is from 4 P.M. to 
6:45.  It  was  nice  to  do once, although I certainly wouldn't do it 
more  than  once  in  a  week and not sure when we go back, whether we 
would  do  it  again  or not. They basically return you back to resort 
almost  before  sunset  anyway.  It  was  cloudy the night we went, so 
there was no sunset to watch. 

Tuesday  evening  we went to La Pasta for dinner for the only time for 
the  week. It was OK, although the service was not nearly to the level 
of  Cafe  Lido or Piacere. We had some garlic bread and wine and I had 
ravioli with meat sauce and Eric had some pasta with a seafood sauce.

Wednesday  we  again  had  breakfast  on  our patio at our room, which 
except  for Monday night at Piacere, was probably my favorite meals of 
the  week,  with  Danish,  mimosa  and  that  wonderful  GL coffee. We 
actually  DID  something  on  Wednesday,  taking  out one of the small 
sunfish  sailboats  for a while. Wednesday was the first day there was 
any  wind  at  all  and  we  enjoyed tooling around for an hour or so. 
Around  4:30 it started a kind of a gentle rain and we repaired to the 
hot  tub for a 3 bottle champagne night (before dinner), just Eric and 
I.   Fortunately,   dinner   on  Wednesday  was  buffet  in  the  main 
restaurant,  which  was  fine,  since  we were feeling no pain by this 
time. 

Thursday  was  the  nude  cruise,  which is from about 10:30 to 12:15. 
There  wasn't  a  particularly  large  group  this  trip and we had no 
problem  finding  seats  on  the  benches all the way aft. It was HOT, 
though,  and  we  did  take  advantage  of  the  hose  on the top deck 
provided  for  cooling  off.  Unlike the sunset cruise, which provided 
very  light  hors  dourvres,  there  was  nothing  to  eat on the nude 
cruise. 

We  went  to  the main dining room for lunch and had a wonderful Cajun 
lunch,  with  Cajun steak and fries. Dinner was again at Cafe Lido and 
provided  another  very  unpleasant  surprise. We arrived at Cafe Lido 
around  8 P.M. and wanted to eat inside. We were told that the wait to 
eat  inside  was approximately 15 groups, which we translated to being 
maybe   in  the  nature  of  an  hour.  Frankly,  I  don't  find  that 
acceptable,  since  except  for  the  very  limited number of seats at 
Piacere  (which  required reservations) and the equally limited number 
of  seats  at  La  Pasta, Cafe Lido is the only 
++++++++++++++++++++++
nights.  We  decided  to  take  the  last remaining table outside. The 
service  Thursday  night  was,  in  a  word,  pitiful. The waiter took 
forever  to  take  our  order,  our wine glasses sat empty most of the 
time,  and  the  time  between  courses was interminable. We were very 
surprised  considering  what  great  food  and  service  we had on the 
earlier  occasions  when  we ate early. Even though we didn't know it, 
apparently  the  resort was full, at least by Thursday night. I am not 
sure  that  I find it acceptable, however, that one has to eat at 6:30 
in order to get decent service at Cafe Lido. 

Thursday  night was the PJ party, which was populated mostly by people 
from  the  nude beach. There were maybe 30 people there, as opposed to 
a  Hedo  PJ  party,  which  seems  to attract hundreds of people. From 
Tuesday  to  Wednesday,  it had seemed like there was a major turnover 
of  people  on  the nude beach, as a large number of people left and a 
bunch  of  new  people  came  in.  The  crowd that arrived Tuesday and 
Wednesday  was much younger than the previous week and I think that if 
we  had  been  at  the  PJ  party  the week before, it would have been 
pretty  empty.  Anyway,  the  nude  beach  contingent  did a good job, 
taking  home  all the prizes except most conservative and best couple. 
Of  course,  our  next  door  neighbor  won  "Biggest  Bulge",  so  we 
proceeded  to call him "Big Balls" for the rest of the week. After all 
the  noise  of  the disco, we decided that the nude hot tub would be a 
much  better  venue,  so  we  left  first  and called room service and 
ordered  4  bottles  of champagne and 10 glasses. By the time the rest 
of  the  crowd  arrived,  the  champagne had arrived and we had a good 
time, although the security guard kept coming by and shushing us.

Wednesday  we  again  had  breakfast  on  our patio at our room, which 
except  for Monday night at Piacere, was probably my favorite meals of 
the  week,  with  Danish,  mimosa  and  that  wonderful  GL coffee. We 
actually  DID  something  on  Wednesday,  taking  out one of the small 
sunfish  sailboats  for a while. Wednesday was the first day there was 
any  wind  at  all  and  we  enjoyed tooling around for an hour or so. 
Around  4:30 it started a kind of a gentle rain and we repaired to the 
hot  tub for a 3 bottle champagne night (before dinner), just Eric and 
I.   Fortunately,   dinner   on  Wednesday  was  buffet  in  the  main 
restaurant,  which  was  fine,  since  we were feeling no pain by this 
time. 

Thursday  was  the  nude  cruise,  which is from about 10:30 to 12:15. 
There  wasn't  a  particularly  large  group  this  trip and we had no 
problem  finding  seats  on  the  benches all the way aft. It was HOT, 
though,  and  we  did  take  advantage  of  the  hose  on the top deck 
provided  for  cooling  off.  Unlike the sunset cruise, which provided 
very  light  hors  dourvres,  there  was  nothing  to  eat on the nude 
cruise.  We went to the main dining room for lunch and had a wonderful 
Cajun  lunch,  with  Cajun  steak  and fries. Dinner was again at Cafe 
Lido  and  provided  another  very  unpleasant surprise. We arrived at 
Cafe  Lido  around  8 P.M. and wanted to eat inside. We were told that 
the  wait  to  eat  inside  was  approximately  15  groups,  which  we 
translated  to  being maybe in the nature of an hour. Frankly, I don't 
find  that  acceptable,  since  except  for the very limited number of 
seats  at  Piacere  (which  required  reservations)  and  the  equally 
limited  number of seats at La Pasta, Cafe Lido is the only choice for 
dinner  most  nights.  We  decided  to  take  the last remaining table 
outside.  The  service  Thursday  night  was,  in a word, pitiful. The 
waiter  took  forever  to  take  our order, our wine glasses sat empty 
most  of  the  time, and the time between courses was interminable. We 
were  very surprised considering what great food and service we had on 
the  earlier  occasions  when we ate early. Even though we didn't know 
it,  apparently  the resort was full, at least by Thursday night. I am 
not  sure  that  I find it acceptable, however, that one has to eat at 
6:30  in  order to get decent service at Cafe Lido. Thursday night was 
the  PJ  party,  which  was  populated  mostly by people from the nude 
beach.  There  were  maybe  30  people  there, as opposed to a Hedo PJ 
party,  which  seems  to  attract  hundreds of people. From Tuesday to 
Wednesday,  it had seemed like there was a major turnover of people on 
the  nude  beach,  as a large number of people left and a bunch of new 
people  came in. The crowd that arrived Tuesday and Wednesday was much 
younger  than the previous week and I think that if we had been at the 
PJ  party  the  week  before, it would have been pretty empty. Anyway, 
the  nude  beach contingent did a good job, taking home all the prizes 
except  most  conservative  and  best couple. Of course, our next door 
neighbor  won "Biggest Bulge", so we proceeded to call him "Big Balls" 
for  the  rest  of  the  week.  After  all  the noise of the disco, we 
decided  that  the  nude  hot  tub would be a much better venue, so we 
left  first and called room service and ordered 4 bottles of champagne 
and  10  glasses.  By  the  time  the  rest  of the crowd arrived, the 
champagne  had  arrived  and we had a good time, although the security 
guard kept coming by and shushing us. 

Friday  morning  I  had  wanted to eat at the room, but we didn't have 
any  of  the  tags  to  order  it, so we went to the main dining room. 
Earlier  in  the  week,  I saw the maid and requested some of the hang 
tags  and she gave me one, but she never replaced it. Can't figure out 
if  she  was  supposed  to  do  that  or  not,  but  we were generally 
unimpressed  with  her service, as she missed our room at night twice, 
and  generally  came  at  really  odd times, once coming at 10:30 P.M. 
After  breakfast, we went to the concierge to book a plane flight back 
to  Mo  Bay, as the "going home blues" were starting to kick in and we 
decided  that  we  couldn't go the bus trip. We tried to book what the 
concierge  called  the scheduled flight, which was supposed to be only 
$38  per  person. However, there was only one seat left on that plane, 
so  we  had  to  do  what  she  called  the charter, which was $60 per 
person.  We made some purchases in the gift shop and headed out to the 
beach  for  the  day.  Friday was kind of an on and off day, as it was 
kind  of cloudy and there were a few showers in the morning. We sat in 
the  hot  tub  for  most  of them. Finally on Friday, we made the best 
choice  of  the  week for lunch, deciding to order the lamb chops from 
room  service. I had seen rave reviews regarding them, but hadn't paid 
much  attention.  However,  take a word of advice and order two orders 
of  lamb  chops  (comes with fries) and one chef salad for two people. 
Wonderful!!!!!  We  spent  the  afternoon on the beach. I read most of 
the  time  and  Eric, along with about 20 other people, made kind of a 
floating  island  of  floats, and sent messengers over to the nude bar 
for liquid libations. 

In  the afternoon, we had made plans to all get together to eat dinner 
at  the  buffet  and  were supposed to meet before at a bar. I thought 
that  we  were supposed to meet at the main bar in the restaurant, but 
I  wanted to get some hors dourvres first, as I was hungry, so we went 
to  the  piano  bar around 7:10. Unfortunately, they were just running 
out  of  some  very  tasty chicken wings and didn't replenish them. We 
did  meet  up with one couple from the nude beach, who proclaimed that 
we  had  been supposed to meet at the piano bar, not the main bar, and 
we  kind  of  got  trapped  there with them, waiting for the others to 
show  up.  While we were sitting there, the wife of the Captain of the 
Zein  came  by to talk with the other couple. She said that the resort 
was  totally full, at least that night, as they apparently can stay in 
a  room there if the resort is not booked. Otherwise they have to stay 
on  the  boat.  She  did  say that they were getting ready to take the 
ship  for  repairs  in July and the way that she talked, I wouldn't be 
surprised  to see it gone for most of July and August. I sent Eric out 
a  couple  of  times  to  try to hunt for the others, but he never saw 
them.  We  had  been  looking  all afternoon on the beach for Gary and 
Judy  Passama to show up and knew that they would be looking for us in 
the  main  restaurant  also  and  I was somewhat anxious to escape. By 
8:45,  I finally convinced the other couple that the rest of the group 
had  dissed  us  and  that we needed to go eat. So, as we were walking 
from  the  piano  bar  I  spied  a  couple  kind of looking around and 
thought  that  it  looked  like  Gary  and Judy, who had sent us their 
pictures.  I booked toward where they were, ostensibly leaving Eric to 
apologize  to  the other couple, but he just followed me. Well, it was 
in  fact  Gary  and  we  hugged and talked for a couple of minutes but 
they  had  already eaten and we decided that we'd better get something 
to  eat.  At  this  point, the other couple had disappeared, so we had 
dinner alone. 

After  dinner, we hunted around for the other couple and found them at 
LaPasta  and  apologized  for  disappearing. The rest of the group had 
appeared  finally  and  was down by the dance floor, but we decided to 
go  back  in search of Gary. We called their room and arranged to meet 
at  the  Timber  House  for  a  non-  alcoholic  drink for them and an 
alcoholic  drink  for  us. After some nice conversation, Gary and Judy 
decided  to  head  off  to  bed  and  we headed off to the hot tub. We 
decided  we  needed  a  last  order  of  potato  skins  and champagne, 
delivered  to  the hot tub. There was only one other couple there when 
we  arrived.  However,  by the time the potato skins arrived, the rest 
of  the  group  showed up and looked longingly at our potato skins. We 
ate  them  fast,  as  more  people  showed  up, all hauling bottles of 
champagne,  as  well  as  one  of those tall silver champagne buckets, 
which  they  proceeded  to  fill  with  bottles and arrange the others 
around  the  base. I can only verify 9 bottles of champagne, as that's 
all  I  saw before I pooped out around 12:30. Eric told me lurid tales 
the  next  day  of  different methods of opening champagne bottles and 
shooting  corks  from  the  hot tub to the nude pool, plus of three of 
the  group  heading to the Timber House au naturel, for more champagne 
and  being  denied  because  they had had enough. Eric claims that the 
count  was around 15 or so bottles for the night. All I know is that I 
woke  up about 3:30 and saw that he was still not in bed so I went out 
to  make  sure he wasn't dead or drowned and hauled him out of the hot 
tub, as he and one other fellow were the last ones still there. 

Saturday  was  our  last  day  in paradise, and we started out the day 
with  breakfast  on  our patio and congratulated ourselves on the fact 
that  we  had  booked the plane flight back to MoBay. We ended up with 
another  two  hours on the beach, plus a lunch of those wonderful lamb 
chops  and  chef  salad  as  a  result. Instead of having to be at the 
front  desk  at  10:45  for  the  bus, we had to be there at 12:30 and 
proceeded  with  check-out,  which  took  about  one  minute flat. The 
resort  took  us  to  GNAT,  which took about 5 minutes, as we watched 
with  increasing  trepidation  the  huge  thunderstorm  clouds  in the 
distance.  It  was also a little disconcerting to have them ask us how 
much  our  luggage  weighed.  We  were  booked on a plane which seated 
around  10  people  and  had a Superclubs logo on the side. Despite my 
initial  fears,  the  flight was very smooth, though we flew through a 
few  showers. We arrived at MoBay approximately an hour and 45 minutes 
before  the  flight and endured a pretty long check-in line for US Air 
and  had  a  relatively  uneventful  flight home. QUESTION--How do you 
know  that you have had too much champagne at GL?? ANSWER--When you're 
standing  in  the baggage claim area at BWI Airport and think that you 
hear  a champagne cork popping and it takes you a couple of minutes to 
figure out that's NOT what it was!! 

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