Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 117
September 1, 2001

Last Update 31 August 2001

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JOURNEYS FOR SEPTEMBER 2001

BVI: COOPER ISLAND BY MIKE FRUMER

Trip: June 2001 

Smart.

>>From  the  protective  floor mat which they flip up over the side of 
their  supply boat that takes you from Tortola to the island, to the 
energy  conserving  marine  electrical  system in the cottages, to a 
resort  which  looks  just  the way you hope a Caribbean resort will 
look,   Cooper  Island  Beach  Club  (cooper-island.com)  shows  the 
results of smart thinking.

Quintessential Caribbean

The  view  that  greets  you  as  you  arrive at Cooper Island Beach 
Club's  dock  after a 30 minute ride on the supply boat is what most 
people  hope  for  in a Caribbean Island but rarely find. There is a 
wide,  palm  lined  -  actually almost palm forested - beach below a 
hillside of pastel painted cottages.

A  short  walk  through  very attractively landscaped grounds, which 
surprisingly  the  occasionally  free roaming goats do not appear to 
destroy,  led  to  the  building,  which  housed our suite. About 15 
steps  took us up to our quarters. They were nicely furnished - tile 
floors,  ceramic  tile  backsplash  for  the  kitchen appliances and 
bathroom  sink,  jalousie windows on three sides, and a high ceiling 
with  a  louvered  opening  at the peak to let heat out. The kitchen 
area  was  small  but fully equipped. The curtained shower stall was 
out  the  back  door from the bathroom. This clever arrangement made 
it  possible to take the back stairs up from the beach and to shower 
before  entering the apartment, the only risk being a brief exposure 
to  a voyeuristic goat on the hillside. The ceiling fan over the bed 
would  prove  to  provide  comfortable  sleeping  on  a  good,  firm 
mattress.  The accommodations are an excellent value at a summertime 
rate  of  $95  per  night. The "Welcome" package is an extraordinary 
value.  For  $10 it included a wine priced at $14 at the bar as well 
as  milk,  juice,  soda,  and  beer - probably about a $30 value all 
together.  The  12  volt  marine electric system is fine for the few 
lights,  cassette  radio,  etc.  that  you need. A low amperage 110v 
receptacle  is  active  for  a  few  hours  in  the evening when the 
generator  is  running  if you need to recharge your laptop battery. 
However,   if  you  can't  survive  without  a  hair  dryer  or  air 
conditioning, this is not the place for you.

There  is  a  table  and  chairs on the front patio. It was a lovely 
spot  to  eat  the cereal and fruit breakfasts that we prepared, and 
since  it is set up high, we enjoyed a view of the 20 or so boats at 
moorings and of Tortola and other islands across the water.

We  were  not  bothered  by bugs. That is not to say that there were 
none.  But  mosquitoes  tend  to appear around dusk, and by spraying 
ourselves  with Off and the room with Raid before we went to dinner, 
we  assured  that  we  and  not the mosquitoes would have the better 
evening meal.

The Daily Invasion

In  the  afternoon, we could lie under the sea grape trees and watch 
as  the  daily temporary community of cruising boats formed. When we 
chartered  a  small  sailboat  in  these  islands many years ago, we 
would  feel  that an anchorage was crowded if even a few other boats 
shared  our bay. The assemblage of RVs-of-the-sea at Cooper Island's 
moorings  tended  to  bring  to  mind more a KOA than the romance of 
life  under  sail.  The result of this friendly invasion was that at 
this  isolated 10-room resort there were usually about 70 people for 
dinner.

Dining

The  bar  and  open-air  restaurant are right on the beach. Food was 
reasonably  priced.  For  example,  at  dinner  penne pasta with red 
sauce  and  vegetables  was  $12.  Quality was good, and dishes were 
competently  prepared.  A  special of Snapper Creole one evening was 
quite  good.  Chicken  was very tasty, and we ate it in a variety of 
guises.  The  barbecue sauced version was especially good. The house 
wine  was  good  and  reasonably  priced.  We  would have liked some 
additional  fresh  seafood choices, and a gourmet would probably not 
make  the  cuisine  a primary reason for going to Cooper Island. But 
simple,  well  prepared  food  at  a  fair  price served in a lovely 
setting  are a good combination, and there is a cat who will be glad 
to  join  you  and  be  your friend for life or until you run out of 
fish  or  chicken,  whichever  comes  first. The dining room can get 
noisy  when  a dozen or more people, including toddlers, appear from 
a visiting catamaran. This was a problem on only one night.

We  ate breakfast and sometimes lunch on our patio. We had brought a 
few  items  such as packaged cheese, peanut butter, jelly, tea bags, 
and  instant  coffee  from  home  but  could have gotten them at the 
small  supermarket,  which  is  a few hundred yards from the dock on 
Tortola.  We  bought  cereal,  mangos, limes, bread, juice, and milk 
there.  It  turned  out  that  our  suite was supplied with a coffee 
maker,  coffee,  and  milk.  We  made up a large pitcher of iced tea 
every  day.  Beverages are important since the best health advice we 
can  give  for  the Caribbean is to drink lots of liquids then drink 
some more.

Snorkeling from shore

Just  off  shore  near our cottage at the end of beach (the left end 
as  you  face  the  water)  was a small rocky area. Several times we 
simply  floated  around  it  and  watched  the fish activity. Once a 
large  ray  floated by, and another time we waited for quite a while 
hoping  that  a  large  grouper  who occasionally poked its head out 
from within the rocks would come out.

The  main  snorkeling  site  was Conspicuous Rock. The first time we 
reached  it  by  swimming around the end of the beach. It was a long 
swim,  which  left us too tired to spend much time exploring. But we 
did see a small shark and several curious barracuda along with good-
sized  parrot  fish and many of the usual suspects. The next time we 
walked  along a path above the beach then down the hill to the beach 
and  along  to  a  dock before entering the water much closer to the 
rock.

Excursion with Caribbean Images Tours

The  club staff, who are all very friendly and helpful, arranged for 
a  half-day snorkeling trip. Caribbean Images Tours in the person of 
Captain  Caroline  specializes  in  snorkeling.  We took a 30-minute 
ride  to  The  Caves  and  to  Soldier's  Bay near Norman Island. An 
attempt  to visit The Indians in the same area was abandoned because 
of  choppy seas. There were lots of fish at the caves. Soldier's had 
large  areas  of  very  attractive  coral and a reasonable number of 
fish including a school of about 25 small squid and a golden eel.

Excursion to The Baths on Virgin Gorda

One  day,  the club offered a $10 trip to Virgin Gorda. The cost was 
in  keeping  with  their approach of providing good value. This boat 
trip  was  essentially  a taxi ride. The boat took about 40 minutes, 
so  they  were probably just about covering the cost of fuel and the 
boatman.  They  dropped  us  off  at about 10:00 and picked us up at 
about  4:00.  There  were  eight  of us on the boat. Two chose to go 
their  own  way  while  the  rest of us opted for a land taxi to The 
Baths.  Bonnie  and  I had been to The Baths twice before. The first 
trip  had  been over 25 years ago when we swam off of a boat to what 
was  then  a  little  visited  area of giant boulders creating pools 
where  beautiful  fish swam amidst lovely coral. Our second trip was 
about  10  years  ago,  and  we heeded the advice to arrive early to 
avoid  the  day  tripping  excursion  boats  and to use the beach at 
Devil's  Pool (a short walk from the main Baths area). On that trip, 
we  snorkeled from Devil's Pool through the labyrinthine area. There 
was  less  coral, but the fish were still there in profusion, and we 
enjoyed  it. This time, we went directly to the main Baths beach. We 
found  restrooms  with showers, coin operated lockers for valuables, 
T-shirt  vendors  and  hair  braiding  under  the sea grape trees, a 
beach  bar,  and  multitudes  of tourists arriving by open air taxis 
and  by  dinghies  from  a  crowd  of  boats just offshore. My first 
impulse   was   to  retreat  back  up  the  hill  and  forget  about 
snorkeling.  After  all,  what  could  be left of this once pristine 
site?  Fortunately, we decided to stay the course. We bought a $2.50 
locker  token,  stowed our shoes, hats, etc, donned masks, fins, and 
snorkels,  waded  in  - and were VERY impressed. True, this is now a 
major  tourist  destination.  But  despite the number of people, the 
entire  area  is  blissfully litter free. There is little coral, but 
the  giant rocks create an interesting seascape, and the variety and 
number  of  fish (the usual suspects including large parrot fish and 
the  biggest  trumpet  fish  that  we  saw  on  our  trip)  is still 
enthralling.  We  spent  about  a  half hour exploring the nooks and 
crannies,  ending  up  at  the Devil's Pool beach. There we rested a 
bit  and  snorkeled  back.  Unlike  Yogi  Berra's  restaurant, which 
became  so  crowded  that  nobody  went there anymore, The Baths are 
still a not-to-be-missed snorkeling experience.

Other Things To Do

The  entire  island  beyond  the  Beach  Club is privately owned and 
signposted  as  such,  so you cannot hike through the hills. We kept 
well  occupied  with  water-oriented  activities during our five-day 
stay  even  though  we did not take advantage of the scuba diving or 
kayak  rentals available at the well-stocked dive shop-cum-boutique. 
If  we had gotten restless, we could have taken the supply boat over 
to  Tortola  at 7:00 a.m. for breakfast and a morning's shopping and 
returned  at  11:00. On Mondays, the return is at 3:00, so you could 
spend  almost  a  full  day  exploring  Tortola.  A  good choice for 
breakfast  on Tortola is Capriccio di Mare. On our departure morning 
we  went  there  and  had  a  mozzarella  frittata, croissant French 
toast,  and  very good decaf coffee. The Midtown restaurant would be 
another  option.  We  had  a good roti and a soursop drink for lunch 
there, and they also serve breakfast.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: CORAL HAMACA AT BOCA CHICA BY KAY AND JIMMY REEVES

My  husband  and  I had a wonderful holiday at this resort. Everyone 
was  friendly  and welcoming but not at all pushy if you didn't want 
to  join  in  the  busy  activity programme. We found the whole site 
spotless  and  the  level of maintenance was superb. The food in the 
buffet  was  excellent  and  a  wide  choice  enabled us to eat well 
choosing  different  foods at every meal. I am a vegetarian but this 
did  not  pose  any  problems - there were loads of interesting vege 
dishes.  The only disappointment was the "Mexican" restaurant....the 
food  wasn't  that  bad but not what I would describe as Mexican and 
no vege dishes.

Boca  Chica can be a bit intimidating at first but once people began 
to  recognize  us  the only banter was friendly! We enjoyed shopping 
locally far more than the organized shopping trip to the city.
Boca  Chica  Bay  is  described  as the biggest swimming pool in the 
Caribbean  and  it  certainly  lives  up  to its name. There is good 
snorkeling  in  the safe water of the bay for the timid plus lots of 
boats  willing  to take the braver swimmers out beyond the reef. The 
calm  water  is  ideal  for  beginners  at  watersports - my husband 
managed  both  windsurfing  and  sailing during the 3 weeks we spent 
there.

We  would  both really recommend the Coral Hamaca to anyone thinking 
of  going  -  we  think  it fully lives up to its description in the 
catalogues and offers something for everyone.
Kay and Jimmy Reeves

JAMAICA: SANS SOUCI BY DEBBIE HOFFREN

May 25- June 1, 2001  

Trip & Arrival-Friday, May 25, 2001  

We  booked  a  Funjet  air  package  and  have booked with them many 
times.  Since our first trip with them in 1992, they always used Sun 
Country  from Houston but just switched to ATA. This was their first 
flight  out for this flight path, and we worried about glitches. Our 
worries  were  founded,  as  it  turned out. We had a difficult time 
getting  to  GLSS.  Our  ATA  flight  was  up in the air a while and 
turned  around  and  went back due to some light being on. We got to 
Jamaica  at  7  instead  of 4. We got to the resort at 9:45 . By the 
time  we  got checked in to room A8, we missed the whole Grand Gala, 
even  the  entertainment.  We had room service that night. We called 
at  10:10 and received our food at 11:15 p.m. We hadn't eaten hardly 
anything  all  day.  Todd  had  jerk  beef tenderloin (spicy). I had 
seafood  pasta marinara. Both of us had pumpkin soup and salads, and 
we  shared  some  chicken wings (good). He had cheesecake. This food 
had a wonderful taste but did not arrive hot or even warm (: 

  Our  bus  ride  wasn't  too  bad, and the driver was friendly. Our 
drive  to  GLSS  took  an  hour and 55 minutes. We couldn't see much 
because  it was dark. It was exactly 30 minutes from Breezes. I know 
they  have  a  golf bus at 8:15 , which will put people out there at 
9.  That  is late for Todd because he likes to go early to miss some 
sun.  At  least  that  gives  time  for breakfast. Even at this late 
arrival  hour  we  were offered mimosas or champagne after Todd went 
on  a self-serve vigil. We received two room keys and a safe deposit 
key.   We  later  found  that  only  one  of  our keys worked. I saw 
several  people  at  the  front  desk with this same issue. Try both 
keys before you separate to avoid being locked out! 

 Room 

  We  were right in front of the main pool. The beach bar had people 
dancing  outside  on  Friday  night  after the gala, and it was loud 
until  1  a.m.  From the bathroom, you could hear some HUGE party at 
the  clothing  optional  pool.  I went down there to see the view on 
Friday  night  and  was  NOT comfortable there. The beachfront rooms 
are  not as big as the older section. They do offer the advantage of 
being  near  the  main  beach  and pool, but it is totally different 
from the other section. 

  We  were in room A8, and if you book a beachfront Jacuzzi suite, I 
recommend  A8  thru  A12  to  get  near  the  main  facilities,  c/o 
facilities  and  the  duck pond. We had a sitting room and a bedroom 
and a bathroom with a large triangular Jacuzzi. 

   Out the bedroom and sitting room, we could exit via French doors. 
We  loved  this  feature.  We had a hallway that could be closed off 
with  French  doors.  In  the  hallway,  we  had  a refrigerator and 
coffee/tea  bar.  The  fridge  was  stocked daily. We received items 
such  as  Diet  Pepsi  in the bottle, Coca Cola Light in the bottle, 
Red Stripe in the bottle, Chardonnay from Chile, champagne, Coke, 7-
up, and Sprite in large plastic bottles. 

  Upon  arrival,  we  had fruit and cheese and champagne waiting for 
us.  We  were so hungry due to arriving at bedtime. The next day, we 
received smoked fish and crackers. 

  We had various English toiletries, such as bath gel, milled soaps, 
fragrant  shampoo,  etc. We did not have hair conditioner or receive 
all  week.  The  room  had an ironing board and iron and a CD player 
that  we  didn't  use.  It had a TV on a rolling stand that we could 
pull from the bedroom to the sitting room. 

  The  air  conditioning  was on a remote control system in Celsius, 
and there were ceiling fans in the bedroom and sitting room. 

  The  switch  to  the  Jacuzzi  was by the hall closet up high. The 
bathroom  had  a  separate  shower  and  double  sinks. One day, our 
ceiling  started  leaking out of the blue but did not leak any other 
day or even later that day. 

  We could not see the beach from the sitting area of our room while 
seated but could while standing. 

  Outside of our back door was the duck pond. We loved this spot and 
spent  a lot of time feeding ducks, huge catfish, and turtles. There 
were many of each. Grounds 

  We arrived at 9:45 p.m. and were still greeted enthusiastically by 
the  bellman.  The bellman station is just off the lobby. Off to the 
left  is  a  short footbridge seen in many photos. It crosses over a 
small pool of water that houses a little waterfall. 

  The  lobby  furniture has been updated since our last visit. There 
are  lots of couches, chairs, etc. The front desk still has a hidden 
computer  that  gives  lots  of  information on guests. The Casanova 
French  restaurant  is off the west end of the lobby. A library with 
books  in  several languages, a pool table, and TV are inside a game 
room  of the terrace. Here, there is now a computer that can be used 
(for  a  fee)  to  check  email.  See  the  guest relations desk for 
information  about  this.  During  our visit, they charged $5 for 10 
minutes  and  $2 for each minute afterward, I believe. It was on the 
first  time  we  went in the room, so we used it and found out about 
the  fee  later.  We had our InfoChan account and laptop, so we used 
that from now on.

   Steps are never far away anywhere on the property. Down the steps 
on  the  west  side is the Balloon Bar and Terrace. Nightly cabarets 
(except  buffet nights, Tuesday and Friday) are held here. The shows 
can  be  viewed  from  the  bar  or  terrace. There is a pool with a 
manmade  waterfall there. The bar has restrooms. Down the east steps 
from  the  terrace  is  the bird aviary. I saw turkeys, peacocks and 
other  birds.  The  back  door  was open to the aviary, so you could 
take  the  steps down to the lower level. The lower level could also 
be  reached  by  taking stairs and then a winding path surrounded by 
gardens.  On  the upper level east of the lobby is the beauty salon. 
Manicures  and  pedicures  are  included  in the package (except for 
super  surprise  and some other promotions) and arranged there. Down 
the  path  from  there is the elevator that leads to the lower level 
and  paths  that  lead  back to lobby or down to hidden rooms of the 
spa.  The  lower  level of the main facilities houses Charlie's spa, 
sauna,  Charlie  the sea turtle, the mineral hot tub and the mineral 
pool.  Charlie's  bar,  an  outdoor chess set, swings, hammocks, the 
Fitness  Pavilion  workout area, indoor gym, sauna, mineral Jacuzzi, 
mineral  grotto,  and  wedding gazebo are nearby. The mineral grotto 
had  less  fish  than  before,  but  they  were  bigger. Todd really 
enjoyed  feeding these fish. Off of the fitness area is a small area 
for  sunbathing  and  a  pier.  There  was  often someone sunbathing 
there.  There are a couple of birds elsewhere on the property. These 
have  been moved around from time to time over the years. We did not 
experience  a  lot  of  problems  with temperatures of the hot tubs. 
This  was  a  relief, but we did have to go to the mineral spa a lot 
of the time.

   Up  the  stairs  from  the  wedding gazebo is more hammocks and a 
great  view.  Down  a  path,  then  down  a lot of steps is the main 
beach.  The beach area has quite a few lounge chairs. It was easy to 
get  floats  for  swimming  or lounging. Off the main beach is a bar 
(usually  the  busiest  one) and grill. Behind it are a shuffleboard 
area  and  the  main  pool  with  swim-up  bar.  Towels were usually 
available  at  the  pool  and beach but were always available at the 
watersports  area  on  the west end of the main beach. The chairs at 
the main pool all have thick pink cushions on them. 

  The  beach  bar  seemed  to  open earlier than the pool bar or the 
balloon  bar.  The  beach grill opened a little late, in my opinion. 
They  did  offer  a  few  items,  a  scaled down version of the room 
service  menu.   We  did  not eat there at all, as they never seemed 
open  when  we  were  interested.  If  we  wanted  items  outside of 
mealtime,  we ordered room service. There was a hot tub on the beach 
with  restrooms nearby. This hot tub was broken the last two days of 
our  stay.  One  day, I saw a HUGE rat there for a couple of minutes 
while  I  was in it! It was sniffing my beach bag where I had a roll 
saved  for  the  ducks.  Beachfront  rooms are not that close to the 
water,  but  they  are  very convenient. A couple of blocks of rooms 
(A&B)  overlook  the  ocean directly, and other blocks spread around 
the  main  facilities  have garden or partial ocean views ( and full 
ocean views from some of the rooms). 

  The  Palazzina  restaurant  is  located  near  the beach. Many sit 
outside  under  ceiling  fans to view the ocean. All three meals are 
available there most days. 

   An  outdoor  stage  is  used  for fashion shows, entertainment on 
buffet  nights, etc. Near the stage is shuffleboard, and bocce ball. 
Down  the  back path from the beachfront rooms are the duck pond and 
tennis  courts.  We  thoroughly  enjoyed feeding the ducks, turtles, 
and  huge  catfish!  The  ducks  would even fly up in the air to get 
food  if  they  got  impatient, and there is a blind duck that needs 
help  to  get  anything! Past the duck pond is the clothing optional 
beach,  pool,  hot  tub  and  grill.  Near both areas are the tennis 
courts. You can jog or walk the path near the tennis courts. 

  The  clothing  optional  beach  offers  views  for sunset and is a 
popular  spot  at  that  time  among  the  clothed  set. The view is 
completely  unobstructed, so it is a great place to bring the camera 
at  that  time.  At  other  times,  hold  off on the photography and 
respect  people's  privacy.  We  found more staff there than guests, 
but  we  never  went over except at sunrise and sunset to try to get 
pictures  of  the place while it was empty. One end opens out into a 
river,  and  you  can  see  locals on the other side. If you linger, 
they  may  try to come up to you and talk to you. There are a lot of 
leaves  and  rocks  over  there, and they remove both with a tractor 
and  backhoe.  We found the main beach to be smooth and soft and not 
too  rocky.  There  were  always  chairs  and floats, and the bar is 
close to anywhere you want to sit. 

  The  property  also  has  a  couple  of shops. There is a logo and 
resort  wear shop and a shop for souvenirs, toiletries, rum, coffee, 
newspapers  and  books,  and  many  other  items. The main beach was 
raked by tractor sometimes and by hand at other times.

  Clientele 

  San  Souci  was not as quiet this visit. We arrived late on Friday 
night  just  as  the  Gala  entertainment was ending. They had music 
blasting  at  the  beach  bar  until  1 a.m. , and at the c/o beach, 
there  was  a  private  party  going on way past that. I walked over 
there  not  knowing  what  was  going  on  and  quickly left. It was 
clearly  a  huge drug fest, and I could not leave fast enough.  They 
seemed  to  be  at full occupancy over Memorial Day weekend. The age 
mix  was  20s  to  upper  70s.  There  were quite a few Japanese and 
Europeans.  Most  others  were  North  Americans  from  the U.S. and 
Canada  .  There  were  a  number  of  mother-daughter  and same-sex 
(mostly  ladies)  friends  there for the spa. The guests were mainly 
upper-middle  class types and some honeymooners. There were about 3-
4  weddings  a day. Those who wanted to chat with others hung out at 
the  beach  bar.  Nightly  shows  were  held  at  the balloon bar or 
beach/lawns  (buffet  nights),  and  usually  the  entertainment was 
attended  about  40-50  people,  except on the buffet nights when it 
began earlier and was the main theme of the evening. 

  They  had  a  Japanese  translator  doing  activities  along  with 
Japanese  clientele  and making it pleasant for them. I thought this 
was a nice touch. 

 Spa 

  The  spa  is a great benefit of the San Souci experience. Schedule 
your  four  half-hour treatments with Karoline and her staff as soon 
as  you  can  after  your  arrival.  If  you  are  eligible  for the 
treatments,  you  will  receive  a form at check-in. Fill it out and 
take  it  to  the  spa.  Call  the  beauty  salon or go in person to 
schedule  the  manicure  and  pedicure.  your appointments for one a 
day,  if  you  are available at the times they have open. Below is a 
description of our spa experiences: 

  On Monday, we had massages side by side at noon in the Sneak-a-Way 
hut.  My  view  was  breathtaking.  They  do  the  backside only. My 
attendant  spent a long time on my shoulders, as there were a lot of 
crunching  noises  going  on.  This  treatment  will  last  about 25 
minutes.  On  all  treatments,  they use light to medium pressure. I 
would have preferred something stronger. 

  At  4:30 on Monday I had the body scrub. Todd didn't want this. It 
hasn't  changed  since  last time. They cornmeal you up (feels good) 
and  then  they  stick  you  under the shower. Next, they apply Aloe 
Vera  gel but have you help put it on. Regarding the body scrub, I'm 
not  that tan, but none of my tan came off. I enjoyed the scrub, but 
you  are  totally exposed in that treatment-more than once. I am not 
real comfortable with that, but I lived with it. 

  We both had facials on Tuesday. They are short. They maybe rub 4-5 
things  on the face. Of course in 20-25 minutes, they don't do steam 
or  anything  like that. They waxed my eyebrows for $15. If you want 
to  do  anything  like  that,  ask  for  a price. They were going to 
charge  $20  when I signed but I told her the girl said $15. Neither 
price would have really been a problem. 

  Maggie  left the spa to go to Sandals Dunns River . I have to find 
what  happened  to  Elaine  at  Sandals  Dunns River . My opinion of 
Dunns  Spa  was  that  Elaine  made  it  one of the best spas in the 
world.  I  love  Maggie,  too.  Elaine  was EXCEPTIONAL, so I wonder 
where  she  went.  I  will  find  out. Meanwhile, Karoline runs this 
office.  It  is  all  computerized  now  and  fairly efficient. Some 
people do pay for additional and longer treatments. 

  The  treatments  are  not available for free on the Super Surprise 
programs  or  the  Lido  Lottery  programs. If you stay 4 nights and 
aren't  on  Super  Surprise  or similar, you can get one treatment a 
day  and  cannot transfer them. For anything else, everything is $70 
an hour and 40 for 1/2. They have wraps now, and they are all $70.

  Beauty Salon 

  On  Wednesday,  I  got the manicure and pedicure. Todd did this on 
Thursday.  You make those appointments with the beauty salon and can 
call 158 or just call 0 and ask for it. 

  Leslie,  one of the specialists there, remembered me from the last 
visit.  On  the  last visit, she remembered me from the time before. 
This  always  impresses  me.  We had not been in over 3 years, and I 
changed  my  hair,  so I was touched. The manicure and pedicure took 
about an hour. Men and women enjoy this pampering service. 

 Watersports 

  At  10  a.m. on Monday, we went on the snorkeling trip. We brought 
some  bread with us to feed the fish. The fish were interested where 
we  started,  but  the  watersports  guys  nagged  us  to  move  off 
elsewhere,  so  few  other fish were interested where it was deeper. 
We  saw  many  colorful  fish  and some live coral, but a lot of the 
fish  were  small.  There  were quite a few varieties. The water was 
cold  at first, but only slightly so. Eight people went on the trip. 
They  only let us snorkel for 30 minutes. We were back by 10:45 . It 
was  fairly  easy  to  get  into snorkeling or the glass bottom boat 
trip.  If  you  are  interested  in  these  trips,  check  with  the 
watersports  hut.  I  often  saw  water trikes, kayaks, a sailing in 
progress but never saw water-skiing.

  Laundry 

  Laundry  and  dry  cleaning  service is available at no additional 
cost  at  the resort. Allow 48 hours. Laundry will be back in a day. 
Dry  cleaning  takes 2 days. Call them to see if it is done, as they 
most  likely  won't  call you. They do a very nice job. As usual, we 
did  not  think  the  rooms  had enough hangers but we did get extra 
when  we  had the laundry done and from some other people's rejected 
hangers  outside  their  room.  We used the drawers in the chest and 
the  cabinets under the bathroom sinks to house most of our clothes. 


 Golf 

  Green  fees  and transfers to and from the SuperClubs Golf Club at 
Breezes  in  Runaway  Bay  are  included.  Carts  &  caddies are not 
included,  and at least one is mandatory. Todd has played the course 
quite  a few times, having stayed at Breezes twice and various other 
SuperClubs  a number of times. The ride was about 35-40 minutes each 
way  each  time. Sign up by calling or stopping by the front desk or 
guest  relations. Before boarding the bus, be sure to pick up a golf 
voucher  from the front desk. Eighteen-hole golf leaves at 8:15 a.m. 
The  10:15  and  1:15  buses  took out for 9-hole golf, but it would 
have  been  easy to get 18 in at those times. Todd just wanted to go 
early  to  beat  some  of the heat. Todd went 3 times, I believe. He 
did  enjoy  the  trip but found varying pricing depending on whether 
he  shared  a  cart  or  whatever. He used to walk BRB, but not this 
trip. 

 Entertainment 

  Most  nights, the resident band began to play at 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. 
Other  island  entertainers  performed at 9 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. at the 
Balloon  Bar.  On  one  night  (Monday, I think), they had a fashion 
show  done  in  the  form of a skit. That was interesting. The other 
nights,  they  had reggae groups. They sing for a while and then get 
the  audience  involved.  The wait staff from Balloon Bar does serve 
drinks to guests. 

  The  resort  had strolling musicians. They often hung out near the 
wedding  gazebo  or  near  one  of  the restaurants. There were horn 
players  or a flutist at weddings, unless a couple brought their own 
CDs. 

  There  was  a  Cuban  duo  that  played at Palazzina at dinner and 
various  other  places  during  the  day.  A Jamaican trio played at 
Bella  Vista.  The  flutist  would often play at lunch at Palazzina, 
and a pianist played at Casanova. 

 Restaurants 

  Ristorante  Palazzina,  located  on  the  beach  served guests for 
breakfast  and  lunch buffet style. Guests could be seated inside or 
outside  under ceiling fans with an ocean view. We usually opted for 
outside.  They  seem  to get somewhat upset if you get your food and 
then  ask for a table. We did this anyway half the time.  For lunch, 
they  supposedly  have  a pasta menu, but it was not offered, and we 
did not ask for it. 

  We did this restaurant for dinner one night. Todd had beef Marsala 
,  and  I  had  veal.  The  veal  was  like  a chopped steak cutlet-
downscale  from what I expected.  The service here was great, and we 
enjoyed  our  evening  here  tremendously. We dined here on our last 
night, as well. 

  We  dined  at  Casanova  a  couple  of times indoors. You can dine 
outdoors  on  the  terrace without a jacket or indoors with your own 
jacket  or  borrowing  theirs.  The first night we dined there, they 
lost  our reservation (as they did on our night at Palazzina). After 
some hassle, we got in. 

  The  menu at Casanova is good. This is the only place that had the 
Soave  wine.   All  others  were the same as the other places on the 
property.  Wine service both times was somewhat of a disappointment. 


  On  our  second  night  here,  the  waiter mixed up everything and 
brought  all  the  wrong  food.  We did get it all straightened out. 
They  do  a  nice  job  here,  and  it  is  pretty and romantic. The 
scallops  were  fake,  and  we couldn't take that.  The crème brulee 
was  to die for     and had berries and a cookie (tulip) on top, but 
I  ordered  sorbet  on  the second try. Plan on two hours for a meal 
here. 

  On  our  first  night  at Casanova, I ordered the fruits de mar, a 
favorite  at  most  resorts. It was snapper with just one shrimp and 
fake  crab.  It  wasn't  my  favorite,  but  I  was full before that 
course. 

  Casanova  had  a  really  good  pumpkin  and crab soup. All of the 
restaurants  had  great  soups  at  both lunch and dinner. This is a 
Jamaica specialty_do not miss the soups. 

  On  one  night  at  7:15  ,  we  gave  Bella Vista a try. It is so 
romantic  to  dine by the water and listen to the Jamaicans singing. 
The  mosquitoes  were  awful.  Due to that, Todd hated it. I ignored 
the  nibbling  on  my  legs and watched the stars and the waves. The 
conch  soup  was good. The salad and the curried seafood were OK. We 
left  most  of  it.  The  bread  was  homemade  and  the best on the 
property.  We  came  back  to  the  room and ordered a jerk steak to 
share,  along  with  wine  and  champagne and fruit. It came in less 
than  15  minutes!!!!!  That jerk steak is to die for. South Texans, 
it is spicy!

  Breakfast 

  We  did  the  breakfast  buffet  most  mornings.  We  were scolded 
slightly  for  getting  our food before requesting a table. The same 
guy  did  this  each  time  we  did it.  Also, when this guy gave us 
orange  juice  without  asking,  he was scolded HARSHLEY and slapped 
slightly from the restaurant manager. 

  They  had a nice buffet inside with those runny eggs and potatoes, 
fruit,  cereal, dried fruits and yogurt, smoked meats & fish, bacon, 
boiled  eggs,  and  local  specialties. Eggs to order were available 
outside.  Waffles  and  French  toast  were  also  available. Juices 
included  prune, grapefruit, cranberry, grape, and orange. Sometimes 
there  were  no  glasses.  Coffee  and tea were available; sometimes 
they were served too late in the meal. 

  The buffet was available at 7:30 and was early enough for golfers, 
as the golf bus left at 8:15 a.m. 

 You could order continental room service in the room, also. Lunch 

  We  usually  dined  at La Palazzina. Most days they had soft tacos 
and  either baked enchiladas or lasagna. They also offered two types 
of  fish (sea trout and escovich) and grilled chicken. They have ice 
cream  and  desserts  and  tons of salad every day. We aren't really 
dessert  eaters,  but  these fruit tarts are to die for if you are a 
fruit  eater. On some days they had one seafood dish or another with 
mixed seafood. That was always my favorite. 

  One  day,  they had chicken fajitas, shepherd pie, trout almandine 
(wonderful)  and  various  other  items.  I  discovered  as  we were 
departing  that  they had a made-to-order pasta station and had HUGE 
shrimp.  That  day, they didn't have the custom sandwich station. We 
have  found the lunch buffets to be better than dinner at times. The 
quality is great. 

  Dinner 

  Except  for  the  buffet  nights, the restaurants serve meals in a 
course  format.   Some people may think that the portions are small, 
but  if  you  order  all  or most of the courses, you should be well 
fed. If not, you can order as much as you like. 

   Try  to  plan  your  meals  around  finishing  in  time  for  the 
entertainment at the balloon bar. 

 Room Service 

  Room  service is offered 24 hours per day. A breakfast and all-day 
menus are offered. A Japanese menu is also offered at breakfast.. 

  It  is  also  possible  to order a bottle of champagne (or two) or 
wine  anytime.  We  found that lunch arrived faster if ordered late. 
We  ordered  champagne  and/or  wine  if our concierge did not bring 
any.  Once the concierge got to know us, we got both without asking. 
Eventually,  Todd  even  got some beer, but it was almost time to go 
home before that ever happened. 

  The  room  service menu for breakfast is continental only. I think 
the  resort  would  be  nearly  perfect  if  they  would serve a hot 
breakfast  in  the  room. You can get the Japanese breakfast of Miso 
soup and salmon. We didn't try it, I will next time. 

  For lunch, you can get sandwiches, soups, pizzas, burgers, chicken 
wings,  and  some  other  items.  For  dinner, they have a number of 
entrees.  We  enjoyed  the  jerk steak (hot enough to choke a horse) 
and  seafood  pasta  more than once. You can come up with a 4 course 
dinner  after  5:30 p.m.  At night, they do have the lamb chops that 
the  other resorts offer all day (or used to) but we didn't try them 
on room service at GLSS this time. 

 Beach Grill 

  The grill opens at noon . The menu seemed small and consisted of a 
jerk  special  of  the  day,  burgers,  hot  dogs, meat patties, and 
fries,  officially. Not that many people did this option as far as I 
could  tell.  They  have another grill at the c/o beach, but we only 
went  over  there a few times at sunrise and sunset for pictures and 
never saw it open. 

 Bars 

  There  are several bars_the Balloon Bar, the bar at Charlie's spa, 
the  main  beach  bar,  the main pool bar, and the c/o pool bar. The 
bar  at  the  spa  services people is now right by the mineral pool, 
rather  than  closer  to  the  spa.  Like the other bars, it opens a 
little  late since you can (and many do) sunbathe by breakfast time. 
You  can  get  water and juice out of the refrigerator at the nearby 
gym, though. 

  The balloon bar is popular in the evenings before and after dinner 
and  during  the  shows.  During  the shows, wait staff come out and 
take  orders  on the bar's terrace. Inside the bar, the waiters will 
visit  with  you  in the evenings, and you may find social directors 
there, as well. 

  The  beach  bar  is  the  most popular overall. They are open many 
hours  of  the day and play reggae and popular music tapes. There is 
always  someone  to talk to here. I pretty much am not a hard liquor 
drinker.  I do let myself try one or two drinks in a week's trip and 
did  enjoy  the  Caribbean  Sky.  These are like Icees, and a person 
could suck these down all day all week. 

  At lunch, they take drink orders in Palazzina. You can get wine or 
bar drinks. Gala Night (Friday) 

  We  arrived  so  late  on  Friday due to our flight delays that we 
missed  this entire event. This is the night that the chefs showcase 
foods  from  around  the  resort.   There  are  also  typically  two 
entertainment  showcases.  This  is  an  evening  not  to be missed. 
Tables  are  setup  for  groups  around  the main lawns. Preparation 
starts a day in advance for this event. 

 Games 

  There  was  a  pool  table  in  the game room just off of the main 
lobby.  They  also  have  board games and chess in here. A number of 
people  hung out in the game room/library just to chat, as it was an 
air-conditioned   spot.   They   offer   a  computer  with  internet 
connection  there,  but  it  is not cheap. It was $5 for 10 minutes. 
They do have a small library of books in that room, too. 

 Workout 

  The  classes at the fitness pavilion continue to be excellent. The 
Pilates/Step/Body  Sculpting  on  Sat. was good. I attended a couple 
of  aerobox  (kickboxing/Tae  Bo) classes. That was fun. We also did 
some  step  and  sculpting  and  floor  work. In the evening, we did 
advanced  step  and body sculpting. All classes have been an hour to 
an  hour  and  15 minutes and not for wimps. They build on the steps 
to teach you. 

  The  classes at the fitness pavilion continue to be excellent. The 
Pilates/Step/Body  Sculpting on Sat. was good. Yesterday, I attended 
aerobox  (kickboxing/Tae  Bo).  That  was fun. We also did some step 
and  sculpting  and floor work. In the evening, we did advanced step 
and  body sculpting. All classes have been an hour to an hour and 15 
minutes  and  not  for  wimps. They build on the steps to teach you. 
The  yoga  class was basic stuff and much tamer than when I was here 
before.  I  believe  the Rites to Rejuvenation is what they call the 
advanced  class  now.  It  is  only  offered  twice  a week. They do 
meditation  twice  a week and the regular yoga twice a week. They do 
water  aerobics  most  days.  There are people here just for the spa 
that attend every class and are also booking extra treatments. 

  At  3  p.m.  on  Monday, I attended Maggi's yoga class. It went on 
until  4:10  ,  but  I  spoke  with  him  until  4:25  . He has been 
vegetarian  now  for  25  years and said he hasn't eaten cooked food 
since  November.  He  is  still married to the other instructor, and 
she  still  wears her hair to the floor. The yoga is offered 3 times 
a  week.  It  is  tame.  They  do  a  harder  class  called Rites to 
Rejuvenation  twice  a week and meditation twice a week and do stuff 
w/ crystals and stones at the beach party. 

  I  believe  I  attended  seven  different  classes  at the fitness 
pavilion. Activities 

  We  did  not  receive an activities schedule in the room, and none 
was  offered.   When  checking in, we requested one. We received one 
for  the week after the request. The post a few of the activities on 
a  chalk  board  down  by the beach bar. They also post a few of the 
optional tours. For tours, see the tour desk in the lobby. 

  Our  Activities Friday_we had hoped to attend the Grand Gala or at 
least  the entertainment.  Instead, we arrived after it was all over 
due  to  a flight delay. We had room service very late and attempted 
to sleep. 

  Saturday_  We took Saturday as a lounge day. We scoped out how the 
property  had changed and took more pictures, played in the pool and 
on the beach and ate a lot. 

  I  went  off  to  aerobics and discovered the computer in the game 
room  and  spent  a  great deal of time there. I went all around the 
property taking many photos and then settled into the main pool. 

 We had dinner at Casanova, and I attended the show. 

  Sunday_  we  had  breakfast  at  the buffet, and Todd went off for 
golf. It was nice to be able to get breakfast before his bus. 

  The  aerobics  class  I  attended  on  Saturday  included 35 or 40 
minutes  of  Pilates and just as long of a cardio workout. By Sunday 
I was a little bit sore. 

  I  chatted  at length with a mother and daughter from New Jersey . 
When  Todd  came  back, we tried the room service. It came within 30 
minutes.  It  was  mid-afternoon,  and  we enjoyed the main pool and 
then  went  (dressed)  to  the c/o area for a great sunset with some 
amazing  pictures.  There  were  about  10  people  there,  8  fully 
clothed.  On  other occasions we were there at sunrise or sunset for 
pics.  Never  saw anyone any of those times that was not dressed. We 
had dinner at Palazzina and attended the show. 

  Monday_I  woke  up  from the best night's sleep I'd had in months. 
Todd  was  sleeping soundly. I was so sore from the Pilates class. I 
used that as an excuse to skip exercise this a.m. 

  We  had  our first spa treatments that day_I had two, and Todd had 
one.  We  spent  a long time at the manager's cocktail party and ate 
at  Bella  Vista.  We only ate part of our food and came back to the 
room for room service. I went back out to watch the fashion show. 

  Tuesday_Todd  went  to  golf  after  we  had breakfast. I went for 
another  aerobics  class  and  did one in the morning and one in the 
evening.  We  had  lunch  facials that day after Todd came back.  We 
played  in  the main pool that afternoon for a while. I saw a reggae 
dance  class  going  on  at  the  beach. That night, we attended the 
beach  party.  The  food  was of a Jamaican and BBQ theme. It wasn't 
our  favorite,  but  we found plenty to eat, and we enjoyed the show 
and the company there. 

  Wednesday_I  had  the  manicure  and pedicure this day. Todd and I 
both had a reflexology. 

  I  watched  a  waiters  race  at  the  main pool where people were 
performing  sort of a relay race to run get drinks and carry them on 
a  tray,  squat  under a limbo pole and then put on a wet t-shirt. I 
avoided  the bingo game because I was afraid it was a drinking game. 


  We  attended  the  show  that  evening.  Thursday_Todd played golf 
again.  I  went  to the workout again and took a lot of pictures. We 
had  room  service  and  went  to  the buffet. We fed fish and birds 
(like every day, several times a day) 

  Todd had his manicure and pedicure. I went for the sunset one last 
time.  This was our last night at the resort. We hung out for drinks 
at  the  Balloon Bar and went to Palazzina. I had a better meal this 
time. I spent some time packing. 

  Friday_We  didn't have to rush too much to pack, and we spent some 
time  on  the  pool and beach and did lots of eating and drinking to 
finish  out  the  trip.  We were on the bus at 1 p.m. after goodbyes 
with the staff. 

  The activities are a bit vague in this report, as I waited 4 weeks 
to  do my report!!! We had more fun than it sounds, and we did a lot 
more than I am describing. 

 Beach Party 

  The  beach  party  was a lot of fun and very festive. The food was 
Jamaican  stuff. You could skip Bella Vista and go to this and get a 
lot  of  the  same  stuff.  They  offered  jerk  pork, snapper; jerk 
chicken,  oxtails, minute steaks, fish soup, bammies, rice and peas, 
etc.  I  did  the jerk chicken and minute steaks. It was too dark at 
our  table  to  tell what was fat and what was meat; so trimming the 
meat  would have been a nice touch. I am not really a dessert eater. 
They   had   chocolate  cake,  pineapple  upside  down  cake,  flan, 
cheesecake,  plantain  turnovers,  sweet  potato  pudding,  and some 
coconut  cake. There were lots of cookies and things like that. I am 
the  type  that  can  try  a bite that is the thickness of a postage 
stamp and feel I tasted it. 

  We  dined  with  a  honeymoon couple was there on Lido Lottery. It 
saved  them  $1000  dollars. They came in on Sunday from Toronto and 
wee  getting  all of the spa treatments. They don't end until June 1 
for LL people because their literature comes out at that time. 

  At  the  beach party, they had some guys dancing to drums (similar 
to  Sandals'  show, but Sandals' show is more elaborate). They had a 
big  mama  get  guys  to dance with her. There was a guy that danced 
with  people  to the bamboo poles. I went up for that. We used to do 
that  when  we  lived  in  Midway  and Guam (the Filipino dance, the 
tinicling).  I never miss an opportunity for that. It was thrilling. 
The  guy  did  it  himself  with two sets of poles. I know how to do 
that,  too,  but  he  didn't  invite anyone. He is the same guy that 
does  the  nail dancing. Then they had the fire dancer/breather. The 
show  lasted until 10:10 . They had the house band from 7:30 to 7:50 
while  everyone  was  in  line.  Then  they  took a break as soon as 
everyone  was  seated.  It  was  almost  9  before  the regular show 
started.  Everyone  simply  visited. Maybe that is what they have in 
mind.  I  thought  it  was  going  to rain out yesterday but nothing 
happened  except  thunder.  After  the  beach party, they had bingo. 
They  were  giving  away  a  case of Appleton . Todd wanted me to go 
because  I usually win one or two games at a bingo session, but I am 
too  intimidated by the name Appleton bingo. They had one during the 
day.  `I  told Richard Bourke that everyone all over the Internet is 
talking  about  being  forced  to  drink during these games. He said 
that  is  another  reason  they  are  starting  over w/ these social 
directors  and  their  program. He says drinking games are what turn 
things  wild  and  that  they  are NOT changing the ambiance of this 
property.  They are totally booked, and everyone we've met loves it. 


   Manager's Cocktail Party 

  At  6  p.m. on Monday, we went to the manager's cocktail party. We 
spent  about  30  minutes  speaking  to Richard Bourke, the resident 
manager.  He  said that they are going to redo the grill/Bella Vista 
and  make  it  "what  it should be". He said they are going to put a 
Japanese  restaurant  out  in  the  middle of the duck pond. He said 
they  are  going  to put glass on top of the lobby pool and put fish 
in  it.  People will sit on top and look at the fish. The stage will 
move  off where that gazebo is and the balloon bar will move outside 
and they will make a true piano bar inside. 

  Richard said that the nudes would be happier at Braco and that his 
personal  preference for property depended on his mood and who he is 
with.  He  still  has a soft spot for Braco and had to move to Ochie 
for  this job. Sometimes he enjoys going to GLN or Hedo They want to 
keep  the  ambiance  at  GLSS as is and will not let this place have 
Hedo   type  parties.  We  had  some  discussion  about  the  social 
directors  leaving  and  the  starting over w/ activities that would 
occur. 

  Chef Jean-Marc Vernon is the executive chef. He did a great job on 
the  manager's  cocktail  party.  There were some veal chunks to die 
for  (unlike  what  was to be had last night at La Palazzina). There 
were  canapés  and fried chicken wings and fish and some other great 
things  I  can't  name.  The good stuff wasn't replaced. They had an 
open bar.

 Internet Connectivity 

  They  have an Internet café in the game room. If you plan to check 
email  briefly or email family and friends, this is a viable option. 
If  you  have  a  laptop  and  plan  repeat  visits  to  Jamaica , I 
recommend getting the economizer plan at http://www.infochan.com. 

 General Comments 

  We  have  enjoyed all of our visits to Grand Lido Sans Souci. Each 
one  has been a bit different from the others. Consistently, though, 
they  provide  lovely  rooms,  good to outstanding food, a nice spa, 
beautifully  surroundings,  and an excellent value. We are hoping to 
return in the fall of this year. 

 We had an OK return, although we did get delayed nearly an hour. 

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