Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 77
September 1, 1997

Final update 30 Aug 97 1300ET

| CTR Homepage | Island Index | Search |


1/TOBAGO BY PAUL GRAVELINE, CTR EDITOR

Of  all  the islands in the Caribbean, Tobago is probably the furthest 
from  my  home  so when I'd accumulated enough frequent flier miles to 
get  a  free  Caribbean  flight,  it made some sense to visit the most 
distant destination which presumably carried the highest air fare. 

On  my  first full day in Tobago, I decided to visit the island's main 
town,  Scarborough.  It  is  situated  on  a hill overlooking the sea. 
There  appeared  to  be few level areas in the old section of the town 
but  there  is a newer development right along the port area primarily 
for  the  tourist  industry..  You  can divide the town into two small 
areas:  the  old  town  on the hill , probably used for defense in the 
bygone  days,  and  the  more  modern  section in the revitalized port 
area. 

As  yet  Scarborough  has  not  been  sacrificed  to  tourism as other 
Caribbean  towns  have  been. There are few tourist related shops with 
commercial  properties  dominating.  In  fact,  most of the commercial 
activity  seems  geared  to  serving  the needs of the local populace. 
Remember  that  Tobago  is  part  of the island nation of Trinidad and 
Tobago with Port of Spain in Trinidad being the national capital. 

If  you  need  to change money, Scarborough is the place to do it. The 
banks  were  giving  about 10% better exchange than the hotels. The TT 
dollar  was  running about 6.1 to the US so my $200 exchange bought me 
abut  $1200  in  local  currency. My advice is to change your money in 
the  banks.  I did not test to see if local stores would take American 
dollars,  but  I  imagine their exchange rate would be even worse than 
the hotels. 

The  port  area  has  been  revitalized  some time in the recent past. 
There  is  a  modern looking port facility and a relatively modern two 
story  shopping  complex across the street. This does have some of the 
traditional  tourist  vendors  but also caters to the locals. I assume 
the  port  is  visited by cruise ships, although I did not see any the 
day I was there. 

If  you  are  planning to visit Tobago and want to check out the local 
urban  scene,  I'd  advise allocating not more than 1.5 hours for your 
visit to Scarborough. 

GRAFTON BEACH RESORT

I  spent  two days at the Grafton Beach Resort which is situated along 
with  a number of properties on the northwest shore of the island. You 
get  great  sunset  views from this section of the island. Most of the 
major  properties  are  located along a 5 mile stretch of land at this 
point on the island. 

The  Grafton  Beach  Resort  is  very well maintained and built on the 
hillside  leading  down  to  the beach. There is very little flat land 
next  to  the  sea in Tobago. Most of the topography consists of hills 
rising  right  up  from the water level. My section of the hotel had a 
little  verandah and grassy area overlooking the sea. A more extensive 
complex  of  rooms  with  balconies  was situated about 30 feet up the 
hill.  The  registration  area, main pool and restaurants are situated 
in  a  flat  area  from  which  you  can  get  a very nice view of the 
Caribbean sea. The pool has a swim up bar.

There  are two restaurants, one specializing in Mediterranean food and 
the  other  in  sea  food.  It  looked like the seafood restaurant was 
closed for the season. 

There  is  an  fairly  well  appointed  buffet breakfast each morning. 
Depending  on  your  package,  this  may be included in the room rate. 
They  also serve diner in the same location. I ate there one night and 
the  bill  ran to around $41 US including service and VAT. They tended 
to  garnish  the  main  course,  (in this case, chicken) with a lot of 
vegetables -- some of the spicy variety. 

The  room  ( number 1119) while not spacious was adequate and like the 
rest  of  the  property, very clean. One negative was the door leading 
to  the  next  room.  It provided little soundproofing and the TV from 
the  adjacent  room  could  easily  be  heard even at moderate volume. 
There were only a few choices on the cable TV set up.

One   interesting  phenomena  which  I  noticed  was  the  significant 
temperature  differences  among  the  various  levels of the property. 
Sitting  on  the  beach,  the  heat  was  intense, but just a few feet 
higher  at  the snack bar level, there was a cooling breeze. This seem 
to be a repeated pattern throughout the resort. 

The  entire  staff  seemed  very friendly and would check back to make 
sure  that things were all right if you requested anything. If you are 
looking  for  a  clean  property  with  a beach in Tobago then Grafton 
Beach Resort might be a good choice. 

LE GRAND COURLAN

The  Le  Grand  Courlan  is  situated  right next to the Grafton Beach 
Resort  -- or more specifically, I should say the Grafton Beach Resort 
is  situated  right next to the Le Grand Courlan. The Le Grand Courlan 
appears  to be the premier Tobago property at present. The promos call 
it  the  most luxurious property on the island and one cab driver told 
be it was the island's best property. He is probably right. 

  It  is  built on a hillside overlooking the Caribbean and there is a 
beach  at  the  bottom  of  the  hill.  Unfortunately,  the  place was 
virtually  deserted when I walked around it. In fact, it looked like a 
ghost  town.  Maybe they don't book people during certain parts of the 
year  but  the registration was open. Le Grand Courlan promotes itself 
as  a  resort and spa but not much was happening desk was functioning. 
It  probably  would  be  appropriate  for someone who is interested in 
having  a physically active vacation including spa treatments, working 
out  in the gym etc. Couch potatoes, like me, might be smarter to stay 
at the Grafton Beach Resort next door. 

The  entire  property  looked spotless and the pool area was beautiful 
although empty. 

If  you are looking for a upscale Caribbean vacation pampering to your 
physical  needs,  you might consider this spot. While not extensive in 
space  as  Grand  Lido,  it  looked like a nice place to spend a week. 
Prices  are  appropriate  to  the level of service and amenities which 
you might expect at a first class resort ( read high). 

(Ed  Note:  After I returned home, I received a notice Ean MacKay, the 
Hotel  Manager,  promoting  a  special room rate of $139 until 19 Dec. 
97.  You  get  the  room,  breakfast,  Swedish  massage  and all taxes 
included.  It's based on per person double occupancy. Contact 800-223-
6510  in  the  US. Based on what I saw of the property, this is a good 
deal.)

SANCTUARY VILLA RESORT 
I'd  met the Sanctuary Villa Resort's manager, Jacqueline Whitling, in 
Boston  during  one of the local CTO Chapter meetings last spring. She 
and  her  husband Derek are managing the construction and promotion of 
this  extensive  property.  When completed, it will probably be one of 
the  more interesting large resorts in the Caribbean. Since the resort 
abuts  a wildlife sanctuary, there will be no building adjacent to the 
resort. 

Like  most  of  the  other  Tobago  properties,  it is also built on a 
hillside  from  which you can get a view of the Caribbean. The view is 
onto  famous  Buccoo Reef and the Caribbean Sea. However, as it is set 
a  mile or so back from the sea, the slope is gentler than those built 
right  on the coast. When competed, the resort will have 27 rooms with 
flat  landscaped  rooftop in the hill side and 18 semi-detached villas 
with  plunge  pools  each.  There  will also be 19 private villas with 
large  pools  each.  In  addition  all  can  use  the big pools at the 
resort.

One  planned  feature  of  the  complete  resort  will be a long water 
slide,  in fact 3 of them , leading from a pool at one level to a pool 
at  a  lower  level.  How  they are going to get the aquatic revellers 
back  to  the  higher  pool  has  not  been  determined.  I  suggested 
something  like a ski lift. This water slide motif certainly could add 
a unique characteristic to Sanctuary Villa Resort .

As  Jackie  drove me around the property, I thought of how Walt Disney 
must  have  felt  when  he  surveyed  the  Orlando  property.  She was 
pointing  out  where  each  of the many components of the resort would 
eventually  be  situated.  A  number of the villas have been completed 
and  I  spent  a  night  in  one  of them and toured the other already 
completed villas.

There  is  one  word  to  describe the feeling you get from any of the 
villas  --  space.  They  are  quite big by Caribbean standards. While 
configured  differently, all have very large dimensions and because of 
the  architectural design, you get sense that you are really outdoors. 
Rarely  have  I  found Caribbean villas where two people could pass on 
the  stairway.  Usually they are very narrow and hard to navigate. Not 
so  at  Sanctuary  Villa  Resort.  The stairways leading to the second 
floor  were  quite  wide. You could easily accommodate 6 people in the 
villas in which I stayed. Probably 8. 

My  villa had 3 bedrooms ( one on the main floor with two double beds, 
on  the  top  floor  there  was a master bedroom and a third bedroom). 
This  was adequate for me as I was alone!. Each bedroom had a adjacent 
bathroom  (  no  tubs)  and  there  was  a  fourth  half bath near the 
kitchen. 

While  the  entire  villa is not air conditioned, each of the bedrooms 
have  a remotely controlled air conditioner and ceiling fan. There was 
a  private  plunge pool at my villa. In general, each villa either had 
its  own  private  plunge  pool  or shared a larger swimming pool with 
another villa. 

I  could  not  think of any appliance not present in my villa. And the 
place ( like all the other which toured) was spotless. 

Some  drawbacks  at present may include the undeveloped access road -- 
go slow over this one --and the continuing construction. 

You  would  want  to  consider  Sanctuary  Villa  Resort if you wanted 
luxurious  villa  living and plenty of space, especially if you have a 
family or are a group of friends traveling together. 

You   can   contact   Jacqueline  Whitling  at  Sanctuary  Villas  at: 
809/639/9556  or  fax 809/639/0019 or P.O. Box 424 Scarborough Tobago, 
West  Indies  E-Mail:  sanctury@tstt.net.tt  and  their  www  site  is 
www.trinidad.net/sanctuary

SPEYSIDE INN
Now  for  something  completely  different.  If  you are looking for a 
different  experience  on  Tobago,  then  I'd suggest the Speyside Inn 
facing  east on the less commercially populated area of the island. It 
provides  a contrast to the large hotels situated near the airport and 
is   run   by   the  multi-talented  Donna  Yawching.  Speyside  is  a 
reclamation  project  which  she  began  about  seven years ago and is 
quite  small  with only seven rooms. The views from any room encompass 
a  beautiful  bay  and,  according  to  Donna,  a  magnificent view of 
sunrise.  Besides  managing  the  Inn,  Donna  also  edits  the widely 
distributed  tourist magazine "Discover Trinidad and Tobago". She also 
writes a column for the local newspaper.

If  you  are  looking to get away from it all, then this may be a good 
choice.  It  is  not  luxurious  but provides basic accommodation with 
great  views.  You  can  get  a  double for under $100 a night in high 
season.  Prices  include  breakfast.  There  is  no  a/c  but as it is 
situated  on side of a hill, a gentle sea breezes will cool you. Donna 
operates  a  small  restaurant on the premises and cooks to order. She 
says  occupancy  is around 85% during the high season ( remember there 
are only 7 rooms). 

Speyside  is definitely not for everyone but it would be a good choice 
for  someone  on  a  budget  or someone looking for a simple but clean 
place with a view while exploring the natural splendors of Tobago.

One  word  of  caution is advised. The road leading to the property is 
called  The  Windward  Road  and it is the main island road leading to 
that  section  of  the  island.  It  is  one of the worst roads in the 
Caribbean  which  I  have  seen.  It  twists  and  turns  up  and down 
hillsides  for  about  ten miles. It's true that magnificent Caribbean 
bays  suddenly appear around bends but I'd suggest you forget the view 
and  concentrate  on the road. AT NIGHT THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS 
ROAD  AND SHOULD NOT BE DRIVEN EXCEPT IN DAYLIGHT. To compound matters 
you  are  driving  on the left and there are sharp blind hairpin turns 
with  ditches  alongside the road. Caution is advised at all times for 
those driving it for the first time. 

You  can  contact  the  owner,  Donna  Yawching  at  809-660-4852  for 
information and reservations.

GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT TOBAGO

Crown  Point Airport is a modern facility surrounded by a fairly large 
amount  of  commercial  shops  catering to the traveling public. There 
are  shops  selling books and magazines, places to eat and a bank. The 
airport is air conditioned and kept in pretty good shape. 

AA  is  flying  the main service from the US but it leaves SJU at 8:45 
pm  arriving  around 11:45 pm. The return flight ( which used to leave 
at  6:55  am  )  now  leaves  at 8:55 am so you get back to SJU around 
noon.  They  are running ATR 42s on the route. Going down there were 7 
passengers  and  coming  home  there  were  15.  Of course, it was the 
middle  of July. But I was told that the route has been successful and 
that  Tobago  is hoping to get a better aircraft and times. The flight 
takes about 2:30. 

All  the  people  I  met on Tobago were friendly. I didn't venture far 
from  the  known  tourist  routes  and was only there for 3 days so my 
experience was quite limited. 

Except  for  the  Windward Road near Roxborogh and Speyside and in the 
capital,  driving  was  pretty  easy  --  there  is  relatively little 
traffic  except at rush hours but even then it does not get very busy. 


Tobago  seems  to  be  an  up  and  coming  Caribbean destination. The 
established  resorts  were  on par with anything I'd seen on any other 
island  in  the region. There didn't seem to be much night life but it 
was  the  off  season and it might be significantly more active in the 
winter.  Tobago  wouldn't  be  the place I'd recommend to a first time 
Caribbean  visitor  but  if  you've  been  to other islands , then you 
should definitely consider Tobago as your next destination. 

2/ USVI NEWS BY FRANK BARNAKO

The  following  information  is  provided  by  Frank  Barnako who owns 
property which he'd like to rent. You can check it all out at:

For  the most relaxing vacation of your life, stay at Over the Rainbow 
Our  management  company  has  produced  a new web site for Beyond the 
Sea,  a spectacularly sited 2-1/2 bedroom property. Please take a look 
at: http://www.caribbeanvilla.com/develop/carib/beyond/beyond.html.

Fall  Sale:  prices reduced 10% to $1,386/week, 2 persons in September 
and October. Not all dates available.

** Park Service will make changes

The  little island which successfully resisted a traffic light has now 
forced  the  National Park Service to prepare changes to its plans for 
new  facilities  on  St.,  John.  An  NPS spokesman said there will be 
alterations   to  the  planned  National  Park  Visitor's  Center  and 
Administrative  Complex within several weeks, the Daily News reported. 
Earlier,   150  island  residents  attended  a  public  meeting,  many 
complaining  about  the  plans  which included relocating a children's 
playground  and  removing  some trees. Park officials said the changes 
will  cause  delays  in  the  project which originally was expected to 
begin construction next Spring.( 26 Aug 97)

** Tourism budget will spend $7.2 million for advertising

It's  budget  time in the islands. And the Tourism Department has said 
it   hopes  to  spend  almost  $7  million  on  television  and  print 
advertising  in  the  next year to promote the islands. The plans were 
outlined  during  a  meeting  of  the  St.  Thomas-St. John Chamber of 
Commerce  meeting. The group's president, Robert Siefert, said that in 
the  face of more marketing efforts from competitors like Jamaica, the 
Islands  have  to  respond, the Daily News reported. Siefert also said 
he  has  some  quarrel with the government's spending plans, including 
$300,000  last  year for Carnival which, he said, doesn't bring people 
to  the territory. He endorsed island hotel operators buying their own 
advertising.  "It  is possible, and it is our responsibility," Seifert 
said.( 26 Aug 97)

** Theme park planned on St. Thomas

St.  Thomas's  Eric  Matthews  is  pursuing  his ten-year-old dream of 
developing  a  theme park on the island. "We are going through fragile 
(financial)  negotiations,"  he told the daily News. Matthews said his 
project  will  cost $ million dollars, with current plans for it to be 
located  on  about  ten  acres  near  the  cruise ship docks. The News 
reported  the  park  would  include shopping, recreation, restaurants, 
and the natural history of the islands.(19 Aug 97)

** Coral World repairs continue

St.  Thomas's  underwater  museum, Coral World is being rebuilt slowly 
but  surely.  Hurricane  Marilyn  destroyed  it,  but  the  Daily News 
reports  the  a  cofounder  of  the project has joined the new owner's 
staff to help direct the rebuilding.(19 Aug 97)

** VI restaurants featured

Bernetia  Akin,  Daily  News  columnist reports two island restaurants 
will  be featured on a Discover channel series set to begin this fall. 
"Great  Chefs  of the World", hosted by John Shoup, has already filmed 
interviews  with  chefs  at  St.  Thomas's Ritz Carlton and St. John's 
Caneel Bay.(19 Aug 97)

** VIs get new area code

The  area  code  for  the Virgin Islands has changed to 3404, although 
809  will  work  until  next  Summer.  The  new  area code is the VI's 
exclusively.  The  809 was shared with other islands including Tobago, 
Anguilla, Caicos and the Dominican Republic.(19 Aug 97)

St.  John's  oldest  newspaper  has  given a new look to its Web site, 
complete  with  color  photos.  You  can see the latest Web edition at 
http://www.tradewinds.vi/970720.html.(13Aug97)

** Restaurants:

*  The  Blue Marlin, located at red Hook, next to the dock for the St. 
John  ferry.  Chef  Bruce  McGinty  offers  "progressive-contemporary" 
dishes,  including tuna with horseradish-scented mashed potatoes, fish 
with  sauces  featuring horseradish and orange-infused soy sauce. Wife 
Katja  works  behind  the  bar  and  handles seating, according to the 
daily News.

*  Sera  Fina  Seaside Bistro has opened in what used to be Don Carlos 
Restaurant  in  Coral  Bay  on  St. John. Chef Scott Bryan handles the 
kitchen,  offering black Angus New York strip steak, turkey scallopini 
with  mushrooms, garic and capers, and fresh snapper creole. The place 
is  owned  by Dennis and Pat Rizzo, who also have the nearby Shipwreck 
Landing restaurant and bar.(13Aug97)

Ramada Yacht Haven finally sold

A  spokesman  for  Scotia  Bank said its subsidiary has made a deal to 
sell  the  dilapidated  St. Thomas's Yacht Haven Hotel and Marina. The 
name  of the new owner was not reported by the daily News, however the 
new  buyer  reportedly  has  sent  eviction  notices  to the dozens of 
tenants  still  living  or  running  retail businesses in the rundown, 
damaged  property. Target date for the property to be vacant is August 
31..(5Aug97)

Park Service defends building plan

There  is no indication that citizen opposition to renovations for the 
National  Park  services'  downtown  Cruz  Bay,  St.  John  will  sway 
authorities   from   their   plans,   the  Tradewinds  reported.  Park 
superintendent  Francis  Peltier responded to critics who complain the 
plan  will  mean downsizing of the nearby playground saying "There are 
severe  time and money constraints to which we must adhere in order to 
accomplish  this project. The center is not being built for just a few 
people,  but  to  enhance the park experience for a local and a global 
community."  He  also  denied the playground will be smaller but said, 
in  fact,  it will be enlarged from 20 x 20 feet to 20 x 60 feet after 
relocation..(5Aug97) VI Park rated

St.  John's  V.I.  National  Park  gets  the  same  rating as Yosemite 
National  Park  in California in a study by Consumer Reports magazine. 
The  survey was conducted by the magazine, and solicited comments from 
magazine  readers. The VI Park's scenery got an "excellent" grade from 
70  to  80  percent of respondents, according to a report by the Daily 
News.  Eighty  percent  of the people rated the beaches excellent, but 
30 percent said roads and buildings need repair.(5Aug97)

Source: http://www.stjohntradewindsnews.com/

3/ JOURNEYS FOR SEPTEMBER 1997

ANGUILLA BY PETE NORTON

My  wife  and  I  returned from our 3 week vacation on Anguilla.  This 
is  our  sixth  trip to Anguilla staying at  Allamanda Beach Club.  We 
normally   go  in  February  for  3  weeks  when  the  temperature  is 
consistently  85-90 degrees with a cool Caribbean breeze blowing every 
day.   We  especially  love Anguilla because the sun shines every day.  
Anguilla's  greatest  assets are the excellent  beaches (30), the fine 
dining,  and the friendly Anguilllan people.  We usually take a picnic 
lunch  and  stay  on  some of the most  beautiful beaches in the world 
when  we  are not at Shoal Bay Beach.  Shoal Bay Beach is rated one of 
the  ten  best  beaches  in  the  Caribbean (Conde Nast 11/96) being 2 
miles  long  with  powder white sand and the greatest snorkeling reefs 
just  off  shore.   The  beach  is also excellent for swimming and the 
water remains at 80 degrees even during February.     

Dining  on  Anguilla  is an gastronomic experience.  You can dine at a 
different  restaurant  for  2  weeks and never hit the same one twice.  
There  are  many  excellent  restaurants  run  by  local  and  foreign 
restauranteurs.   We  found  that  all of the restaurants and some new 
ones  are  all  open  even though some were heavily damaged during the 
hurricane  in  1995.   A  special  new restaurant to mention is Zara's 
which  is  getting  rave  reviews by everyone who has eaten there.  We 
were  there  for  four  dinners  and would rate this restaurant, along 
with  all  our other friends who ate there many times, as being in the 
Boston  Globe,  New  York Times, 4 star category. Zara's is located on 
the  property  of  Allamana Beach Club and is a must if you are dining 
out  in  Anguilla.   Chef Shamash at Zara's is a master Caribbean chef 
who  is  very  well  known  and popular on the island for his creative 
talents.   He  previously  was  chef  at   superb  restaurants such as 
Cyril's Fish House, Cove Castles, and La Fontana.   

We  stay  at the Allamanda Beach Club which we consider the best value 
not  only  in  Anguilla but in the British West Indies.  The Allamanda 
offers  a  fabulous  location on Shoal Bay Beach with all rooms facing 
the  ocean,  Zara's  restaurant and bar, pool, kitchens in every room, 
maid  service,  and  much  more.   To us the Allamanda is the ultimate 
Caribbean  hideaway  with  only 16 rooms.  It is very quiet, romantic, 
and  relaxing for what we consider a perfect vacation.  Sam Mason, the 
owner  of  the  Allamanda, tells all his guests that he has built this 
hotel,  yet  undiscovered,  so  that  he  can offer the best value and 
friendly  experience  without anyone going bankrupt.  For this reason, 
the Allamanda's daily rates are the best starting at $85. 

Daily  rates  April  15,  1997 to December 14, 1997: Stay 6 Nights and 
get
the 7th FREE
Plus you do not have to pay the 18% Government tax on the room. 

1.  Deluxe  king  bedroom  +  kitchen  (accommodates 2) - top floor -- 
Rooms
#3, 4 -- $147.00

2.  Deluxe with 2 queen beds + kitchen (accommodates 3) - second floor 
--
Rooms #9, 10 -- $147.00

Note: $25.00 extra charge per night for fourth person in room

3.  Apartment  (one  bedroom  plus  sofa + kitchen) (accommodates 3) - 
bottom
floor  --  Rooms  #13,  16  -- $147.00 - Note: $25.00 extra charge per 
night
for fourth person in room

4. Standard queen bedroom + kitchen (accommodates 2) - top floor --
Rooms #1, 2, 5, 6, -- $127.00

5. Standard queen bedroom + kitchen (accommodates 2) - second floor --

Rooms #7, 8, ll, 12 -- $118.00

6. Studio apartment, pullout sofa, + kitchen (accommodates 2) bottom
floor--Rooms #14, 15 -- $77.00

Daily rates December 15, 1997 to April 14, 1998:  

1.  Deluxe  king  bedroom  +  kitchen  (accommodates 2) - top floor -- 
Rooms
#3, 4 -- $165.00

2.  Deluxe with 2 queen beds + kitchen (accommodates 3) - second floor 
--
Rooms #9, 10 -- $165.00

Note: $25.00 extra charge per night for fourth person in room


3.  Apartment  (one  bedroom  plus  sofa + kitchen) (accommodates 3) - 
bottom
floor  --  Rooms  #13,  16  -- $165.00 - Note: $25.00 extra charge per 
night
for fourth person in room

4. Standard queen bedroom + kitchen (accommodates 2) - top floor --
Rooms #1, 2, 5, 6, -- $135.00

5. Standard queen bedroom + kitchen (accommodates 2) - second floor --

Rooms #7, 8, ll, 12 -- $125.00

6. Studio apartment, pullout sofa, + kitchen (accommodates 2) bottom
floor--Rooms #14, 15 -- $85.00

Winter  rates  PLUS  10%  Service  and  8%  Government Tax (Government 
required
at all lodgings)
This tax waved on the summer rates


We  have  stayed  at  most of the other islands over the last 21 years 
and  we  have made many friends.  All of our old and new found friends 
are  booking  reservations  and  relocating  to  the Allamanda and all 
agree  that  this  is  the  best  of  the  best in beaches, hotel, and 
dining.   So  based  on our experience with Anguilla and the Allamanda 
Beach  Club,  you don't have to spend a lot of money per night to have 
a  great  vacation.  My wife and I our just trying to get the word out 
on  the  best vacations we have been on and pass on information people 
we  know  have  given  us.   Sam  has created a great WEB page for the 
Allamanda  because of all the interest in his hotel.  His WEB page can 
be         found        at        the        following        address:  
http://www.offshore.com.ai/allamanda/   Also Zara's has a new web page 
- www.ai/zaras  

ANGUILLA BY JIM JORDAN

(Ed Note: the following contribution by Compuserve Caribbean Forum sysop Jim Jordan is copyrighted and used in the CTR with his permission.)

A First Time Visit to A Caribbean Paradise

In   1969,  a  force  of  British  paratroopers,  marines  and  London 
"Bobbies"  invaded  the  tiny, obscure island of Anguilla to "quell" a 
rebellion  --  a rebellion over Anguilla's status as a colony of Great 
Britain.  It  should  be  noted here that Anguilla lost the revolution 
and  retained  it's  status  as  a  colony  (though  it's  now  a self 
governing  British  territory  and  is  known  as a British Associated 
State) -- which was exactly what the peoples of Anguilla wanted!

In  1997,  an  obscure traveler invaded the tiny island of Anguilla -- 
still  a  colony of the British crown -- to see if all he had read and 
heard   of   this   island  was  true.  And,  this  traveler  can  say 
unequivocally  that  he  found  it  to be everything -- and much, much 
more!  (Please  note  that despite having previously visited more than 
half  of  the  Caribbean  countries,  I fell totally and completely in 
love with Anguilla, whatever it's governmental status!) 

Anguilla - At First Look

As  the  plane  dropped down and began its approach into St. Maarten's 
Princess  Juliana  International  Airport,  I looked out the port-side 
window  and  glimpsed  my  destination on the horizon. It lay upon the 
calm  blue  of  the Caribbean like a sea serpent, causing me to recall 
that  on  his  second  voyage  to the New World, Columbus had so aptly 
named  it "the eel" -- Anguilla -- because of its eely or reptile-like 
appearance.  It snaked its way to the northeast, low on the horizon -- 
the  highest  point on the whole island is just a scant 213 feet above 
the  level  of  the  sea  around  it -- with soft, sugar-white beaches 
looking like precious pearl necklaces ringing around the edges. 

While  the  name  conjured  up  by  Columbus  still remains today, Ol' 
Christopher  wasn't  actually  the  first  person  to  "discover"  the 
island.  There  have  been archeological finds on the island that give 
evidence  that  it was inhabited as far back as two thousand years ago 
by  Amerindians  who  called  the  island "Malliouhana". This name has 
been  perpetuated  in modern times, with it being adopted by shops and 
at least one resort.

I  had  read  and  heard much about this most northerly of the Leeward 
Islands  and  now  I was finally going to have my maiden initiation to 
this  island -- one who's inhabitants still today firmly fight to hold 
back  the  exodus  toward modernization that so many other of its near 
neighbors  have simply accepted, and which has irrevocably changed not 
only  the face of those islands, but has changed the total ambiance of 
them  as  well.  And,  I  found the reluctance of those people to rush 
hurly-burly  toward  a plethora of strip shopping centers and a gaggle 
of  gambling  casinos  and  a  herd  of high-rise hotels, has afforded 
retention of a charm that's seldom seen in the Caribbean today.

Fine Friends Are Hard To Find

I  had  the  good luck to know someone who had searched the islands of 
the  Caribbean  to  find  that  "perfect  spot"  to  ultimately be his 
retirement  home  and  he  had graciously invited me to experience the 
lazy  island  life firsthand. He had said, "Jim, you've spent a lot of 
time  in  Jamaica.  Now, I want you to come and see MY island! I think 
one  visit  will  provide  you  with a new knowledge of what Caribbean 
islands  'used'  to be like -- and I don't think you will ever be able 
to look at other islands in the same way again." 

So,  here  we were, flying into the St. Maarten airport, there to meet 
our  host  who  was  scheduled  to arrive just a scant fifteen minutes 
after  my  plane  touched down. He was flying from Toronto, while we'd 
taken  a  flight  that  originated  in  Charlotte. I looked forward to 
seeing  him  again,  since  it  had been more than six months since we 
initially met in his hometown of Toronto at a gathering -- a "bash" --
  of  CompuServe  members  and  staff  of  The  Travel  Forum  and The 
Caribbean Travel Forum. 
  
Daryl  Gurvey  is  imposing.  The  very  first  time I met him, in his 
office  in  Toronto,  where  he  oversees  his  many  companies, I was 
immediately  struck  by  the  fact  --  to  my  eye  -- of how much he 
resembled  a  young  Ernest Hemingway. I commented on this and thereby 
immediately  christened him with the nickname of "Papa" -- a name that 
has  become  part  of his on-line persona as the section leader on The 
Caribbean Travel Forum of CompuServe.

Traveling To St. Maarten

The  flight  down  wasn't  necessarily an experience -- just a routine 
trip  to  the  Caribbean.  We  -- my wife, Nina and I -- had gotten to 
Charlotte  on  time  and  the  transit  from  our  arrival gate, via a 
commuter  plane,  was just up the escalator and across the hall to the 
international  departure gate. Our US Air flight was right on time and 
we  had  gotten  seats on the exit row, though we sat across from each 
other  in  aisle  seats. The weather en route was calm and as pretty a 
day as I have ever experienced. 

St. Maarten

Our  arrival  at  St.  Maarten's  airport wasn't a problem, but we did 
encounter  the most exasperating and time consuming immigration check-
in  I  have ever experienced anywhere in the Caribbean, or the rest of 
the  world,  for  that  matter. (Unbeknownst to me, that was to be the 
prelude  to yet another excruciating experience -- departure from that 
selfsame  airport  a  week  later.) There was one bright spot -- there 
was  absolutely no customs inspection whatsoever. Therefore, once past 
the  immigration  officer's  perfunctory stamping of our passports, we 
only  had  to  fight  the crowd -- it was almost a mob -- clogging the 
luggage  recovery  area.  (That  provides yet another reason why folks 
shouldn't check luggage on a Caribbean trip.) 

Daryl's  Air  Canada  flight had touched down while we were waiting to 
clear  customs. But he didn't actually reach the terminal until we had 
exited  the  luggage  area,  so  we  simply waited for him to walk out 
through  the  final gate -- and there he was! We shook hands warmly, I 
introduced  Nina  to  our  host  and my friend -- and we hurried for a 
taxi  van  to  travel  the short distance to the ferry docks -- in the 
separate  country  of  St.  Martin.  (I'm  always  intrigued  that two 
completely  different  countries  can  have a presence on such a small 
island.  Dutch  St.  Maarten  has  all  the gambling -- but French St. 
Martin has all the nude beaches!)

When  we  got  aboard  the  taxi  van, a pretty young lady was already 
there  and an inquiry resulted in her sharing the information that her 
new  husband  --  they  had been married just that morning and were to 
honeymoon  on  St.  Martin -- didn't have proper documentation and the 
airlines  had  absolutely refused to allow him to fly until he got it. 
So,  the  bride  was all alone and the groom wasn't expected to arrive 
until the next morning! 

It  was too bad, since I understood from the girl that her husband did 
have  an  expired  US  passport and most countries do accept those, as 
long  as  the  expiration  is  within  a  reasonable  time  --  a year 
possibly.  The  van  dropped  the  new  bride off at a small, downtown 
Marigot hotel and we were off to the ferry dock. 

By Ferry To Anguilla

Upon  our  arrival,  the  next  ferry was just about to depart, so the 
three  of  us  hurried  aboard for the short five mile, twenty minute, 
ferry  ride  across  the  Anguilla  Channel  from  Baie  Nettle to the 
Anguillan port of Blowing Point. 

A  note  to  anyone  who  plans to travel to Anguilla by ferry -- make 
certain  to  fill  out  the  Anguillan Embarkation/Disembarkation Form 
prior  to the boat fully leaving the Marigot Harbor! The waves can get 
rough  in the Anguilla Channel -- if there is a stiff wind blowing and 
it's  difficult,  if not almost impossible, to write with one hand and 
hold on with the other! 

Anguillan Arrival

I  had  purposefully  purchased  a  really good bottle of a local wine 
from  the vineyards of the Biltmore Estate, in the mountains of nearby 
North  Carolina,  to  take to Daryl. I knew he was something of a wine 
lover.  As  we  started  to  pass through Anguillan customs at Blowing 
Point,  the  customs  inspector  asked if I was bringing in any gifts. 
Not  wanting to spoil my surprise gift, I leaned over and whispered in 
her  ear,  "Yes, I have a bottle of wine and it's a gift for our host, 
who is standing next to me." 

She  smiled  and  waved us through. And, when she did, Daryl was waved 
through  right  behind  us, without her asking him any questions! But, 
as  our  government  says,  "Don't  ask  -- Don't tell!" Despite Daryl 
being  Canadian  --  he  utilized  that  approach and walked right on. 
(Now,  before  anyone  gets  the  wrong  idea,  he wasn't smuggling in 
anything  --  it  was  just  that it was a funny experience and we all 
laughed about it after we had cleared the port!)

Immediately  after  exiting  the  gates  at  the  port, we were met by 
Daryl's  very  charming  and  beautiful wife, Gayle. A Canadian, Gayle 
opted  to  live  on  the  island  in  the  double  villa she and Daryl 
purchased  a few years ago. She stays on-island most of the time, with 
trips  back  to  Toronto in the mid to late summer. In addition, Gayle 
has  a  really  nice,  upscale  boutique  located at South Hill called 
"Curiosity"  and  she travels to the States and Canada on buying trips 
occasionally.  Daryl  has  a number of companies in Canada and must be 
in  Toronto  much  of  the  time to oversee these operations. He flies 
down  to  the island about a week a month. They plan to live full time 
on-island as soon as Daryl retires. 

Bayberry And Chinaberry

The  double villa was originally built by an American ex-patriot woman 
and  as  soon  as  Gayle and Daryl saw it, they decided it was exactly 
what  they  were  looking for -- having visited many Caribbean islands 
in  search  of  "just  the  right place" to settle down. I must admit, 
their villa is something to behold!

The  villa is located just a few minutes from Blowing Point in an area 
that  is known as Cul de Sac. Actually built as two separate buildings 
joined  by  a  common  courtyard,  Bayberry  is  the  main  house  and 
Chinaberry  is  the  adjoining guest house. The two houses provide two 
sides  for  the  courtyard,  while  a beautiful Spanish wall stretches 
across  the  front  and  a  raised parapet walkway, connecting the two 
structures  across  the  back,  completes the enclosed area. Gayle has 
done  a masterful job of decorating both houses, as well as overseeing 
the  gardenscaping  of  the tiled courtyard and all of the landscaping 
of the yards outside the walls. 

We  spent the week in Chinaberry. It contains a huge living area, with 
a  king  size  bed  replete  with ceiling-hung netting to ward off the 
stray  insect  from  making  a  morsel  of an outstretched leg or arm. 
There  is  a compact, yet fully functional, kitchen and breakfast area 
and  both  the living area and the kitchen had ceiling fans -- and the 
breezes  completely  eliminate the need for air conditioning. There is 
a  day  bed  that  doubles as a couch and a lounge chair and settee of 
rattan  complete  the  seating. In addition, there is a television set 
connected to the local cable. 

There's  a  beautiful  step-down bath and toilet area with an open-air 
shower.  The living area opens out upon the parapet walk, with its own 
outdoor  chairs  and  a round table with an umbrella, to provide shade 
from  the  tropical  sun.  The walk looks out on Rendezvous Bay to the 
west   and   the  sunsets  viewed  from  this  vantage  point  are  as 
magnificent as any I've ever seen anywhere.

Gayle And Daryl - Hospitable Hostess And Host

I  can't say enough about the gracious hospitality of Gayle and Daryl. 
We  had  occasion  to  dine  with  them  a couple of nights, and Gayle 
invited  us  to  a  delicious  dinner on our first night on-island. In 
addition  to  us,  they  had  invited  Barbara  and  Roger, a charming 
British couple who have lived on Anguilla for some years now. 

While  the others were inside enjoying a cool drink, I chanced to chat 
with  Roger  on the parapet and he enthralled me with his knowledge of 
the  history of Anguilla. He is controller and general factotum at the 
Anguilla  Great  House  Resort.  In  addition,  in  the  past,  he has 
performed  in  the  capacity  of tour guide from time to time at Great 
House  and  has  a  wonderful knowledge of the evolution of the island 
and,  more recently, the revolution that Anguilla staged against Great 
Britain  --  a  totally  bloodless revolution that Anguilla completely 
won,  following  the  "invasion" by British para-military units -- a a 
classic   example  of  "the  mouse  that  roared"!  I  was  especially 
enthralled  with  his  accounts  of  the history of the island and the 
revolution.

An Anguillan Legend

The  following  day,  I had an opportunity to actually meet one of the 
men  who  was  part and parcel of the revolution - one Jeremiah Gumbs. 
Jerry  is  the  person  who  built  one of the original resorts on the 
island  --  Rendezvous  Bay  Resort  --  and he still lives there and, 
though  he  was  to  celebrate his eighty- fourth birthday on February 
18,  1997,  just  a scant week following our meeting, he still is hale 
and  hearty.  He sports a full beard and has been called the "Anguilla 
Santa  Claus".  There  was  a  photograph of Jerry on the cover of the 
current  Anguillan  Life  magazine,  showing  him  tanned and bearded, 
swimming  in  the  waters  of  Rendezvous Bay, something he does every 
day.

An Interesting Sidebar

I  enjoyed  my  conversation  with  Jerry  and  found  out  all of the 
contributions  he  had  made  to  his  native  island.  While  we were 
talking,  Jerry  mentioned  that he had served in the US Army and been 
stationed  at  a  "Camp  Croft."  I  hastened  to tell him that I knew 
exactly  where  Camp Croft had been, in Spartanburg, South Carolina! I 
think  he  was completely surprised to find somebody who actually knew 
of the long-gone army base. 

He  said  that  for  some years he had been trying to find somebody to 
help  him  contact  someone  who  he had known as a young soldier -- a 
lady  named  Hortense  Potts,  who  had lived in East Flat Rock, North 
Carolina.  He  had  never been able to find a single soul who had even 
heard of East Flat Rock! I told him that I not only had heard of it --
  but  that  East  Flat  Rock  was  no more than 45 miles from where I 
lived!  I used his phone and called directory assistance for that area 
and  obtained  a  phone  number,  but  when  I called it, there was no 
answer.  I  promised I would make an effort to locate Mrs. Potts -- if 
she was still alive -- and put Jerry in touch with her. 

Mission Accomplished

As Paul Harvey would say, "Now, the rest of the story!" 

A  week  after my return from Anguilla, I drove up to the mountains of 
North  Carolina  on  a  sunny,  Sunday afternoon. I thought if nothing 
else,  I  might  be  able  to  find someone who could either put me in 
touch with Mrs. Potts -- or tell me what might have happened to her.

I  happened  to  stop at a country convenience store along the highway 
and  asked  the clerk if she knew of a Hortense Potts. She appeared to 
be  more  than a little apprehensive about telling a stranger anything 
about  anybody in those parts, but responded that she did know of such 
a  person.  I  asked  if  Mrs.  Potts  was still living, whereupon she 
guardedly  volunteered, "She was -- when she was in here last week!" I 
then  explained  why  I  was  attempting  to find Mrs. Potts -- for my 
friend  on  a  tiny  Caribbean island. The clerk then quickly detailed 
exactly  what  roads  I  should  take  and which turn-offs to make and 
said,  "Mrs.  Hortense  lives in the first house -- a yellow one -- on 
the left after the curve!" 

I   followed  the  instructions,  found  the  house  just  as  it  was 
described,  drove  up  the  driveway and went to the door. A beautiful 
lady  opened  the  door  and  said,  "Hello. What can I do for you?" I 
replied,  "Are  you  Mrs.  Hortense Potts?" When she affirmed that she 
was  indeed,  I  told her I was looking for her -- to put her in touch 
with  Jeremiah  Gumbs!  She said she was delighted and that her sister 
had  just  that  morning  been  wondering  what  could  have  possibly 
happened  to Jerry, after all those years of not having heard anything 
about  him. Suffice to say, when I later called Jerry and gave all the 
information  to  his son, Alan, I got my just reward -- a warm feeling 
that I had done something good for somebody!

First Impressions of Anguilla

It's  difficult to express in words what I felt when we first arrived. 
To  try  to  fully  explain  what  Anguilla is like, would take a much 
longer time than I currently have for this account. 

I  was  impressed  with  everything  I  saw  and every person I met on 
Anguilla.  It  is,  as  Daryl  had  said,  just the way most Caribbean 
islands  were  or  had  been in years gone by -- laid back, unhurried, 
friendly,  interesting,  historic  -- and with a total ambiance that I 
have  never experienced on any other island or in any other country in 
my travels. 

There  is  little  of the apparent abject poverty that is so prevalent 
and  noticeable on other islands in the Caribe Basin. Chalk that up to 
the  fact  that  the  people  of  Anguilla  are  very  proud  and very 
conscious  of their homes and property. In addition, the people of the 
island  are very religious and on a Sunday, few folks will be seen out 
and  about  --  it's  a  day  of  rest  and  a time for families to be 
together.

Most  of  the  houses  are well maintained and have well tended yards. 
The  roads,  while in need of some minor repairs -- as in most places, 
there  are the inevitable potholes and it seems that that is something 
that  the  locals  are  very  verbal about - are for the most part far 
above the roads on other islands.

Probably  the  most noticeable thing about Anguilla is the lack of the 
lushness  of  tropical  plants.  There  are  a  few stately palm trees 
located  in out of the way spots and along Savannah Bay and Junks Hole 
Bay  and  there  are  a couple of sparse groves of these stately trees 
swaying  in  the  winds. But, for the most part, the vegetation is low 
scrubby  bushes  and short trees reminiscent of very dry islands, such 
as Cozumel.

Thanks  to  Anguilla's location near some of the best fishing spots in 
the  entire  Caribbean,  the island has an abundance of local catches. 
The  most notable are large quantities of crayfish and spiny lobsters, 
both  of which are delicacies and are well known as local specialities 
in  all of the island's restaurants and resort dinning rooms. (I don't 
like  to  expound  on  meals  in a trip report, but I had a lobster at 
Roy's  Place  --  situated  on  the beach at Crocus Bay -- that was so 
large,  that  even  I couldn't eat it all! And, believe you me, it was 
not only delicious, but as tender as it could be!)

Anguilla - Locale, Weather, Size And Stuff

Anguilla  is  a  scant  16  miles  long  and only 3 miles wide at it's 
widest  point, and it gives a visitor a much different experience from 
visits  to the much bigger islands of the Caribe Basin. While many, if 
not  most,  of  the  islands  of  the Caribbean have some sort of rain 
forest,  Anguilla has scant rain, except for the occasional occurrence 
of  a hurricane. While I was there, though, we experienced a couple of 
short  showers  --  just  enough  to  wash the sky clean and provide a 
sparkle to the air that only seems to happen in the Caribbean. 

The  island  experienced a triple whammy in 1995 when Luis and Marilyn 
arrived  back-to-back  and then in 1996, the island caught some of the 
fury  of Bertha. The island's inhabitants effected rapid recovery from 
all  three  storms,  even  in  the face of winds that had wreaked near 
havoc  on  the  island.  And  luckily, these natural weather disasters 
don't usually come along quite so frequently.

In  addition, most of the islands in the Caribbean archipelago tend to 
be  volcanic  in  origin.  However, it's quickly evident that Anguilla 
was  born  from  coral, which explains it's lack of mountains and tall 
hills,  that  on  most  other islands evidence extinct activity in now 
eroded  volcanic  mountains. I was told that Anguilla might be thought 
of  as  actually  being  a  coral island that is virtually floating on 
it's seamount. 

Anguilla, lying as it does at the northern extremity of the Leewards -
-  it  is  almost  due east of the British Virgin Islands and north of 
all  the  rest of the Lesser Antillean Archipelago -- the island comes 
under  the  balmy  "trade  winds." These winds derived their name from 
the  fact  that  it  was  these northeasterly winds that enabled early 
explorers  and merchants from Europe to easily sail to the islands and 
thereby begin trade in everything from sugar to slaves. 

I  spent  a  number  of days on beaches, with names such as Rendezvous 
Bay  and Maunday's Bay and Shoal Bay. On the Atlantic facing-side, the 
easterly  winds  kept  trying to unseat The Tilley Hat I wore, but the 
fine  folks  at  Tilley  Endurables  had  taken  care  of that -- they 
included  chin  and  neck straps for just such winds. Even on the lee, 
northwest-facing  side of the island, which tends to be sheltered from 
winds  on  most  other  islands,  there  was  a strong wind most days. 
Luckily,  there  was  usually  a  blissful  wisp of wind to cool us at 
night. 

The  lack of rainfall has resulted in little being grown in the way of 
crops,  and  almost  everything  must  be  imported  from  outside the 
island.  Additionally, the tropical vegetation that is so prevalent on 
most  of the islands in the area is virtually non-existent here. There 
are  low,  scrub  trees that are more reminiscent of arid locations -- 
Anguilla isn't a desert island, but it's pretty close to being one. 

There  are  few  if any wells on the island and most of the water that 
is  used, is caught in cisterns when there is rain. This really didn't 
present  us  with any problems while visiting -- and the water did not 
at  all taste bad as I would have thought. In fact, the water was very 
soft  and  we  noticed that it had a totally unexpected effect -- gold 
rings,  bracelets  and  watch crystals actually looked as if a jeweler 
had  polished them, they shone so much. It appears that was due to the 
water!

Anguilla's Ex-Pats

Having  Gayle  and  Daryl as friends conferred on us the friendship of 
other  folks  who have similarly moved to this escape from the rest of 
the  world.  We had the pleasure of meeting many of the Anguillan "ex-
pats"   (ex-patriots)  who  have  come  to  know  Gayle,  through  her 
boutique,  and  Daryl,  from  his  frequent  trips to the island. I've 
already  mentioned  Barbara  and  Roger  earlier in this narrative. We 
also  had the distinct pleasure of meeting Jo-Anne (an artist of world 
renown),  Suzanne  and  Lee  (Lee  owns  the  cable  TV  operation  on 
Anguilla,  as  well  as  cable  TV  companies all over the Caribbean), 
Jacquie   (formerly  the  owner  of  the  Tropical  Penguin)  and  the 
enchanting  and  delightful  Erica, who runs a very exquisite and very 
exclusive, gift shop at Cap Juluca. 

Anguilla's Many Resorts

Anguilla  has every kind of resort and accommodation one could want or 
hope  to  find  on  such a small island. There are accommodations that 
range  from  those  that  are  truly regal (and which have undoubtedly 
hosted  royalty)  to  those  slightly less magnificent, but equally as 
good,  if  you're comparing them to similar resorts on most islands of 
the  Caribbean.  Then,  there  are  the still smaller places, which by 
their very size are excellent places to spend a Caribbean vacation. 

The  sheer  number  of extremely high-end resorts, which in my travels 
around  the  Caribbean,  is far more than most islands and exceeds all 
of  those  on  near equal size islands, amazed and awed me. I had read 
of  resorts  such as Cap Juluca and Malliouhana. These are truly world 
class  resorts  in anybody's travel guide books! I can well understand 
why  these  ultra  resorts  are  so  well  touted,  and  yet  in  some 
instances, these self same resorts would just as well be less known --
 so their guests won't be hassled by the hoi-polloi!

Since  we  didn't  stay  as  guests  at any of the resorts, I can only 
provide my observations and comments on a few below:

Cap  Juluca  Hotel, Maunday's Bay -- This resort is, if not the finest 
I've  ever had the pleasure of seeing, certainly one of the true world 
class  resorts  anywhere.  Its location is somewhat sheltered from all 
but a direct south wind and it has a stunning beach. 

Malliouhana,  Meads  Bay  --  Located along a hillside, Malliouhana is 
also  a  world class resort. It too is somewhat sheltered from all but 
a west wind and the beach area is gorgeous.

Sonesta  Beach  Resort,  Rendezvous  Bay -- Sonesta, with its pink and 
green,  Moorish  architecture,  might be out of place anywhere else in 
the  Caribbean,  but  it  seems  to  fit  right  into the landscape on 
Anguilla.  The  beach  is  grand  -- and long. Formerly the Casablanca 
Resort,  it  was  reopened in 1996 as the Sonesta, following extensive 
repairs from hurricane incurred damage. 

Rendezvous  Bay  Hotel,  Rendezvous  Bay  --  The first real resort on 
Anguilla  (and  the  home  of  the original developer, Jeremiah Gumbs, 
mentioned  above)  was Rendezvous Bay Hotel and it still has a certain 
charm  to it. Located on the southwest-facing shore of Rendezvous Bay, 
it  has  a  delightful  beach and a choice of the older rooms near the 
main building or the newer rooms directly along the beach. 

Anguilla  Great  House,  Rendezvous  Bay  --  This gracious beach side 
resort   was   not  what  I  expected  from  its  name.  (It  isn't  a 
"greathouse"  in  the  tradition  of  the  greathouses  of Jamaica and 
Barbados.  It's  gone through two iterations in that it originally had 
the  same  name it does now, but it was named the Pineapple Beach Club 
for  a  time.)  The  rooms  are in separate buildings that are located 
around  a  central  garden.  The  beach, on the south- facing shore of 
Rendezvous Bay, is as good as it gets.

Anguilla's Great Restaurants

For  its tiny size, Anguilla is home to a real plethora of places that 
serve  everything from true haute cuisine to meat patties! I sampled a 
fair  number  and  I  can  say,  without  fear  of contradiction, that 
Anguilla's  eateries  are  among  the  best I've tried anywhere in the 
Caribbean.  I  won't  attempt  to enumerate all, but the following are 
ones that stand out and which I would definitely recommend:

Palm  Grove,  Junk's Hole -- This was one of the first places where we 
dined  out  and  combining  the  view  of  Junk's  Hole Bay, with it's 
breakers  tumbling  against  the  shore,  with the scrumptious grilled 
lobsters  and  bread  patties, downed with a cold beer was as close to 
perfection as I had ever experienced.

Ferryboat  Inn,  Blowing  Point -- While the Ferryboat Inn is slightly 
off  the  beaten  path  --  you  really need to "want" to get there in 
order  to  find  it  (it  is  located  just west of the real ferryboat 
landing  about  a hundred yards, on Cul de Sac Road, the first road to 
the  left  as  you  leave  the  landing, headed inland) -- the food is 
superb  and the views of St. Martin across the water makes a meal here 
one to be enjoyed. By the way, their hamburger is "to kill for"! 

Roy's  Restaurant,  Crocus  Bay -- I've been a lot of places and eaten 
in  places  that most folks never get to. But, Roy's Restaurant is one 
place  that  I  would heartily recommend to everybody. The ambiance is 
nice,  what  with  the  outward appearance that the place has somewhat 
"grown  like  Topsy,"  and  there seem to always be a number of locals 
who  "belly  up" to the bar here. The view of the bay is great, and if 
you're  lucky,  you  might  see the WindJammer 'Polynesia' drop anchor 
and  ferry  its  passengers  ashore.  But,  it's  the food that really 
caught  my  fancy.  I  can  truly  say that I had a grilled lobster at 
Roy's that I couldn't finish, it was so big!

Chatterton's  on  the  Beach,  Cap Juluca Hotel, Meads Bay -- We had a 
delightful  lunch  at  Chatterton's  and  I  heartily  recommend it to 
anybody.  It  has  two  levels  and  you can order a la carte or serve 
yourself  from  a  wonderful  buffet  which  contains  more items than 
anybody could eat.

Palm  Court,  Cinnamon Reef Resort -- We had the pleasure of dining at 
Palm  Court  on  evening  and  the  food  was excellent. It's somewhat 
difficult  to  find unless you know exactly where it's located -- take 
the  road  at  the  red light to the west of Wallblake Airport towards 
Little Harbor and follow the signs. You won't be disappointed.

Old  Cotton Gin Ice Cream Pallor, Old Factory Plaza, The Valley -- For 
a  cool  place  to  grab  a quick sandwich and have ice cream, the Old 
Cotton Gin is my choice.

Landing  Strip,  Wallblake Airport, The Valley -- Yet another place to 
have  a quick sandwich is the Landing Strip, the airport restaurant. I 
had  thought  that an airport restaurant would be like those the world 
over,  but  this  small  grill has sandwiches and drinks that are both 
good, quick and inexpensive.

Hibernia,  Island  Harbor  --  You just can't find a better restaurant 
than  Mary  Pat's  Hibernia!  It's small and intimate, it's classy and 
the  food  is out of THIS world! It's not just a meal -- it's truly an 
experience!  I don't think I have ever had any food better prepared or 
better  presented  than  the  dinner  we  had  on  our  final night on 
Anguilla.  I  think  it's  most fitting that Gayle and Daryl saved the 
very  best  for  last.  Yes, it is a bit pricey -- I picked up the tab 
that  night,  much  to  the  chagrin of Daryl! But, it was worth every 
cent to delightfully "dine" rather than "eat out". 

Anguilla Shopping

We  didn't  do  a  lot  of touristy shopping while on Anguilla. In the 
first  place,  we  have  tourist trinkets from previous trips and have 
now  decided  we just don't need any more "junque" to lug home and end 
up  later  either  throwing it away or giving it to others. Therefore, 
this  trip  we  really didn't buy much in the way of keepsakes to take 
home. 

The  Boutique  at  Malliouhana,  Meads  Bay  --  We were invited to an 
"event"  at  this  elegant  shop and found that it was without a doubt 
the  most upscale shop on the whole island. They were having a jewelry 
show and sale, but the prices were much above my meager assets!

Curiosity,  South  Hill -- As noted previously above, this is the shop 
that  our  friend  and  hostess,  Gayle Gurvey, runs and while I'm not 
normally  a  devotee  of  boutiques, this has something for everybody. 
It's  located conveniently along the main road on the left as you head 
toward The Valley. 

L'atelier  Art  Studio,  North Hill -- Both the home and the studio of 
Michele  Lavelette, this is a place to get prints that by a well known 
artist,  albeit  more  known  in  Europe  than  in  the United States. 
Michele  has  excellent  prints  and  she  is  a  charming  hostess to 
visitors to her shop.

Exploring Anguilla

I  have  always  had  a  bent  for  exploring  new places and Anguilla 
provided  me  an  opportunity to do just that. We drove our rental car 
literally  from one end of the island's 16 mile length to the other -- 
and almost every possible place in between. 

The  main  roads,  as noted above, are good and much better than those 
on  many  Caribbean  islands. There are places where the roads are not 
paved  and  in  some  few places, the paved roads have some pot holes, 
but these are the exception rather than the rule. 

The  only  place  we  found where a vehicle may encounter problems are 
the  unpaved  roads  beyond Junk's Hole, extending to the northeastern 
end  of  the  island. These dirt roads tend to be located in clay soil 
and  the  pot  holes  hold water, making mud holes that can be a major 
problem,  given  that  there  aren't many folks driving up that way. A 
tourist  getting  stuck  in one of these mud holes, would be in a real 
pickle.  However,  the  area does have some interesting places such as 
Captain's  bay,  where  somebody  is  constructing either a really big 
private residence or a new resort -- I wasn't able to find out which.

Back to St. Martin

All  too  soon, our week on Anguilla drew to an end and it was time to 
look  toward  returning home. <Sigh> But, suffice to say that our stay 
was  one  that  neither of us will ever forget! And, we attribute that 
to  three things -- the graciousness of Gayle and Daryl, the beauty of 
Anguilla and the many delightful people who call this island home.

We  had  made  prior arrangements to leave the rental car at the ferry 
landing.  Our US Air (now US Airways) flight departed earlier than did 
Daryl's  Air  Canada  flight,  so  we  decided  to head on over to St. 
Martin ahead of him. We had agreed to try and hook up at the airport.

We  got  our  tickets  and  boarded  the  ferry, but we were just late 
enough  that  we  were among the last passengers to embark. That meant 
that  we  had  to settle for what seats were left -- which were inside 
the  lower  cabin.  Take  my advice -- try to be early enough to board 
early  and  select  the  better  seats  in the upper, rear cabin -- at 
least  there  is  more  air  there and less pitching! (I hated it, and 
Nina  experienced a bit of mal de mer and that's not something that is 
to  be  wished  on  anybody!) We disembarked at the dock in St. Martin 
and  hied a taxi to take us to the airport. The ride was uneventful -- 
until we arrived at the airport, that is! 

I've  traveled  through  a lot of airports all over the world, but the 
crowds  that we encountered at Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten 
were  the  worst  I  have  ever  experienced.  The lines at the ticket 
counters  were  long,  there was little or no air conditioning and the 
air  line  employees  were  the  slowest  I've ever encountered. After 
finally  getting  our  boarding  passes,  we  went  into the departure 
lounge,  only  to  find  it  completely  mobbed. It appears that every 
single  flight  leaves  within  a short time frame and that means that 
passengers simply have to put up with chaos.

Return From Paradise

The  flight  back to Charlotte was comfortable. But, as the plane made 
its  takeoff  roll  and started climbing from the tarmac, I looked out 
one  last  time  at  Anguilla.  It's  low  profile and sparkling white 
beaches  stood  out  from the azure of the sea surrounding it. I could 
just  make out the villa in which we had spent our week in paradise. I 
could  see the roads we had explored and the villages where we had met 
the  friendly,  yet  reserved  Anguillans.  And,  as  the plane turned 
toward  the  continent, my views of the island were cut off, to remain 
only  in  my  memory.  But,  the memories of our week on Anguilla will 
always  be as clear as the waters that surround the island and we will 
forever think of Anguilla as "the way the Caribbean used to be!"

ANTIGUA BY MARK & SUSAN POARCH

This  was  our  first time in the Caribbean and, having benefited from 
reading  Jack  Ailey's  useful  article  on  the island in general and 
Trafalgar  Beach  in  particular,  we  wanted  to pass on some tips to 
future visitors.

Antigua  is  an  excellent  choice  for  a  holiday,  provided you are 
prepared!  It  is  very friendly and, at least for the most part, safe 
to   walk   around.  We  experienced  no  harassment  and  never  felt 
threatened.  Indeed,  when  we  had a potentially serious problem with 
our  hire car after dark in St. Johns, we were rescued by a passer-by; 
in  some  other  places we have visited, this could have been a tricky 
situation.  There  are  the inevitable beach vendors - usually selling 
boat  trips  or  T-shirts  - but they are good-humored and know how to 
take "no" for an answer.

What  you  may  not  be  prepared  for  is  the  cost  of most things, 
especially  food.  Even the goods in the supermarket cost two or three 
times  as  much  as in England. If you are on a self-catering holiday, 
you  would  be  well  advised to take a few basic provisions with you. 
The  main  reason  for  the high prices seems to be the fact that most 
food  is  imported,  though  this did not explain the cost of tropical 
fruit  in  the  supermarket.  (Try the market if you want things grown 
locally.)  The  cheapest  meal  we  found  was  in  the Kentucky Fried 
Chicken,  but  we  did  not want to spend our Caribbean holiday eating 
inter-  national takeaway fare, and we discovered plenty of very tasty 
local  dishes in the restaurants and hotels. Take advice locally as to 
which  restaurants  are the best; appearances and prices do not always 
give  much  of  an indication, as we discovered one night when we paid 
an  inflated  price and I ended up eating what seemed to be chicken in 
custard!

We  stayed  in  Trafalgar  Beach Villas, an ARI/Interval International 
resort.   The  units  are  well-designed  and  attractive,  with  air-
conditioning  and  plenty  of space. Most of them have good sea views, 
though  some  have  a  less inspiring view of the Royal Antiguan Hotel 
and  some  apparently  cubic  holiday  homes on the hill above it. Our 
initial   impressions   were  favourable,  but  we  were  increasingly 
negative  in  our  judgment as the fortnight wore on. The resort lacks 
facilities,  having one very poky poolside restaurant/bar, which shuts 
on  Thursdays  and  Sundays,  and which is staffed by people who might 
kindly  be  described as unenthusiastic. The office is alleged to have 
cash  to change travelers cheques, but always seemed to be down to its 
last  $30  when  we  tried  to  use it. The resort shop is very small, 
though  it  has  some  essential supplies and provides beach towels on 
free  loan.  Not  many  of  the  guests  sat  around  the pool or bar, 
preferring  to walk to the Royal Antiguan (see below). This could have 
been  partly  due  to  the  fact  the  pool was overlooked by builders 
completing  two  new  villas  on  the site of the former restaurant (a 
victim of the last hurricane).

We   were  also  disappointed  with  the  beach,  which  is  far  less 
attractive  than  most  Antiguan  beaches  and is often windswept (the 
flying  sand can sting, and I was left trying to protect the lenses of 
my  glasses).  Nevertheless,  the  flying sand is not really a problem 
back  at  the  villas,  and the sunset and sea views are good. We also 
had  a  good  view  of  the  cruise  ships and cargo vessels using the 
shipping  lane a few hundred yards from shore. We did not swim at this 
beach,  which,  we  were warned, drops away quite suddenly a few yards 
out.  A few locals and tourists did swim there, however, and the water 
was clear and calm, though we suspected that there was an undertow.

We  had  to  spend our last night elsewhere (because of flight times), 
and  ended  up  at  the  Rex  Halcyon  Cove.  This  was a much happier 
experience,  and we would readily recommend it to other travelers. Our 
room  (which overlooked the pool) was beautiful and well equipped. The 
hotel  has lush gardens and a beach well appointed for swimming. It is 
close to other hotels and some noted restaurants.

Back  at  Trafalgar  Beach, the plus side is its proximity to Deep Bay 
(about  10  minutes  walk on the flat). The better of the two possible 
routes  is  along  the  side  of  the  salt  lagoon,  and over a small 
footbridge  near  Fort  Barring- ton. Deep Bay has a long, safe beach, 
culminating  in  the  Royal Antiguan Hotel. Despite the dull, concrete 
appearance  of  the  hotel  itself,  we  became  quite attached to the 
place!   It  has  pleasant  gardens,  friendly  staff  and  some  good 
restaurants.  Trafalgar  Beach  residents are made welcome, and we ate 
several  times in the restaurant (called "the Andes", for some reason) 
built  on  stilts  over  the  sea. This offers a limited menu, but the 
food  is  good.  One  evening,  they had a barbecue and a steel band - 
presumably  a  weekly  event  - and we were impressed by both the food 
and the band.

The  beach  itself  provides  safe  swimming and limited shade for sun 
bathers.  The  lagoon behind it is strangely deserted, considering the 
number  of  pelicans  and  other  large  birds which congregate in the 
lagoon  at  nearby  Galley  Bay.  At  the  west end of the bay is Fort 
Barrington,  a  leftover  from  colonial days, built by the British to 
keep  an  eye  on  the  French.  The  building itself offers little of 
interest,  but  the  views make the short, steep climb worthwhile. The 
goats  you  will see near the fort and elsewhere on the island are not 
goats,  by  the way. They are sheep, which Susan and I - accustomed to 
sheep being round woolly things - found hard to believe!

Further  afield, the most beautiful beaches are in the south and west. 
Carl-  isle  Bay  looks  like  a  tropical island beach is supposed to 
look,  though  the  swimming  is  not  as good as it is at Deep Bay or 
Dickenson  Bay.  Some  of  the  inland  views are very rewarding, with 
brightly  coloured  Antiguan  villages  set  against  the distinctive, 
pointed  hills.  The  tiny  patch  of  rain forest in the south of the 
island  is  also  worth  a  visit, especially if you have little or no 
experience   of  the  tropics;  here  you  will  find  denser,  taller 
vegetation  than  on  the  rest  of  the  island, with an abundance of 
mango,  breadfruit  and  other fruit trees. Unfortunately, in colonial 
days  the  forest was stripped from most of the island to make way for 
sugar  cane.  The sugar cane is gone, but the forest has not returned, 
leaving scrubby vegetation and the ruins of windmills.

St.  Johns  has  some good restaurants and some buildings of interest. 
Heming-  ways  provides  good Caribbean food or a pleasant refuge from 
the  sun  for  a cold drink. The Redcliffe Tavern, one of the brightly 
painted  buildings  on  Redcliffe Quay, proved to be a good choice for 
lunch  one  day. There is some good shopping, especially on the modern 
Heritage  Quay,  and  the best super- market we found is near the Post 
Office.

The  Anglican  Cathedral  is  unusual,  having  a pitch pine interior, 
apparently  to  protect  it  against  earthquake  damage.  It may have 
helped  to some extent during the last earthquake, about 20 years ago, 
but  the  building still incurred some damage and looks a little sorry 
for itself.

We  both  warmed  to the museum. It is tiny and the least professional 
museum  you will have seen in years, but that is part of its charm. It 
has  been  lovingly  put together by people who clearly care about it, 
and  has  many of the qualities of a school project, including the odd 
shell  falling off the display card because the glue has perished! Its 
contents  are genuinely interesting and informative, with a display of 
pre-Columbian  artifacts  and  a  harrowing  account  of the appalling 
treatment  of  African slaves. A cricket bat used by Viv Richards, the 
most  famous  Antiguan,  is  proudly  mounted by the door. There is no 
entrance  fee,  but do give them a donation (in the red pillar box) if 
you go in.

On  the  south  coast  is  English  Harbour.  This  includes  Nelson's 
Dockyard,  a must for anyone interested in Nelson, things naval or the 
history  of  that  period.  Even if you just want to stroll around, it 
provides  a  pleasant  trip,  as  the  setting  is  beautiful, and the 
dockyard  is  still  put  to  a  variety  of uses which do not mar its 
historic character.

Getting  around  is most easily done by taxi. The fares are not cheap, 
but  they  are fixed and you can check with your hotel before you hire 
a  taxi.  The  taxi  drivers we met were all eager to chat and provide 
local  information.  We  hired  a  car for two days to make the longer 
journeys  to  English  Harbour, the Atlantic coast and Fig Tree Drive. 
Driving  in  Antigua is not stressful, but there are no road signs and 
you  should watch out for the deep gutters in St. Johns. The roads are 
poorly  surfaced, and you spend as much time watching for pot-holes as 
oncoming  traffic. Journeys therefore tend to be on the slow side, but 
the  island  is small enough for this to be a pleasure. We were warned 
not  to  pick up hitch-hikers or to run out of petrol in remote places 
after dark, but this sort of advice probably applies almost anywhere.

We  took  one  boat trip, choosing the glass-bottomed boat operated by 
Shorty,  one  of the chief local characters. Shorty is evidently quite 
a  businessman, having had a previous career as a singer and recording 
artist.  Unfortunately, his glass-bottomed boat broke down with engine 
trouble  the week before our trip, but he provided a good alternative, 
a  speed  boat  used for deep sea fishing trips. This took us to Great 
Bird  Island,  where a good time was had by all. An ample barbecue was 
cooked  for  us  on  the  beach,  and  there was a seemingly unlimited 
supply  of  soft  drinks and beer. The tourists were in some danger of 
being  more  barbecued  than  the  lobster  on  an  island with little 
natural  shade,  and  we  certainly  improved  our  tans  that day. If 
Shorty's  relaxed  beach  barbecue is not your thing, there are plenty 
of  other  boat  trips  to  choose  from,  some  of  them committed to 
frenetic partying.

If  you  are  thinking  of  going to Antigua, you should expect a good 
time  if  you  want relaxation, good beaches, friendly people and some 
gentle  sight-  seeing.  If  you are a hell-for-leather sightseer, you 
will  run  out  things  to see in a few days. Antigua is a place to be 
taken  gently  and savoured. There are few hazards and much to commend 
Antigua,  and  Susan  and I concluded on our final day - the best time 
to make a judgment - that we had had a very good holiday. 

ANTIGUA BY DEBORAH ELDER

Monday, March 3rd

Arrived  at Royal Antiguan at 3:30 pm. Check in went smoothly, visited 
tour  desk  and checked out the grounds. Dinner at Andes by the ocean. 
Nice  atmosphere.  Native Antiguan with guitar singing songs about the 
island,  very  friendly.  BTW,  we  enjoy  casinos  and  according  to 
Fodor's,  the Royal Antiguan has an Atlantic City type of casino. This 
is  false  -  there  are  no table games at the Royal Antiguan - slots 
only.  For a full casino you must go to Kings Casino in St. Johns. The 
cab  fare to St. Johns is $10 one way. The Royal Antiguan will pay for 
the  fare  one  way if you ask at the desk and tell them you are going 
to the casino.

Tuesday

Traveled  by  St.  Johns  by  taxi  to do shopping and get provisions. 
Plenty  of  vendors  with  the  usual  T-shirts, jewelry, etc. Tried a 
Dawdadli  beer  -  not  as  good as Amstel - a bit more of a bite, but 
quenches  thirst. Dinner at Hemmingways on balcony overlooking street. 
Nice  atmosphere  with  West  Indies cuisine. Tip on St. Johns - it is 
best  to  go  shopping early in the week as two huge cruise ships come 
in  on  Thursday.  We  rented  a car and went to the other side of the 
island on Thursday.

Wednesday

Took  a trip on a catamaran "KoKomo Cat" ($60 per person and they pick 
you  up  at  the  beach  at  the Royal Antiguan). Excellent trip. Crew 
great,  ambiance,  etc.,  music.  Snorkeling wasn't very good though - 
reefs  were  really  damaged  by  Hurricane Luis. Lunch was cole slaw, 
rice,  macaroni  &  cheese,  baked chicken, unlimited drinks (hard and 
soft)  all  day.  Dinner at Big Banana in St. Johns. Ate lite, lobster 
salad - excellent! Then to Kings Casino to try our luck.

Thursday

Rented  a  car  for  the  day  -  $50.00 car, $10.00 insurance, $20.00 
Antiguan  Drivers  License.  Drove  to  Jolly  Beach,  Fig Tree Drive 
(fantastic  views  -  not to be missed), Nelsons Dockyard and Shirley 
Heights.  Lunch at "The Deck" on the water - great music and ambiance. 
The  roads  were  a  nightmare, but what a grand adventure! Drove back 
after  detour  at  English  Harbour and much confusion. Lite dinner at 
Lagoon at the Royal Antiguan.

Friday

Decided  to  take the "KoKomo Cat" again to Cades Reef for snorkeling. 
This  is  in  the  other direction around the island from the previous 
trip  (going  south).  Snorkeling was much better although there still 
is  damage  from  the hurricane, the visibility was much better. After 
lunch  on  Catamaran went to Darkwood Beach (really gorgeous) for more 
snorkeling, walks, cricket, etc.

Saturday

Took  a  taxi  to Hawksbill Resort to spend the day relaxing. Gorgeous 
resort  with four beaches and snorkeling from the shore over a reef on 
Beach  #3. Best snorkeling experience of entire trip. Spent the entire 
day  there and would consider staying there in the future. There is no 
A/C  but  with the breezes in March should not be a problem. Dinner at 
the Andes at the Royal Antiguan.

Sunday

Spent  the  day  a  the beach at the Royal Antiguan resting up for the 
trip  home. Used the hotels complimentary sailboats and went sailing. 
The  pina  coladas  are great there at the beach. Dinner at the Lagoon 
at the Royal Antiguan - Carvery night - fantastic!

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