Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 87
September 1, 1998

Last Update 30 Aug 98 1900ET

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JAMAICA: GRAND LIDO BRACO BY GARY PASSAMA

Trip 7/98

Since  this  was  our  first visit to Grand Lido Braco, I am making my
report  in  diary  format. For those of you who may find that a little
too  detailed  (but  hopefully  not boring!) I apologize. For openers,
let  me  say that Grand Lido Braco was wonderful! It's a place that is
starting  from  a  point ahead of GL Negril when it was first starting
out  (we  were  at  GL Negril for the first of 8 visits in April 1990-
just  7  months after it opened). GL Braco has tremendous potential to
become  the  pacesetter of Grand Lido class resorts for the Superclubs
chain.

7/2/98

Arrived  at  GL  Braco at 3 p.m. after a 50-minute ride on a road that
was  in  far better shape than the road from Montego Bay to GL Negril.
After  a  15-minute  wait,  we  got the good news that we would have a
ground  floor  room  (3004)  on  the s/o side. When we got to the room
(actually  a  suite),  we  saw  the location was bad news-in the first
building  which  was  too  far away from the pool and too close to the
rest  of the resort. We asked for another room, preferably in building
2.  More  bad  news-no  ground  floor  room  was available in the next
building.  We  settled  for  a  second floor room right by the pool. A
great  choice!  Rooms  on  the  second  and  third  floor  have  large
balconies  with  chairs and a small table. My recommendation is to try
to  get  a  room  on the third or second floor of either building with
the building closest to the pool being the first choice.

Although  we had paid for a junior suite (which is very similar to the
lay-out  at  GL  Negril but somewhat larger), we were assigned a suite
which  was similar to an Embassy Suite Hotel kind of accommodation-two
rooms  with  the  first  room containing a sofa, coffee table, chairs.
TV,  and  a kitchenette unit consisting of a small stove, refrigerator
(stocked  with  Red  Stripe, plenty of soft drinks and sparkling wine)
and  a  Mr. Coffee maker including coffee. The second room was a large
bedroom  unit  with  a  king-sized bed, a second TV, a CD player/radio
combination  and  a  large bathroom. There was also a half bath in the
first  room.  Quite nice. The deluxe suite is much larger and includes
a  dining area. I think many people end up getting upgraded to a suite
from a junior suite since they are about equal in number.

We  were  hungry  so after we unpacked we changed and went to the main
"village  square"  part  of GL Braco where the shops and eating-places
are  located.  We  found  the  Bakery  which  had various baked goods,
frozen  yogurt,  soft  drinks and coffee. There was a pie which looked
like  it  was  either  made  of cherries or strawberries. Since I hate
strawberries  I  asked  the man what kind of pie it was. "It's cherry,
mon,"  he replied. I asked for a piece and Judy had some frozen yogurt
and  cookies.  I  took  a  bite  of  my  pie  and  discovered  it  was
"strawberry, mon!" So much for my snack!!

We  went  back  to the room and decided to spend some time by the very
large  and  beautiful pool. We had heard from others that GL Braco was
Gestapo-like  in  its  enforcement  of the "au naturel" aspect of this
part  of  the  resort  but we did not find it so. The vast majority of
folks  were  "au  naturel" but the few who chose not to be so were not
hassled at all.

After  an  hour  or  so  by  the  pool,  we decided to walk around the
building  and visit the c/o beach which is quite separate and distinct
from  the main beach, ala GL Negril. The beach is not as pretty as the
c/o  beach  at  GL  Negril.  The  planting are still very immature (in
fact,  reminded  me  of GL Negril in 1990) and there is not much shade
on  the  beach.  The  main beach at GL Braco which we visited later in
the  afternoon,  is  much larger and has more shade. It's the nicer of
the two GL Braco beaches.

It  was  time  to  get  ready  for  dinner.  We  decided  to  try  the
"Victoria's  Market"  which  during the day serves as the site for the
breakfast  and  lunch buffets. It is very similar in appearance to the
open-area  that  serves  as  the  location for GL Negril's buffets. At
night,  Victoria's  Market  becomes  the equivalent of GL Negril's Caf
Lido  with several important differences-being open, it is not a/c and
it  does  allow  shorts at night as long as they are not ratty and you
have  on a nice shirt (not a T-shirt). Indeed, the waiters wear shorts
at  night  at  Victoria's  Market.  The  lack of a/c is really felt at
night after you have had a hot bowl of soup!

We  both  had  navy  bean soup with pasta for openers for dinner. Judy
has  a  red  snapper which she said was excellent and I had a NY steak
which  was  tender  and  flavorful.  As  was  true  at  GL Negril, the
presentation   of  the  food  was  always  very  good  and  the  staff
attentive.  We were looking forward to desert. Judy had a key lime pie
in  a  rum  and  mango  sauce  which she said was "OK." I had a frozen
three  chocolate  mouse  in  a  raspberry  sauce.  The  mouse  had the
consistency  and  taste  of  a  rubber ball. Very disappointing but it
kept my streak alive this day when it came to luck with desserts.

We  had  an  hour to kill after dinner before the show so we went back
to  our  room and sat on our balcony and just listened to the surf. At
9  we went to the show at Victoria's Market. It was guest talent night
and  there were some guests who actually had talent! No one approached
the  artistry  of the infamous Prodigy PIPS at GL Negril several years
ago, however!!

Since  we  had  been  talked into going to the PJ Party by GL Gene the
next  Thursday,  we  decided  to lurk outside the disco (located right
next  to  Victoria's  Market)  to  see  what  people were wearing-very
modest  for  the  most part, thank goodness. With that, it was time to
go  to  sleep  with gentle murmur of the Caribbean lulling us to sleep
(what great imagery!!!). A promising first day at GL Braco.

7/3/98

Guess  what?  The gentle murmur (more great imagery) woke me up in the
morning.  Ordered  coffee  from  room  service for my wife and it came
fairly  quickly  but  it was lukewarm. Went down to the nearby 24 hour
grill  (similar  to one of the "houses" at GL Negril) and fetched Judy
a hot cup of coffee. Had the usual good GL buffet breakfast.

7/3/98

Guess  what?  The gentle murmur (more great imagery) woke me up in the
morning.  Ordered  coffee  from  room  service for my wife and it came
fairly  quickly  but  it was lukewarm. Went down to the nearby 24 hour
grill  (similar  to one of the "houses" at GL Negril) and fetched Judy
a hot cup of coffee. Had the usual good GL buffet breakfast.

We  decided  to  start  the  day  by the pool. Two hours later we were
still  the  only folks by and in the pool. Had we done something wrong
and  were  now being shunned by our fellow guests? Maybe it was my use
of  imagery!  We  decided  to  go to the beach (a very short walk) and
discovered  everyone  was  there----primarily  due  to the shade which
while  limited  on the beach is non-existent at the pool except for at
the  gazebo  in  the  middle  of the pool's bridge. Stayed there until
lunch.

Our  first  stop for lunch was the buffet at Victoria's Market. I knew
from  experience  at GL Negril that lunch buffets were not GL's strong
point  and  I  was  not  disappointed.  The  buffet was "Mexican" done
Jamaican  style  but it did not look like the kind of Mexican food I'm
used  to.  We  decided  to pas and went to the Pasta restaurant, got a
table  and ordered pizzas. The pizzas came after a rather long wait-no
flavor and the crust was underdone.

While  waiting  for  the  pizzas  it  struck me what the Braco Village
concept  reminded  me  of---Main  Street at Disneyland with a Jamaican
twist!  It  really  is  very  nice and sets a distinctive feel for the
whole resort.

Still  hungry,  we  tried  nanny's  Jerk Pit around the corner. Great!
Nanny's  has  a  varied menu and because of the nature of the cuisine,
service  is  quick. We both had jerk chicken (spicy and delicious). It
came  with  beans  and  rice  and  cole  slaw.  We washed it down with
limeades. Nanny's is opened every day from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

By  this  time  it was 1:30 p.m. and when we went back to the beach it
was  very  windy.  So  we  (and  most  of the rest of the folks on the
beach)  relocated  to the pool. We alternately floated in the pool and
then  sun-bathed.  At  2  p.m.  at  the  swim-up bar there was "bingo"
conducted  by  Renard,  a  slightly  off-kilter  social  director  who
delighted  in  telling  us dirty Jamaican slang. Renard would prove to
be  a  source  of  fun  all  week. We decided at 4:30 that the sun was
beginning  to  get  to  us  so  we  relocated to our shady balcony and
ordered nachos from room service.

Tonight  was  the "Street Dance Dinner" which is GL Braco's version of
GL  Negril's  "Grand  Buffet."  In  the  case  of  GL Braco, the fours
"streets"  leading  to  the village square were filled with tables for
dining.  In  the  square  itself,  the buffet tables were to be found.
It's  a  nice  setting  at  night  for dinner but dinner buffets at GL
resorts  are  not  much  better  than lunch buffets. On this day, your
only  other  choice  was  the pasta restaurant. We found the food (and
especially  the  desserts)  to  be bland and limited. A regular dinner
buffet at a Club Med is better that a special buffet at a GL resort.

The  day  came  to  a  close  with dancing to the music of a DJ in the
village  square. Actually, our night came to a close once again on our
balcony  listening  to  the  melodious  and  soothing  pulsing  of the
Caribbean  surf  (how's  that  for  better  imagery?). Despite the two
buffets  (always  a  pet  peeve  of  mind  about  GLs),  it was a nice
relaxing day.

7/4/98

Things  seem  to  be  settling  into  a nice routine. We decided today
would  be  a total pool day with no time on the beach. The morning was
uneventful  and we went to the July 4 buffet where the hamburger I had
gave me heartburn! GL buffets just don't agree with me.

A  routine  day  so  far.  And  then, as we were looking at the posted
menus  for the various restaurants near the main reception building in
the  village square after lunch, who should tap me on the shoulder but
my  friend  Hawkeye  with  whom  we  have  shared  several  GL  Negril
vacation.  We  had  planned  our  vacations  to  overlap but I did not
expect  he  would  arrive  so  early  that day. His gracious wife (Hot
Lips,  of  course)  was  there  as  well.  Our  day would no longer be
routine-indeed the rest of our vacation would no longer routine.

I  went with Hawkeye to the reception area where we discovered that he
too  had  been assigned 3004. I convinced him that he should ask for a
room  in  building  2  on  the second or third floor. It took a little
negotiating  on  his  part  but he ended up in 3043 just down from our
room.   On   arriving   at  his  room,  Hawkeye  discovered  that  his
refrigerator  was not stocked! He spent most of the rest of his week's
stay  trying  to get the refrigerator stocked!! We all quickly went to
the pool and spent the rest of the day catching up with each other.

Dinner  this  evening was at Victoria's Market (which Hawkeye insisted
on  calling  "Victoria's  Secret").  Judy and I had "oven-roasted beef
strip-loin",  Hawkeye had bonito and Hot Lips (a terrible nickname for
such  a  great  lady) had salmon. We all enjoyed our choices. The show
this  night was a generic singer who liked virtually every singer this
week  sang  Hawkeye's  favorite  song-"Red, Red Wine." Briefly visited
the  disco-very  few  people  there  this  night  and  the  music  was
deafening.  It was too hot to contemplate going into the hot tub so it
was bedtime.

7/5/98

Another  nice day. Beach in the morning, poolside in the afternoon. We
played  "Jamaica  Trivia"  at  the  pool with Renard. Denton, the pool
bartender  knows  by  now  that  when I raise 2 fingers that means two
Pepsis! Denton is a very interesting guy to talk to by the way.

A  bit  of rain (about 15 minutes worth) came this afternoon-our first
rain  of  our  stay.  We spent the brief time in the hot tub while the
rain  fell-it's  a  big  hot  tub,  much bigger than any at GL Negril.
Hawkeye  was unhappy with the way the jets were working in the hot tub
and  tried  to  make them go faster and for his efforts got nicely but
firmly  reprimanded  by Jimmy (another nice GL Braco staffer) the pool
attendant.

Dinner  tonight  was  at  Placere  (same  name  as  at GL Negril), the
French/Continental  restaurant  which require a coat but no tie. It is
as  good as its counterpart at Negril but the inside of the restaurant
is  quite  different---in  Negril it is kind of trendy modern while at
Braco  it  has  the  feeling  of a turn of the century Jamaican house.
Service  was  prompt  and  the food was well prepared. After dinner we
went  to the piano bar, located right across the "street" from Placere
and  the  disco  (Placere  is  actually  on  the  second  floor of the
building  that contains the disco). The pianist was 45 minutes late so
there was an impromptu acapella sing-a-long.

One  observation-the  nightlife  at  GL  Braco seems a little livelier
than  at  GL Negril. It is not Bourbon Street in New Orleans but still
there  is  a feeling of more going on. At least part of the reason may
be  the  "village"  layout  with all the restaurants and entertainment
spots  located  in  close  proximity  to each other-it makes them more
accessible  and  seems  to  encourage  congregating  by guests. In any
case, it is a real nice atmosphere at night.

Judy  and  I stayed at the piano bar until midnight. When we left, our
friends were still singing away.

7/6/98

Ho-hum!  Another  boring  day  of  doing  nothing  (but in GL style!).
Started  off  at  the beach and then relocated at about 11 a.m. to the
pool.  Weather  was  overcast  all day but no rain and the temperature
was  pleasant.  We  were  told  it  had  been  raining heavily all day
yesterday  and  the  day  before  at  GL Negril. Thank goodness we had
decided to try Braco instead of returning to Negril.

After  lunch, we returned to our poolside location. There were several
folks  at  the swim-up bar who had also been to GL Negril (and in fact
recognized  us  from  previous  visits  there!).  We  began  comparing
opinions about the two GLs.

Most  folks thought that the food was slightly better at Negril. Water
sports  were also better at Negril (relatively calm Bloody Bay being a
much  better  venue for such activities as compared to the often rough
water  off  the  Braco  beaches). On the other hand, there was general
agreement  that  the rooms and other facilities were much better at GL
Braco and that the nightlife was better as well.

At  2  p.m. there was a drink mixing class at the pool bar. As a Pepsi
drinker  I  just  watched the hi-jinks and learned a few things I have
never  heard  of (like a 5 star shot and a full body shot!).Renard and
Denton  were  partners  in  crime  for this activity. As usual, Renard
announced  his  presence  about 50 yards before getting to the pool by
loudly shouting "Hellooooooo! I am coming!!"

Dinner  this  evening  was at the Japanese restaurant which serves and
prepares  the  meal "Benihana" style. Judy, Hawkeye and Hot Lips had a
seafood  mix  of  gray  snapper,  shrimp  and scallops and I had Black
Angus  beef  (good,  said  the chef, but not as good as Kobe beef). We
got  lucky and the cook at our table was the executive chef from Japan
who  runs  the place and who trained the Jamaican citizens who usually
do  the  preparation (and who manned the other tables). He was filling
in for someone who was sick.

Hawkeye  was  a  little leery at first about the chef. He cautioned us
to  make  sure  with  all  the  knife twirling that none of the cook's
fingers  got  mixed  in  with  the  meat! The fact that the chef had a
bandage  around  one of his fingers did little to comfort Hawkeye. The
chef,  noticing  our  curious  stares at his bandaged digit, explained
that  he  had  got  his  finger the day before preparing meat for this
evening!  My hope was that he cut it preparing the seafood and not the
beef.

In  any  case, the chef was very entertaining and very funny. The food
was  excellent  with the exception of the dessert which like virtually
every  dessert  at  GL  Braco  was  dry  and  tasteless.  The Japanese
restaurant  is  really  a  nice change of pace and highly recommended.
The  chef  told  us  that  Superclubs  is  thinking of opening similar
restaurants at its other resorts.

After  dinner,  we  caught  the  tail  end  of  the  evening  show  at
Victoria's  Market-a  high  energy  singer with a style similar to the
60s'  Jackie  Wilson. He was a hit and at the end he had everyone (and
the  place  was crowded) up on their feet on the dance floor doing the
Soca.  Once  again for some reason, unlike most GL Negril crowds, this
crowd was really into the nightly acts.

After  the  show, we stayed at Victoria's Market for about a half-hour
for  dancing  to  the  house  band and then went to the hot tub before
turning in for the evening.

7/7/98

An  absolutely beautiful day today. Blue sky with just a few clouds. A
few  thunderclaps  in  the  late afternoon but no rain at all. A great
day  to  do  nothing  again which we did. As usual, we started the day
off  at the beach and when the wind came up about 11 a.m. we relocated
to the pool area.

Judy,  Hawkeye, and Hot Lips had the buffet lunch at Victoria's Secret
(darn!  Hawkeye  even  has  me calling it that from time to time). The
cuisine  featured  various Asian dishes, none of which appealed to me.
I  went  to  Nanny's  Jerk  Pit  again and them fix me a plate of jerk
chicken,  red  beans  and  rice  and  cole slaw and brought it over to
Victoria's where I rejoined the group. Delicious!!

The  afternoon  featured  a body-painting contest. Judy was one of the
judges  (there  was  no way she was going to be one of the contestants
and  there  was  no  way, given my lack of artistic talent, that I was
going  to  be  an artist). First time I have seen that kind of contest
although  I was told by Hawkeye that they are fairly common at resorts
in  both  the  states and in the Caribbean. It was fun to watch and it
is  amazing what people can do with a little bit of paint, among other
things.

Dinner  this  evening was at Victoria's (Market or Secret-you make the
choice  this  time).  I had oven-fried chicken stuffed with wild rice,
Judy  had  stir-fry beef with vegetables, Hawkeye had oven-roasted leg
of  lamb  and  Hot  Lips  had jerk swordfish. A good, solid dinner! An
aside  here-I  am  not  a  wine  drinker  and  I cannot comment on the
quality  of  wine  at  GL  Braco  (I  am an expert, however, on Pepsi,
Mountain  Dew  and  Coca-Cola-some  months  are  better  than others).
Hawkeye,  however, does know wine and he says the wines at Braco, like
at  Negril, range from terrible to barely acceptable. You be the judge
when you come!

The  evening  ended  with  a  good show in Victoria's and then a short
time  in  the  very  loud  disco where we left our friends dancing the
night away.

7/8/98

Another  nice  weather  day.  Some  clouds  would pass by but with the
exception  of  a  very  brief  downpour  that  came out of nowhere and
disappeared as quickly, there was no rain.

There  were  three  significant  arrivals today. First were members of
the  Chicago  Bulls---a  couple  of  second tier players, front office
personnel  and  the  Bulls'  broadcaster.  We kind of hoped that maybe
Michael  or  Dennis  or  Scotty would show up (Scotty Pippen was at GL
Negril a few summers ago when we were there) but no dice.

The  second  arrival  was from the Fox Sports there to do some filming
with the Bulls for promotional use on shows.

The  most  important  arrival  was  GL Gene and Cindy, friends of both
Hawkeye  and me. I first met GL Gene on my second trip to GL Negril in
1991  and we have shared a number of GL visits since then. It had been
3 years since the three of us had been at a GL together.

There  were  two volleyball games in the pool today-one in the morning
and  one in the afternoon. GL Gene and Cindy joined us in the pool for
the afternoon game within minutes of their arrival. The best team won-
----the  one  Judy,  Hawkeye,  Hot Lips, Cindy and me were on (GL Gene
went  down  to  defeat  with  the  other  team). It was fun but within
minutes after stopping both my arms were sore!

Dinner  tonight was the "Braco Beach Bash" buffet on the main beach. I
liked  it  better than the "Street Dance" buffet on Friday. The cherry
pie  at  this  event  was by far the best dessert of the week. By this
time,  there  had developed an informal group of some couples from the
volleyball games and we all had dinner together.

After  dinner  was  a  show on the beach-one I have seen many times at
Negril.  It featured folk dancers, a fire-eater (must really like jerk
chicken!)  and  (Hawkeye's  favorite)  the  rubber man who was able to
contort  himself  into many unlikely and unseemly positions. All seven
couples  then went to the karaoke location for singing. We were joined
by  several  of the Bull players who added to the fun. Judy and I left
the  karaoke  at about midnight to go to bed and to prepare us for our
last full day at Braco tomorrow.

7/9/98

And  so  our  last  full  day  at Braco begins-again to ideal weather.
Occasional  breezes,  mostly sun with a few clouds passing by. No rain
again!

Hawkeye  set  a new record today---sitting on the end of his lounge by
the  pool  in such a way that it collapsed. He did it four times alone
today  (in  comparison,  for  the  whole  trip  my  total was 2). This
prompted  GL  Gene  to  remark that Hawkeye did not seem to learn from
his  mistakes!  Some time later, GL Gene did the same thing!! This was
GL  Gene's  and  Cindy's  first  full day of their 3-night stay. It is
very  pleasant  to just spend a day in and around the pool lazing away
with  friends.  For  Judy  and  I it was doubly a pleasure since it is
very  difficult  now  for  us to join GL Gene, Hawkeye and the rest of
the  folks  who  frequent  GL  Negril in April----the dates just don't
work  out  with Judy's schedule. Tonight will be a fun final night for
us.  Another  dinner  at  Placere,  this time for three couples rather
than  for two. Then, we will break a GL tradition for us and go to our
first PJ Party at the disco.

Placere  was  equally  enjoyable  the  second  time around. We had the
photographer  take  a  group  photo  of  all  of  us.  We  had an 8:30
reservation  and  after  dinner we went to change for the PJ Party. GL
Gene,  who  had convinced me to go, decided NOT to go. I had been had!
Nevertheless,  we  joined  Hawkeye,  Hot Lips and the other couples we
had  befriended  and  walked  together over to the PJ Party. Most guys
had  boxer  shorts on. Some of the women were a little more daring but
all in all a very calm scene. There were about 30 people in the disco-
which  given the size of the disco was enough without feeling crowded.
We left after an hour to go back to our room to pack (sob!!).

7/10/98

Bad  day  today-always  a  bad day when you have to leave Paradise and
confront  reality!  Our  plane left at 2:15 p.m. so we had to have our
bags  out  by  10:30 a.m. and jump in our car at 11 a.m. (we had a car
coming  and  going  to  GL  Braco not a bus or a van since we were the
only  couple arriving and leaving at our times). That left just enough
time for breakfast and an hour or so at the beach and pool.

Some  final  impressions  to  share  with you. With great reluctance I
must  stay  that  GL  Braco, even in its first year, has a slight edge
over  GL Negril. The facilities are nicer and, of course, newer. It is
a  large  resort in terms of layout-85 acres when you include the golf
course.  Even  when it was full in the latter part of our stay, it did
not seem crowded.

GL  Braco  has great potential for continued improvement-it really has
been  a  Superclub  for  only 7 months. Bottom-line-we are going to be
back!

I hope you have found this day-by-day account useful.

JAMAICA: BREEZES MONTEGO BAY BY JERRY BREWER

Trip 7/98

First,  let  me preface this report with a little background on how my
wife  and  I ended up at this resort. During the month of May, I began
thinking  about  our  summer vacation plans. I know this is a little a
late  and  I  do  not recommend it to anyone. Nevertheless, the travel
agent  I ended up using was able to get a good deal to Jamaica through
Superclubs  and  Adventure tours using the "Super-Surprise" option. We
were  able  to  secure  a  night  stay  in Dallas, Texas and then four
nights  somewhere  in  Jamaica  for $1572.00 including airfare, ground
transportation  ,  and  taxes. We were told on June 29th that we would
be   going   to   Breezes  Montego  Bay.  Honestly,  I  was  a  little
disappointed  because I thought we might luck into a Lido resort but I
told  myself  I  was  not  going to let myself get that way before the
trip  even  began. We had never been to Jamaica before so it was going
to be an adventure no matter where we stayed!

On  July  4th,  we  drove  into Dallas from Lubbock (approx. 5hrs) and
checked  into the Hyatt Regency at DFW. Getting to the Hyatt is a real
chore.  There  is construction going on and the signs to get to it are
not  real  prominent.  One thing that kind of irked me about the Hyatt
was  that  it  cost fifty-four cents to make a local call. This from a
hotel  that  has  going  rate  of  $80-130  dollars  a night. The only
benefit  to  staying  at  this  place  is they allow you to leave your
vehicle  parked  there  during your trip and they run 24 hour shuttles
to the air terminals.

The  next day we got up at 5:15 AM and got ourselves to the shuttle by
6:15  and  went  to  the  terminal  for our 7:45 AM flight on Champion
Airlines  (a  charter plane used by Adventure Tours). The check-in was
easy  and  the flight was full. We were scheduled to be in Montego Bay
by  11:30  AM  but  had  to  make  a  "technical  stop" in Cozumel for
additional  fuel.  This  added an extra 45 minutes to the flight time.
The  flight  crew  was  very  pleasant and were of great assistance in
filling out the Jamaican immigration forms.
As we landed we saw the hotel and it looked just like the brochure.

After  arriving  at  the airport, we went through customs and verified
our  nationality.  We  collected  our  bags  and  went through another
customs  booth  to  declare anything such as food. We were not sure if
my  wife  had  to  declare her cigarettes and when we tried to ask the
clerk  she  did not seem to understand and just waved us through after
collecting  our  card---no problem mon. We located our Adventure Tours
representative   and   was  directed  to  the  Superclubs  booth.  The
reception  was  very friendly and the staff were patient when we asked
them  a couple of times to repeat what they were telling us. Jamaicans
do  speak  English  but there accent and the speed at which they speak
can throw you for a loop if you are not use to it!

As  soon  as  another  couple showed up, we were directed to a van for
transportation  to  the  hotel.  We tipped a baggage man two bucks for
the  two  bags  he  delivered to the van for us. I did see a couple of
people  trying  to sell Red Stripe beer in the airport parking lot but
nobody  approached  us  about the beer or any drugs. In less than five
minutes,  we  were  at  the entrance for Breezes. Security guards were
present  at  various  points  throughout  the  hotel as well as at the
gated  entrance  way. The hotel looked very clean and was painted in a
white with a purple type trim.

We  were greeted at the main lobby by "Leroy" who told us to leave the
baggage  by  the  entrance  way  and directed us to some chairs. After
filling  out  the  check-in sheets, Leroy told us and the other couple
to  go eat some lunch because our rooms were not ready yet. He advised
us  that  he  would  get  us  when it was ready. We ate lunch with the
other  couple  in the Jimmy Buffet restaurant. The wait staff was very
friendly.  The  food  was  average but it did the job. After lunch, we
went  back  to the lobby because we had not heard anything from Leroy.
Leroy,  upon  seeing  us, spoke to a clerk behind the main counter and
got  a  set  of  keys.  He  took us to a cabin room on the fifth floor
overlooking the street
and  other  hotels.  Completely  opposite  of the beach. Leroy told us
that  if  we  wanted another room we might be able to get one the next
day  (Monday).  He did remind us that we had gotten a "super-surprise"
so we got what was available.

Leroy  showed us the closet, I mean room, that was assigned to us. The
window  was obscured by the TV stand/dresser. The bed was a queen size
and  took  up  most of the room space. It had only one mattress on top
of  a  wooden  platform.  The bathroom was clean and had a hair dryer.
There  was an iron and board in a closet by the room door along with a
safe.  We  later  got a key and lock for the safe from the front desk.
Try  not to lose the key otherwise it will cost you a hundred bucks to
get  another  one. A cd /cassette/radio player was on a night stand by
the  bed.  A  narrow  desk  displayed  some  hotel  information. After
showing  us  some  of  the room, Leroy kind of stood there like he was
waiting  on  a  tip.  It  was  my  understanding  that tipping was not
allowed  so  I  did  not. He left and ignored us after that. I mention
Leroy  only because he was more the exception than the rule. The staff
was very friendly.

While  discarding  our  travel  duds it rained but we went down to the
pool  area  anyway. The pool is not olympic size but adequate. It does
not  get  any  deeper  than about five feet. It makes pool volley ball
easy  to  play.  Near  the  pool is the bar and a fast food grill. The
only  beer  you  can get is Red Stripe. The bar did have several local
rums  except  for  Barcardi.  Appleton  Rum was the favorite. They did
have  some  well known brands such as Jack Daniels, Smirnoff, and Jose
Cuervo  gold.  After grabbing a couple of beers, we watched some folks
playing   bingo.   The   social  director,  Courtney,  was  funny  and
entertaining.  We later went to the Pelican bar which is on the second
floor.   An   orientation  meeting  was  held.  Courtney,  gave  us  a
description  of  the activities available and where everything was at.
We  were also solicited to try a couple of excursions that cost extra.


We  went  down  to the beach to get our bearings. The sports shack was
at  the  far  right  end  and had a collection of sunfish, windsurfing
boards,  and  kayaks  sprawled  out.  A  net was also set up for beach
volley  ball  nearby.  Even though this a public beach, it felt fairly
secluded  from  the rest of the beach front. The non-Breezes public is
charged  a  fee  for  use  of the beach and I think this kept a lot of
solicitors  that  I  heard  about  from entering. Security guards were
posted  throughout  the  beach. There was a beach bar but it was not a
part  of  Breezes  and  therefore the drinks were not free. There is a
hotel  next  to  Breezes  but  the  only  time you saw it was from the
beach.

We  went  back  to the h
machines  although  the  payoff  is  not that great. We lost ten bucks
fairly  quickly.  Aside  from  slot machines there were board games, a
television,  a  ping  pong table, and two pool tables. We went back to
the  pool  bar and drank a few more beers and some rum drinks. We also
made  our  way  to  the top of the hotel for the jacuzzi. We met a few
people  who  told  us  about the excursions into the country side. The
view was nice.

Later,  we  went  to  eat  dinner at Jimmy's Buffet. I do not remember
anything  of  significance about the food except to repeat what I said
earlier   and  describe  the  food  as  average.  It  reminded  me  of
selections  you  would  find at a Luby's cafeteria or a Morrisons. The
desserts   were  quite  exceptional,  however.  We  ate  outdoors  and
listened  to  the hotel band that play by the pool. They were good but
did not stay too long.

After  dinner,  we  went up to the Pelican piano bar for karyoke night
and  a  few  more  rum  drinks.  We  had  a  pretty  good time and any
reluctance  I  had  in  singing  was numbed by the drinks and by those
with  a worse voice than mine! At around midnight, the karyoke machine
was  turned  off and everybody headed upstairs to Hurricanes Disco. It
is  on the sixth floor of the hotel along with the Italian restaurant,
Marinos.  The  disco  was not particularly big but adequate. The music
was  a good mix of the last twenty five years of American dance songs.
Everybody  stayed around until about 1:00 AM and suddenly disappeared.
My  wife  and I then went back to our room for the night. Sleeping was
not  a  problem. The air conditioning was very good. We really did not
notice the music from the disco.

The  next  morning  I  got up and went to the gym. The machines in the
gym  are not cutting edge but worked just fine. I used the stairmaster
and  got  a  good work out. My only complaint about the gym is that it
was not air conditioned very well. It got really hot in there!

My  wife  and  I  ate  breakfast  at  Jimmy's and it was good although
ordinary.  There  were some fruits I had never seen before and I think
they  were  native  to  Jamaica.  Afterwards,  we headed for the beach
despite the cloudy weather.

We  checked  out some beach towels and snorkeling gear. The snorkeling
is  very,  very  good. We had never done that before and it was a real
treat  to  see  all  kinds  of  multi-colored fish swimming around the
corral  reefs  in  the  roped off swimming area. There were more reefs
just  outside  of  the rope but it was advised to us by the staff that
boats  and jet ski's go through there without paying to much attention
and  it  would be better to stay clear. I did notice boats stopping in
this  area  and  sending  a  group  of  fifty  or so into the water to
snorkel.  I  am sure it was for a price. We did not do it, but you can
go  water  skiing  at no extra charge. We also checked out a kayak and
paddled  up  and  down the beach line from a bar called Margaritaville
to  the  Jack  Tar  resort.  It was quite obvious that Breezes got the
lion share of beach front. No place else came close.

  We  spent most of the day just laying out on the beach. It was a bit
of  a pain to run back and forth to the bar to get a soft drink. There
was  a soda fountain near the hotel entrance to the beach but the bees
were  a  little intimidating at first. Later, I found them to be quite
laid  back  and easy to negotiate--bzzz mon. I think a waitress on the
beach  would  be  a  good  idea for the hotel. If your allergic to bee
stings bring your necessary medicines.

We  signed  up  for  a ride on a glass bottom boat. There is a morning
ride  and  an  afternoon ride. We went on the afternoon ride. There is
no  charge  for this. The boat operator's name was "Livingston" and he
was  very  nice and answered questions about the local marine life. He
also  took  us  further  down  the beach line and showed us some other
public beaches and various buildings that lined the bay area.

After  spending most of the day on the beach, we went back to the pool
area  and  crashed into one of the hammocks. My wife said that was the
best  part  of  the  trip. She felt so relaxed that she decided not to
get a massage (which is extra--figure a buck a minute).
I  drank  a  few  rum drinks again and found that a "dirty banana" was
quite  good  and  soothed an active tummy. We went back to our room to
get cleaned up a bit for dinner a couple of hours later.

Dinner  was  again  at  Jimmys  and  again  it  was nothing out of the
ordinary  but  filling.  The band also played. We went up to the piano
bar  (Pelicans) and listen to the piano player. He (I forgot his name)
had  an excellent voice and mingled with the crowd quite well. After a
couple of hours, we went back up to Hurricanes but it was dead.

The  next  day  (Tuesday), we went on a shopping trip after breakfast.
For  ten dollars a person, a driver will take you to a couple of spots
to  shop  for  up  to two hours. The first place we went to was a duty
free  section  of  jewelry  stores.  We did not come to Jamaica to buy
jewelry  or  watches  so we walked past that section and located a few
stores  with  "tourist  stuff."  Shopping  is an experience you do not
want  to  miss.  Everything  has a price and it is not what they first
ask  for  either.  The shop people are rather aggressive about getting
you  in  the  store  to look at there goods but are not rude about it.
After  about  an  hour,  we located our driver who took us to a "craft
mall."  The  mall  had  merchants in individual metal stalls selling a
variety  of  handmade  crafts  and  cloth  goods  (t-shirts, blankets,
etc.).  An  hour  of  this and we returned to the hotel broke but with
plenty  of  "tourist stuff." The following are some tips that might be
of benefit for you shoppers:


1)  Go to the hotel gift shop to get an idea of the prices of a lot of
the  merchandise  you  will later see at the craft mall. The prices at
the  hotel  are  expensive  but  they are a good marker to the kind of
deal you may be making later.

2)  Whatever  price  they  quote you take two-thirds off before making
your initial offer.

3)  Stick  to  your  initial  offer  for as long as possible until the
merchant  comes  to within a couple of dollars. You can decide then if
it  is  worth  it. Don't be afraid to walk out. There is another booth
that  will come closer to your price. The merchants know this and will
more than likely agree to the price.

4)  Make sure you exchange American dollars for American dollars. Some
will  try  to  give  you Jamaican money. On large purchases this could
get  you  short  changed  because the current rate is approximately 35
Jamaican dollars for every one U.S.

5)  The  best trick I have found is to tell the merchant you only have
a  certain  amount  of  money  left  and you cannot spend anymore than
that.  Your  chances  of  getting  the  merchandise for that price are
good.  Just  do  not  let them see you pull out more than you said you
had!

6)  Finally,  there are some shops around the corner of the hotel that
may  have  the  best prices. I did not try these shops but it was told
to  me by a Canadian couple. It might save you the ten dollars to have
someone drive you.

Upon  returning  to  the  hotel, we went to the pool. It began to rain
and  so  we  went  back to the pool bar and got some more of those rum
drinks.  Bingo  was  again  being  played.  We made plans with another
couple  to  eat at Marinos. We were told at orientation that we needed
to  make reservations early in the day but we were still able to get a
table  reserved  at three o'clock in the afternoon. When the rain quit
we went out to the beach and did some more snorkeling and lounging.

I  heard a lot about how good the food was at Marinos so I was hopeful
when  we  went. The meal courses were presented well but there was not
much  substance.  The  salad consisted of a shaved piece of lettuce, a
slice  of  chicken  breast, a cube of cheese, a wedge of tomato, and a
couple  of  cubes  of  other  vegetables  with  a  decorative dressing
painted  in  a  zig-zag fashion. The vegetable/tomato soup was good. I
ordered  a shrimp fettucine for the main course. I got four shrimp and
a  quarter  pound  of noodles. I have gotten more at the Olive Garden.
What  was  there  did taste good though. It too had that zig-zag style
of  sauce put on the plate making it look fancy. My overall impression
was  that  Marinos  is  not  the end all of gourmet dining but it is a
nice  change  to  Jimmy  Buffet. The dress code for Marinos is a dress
for  the  ladies and long pants (including blue jeans) for the guys. A
jacket is not required.

After  dinner,  my  wife  and  I shed our dressy duds and went back to
wearing  shorts.  We went to the pool bar and listened to the band and
drank  a  few  of  them  rum drinks. We then went up to Hurricanes for
sumo-wrestling.  This was a lot of fun to participate in and to watch.
Some  of  the  participants  started dancing to the music in the suits
and  it  was  quite  a sight! After the wrestling, we were directed to
the  piano  bar  for  a  pajama  party/karyoke  night. We did not wear
pajamas  to the bar but others did. It got a bit risqué' at times (one
guy mooned everybody and another wore a thong) but it was funny.
I  noticed  that the entertainment staff really tried to get everybody
involved  and  make  it  comfortable  for those who had the courage to
participate.   Kudos   to   the  staff!  After  karyoke,  we  went  to
Hurricanes.  This  must have been teen night because every song played
was  "rap"  music and got to be boring for us thirty something people.
We called it a night and left.

The  next  morning  we  ate  breakfast  and  went on another excursion
outside  the  hotel. We paid $70.00 (for two) to go on an all day trip
to  Dunns  River  Falls.  There were four other couples with us on the
SuperClubs  van.  There  were  three staff members on the bus as well.
The  driver,  Kenroy,  was  very pleasant to us. Lesley, was also very
pleasant  and funny. His job was to videotape our experience. The tape
would  later be available for a mere $35 (NOT!). The last staff member
was  a  nice  woman (cannot recall the name) who pointed things out on
the  roadside. Dunns River Falls is near Ocho Rios which is only about
forty  or  so miles away from Montego Bay. It took us two hours to get
there.  The  reason  being  that  the  roads  in Jamaica are extremely
narrow  and  also  passing  another  vehicle  is  a  life  threatening
adventure!  I  had to close my eyes a couple of times and pray that we
did  not get smacked. When Lesley first introduced Kenroy to us as the
driver  he added that his name is not "Oh Jesus!" or "god damn!". This
drew in some laughs but I later caught myself saying "Jesus" a lot!

We  drove  by two other SuperClub resorts, Runaway Bay and Lido Braco.
After  just seeing them by the road, you realize how small the Montego
Bay  property  really  is.  A  little more than half-way there, and we
stopped  at  Discovery  bay where it was believed Christopher Columbus
landed.  You  notice on the drive the extent of poverty that exists in
Jamaica  as  you see the shacks that are planted on the hill sides. It
makes  you appreciate what we have here in the states. We drove by the
area  that  Bob  Marley  was  raised in as well as Harry Belafonte. We
were  told  that  Bob Marley's birthday will become a national holiday
next year.

After  finally  making  it to Dunn's River Falls, we climbed the falls
which  took  about  forty-five minutes or so because of the long lines
of  people.  The  falls  are  beautiful and are very cold! We got some
good  pictures.  Our  guide for the trek took a picture too and it was
processed  very  quickly  and  cost  seven  dollars.  I lost a pair of
sunglasses  in  the falls and got very wet. The guides there will hold
your  camera  for you while you go up the falls and will take pictures
with  the  camera  you  provide. Be sure to tip the guide if he or she
does  a good job. On the way back to the van, you are directed to walk
through  a  mini-craft  market.  We were not in the mood to shop so we
hurried through until we got to the van.

We  were  taken  to  a restaurant for lunch. Some of the people in the
group  were  a  little ticked off because they just as soon go back to
the  hotel  for  a free (or already paid for meal) rather than have to
pay  out  more  money.  I could see their point but two hours to drive
back  for  a  meal  seemed a rather long time to me. The restaurant we
went  to was a little pricey. My wife and I both ordered cheeseburgers
and  fries  with  iced  tea.  The  price  with  tax  was  $18.00 (US).
Fortunately,  the  restaurant  took  travelers checks. I got change in
American  dollars  and  Jamaican  dollars  were used to cover anything
less than an American dollar.

After  eating, we went to another craft mall in Ocho Rios. After about
an  hour we left for the hotel but not before seeing an old "rastaman"
with  five  foot  or  longer dread locks. He was dancing in the street
and  trying  to  get  the  tourists  to take a picture of him for some
money.  It  rained  heavily  most  of  the way back. Upon reaching the
hotel,  we  went  to  our  room and got cleaned up. My wife and I were
wishing  we  could  stay  a  couple  of days longer. I would recommend
taking  the  excursion  trip  the  first day or so when you get there.
That way you have a day to unwind on the beach.

Wednesday  night  is  beach party night and the evening is started off
by  bringing  dinner  to  the  outdoors  and around the pool. The main
course was spare ribs and barbecue chicken.
I  must  say  that  the  wait  staff was very friendly and helpful. In
particular,  "Marvel" was very attentive, always smiling, and spoke to
us  about  Jamaica  and his dreams to build a house. After dinner, the
staff  and  some  talented  guests  put on a show. It was a good show.
After  the  show they had guests come up to participate in games and a
couple  of  dances  around  the pool to simulate a wedding day and new
years  eve  dance.  It  was a lot of fun. It was around midnight or so
when we called it a night.

Thursday  morning, we got dressed and ate breakfast. This was the last
day  and  our  flight was leaving just past noon time. We had a couple
of  hours  to kill so we took some photos and played some pool. Had we
gotten  up  earlier  we  would  have gone to the beach instead. We had
gotten  a  note to leave our bags outside our door at 10:30 but I went
ahead  and took the bags down the lobby. We checked out and then got a
couple  of  sodas  with another couple that was also leaving that day.
We  had  been told that our flight would not be leaving until 1:30 PM.
This was an hour past the time it was scheduled.
The  hotel  was  going transport us out to the airport at 11:30 AM. We
loaded  up  in  the van with two other couples and departed the hotel.
When  we  arrived at the airport, we learned the flight did come in on
time  and was leaving on time. Thankfully, we had about twenty minutes
to  spare.  Apparently  three  people were told the wrong time as well
but  were  left behind when they did not show up at 12:20 PM. I do not
know  their  fate.  The  flight  back was direct and without problems.
Going  through  U.S. Customs was easier than I thought. We located our
vehicle  at  the Hyatt and drove to another hotel (that did not charge
for  local  calls and was about $30 cheaper) to spend the night before
going back home.

So,  the big question is would I ever go back to Breezes? If I did not
want  to  stay  anywhere but in Montego Bay, then I would say yes. The
beach  is  just  too cool to not want to stay at the resort. The staff
was  friendly.  I do think Breezes could improve some things. The food
menu  could  be  better.  The social activities could be a little more
diverse  (i.e. one night of karyoke a week is plenty). They might even
look  into  shuttling  people to Runaway Bay for say a game of golf. A
beach  bar  or  waitress would also be great. It would also be nice if
Breezes  would  cash  travelers  cheques  into American money not just
Jamaican.  The  rooms could be bigger but I do not know how they could
do  that  given  the limited area they are in. We did not change rooms
because  we  never  really  stayed long enough in them beyond changing
clothes  or going to bed. If you want to spend the extra money for the
view, then go for a junior suite.

My  wife  and  I  were  already talking about coming back when we were
boarding  our  van to the airport so I cannot say we had a bad time. I
think,  however,  we  would  try another resort at Ocho Rios or Negril
just  to  be  different.  On a scale of 1 to 5, I give Breezes Montego
Bay a 3.5.

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