Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor

Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 79
November 1997

Last Update Oct 29/1600ET

| CTR Homepage | Island Index | Search |



Anguilla News From Bob Green
Cap  Juluca  Changes  Hands.  Cap  Juluca  has been re-acquired by its 
original  developer Dion Friedland of South Africa. Mr. Friedland will 
be  putting in place people who were involved in his original creation 
of  the  resort.  For example, Eustace Guishard, General Manager; John 
Mezzanotte,    Finance;    andSue   Ricketts,   reservations,   sales, 
marketting,  and public relations. Visit their web site, 
for more details. 

Call-Forwarding  Causing  Problems.  If you or your business use call- 
forwarding in Anguilla, don't forget to reset to the newly required 7-
digit  phone  numbers.  Lots  of  people have been caught and the poor 
customer  or  friend  keeps  getting a strange message telling them to 
"call again, later", lots later! 

Carnival  98.  If  you  are planning your 1998 calendar, Carnival runs 
from July 30th to Sunday August 9th. 

Want  a  quick  way  to tell a sheep from a goat? Goat tails stick up, 
sheep tails lay down. 

Restaurants  reopening  after  September  break:  Blanchards  with new 
swordfish  and snapper dishes, Hibernia, Serenity, Sonesta/Casablanca, 
Zara's   Oct   17,   Frangipani   October  25  with  new  menu  around 
Thanksgiving.   Straw  Hat  before  November  1st.  A  new  restaurant 
Oliver's is open at Long Bay. 

Wallblake House Needs Help 

Wallblake  House  Trust has some great t-shirts for sale. The Trust is 
organized  to  save this beautiful historic house before it collapses. 
Hurricane  Luis  caused a lot of damage and Hurricane Erika was a near 
miss,  wake-up  call.  Anguilla  is too small a place to raise all the 
money  for  this project alone, so they need help from Anguilla's off-
island friends. 

If  you  visit , their web site, you can find out how to 
mail  order  for  t-shirts with the logo pictured above. Why not get a 
hundred  for  Christmas  presents? New items on their web site: letter 
from  the  Governer  encouraging and recommending the project, and the 
September progress report 


There  are  so  many  villas for rent on Anguilla, and so many of them 
now  have  web  pages,  that  it was becoming overwhelming. So we have 
created  ,  a  comprehensive guide to villa web pages. This 
"Anguilla  Villa Guide" categorizes all the known web pages into quick 
comparison tables and lists their key features. 

We  thought about what we would want to know about a villa's amenities 
before  we  rented and decided the most important thing for us was how 
many  steps  to the beach - and which beach! We've also included other 
more  mundane  pieces  of  information  like  number  of  bedrooms and 
bathrooms, the usual. 

New Scuba Shop at La Sirena 

As  of  November  1st,  La  Sirena  hotel  in the West End will have a 
branch  of  Island  Harbour's  Anguillian  Divers  on  site.  This was 
confirmed  by  Wim  Haagedoorn  and  Frieda  Vandenplas  of Anguillian 
Divers:  "You  have  to  listen to the customers. They said it was too 
far  to drive from the West End to Island Harbour. Wim and Frieda also 
mentioned  that they can do charter fishing. For a fun story, ask them 
about  the  experience  on  the  Grady  White  at Goat Bay. Anguillian 
Divers can be reached at 264-497-4750 and La Sirena at 264-497- 6827.

Anguilla's Wonderful Chefs 

Not  only  did  our  chefs  triumph  at the 1997 competition in Puerto 
Rico, but now they are TV stars as well. 

Anguilla  Triumph  at  Culinary  Competition Anguilla's team took home 
the  most  honours  among  the 19 teams competing in the "Taste of the 
Caribbean"  Culinary  and  Bartender  Competition  in  Puerto Rico: 22 
awards  including  Most  Creative  Caribbean  Dish  : Escovitch of Red 
Snapper on a Breadfruit Pancake. 

Pascal  Baronnier  of  Koal  Keel won Best Pastry Chef of the Year and 
silver  medals  for  his whimsical centrepiece depicting a traditional 
West  Indian cottage. Zeff Bonsey of the new restaurant ICI at Sonesta 
won  a gold for Crispy Snapper with Roti Style Vegetables. George Reid 
of  Chatterton's  at Cap Juluca won a silver for Pan Grilled Tuna with 
Guinea  Corn Risotta. Marc Alvares of CoveCastles won bronze for Spicy 
Carrot  Glazed  Shrimp on a Pastry Seesaw as did Vernon Hughes of Palm 
Court  at  Cinnamon  Reef  for  his  Crayfish with Caribbean Vegetable 

Ron  Webster  of  Koal  Keel won double gold in the bartender category 
for the second year in a row. 

Chefs  Become  TV  Stars:  The  "Great Chefs of the World" show on the 
Discovery Channel includes several chefs from Anguillia:

-  Nov 5, Dec 19. 4:30PM ET. Carib 8. Artichoke with Smoked Salmon and 
Cheese by Alain Laurent, Malliouhana.

-  Nov  12.  4:30PM  ET.  Carib  20.  Lobster pancakes with Stingthyme 
Vernon Hughes, Cinammon Reef.

-  Nov  19.  4:30PM  ET.  Carib 23. Exotic Crayfish Salad with Vanilla 
Alain Laurent, Malliouhana.

-  Dec  17.  4:30PM  ET.  Carib  10.  Creme Brulee with Sauteed Exotic 
prepared by Chef Alain Laurent of Malliouhana Hotel.

Feedback  on  Scilly  Cay.  Our  article  on  Scilly Cay generated the 
following  questions from Brendon: I will be visiting Anguilla between 
20-27  October,  1997.  And,  I  am  very excited to visit Scilly Cay. 
However,  I recently read a passage on the internet that Scilly Cay is 
only  open  on  Saturday  and  Sunday  only during the summer? Is this 
true?  Could  you  please provide the days and hours of operation? How 
much  the  outing  will  cost  for two? And, do I need to bring my own 
snorkeling  gear  or  is it provided for me on the island? Finally, do 
you  recommend  that I make reservations? Scilly Cay goes back to full 
schedule  on  Wednesday, October 15th. They are open around 11am until 
5pm,  closed  Monday.  They  don't  stay  open  after  dark except for 
special  events,  as  Scilly Cay does not have electricity. You should 
budget  about  $100  for  a couple if you plan to eat. If you are on a 
strict  budget,  you  can  just  go over for a drink. Everyone will be 
just  as  gracious  to  you.  You  should bring your own snorkel gear. 
Reservations are not required. 

Fantasizing About the Classifieds 

Have  you  ever  poured over the tiny classified villa ads in the back 
of  travel  magazines?  Publications  such  as  Islands  Magazine  and 
Caribbean  Travel and Life. Did you wonder what the villas were really 
like?  For example, here are two classifieds from the April 1997 issue 

ANGUILLA,  MEADS  BAY  -  Nathan's Cove - 1-2 and 4-bedroom apartments 
from  $100-  $550 nightly. (301)630-3040. (264)497-2596. It so happens 
that  we  know  Nathan's  Cove. We stayed there on our second visit to 
Anguilla  in  January  1994.  It  was  new, clean, and fully furnished 
including  washer and dryer. A few steps of sand to the water of Meads 
Bay.  Very  nice for a reasonable price. This small complex is located 
next  door  to Blanchards Restarant. A couple of suprising things: the 
wind  blows  from the back of the building, not the ocean side, so the 
better  bedrooms  for  cool  sleeping  are  on the back side; and, the 
vegetation  blocks  the  downstairs  view of the beach, but this gives 
you  privacy  too.  The upstairs was huge. At the time it had 8 double 
beds  in  4 bedrooms, perfect for an Anguillian family reunion. Here's 

ANGUILLA,  SHOAL BAY - 2 bedroom, 2-bath villa, Pool satellite TV, and 
maid  service.  $325/night  peak  season, $225/night low season. (909) 
822-1169  days,  (909)793-9694  nights  and weekends. This is Dick and 
Judy   Collins'  Seabreeeze  villa,  just  to  the  west  of  Serenity 
Restaurant  on  Upper  Shoal  Bay,  100 steps from the water. Pictured 
above. The villa is almost perfectly designed for two couples. 

Anguilla's Fast Food 

The  Landing  Strip  restaurant  serves  up  dependable  Chinese food, 
quickly  and  efficiently.  The  place has a constant stream of people 
picking  up  dinner to go but you can also eat in. One night we ate on 
their  balcony  and  watched the- one-airplane land. Cheapest romantic 
dining  room  with  a view. Open 7 days a week, 11am to 11pm. 264 497-
2268. George Hill, behind Java Wraps. 

The  Landing  Strip  Menu  US$  EC$ US$ EC$ Soup Chow Mein Wonton Soup 
3.00  8.00  Pork  Chow  mein 5.00 13.40 Chicken Soup 3.00 8.00 Chicken 
Chow  mein  5.00  13.40 Vegetable Soup 3.00 8.00 Shrimp Chow mein 7.00 
18.75  Min  Soup 3.00 8.00 Beef Chow mein 5.50 14.75 Chinese Soup 3.00 
8.00  Curry  Chow  mein  4.50 12.00 Mushroom Soup 3.00 8.00 Conch Chow 
mein  7.00  18.75  Hot & Sour Soup 3.00 8.00 Fish Chow mein 7.00 18.75 
Fishball  Soup  3.00  8.00  Mixed Chow mein 7.00 18.75 Shrimpball Soup 
3.00  8.00  Vegetable  Chow  mein  4.50  12.00  Conch  Soup  3.00 8.00 
Appetizer  Salad  Egg  Roll  1.00 2.68 Shrimp Salad 7.00 18.75 Chicken 
Sate   1.30  3.50  Chicken  Salad  7.00  18.75  Beef  Sate  1.85  5.00 
Lettuce&Tomato  Salad  7.00  18.75 Pork Sate 1.85 5.00 Mixed Vegetable 
Salad  7.00 18.75 Shrimp Sate 3.00 8.00 Fried Wonton 7.50 20.10 Shrimp 
Chip  1.85  5.00  Vegetarian Dishes Chicken Dishes Catonese Vegetarian 
5.50  14.75  Pineapple  Chicken  6.00 16.10 Steam Vegetable 5.00 13.40 
Peking  Chicken  6.00 16.10 Vegetable Fried Rice 3.00 8.00 Moo Goo Gai 
Pan  6.50  17.45  Vegetable  Chow  Mein 4.50 12.00 Chicken with Cashew 
7.50  20.10  Steam  To-Fu  4.00  10.75  Chicken with Cashew 5.75 15.40 
Fried  Bean  Sprout  3.00 8.00 Sweet & Sour Chicken 5.50 14.75 Chicken 
broccoli  6.00  16.00  Cantonese Chicken 6.00 16.00 Curry Chicken 5.00 
13.40  Spanish  Chicken  6.00  16.00  Beef Dishes Shrimp Dishes Oyster 
Sauce  Beef 6.50 17.45 Cantonese Shrimp 9.50 25.45 Cantonese Beef 7.50 
20.10  Sweet  &  Sour  Shrimp 8.00 21.45 Garlic Beef 6.50 17.45 Shrimp 
Chop  Suey  8.50  22.80 Beef Chop Suey 6.00 16.00 Shrimp Broccoli 8.50 
22.80  Beef  Broccoli 6.50 17.45 Fou Yong Shrimp 6.00 16.00 Curry Beef 
5.00  13.40  Curry  Shrimp  7.00  18.75  Pepper Beef 5.00 13.40 Garlic 
Shrimp  9.00  24.10  Bean  Sprout  Beef  5.00 13.40 Shrimp Cutlet 7.00 
18.75  Stew  Beef  with To-Fu 6.50 17.45 Shrimp with Cashew 9.50 25.45 
Pork  Dishes  Fish  Dishes  Curry  Pork  5.00  13.40  Steam  Fish (red 
snapper)  Sweet  &  Sour  Pork  5.50  14.75 Sweet & Sour Fish 8.00 
21.45 Pork Chop Suey 6.00 16.00 Fish Cutlet 5.00 13.40 Stew Pork & To-
Fu  6.00  16.00  Fried red snapper     Sweet & Sour Rib 5.50 
14.75  Curry  Fish  7.00  18.75  Pork Cutlet 5.00 13.40 Cantonese Fish 
7.50  20.10  Fish  Chop  Suey  7.50  20.10 Pepper Fish 7.00 18.75 Fish 
Broccoli  7.50  20.10 Conch Dishes Lobster Dishes Cantonese Conch 9.50 
25.45  Steam  Lobster  20.75  56.00  Conch  Cutlet  7.00 18.75 Moo Goo 
Lobster  15.00  40.00  Pepper Conch 7.00 18.75 Lobster Chop Suey 15.00 
40.00  Conch  Chop  Suey 7.50 20.10 Lobster Broccoli 15.00 40.00 Conch 
Broccoli  7.50  20.10  Cantonese Lobster 20.75 56.00 Garlic Conch 9.00 
24.10  Squid  Dishes  Mixed  Dishes Pepper Squid 6.50 17.45 Mixed Chop 
Suey  8.50  22.80 Squid Broccoli 7.00 18.75 Mixed Chow mein 7.00 18.75 
Squid  Chop  Suey  7.00  18.75  Mixed  Fried Rice 5.00 13.40 Cantonese 
Squid  8.00  21.45  Mixed  Broccoli 9.00 24.10 Mixed Pepper 8.50 22.80 
Mixed  Seafood  Chop  Suey  11.00 29.50 Special Dishes Cantonese Fried 
Rice  5.00 13.40 Beef Ho-Fen 6.00 16.00 Mixed & Mixed 7.50 20.10 Steam 
Pork  Rib/blk  bean  5.50  14.75  Dried  shrimp & fried veg 5.50 14.75 
Sesame Chicken 6.50 17.45 


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: course proposed on St. John

Investors  are  reportedly  interested  in  building  a nine-hole golf 
course  on  the  east  end  of  St. John, according to a report in the 
Virgin  Islands  Daily  News.   News  of the project came in a meeting 
with  about  100 St. John real estate agents and Gov. Roy Schneider at 
Caneel  Bay.   The  governor  also  said three casino projects will be 
underway  on  St.  Croix  by  the end of the year.  Of interest to St. 
Thomas,  the Governor said he'd "signed off" on a $200 to $300 million 
project  for  the  dilapidated  Yacht  Haven  motel and marina area in 
downtown  Charlotte  Amalie.   "They  want  to make it one of the most 
beautiful  sites  in  the  Caribbean,"  reporter Lynda Lohr quoted the 
governor.(26 Oct. 97)

Other  items  mentioned  by the Governor included his reporting he has 
asked  the Virgin Islands Port Authority to further downsize plans for 
a  commercial  port  at  Enighed Pond on St. John; a produce market is 
planned  for  a  Cruz  Bay parking lot and the Virgin Islands National 
Park  area  at  Red  Hook  may  be  taken  over  by  the  U.S. Customs 
Service.(26 Oct 97)

 Labor Trouble in Paradise

Caneel  Bay  resort workers have voted to reject a contract offer that 
would  have  raised  wages  10  cents  to  90 cents an hour over three 
years,  according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.  The contract with 
the  United  Steelworkers  Union-represented  employees expired August 
30.  Caneel's  general manager was quoted saying "I believe (a strike) 
is  not  what  our employees want." A key issue in the negotiations is 
Caneel's  sharing  the  10  percent gratuity charge on guests with all 
employees,  except  managers,  including workers such as gardeners who 
wouldn't  generally get guests' tips.  Caneel management has agreed to 
increase  the  share of the pool given to maids and bellmen, the Daily 
News  report  said.    Maids  are  currently paid about $8.41 an hour, 
including  their  share  of  the  gratuity,  the report said. Caneel's 
payroll totals 460 employees, 190 of whom are unionized.(26 Oct. 97)

 Westin Resort sets Nov. 15 opening

Expectations  the new Westin resort will be open Nov. 15 are high, but 
it  is  in the islands, mon ... so maybe it won't happen.  The pool is 
the  big  problem,  reports  the  Daily News' Lohr.  To judge from her 
report,  the  pool  is  being rebuilt.  She says 60 people are working 
two  shifts  to  build the concrete forms, and then the concrete needs 
to  be  poured,  and then there's been a lot of rain that slowed work, 
and  on  and  on  and  on.   Westin  is  spending  $14  million on the 
renovation  of  the former-St. John Hyatt, she said.  The most visible 
difference  will  be  the  hotel's  color  scheme. Under Hyatt, it was 
purple.  With Westin, it's blue and yellow.(26 Oct. 97)

 St. John to host regatta reception

Organizers  of  the  America  Cup  Challenge expect the early December 
event  to  include  a  get-together  on  St. John the night of Dec. 5.  
ESPN  is  expected  to  videotape the event which will feature America 
Cup  teams  from seven countries and the VI teams sailing for victory.  
Marriott's  Frenchmen's  Reef  hotel is the lead sponsor in a group of 
about  ten  supporters.  The event will be called the Frenchman's Reef 
International Match Race, according to the Daily News.(26 Oct. 97)

St. John Westin criticized

Management  at the St. John Westin hotel are being accused of ignoring 
local  businesses  in  the  resort's  preparations  to  open  Nov.  1.  
Several  business  owners,  including  St.  John's  Andy  Rutnik, have 
complained  to  the  Industrial Development Commission that the Westin 
did  not  meet obligations to consider local contractors.  In a formal 
hearing,   landscaper   Rutnik   testified   he   was  unable  to  get 
specifications  on the hotel's needs.  An attorney for the Westin told 
the  IDC,  Rutnik  "wasn't  capable,"  the  Virgin  Islands Daily News 
reported.   Several  other  local  businesses,  including  a furniture 
store,  made  similar  allegations against the Westin.  The property's 
general  manager  said  $6  million has been spent in refurbishing the 
property,  $1.2  million of which has gone to St. John businesses, and 
$4.5 million to St. Thomas businesses, the News added.(19 Oct. 97)

Gov. vetoes new taxes on tourists

Legislature-approved  taxes  which would have added two percent to the 
hotel  occupancy  tax  and  a $2.50-per-passenger levy on cruise ships 
were  vetoed  by Gov. Roy Schneider.  The governor called the tourism-
targeted  taxes "a fatal error" for the islands.  Cruise-line industry 
representatives  and  the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel association argued 
against  the taxes, with the hotels group taking out several full page 
ads in the Daily News to express opposition.(19 Oct. 97)

Lavish Dawn Princess liner docks

Princess  Cruise  Lines'  14-story  luxury cruise ship, Dawn Princess, 
paid  its  first  visit  to  St. Thomas earlier this month.  On board, 
besides  comedian  David  Brenner,   were several thousand passengers, 
the  Daily  News  reported.  The ship's features include two theaters, 
five  swimming pools, a disco,  a "teen room", a children's play area, 
and  a  library.   There are 950 crew members.  The Dawn Princess will 
make  53  visits to St. Thomas over the next year, with 75 planned the 
year after.(19 Oct. 97)

** Area code changeover rocky

It's  been  a  few  months since the official area code for the Virgin 
Islands  changed  from  809  to 340.  Or is it?  A number of people in 
the  islands report trouble making calls using the new area code.  The 
manager  of  a  telephone answering service in Cruz Bay, St. John says 
she's  not  heard  of  anyone yet making a call that got through using 
340,  the  Daily  News  reported.   Vitelco says by next July, all the 
problems will be solved.

** Boat show moves to Crown Bay Marina

The  dilapidated  condition of the Yacht Haven Marina has prompted the 
V.I.  Charteryacht  League  to  move its annual Fall show to the Crown 
Bay  Marina,  a  few miles closer to St. Thomas airport, and away from 
downtown  Charlotte  Amalie.   In  its  report of the shift, the Daily 
News  says  the  show  is  scheduled Nov. 7-10 and is expected to draw 
brokers  from across the country to review charter boats available for 
the  upcoming  season.   Owners  of businesses in Yacht Haven's retail 
area are, understandably, unhappy.  The owner of the Sti

 bar and restaurant at the marina said "it's absolutely devastating."

** VI Freenet hopes to add Web access

The  three-year-old  Virgin  islands  Freenet  is hoping to be able to 
offer  access  to  the World Wide Web soon.  Co-founder Peter de Blanc 
told  the  Virgin  Islands  Daily News he is waiting on approval for a 
$300,000  Commerce  Department  grant that would let the Freenet offer 
Web   graphic   services  and  install  computers  at  public  housing 
communities  and senior citizens units. Currently the Freenet operates 
with  a  budget of $60,000 a year, offering text service, including e-
mail, to 3,300 registered users.

** St. John Saturdays, one year old

It's  been  a  year  since the St. John Action Committee, business and 
professional  people on our favorite island, began sponsoring St. John 
Saturdays;  days  when  entertainment,  and  food,  and  fun and sales 
populate   downtown  Cruz  Bay  in  a  festival-like  atmosphere.   Jo 
Sterling,  of  the Bamboula clothing and gift shop told the Daily News 
the  events  have  "absolutely"  been  worth  the  effort.  Many other 
merchants  echo her support. The decision to be made now is whether to 
do  it  again, plan another year of the events in what's shaping up to 
be  a  very  busy  season.   A  year ago, the island was struggling to 
recover  from  the  whipping  Marilyn gave the islands.  One thing the 
Action  Committee does plan to do is apply for grants to advertise St. 
John nationally, the paper said

VI Web sites:

*  Island  map:  * St. John 
'Tradewinds':   *   US   Virgin   Islands:   *   The   Virgin   Islands   Business   Journal:         *         WSTA's         Good        News:          *         VI         Weather:          * 




Compared  with  other  destinations,  there  is  little  posted  about 
Curacao.  I  thought  I would post our play-by-play experience to give 
perspective  travelers  a better idea of what Curacao is and is not. I 
hope it will be of interest to some.

For  an  early  October  vacation, we wanted something that was out of 
the  hurricane  belt.  The  first island that usually comes to mind is 
Aruba.  But, everybody goes to Aruba. It is really a "destination". As 
such,  it  is very touristy. We wanted the experience of a real living 
island  and  not  of  row  and  rows  of  hotels. After doing a lot of 
research,  Curacao seems to fit exactly what we were looking for. Now, 
I  know  that  there  are going to be people out there that stopped at 
Curacao  on  some  cruise  and  will  say that it was awful. Since the 
cruise  ships  dock near the huge oil refinery, I can see why they may 
say  that. However, nobody has ever seen Curacao, or any other island, 
by  docking  for  a couple of hours. You must spend time on any island 
to really experience it.

American  Airlines  got  us  there  and back problem free and ahead of 
schedule.  Tabor  Tours  provided the airport to hotel transportation. 
They  also did and excellent job. We arrived at the Sonesta at 2:30 in 
the  afternoon. At this same time, a huge group from Brazil was trying 
to  checkout.  There  were  people  yelling  at  the  desk  clerks and 
everything  ... what a mad-house! When we finally made it to the front 
of  the  line,  we were told that there were no rooms ready yet and to 
check  back  in  one  hour.  Due to the amount of people just checking 
out,  we  accepted  that. When we went back to the front desk, we were 
told  that  they  still  had no rooms. The desk clerk went and got the 
manager  (on  her  own)  and  advised  him  of the situation. Within 5 
minutes,  he  had a us a room and it was in a better location that the 
one we were slotted for.

The  Sonesta  is  located  downwind  of  the  refinery (what were they 
thinking?!)  and  there is an occasional odor. Only one evening was it 
somewhat  offensive.  The  pool and beach at the resort are very nice. 
The  beach  is long and wide (man-made). Once you go into the water it 
is  very  rocky. The west beach has a sandy bottom. The restaurants at 
the  Sonesta  a  good  and  worth  trying. We ordered room service for 
breakfast  everyday  instead  of  going to the buffet and everyday the 
order  was  wrong. Stupid stuff like getting a half grapefruit instead 
of  grapefruit  juice.  But,  they  were on time! Overall the staff is 
very friendly and professional. 

I  recommend renting a jeep or car. We rented a jeep for about $38/day 
(that's   with   a   20%   AAA  discount).  Driving  around  town  was 
"interesting".  There  is  a  serious lack of street signs. We stopped 
and  asked people for directions a couple of times and often they went 
out  of  their way to be helpful. A drive to the north and west points 
of the island is highly recommended to see the country side.

Two  places  I  would  recommend  dining  at  are  Fort Nassau and the 
Rysttafel  Restaurant  Indonesia. At the Rysttafel, a meal consists of 
16,20  or  25  dishes,  hot and cold, all brought right to your table. 
Very  nice  people here, also. When we arrived (after being lost. call 
for  directions  first!)  the door was already locked, but they opened 
up  for  us.  Fort  Nassau is a 300 year old fort at the highest point 
above the harbor. Great view and food.

In  summary,  Curacao is an island worth visiting. The friendly people 
are  a great asset. Please get out and see the countryside. I do think 
they  need to put more controls on the refinery emissions if they want 
to  attract  more  tourists.  Many  call the Sonesta the best place to 
stay on the island and I have to agree. 


Attached  are  some  follow  up  questions to my trip report published 
last month with my answers. They relate to facilities 

It  was  one  of only two or three places in Jamaica that catered to 
nudist families. 

I  wouldn't  say  it  catered  to nudist families. It tries to attract 
everyone  including  families and nudists - but also including singles 
and  couples  without children. I don't know how old your children are 
but  according  to  one  of the beach attendants, one of the staff was 
fired  while  we were there for fooling around with a 14 year old girl 
who  was there with her family. They are encouraged to keep the single 
girls happy and he just made an age mistake.

>Sorry   you   didn't  like  it,  but  we  have  two  >kids  and  were 
wondering.....when  you  were  there were any kids in the c/o area >of 
the beach? (How many?) 

We  were  there  for a week. On the fourth day, one couple used the CO 
section  for  a  couple  of  hours  -  the  man was nude and the woman 
topless.  On  the last day, a nudist couple used the CO area. That was 
the  extent  of nudism while I was there. At no time did a family with 
children  go near the CO beach. There were plenty of children but most 
seemed  to  spend  their time at or near the kiddy center which was at 
the opposite end of the beach from the CO area.

>Also,  a few other questions....your best estimate of how many people 
used the >c/o area, typically? 

The  total  number was 3 plus me (but I don't really count myself as a 

>And what % of the total hotel guests used the c/o beach?

As  a  %  close  to  zero if you mean those who went nude. Out of some 
3000  people  days  (500  guests  for  6  days)  only 3 went nude plus 
possibly  another  10  couples  who  had  women  who were to shy to go 
topless on the main beach.

>What % of the women went topless in the textile area?

In  the  main  beach  area  less  the  10%  were topless. In the beach 
extension,  some  days  close  to  50% were topless and probably never 
less than 20%. In the CO area, close to 100% 

>What % of the c/o people were smoking?

None.  Smoking  wasn't frowned upon but it just happened that the only 
couple there probably didn't smoke.

>What were the nightly rates...or did you have a package deal?

I  had  a package deal which was $850pp for 7 nights including airfare 
from  LA  but  that was for another hotel. I would guess that the rate 
is a little under $100 a night per person in low season. 


My  wife  Susan and I (Steve) left Columbus, Ohio on Saturday November 
2,  1996  early  for  Montego  Bay  connecting  through  Charlotte via 
USAir.   Everything  on the trip went as hoped.  We arrived in Montego 
Bay  and  gathered  at  the SuperClubs desk near the baggage claim and 
customs section.

As  others  arrived  with  plans  to  visit  the  Grand  Lido  we were 
fortunate  to begin to meet some people that we would be spending some 
time  with  that  week.  We were promised a trip of about one and one-
half  hours  in  length and were not misled.  The trip was interesting 
and  fairly comfortable and did not live up to the horror stories that 
I  had  read  concerning the trip from Montego Bay to Negril.  This is 
quite  possibly  because  we had a fairly nice bus.  I saw other buses 
for  properties such as Swept Away and they were basically used yellow 
school buses that had been recycled for tour operations. 

Arrival  at  the  Grand  Lido was one of the most enjoyable "check-in" 
experiences  that  I  had  ever  experienced.   We  were seated in the 
spacious  lobby  with  much  of  the  resort  activity  surrounding us 
peaking  our  anticipation  to  get  into  the  swing  of  things.  We 
gathered  with some of the people we met at the airport and on the bus 
in  comfortable  sofa's  around  a large coffee table and were offered 
Champagne or Orange Juice and snacks. 

As  we  introduced ourselves to the people we were with and shared our 
backgrounds,  the  staff  gave  us a form to complete and received our 
travel  voucher.   Shortly  they  sent  us an escort to take us to our 
room  where our baggage had already arrived.  Our room number was 2031 
(textile  side).   We  selected this location because of our desire to 
stay  on  the textile side with an ocean view (front) room.  This room 
was  in  the  building  closest  to  the  center  of  activity and the 

We  decided  to  pick the second floor because we anticipated a better 
view  of  the ocean and horizon and desired to not have people walking 
directly  across  our  path  in  front of the room.  When we return we 
will  choose the first floor because the walk in front of the building 
is  far  enough  away and the pedestrian traffic was not the least bit 
of  trouble.  Also, the view from the first floor is approximately the 
same  as  the  second  floor with a nicer patio (larger) and extremely 
convenient  for  running  back and forth from the beach to the room to 
go to the john or change to get lunch, etc. 

The  room  itself  was  spacious  and  well  laid  out; however, I had 
anticipated  the  room  finishes to be commensurate with a 4 or 5 star 
room  in the states. Actually it was more like a 3 star room as to the 
level  of  finish,  but  rather  luxurious by Caribbean standards as I 
understand   it.   None  the  less,  the  room  was  clean,  spacious, 
comfortable and quite pleasant. 

For  sake  of  expedience  I  will  resist  providing  a  blow by blow 
description   of   our  entire  week  and  attempt  to  summarize  our 
experiences.   First,  we  found the food at all the restaurants to be 
excellent;  however, occasionally the service was a little slow.  This 
was not always the case but sporadic.

The  buffet  in  the  main assembly area was always good and breakfast 
and  lunch  dining  was  always  with  pleasant  music  in  a  festive 
atmosphere.   We  chose  to  have breakfast at the buffet on our first 
morning,  but  thereafter  we  had  room  service  with  a continental 
breakfast  (coffee,  juice, rolls, cereal, yogurt and fruit) delivered 
daily  at  our  specified time as a "wake up" call.  During the day we 
went to the beach.  To the bottom of the page.

I  would  recommend securing your lounge and towels by 9:30AM or there 
could  be  a  scramble  to  get what you want.  We got in the habit of 
taking a couple of towels in at night with us from the hot tub. 

After  a day of swimming and sunning we prepared for dinner and ate at 
all  of  the restaurants during our stay.  We were never disappointed.  
We  couldn't  make  our  minds  up  on  dessert,  so we would get four 
items.   They were always excellent, though the Creme Brule at Piacare 
(the  French  Restaurant)  was  maybe  the  best  desert  I  have  had 

After  dinner  we would go to the main pavilion and have Champagne and 
listen  to the music on the stage or watch a show of national Jamaican 
dance  or  something  like  that.  We would venture to the dance floor 
and  have a few dances before they would finish each night.  When that 
would  conclude  they  would open the Disco (Atlantis) and we would go 
for  a  while and it was usually well attended, especially on Thursday 
night  when  they  had the P.J. party.  It was pretty wild!  Good time 
for all. 

Typically  after  we  left the disco (before closing) we would venture 
to  the Piano Bar and relax and listen to a Beatle medley or something 
like  that.  This  was  a  good opportunity to relax and talk with new 
friends.   Following  this  we  typically would venture to the Hot Tub 
(around  midnight) and order a bottle of Champagne and relax in a very 
romantic  situation  and  talk  with new acquaintances.  We found most 
people  to  be most enjoyable.  Even on a couple of occasions we would 
go to the c/o hot tub for our Champagne.  We had a wonderful time. 

On  Wednesday  evening  we scheduled the Sunset Cruise on the M/Y Zein 
(147  foot Yacht).  It was a very enjoyable cruise to the West End (at 
Rick's  Place) where we relaxed and talked to new acquaintances, drank 
Champagne  and  listen  to a four man combo play Reggae music.  If you 
go,  do  not  fail  to  schedule  this  cruise,  it is included (Super 

Both  my  wife and I had a manicure and pedicure (my first) and it was 
very relaxing. 

During  the day we did venture over to the c/o beach for a sightseeing 
tour,  but  shortly  after we arrived it started to rain and the place 
pretty much cleared out. 

Our  departure  was  handled  very comfortably and conveniently by the 
staff  and we took what amounted to about a 1 hour 15 minute trip back 
to  Montego  Bay  airport.   The  bus  was  a very large and luxurious 

In  summary,  we  had  a  wonderfully  romantic and relaxing week with 
wonderful  food  and  good  people.   We  hope to return soon, but may 
first  want to sample some of the other delights of the Caribbean.  We 
saved  so  much  money  through  Go Classy Tours that we will use them 


Accommodations  - We traded a week from our timeshare in Nantucket for 
a  loft  villa  at  the  Westin.  It was really a super place...marble 
everywhere..curved  staircase..excellent  equipment,  a small but very 
nice  pool  and beautiful grounds. It's only drawback is its "manmade" 
beach.  They  were  hard  at work on the hotel, shooting for what they 
are  calling  a  "soft  opening" on Nov. 15. They were having a hiring 
fair  (300  positions)  on  the  day  we left. The major project still 
underway  is  the  rebuilding  of  their  huge  pool. Also overheard a 
developer  describing  a number of new businesses and a new restaurant 
coming to the Wharfside Village. 

Beaches  -  With  our  little  4WD from Denzel, we tried them all. The 
trip   along   the  north  shore  road  was  just  as  spectacular  as 
advertised.  Our  favorite turned out to be Hawksnest for swimming and 
snorkeling.  We probably didn't go out far enough on the north side of 
Francis.  A  surprise  was  the  little  bay at Gallows Pt. We tried a 
swim/snorkel  there  as  part  of  investigating  a purchase of one of 
their units..neat...large boulders, lots of fish. 

Restaurants  -  Tried  all  your  recommendations  and  had some great 
meals.  Unfortunately  the  Fish  Trap  and  Asolare  were  closed for 
vacations.  The  Lime Inn turned out to be our favorite. My wife loved 
the  grilled  lobster.  Jerry,  while  the  Key Line pie is great, the 
Brownie  ala  mode  is  FANTASTIC.  Rich  is  really a great host - he 
understands  he  gets  a  lot of recommendations from "Prodigy folks". 
Uncle  Joe's  BBQ  chicken  was  super.  Had  a great meal at Morgan's 
Mango,  especially  the  seafood  brochette.  And yes, I think they do 
make  the  best  Bushwacker.  Also had an excellent meal at Ellingtons 
(Grouper),  and  they  get  the nod for the best Rum Punch. For lunch, 
they  do  make  a  fantastic Roast Beef sandwich at the Mongoose Deli. 
The  one  disappointment  was the burger at Pussers (overcooked, stale 
roll)  (we  have  a Pussers here in Annapolis - had a burger last week 
after  the  Sailboat  Show  and  it was much better). And finally, the 
Mahi-mahi  sandwich  at Skinny Legs was terrific. Tried conch fritters 
at  a  number  of  places...sorry  folks  but  I have to say those are 
"better in the Bahamas". 

Activities  -  Tried  to take the Blast trip to JVD. Again, not enough 
visitors...we  were the only two to sign up so they canceled the trip. 
Took  the  regular Friday ferry. Had a great time swapping sea stories 
with  an  hour  we  covered everything from politics to the 
creation  of  the universe (again, we were the only two people there). 
He's  obviously  tuned  in  to  everything. When I told him I was from 
Annapolis,  his  reply  was  "what are you doing here..didn't the Boat 
Show  start  today". Took a boat over to White Bay with the highlights 
being  some  great  snorkeling  on  the  west point - very tame Parrot 
fish,  they  let  me get within a foot to take their picture - and the 
dynamite Painkillers. 

Medical  (Unusual  category,  I  know) - Unfortunately my wife started 
the  trip  with a bad case of Poison Ivy. Her medication from home ran 
out  and  she was still in rough shape. The St. John Pharmacy was very 
helpful...called  our  Dr for free, but his office staff wouldn't OK a 
refill.  They  then  called  to  set  up a visit to the Clinic. It was 
great..  short  wait, $30 fee and an excellent doctor. Judy was on the 
mend in a couple days. 

Summary  -  Great  trip...Fantastic  beaches...Super  food - and again 
many  thanks  to  those  I  mentioned  for  "pointing  us in the right 

| CTR Home | << Back | ToC | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Next >> | Search |