Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 100
December 1, 1999

Last Update 29 Nov 99 1800et

| CTR Homepage | Island Index | Search |


1/ REGIONAL NEWS

NY-GRENADA 'MEDICINE FOR THE MILLENNIUM' CHARTER PROVIDES HEALTHY REDUCTIONS IN AIR FARE

If  you believe that getting away at the dawn of the new millennium is 
good   medicine,  then  you'll  want  to  join  physicians  and  eager 
vacationers  aboard  a  New York - Grenada Medicine for the Millennium 
charter.  Enticingly  priced  at  $685  round trip, the nonstop flight 
will depart New York on Dec. 27, 1999 with a return on Jan. 2, 2000. 

The  special  charter, arranged to carry doctors and other health care 
professionals  to  Grenada  for  a  Continuing Medical Education (CME) 
conference  at  St.  George's University in the country's capital, has 
now  opened  up  to  those  who simply wish to travel to Grenada for a 
vacation. Book now before price increase on December 1, 1999. 

For  further  information  about  booking the charter or details about 
the conference, contact St. George's University Alumni Office at 1800-
747-1977. 

Submitted by Linda McGarvey, Alumni Director St. George's University 

AN INTRODUCTION TO DRAKE'S ANCHORAGE RESORT INN

Nestled  just  off  the  coast  of  Virgin  Gorda  in  the BVI lies an 
unspoiled,  little  known,125-acre undiscovered gem of a resort island 
called Drake's Anchorage. 

What makes Drake's special? 

First,  Drake's  is  family owned, for 31 years, in fact, and the love 
the  owners  have  for  the island's environment shows-the island is a 
reminder of the unique beauty the BVI possesses.

There  are  no  swimming pools on Drake's. There are no tennis courts. 
There  are  no phones or televisions in the rooms. What Drake's has is 
something  far  more special: Four pristine, white-sand beaches, hours 
of  unspoiled  hiking  trails  that lead to spectacular views of North 
Sound,  breathtaking  snorkeling sights, and most of all, true privacy 
and seclusion.

Drake's hosts only twenty overnight guests. 

Guests  stay  in  cottages, suites and villas, and every accommodation 
is  private,  oceanfront and features a private terrace that faces the 
water. 

Drake's  restaurant  is renowned throughout the Caribbean and features 
private, oceanfront dining. 

Prices  start  at $200 per-person per-night, including accommodations, 
three meals a day and use of watersports and snorkeling equipment. 

Special  packages  are  available  including  Valentine's  and  Spring 
Fling.  Honeymoons  are a specialty. You can even get married and have 
your reception at Drake's. 

Drake's  was  chosen  as a "Best Deserted Island Escape" in Fielding's 
1998 
Caribbean Guide.

For  more  information, call your travel agent or 1-617-969-9913. True 
privacy and rejuvenation are just a phone call away.

2/ JOURNEYS FOR DECEMBER 1999

BARBADOS: ALMOND BEACH VILLAGE AND CLUB BY: KAREN LYS

My  husband  and  I  had a great trip. We stayed at the Club first and 
were  disappointed  with  the beach so we switched to the Village. (At 
first  we were told the Village was full and to come back and check in 
a  few  days.  When  I  persisted,  I was told by the manager that she 
would  call me back to tell me when and if space was available and she 
did!)  The beach at the Club had steps to get into the water. They had 
about  300  feet  of  frontage  but it was a 3 foot drop to the water, 
from  a  coral wall. Just off the property was a beautiful white sandy 
beach  where  people  often  went to go snorkeling or to just wade in. 
They  had a GREAT gym with brand new equipment, tread mills, bicycles, 
and  steppers, free weights and "Nautilus" equipment. You could shower 
there  and  shampoo, lotion, towels, etc. were provided. They also had 
separate  men's  and  women's steam rooms (not working and saunas. The 
spa  didn't  look  too  apealing  to  us  and  the prices were high. I 
believe  they  are  availalbe  on the Internet. The gym at the Village 
did  not  compare but I still got my workout in. One good thing, there 
the areobic classes were in the morning. 

The  meals  were  typical  all-inclusive fare. The Club had one buffet 
style   restaurant   and   1  restaurant  only  open  for  dinner  and 
reservations  were  required.  That  was our favorite spot. Most other 
guests  raved about the Italian rest. at the Village. There was also a 
seafood  one  which we missed due to fatigue. Reservations were always 
required  and  they  booked up early. The Village also had a beach BBQ 
which  was  great.(no shirt and/or shoes required). The Guest services 
staff  with  whom  you  made the reservations were generally available 
which  was nice. The rooms had a coffee pot so you could make your own 
in  the  morning.  Outside,  they  also  had  coffee  on early. Late I 
couldn't tell you. 

At  the  Club,  our ocean view was right on the ocean. The balcony was 
quite  warm  as the A/C unit fed onto it. It made drying clothes super 
easy! (the A/C at both places worked great. 

The  Club was quite compact, 1 swimming pool like a clover leaf with 4 
compartments  and  a  Jacuzzi  (same temp as the other pools only with 
jets)  in  the  middle.  They  had  floating rafts for the taking. One 
really  nice  thing,  they had plenty of chaise lounges at both places 
so  you  didn't  need to stake your claim. The spoke to lots of people 
that  stayed  at  the  Club  and they said the longer they stayed, the 
more  they  enjoyed  it. we were too tired to try the piano bar but it 
was  open  for those people who could stay up. Tommy the bartender was 
great.  If anyone goes there, say hi to him for him. I told him I'd be 
mentioning him in my letter. 

Free  Shuttles  were  available between the 2 resorts. At 9,11,1,3, 5, 
6:30,  7:30,  etc. till 1:30 from the Club and the even hours from the 
Village. It was a fifteen minute drive. 

The  Village  was  huge  in  comparison.  9  swimming  pools, 2 buffet 
restaurants  and  maybe  3 others for dinner only (with reservations). 
There  were  several  bars, and (I think) I was told, a pool bar but I 
did  not see it. It was a great place for kids, lots of activities, to 
use  as  you  wanted  but also organized throughout the day. Again, we 
didn't  have children with us so I don't have a lot of info. The north 
end  pool  was  for  adults  only and when we were they, people didn't 
abuse it. 

The  snorkeling  off  the  beach  was  great.  You  could  borrow  the 
equipment  anytime  throughout  the  day.  Water skiing, wind surfing, 
kayaks  and  a  Hobie catamaran were also available. These also tended 
to  book  up early (if you got there by 8:00 am you were OK. The staff 
were  good  and  took a young boy during his lunch. Myself and another 
couple  were able to just hop on when we saw it wasn't in use later in 
the day. 

Most  accommodations  were  arranged  around  each the pools so people 
could step out of their place and into their own pool. 

I  think I've said enough to give people an idea about what they would 
have  in  store  for them. Some people did complain about the service, 
but most people were quite happy (except for the beach at the Club). 

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: FLAMENCO HOTEL IN PUERTO PLATA BY RANDY AND LESLIE UPPER

This is my story of probably the worst vacation we have ever had. 

We  arrived  for a wedding at flamenco hotel in Puerto Plata Dominican 
republic  to be greeted by the bride and groom who had arrived one day 
earlier  with 12 other friends. They informed us that when they talked 
with  flamenco on the phone that the hotel would look after everything 
but had really not arranged anything for them at all. 

We  started our stay in room that was hot and the air conditioning was 
not  working.  The washroom had the tiles cracked and starting to fall 
off  the  wall.  The  tiles in the floor of the middle of our room had 
all  the  grout  cracked  and  loose  cement pieces had to be swept up 
everyday  by  the  maid if she could make it to your room It took me 6 
visits  to  the front desk over a 5 day period to have someone come to 
confirm  that  we had no air conditioning and that the unit would have 
to  be  replaced.  At  6 pm that night the new unbit was installed and 
seemed  to  be  working. At 9 PM that evening the air conditioner went 
off  but  we  thought  it was part of the power shortages that we were 
having  all  week  and  left it till morning. Come the morning my wife 
awoke  and went into the bathroom and placed her hand on our camcorder 
battery  charger  that  was plugged into the only plug in the room and 
received  a powerful electric shock from this unit that he been soaked 
and  destroyed  by  the  water  pouring  through  the  ceiling  in the 
bathroom  and  coming from the toilet in the room above us. On our way 
to  the  desk  to  report this we noticed that all the other rooms air 
conditioners  were  working so it was not the power but once again the 
unit  in  our  room. We spoke with guest relations and the manager and 
told  him of are troubles. He offered us a change of room for our last 
night  there  and agreed that he was ashamed about the poor service we 
received.  We were to leave on Sunday morning and air conditioning was 
still  broken  and  toilet  water was still running though the ceiling 
when we left. 

This  was  the  true  vacation  from hell and i advise anyone thinking 
about  staying  there  to think again because as it is rated as a five 
star  it  would have to be improved to be a 3 star. Overpriced and the 
worst service we have ever had. 

ST. BARTHS BY PHIL STRUM

WOW!  What a party In St. Barth! Jimmy Buffett's Free Concert in honor 
of the 50th Anniversary Of Le Select ROCKED! 

An  incredible  weekend  from beginning to end. We arrived on the last 
flight  in to my favorite island on Thursday night just as the sun was 
setting  on  this  little slice of heaven called St. Barth. And what a 
landing,  one  of  the most thrilling landings in this hemisphere. You 
half  expect  Tattoo  to  greet  you "ze plane, ze plane!" Next day we 
went  to  Saline  beach to shed linen on my favorite clothing optional 
beach.  Nothing  like  getting  fully  aired  out.  For lunch we had a 
classic  Cheeseburger  in  Paradise  @ my favorite bar in the world Le 
Select.It was mighty tasty and the place was packed! 

Later  we  met  up  with  some Almighty Buffett board friends Lisa and 
Jeff  and  went to Chez Maya (at my suggestion & on their reservation) 
to  eat.  Who  should  end  up sitting at the next table but JIMMY! He 
seemed  in  a  great mood, everyone was so psyched for the show. As we 
left  I  said "thanks in advance for tomorrow nights show". He laughed 
and  said  "thanks for the easy review". Now fully buzzed, we took our 
supercharged  Moke (of Porsche lineage) and drove to the quay to check 
out  the  stage  show for Saturday's concert. As we were walking along 
the  Harbor,  my  sultry wife Terry noticed a Moorings sailboat. I had 
mentioned  to her earlier that I had met a very cool lady named Pamela 
Parrothead  from  the Cayman Islands who was on a Moorings charter. No 
sooner  had  her  name  been mentioned, THE Pamela Parrothead appeared 
and  invited  us  on  her  vessel to meet her fantastic crew including 
sailing  friends,  parents  and her TWIN (ouch - I LOVE TWINS!) SISTER 
Polly  Parrothead. They played us with their most excellent libations, 
concoctions  and  dirty  jokes  and  their most generous hospitalities 
continued  through  the  weekend.  We  Love you Cayman Parrotheads! To 
close  the  evening we went to Le Select and danced, drank and sweated 
the   night   away   to   a   kickass   local   band   -  "Follow  the 
leader..leader...leader...Follow the leader....yea!" 

On  Saturday - show day, we took the hike to beautiful Colombier beach 
with  Jeff  and  Lisa and continued to hear Jimmy sightings throughout 
the  day.  "He  lunched  @ Eden Roc", said one PH. "He did a 30 minute 
mini  set  for  sound  check  and I was there, bragged another PH". We 
went  home  and showered, met up with our friends and went down to the 
port  to stake some territory in front of the stage and party with the 
Incredibly cool Cayman Parrotheads on their party boat. 

We  rocked out to a steel drum band b4 the show and homage was paid to 
the  late  great Bob Marley. Before the show we had the great honor of 
congratulating  the  real  man  of  the  moment, his excellency Marius 
Stakleborough  who  had the most incredible idea of founding Le Select 
50  years  ago.  Marius  appeared  to  be  having a wonderful time, he 
signed  our  programs  and  posed  for pictures with us. After another 
very  cool  opening  band  and dance troupe from St. Martin, Jimmy and 
the  band  came  on for a ripping 2 1/2 hour concert. I don't remember 
every  song  (someone  else  -  please provide the set list) due to an 
alcohol  and  kine  bud induced haze. But I know he played Pencil Thin 
Mustache,  Particular  Harbor,  Margaritaville and a rousing rendition 
of  Why  Don't  We  get Drunk and Screw that rocked the crowd. He also 
played  some  appropriate  covers,  CSN's  Southern  Cross, Brown eyed 
Girl,  a  Marley song amongst some of his other older and newer stuff. 
He  and  the  band  genuinely  seemed to be totally enjoying this most 
festive  occasion.  He  brought  Marius  on  stage and spoke many warm 
words  in  French  and  in  English about this very kind and wonderful 
man. He addressed his numerous St. Barth friends in excellent French -
  he  said he'd been taking lessons and invited some local teens up to 
sing  a  song  with  him.  He  also  made  reference  to  the large PH 
contingent  and  mentioned  that  he hoped that they were enjoying his 
beloved  St. Barth as he does. The love, fun and warmth in the air was 
infectious.  The evening (and in fact the whole weekend) can be summed 
up  with  only  one  word  -  MAGIC!  Jimmy finished the show with two 
appropo  songs - Cheeseburger in Paradise in honor of Mighty Le Select 
-  a  place that is special in my heart and a Rocking Rendition of the 
Rolling  Stones "You can't always get what you want" which somehow was 
oh  so  fitting. "You can't always get what you want, you can't always 
get  what  you  want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you 
get  what  you need". This weekend was all about those simple needs, a 
beautiful  island,  warm people, new friends and a charming place like 
Le  Select  to  share  good  times, respect for the past and those who 
have  come  before  us, and great music shared with cool people of all 
types  and  from  many  different  place - there was much LOVE on that 
quayside  on  Saturday  night  and  in fact all weekend long. The show 
ended  very  fittingly  with  an  impressive  fireworks  display  over 
picturesque  Gustavia  harbor.  We  went across the harbor to L'Escale 
for  Pizza and dancing on the tables. We later heard that Jimmy braved 
the  crowds  and continued the party at beloved Le Select before going 
to  a  private  party  in the hills of St. Barth (rumored to be in the 
Point  Milou  area).  All  in all it ranks up there as one of the best 
weekend  in  my  life.  I  would  love to hear other's experiences and 
impressions.  I wish all y'all could have been there but as we said in 
the  middle of the show with our glasses raised in honor of Le Select, 
Marius,  Jimmy  and  all  of us who made the pilgrimage for this magic 
weekend  -  "There  is SOMETHING about being in the right place at the 
right time! Cheers and Fins UP! 

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