Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


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

Last Update 29 Nov 99 1800et

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ST. LUCIA: HARMONY MARINA SUITES BY DON LISA STEPLER

Trip 11/99

After  intensive  research  (reading  many  travel guides), we settled 
upon  the  Harmony  Marina Suites in Rodney Bay. It turned out to be a 
good  choice  for  us. We got one of their VIP suites which featured a 
Jacuzzi  in  our  room  and  it  overlooked  lovely Rodney Bay. It was 
really  reasonable, I thought. My irritant alert was on the whole time 
during  our  stay  just  so I could report about it in this letter and 
here  is  what  it detected. First there is something which sure looks 
like  a coffee maker in the room and after purchasing filters and very 
potent  Caribe  coffee  we  returned  to  find it just heats minuscule 
amounts  of hot water for I guess tea. So we had to rig up a styrofoam 
container  with a tiny hole to make coffee in the morning and it still 
tasted  a  lot like espresso. We had to do this because its impossible 
to get coffee anywhere prior to 9 am. 

The  other  irritating  thing  was  the  US/  Caribbean  exchange rate 
through  the  hotel.  Why can't they just give you what the bank does? 
Why  do  they  have  to be cheesy and give you 2.55 and the bank gives 
2.70? 

I  also  thought  the people at the desk could have been a little more 
informative  concerning  the  specifics  of  the  local  bus  service. 
Everyone  wants you to take a taxi and everyone seems to have a second 
job  as a taxi driver. The local bus costing about 0.33 US per trip is 
guarded  fiercely  in a shroud of mystery since the taxis are at least 
20X that. 

Other  than  that  I  liked the hotel and would most likely stay there 
again.  The  room  was  ultra  clean.  The cleaning woman just knocked 
herself out. I wish I could clean like that. 

The  whole  exchange  rate  irked  me  all  over the island. You got a 
crappy  exchange  rate  with US dollars whenever you needed change. It 
was  pretty  much up to the person giving you the change to decide how 
many  EC dollars you were getting back. When you bought something with 
US  dollars  it  was  a 2.70 ratio to the price in EC dollars but your 
change in EC was based on 2.4 most of the time. 

There  are  a  lot  of  poor  people on the island. I felt that by not 
staying  in  an all inclusive hotel we were helping local restaurants, 
etc..  and  in  turn  the local mon. I can't see how people who barely 
leave  the hotel grounds help the local economy at all. So I felt good 
about  that.  We  definitely  kept some rum makers working hard during 
our stay. 

We  went  on the Tuesday night Sunset Cruise through the hotel and had 
a  blast! Best of all it was free. We toddered up to The Lime's little 
outdoor grill and ate a fabulous, cheap dinner. 

The  next day we rode out with Captain Dave of the West Coast Ferry to 
Pigeon  Island  for  8$  US  round-trip.  Captain Dave is a very nice, 
honest person who is on time and very reliable. 

We  went  horseback  riding  at  Country  Saddles on a mountain/banana 
plantation  ride and had a great time. I met some very nice ladies one 
of  which  owned  the  Razzmatazz  restaurant. We ate there and it was 
excellent! 

We  went Scuba diving with Scuba St. Lucia at Anse Chastenet and I had 
two  of  the most patient divemasters on my first beach dive. I hadn't 
dove  in  a  while  and they hung in there with me. Thanks again Jabul 
and  the  cute  guy  I  think  was  Sean.  Victor  was wonderful to my 
husband.  The  one  boat  driver  getting to Anse Chastenet was pretty 
much  an  unpleasant word who drove like a crazy person but other than 
that  it was really great. We also went on the Tout Bagay and that was 
worthwhile, but it sort of felt like a 7th grade class trip. 

We  took  out  kayaks  free from the hotel and investigated crabs near 
the  drain  pipes  in  Rodney  Bay.  There were six different kinds. A 
monster  land  crab  came  out  of a huge hole and that made the kayak 
trip.  You  see  those  holes  everywhere  and  some of them are quite 
large.  The pipes are near La Creole restaurant which is another great 
place to eat. 

As  one  person  said,  the  trash  along  the  sides of the roads was 
disturbing.  For all the walking people do, St. Lucia could be a whole 
lot  more  conducive to pedestrians. I would have loved to have rented 
a  scooter  but  didn't  dare once I saw the way people drove. Walking 
and the local bus system was the way to go. 

ST. LUCIA: JALOUSIE BY A. SHEPPARD

Trip10/99

I've  just  returned  from visiting the beautiful island of St. Lucia. 
Our  American  Airlines  flight  left  out  of  Dulles  at 7:20 and we 
arrived  promptly in St. Lucia at 1:55 with a stopover in San Juan. We 
took  the  hour  and  a  half  trek  by  cab from Vigie Airport to the 
Jalousie.  The  ride  reminded  me  of  the road to Hana, with lots of 
hairpin  curves  and turns. The scenery was beautiful but I would take 
the  helicopter on my next visit, as it's only just a 5-minute ride to 
the hotel.

On  our  arrival we were handed complimentary run punches and check-in 
went  very  smoothly.  We had a 1BR Villa w/plunge pool. Our villa was 
huge  and  elegantly  furnished  and  the  bathroom was very spacious. 
There  is  a refrigerator and wet bar outside next to the plunge pool. 
It  was  one  of  the  most romantic settings I've ever been in on any 
island.  Our  maid always put new flower arrangements on our table and 
flower petals on our bed.

My  husband  loved the beach. It was a beautiful white sand beach with 
a  clear  emerald green color. The snorkeling was very good and it was 
such  a  spectacular  setting  as  the  beach is nestled between the 2 
Pitons.  The pool area was also nice but we never spent time there, as 
we  loved being by the beach. Everyday someone brought out fresh fruit 
and  cool  towels  for  people  on the beach and in the pool area. The 
fitness  area  was  well  equipped  with  modern  machines  and  daily 
exercise  classes were offered at 11:00. The spa offered many services 
and  I  thoroughly  enjoyed  a  Caribbean  massage  after  one  of  my 
workouts. 

Overall  we thought the food was very good on the resort. Breakfast is 
served  in the Verandah restaurant. There was a good omelet and waffle 
bar  and  lots  of  fresh  fruit and breads. The buffet was $16 pp. We 
really  liked the Bayside Restaurant for lunch. They have a pretty big 
menu  and  we  normally ordered the daily fish and pasta specials. The 
sandwiches  and onion rings were also very good. Lunch for the 2 of us 
was  normally  $30-$40. Our first night we ate at the Pier Restaurant, 
the  more casual eatery. It happened to be a buffet and the salads and 
entrees  were very good. They also had a local band playing that night 
which  was very good. Our only disappointing meal at the resort was at 
the  Plantation.  Our appetizers were very good but we found our pasta 
entrees  to  be  a  little  bland.  I  think we just ordered the wrong 
thing.  I  spoke  to other guests and they all liked the food. I would 
definitely  visit  again  and  maybe order something different. I will 
say  the service here was excellent. We also had dinner at the Bang on 
Wed.  night  and  stayed for the show. It was a very fun night and the 
entertainment  was great. One of our favorite meals was at Dasheene. I 
had  seen  many  postings  raving about this restaurant and I must say 
its  everything  I  expected  and  more. Our concierge recommended the 
Courthouse  in  Soufriere  and  we  really  enjoyed  the  local dishes 
especially  the  chicken  tizki  appetizer.  Our favorite meal was the 
Caribbean  Buffet  Friday  night  at  the Bayside restaurant. They had 
grilled  fish  kabobs,  steak,  prime  rib,  conch  fritters, rice and 
everything  you  can  possibly  think  of, and the food was absolutely 
delicious.  The  entertainment  was  also very good. They had children 
from  one  of the local schools perform a few dances and they had fire 
eating  and  limbo  dancing.  The show was great and it was a very fun 
evening.  We  also heard really good things about The Still, La Mirage 
and the Hummingbird from the locals and other guests. 

We  visited  the  drive-in  volcano,  diamond  falls  and  the town of 
Soufriere.  There  were  so many excursions to go on but we loved just 
laying  out by the beach. We did visit the beach at Anse Chastanet and 
the  snorkeling  and the food at their beach restaurant was very good. 
We  were  asked  many  times  if we needed a guide but a simple no was 
fine  and  we  were  left  alone. I felt very safe on the island and I 
found  the  locals  I  met  were  some  of  the nicest and friendliest 
people.

We  took the helicopter ride back to the airport and the $160 was well 
worth  it.  I have to say the service at this resort was top notch. We 
met  the new manager, Rui Domengues, at the manager's party and he was 
very  nice  and  always  asked  us  how we were enjoying our stay. The 
staff  was excellent. Teresa, the concierge was always so pleasant and 
very  helpful  and  always  pointed  us  in  the  right direction. The 
drivers  that  shuttle  you  around the resort were so incredibly nice 
and  we enjoyed seeing their faces everyday. One driver in particular, 
Columbus  was  one  of  the  nicest people we met during our stay. St. 
Lucia  is  a  beautiful  lush island and the staff at the Jalousie was 
simply the best

The  official  The  Caribbean  Travel  Roundup  World Wide Web site is 
http://caribtravelnews.com.  The  CTR  is  also  available  on America 
Online.  Contact:  Paul  Graveline, 9 Stirling St., Andover, MA 01810-
1408   USA   :Home   (Voice   or   Fax)   978-470-1971.   E-mail   via 
editor@caribtravelnews.com or CTREDITOR@aol.com

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