We loved this resort. Lots to do, on a long stretch of beach, snorkelling off shore in about 12 feet of clear torquoise water, like being in an aquarium.
No problem, got the room we asked for on first floor in the Flamingo wing, away from the main bar area.
Modern bathroom with shower, 2 queen very comfortable beds with sqooshy pillows, tipped the maid daily $1, but no pressure to do so. We had an ocean view but did no request it, and a pool was right in front of our room, and overlooked the ocean. Always a hot shower and lots of towels.
Restaurants and Bars: You can book ahead and eat only in the a la cartes, all are very good. The Grill is right on the beach, so your bare toes are in the sand as you eat! All bar service was great, international liquor, ie Grand Marnier, and they use acrylic glasses, not disposable plastic. Please do not ask for straws, they wind up on the gorgeous beach. Eat with the chef at the Oriental, it’s so much fun, we did it 4 times over our two weeks. The Italian is the only one air conditioned, but you can eat inside or outside. Delicious. Unfortunately the red and white wine were NOT good, from Argentina, but the Italian champagne was a wonderful substitute. When in Rome . . . .
The cafe laite machine at Jimmys Buffet made delicious coffee, and we got some each night and added liqueur to it for our special coffees, as we watched the spectacular sunsets. We brought our own plastic glasses, and covered cups for the bar. Note that they sell day passes to locals, and have weekend packages for guests from nearby islands and South America who travel with their families, so get to the Buffet on time to get a seat. On weekends we booked the a la cartes to avoid lineups. There was lots of selection at Jimmy’s Buffet, so it was never boring, an omelette station, delicious pancakes, and at lunch, a pasta bar. We only ate supper once at Jimmy’s on our arrival.
The Pool Bar was full of children and people who never left the pool, so we did it once, but there are lots of other pools and the wonderful ocean to swim in. Bring your Tevas or beach shoes, there are some rocky areas. Near the far wall to the right, it is deep and free of stones, it was our favourite spot. There is a huge turtle residing in the hibiscus garden, and some Scarlet Macaws in cages, wanted to let them out . . . Also, a huge area with hammocks for afternoon naps, and the trapeze area was busy. Our Canadians did us proud on New Years Eve, they were part of the trapeze show – amazing. We were so proud of their skills. There is a double hot tub, that is really hot, not that you need heat here. It topped 40 degrees most days, and the wind is constant, but the sand does not blow in your face. If you bring a hat, good luck. Try one with draw strings, as the wind is strong most days. Snorkel when it is calm. We went outside the rocks to see the coral, but most of the fish are inside, where it is calmer. There was no shortage of comfortable canvas chairs.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: You can learn the trapeze, and there is a climbing wall. We declined these activities. And volleyball on the beach. There was an amazing amount of children, and an active Kids club. Good place for children and families, but I wondered who was looking after some of the wild ones! If you book ahead a day, you can take the free mini bus shuttle into Wilmenstead, don’t miss this. There is a swinging bridge, and lots of shopping. Effy is where I bought myself some fabulous bling, they are world renowned. I did barter a little. No beggars here. We rented a car and went to the highest point in Cristobal Park. Very much fun. Take your drivers license or you are out of luck. Cost about $60.00 US, and the speed limit for the whole island is 50 mi/hr.
We left at 9ish, and were back at 5ish and had lunch along the way. Pay a visit to the Aquarium, a 15 minute walk to the right of the resort. Seniors get 50% off. There is a sea lion and dolphin show. Go downstairs in the boat, there are windows to look at the sea life. A giant sea turtle is a sight to see. Others told us about this later, so we missed it! You can get PADI certified here, and a daily shore dive is included, if you have your PADI already. A small catamaran will take you for a ride into open ocean. We did not go, but knew others who went daily.
Other Comments: As we left at 6:30pm, on the latest of 4 buses, they gave us late checkout at 4pm. What a great perk!! Nice that they stagger the buses, so all are not in one long lineup at the airport. I found all staff to be friendly and helpful, and full of life and laughter. Treat them nicely and get it back. We saw osprey, frigates, pelicans, hawks and eagles over our two weeks, and the national bird, an oriole. Watch out for overweight luggage charges. The humidity added KG to our luggage, as we did not buy anything, and they wanted to charge us $120US for overweight luggage. They allowed us to transfer some to our fairly empty hand luggage. Others were not so lucky and had to pay it. We reserved our seats on the way back, 15.00 each. No telling which bus you get on to the airport, others did not sit together.
We got home at 3:00am, waited for luggage for an hour, plane door was frozen, so a little grueling return, but all in all a great time.
I have a map of the resort, will email if you tell me how and where.