Rooms – We had to wait about 30 minutes for our rooms to be released to us as we arrived before scheduled check-in time. Once there, we found the rooms to be clean, cool and perfectly suitable for our needs. We had 6 people in our party sharing 2 rooms, which were side-by-side. Our bags arrived a short time after and we were set to begin our vacation.
Restaurants – We found that all of the restaurants had good to excellent food, lots of it and a good selection. Although some previous reviews stated people had trouble getting reservations for the more formal evening restaurants, we found that not to be the case. Only once were we not able to obtain a reservation on a given night, and that was at the Japanese restau rant. However, we were able to book a reservation the next evening without problems. The buffets were good and provided a great breakfast/lunch option with a come as you are atmosphere. Since they were located on the beach I’d expect nothing more, nothing less. The service in all restaurants were VERY GOOD, with friendly people who did all they could to please. Although tips are not expected, they are very much appreciated by the staff. A little $ goes a long way in getting over the top service. If you choose not to tip, you’ll still get excellent, friendly service.
Bars – Again, we found the staff to be extremely friendly and eager to please. Drinks were plentiful, refreshing and good. We enjoyed sitting around the various bars listening to live music and enjoying a cool tropical drink in the warm evening breezes. It was wonderful and relaxing.
Beach and Pools – The beach was clean, soft white sand filled with palm trees and plenty of sun beds. If you g ot to the beach before 9AM there was no problem finding a cabana to relax under. The water was great, with very little seaweed. There are some top-less females, but this was not an issue at all. Just get over your insecurity and inhibitions and relax. It won’t hurt you. The pools were wonderful, always clean and filled with island music. Very enjoyable, especially with the swim-up bars and plenty of sun beds.
Grounds – The grounds were beautiful and constantly being maintained. Peacocks and other birds roam the grounds and add to the atmosphere. They could use a little clearer signs directing you to your destination on the grounds, but after a couple of days it was not problem finding your way around. The "trains" run every so often, but if you sit towards the front you get a mouth full of diesel exhaust. Sit towards the back and you’ll be fine.
Activities and Entertainment – Pretty much everything is free unless it involves a motor. For example, you ca n use the catamarans, paddle boats, ride horses, etc. for no extra fees. If you want to go scuba diving or snorkel on the reefs, you’ll pay extra. Same for some of the excursion trips. There is always someone walking around the beach offering to sign you up for these extra fee activities. However, we found them not to be too intrusive or bothersome. We did take advantage of the Para-sailing and snorkeling activities and found them to be great.
Tours – Did not partake.
Departure and Check Out – We arrived at the main desk for our departure time and checked out without any problems. When we boarded to van that was to take us to the airport the driver asked us for our check-out voucher. We never received one, so we had to go back inside to obtain it (the clerk forgot to give it to us). This only took a few extra minutes and wasn’t a real bother. Once we arrived at the airport we were again swarmed by porters trying to take our bags. You just have to say "N o thank you" and keep moving. They’ll leave you alone. Going through customs wasn’t bad. The flight on American Airlines back to Miami and then on to Dulles was uneventful and on-time.
Conclusion – I’m ready to go back next year. This was our first vacation out of the country (normally stayed on the Outer Banks of NC) and we really liked it. Everyone had a great time, got a nice tan (there were NO mesquitos), ate some good food and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.