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Trip Report Trip Report - Royal West Indies Resort 3/17 - 3/22

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I spent 5 nights at this resort (3/17/09 – 3/22/09) and absolutely fell in love with the property as well as Grace Bay Beach. By way of background: I am a single woman in my mid 30s who had never travelled out of the US before this trip! It was also the first leisure vacation I’ve ever taken – I usually go to visit friends wherever they may be. I took this trip alone. My goal was to relax on the beach and read 5 books. I read 3…and watched the water for hours on end instead of reading the other 2!

First the flight down. I took a flight from Boston to Charlotte and then Charlotte to Provo. Uneventful and on-time. The flight from Charlotte to Provo was probably 1/3 full – I had a whole row to myself. Getting through customs in Provo and picking up my bag probably took 20 minutes tops. There were attendants directing people to vans that were going to the various resorts. I shared one with a couple who were also going to RWI. We were charged $15 per person.

Check in: Very fast, friendly and welcoming. Sherman who seems to be the main “bellhop” brought me some fruit punch and brought my bag up to the 2nd floor of Building #8. The rooms are accessed by open air staircases (no elevators). This building is closest to the lobby building – farthest away from the beach. I stayed in a studio botanical suite on the 2nd floor. I specifically requested a 2nd floor room due to safety concerns and also learning on tripadvisor that the 3rd floor rooms had open air balconies that offered no protection from sun or rain.

The room was lovely – nice modern bathroom with deep tub, kitchenette area with sink, toaster, microwave and fridge, laundry (never used it), comfortable bed, loveseat, desk and huge balcony with a round table and 4 chairs. The room also had a nice tv and dvd player – both in good working order although the satellite tv service went out at least once per day that I noticed – and I certainly wasn’t in my room much to monitor it!

The balcony overlooked the entire resort – closest to the quiet pool and waterfall. It was so quiet and peaceful to be on the balcony listening to the waterfall! I ate breakfast out there and spent quite a bit of time reading.

The grounds were absolutely stunning. There are red brick pathways winding all through the resort and I found it quite pleasant just to wander around looking at all of the beautiful flowers and cacti and palm trees. There were also lots of lizards sunning themselves! I spent some time at the quiet pool – I had it to myself quite a bit. The big pool is next to the restaurant, Mango Reef. I didn’t spend any time at that pool but it looked like the few kids that were at the resort were enjoying it. It was about a 3 minute walk to the entrance to Grace Bay Beach. The entrance was beautifully landscaped – really breathtaking. The beach itself – what can I say – my first view of it did take my breath away! I’ve never seen anything like it – the color of the water just can’t be captured by my words (or camera it seemed). The sand was powdery and so soft and there were no rocks to watch out for like here in the Northeast. There were tons of chaise lounge chairs and umbrellas – I never had a problem getting a seat. The beach attendants were so nice and helpful – they literally ran from one chair to the next making sure everyone was ok.

The water was much colder than I expected. As a result I didn’t go in it too much. But it really wasn’t hot enough during my stay for that to be a problem. It was also quite windy – us diehard beach goers were wrapped up like mummies in the free towels the resort provided! Most everyone on the beach in front of RWI was there to relax and be quiet and read. One day some loud folks arrived and were quite obnoxious – they really didn’t fit into the scene! It was very easy to pick up my stuff and move to the other side of the resort’s beachfront. When it came time to go back to the room for a bit or to grab lunch at Mango Reef it was no problem to leave my stuff by my chair – no one ever messed with it. Of course I didn’t have anything valuable – just a few bucks to tip the beach guys every once in a while.

I enjoyed eating at Mango Reef’s open air bar. I usually ate a late lunch and didn’t need to eat dinner. It was great to be able to throw on a beach cover-up and go to Mango Reef and charge the bill to my room. Lunches ranted from around $15.00 to $40.00. The fabulous mango daiquiris were $8.00. The ladies who ran the bar were sweethearts and I felt perfectly comfortable being there alone. I could either chat with them or fellow diners/drinkers or read my book. The food ranged from blech (turkey club) to delicious (lobster quesadilla). My pocketbook and stomach however would have preferred eating more plainly but I didn’t want to spend the money to go to the IGA and I was afraid to try driving on the left! I understand now that the new IGA has opened up – it would only be a 10 minute walk away from RWI.

The staff members were all incredibly friendly and seemed genuinely interested in who I was and where I was from. I think the female staff especially were fascinated by the fact that I didn’t have a husband or children and that I lived alone back home! Two of them asked me how they could get in on that deal (I think they were joking!). I really felt like the staff people knew that I existed which made me feel more comfortable since I was there alone.

I ventured out from the resort upon occasion. I picked up breakfast each morning (except Sunday – they are closed) at Fresh Provo which is a 2 minute walk on the other side of Grace Bay Road (make a right out of the resort). Stephanie who works there is a sweetheart and I enjoyed chatting with her. The breakfast sandwich was hearty and ran around $9.00 (sticker shock!). They also served sandwiches and salads and hot lunches as well as pastries. I didn’t sample anything other than breakfast and something called a cream cheese pretzel which was actually like a bagel stuffed with cream cheese. About 5 minutes further on Grace Bay Road was a small plaza with Gourmet Goods (strange store, not what I expected) and a few other shops that didn’t interest me! Another few minutes more and La Petite Place and Ports of Call shopping plazas come into view. Here you can buy t-shirts, cheap souvenirs, aloe cream (for my burnt ankles!), sodas at the very thinly stocked convenience store around back, an ice cream, pizza, and dine at 2 restaurants (Jimmy’s Dive Bar and Calico Jacks). I went to Calico Jacks one night to try the cracked conch – it was my first time eating conch and I enjoyed it! Also their rum punch was quite good. One day I walked about 25 minutes until I reached the Saltmills Plaza. I enjoyed Anna’s Gallery – this was the only store I found that had quality souvenirs. I purchased a beautiful print that captured the colors of the islands and the beach quite well.

One morning I ventured to the left on Grace Bay Road. It was a long hot walk to the convenience store at the Ocean Club. It was a complete waste – I was hoping to find the fixings for sandwiches but there really were only some chips and sodas and wine there. I also visited the small cultural market accessed by walking down the Ocean Club road towards the beach. There are about 8 small open air alcoves filled with wares. Most of the stuff looked like it was made in China. It was a bit creepy. I enjoyed the walk back from there on along the beach to RWI.

Inexplicably I was up at the crack of dawn one morning so I decided to throw on some clothes and catch the sunrise on the beach. I’m so glad I did! There were 2 rainbows over the Seven Stars resort that I was able to capture with my camera. I walked as far as The Somerset – took me about 45 minutes each way. It was funny – it was raining on that end of the beach but was warm and sunny at RWI! As I walked west I found the beach to have an unpleasant odor and it was full of washed up seaweed. I’m not sure if this was because it was too early for it to have been groomed by the staff or what. The beach in front of RWI never smelled or had seaweed.

As a single woman looking for peace and quiet RWI was perfect for me. The resort was small enough for me to see familiar faces but big enough that I could come and go as I pleased. There were no activities offered at the resort which was perfect for my needs! I did feel a bit uncomfortable walking along Grace Bay road – even in the daytime. There weren’t many pedestrians – I felt like I was rather vulnerable to all of the traffic whizzing by. I guess I am just used to city living where a deserted street is usually bad news.

The only issue with my room was the shower – it ran out of hot water in about 3 minutes! I reported the situation to the lobby but to my knowledge it was never dealt with by them. I’m sure I could have pushed the issue but I was there to relax and I didn’t want to waste time hassling over something that really didn’t matter too much to me.

I learned on my last day there that they sell bottled water in the lobby for $1.00 per bottle. I bought bottles at Mango Reef all week and I think they were $3.00 per bottle so I wish I had known about the lobby supply!

The front desk called me Saturday night to see if I needed a taxi to the airport the next day. I really appreciated that! The taxi came at the appointed time…this time the charge was $30 rather than the $15 I paid coming to the hotel. I suppose I should have been annoyed but I really didn’t care. The flight home on Sunday was kind of a nightmare. The airport was packed, there was no one to direct anyone and everyone stood in line for about 1.5 hours to check in and then another hour to go through security. Very unpleasant! But that was just a small blip in what was otherwise a fabulous vacation.

Hope this was helpful. I have really enjoyed reading other people’s reports and forum posts. Check out my pictures at the following link:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/ViewSlideshow.action?&collidparam=64135670508.769219773308.1238369652718

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