The Aruba Forums
It is currently Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:48 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]

Having difficulty using this Board?
Click here for our Forum Support System
Forgot your password? Click Here



CHECK OUT OUR RECENTLY ENHANCED ARUBATOURISM.COM WEBSITE

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:36 am 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 8:07 pm
Posts: 17768
Location: Connecticut
And this is only my opinion. First and foremost, what people want to know, would you ever go back? Never! At least to Ocho Rios and Couples Tower Isle.

Flights
Both were non eventful, a few delays going down and about a 1/2 hour late but no big deal. On the way back yesterday, we hit some turbulence that had Sue and I looking at each other in shear panic, it was the worst we have ever encountered. At one point it felt like the tip of the nose of the plane had pointed down, even the guy seated next to us a seasoned traveler had that look on his face. It lasted for about 15sec before it was over. I guess the scary part about it was there was no warning. I looked at Sue when it was over and said "Well that was fun!" :lol: Other than that, got into Bradley about 6:15pm and was home at 7:30pm.

Sangster Int Airport Montego Bay

Here's where the fun starts. After finding our way to immigration, there was a line with approx. 200-300 people in it and it was slow! Standing there for 20min or so, we were told to move to another line that had just opened. This one was the automated one. After about a 1/2hr waiting it was our turn but the women said only 1 person at the machine per check in, so Sue was on her own not to her delight :lol: She actually got it done faster than I did and came over to me to help me. Finally done with that and now we are being told to get into another line to tell them if we have anything to declare? This went pretty fast were there was a line for "Nothing to declare" At this point I was getting pretty agitated and jonesing for a smoke. We did get 2 cartons at the duty free there only $32.50 per carton, $98.00 back home and please no lectures :) Finally find the Couples Lounge in the airport after about 15min of looking, check in there with the reception desk and were greeted nicely by all their people. She's says to go over to the open bar and get a drink, Now were talking! :D The open bar was Red Stripe on draft, regular or light, that's it! We both got a beer and asked a rep where could have a smoke since the van wasn't leaving for another 30min, directed us outside. Once outside away from people, I lighted one up only to have a security guard come yelling at me that's there no smoking in this area and you have to cross the parking lot to this little area, are you Freaking (NOT) kidding me! Had our smoke with about 20-30 other people and went back in, got another beer and it was time to leave, only one other couple in their 20's was going with us to the resort, took our beer for the ride :D Approx 2 hours in airport.

The Ride

Driver tells us it's about a 2hr ride depending on traffic, great. The roads are 2 lanes wide in each direct and some times only 1 wide each direction. No guardrails in between, and God forbid if you get a slow poke in the 1 lane wide! :shock: Speed limit was about 30-40mph on these roads, apparently these limits do not include taxi or resort drivers :lol: We had to be doing 60 plus and it's left side driving. It was not fun being in the right passing lane and seeing a tractor trailer coming at you in the opposite direction in the right lane! When you did get a slow poke, and we had quite a few on the one lane roads, the drivers goal was to get by them, not passing one at a time but multiple vehicles at a time until he was forced back into our lanes because of oncoming traffic. One car passed us and about 10-15 other cars and barely got back in before hitting a car head on. Our driver told us "They'll move over to the left if they see them coming in their lane" The ride back to the airport was no different except it was dark when we left and thankfully not a lot of traffic out that early, we almost hit a goat that darted out in the road but he swerved and missed it, or it could have been a dog? Another near miss from a box truck that was flying by us in the opposite lane and nearly hit a car head on, even our driver was surprise by his driving. We were just happy to arrive and depart the rides in one piece! LOl! (Running out of smiles)

The resort

Very nice greeting with warm face clothes and a cold beverage waiting. Strange thing was they didn't put any wrist bands on us for being a AI? I'll explain later. Room was fantastic, big bathroom, comfy bed, clean, two balconies, sunken Jacuzzi, ocean view, couldn't ask for more.Upgraded to ocean view suite when booking for I think $275 for the week. Very happy with our room. They also brought us up a bottle of champagne along with some type of cookies. The beach on the other hand, very disappointed. Very small as you could see by the pics, maybe 100 yards? Very narrow, roped in swim area that goes out 30-40 feet? Lots of seaweed on the bottom, needless to say we did not spend a lot of time on the beach. Most of our days were spent at the swim up pool bar where the fun people hung out. They had games too each day which we played. One day they had "The Newlywed game" thought for sure Sue and I would ace that after 35 years of marriage, NOT! We came in last place :lol: We got 1 of 4 questions right and that was here favorite color.
The next disappointing thing was the food. Our first night we had the buffet which was good,not great but lots to choose from. And that was the last buffet we would see. The rest of the time, they decided since the place was only at 1/2 full capacity that they said, we think more like 1/4 full. Maybe 150-200 people, you would have to order from a menu in the buffet. They had the same menu 3 nights in a row! A choice of 4 entrees, fish, roasted vegetable plate, pork and chicken. This really annoyed me that they were not going to put a buffet out because there wasn't enough people there, not my problem! That's not what I paid for! And the portions were as small as can be! I swear I lost weight while I was there! Thank goodness for the little cafe that had cheeseburgers, dogs, jerk chicken, chicken Caesar salad, onion rings and fries. The breakfast buffet was where we knew we had better fill up. Can't screw that up, they cooked any type of egg or omelettes you wanted. Had champagne every day unlike the Divi which only had it on Sundays, Sue enjoyed a glass each day. We only ate in 2 of the restaurants that needed reservations which you could make the same day since their were not that many people at the resort. One was an Asian (YUK) the other was unforgettable too. Sue will disagree with me on the food, this is my review so my opinion only.

The weather

Well, we were warned and took a chance, we lost. It was overcast every day with a few days that the sun came out for a couple of hours in the afternoon so we did get a little tan. Most days there was showers. One day a downright drenching that we got caught in and got soaked. It was mainly in the 80's even with the cloud cover so it was still warm. We only had sunrise with no sunset pics to take.

Final takes

No, we would never go to Ocho Rios again as it's a PIA getting there from the airport.

There is nothing to do and nothing around you to do, once you get there, you are there for the duration unless you go on excursions.

The reason for no bracelets for the AI is their property is surrounded by fences and have a gate and guard at the entrance.

I found it strange that there we hardly any birds here! I mean virtually none! In the morning you could see these white doves that would be in this tree every morning, maybe 50 of them. I missed the birds waking up like in Aruba while sitting on the balcony.

The resort itself is kept very clean, workers very friendly, plenty of things to do with the different boats they have.

The Au Natural (nudie island) was very busy with people being shuttled back and forth each day, mostly older couples who I happened to get a glimpse of a couple times with my binoculars that had no business being naked! LOL!!! (I brought the binoculars for cruise ships and boats but never saw a one, did enjoy watching the locals fish in their boats)

There is absolutely no tipping according to their website. I did ask a bellman about it and he said to be very discrete if I did. I did give our bartender at the swim up pool for the week a tip and she was very thankful, quietly thanking me.

Guessing I would say the ocean temp was 82?

If you have any questions, fire away. Sorry it's so long!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:34 am 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2002 4:05 pm
Posts: 23250
Location: New Hampshire/Aruba
Worth a try but I sure understand the disappointment Maybe Montego Bay Area would be better!

_________________
"There are two things you can control in life: effort and attitude"

Coach Brian Stone


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:49 am 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert
User avatar

Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2003 3:17 pm
Posts: 4976
Location: Pittsburgh,PA
Thanks for the report Ronnie, sorry it was a disappointment but at least it was a get away for you & Sue to relax & you have a great story about the rides to & from the airport :shock: :lol:

Must admit I have never had the desire to go to Jamaica & you just sealed it!
We went to Mexico a few years ago & they had the same fence & guards, even guards with machine guns walking along the beach!

_________________
Image

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:58 am 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2004 11:22 am
Posts: 22591
Welcome home Ronnie and Sue!

Ronnie, you write a great trip report. Sorry Ocho Rios didn't live up to your expectations, but it's always good to try new places - sometimes they make us fall in love again with our old favorites.

We were there in 1986 when we only had Cancun to compare it to, but we knew we wouldn't return after that first/only trip, and for a couple of the same reasons you mentioned. Even then they drove like maniacs, the offering of drugs was ridic, we had poor weather for I'd say about 70% of the trip, and my favorite memory from the trip is the Jamaican woman who pulled my hair as I was walking out of her shop because I wasn't buying anything. :lol:

So now that you're home, if you're anything like me, you're looking at where you want to go next. When it's T&C's turn, let me know. 8)

_________________
Linda


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:09 am 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 1:36 pm
Posts: 9110
Location: Bayville NJ
thanks for taking the time to post ronnie. sorry it didn't live up to your expectations, maybe its different "in season". Sad part is you never know if you don't take the chance. At least you and Sue have made new memories, good or bad.

I only see one solution to erase the bad memory, the monkey beach party on nov 5 :mrgreen:

_________________
Linda

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:52 am 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:32 pm
Posts: 7207
Location: Salina, Kansas
Thanks for the trip report, Ronnie. I'm with Pammy--no desire to go to Jamaica. We had some friends who went years ago and after listening to their report, we knew it wasn't for us. But Linda is right--always good to try new places and experiences.

_________________
Tara

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:47 pm 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert
User avatar

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:04 pm
Posts: 18781
Thanks for the review, well done, Travis would be proud.
Well as far as weather, it is rainy season and the weather can make or break a vacation but seemed like you mostly just had clouds and it was warm. I did read that some resorts if aren't full don't provide full food service but I'm sure that was a disappointment; but not having to cook, I'm sure Sue was easier to please :wink: You're a pretty basic eater, maybe the options were too fancy for you :mrgreen: If you are a pool person and don't or can't walk far, it looks like everything is close and lots of different areas to sit for different views. Not having to fight for a chair, no kids, plus, plus :mrgreen: Also if you just came to veg out seems like a nice, safe place, just the drive to and from. That's a long drive, but we are spoiled in Ar*ba. It is nice to experience new things though and makes us appreciate what we have. And that's my take on Couples Tower Isle :wink:

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:29 pm 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:48 am
Posts: 6375
Location: Connecticut / Aruba Surf Club
karen1 wrote:
Thanks for the review, well done, Travis would be proud.
Well as far as weather, it is rainy season and the weather can make or break a vacation but seemed like you mostly just had clouds and it was warm. I did read that some resorts if aren't full don't provide full food service but I'm sure that was a disappointment; but not having to cook, I'm sure Sue was easier to please :wink: You're a pretty basic eater, maybe the options were too fancy for you :mrgreen: If you are a pool person and don't or can't walk far, it looks like everything is close and lots of different areas to sit for different views. Not having to fight for a chair, no kids, plus, plus :mrgreen: Also if you just came to veg out seems like a nice, safe place, just the drive to and from. That's a long drive, but we are spoiled in Ar*ba. It is nice to experience new things though and makes us appreciate what we have. And that's my take on Couples Tower Isle :wink:


Yes he would! :D
We ruled out a vacation in Jamaica years ago after reviews listed many of the same observations. Loved your pics.

_________________
AUA #31 Nov '18


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:14 pm 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 10:01 am
Posts: 4365
Location: The Netherlands
Ronnie, thank you so much for your review. I was wondering about Jamaica, but I guess it is not really for us. Well, you had a new experience and a week away from daily life. I guess we are all spoiled with a safe island with many options about where to go, what to do and fairly good weather. But you never know if there aren’t better places if you don’t try them.

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:58 pm 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert

Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2003 10:16 am
Posts: 14443
Location: Georgia
Good report. Yep... I guess it's why we keep going back to Ahhhhhrubaaahhhh.

_________________
Donna


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:36 pm 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2003 6:37 pm
Posts: 28560
Location: Upstate NY
DonnaLee wrote:
Good report. Yep... I guess it's why we keep going back to Ahhhhhrubaaahhhh.



DITTO!!

_________________
Image

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:29 pm 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert
User avatar

Joined: Mon May 28, 2007 7:13 pm
Posts: 26592
Location: Long Island
Interesting, most reviewers on TripAdvisor gave it positive reviews. They obviously haven't been to Aruba :lol: I don't see Jamaica in my future (tidbit- I was born in Jamaica, Queens).

_________________
Laura

RIP SJ


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:23 pm 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2002 6:48 pm
Posts: 23226
Location: Templetucky, Georgia, USA
Thanks for the comprehensive review Ronnie!!! My honeymoon to Hedonism II in Negril back in 1992 had some similarities. 1) The ride from the airport at Montego Bay to Negril was harrowing. I quickly understood why smoking a joint or 2 makes life easier in Jamaica. So harrowing that, for our return trip, we took a small plane back to Montego Bay. 2) After the 1st day, we got into the "all-nude" atmosphere. Yes, there were some amazing bods, but for most of us it was like walking into the grocery at home, except no clothes. Easy to get used to and enjoy the freedom without being critical or judgmental of others. There WAS a mirror on the ceiling over the bed... :oops: :oops: 3) The beach was more for laying there in your lounge chair drinking cold things (with a book in your lap....) than it was to be out in the water. But we didn't have rain and it was beautiful. 4) The resort was also enclosed, I believe for our protection, we didn't go off reservation...

Differences - Great food and unlimited drinks, which I ordered by color.... "I'll have a blue one this time..." The nude volley ball and shuffleboard, along with the 50 person hot tub were a LOT of fun....

Glad you and Sue are home safe and sound!

_________________
At a friend's outdoor wedding, Carrollton, GA 22Sep2018
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:37 am 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert

Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:47 am
Posts: 9819
ardy. wrote:
DonnaLee wrote:
Good report. Yep... I guess it's why we keep going back to Ahhhhhrubaaahhhh.



DITTO!!


I agree....

The ride to and from the resort was definitely too long. Something we don't really think about - your mention of it makes it something to definitely check out beforehand. (Especially if not in a nice clean air-conditioned vehicle.)

Welcome home.

_________________
Jo-Ann


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:10 pm 
Offline
Extra Helpful Expert

Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:08 pm
Posts: 5617
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Thank you for the review. I appreciate the time you took to explain all the different issues you faced. Hope to see you in AUA again soon!

_________________
Carolina in Atlanta
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group