Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sandals Grande Antigua - Part 3


By Tuesday we were ready to get off the resort and see some of the island, so we signed up for the Segway tour. We met in the Caribbean Grove lobby at 8:45. We were a small group – just 2 other couples from Ontario and Louisiana. It was a short ride to the Segway of Antigua office, where we all donned helmets and elbow pads, then watched an instructional video featuring a very clumsy stick figure that fell off his Segway a lot. Our tour guide, Yandeen, assured us that we wouldn’t be doing that much falling. :-)  Then it was time to practice with our Segways – getting on and off, turning and stopping. Ron and I were the only ones who had ridden a Segway before, but it didn’t take long before everyone was ready to go.

First we rode to Runaway Bay for a photo op of the beautiful deserted beach, passing some grazing horses and the ruins of an old sugar mill along the way. Then it was on to Fort James, built in 1706 to guard St John’s harbor from French invasion. The views from Fort James were spectacular, and I had a hard time tearing my eyes away long enough to snack on the fruit kabobs and sugar cane that the guides handed out. We had a little time to walk around or play on the Segways before it was time to head back. What an awesome tour! It was only 11:30 when we got back to Sandals but I was starving! All that fun makes you hungry. :-)  We picked up two pizzas to-go and ate them sitting on our balcony. Now that’s what I call vacation.

Runaway Bay
Runaway Bay

Fort James
Fort James


tour group

pizza on the balcony

We spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool until Ron started getting hungry again so we walked down to the Caribbean Grove for a snack. While we shared a sandwich and fruit salad in the courtyard, one of the roaming spa ladies made a comment about Ron’s Red Stripe hat. Her name was Resa and she was from Ocho Rios, so we started talking about Jamaica and the other Sandals we had visited. Then she said, “If you’ve been to Sandals before, you must have some spa credits.” Uh oh, I’d been caught. We actually did have a $100 spa credit but I wasn’t planning to use it. I’m not exactly a spa kind of person and wasn’t interested in a facial or a massage. Resa explained some of the different scrubs and wraps that they offered, and the next thing I knew I was signed up for a scrub. I had no idea what it would be like, but I figured that vacation was the best time to try new things.
Dinner that night was at Mario’s and it was the best meal by far. Italian food is my favorite anyway and Mario’s had an antipasto bar that was to die for! It had everything imaginable - calamari, grilled vegetables, fresh mozzarella, Italian sausage, prosciutto with ham - and it was all delicious. We could have made a meal out of the antipasto but I made sure to save room for Spaghetti Carbonara and chocolate lava cake.

While we were eating dinner, a familiar-looking man walked into the restaurant. Ron asked, “Isn’t that the owner of Sandals?” No way! If that was Butch Stewart, wouldn’t he have an entourage of people hovering over him? But when we asked our waitress, she said, “Oh yes, he comes here a lot.” One of the paparazzi photographers came over a little later to get our picture and Ron teased, “Hey, your boss is over there.” The photographer looked around, ducked and said, “shit…”. We cracked up. That’s the reaction I would have had if our CEO had shown up at work! Before we left Mario’s, we went over to tell Mr. Stewart how much we were enjoying everything. Ron told him about how I had cried when we left Sandals Royal Caribbean, our first Sandals. Mr. Stewart was very gracious and told us that we were his shareholders and to keep coming back. We promised we would. (And I’d probably cry when it was time to leave again.)

We had been falling asleep by 9:30 every night but I was determined to stay up later that night because there was a chocolate buffet (or “boo-fay” as the entertainment staff called it) at 10 o’clock. Fortunately, we ran into Sue and Tim after dinner and they invited us to go with them to check out the steel drum band playing in the Caribbean courtyard. The time passed quickly while we chatted and soon it was 10 o’clock. Time for more chocolate! The buffet was set up outside in front of Mario’s and they even had a bar serving chocolate martinis. After we’d sampled the truffles, fondue and other goodies, it was time for bed.


Mario's Italian restaurant


My “spa date” was at 9 o’clock so Ron and I had a quick breakfast at Mario’s and then he walked me over to the Red Lane Spa. After I’d checked in with the receptionist and changed into a soft, thick robe, Resa came to take me to the treatment room. First she scrubbed me top to toe with an oil-infused salt scrub. Then I showered off and she massaged in some moisturizing body butter. When she was through, my skin felt as soft and new as a baby’s bottom. I couldn't stop touching it the rest of the week.  It turns out that I LOVE scrubs. I will never give up spa credits again!

Red Lane Spa
Red Lane Spa
I floated back to our room (stopping at the cafĂ© for a chocolate croissant), then Ron and I took a walk along Dickenson Bay. Like Negril in Jamaica, Dickenson Bay is a public beach and busy with vendors peddling their wares. But unlike Negril, the beach in front of Sandals is very narrow. I felt kind of sorry for anyone trying to relax on beach chairs because they were a captive audience for the vendors. I saw a couple of paddle boarders in the water but they didn’t seem to be making much progress. That made me feel a little better. :-)

Dickenson Bay pier
Dickenson Bay

Dickenson Bay

At noon, we headed back for Larry and Cathy’s wedding. A bunch of people from the pool bar had already gathered on the beach and one lady brought bubbles to blow during the vows. Cathy wore a pale yellow sundress and had purple flowers in her hair. She looked beautiful. Soon I was crying and even Ron was sniffling. How wonderful that all these people who hadn’t even known each other a few days ago had come together to celebrate a marriage.

We spent another lovely afternoon by the pool and then it was time to get ready for our sunset “paparazzi photo shoot”. I had expected to have a photographer to ourselves but instead we were paired up with three other couples. The photographer had to really rush to get everyone’s pictures taken before the sun went down. To complicate things, one of the couples kept arguing with each other, taking pictures with their own camera and generally not being ready whenever it was their turn. Grrrr! Some of the poses were a little awkward too. They were probably meant for cute, young newlyweds and not us 40-somethings. :-)  But I had fun anyway and ended up buying a couple of the pictures. 

sunset photo shoot

sunset photo shoot

Dinner was at Kimonos - spring rolls and Miso soup, then a sampler of salmon, shrimp, beef and chicken cooked teppanyaki-style. After dinner, we found an unoccupied hammock by the beach and swung until we got sleepy.

continued on Part 4


  1. How do you go on one of these vacations and not gain 20 pounds? It sounds amazing!

    Love the sunset photos, especially the sitting one--is that one of the poses meant for the younger newlyweds? Because I think it's really good!

    If you like spa scrubs, you'll probably like wraps too. I just discovered those last year, they're great!

    1. We did a lot of walking because the resort was pretty big and our room was at the far end. That probably helped keep off the poundage.

      I only bought the sunset photos with normal poses. The newlywed poses looked goofy on us. You had to be very flexible - "Put one knee up on this rock, now flip her backwards and both of you turn and look at me." We don't bend that way! :-) But it was fun.

      I almost did try the wrap but I was really happy with the scrub. It was like getting new skin. It would definitely be best to get a scrub at the beginning of vacation, before you got sunburned.

  2. The sunset shots were gorgeous. I too have to express amazement that after all that good food you return home looking the same as when you left. Well, the same but with a nice tan and a vacation after-glow.