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Jamaica Trip Report...Samsara 01/01
      #13465 - 01/17/01 11:38 AM (

Just returned Wednesday, Jan 10, from a 4 night stay at Samsara.
Very nice property. Good location on the cliffs. Nice
landscaping. Older, somewhat rustic rooms - but clean and
reasonably well kept. We had a nice "lockable" antique wardrobe in
our room that I kept my travel documents and travellers
checks in. Not perfecltly secure, but better than leaving
them laying out in the open.

Front desk staff was nice and very helpful. Free shuttle to sister property
Legends on the beach was a money saver. Use of legends beach was a big
advantage (I'm a beach person, my wife prefers the
cliffs... no sand! So we switch off.) The bar girl at legends
(sorry... I didn't catch her name) was one of the nicest,
friendliest individuals I've ever met anywhere... delightful!
She made great drinks too!

Didn't eat at Samsara much... had the fried wings (NOT
Buffalo style) & draft special one night (150J)... tasty snack. Had
buffet breakfast the last morning. It was okay.

Choices restaurant ( just past the Cambio & Bar to the left
as you exit) was great for lunch. Soup to die for. And fried
chicken that would put KFC out of business. Had one
"upscale" romantic dinner at Rockhouse. Coconut shrimp
appetizer was excellent. The lobster my wife had was
amazing! I had grilled snapper that was a little dry...
should've had fried. Total bill for 3 appetizers, two entrees
and 4 glasses of wine... $60! ($72 with tip.) We're talking
Red Lobster prices... with a hell of a lot more atmosphere!
Highly recommended for you and your special someone.

We spent a day at Couples on a day pass. The day pass has gone
up from $50/pp to $75/pp... they gave it to us for the $50/pp that we
were quoted via email a few months ago. Had a nice day for $100.
Wouldn't go back for $150... we'd go to Grand Lido next door for the
same price. Strolled the beach at Lido... looked very nice.
Couples was nice, but I didn't think it was as nice as Couples
Ocho Rios where we stayed 3 years ago, although the beach at
bloody bay is outstanding.

Back to Samsara....
Music at the bar was not overbearing. You could hear it
from your room, but it wasn't usually annoying. I had
trouble sleeping a couple of nights due to fighting cats and
barking dogs in the neighborhood. But I'm a very light
sleeper... next time I'll bring earplugs. Lots of cats on the
property. I like that... lots of cats equals no rats.

The weather was cool and windy the first day and a half.
Couldn't swim off the cliffs until Monday. Missed the
torrential rains thank heavens. Sunday thru Tuesday were
sunny & warm. Didn't need the AC this trip... but in the summer
I don't think I could live without it. The room had
a nice ceiling fan but not much ventilation otherwise. Bring
bug spray... I had deep woods off and still got bit.

You can get phone cards at the Cambio across the street,
and there's a nice little "all-in-one" convenience store just
past Choices.

Only two major suggestions for improvement at Samsara:

An ICE MACHINE on property (so one can have cold water
to drink even if the bar is closed).

CARDS WITH!!! They have credit card phones but the rates
are outrageous. The calls will cost you more than the hotel if
you use these! Beware! We used the pre-purchased phone
cards from the Cambio to call on the pay phone across the
street... then the folks at home called us back at Samsara.
They have a phone that they use to transfer incoming calls to
you. This method worked fairly well, except that the pay phone is in a very
dark place... so if you call at night you need a flashlight to
dial. Also, I got propositioned twice while trying to call my
kids. Kinda ruins the wholesome feeling of calling home!

Other than that we had a wonderful time for an unbelievably
low price! (We booked a package thru liberty travel back in
Sept.) Swimming off the cliffs was a highlight... the salinity
of the water makes it almost impossible to sink. We also
brought some cheap Walmart floats to relax on. It was great.

The king of the cheapo travellers (i.e. me) was very satisfied!
We'll probably go back next year if we get the right price.

Edited by Administrator on 1/17/01 04:40 PM.

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