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Grand LIdo Braco Trip Report by Bill Smith
      #775 - 08/18/00 04:48 PM (209.9.83.198)

THE FOLLOWING TRIP REPORT WAS PREPARED BY BILL SMITH AND POSTED HERE WITH HIS PERMISSION

This is our third trip to Jamaica, we have been to COUPLES Ocho Rios and
COUPLES Negril...So this time we decided to try
GRAND LIDO BRACO. There June 9-16,2000. GLB is approximately an hour drive
from Montego Bay.

Other trip reports give excellent descriptions of the lay out of Braco, I will
give you a brief overview of the resort. Grand Lido Braco is actually two
resorts in one, textile side and a au natural side (not clothing optional).
Entering the main gate you will drive pass a golf course and tennis courts,
arriving at the Town Hall Reception center. Separating the textile from the
au natural side is the Village. The Village consist of several small shops,
the La Pasta Restaurant, Piacere (French) Restaurant, Disco, Main Bar and
Piano Bar, Victoria Market Restaurant (serves breakfast buffets, lunch buffets
and a la carte at night, along with nightly entertainment), Nanny's Jerk Pit
Restaurant and Japanese Restaurant. There is also a gym and spa. Vendors set
up on the streets to sell crafts each day. Off to the side of Victoria Market
is the main textile pool and swim up bar/ with a small hot tub. The textile
room side, located to the right of the Village, consists of 12 Blocks of
rooms plus a Clubhouse & hot tub. Blocks 1-6 are Beach front rooms and
Blocks 7-12 are Garden view or Ocean view rooms, all with coffee pots, no
refrigerators. The textile side has its' own beach along with a wedding
gazebo.
The Au Natural side is located to the left of the Village, consist of two
Blocks of rooms. There are three types of rooms for this side:
Jr. Beach front Suites consisting of one room one bath, A One Bedroom Beach
front Suite consisting of two rooms and 1 1/2 baths, and A Luxury One
Bedroom Suite consisting of two rooms and 2 baths, all with refrigerators and
coffee pots The au natural side has the hugest winding pool in Jamaica with a
swim up bar, plus a land bar next to the pool. The pool is so large that you
can either be by yourself (for first timers doing the au natural experience)
or be around others. There are plenty of lounge chairs and floats around the
pool, also on the beach. There are two hot tubs on this side, one is small
(hidden in foliage) and the other is huge (could hold
40 people) located near the pool. This side also has its' own clubhouse for
ordering snacks and drinks,(anytime of the day or night), plus an au natural
tennis court on this side, too. This side also has its own au natural beach,
completely separate from the textile beach. The foliage and outer appearance
of the room blocks on au natural side are much nicer than the textile side.

Braco offers several water sports, such as diving, snorkeling, wind surfing,
kayaking, water skiing and glass bottom boat rides. Most of these activities
were cancelled during our stay due to windy conditions. This was no problem
for us, cause we loved to vegetate around the au natural pool, talk to others
and stay cool with the warm breezes blowing from the ocean. There is always a
constant breeze at Braco. Braco offers numerous off site excursions such as
Ocho Rios Shopping trips, Dunns River Falls trip, Martha Brae Rafting, Horse
Back Riding (textile or au natural), these will cost extra ranging from $30 to
$65 US. On Friday night, there is a Street Buffet and Dance; on Monday night
there is a Toga Party at the Disco; on Wednesday night there is a Beach
Buffet/Party and Entertainment; and on Thursday night there is a PJ "Dare to
Bare" Party at the Disco, along with nightly entertainment at Victoria Market
around 9:30 pm. Activity staff post daily schedule of events for both sides,
but don't hold your breath, not all activities happen; remember your in
Jamaica & NO PROBLEM MON.

I am not going to bore you with our airplane trip from New Orleans. After we
landed,late Friday afternoon, we went to the Super clubs desk and within
minutes we were on a shuttle headed to Braco. It was a very nice ride, within
one hour we were pulling into the front gates at Grand Lido Braco. When we
got off the bus, we were given a moist towel and a glass of champagne. Check
in was a breeze, since our agent, Dan Hill, had advanced us a lot of the
paperwork to fill out prior to our arrival. We received our room keys and safe
key, within minutes, a porter was taking us and our luggage to our room,we
headed from the lobby, to the left going towards the au natural side. We
passed Block A, then proceeded past the au natural pool ( this was the largest
pool we have ever seen). We booked Jr. Beach Front Suite, but surprisingly ,
we were upgraded to a two room Beach front Suite second floor, located in
Block B, across from the club house. When the porter opened the door, there
was a bottle of Champagne on ice, and a cheese tray on the table. The porter
showed us how to operate the a/c, showed us where the iron was and so on. The
first room of our suite had a couch, two chairs,a coffee table, a TV, a small
desk, a phone,a radio/cass/cd player, a half bath, a refrigerator (that was
stocked with beer, red stripe and miller lite, water, soft drinks) and coffee
pot. The second part of the suite, had a full bath with hair dryer (if you
need a strong hair dryer, bring one from home), a king size bed, a TV, a
dresser and two night stands,a phone and a radio/cass/cd unit. The floors
were tile, on each side of the bed was carpeted mats. On the bed was a towel
fanned out with several flowers placed on it, along with several flowers in
the bathroom. The french doors opened up to a large balcony with two wooden
chairs and table. A beautiful view of the beach and ocean. I could not have
asked for any better maid service, ours was impeccable, always a very clean
room, plenty of towels and refrigerator was always stocked with beer, sodas
and water..

We hurriedly unpacked and headed for the Street Buffet and Dance. We meet
several other couples from the yahoo & dennyp board. The buffet was spread
out around in the center of the village. There was plenty of food for
everyone's taste. I had no problem with the service from the drink waiters or
anyone else. After the meal, there was a big street dance. Later we went
back to our room, placed the room service breakfast menu on the door knob and
requested delivery at 7:45 to 8:00am . Delivery was very prompt, there was
more food on the tray than two people could have eaten, after that we tailored
down the menu. Each day we were there, delivery was prompt, never late.
Each morning, I would have a couple cups of coffee on the balcony and leave
Deborah, my wife, in the room (she is not a big breakfast eater) and I would
head down to Victorias Market for breakfast. There was all types of food for
breakfast, from fruits, eggs benedict, made to order omelets, pancakes, bacon,
sausage, some Jamaican dishes, and plenty of pastries. Service at Victorias
for breakfast was fantastic. If your water glass, juice glass or coffee was
half empty, a person was there refilling it, you never had to look for a
waiter.

Saturday we checked out the rest of the resort, found out where all the
restaurants were, made reservations for the French and Japanese, found
Nanny's Jerk Pit, the main bar, the disco and them proceeded to check out
the textile pool and walked around looking at the textile side. There were
several shops located in the town square. Finally looked at the crafts the
vendors had to offer.

Saturday and Sunday we laid around the pool. The resort furnished plenty of
beach towels at the pool bar. We talked to other
guest, met Chester & Carlon, the bar tenders for the au natural side.
Everyone was extremely friendly and talkative on this side compared to the
textile side. In fact the only times that we wandered to the textile side
was for the restaurants at night, cause our side had everything we could want
from food at the clubhouse to the grill at the pool bar which fixed lamb chops
and jerk chicken for lunch. We had a chance to meet Cynthia, the fruit lady.
She was wonderful to talk to. There was a resident artist, Tyronne, who
painted beautiful pictures of scenery on the au natural side. In fact he
impressed us, to the point, we purchased one of his paintings. We knew that he
actually painted it, compared to those the vendors sold. From other trip
reports, I have read where people burned/made a cd and left it with the
resort. I decided to make one, with older reggae songs, current Latino songs
and mambo songs; called it "Jammin at Braco 2000". The guest, along with the
staff loved it, they played it over the pool speakers numerous times during
the day. It is now part of Braco's music collection.

Sunday we had reservations at Piacere (French) Restaurant. Dress code was more
formal, required jacket and long pants for men and women, nice dress. The
service was impeccable, the food was excellent, and wine was perfect, a
Chilean variety. This is quite an experience. Our waiter Ellerton was
extremely nice. Monday night another couple we met on the yahoo board join us
with reservations at the Japanese Restaurant. Again the food was great, and
service was impeccable. We liked it so much, we made another reservation
there before leaving on Friday.

Monday, just another day of laying around the pool, talking with everyone and
walking on the beach. I would strongly suggest bringing water shoes if you are
planning on walking in the ocean, very rocky bottom. We picked Joseph to be
Mayor for our side. He was a fantastic guy. I had brought with us a bunch of
temporary tattoos. Everyone wanted one, so Joseph pinned me with the name "
Tattoo Man". We all had a blast with them. Monday afternoon, Drink
Mixology was held at the swim up bar, it was hilarious. Tuesday night was Toga
Night at the Disco, everyone got their toga sheets after the nightly
entertainment at Victoria Market, went back to their rooms to get dressed. At
the Toga Party, I would say that 97% of the people were from the au natural
side and 3% from the textile side. After the dance, a lot of guest ended up
in the hot tub on au natural side, partying till 4 in the morning.

Next several days just ran together, having fun around the pool and the beach.
On Wednesday, Tamika, activity staff member held body painting class. Several
guys painted bikini's on their wives, from a distance they looked real.
Wednesday night they moved the Beach Buffet/Party to Victoria Market due to
chance of rain. The entertainment was good and the food was fair, nothing
unusual.

On Thursday, Braco had a buffet for the people on the au natural side, they
set it up around the bar at the pool. It was great, in fact, better food than
at Victoria Market. There was salads, baked fish in a sauce, chicken, grilled
lamb chops, jerk seasoned steaks, and deserts. We didn't make the PJ Party
that night, but understood it was fairly tame. Friday, well it was time to
pack and check out, but we had a few hours, that we laid around the pool and
had a last minute chance to talk to people that we had met. Friday, we also
had a chance to eat at the La Pasta Restaurant before our shuttle left. Both
of us had the seafood pizza, that was fantastic, highly recommend this one.

Over all the service on the au natural side was excellent, from maid service,
room service, bar tenders, & club house. A person could not have asked for any
better treatment or service. The service and food, we found at the other
restaurants, was excellent. Especially the French, the Japanese, & Nanny's
Jerk Pit. Victoria Market, the breakfast buffet was good along with
service,at night when it was a la carte, the food was displayed very nice,
but no taste, but service was good. In my opinion, the entertainment at
Victoria Market could have been better, since this is a superclub; COUPLES
resorts had more professional type of entertainment.

This was our first time at Braco, will not be our last. It was well worth
the extra we paid to stay on the au natural side ($1500 per person, land rate
for 7 nights), it was nice to just walk out of your room without clothes on
and be at the pool, instead of paying less for the textile side, getting
dressed and walking over to this side. The au natural side was the best of
any resort that we have been to.

Bill and Deborah Smith
bsmith@msdh.state.ms.us












Edited by Carol_Hill on 8/18/00 05:12 PM.



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