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Week 1 trip report #56800
06/02/2015 12:20 PM
06/02/2015 12:20 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 54
Nebraska
WILLVINO Offline OP
Traveler
WILLVINO  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 54
Nebraska
We will be in the island a total of 3 weeks. We are so blessed to be able to do that. This is the first time we have used Kenny's car rental. WOW what great service. I was so happy to not have to wait in a rental car van etc. We did the paperwork and were done within 10 min. He helped me with the bags as my husband has a bad back at the moment and more than likely will have surgery when we return but we didn't want to cancel the trip.

We are a bit strange when we travel. My husband likes certain things and one is good food that we can enjoy on the balcony overlooking the ocean, listening to the waves and enjoying our wine. We usually bring some wine with us from our own cellar as they are usually special things that we buy specifically for vacation or to celebrate things. So I always find it funny that we bring a suitcase full of wine and other comforts, half a suitcase with our scuba stuff and only half a suitcase of clothes : ). Belair has laundry although it is $2.50 for a wash and $2.50 for a dryer and that doesn't include laundry detergent.

Knowing Belair and having stayed here before we decided to buy an electric grill to use. We bought one at Amazon and put it in one of our suitcases. Despite all of the wrapping a few plastic pieces came apart but it still works.
We will leave it for the maid when we leave. It was well worth the $40 and will do it again.

The first week was with my sister and brother-in-law. Husband and I are celebrating 20 years of marriage and they were celebrating their 10th anniversary. I arranged for a photo shoot on Cupecoy beach. The photo shoot was done by Lili Peterson Photography. If any one is interested in her info just google her or you can PM me. She did a great job and Cupecoy was the perfect spot for it.

My sister was very surprised and we all loved it.

We then went to Ocean's 82 in Grand Case for dinner and had a great experience.

We went to Dreams later one afternoon. It was really nice and the food and service were great. The only sad thing was at 4 pm we were told we had to leave because a wedding was coming and they had reserved the entire restaurant. We were disappointed in that. The beach was nice there. A little bit of seaweed had come on shore but it was not horrible.

My sister and husband stayed at Divi in a one bedroom unit overlooking great Bay. We are staying at Belair for all 3 weeks.

Here are some pros and cons of both places in case you are interested.

Divi has a community grill up the hill close to the infinity pool. You have to reserve a spot and the utensils are shared so you are supposed to go to the front desk to get the utensils. We grilled several times over there since it is a propane grill and much easier to deal with but we ended up investing $5 on a spatula and tongs of our own so we didn't have to worry about getting the utensils etc each time and it was well worth it. We are here 2 more weeks and can use it with our electric grill which we tried last night and worked beautifully.

The room at Divi was not well appointed for 4 people. There were only 3 of most things. The Belair has 6 of everything which made things much easier. The water pressure was not the greatest at Divi compared to Belair. The furnishings are more modern at Divi and of course they have a nicer little store, and more amenities. The Pizza at the bar at Divi is very good. We did eat at Gingerbread cafe once. We had coconut shrimp and a burger and both were great.

Everyone was very friendly at both Divi and Belair. Divi is a bit high pressure about the timeshares. There is a lady called Darlene at Divi who we have seen each time we are here and she is very pushy but very sweet at the same time. We just told her we had already done the presentation a few years ago and were not interested and eventually she gave up.

We spent time at Divi and they spent time at Belair. We all agreed that the view at Belair is the best. There is more fresh air and you can't beat the sound of the crashing waves.

There were a couple of days last week that we saw some seaweed near Belair and Divi. Yesterday there were huge patches out at sea that you could see from our top level unit at Belair but nothing came on shore.

Both Divi and Belair keep their beaches raked so it did not bother us at all.

We walked up to the Fort and the gate was open so it was fine.

Many cruise ships off and on so I printed off a schedule and we avoid Phillipsburg on cruise ship days.

We saw patches of the seaweed out at sea when we were flying in.

I think we will return to Dreams as we really enjoyed the food. I had sushi and it was delicious. My sister had a shrimp wrap and it was wonderful. Husband had coconut shrimp which was great and brother in law had a burger which he said was great also.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have while we are here or later.

I will see if I can post some pictures sometime.

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Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: WILLVINO] #56801
06/02/2015 01:00 PM
06/02/2015 01:00 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,596
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,596
Central Florida!
Hi. Thanks for the report on the first week. Sounds lovely!

You didn't say whether you own at Belair or not? If not, for your next trip, it sounds like to me maybe you should check out Beachside Villas! Each unit has it's own gas barbeque grill, each unit has it's own private balcony, steps from the ocean. If you're not familiar with Beachside, you might take a ride over there some day.

Regardless, enjoy the next two weeks!


Carol Hill
Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: Carol_Hill] #56802
06/02/2015 04:35 PM
06/02/2015 04:35 PM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,030
PA
biglar Offline
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biglar  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,030
PA
We have never stayed at the Divi, but may give it a try in October when we travel with friends. We were on the island for a couple of weeks recently and we stopped at the Divi and they allowed us to look around the resort. The beach seems like it is well maintained and I assume you get to use beach chairs for free if you are a guest there. Is it easy to find your way to the fort? Enjoy the next two weeks. They seem to go more quickly every year.

Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: biglar] #56803
06/02/2015 06:37 PM
06/02/2015 06:37 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 470
C
CaribLee Offline
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CaribLee  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 470
Don't mean to be tacky, but if you eat at dreams for lunch and then use their beach chairs for the afternoon, can you bring your own cooler? (Note: we would spend a lot for food AND drinks at lunch for what that is worth).

Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: CaribLee] #56804
06/02/2015 06:39 PM
06/02/2015 06:39 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,596
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,596
Central Florida!
I honestly don't know what their reaction would be, but I personally would NOT bring a cooler there, since the chairs are free. I have brought water before, but that's it.


Carol Hill
Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: biglar] #56805
06/02/2015 06:41 PM
06/02/2015 06:41 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,278
Cincinnati area
Cincinnati_Kid Offline
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Cincinnati_Kid  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,278
Cincinnati area
The fort (Fort Amsterdam) is simple to locate. Just walk up the hill toward the end of the peninsula and there you are! It is a good place to take photos of the cruise ships docked at the pier in the distance, Great Bay, and Little Bay in the other direction. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/pepsi.gif" alt="" />


Paradise is an island in the Caribbean!
Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: CaribLee] #56806
06/02/2015 06:51 PM
06/02/2015 06:51 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,696
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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SXMScubaman  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,696
Auburn, WA
As Carol said I would not bring any beer or mixed drinks. If your cooler just had water in it I would do it.
As a rule of thumb at beaches, if your paying for their chairs bring it with you. If they are giving you chairs, than buy from them.

Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: SXMScubaman] #56807
06/02/2015 07:54 PM
06/02/2015 07:54 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,764
Quebec
kish Offline
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kish  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,764
Quebec
One exception we know of to that rule is Coco on Orient. They charge for chairs even if you are eating there and were very rude when we drank our own coke from our cooler.

Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: SXMScubaman] #56808
06/02/2015 07:57 PM
06/02/2015 07:57 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 54
Nebraska
WILLVINO Offline OP
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WILLVINO  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 54
Nebraska
We do not own at Belair we are members of RCI and have traded each time we have visited. I saw the website for beachside villas wow they look great. Don't think they are tradable with RCI otherwise we would do it.

As far as Divi yes the chairs are for use of guests. The chairs are run by the dive shop. We used their chairs off and on last week and also this week as my husband was taking a scuba class with them so they didn't say anything. There is a sign that says it is $5 for a chair if you are not a guest and that is mostly for cruise ship people. I saw several Belair people sit over there and no one said anything. It is low season as the attendant explained and there weren't any cruise ships in town when we used them.

As far as dreams I agree with other posts if you are not paying for them then probably don't bring a cooler. I don't think it would hurt to have a beer or a special wine in a simple bag and of course water. Specially if you order food. Husband and I took a special bottle of champagne and they were fine with that but again we dumped some big money on lunch and other drinks.

One other comment about the beach both at Belair and Divi. There seems to be more hassles at the Divi with the locals trying to sell you stuff. i spent 5 hours on the beach today and the same ladies asked me for a massage 5 times, another couple of ladies asked me twice, one lady asked me for jewelery twice and of course there is the marijuana guy who despite me saying no he just hung around my chair it was annoying so I went in the water and he seemed very upset. I was alone as my husband was doing a scuba course. I told the beach attendant that it was very uncomfortable. He said he was harmless and I said that I just wish that when I said no thanks in a polite voice that he in particular understood.

I was not hassled like that at Belair. I know they have to make a living and I am fine with that but I do with that they understood that no means no. I am never rude and always nice but maybe that is my problem. Oh well I don't live their live every day so I have to put that in perspective.

So just my observation. I will write another report in a few days.

Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: WILLVINO] #56809
06/02/2015 08:03 PM
06/02/2015 08:03 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,060
St Louis, MO
SXMNorm Offline
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SXMNorm  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,060
St Louis, MO
Thanks for week one. Nice comparison of two resorts.


Next SXM visit - January/February 2021
Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: kish] #56810
06/02/2015 08:11 PM
06/02/2015 08:11 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,596
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,596
Central Florida!
...which is the reason why I personally will NEVER patronize Coco again, unless they change their policy.


Carol Hill
Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: WILLVINO] #56811
06/02/2015 08:12 PM
06/02/2015 08:12 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,596
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,596
Central Florida!
No, Beachside Villas is a hotel, and not a member of RCI.


Carol Hill
Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: WILLVINO] #56812
06/02/2015 08:34 PM
06/02/2015 08:34 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 150
NH
D
DrDoug Offline
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DrDoug  Offline
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D
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 150
NH
Hi,
A bit surprised about your experience with the beach vendors at Divi. I've been going there since the late 1980's and haven't seen much of that. I go mid March and on 3 occasions late April. I walk the entire beach 3 times a day from Divi to past Belair and sometimes sit awhile on a chair at Divi. I do recall one fellow stopping at the chairs where ladies were, pushing jewelry but he seemed to leave quickly. I did see the same guy at Belair.
Seems like there are more vendors now. I'll find out this coming March.
There is an excellent hair braider who hangs out there, Yvonne. She is not pushy and has a portfolio of photos to show, I'm even in it. Her braids last up to 6 months and I used to get them to show to my students and to add to my classroom antics.
Sounds like you has a good time. Can't wait to get back.

Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: CaribLee] #56813
06/02/2015 08:44 PM
06/02/2015 08:44 PM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,438
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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GaKaye  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,438
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
To be completely honest, yes, in my opinion, that would be tacky. Dreams is a high-end beach restaurant. They have everything you could possibly want, and give you fabulous beach chairs and umbrellas free in consideration of your dining and drinking at their restaurant. I can't imagine why you would even want to bring a cooler there, unless you have a medical condition that requires medication that must be kept cold. In that case, I'd point it out to them when I arrived so that they would understand why you have a cooler. Otherwise, it's like taking your Big Gulp into a fine dining establishment. Again, just my opinion.

Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: WILLVINO] #56814
06/02/2015 11:05 PM
06/02/2015 11:05 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,844
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
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jazzgal  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,844
Portland, OR
I, too, have never been bothered by vendors at Divi. I will be there Saturday for three weeks so will see if things have changed. Thanks for your report, and enjoy the rest of your vacation.


[Linked Image]
Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: jazzgal] #56815
06/03/2015 08:35 AM
06/03/2015 08:35 AM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 377
L
lcote Offline
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lcote  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 377
My husband and I have owned at Divi for about 10 years. I have seen an increase of beach vendors there in those 10 years but they generally disappear when you say no or simply don't even look at them.
As for Darlene at Divi, I swear, she must be someone at corporate's daughter or niece. She is pushy and I try to avoid her at all cost. she will ask us on a regular basis when we are there if we have had our presentation. Once, she even got us in for the presentation but didn't remember us for the remaining week and half we were there.

Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: GaKaye] #56816
06/03/2015 01:40 PM
06/03/2015 01:40 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,882
Boynton Beach, FL
EdB Offline
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EdB  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,882
Boynton Beach, FL
Quote
GaKaye said:
To be completely honest, yes, in my opinion, that would be tacky. Dreams is a high-end beach restaurant. They have everything you could possibly want, and give you fabulous beach chairs and umbrellas free in consideration of your dining and drinking at their restaurant. I can't imagine why you would even want to bring a cooler there, unless you have a medical condition that requires medication that must be kept cold. In that case, I'd point it out to them when I arrived so that they would understand why you have a cooler. Otherwise, it's like taking your Big Gulp into a fine dining establishment. Again, just my opinion.


i kind of agree with GaKay on this one. The day at Dreams is going to be an expensive one with food and drink. The extra couple of dollars for a couple of cold waters probably won't break the bank. Or...the alternative would be maybe bringing in a large FROZEN water bottle with you in your bag...and as it melts....drink from it. we do that often when going to the beach. If you plan on drinking a lot of waters, then the extra dollar or two per bottle really won't add that much to a regular bill at Dreams. The free chairs and umbrellas do have a price.

Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: EdB] #56817
06/03/2015 05:16 PM
06/03/2015 05:16 PM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,438
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
Traveler
GaKaye  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,438
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
We have brought a frozen bottle of water to just about every beach, including Dreams, although recently I've been getting sparkling water from the beach staff there. I honestly don't think bringing a bottle of water to any beach should be a problem, but I don't even bring a cooler to a beach when I'm paying for rental chairs there. I know there are many who disagree with me, but I just don't think it's appropriate.

Re: Week 1 trip report [Re: GaKaye] #56818
06/03/2015 05:53 PM
06/03/2015 05:53 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,882
Boynton Beach, FL
EdB Offline
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EdB  Offline
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Posts: 2,882
Boynton Beach, FL
yep...im not a fan of bringing coolers to a beach either. and the large frozen water lasts all day and usually plenty for the two of us. we wrap it up in a towel to keep it from getting everything else in the bag wet....


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