Our 4:30PM Sunwing flight out of Kitchener/Breslau airport January 11 2012 was delayed three hours due to technical difficulty with the plane. We wondered why they didn't FLY a technician in from Toronto instead of having us all wait while he drove to Kitchener However, we finally took off around 7:30PM.
Sunwing flights are always pleasant. They serve a glass of champagne to get you in the holiday spirit and wine with the hot meal a little later. The flight is four hours and our hotel was another 45 minute drive. With the one hour time change we arrived at our hotel in the wee hours of the morning. The van dropped us off at Grand Paradise Bavaro and then scooted away after he got his tip. But we were told by check in we were at the wrong area of the resort. This is a really big place and its actually in three parts. A shuttle runs between the three different areas 24 hours a day. Its quite confusing after a long day and no one around to help you. The first check in clerk just dismissed us by telling us to go to the other area... A bell boy took us in a golf cart part way through the resort and then dragged our luggage over cobblestones quite a distance until we reached our area which was the Superior Garden View, right at the entrance and the longest distance from the beach. After expressing our disappointment in our location we were upgraded to the Select section, in the middle of the resort and not far from the shuttle service and about a ten minute walk to the beach. Our third floor room was clean, nicely decorated with two queen beds, plazma TV, bath and shower, and a balcony. Our maid was friendly and spoke a little English. We tipped her a little every day and she kept us supplied with bottled water and toilet paper (no kleenex). I don't know why they don't have contoured sheets at these resorts. The mattress pads and the bottom sheets are too small to tuck in so if you like a smooth bed to sleep in... forget it. : ) : )
In hindsight if we had waited until the next morning after a nights sleep we would have seen that each section has its own pool/pools, buffet, and ammenities and its all really quite beautiful and well kept.
I think a second visit at this resort will be more enjoyable since it takes quite a while to get your bearings and find where you want to go and how to get there. They give you a tiny map and there are maps posted along the walkways. After a few days you'll know where you are.
There are six al a carte restaurants at this resort and they are all excellent. You have to wait in line after breakfast each day to sign up for your choice for the next day. We tried them all. Steak House, Fish House, Dominican, Italian, International, (but not the Asian since they wanted another $10.00 for this one). The food was really delicious. Even in the two buffets.. There is nothing more you could ask for. The desserts are extra special. Each day there was a different theme and they decorated accordingly. The shows take place a little late at night but the few we did see were excellent. Especially the Zodiak show. Costumes, dances, and pantomine singers put on quite a spectacle.
The pools at this resort are the best ever. Not just round or rectangular but winding around little islands of plants, with little inlets here and there to swim in. There are about six in all, so each section of the resort has its own pools, but you can go to any of them. There are signs on some saying adults only, no children allowed, but somehow people never think this means them and there were little ones with water wings and youngsters splashing about a good deal of the time.
There were lots of families with little children at this resort so if you are looking for a place to take the family this is it.
The resort says a four star.. I think its more like a three star... but the beach is a five star. Its beautiful. I have never seen a more crowded beach both in the water and out. We witnessed about eight weddings in our two weeks and took pictures of them all. The water is rolling and beautiful. The sand is fluffy and white, packed down just enough to make walking a pleasure. There is parasailing right from a little boat, and lots of photographers with cockateils or snakes for you to pose with.
The chairs.... that's another issue. We always said we'd never put a towel on a chair to save it but guess what.... we did.... we had to or we'ld never have sat down. If you didn't get down to the beach or pool before 8AM you were out of luck. People saved four chairs all tied together with one towel. Some saved their chairs by putting a sandle on each one, or a book, or a coconut.. We sat by chairs at the beach under a much coveted lapa (for shade) and no one was there all day until after 4PM. People save their chairs at the beach and the pool and then go on a side trip. It's not the resorts fault.. its the tourists.. There would be enough chairs for everyone if people would move on when they are finished using them.
One last thing to mention... Even Paradise is difficult to endure if you get sick. There were a lot of us who went through those flu like symptoms for a few days on this vacation. I don't know why. We spent a good part of the week almost wanting to go home and leave this wonderful place. We're home five days now and I'm still suffering with a cough and cold. Talking with people on the plane going home, who stayed at different resorts, were sick also. This is the first time we have ever gotten sick on a holiday.
Anway, all in all, it's always nice to get away, but "There is absolutely No Place Like Home". : ) : )
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