Spent a week with hubby and two kids (8 & 11) and we couldn't have asked for a better holiday. Despite the ongoing construction, we heard very little noise and most of the work was very well concealed behind fences. Now for the details...
Our two bedroom beachfront suite was very nice with fabulous terraces to enjoy the magnificent sunsets. I would recommend requesting a room in the 10 building which provides unobstructed views of the beach. Originally we had a room in the 1 building and despite it's beachfront location, we could hardly see the beach because of the palm trees and mostly looked out on the cruise ship beach with it's hundred of plastic white loungers or the rack with the hotel's kayaks. Yucky! If that's all that's availiable, I'd go for a room overlooking the beautiful pool. The rooms were nice, although a bit too much furniture for the space and a tv in the bedrooms would have been nice. But they are done up in style. And maid service was very prompt and efficient.
The common spaces were lovely. The pool was fantastic and the area had plenty of lounges and tables, although only the tables had umbrellas so it was hard to find a bit of shade during the heat of the day. The restaurant was very good and we ended up having lunch there most days. Plenty of selections to satisfy parents and kids too. The bar was great and my husband especially liked watching the tvs. The resort was very good at loaning out snorkeling equiment so we were able to outfit everyone without too much trouble and were allowed to hold on to the gear for the entire week. While housekeeping provides new beach towels daily, there's no towel hut anywhere so it's difficult to swap out wet or sandy towels unless you find a housekeeper and ask for fresh ones.
Now for the best part - the beach. We've been all over the world and the beach here is quite possibly one of the nicest we've ever seen. I would say it compare to the water in Tahiti. The reef is right off the beach so you can just swim out anytime. And the stretch off of Infinity is the best of the best! And as for sand fleas and flies, we weren't affected one bit. Not sure if it wasn't the season or the ongoing breezes, but we didn't even have too many mosquitos. The beach chairs were comfy and they all had umbrellas in addition to beautiful palm trees. There was even an attendant who came around periodically to brush the sand off the chairs! There is beach service but we only had a waiter come around once during the entire week. The bar is only feet away so it wasn't a big deal to wander over and order a drink.
While the resort resaurant was nice, I would recommend venturing out for some meals and sightseeing. Il Pomodoro and a steak house were right next door and were a nice change of scenery. We also took the water taxi to West End several times and had great meals at the Thai restaurant and Chili Peppers. The resort does have it's own water taxi that supposedly runs till 6pm, but we found that the driver usually went home way before then and you had to buy tickets at the bar first. Usually we just stood at the end of the dock and within minutes one of the local water taxis cruised by and picked us up. And you were able to pay the driver directly. My kids loved zip lining and the jungle tour with the monkeys. Our youngest was not to keen on snorkeling so we took the glass bottom boat ride and she loved it. And both our kids loved the dolphin encounter which I think is a must do. No need to rent a car here since the resort provides transportation when needed, the West End is a water taxi ride away and many things are located right on the beach as well. The only market was almost right next door to the resort in the "mall" so we didn't need a car for that either. The mall was a great find since in addition to the market, which made great sandwiches by the way, there was also a very nice coffee shop that we frequented for breakfast.
Although we loved the resort, there is one issue that kept this from being a home run - Cruise Ship day, or days. The cruise ship's beach is located right next to the Infinity Beach and once the ship comes in, the beach is overrun with cruisers. Most of them will decide that the Infintiy chair area is much nicer and decide to camp out right between the chaise lounges. The resort staff does make sure they don't use the chairs but do not stop them from spreading thier blankets and backpacks right between the chairs. They use the palm trees and resort fences to dry clothes and hang stuff on. They also overrun the tables in the restaurant and use them to store thier stuff. One day, we couldn't find a free table for over an hour while four tables sat empty with a bottle of water, sunscreen and one towel on them. The staff also freely allows them to use the showers and restroom facilities of the resort. Many of the cruisers come with a guide and it seems the resort staff and guides have an agreement that allows the cruisers to use the facilities. Big bummer. It's like spring break until the ship departs and the beach is empty once again. Hopefully, the management will address this issue and devise a system that will allow the hotel to profit from this influx of people while not diminishing the quality of the experience for folks who have paid to stay at the resort.
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