My husband and I just got back from Provo after 6 short nights. I miss it already! Here's a quick trip report. I will post detailed reviews on the hotel and restaurant websites. We spent most of our days on Grace Bay, which is unusual for us b/c we normally explore. We didn't do any snorkel trips or go to Long Bay for kitesurfing (no wind). It was a much-needed relaxing vacation full of long walks on the beach and floating in the water. Grace Bay was calmer than when we usually travel (in the spring), which was nice to see.
Estates at Grace Bay Club: full of hits and misses. Everything was either really good or really bad; I can't say that anything was just "average". We were upgraded from a Villas junior suite b/c I booked with AmEx Platinum travel. Otherwise, I wouldn't spring for the Estates. Some of the people were really nice, but others had horrible attitudes. I'm not sure if I would stay there again. I've stayed at Regent Palms (twice) and Seven Stars... they're all about the same. I think Regent Palms is my favorite of the three. I'll post a very detailed review under the hotel's TA site about some specific experiences.
1st night: (Sunday) Hemingway's! We usually go for "linner" and get fish tacos off of the lunch menu, but our plane arrived late, so we had to order off of the dinner menu. They have great conch fritters and conch salad. Hemingway's is always a good stand-by place to go because it's on the beach, inexpensive, with good food/drinks. I would skip the cracked conch and coconut shrimp next time. On the way to Hemingway's from GBC, we noticed that Seven Stars had a beach BBQ. We will definitely be trying that in the future, too! It looked like so much fun.
Monday: hung around hotel, then went to the manager's party at GBC. They had great appetizers but only a few drinks to choose from (watery rum punch, wine, beer). We recently went to Viceroy Anguilla's managers party and Viceroy's is much better... maybe b/c they also had music? I would skip the GBC manager's party next time. After that, we went to the new Beach House restaurant for dinner. The food was good, but the service was AWFUL. It was the worst service that we had ever received on the island in the 3 years we've been traveling there (rude, ignored us, etc.). I will never go back there. The food didn't make up for the horrible experience. Also, it's next to the pool and lacks the ambiance of most other restaurants on the island.
Tuesday: I think we mostly walked/swam around Grace Bay this day. We walked to Mango Reef for an early dinner to watch the sunset. Daniel was playing (the "Da" in "NaDa") and he was fabulous!! I always love Mango Reef. You can't go wrong with the sunset, good food, and live music. They've added new beach tables since I've been there. We still sat on the deck but may try the beach next time. We ordered conch salad, fritters, and the lobster curry (delicious).
Wednesday: This was kind of a crazy day for us. We had some issues at the hotel that required us to change rooms, then had issues with the new room. We spent most of the day out and about to give the hotel time to "fix" the problems but it was a 12-hour ordeal (and prob why I will not stay at GBC again... see review for details). We went to Taylor Bay, the Las Brisas for lunch. As usual, it was wonderful. We ended up going to Giggles for ice cream while the hotel was "fixing" more issues. We ended up getting into the new room very late, so we went for a late dinner at Coco Bistro to give the hotel yet another chance to get the new room ready for us. We loved the lobster taco special at Coco Bistro. The lobster ravioli was ho-hum... very heavy tomato sauce that overpowered the lobster. I suggested that they try a white wine cream sauce. :-) The seafood penne was good, as was the conch appetizer. As usual, the coconut pie was fabulous. Although Coco Bistro is not our favorite place for food, we always go there b/c it's just so beautiful. It's really a special place.
Thursday: We slept in, took a dip in Grace Bay, then drove over to Blue Hills and tried Sailing Paradise... we loved it! Their conch salad, cracked conch, and grouper tacos were great. I love their "festivals" side and the fried plantains. We will definitely go back. I didn't find it to be as run-down as people describe it; it's charming and has character.
Friday: da Conch Shack! My husband is obsessed with their cracked conch dipping sauce, so we always come here and it's always good. After Conch Shack, it was raining, so we did some shopping. We never usually shop in TCI, but Art Provo has some great stuff. We also went to Mama's for fun. For dinner, we went to the Infiniti bar at GBC when the rained cleared up. The food and drinks were good, but we had service issues. 40 minutes after we ordered, when they delivered my dinner, they informed us that they were OUT of what my husband ordered and that the kitchen was now closed so he couldn't order something else. I was not happy b/c that meant that we would have to share one tapas-sized dish for dinner. I don't know why we weren't informed of that when we ordered BEFORE the kitchen closed. Also, the kitchen is supposed to close at 10pm but they decided to close at 9:30pm that night. The live music was still going and everything. We convinced them to throw something quick together since it was too late to go anywhere else, and they begrudgingly brought out some plain beef sliders. Otherwise, everything was great (ambiance, music, food, drinks).
Saturday: so sad b/c it was our last day. We slept in, said goodbye to Grace Bay, and drove to the airport. We checked in and ate lunch at Gilley's like we usually do. Our plane left on-time without a problem. Why is it that flights TO the island are always delayed, but the flights that leave are always on time? :-( We were practically begging for a delay so that we could stay longer.
fyi, Grace Bay Car Rentals was great again. It was our third time renting with them and we will continue to do so!
We're looking forward to our next trip. I'm not sure if we can go an entire year without a TCI fix, so we may have to return in December. ;-)