Gary & Georgette - WWW2003 July (including
2003 Summer Hedo II/Couples Negril July 24-Aug 3
All right, we've figured out why we procrastinate
on the trip report so long. It brings closure to a trip that you never
want to end. Plus, that trip report from Dan is going to be tough to
In a nutshell, we've always wanted to go to Hedo
II with the WWW group, but the dates never seemed to work out with our
schedule. This year everything worked out great and we jumped at the
chance. This was our 3rd trip to II (the last trip was Aug 2001), we've
also been to III once (our first trip to Jamaica) and to FDR Pebbles on a
family vacation. We had a great time, loved the changes that have been
made to the resort, wonderful people to hang out with and only a couple of
minor gripes. As the title implies, we spent our last two nights at
Couples Negril due to Hedo being overbooked. We had such a good time
that we have every intention of heading back down with the Winter group in
I'm not sure how long this is going to be, but
will try to break it up to make it easier to avoid areas you may not be
interested in reading.
This was the first (and probably last) time we
travel with USAir. Due to Georgette and I starting out at different
airports, this was the best option if we wanted to arrive in Mobay at the same
time. The trip down was fairly uneventful except each step of the way we
had to renegotiate our seating assignments so we could sit together on the
final leg. Of course no food service or audio entertainment on the
The trip back was a nightmare (not all of it
USAir's fault). A storm the night before departure left most of Mobay
airport without electricity. Hand searching all bags and using the wand
on people. Very long lines, grouchy USAir reps and screwing up our
seating once again. We were 20 some rows apart and nothing could be done
because the flight was full and the system was 'down'. Then, just prior
to boarding the plane there was one more search of carry-on's. This is
when all matches and lighters were confiscated! We were told this was
being done because it's required. To make a long travel story short, we
missed all our scheduled connections, got rerouted on Delta and finally made
it to our final destination shortly after midnight. Unless USAir has
some GREAT sale, guarantee it will be Air Jamaica from now on.
This was the first time we've taken the bus to II.
We heard the road had been improved and the travel time was 1 to 1.5 hours.
I honestly don't remember how long the trip took but it was too long! I
know it took at least 45 minutes to get out of the city due to some
construction at a bridge near the edge of the city. We did not stop on
the way (fine with us) and had some good company on the bus which helped make
the ride bearable. The driver also told us that Friday and Saturday are
bad days due to the market in Lucea.
Check in was uneventful and quick. We booked
ROH and fully expected to get a prude side room. We were very happy to
get a garden view nude near the old basketball courts.
The rooms haven't changed much since our last
trip. Only minor problems were the coffee maker didn't work and a pretty
significant leak through the window when it rained. Never did get around
to getting a new coffee maker (I'm sure it would not have been a problem).
We did not mention the leak until we checked out because the resort was
quickly filling and did not want to end up on the prude side. Also, with
just a couple of exceptions (toga night for one), beach towels were left in
the room each day, very nice change from last trip. Not sure how we are
going to like the new bathroom layout. Sounds pretty dangerous with no
where to hide when the water temp makes a radical change. The room we
had was already wired for the inevitable television.
No complaints about the food. Breakfast is
my favorite meal and it was always good. I think we only ate lunch at
the buffet once, during the Wet T-shirt contest. The lunch seemed about
the same as last trip, no real complaints. Ate the rest of our lunches
at the nude grill. Always good, consistent food. The buffet at
night was just fine. We ate at Munahana's and Pastafari's several nights
and we were very happy with the food there. Missed out on the Scotch
Bonnet this trip but enjoyed it on our last trip. As has been discussed
on the board, the jerk chicken is being served earlier than past trips,
usually around 4:30 (Jamaican time) or when the daily rain stopped.
Overall the service was adequate.
Pastafari's was great. Some thought it took too long but we were in no
hurry and thought it was fine. We also went there a couple of nights
after 11:00 just for desert and had a great time. The main dining room
was spotty at times. If you don't mind getting your own water/juice
occasionally then no problems. We even needed to get two large tables
set up on Toga night that were not set up for dinner. Initially there
was a lot of resistance to set them up but it did not take long to convince
them to set them up for us. The grill was always a pleasant experience.
Munahana's was our only complaint. There was absolutely no way they were
going to keep your water glass full without asking several times. Wine
or drinks from the bar were never offered. All the bars were
outstanding. Our first two trips we seem to recall that the disco bar
was a bit slow but not this time.
The waterslide is great. It seems to be
faster than the one at III and doesn't have those seams that tend to hurt
after a few trips. Didn't do the rock climbing, ice skating or mini
golf. My biggest disappointment was not diving at all this trip. I
got a head cold within the first few days there and never cleared up enough to
go. The catamaran trips were fantastic! I even jumped off the
cliff at The Pickled Parrots this trip. I enjoyed the night trip also,
but Georgette does not handle being cold very well and I guess the mid to
upper 70's at night was just too much for her!! The view of the Milky
Way and Mars was incredible. The new sail boats were very nice and easy
to sail. Only played a few games of volleyball, but there was always a
big crowd at 4pm for the game. One change we noticed at the dining room
was leg extensions have been added to all the chairs. What a difference
a couple of inches makes!
I know, it's starting to sound like the standard
clich, 'It's not the resort, it's the people'. Well, that is probably
true. Especially after spending two nights at Couples (see below) it's
obvious there are nicer places physically to spend our vacation. The
great people we met and spent time with this year is what made the trip.
It's hard to believe that each trip can get better, but it does. We had
so much fun with so many different people, the experience can not be beaten.
From quietly floating in the ocean, pool and hot tub antics, the water slide,
the piano bar, just chilling or anything else you want to do, it was all
great. Just too many things to put in writing, plus the need to protect
the innocent and not so innocent. We hope to keep in touch with many of
our new found friends and see them again on a future trip.
Two days before our departure the message light on
the telephone was blinking when we came back to the room to get ready for
dinner. We called the front desk to see what was up. Of course,
all the worst possible scenarios go through your head. This was the
first message we've ever gotten at Hedo and assumed the light was broken.
We were informed that due to the Jamaican Holiday (Emancipation and
Independence Day) the resort was overbooked and wanted to know if we were
interested in moving to the Grand Lido Negril, Couples Negril or Grand Lido
Braco for two nights. We would have use of both facilities (I know, kind
of tough if we selected Braco) plus compensation. We jumped at the
chance and told them we'd take GLN. We packed up, had our stuff outside
our room at 9am as instructed and went to the front desk to check out.
We were then informed that GLN was also full and we could choose Couples or
Braco. Well, after a few more miscommunications we did end up taking
Check in at Couples was not very quick. They
did not seem to know that we were coming and seemed to be scrambling a bit to
get a room for us. We were told to go eat something, have a drink and
check back in about an hour. Our room was ready shortly after checking
back with them after we ate.
The rooms are very nice. We had a second
floor room on the corner. The corner rooms have an extra window.
True, the window faced the tennis courts and road, but it was nice. Each
room also has a balcony (patio for first floor rooms), a coffee pot, huge bath
tub and a TV. I was surprised that there wasn't a mini bar in the room.
There seemed to be quite a bit less storage area than at Hedo, but this wasn't
a problem since we just lived out of our suitcases for the two days.
I know food quality is a very subjective thing,
but we'd say the food at Couples was better than Hedo. This is based
mainly on more choices and the level of service. There is a main dining
area and two restaurants. The one restaurant is the beach (or pool)
grill by day and an ala carte restaurant at night. No reservations
needed, casual dress. Friday night was steak and lobster night.
The main dining room is also ala carte on Friday nights. The other
restaurant requires reservations, usually 3 days in advance. There is
also a dress code for this place. Men have to wear closed shoes and long
pants. Obviously we didn't get a chance to eat here because a) could not
get reservations b) I had no long pants c) I had no closed shoes and d) the
resort did not sell shoes, only pants.<g> We are going to add long pants
and shoes to our packing list just in case this happens again, then we will be
prepared. The main dining was set up in two different areas, the seating
area and the buffet. You would go to the seating area and a host would
seat you and get your drink order. Then you'd go to the buffet area and
get your food. There was also room service available for breakfast.
It was a continental type breakfast and was ordered with a card that you
placed on your door knob prior to 1AM. You could then eat breakfast on
the balcony or in bed. We did this each morning and it was very good.
The service was very good. Water, wine, bar
drink or whatever was always kept full while eating. There was a waiter
on the beach taking orders. Everyone we encountered was very friendly
The beach has got to be the best part of this
resort. Everyone is always saying how nice the beach at Hedo II is when
compared with Hedo III. While it's true the beach at II is nicer than
III, the beach at Couples is an order of magnitude again nicer than Hedo II.
White soft sand, no rocks as far as you can walk out and very little sea
grass. The nude beach is quite small, maybe 75 yards wide, bordering on
GLN. There are hedges on three sides for an attempt at privacy, but
really ineffective. Guests staying at the far end of the resort will
walk through to get to the beach and there are always people strolling by from
other resorts. The guard shack is also right there. If clothed
people on a nude beach bothers you, you will not enjoy the setup. For us
and the other 10 or so people there it was not a problem. There is also
a self serve bar with beer, soda, mixers and some booze. We were talking
with another couple that got bumped with us and we all agreed that we could
have a grand time here with a few dozen of our best friends!!
There are two pools connected by a water fall of
sorts and two hot tubs. Bathing suits required. There is a swim up
bar at one of the pools. Nice touch here is a huge awning to get out of
the sun and the rain. Very good service at the swim up bar. In
fact, I had a bit too much service on Saturday during an extra extended
rainfall and lost track of a few hours that day. Georgette says I didn't
make too much of a fool of myself.<g>
Overall we were quite happy with our bump to
Couples and could see how it would be a nice way to wind down after a week at
Hedo. I believe it's quite a bit less expensive than GLN as well.
I've gone on long enough here. I guess I
could write a small book just on this trip, but Chris S has already beaten me
to it!<g> Can't wait to get back and see everyone again! Any
questions, feel free to ask on the board or email. Of course, no trip
report would be complete without thanking Denny for all he does maintaining
such a great web site and all he does putting together these trips for us.
Gary and Georgette