Our travels and ideas for planning your next trip!

Posts tagged ‘Free’

Economical Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua

For a whole lot less dollars, experience the brilliant aqua marine water caressing silky white sand, Caribbean charm and the all-inclusive pampering of Sandals resorts at the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua.  These lesser known resorts, owned by Sandals, and located in both Jamaica and Antigua, are incredible gems for those folks willing to forgo the five-star Sandals or Beaches resort for a more colloquial, homey type of vacation. And I must say, guests at the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua were more than satisfied.  On my visit in December 2011 to six Sandals resorts, the Grand Pineapple Antigua was the only resort with “no vacancy”!  We met one woman who has been coming to the Grand Pineapple Antigua from Brittain for the month of December for twenty-five years!!

The two-story bungalow style resort is located on its own private little cove for carefree swimming and sun soaking.   Warm, friendly staff greet you with a cool scented towel and refreshing drink as you arrive.  What a “cool” touch.

Take a stroll through the lovely gardens, read a book from your bungalow porch, or sip a frosty drink under a shade tree…. My husband and I would choose this resort in a minute.  Families are welcome though children’s programs are limited.  Make your own family fun on the beach.


Weddings at the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua are complimentary with a seven night stay in an ocean view room or only $899 with a shorter stay.  This includes the flowers, cake, government fees and ceremony costs.  Select the garden gazebos for your wedding, then family at home can watch the ceremony on a web cam.  Isn’t that great! 

Or choose the hilltop gazebos overlooking the stunning blue waters.  There is a steep walk up to this sweet vista so be prepared.  

Of course, couples may wish to choose the beach for a wedding, after all it is the Caribbean.  Or maybe, just for relaxing on a beach chair.  This is a small resort and cove so expect company on the beach, especially during the sunshine hours.  Speaking of beach, non-motorized water sports are included. Doesn’t that water bike look fun?


See the hilltop gazebos up on the cliff!

Of course, sumptuous food is always a priority on vacation.  And though the dining rooms are more like a summer camp facility than a fine restaurant, the food is wonderful.  There are three restaurants, the pool side grill, the main dining room and the “Outhouse”.   

Hike up that promontory past the hilltop gazebos to discover the “Outhouse” and I promise you will not be sorry.  The ambiance is pure shack!  Grab a stick, write your thoughts or name and hammer it on.  A part of you will always remain in Antigua.  Spend a while savoring those lip smacking ribs and chicken while you are there.  


Two rooms became vacant while we were at the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua.  After staying at the luxury Sandals resorts, these rooms appeared basic, rather like a typical hotel.  Clean, charming and simple.  The pools are reminiscent of the 1960 era.  But hey, I’m here for the fun, sun, water and affordability.  Throw me in this folksy place anytime!


Scenic, friendly and serene…the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua is calling me.

If you want affordable, if you enjoy a smaller resort with a 1940’s feel, if less than perfect but funky, lovely, warm and friendly is fine with you perhaps the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua is calling you too.

See you on the beach,


Anne Marie Off to New York

    A couple of weeks ago, my husband Gene and I, drove from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho over to Seattle, grabbed a couple of hugs from our daughter and a ferry boat ride with our grandson, Liam, then jetted off on Jet Blue Airlines to New York, New York.  My husband being a New Yorker, we have visited the city frequently catching all the tourist sites over the years. My goal, this trip, was to check out a couple of the high end hotels in New York which I have booked for my clients, yet never before personally visited.   Of course, we enjoyed a few of our favorite activities while there which I will gladly pass along to you.

First the fun stuff, being a Californian originally, then an Idahoan, using the mass transit is great fun for me, especially since my husband knows all the routes.  Though I have managed it alone at times.  So here we are taking the AirTrain right into Manhattan.  Then, of course, we traversed the city on the subway. 

The Staten Island Ferry is FREE and gives you the absolutely BEST view of the Statue of Liberty and the New York Skyline.  Take a round trip just for the view and you will be delighted.  It is so much fun to see if you can spot locations that were used in your favorite movies.  Don’t forget to have a hotdog from a stand on the street corner.  But watch the price…obvious tourists can pay double if they haven’t checked the going rate.

Touring Europe, I have visited many cathedrals, stopping for a moment of prayer and awe at the glorious arches.  So Gene suggested we visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.  Here too, we lit a candle and prayed for our nephew Patrick. 

We love to catch lunch at PJ Clark’s restaurant.  Gene hung out here as a college student.  It’s just the same as it was when the New York skyline was only two stories tall.  The new owners who bought it about 8 years ago from the original family, restored the building but changed not one iota of the decor.  The steaks are great! “Crowded bar upfront. And great, simple, burgers, fries and onion strings served in the back”.   Wouldn’t go to New York without a trip to PJ Clarks.

    Now, I must get down to business with my hotel reviews:

Refined Elegance and Grace, Understated and Quiet…The Waldorf Astoria, New York 

I loved the Waldorf Astoria!! My husband had Thanksgiving there as a child and was eager to return.  I love the luxury and splendor of yesteryear. Being a “tea party” enthusiast, I couldn’t wait to have afternoon tea at the Waldorf Astoria.   This hotel is a great jumping off spot for a cruise from New York.  Many lines transfer right from the hotel.  “This Art Deco Treasure has been maintained with all the graciousness and indulgent comfort of a timeless landmark.”  The staff was courteous and helpful at every turn.  The rooms exquisite and impeccable.  Not to be outdone by modern spa facilities, the Waldorf has the Guerlain Spa which offers all the sensual pleasures of customized spa treatments. “On fabled Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, the legendary Waldorf Astoria New York hotel stands as a beacon of old-world elegance and service.”

A icon of wealth and elegance…The Plaza Hotel on Central Park, New York

While in New York, I wanted to check out The Plaza Hotel.  It is featured in so many movies as the ultimate hotel so I was excited to finally visit. “Central Park, Fifth Avenue, spectacular art, thriving culture, endless shopping, unbelievable dining and lively nightlife – this is New York City.” The location was perfect.  We relaxed in the plaza right in front of the hotel, enjoyed the fanciful statues and petting the horses from the carriages.  We sat and absorbed the elemental sensations of New York.  Then Tom, the doorman, welcomed us to the fine establishment of the Plaza Hotel.  Though we did not have the privilege of lodging at the Plaza on this trip, we did take a tour of the property.  It felt rich, beautiful and wonderful.  “The Plaza Hotel in New York City is the ultimate luxury lifestyle destination – a timeless urban resort with a new and contemporary spirit. ”

Our final stop was to The Palace Hotel.  The decor was definitely reminiscent of a palace.  We enjoyed our tour and found everything to be quite elegant and fine. Though this hotel was my least favorite of the three reviewed here, I did delight in the creative bulldog statues found about.   Here is my husband doing his imitation of a bulldog. 

Thank you for coming along on my trip to New York.  Of course, you will want to do the usual tourist activities of Times Square, Broadway, Statue of Liberty, etc.  I hope you will check out PJ Clarks and ride the Staten Island Ferry as well.  Listen for that New York accent too and try on a few word just for grins.

Happy Travel Dreaming,