After 5 times, it’s not a surprise

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We made it to the Grand in 25 minutes. I get so excited when we drive through the entrance gate. I looked around this time to see that, yes, the first turn to the left is the Beach and Del Mar, then the Lindo and the Maya. Then there was the crown jewel – the Grand! I was so, so, so very happy to be there!

We got out and were greeted by the bell boy with cool wash cloths and then taken in to the lobby to check in. We had to fill out the paperwork. They want your address, passport number, age, all that kind of stuff. She asked if we were celebrating an anniversary. Uh, no, a 50th birthday (like I told you in the emails I sent). We were banded and then she told us they had a special surprise for us.

We were being upgraded from a standard room to an ocean view. Okay, I am seriously grateful for any upgrade, but they have offered us this same upgrade all five times we have been here, so it really wasn’t a surprise. I guess I would have been surprised (sadly) if they had not offered it and I would have been happily surprised if they had upgraded us to an Ocean Front.

Don’t they know who I am? I’m actran/shoediva/Andrea and Zung who writes a blog about their amazing hotel! People know me (honestly, they do, this report will have multiple instances of us being recognized because of this blog). The check-in clerk at the Grand though, didn’t know who I thought I was and offered us an ocean view upgrade as a “special surprise”.

I wanted Ocean Front but had not booked it because:

1) I know some people sometimes get upgraded for their “special surprise”

2) I didn’t want a first floor room. And I for sure didn’t want to pay for a first floor room.

I told her we wanted to upgrade to Ocean Front. It was about $80 per room per night. Or at least that’s what she said it would convert to. When it showed up on my credit card it was about $90 per night. It was totally worth either amount. Pictures to come. She asked what floor I would like to be on and I said the third (top) floor.

Champagne arrived. (If you are new to this blog and the Grand info then I will tell you that they bring a tray with champagne and fruity drink and you get to choose how you want to celebrate your arrival at Paradise).

We toasted to our vacation.


Happy, happy, happy!


I had a few pesos left over from our August trip. I always like to have a peso bill tucked in my wallet, so I think about the next time I’ll be here every time I open it up. But I needed more for tipping. She explained the new rules about money required I have my passport whenever I exchanged money and that any charges had to be in pesos. )So don’t try and pay for your aspirin for your hangover in the hotel store in dollars.)

If you use a credit card they charge it in pesos and then your credit card company changes it to dollars. She said tips could be given in dollars or pesos, but I have always given pesos since that is the currency of the country. I stocked up on pesos and our bell boy came to find us to take us to Building 70 and our Ocean Front room. Zung peeked into the lobby bar to see if Daniel (the most amazing bartender ever) was working. He was there, so we planned to come visit him after dinner.

We rode in a golf cart to our building (#70) and took the elevator up to the third floor. Our room was right across from the ice room and the stairs. I never used the stairs because that would be like exercising and I don’t exercise on vacation.

As soon as we got to the room, we checked out the view. I was very happy. I wish I could see this every day.

This is a truly horrible picture of me, but I was happy to have my Ocean Front Room.

Next was the Ceremonial Removal of the Watch picture. I take one at the beginning of each vacation, cause I don’t wear a watch on vacation. (I just ask Zung what time it is if I think I need to get out of the sun).


Kick ass view!




Our butler, Victor, quickly arrived. We requested pillows (down for me, “anatomic” aka firm foam for Zung) and a bottle of Havana Club. I also told him there was no regular Coke in the fridge. (I had checked already) and that was about the only thing I wanted. He also offered to get ice. He returned with the ice in about one minute.

I remembered to take some pictures of the mini bar.

Our rooms in August did not have the insulated mugs you can see in this picture (behind the little bottles of red wine). I thought maybe they had done away with that perk, but they were in this room, so I think it may have just been an oversight. If your room doesn’t have them, ask for some. They are great vacation reminders when you get home. Although we have gotten a total of 6 from past trips, our son Patrick had a bad habit of taking them to school and forgetting to bring them home, so we were down to zero.

This was the mini-bar after Victor had brought the Coke. It had several things missing, so I don’t think it had been restocked after the last guests. The only thing we consume are the water, Coke and the peanuts.

Room service brought the Havana Club.

I had HC, I had Coke. A rum and coke was my destiny.


A healthy serving of rum.


We enjoyed our rum and cokes on the balcony. I think I might just cry from the beauty of the view.

Time for dinner! It was Wednesday and they have a “big party” at the pool on Wednesday with an International Buffet and music at the pool. I am so over buffets (too many Las Vegas buffets) but I had heard good things about this party and we figured it would give us flexibility about when to eat our first night.

I didn’t think it would be outside though, because of the rain that had been occurring off and on all day. I expected it to be in Bella Vista. We dressed and headed off.

We had a real surprise in store for us!



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