Warning – LOTS of pictures ahead!
We woke up to sun on our first full day of vacation. Zung took his first morning sun picture, which we dubbed a “Zungrise”. The sun had risen a while before we got up, so we couldn’t really call it a sunrise. Whatever you call it, you also have to call it gorgeous.
The view is great.
Okay, enough of being mesmerized by the view. Off to breakfast and Alex!
This is the view from Building #70 near the elevator.
That is the main building and the top floor is where the Surf and Turf and Japanese restaurants are. They both have outdoor eating areas with kick-ass views of the ocean. The red topped area with the columns underneath is the covered walkway from the ocean front building almost to the main building. They have these covered walkways from both ocean front buildings.
This is in the lobby area of our building.
The facilities of the Grand is just one beautiful thing after the other.
From this picture you can see the covered walkway and the red road on the right is where the golf carts travel. They will give you a ride from the ocean front buildings to the main building. Our first trip we rarely took advantage of this service, but now that we are older (I was about to turn 50, you know!), we took golf carts all the time. The driver always chats with you, asking if you’re having a good time, where are you from, just generally being friendly. They are usually driven by the butlers or the bell boys.
This is the view of the beach from just outside of Las Brisa, the buffet restaurant right on the beach. This trip it was open for lunch only, but sometimes it is also open for breakfast as well.
This is the pool and the main building. Bella Vista and the Gourmet restaurant is on the bottom floor of this building. The domed area to the right is the swim up bar.
When we arrived to Bella Vista we asked to be seated in Alex’s area. It’s always great to see him. Our second trip was the first time we met him. He was always saying, “Do you want shrimp fajitas or quesadilla’s? They are not on the menu, but they can make them for you.” Zung got the shrimp fajitas and has gotten them for lunch every day since. They are now on the menu and he always remembers that is what Zung orders for lunch. He also remembers that for breakfast Zung has coffee and I have English Breakfast tea and he brings me two tea bags. He’s one of the people I really look forward to seeing each time we visit. Pictures of him are coming later in the trip report.
I would bring my iPad and read the news and check my email. He would come over and ask the status of Hurricane Paula and I would look it up and show him.
They were making smoothies that morning and I tried one. Other than that I stuck to my breakfast of a mini croissant, bacon and some fruit.
Do you notice the two people in the background? They were both singles, and we saw at least one or two other single travelers while we were there. Sometimes people wonder if the Grand is a good place to visit if you are a single. It’s definitely not a “singles scene” but there is a welcoming atmosphere to everyone and they looked to be having a really good time.
After breakfast we went back to our room and got ready for a day at the beach! I realized I had forgotten to bring a beach bag. I decided to use the 10% off one purchase at the hotel store coupon I had been given by Victor, our butler on a beach bag. For today we just used Zung’s backpack. We sunscreened up our bodies and packed reading material and headed out.
We stopped at the concierge’s desk to make dinner reservations. I had made some by email but I wanted to change tonight’s because I had asked for 7pm at Toni’s Surf and Turf, but was told it was not available and was given 9pm. That’s too late for us (we fall asleep in our plates), so we made earlier reservations at the Gourmet and also for the other nights that I had not done so already. Mid week I changed my mind and went back and changed some around and it was no problem at all.
As I was sitting there I noticed someone standing nearby and I looked up. It was the beach waiter and he was looking at us and it was Carlos! If you read my August trip report you know that I thought Carlos was dead. He had been our beach waiter on our second and third trips and then on the last day of our third trip he wasn’t there and the waiter who was there tried to tell me it was Carlos day off. But Carlos had told me when his day off was and it was not that day. I said as much and then it was clear the substitute beach waiter was getting uncomfortable with my questions, so I dropped it. I posted on one of the forums for subsequent visitors to ask what happened to him. Someone reported back that when she asked one of the Star Friends, they replied, “He passed out.” She thought it was a long time for him to be passed out, so she said, “Do you mean passed away?” The Star Friend said yes. It had made sense with his sudden disappearance, so I didn’t question it. I had been so sad because he had such a great smile and was always smiling.
I was quite surprised to look up and see him alive and well and clearly remembering us. I said something to the effect that we hadn’t seen him in a while and he said he had worked over at Bella Vista for a while. I think he might have meant by the Tranquility Pool because I never saw him at Bella Vista.
He was working the area in front of our building. I had planned to go to the area in front of Building #71, where the awesome Humberto works, but decided today to stay here since Carlos was back! I never did go to the other area and never did get to see Humberto. It was just too convenient to use the area right out in front of our building. Carlos was awesome, but I have decided that Humberto is the best beach waiter ever.
I was so happy to see that Carlos was alive and well. Don’t I look happy?
I was ready for our first full day of fun in the sun.
Carlos soon came around with water and brought me a Havana and Coke.
Round two was a pina colada for Zung and a Mud Slide for me.
Laying in the sun, leisurely reading, two drinks before lunch. As I said in the trip report title, who cares where it’s five o’clock? I’m on vacation!