Zung’s Birthday Dinner

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We arrived to Toni’s Surf and Turf (the spelling has been both Toni’s and Tony’s). It is on the second floor of the main building. There are actually three floors, but the first floor is referred to as the ground floor. The Japanese restaurant is also on the second floor.

The hostess wished Zung a happy birthday.

The other restaurants we had been to were such good experiences, both in terms of food and service.  I was hoping for the same at Toni’s. Unfortunately, it would not be. While the food was good, the service was the most disappointing of the whole trip, and that it was Zung’s birthday made it even more disappointing.

The waiter never mentioned Zung’s birthday, and I imagine if the hostess knew it was his birthday, they would have told the waiter. The waiter seemed distracted. Another table of 6 was seated shortly after we arrived and I overheard him say, “Welcome back.” We didn’t see much of him after he took our order. We tipped him, but only half of what we had been leaving the other waiters.

Tipping as “message that service was lacking” is tough at an AI. In the US if you leave a low tip, your server generally knows it was because the service wasn’t good. At an AI, tipping is advertised as “included in the all-inclusive price”.  Some people don’t leave any tip. I could have complained, but what would I have said? He didn’t make our dinner special enough? He wasn’t attentive enough? He took our order, he brought our food. But, compared to the other waiters, it was not the same experience.

I always say, it’s generally not the big things that make a place like the Grand (or Royal Hideaway) special or memorable. It’s ALL the little things.

Zung had the Seafood selection for an appetizer. I had the “Cream of Caribbean Lobster Soup.” Both were delicious. We both got the Classic Surf and Turf. At Toni’s they did have lobster, and yummy lobster it was. Zung got a green salad, which had lettuce and avocado, but no dressing. I got the warm chocolate and hazelnut cake, Zung got the apple and nut crumble.

After dinner, we went to the show. We hadn’t been to the theatre yet and didn’t know exactly where it was. Even after a full week there, I never felt like I knew exactly where I was going most of the time. I knew where the pools were, Las Brisa and Bella Vista restaurants. But the rest, I felt lost. It’s not a huge resort, but it was a little confusing that first time. Now, after six times, I could get anywhere in my sleep.

We were walking through the main hall of the main building. We saw a couple butlers and stopped to ask where the theatre was. One of the butlers was looking at this cool mask another guest had bought.

Our butlers changed a lot while we were there. They were all attentive and friendly this trip. That has not been true of every trip. Someone who was at the Grand a few weeks before me knew who all her butlers were. I couldn’t tell you all the names of all our butlers because they seemed to changes constantly.

We have never asked a lot from our butlers, but I know some have really done some unasked for, special things. It’s kind of like upgrades, it’s a lottery what you’ll get.

The butler showed us to the theatre. It was Las Vegas night. They had some black jack tables set up, but they were wrapping up, so we didn’t play any black jack.

The show was good. We had some drinks, but turned down the popcorn and spicy peanuts because we were full.

We were proud of ourselves that we had managed to stay up for the show. Afterwards we went back to our room. We agreed that it had been a spectacular 60th birthday for Zung.


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