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Hotel & Resort Reviews: Antigua & Barbuda
Allegro Pineapple Beach Resort 05/28/02
Reviewers Rating: Excellent
ALLEGRO PINEAPPLE BEACH RESORT - ANTIGUA

NOVEMBER 12th – 19th, 2000

MAY 22nd – 29th, 2001

MAY 18th – 25th, 2002

AIR & HOTEL PACKAGE: Two of our all-inclusive packages were through Go Go Tours, and the other through Geographia / Island resort Tours. This included the following: Roundtrip air transportation, transfers to and from the hotel and airport, 7 nights – 8-day room accommodations, all meals, drinks, and tips. (Tips for outstanding service to maids, bartenders, taxis, etc… not included.)

ARRIVAL: Our flight was on American Airlines. The plane was a 737 (three seats to the left, and three seats to the right.) It was approximately a 3-½ hour flight from Philadelphia, PA to San Juan, Puerto Rico airport. Here we switched planes for our connecting, 1-hour 10-minute flight to Antigua. Once we proceeded through a sur-prisingly “hassle-free” immigration line, luggage claim, and customs declaration, this was the beginning of the “Caribbean-Slow-Down methodol-ogy...”

TRANSFER TO PINEAPPLE BEACH: We were transferred to the Pineapple Beach Resort via an 8 passenger mini van. The transfer was approximately a 30-minute drive through the town leading into Long Bay / Pineapple Beach. Not much to see except a few homes, cows, and goats everywhere, and a beautiful view of the countryside consisting of lush foliage in the background. Upon arrival to the Pineapple beach, in the dis-tance, a beautiful view of emerald bay jumps out in front of you and screams LOOK AT ME!

RECEPTION AREA / CHECK IN: Upon entering into the reception lobby I was taken back to a time and place of classic simplicity of a French manor. Dark mahogany wooden furniture complements the white linen drapes that are tied back strategically to give the room a breezy, flowing feel. Open windows, hanging plants, and carefully se-lected artwork complete the décor. We were greeted in the reception area with a “welcome rum punch cocktail”, and then proceeded to the guest check in desk. This process was surprisingly quick. We re-quested a waterside (ocean view) room with a balcony. We were then escorted to our room (our luggage was transferred with us.) The 5 minute walk to our room, passing through the main lobby, pool area, sun – sea – and sand, was enough to relax me and make me forget about all the fast paced, crazy lifestyles we are all accustomed to back home. Familiar, friendly faces with welcoming smiles validated the main reason I call this magical island home….

CHECK IN/ROOM: All the rooms are beautiful. Our room was a category “waterside,” on the second floor with a balcony. The room was tropically decorated with bright salmon colored walls, tile floors, a-framed wooden beamed ceiling with a ceiling fan, multi-colored tropical fish on the bed spread and bed board, wicker furniture, TV, and air conditioning. There is a door leading onto the balcony with an amazing view of the Caribbean sea. There is plastic furniture on the balcony, and hooks on the wall to hang wet towels/bathing suits. This was a nice touch. Very convenient.

In addition to waterside, there are also garden view and beachfront rooms. The garden view rooms are lo-cated in the gardens, with beautifully landscaped grounds, and a picturesque gazebo. This area is more secluded and quieter than the others. (I am not saying the resort is loud…) There are also beach front rooms for all of you beach bums. Wake up and walk 2 feet and you are on the sand. (Great for kids and families.)

CHECK OUT: Checking out went smoothly. No lines or long waiting period. This whole process took about five minutes. We called to have our luggage picked up approx. 30 minutes before our scheduled shuttle / taxi van picked us up for the airport. After reviewing our bill (no mistakes or extra charges), and paying for several massages and long distance phone calls we were on our way.

DEPARTURE: We were picked up at the reception area approximately 2 hours before our flight departed. The lines at the airport were not too long. It was approx. a 20-minute wait to check in. Nevertheless, surprisingly check-in for departures moved quickly. Customs in Puerto Rico was not as bad as I expected. Most other Caribbean islands connect here, so long lines and impatient, cranky travelers were expected. Just be pleasant and wait your turn. I do not understand why everyone is in such a HURRY to get home… Here we disembarked off the plane, re-claimed our luggage for customs & immigration, (lines we long, but moved quickly…) Fortunately, we were on time and no delays.

*** The remaining topics are miscellaneous subjects pertaining to the Pineapple Beach Resort. They are in no particular order except for alphabetical.

ACTIVITIES: Below are some of the daytime and nighttime activities that are offered.

Daily: Approx. 10:30am water aerobics in the pool for approximately 45 minutes. This was a lot of fun. Other activities offered are ping-pong, beach volleyball, soccer, daily games with prizes, and dance lessons on the beach.

Nightly: There was a variety of entertainment nightly in the lobby area starting at 9:00pm. Some examples of the entertainment are as follows: Fire eater / limbo dancer, Calypso band with steel drums, Reggae band, DJ playing Caribbean dance music, fashion show, crab racing, native island dancers, etc…

Water sports: There is a water sports center located on the beach. They offer the following activities: Hobie Cats, outrigger canoes, catamarans, snorkeling, wind surfing, kayaks, and sunfish sailboats.

BARS: For starters service at all the bars was fantastic. I never had to wait more than a minute or two for a drink.

Piano Bar: This is the main bar in the resort. It is between the pool area and dining rooms. This is also the area where the nightly entertainment is held. The bar area is big with seating for about 15 people, and another 15 people standing. There are quaint little tables with these amazing chairs that swallow you into them. You have to sit in one to understand what I am trying to explain. The open patio area has many tables and connects to this bar.

Bikini Pool Bar: This is NOT a swim up bar. It is adjacent to the Lobby bar. (Actually connected to it). Once you get out of the pool, this bar is literally 10 steps away. They have great frozen daiquiris and pina colada’s here. Try a Mango daiquiri…they are heaven!

Pineapple Grill Disco: We frequented this place every night. It is very cool inside. The air-conditioning works very well. The beer is cold too. The dress code is anything goes. We went in summer dresses, and others were in jeans, short sets, evening attire, and casual. A variety of music is played from Caribbean rhythms, to disco, calypso, reggae, socca, rock-n-roll, and dance music. This disco was never crowded but it stays open until 1:30am. We were the last ones to leave every night.

BUGS: This subject was a big concern to me because I am severely allergic to just about every flying pest on this earth. In the resort area itself, I did not get one bite. I never noticed anyone spraying in the resort either. I did bring bug spray, but did not use it all week.

DRESS CODE: The dress code is casual just about everywhere. Shorts and any type of shirt are acceptable during the day. Men are required to wear pants with polo shirt for dinner at nigh. Most of the women’s attire can be described as “anything goes!” This consisted of skirts, casual sundresses, beaded dresses, island wear, and spandex dresses. I did not see many “formal attired” people. My attire was mostly casual the whole week. This consisted of a few gauze dresses and cotton sundresses.

***The only time the dress code was enforced was during breakfast and lunch hours. You MUST wear a shirt, shorts, and shoes in the dining room. You cannot wear shorts over a bathing suit and have your bare chest or bathing suit top exposed. NO SHOES-SHIRT-SHORTS, NO SERVICE!!!

***You can eat at the Pelican snack bar in the pool area wearing only a bathing suit!

GROUNDS: The grounds are spectacular. Tropical foliage everywhere. SPOTLESS. This is one word to describe the grounds. I did not see a cigarette butt or a gum wrapper on the ground all week. The grounds are landscaped beautifully with tropical flowers, plants, trees, and bushes in every available space. The paths are laid out in large cobblestone walkways throughout the resort.

The highlight to this resort is the wedding gazebo at the top of a cliff. This is the most spectacular sight.

LANGUAGE BARRIER: Due to the fact Antigua is a British island there was no language barrier for Americans. They speak English with a typical Caribbean accent and a smile.

OCEAN: The water was a drastic color of turquoise drastically blending to dark sapphire blue. Breathtaking. The water temperature was close to a warm bath, but at the same time refreshing. The clarity of the water was clear with little plankton or seaweed. Therefore, this answers all of your snorkeling questions.

POOL: The pool resembles a figure eight shaped mini-oasis in the middle of paradise. This pool has an upper and lower swimming area. The lower, being the larger of the two in a figure eight. The upper is an elevated oval shaped pool connecting to the lower by approx. a 4-foot waterfall. (This felt great on your neck and back while standing under it.). Two bridges are built over the pool so one can walk from one area to another without striding through the “sunbathing area.” Great idea!

There are a few entrances leading in and out of the pool. The depth ranges from about 3 to 5 feet. The water was clear and warm. Palm trees, and tropical foliage surround the whole pool area. There were enough covered lounge chairs and shaded areas to sit.

There is a beach towel - check out at the activities desk (next to the Pelican Grill) in the pool area. You will be given a fresh towel daily. All you have to do is sign your name to your room num-ber on the check off sheet. At the end of your pool and beach day, return the towel.

There is a second rectangular shaped pool adjacent to the main dining room, and this is situated on the beach with a spectacular view of the sea.

RESTAURANTS:

Pineapple Grill: This is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays only. You need to make a reservation to dine here. Try the tortilla soup and the fajitas. They are great.

Topaz Restaurant: This was the main open-air dining area for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast there is a great buffet with the added extra of a station for eggs and omelet’s to order. The lunch menu consisted of everything from burgers, salads, soups; etc…Dinner was fantastic with a different menu each night of the week. Some nights you can order off the menu…Another night is a BBQ, buffet style with carving stations… Unless you are extremely fussy, you will find something on the menu that will satisfy your pal-let.

Chefs Table: You need reservations to dine here. Adjacent to the main dining room.

“Mary’s Outhouse”: This is open Monday thru Saturday 12:00 – 5:00pm. Take the hike up the hill. You will not be disappointed. Bring an appetite and a camera…

Pelican Grill: This is the “snack bar” in the pool area.

ROOM SERVICE: I know this feature is available, but I never had the opportunity or desire to utilize it. I was never in the room long enough.

SCUBA / SNORKELING: I’m extremely disappointed that I did not get to go diving this week due to a severe sinus infection. I did go snorkeling right off the beach. There is a reef not too far from the shore.

SERVICE / STAFF: On a scale from 1 to 10, I rate the staff and service an 11! This is my first and fore-most reason that I have become a repeated guest at this resort. Each and every staff member went out of their way to make sure all of our requests were fulfilled with no questions asked, or frowns on their faces. Their attitudes, and general day-to-day demeanor was ALWAYS pleasant. If you do not leave this resort with a “warm and fuzzy” feeling inside, you must be made of stone.

The following employees deserve special thanks and need to be mentioned. If you meet any one of them, you will know why…Dale, my knight in shining armor. Thank you for everything. You always have a smile on your face, and your attitude is refreshing. I will always hold a special place for you in my heart… Chef Peter is an absolute charm to be around. I have never met a more personable, life-loving soul…(I never got my chocolate mousse.) Shaka…my Shaka-bear…. thank you for dancing my heart and soul into the place I want to call home. Tony…Keep your upbeat, energetic personality. You give a new meaning to the word “Energy.” Myriam…thank you for a great room with a view of tranquility. I have never been more relaxed. Novella, the smile on your face and genuinely caring personality made me feel worry free and completely reassured that I would return, again, and again. I cannot thank the entire staff enough for another perfect visit in paradise. Words will never be enough to express my grati-tude.

ST. JOHNS TOWN: Approx. 30-minute cab ride will take you to the downtown of St. Johns. This is where I did most of my shopping for souvenirs. Crafts consist mostly of paintings on canvas, wood sculptures, gold and silver jewelry, gemstones (very expensive), clothing, hematite beads everywhere, and local handicrafts.

TOURS & EXCURSIONS:

The Wadadli Cats – Circumnavigation - Catamaran Tour: I repeated this tour more than once. If you are a “water baby” and are magnetized by the water like I am, love boats, thrive to sail, feel the need to soak up the sun all day long, eat, drink, and enjoy life to the fullest, and just transform from a “states-side, road-raging, impatient, cranky tourist” to a “free-spirited being sailing across the warm and bright turquoise wa-ters”…. this tour is for you.

This is an all day tour which includes a buffet lunch and drinks (did I forget to mention OPEN BAR the whole tour). This tour starts at your pickup destination, which may be your hotel, continuing sailing through the channel to Bird Island, and then landing at the uninhabited Green Island. The buffet lunch is served now. You have approx. two hours to stay on the cat, get off and explore, relax on the small white sand beach, swim and/or snorkel (gear included), or just do nothing. Bring a camera…After Green Island, the sails go up, and the wind takes you a’ sail pass-ing Nelson's Dockyard, Rendezvous Bay's, Cades Reef, until the last moment when you are dropped off at your hotel or drop-off location.

Horseback riding: We left from the stables, somewhere in downtown, and continued through the downtown area in the fields, trails, villages, and ended up on the beach for a trot at sunset. What a beautiful sight

WATER: The water was safe to drink here. I was drinking it straight from the faucet, and never became ill. I did bring a bottle of plain Listerine to rinse my mouth after brushing just in case.

MY TOP 10 TIPS AND TRICKS:

1)There is a coffee pot in the room with a day’s supply of coffee and / or tea.

2)Bring a wind up alarm clock with you. There are no clocks in the room.

3)Do not go to this resort for partying and glamorous nightlife…chill mon!

4)Do not bring a hairdryer. There is one mounted to the wall in the bathroom.

5)Bring a good book to read on the beach. You will never feel more relaxed.

6)Do not pack a beach towel; the activities desk supplies fresh ones daily.

7)US currency is accepted everywhere. No need to exchange money to ECD (Eastern Caribbean Dollar)

8)Bring sunglasses to deflect the glare and prevent burning eyes.

9)Spend the money and get a massage at the hotel, it is definitely worth it!!!

10)Do not over pack… If you forgot something, it probably is NOT a necessity.

10 ¼) Once a day, try to laugh and smile. It is great therapy…

10 ½) Buy your own snorkel & mask (they are cheap). You never know who’s mouth was on it before you!

10 ¾) RELAX; SLOW DOWN, AND ENJOY…You are in a tropical Caribbean paradise…

Janet from Pennsylvania

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