Sandals Dunns River, JamaicaAuthor: Host DebbieH103 (More Trip Reviews by Host DebbieH103)
Date of Trip: July 2006
I did get watermelon from the international buffet. On that buffet I did notice they had shrimp bisque and also crawfish. There was also jerk chicken and many other items.
We went on up to the room. The fashion show was at 8:30 and was viewed and heard perfectly from our bedroom balcony. At 9:30, they had showtime but this was in The Forum so we were then off to bed.
We skipped breakfast. I did some work while Todd slept.
Fabian, our butler set us up at 11:30 on the beach with a cooler again and this time under a beautiful rectangular palapa in the shade.
The wind was still high with the yellow flag out vs. red. We didn't want to do any watersports this trip anyway.
It was Jamaica day and they were selling lots of stuff out on the patios, including a bunch of world cup merchandise. There was someone selling nice leather sandals. We had no room to add anything to our suitcases. They also did the Discover Jamaica class. They had maps and historical photos. They had the speak Jamaican class, too.
For lunch I got a plate from the buffet. I had some nice fruits, a jerk chicken wing and a few Café Orno.
We had a lovely visit with Cinnzia, one of the top managers. She introduced us to Antonio, the Italian chef. He was explaining Michelon forks vs Michelin stars.
After about 5 hours of the beach and then hot tub, I was ready for an activity. We played the pitch and putt course. The longest hole is 200 ft. I did a good job at chipping but could not putt. It was a lot of fun. Next we checked out the Marco Polo lounge and got some little sandwiches for feeding the fish and turtles.
We got ready for our special dinner. Fabian served us course by course on our balcony. If you stay in a butler suite, take note that RIU does their loud party on Friday. We had appetizers of shrimp and mussels, a great soup and salads. Todd had steak and I ordered bouillabaisse but only ate the mussels and crawfish. Next was crème Brule, which was served with the freshest cookies I have ever tasted.
We had candlelight and balloons. After dinner, we strolled to the piazza to hear the harpist. It is romantic at night. And guests were having pizza and desserts of cookies or ice cream in dishes or cones, coffees and cotton candy, ice cream and nuts all by candlelight. The staff were setting up for the martini and seafood night. We did not stay for that.
This day was kind of magical. We stayed in our shady place at the beach for hours (though Todd took a sports break). The hot tubs were always the perfect temperature, don't read the Tripadvisor reports saying they aren't heated. We did the outdoor snacking for lunch.
I do recommend when dining at the Italian to go at 6:30 or 8:30. Throw on repellant and get a table oceanside. For once, this was a restaurant with class where the guests are respectful of the romance. We have been to this restaurant a number of times before the re-opening of the resort and found it either fabulous or terrible, never in between.
The Italian restaurant is everything they said it is (so much a cut above what it was in the past), and we dined with Cinzia, the executive assistant manager (Italian). I had Osco busso, she had saltimbocca, and Todd had a t-bone. The antipasto was everything Vincenzo (RP's food and beverage manager/sommelier), Cinzia and Anthony, and Fredericko (restaurant mgr) said it was. The menu has 26 dinner items, and that is impressive. I think I'd skip most courses here except the antipasto (great mussels and peppers) and save room for the very HEARTY entrees. The sauce w/ the Osco busso (sp) was clearly accented in basil and the zestiest I have ever had. I could not eat 1/3 of it, so they thought I didn't like it, but it was to die for. Todd and Cinzia ate every bite of their entree. I am not a big meat eater and eat slow, but I do appreciate greatly in my own portion size, lol. Still, I was SO about to pop. We skipped dessert, as I had to get one last cotton candy!!
Then we saw the show, which had a unicyclist, a snake charmer, some dancers imitating Michael Jackson and the male opera singer that was at the Sandals convention I went to in Atlantic City. Cinzia had us sitting front and center, and the opera singer said, "I see we have a friend from the Sandals conventions". I was so flattered. We talked to him afterward.
After the variety show, they had Soul on Soul in The Forum. They were great, and so many guests were dancing...even in their seats.
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