Thursday, July 17, 2008

Grafton Beach Resort - Tobago

I took a mini vacation in early July to Tobago's (now) All Inclusive Grafton Beach Resort. I choose Grafton primarily because of the All Inclusive deal since both my kids (2 years and 3 months) accompanied us on this trip and I didn't want the hassle of either cooking or going out for food. This turned out to be a good decision in the end as the All Inclusive package for roughly TT$960 per person per night worked out pretty well.

The hotel was clean and the staff friendly. They were especially nice to my 2 year old and I think she enjoyed their company during our 3 days there. Our room was well maintained and I have no complaints. Though I would have preferred if a microwave or coffee maker was in the room (to assist in heating up bottles of milk) - but I did request an electric kettle from the hotel and this turned out to work just fine. I did ask for a room on the ground level and close to the restaurant and pool area and this was also given.

I could not write this post without commenting on the many birds I saw during our stay. Grafton is apparently located very close to a Bird Sanctuary and these birds made full use of the fresh morning nectars of the many Flambouyant and Hibiscus trees around the compound. I did get a couple nice shots of the Humming Bird. The hotel does offer hikes to the Bird Sanctuary however because of the kids, we weren't able to participate.

The beach near Grafton was not the best in Tobago. It wasn't dirty or rough but I know that you can get better in Tobago. I would suggest heading over to Mt. Irvine or better yet Store Bay for a nice dip in the water.

The food in the All Inclusive package was good. Not excellent like say Jolly Beach in Antigua but good for Trinidad and Tobago's standard. I had a Pork Wellington with mash that makes my mouth water every time I think about it!

The drinks were semi-premium. Carib and Stag were off the tap and you had your choice of local Angostura blends (with the exception 1919). The red wine served was actually a chardonnay - not my preferred choice but good nonetheless.

There was a baby pool which was kept at a nice warm temperature for those tiny fingers and toes. The adult pool had a swim up bar which is always welcomed in an All Inclusive resort :)

All in all, I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to get away for a weekend and not have to worry about anything. I'll definitely consider staying again.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

La Quinta Inn, Miami (Airport West)

I had to rush over to Miami for 4 days in March and was looking for a rather inexpensive hotel to stay in that was reasonably close to the main shopping areas. I eventually decided upon La Quinta Inn (Airport West) due to it's location and average pricing. I was very satisfied with the hotel staff and room at this particular La Quinta and would probably consider staying here again.

Continental breakfast was incuded in the rate (~US$160 /night). There is a free shuttle service to this La Quinta from MIA. This hotel also has free High Speed Internet Access.

There were other hotels in the area but the pricing was not as competitive. Public transportation was difficult since you can't rely on the bus in Miami and it seems that the taxi's don't run that frequent either. You'll probably have to call in a cab 20mins in advance if you're on a strict schedule.

This hotel was about 10mins away from Dolphin Mall as well as Miami International. That would probably run you about US$11 each way by taxi. It might take you about 20-30mins to get to Dadeland mall depending on the traffic. If you've got a GPS or familar with driving in Miami, you'll have no problems getting to and from the malls. There as a mini shopping centre right outside the hotel with a couple dining options however, I did not venture to any of these. A taxi cab ride about 5minutes down the road would lead you to other establishments such as Red Lobster / BBQ Hut and more.

I am still in search for a less costly hotel option. Since I shared this room, it really only cost me 1/2 the price. If I had to go it alone though, I'll probably look for something cheaper.