Once again we spent 10 days on GC, and as for all previous trips stayed in the central SMB area. From what we garnered this past winter season has been unusual with a bit cooler temps, windier, and less tranquil water. During our tenure daytime temps were in the mid to high 80's (awesome!), we had no rain at all, and just a few days when waters were on the choppy side....nothing to thwart our total enjoyment in the sea.
We were happy to see how great the Marriot beachfront was. Sandier than anything we have seen sine 6 months post-Ivan with plenty of space for several rows of lounge chairs and the deletion of their seawall a HUGE plus!
New Beachcomber condominium just opened and is gorgeous! The manager gave me a tour of several 2 & 3 bed units awaiting furnishings. They also have several 4 bed units for rent which is a big asset for larger groups as there are few 4 bed condos available in the SMB area.
As always we dined at Casanova (3 dinners there in 10 days) and as always those were very excellent dinners. Totally loved our dinner at Luca. Meal was wonderful and our poolside table for 2 provided one of the best settings ever! A couple with a VERY well behaved 4-5 year old was seated nearby. If you have a child who behaves like this little gem, put Luca at the top of your list!
We bought bottled water at CostULess, along with some pre-packaged cold cuts that were excellent. Also some fresh berries, but for the most part purchased groceries at Foster's, and wine at Big Daddy's Buckingham Square.
Had not been to 24KMon (also in Buckingham Square)in a while and was very pleased and surprised at their extensive array including some really nice local art.
Travel via Miami definitely not something we shall race to repeat, but with no checked luggage could have been worse:)
Another thing we will probably not repeat is renting a car on GC thru Hertz. Have done this the past few years and always at a very good rate, but cars definitely not as well maintained as they ought be. Son did a rental (last minute) via Island Rentals (no airport location, located across from Westin, and will pick up and drop off at airport) that cost him less than we paid per day and the vehicle was better! Marshall's is also on our short list for renting a car as theirs seemed to be in good shape. We are not that picky, don't drive that much while there, but it sure was annoying to have a vehicle that took Hulk Hogan muscles to open the doors!
Only other downside was 2 families with oodles of out of control young kids whose parents felt since *they* were on vacation *they* were entitiled to scream, yell, race around willy-nilly as if NObody else was vacationing there! Hey, we raised 3 children who we always took on vacations from the time they were all very young. Ours always enjoyed wonderful, happy times without negative impact of screaming, yelling, running crazy to others where we stayed. Matter was addressed by management and improved somewhat. My guess is these families will not be welcome back:) Yes, condos on GC DO have "blacklists" for previous renters who are irrespectful to either property or other renters. So if you are spending the big bucks for a GC vacation rental, realize OTHERS are too.
To end on an upnote, we once again LOVED our relaxing beautiful late winter respite on this beautiful, gracious, friendly island and look forward to our next visit there:)