St Regis Bahia Beach Hotel

By Irving Leemon

The St. Regis Bahia Beach is nestled on 483 acres of a former coconut plantation; it was designated as the Caribbean’s first and only Certified Gold Audubon Signature Sanctuary on October 23, 2008. Signature certification is awarded only to new developments, which are designed, constructed and maintained according to Audubon International’s precise planning standards and strict environmental criteria.

St Regis Bahia Beach Hotel
St Regis Bahia Beach Hotel

They planted tens of thousands of plants and landscaped the grounds to look and feel like a tamed tropical forest. The resort has a magnificent private beach, swimming pools and spa. One caveat, life guards are not furnished at the beach and swimming pools. It has an 18-hole golf course, outdoor bar and grill, tennis courts, and the Iguana Kids Club, etc. They also offer butler service and the usual concierge.

There are three restaurants: one is more formal, in the main building, requiring that the men wear coats and ties for dinner; the others are at the bar in the main building, the clubhouse, and at poolside, an outdoor bar and grill. These require less formal dress and also have good food. Each six-room building is at the top of a planted slope about seven feet up from the paths between them to provide additional privacy.

The paths meander between the buildings and the lush colorful plantings, and are coated with crushed black rock. On April 10th we were picked up by my son and taken back to San Juan. Then at 2:30 p.m., we boarded the Caribbean Princess for a seven-day cruise in the Caribbean. It had been years since I last took a cruise and this is the largest ship I’ve ever been on. The ship is 19 decks high and has a draft of only 27.7 ft. She is 118 ft. wide and can carry 3,740 passengers with a crew of 1,160 persons. She was launched in March of 2004.

The ship has a spa and two swimming pools, and a poolside theatre, where movies under the stars are shown and concerts are given. A swim-against-the-current lap pool is also available. Of course, the ship has a casino and theatre where movies are shown and bingo is played, and where each evening’s live entertainment is presented. The ship also has plenty of activities and places for children. There’s a room with video games, jukeboxes and foosball, etc.

They also offer pajama nights for the littlest ones. The vessel also has a flower shop, the usual formal dining room, and eateries, including an ice cream bar, a hot dog and hamburger grill, and a pizzeria. For an extra charge you might want to dine in Sabatini’s fine dining Italian restaurant one evening. Of course, if you wish, you can order room service for breakfast or dinner and eat in your stateroom, or, if you have a balcony, on the balcony of your cabin.

The food and service was average for a cruise, which is to say they were excellent. Our stateroom had a balcony and was on the next to top deck of staterooms. There was also a safe and shower. We had a king size bed and the usual TV. One of the channels received video from outside on top of the bridge. As you might expect at this time of year, mid April, this particular cruise had a few children of all ages on board. Our cabin stewardess was exceptional and went out of her way to help us.

By Iving Lemon

Contributing Columnist

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