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Two week honeymoon : 9/7/03 - 9/19/03
Our experience began early, as we had to catch an early (7 AM) flight from Washington DC the morning after our wedding. That may sound insane, but I chose it to get us there as soon as possible. As a result, we were at the resort by 2 PM, ready for action.
The Renaissance is the only resort downtown, located right in the heart of the seaport area. We stayed at the beach tower, and received accommodations just as we had requested. The room was nice, a suite with living room area, kitchenette, and comfy bedroom. There were two TV's with cable (ESPN, HBO, etc), and a nice balcony overlooking the pools and ocean. The only negative thing to report about the resort is the construction. While I understand the need for renovations, it made for some uncomfortable times when we were in our room. If anything, it motivated us to get out earlier and stay out later. Even on the 5th (top) floor, the noise was very loud at times. Other than that, we loved the resort and would stay there again for sure.
The private island is a must, especially considering that they have no beach on the resort property. It's a short and pleasant ride on their boat shuttle, about 5 or 10 minutes, and well worth it. We usually went to the family side, so we could be close to the bar and restaurant. The snorkeling (and scenery) was better on the adult side, but either way you're on a beautiful beach. Plenty of lawn chairs and hammocks, also rental equip as well. We went there nearly every day, until the sun got the better of us.
Most of the restaurants we ate at were superb, the best of which was Flying Fishbone. We had a table at the water's edge, and dined as the sun set. The food was excellent, well worth the expense. I would say our best meal was at the Waterfront Crabhouse, but the food was courtesy of our fishing charter. We caught lots of barracuda, and two big dolphin (mahi mahi). The boat was the "J String", right out of the seaport marina, and I highly recommend them. We brought the fish back, and the restaurant cooked them to order for us. We rented a jeep for the week, so we could explore the backcountry and get to some other beaches for snorkeling. We found the best spot to be off Arashi Beach, and off the adult side of Renaissance Island. Go try and find the Natural Bridge and Natural pool, it makes for a fun adventure. We also were glad to have the jeep so we could go to some restaurants without taking a cab or bus.
One bad issue to report - we went to Carlos and Charlie's one night, and we were offered drugs by 4 or 5 different people in the short walk there from the resort. It was the only time in our entire stay that we felt anything other than completely safe, it really felt more like Jamaica. Any other night, no matter what time, we felt completely safe walking the streets or beaches. We will be back again next year for our anniversary, hope to see you there! Ayo!
I forgot to mention in the report, but there are a bazillion iguanas on the property and their private island, some very large. They are very friendly - we fed them small pieces of bread and lettuce, and they would gently eat right from your hand. Also forgot to mention the Butterfly Farm - a very nice stop along the way to Malmok where you can see a lot of different kinds of butterflies in different stages of development, all in a tropical 'farm' that provides an informative tour. Go early AM if you go, it gets warm in there!
Thanks to Kevin for this trip report ...