This is The James and Champagne February 2014 Trip Report

James and Champagne February 2014 - castaways travel

We stayed at Grand Lido Negril in February 2014 a few months after our first visit to the resort once new ownership took over in 2013.

Update:  Much of the information in this trip report has been updated on this page:  Grand Lido Negril

PLANS vs REALITY
During our initial visit with new General Manager, Enrico Pezzoli, he reported on plans by the new owner, Blue Diamond Resorts (owned by Sunwing-Canada) to upgrade the property and install 5-star service by December 2013, followed by a major renovation during low season 2014.

This visit, Enrico indicated no major resort upgrades would take place until low season 2015, or May 15, 2015. Long range plans still include constructing many new guest rooms on the property the new owners purchased adjacent to the buildings where the Garden View suites are now located on the southwest side of the resort.

Also, Enrico emphasized the Blue Diamond brand objective was not to return the resort to a five-star status similar to a level of quality when the property was first opened and operated by SuperClubs. Instead we believe pricing and service will reflect a more moderate approach to offering a vacation targeted toward mainstream adult travelers looking for a good value and fun experience without “being over the top.”

PROGRESS
Progress that has occurred since Blue Diamond bought the resort that we could see included renaming the restaurants and reworking the menus, repairing fixtures, adding new restaurant seating, installing regular maintenance to the main common areas and returning guest rooms to functional status. Service seemed to be consistent. In fact, several employees indicated they had worked there for years during the ownership days of SuperClubs. One of our waiters in Olives, the Mediterranean restaurant (formerly Piacere), had worked there for 13 years.

The only recognizable building change we saw was completion of a new office for the time share/vacation club on the 2nd floor above the Asian restaurant. Expect to be offered a “deal” when you visit. Bear in mind, it is our understanding that if you buy into it, you will have rights to a room only – food, beverages, other services will be charged to you at prevailing rates. You may decline the presentation if you prefer…we’re just warning you in advance.

Basically the resort itself as well as the room decorations and soft goods have not changed since SuperClubs owned it although Enrico indicated the soft goods conversion may take place before May 2015 to include new bedspreads and drapes.

We paid for our room, a standard suite, ocean view which was located at the end of the resort property, adjacent to the fence line next to Couples Negril. Our standard suite was in good repair: The air conditioning worked, plumbing was all in good shape, we enjoyed consistent hot and cold water when desired, the flat screen TV and controls worked, the toilet flushed thankfully, coffee maker brewed on schedule, the telephone was plugged in and maid service was as expected. About the only issue we experienced: no one answered our repeated phone calls to the bellman or front desk to collect our luggage the morning of our departure so we hauled the bags ourselves to the reception area to avoid missing our airport transfer.

NICE OR UNEXPECTED EXPERIENCES
Free WiFi in the lobby, toll free long distance calls to Canada and USA from guest rooms, a waitress at the clothing optional beach, good service in the restaurants, 24 hour room service, good entertainment in the evening, an excellent meal in Olives (Mediterranean), ala carte dining choices at Olives (was Piacere), Amore (Italian), Reggae Cafe (was the Tinber House), Koi (Asian) plus Insomnia (24-hour coffee & pastry shop – was Italian) and reasonable meal selections with a variety of dishes…not five star but we didn’t go hungry either since we’re easy to please.

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