Saturday, December 27, 2008

Always Carry Your Phone to the Dining Room Table

I missed one phone call on Christmas Day. It happened during dinner, around 7:30 pm. Our dining room is set off far from the kitchen where both the land line and the portable phones were located and we all knew that even if we sprinted down the hallway, we wouldn't get to the phone in time to answer. I did not even try to get up and get it. That happened to be a big mistake.

You see, my sister and her family went on a cruise down in the Caribbean Islands over the Christmas Holiday break. Before she left, she told me that we would not be able to talk as there is no phone service on the boat. She said all communication would have to be through email messages. Except when your sister is very clever and convinces the Captain of the ship to allow her to use the company phone to call her family on Christmas Day!

As the phone rang that evening during dinner, I did not budge because all the people I love was sitting around the table. (I also knew if it was someone on Bill's side of the family needed to get through to us, they would call his cell number next). I figured it to be a random prank call or wrong number. But I was wrong...

What's so sad about this little story of mine, is that I am 51 years old and not one year has gone by in my entire life that I have not seen or spoken to my sister on Christmas Day. Never. It worked on the Captain and I should have had enough hope that it might happen and bring the GD phone to the table!

Of course, my heart and soul is always with my wonderful, little sister, no matter if we speak, email or just pray. Merry Christmas, Junebug and a Happy New Year. Talk to you soon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

June Picks Her Mustique Villa, Then You Vote

Today, we review my sister's choice for a villa rental on the island of Mustique. She used the same timeframe and budget constraints as I had used in the post I wrote yesterday. After reading about her choice, I will be putting up a poll and we are going to let, the reader decide which villa we should select! It's going to be hard, because they are both amazing homes:

June's Criteria:

I picked this fantastic villa primarily because of its views.

Also, the main room reminds me of the movie As Good as it gets with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton - one of most favorite movies.

And, I loved the pool and imagined many fun cocktails looking at the beautiful view.

June's Villa Selection:

Sheltered on a gentle rise overlooking L`Ansecoy Bay, Moana (Hawaiian for ocean) offers a panoramic view of turquoise seas and the nearby Grenadine Islands. The bright and airy living room is the villa`s focal point, just steps from sundeck, dining veranda, balcony, bedrooms and a garden path which leads to the new swimming pool and secluded beach. The villa is cooled by a soft sea breeze filtered by the surrounding trees and a tropical courtyard.

(There is a third bedroom available for rental for an additional $1000).

Well, there you have it. It's time for you to select which villa you like best by voting in the poll below. Then, we will be exploring the two resorts on the island. So many ways this vacation could go. One thing's for sure, vacationing with my sister is going to be very special.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mustique Island, One Choice for the Anniversary Vacation

We start the journey to find the 'Anniversary Vacation Trip' with my sister and her husband on the island of Mustique. Mustique is a 1 mile by 3 mile island located in the Grenadine Island group. In the 18th Century, the island was covered with sugar and cotton plantations. English is the primary language but they say you hear French, Italian, German, and Dutch often from the people who visit here. We have always wanted to vacation together on this very special, unique island.

From our readings, it sounds a little like a small club where friends come together to relax and party. The size lends itself to this atmosphere and the fact that one company, The Mustique Company, owns the entire island. This simplicity is appealing, if we can afford it.

Basically, you have 3 choices in where you stay on this island. There is one luxury resort called The Cotton House that has 20 rooms, one smaller resort, The Fire Fly, with 4 rooms, or you rent one of the 60 or so homes that are spread out over the 1400 acres of land. Some are near the beachfront and others are set up on the hillsides. There is a huge variety of size and price range to choose from. But for our purposes, we are selecting from the smallest and the least expensive to accommodate our group and budget.

We will first choose a Villa. Next we will choose which room we like at Cotton House and finally select our rooms at Fire Fly all using the same criteria listed below. Pay attention, as you will be voting for which choice we should select!

Our Trip: One week in February (close to the actual anniversary day)

Our Budget: Up to $10,000 (which we will split in half)

Beth's Criteria: I do not care whether we are right along the beach or up in the hills, which is unusual for me. Here's why: the rental fee of your villa includes a Jeep or similar vehicle. I think it would be a hoot to drive around in a "mule" (called a golf cart in my neck of the woods).

I am okay with renting a home on this island as they also include a private staff of a gardener, cook, and maid (minimum of three) to take care of your needs during your stay. Yes! How Divine!

I know we need to be careful when selecting the villa to remember the 10% Government Tax and the 8% Administrative Fee that's added to our total bill. Villa rates are quoted in US Dollars and are on European Plan. But the cost includes a nice airport welcome by Mustique staff and transfers to your specific villa, laundry and ironing services, four (4) floodlight tennis courts that are complimentary, centrally located in the middle of the island, a fitness trail and a special invitation to the Managing Director's weekly Cocktail Party on Tuesday evenings in the Great Room of the Cotton House and finally, transfer returns to the airport upon our departure. That adds up to a nice package in my eyes as normally a house sounds like work and cooking and less time to relax and enjoy the good company.

Beth's Villa Selection:

Serenity Bay, 2 BR, 2 BA, Hillside Villa

This was an easy selection for me, actually. This villa won out as it satisfied the most important detail which happens to be my biggest pet peeve in renting vacation houses: it has two identical master suites! Usually, there is one enormous master bedroom with lounging area, fantastic views and huge bathroom and one sort of minor bedroom for the other couple that's placed in the back, with a smaller, crappy bed and no adjoining bathroom. Sometimes June and me have drawn straws for the better room, one time we switched mid-vacation but it's always a pain in the neck.

Reason # 2: Serenity Bay overlooks Britannia Bay yacht anchorage which I think would provide hours of something to look at besides beautiful blue water.

Reason # 3: The villa is within walking distance to the beach and village and of course, we can take the "mule" if our little hearts desire.

Reason # 4: The swimming pool overlooks the turquoise waters and the lounge chairs look like they will be in the sun for most of the day. Some of the villas' pool areas look like they are in a jungle and I started thinking they may be buggy.

In general terms: the villa looks nice but not fancy. I think we would feel relaxed here and be able to walk around barefoot and comfortable.

The cost: $9,500 (for weeks between mid-Nov. and March). The cost goes down to $5,500 if we waited until after May 1st.

Now I know you are dying to see my selection, so I have provided two fantastic websites. They have different pictures, so it's fun to compare:

I'll post June's selection as soon as she sends it to me. She's actually always more thorough in her research that me. In the meantime, sit back...close your eyes..and day dream about having a rum drink on my Villa patio!