We had a bit of a challenging morning with our flight to Puerto Rico. While going through security in Atlanta, TSA took my parents’ two iPads out of our carry on to re-run the bag (because, you know, pocket knives can’t be used to hijack planes, but iPads certainly could). We thought nothing of it and, because we had a 4 AM wake up call, were a little out of it anyway. We were on the plane and about ten minutes from takeoff when Dad looked inside of his bag and realized both iPads were missing.
Here’s a valuable lesson that really shouldn’t have to be taught, but I’ll spell it out for everyone just in case: never, under any circumstances, assume that TSA actually cares about your belongings. Especially do not assume that just because they take something out of a bag means they will kindly put it back in. This has never happened in the history of airport security.
I’d go further into my rant on how Atlanta’s TSA agents are some of the unhappiest people in the world, but I try to keep my blog family friendly. All I can tell you is that I don’t believe the A in TSA stands for Alliance. But that’s another post for another time.
I tell you all of this to inform you, dear travelers, of what to do in case you have lost a valuable item in an airport when you’re already onboard a plane about to fly out of the country. We notified one of the flight attendants, who did her best in the little time we had to run with Dad and report the missing items to an airport employee inside the terminal. They also provided him with a number to call for lost and found and, when we reached the St. Regis Bahia Beach, he was able to do so and they were miraculously in possession of the iPads. From that point, you file a claim online to prove you are the owner and hope and pray everything goes smoothly upon your return to Atlanta when you pick them up. I’ll keep you all posted.
Aside from this, our day in Puerto Rico was wonderful. I am so grateful to my amazing rep for the St. Regis Bahia Beach, Erin, and the property’s sales manager, Kemely, for their generosity and help in coordinating my site inspection of the resort. They went above and beyond and I’m glad they did – this is definitely a property worth seeing!
It takes about 25 minutes to get from the airport to the St. Regis (and you definitely want First Class Chauffeurs to take you, they did a fantastic job), which put us at the property just in time for lunch at Seagrapes with Kemely, where the highlight of our meal was a s’mores pizza.
(Hint: I will order anything on a menu if it contains the word “S’mores” or “Nutella” in the title)…Every Saturday night the property has a complimentary S’mores tasting that guests can enjoy, roasting marshmallows over the fire pits together. They also have a daily afternoon tea where they serve different flavors of tea from around the world – totally complimentary to guests!
After lunch, Kemely took me around the property while my parents sat in the lobby to solve the case of the missing iPads. I loved everything about the St. Regis Bahia Beach – the landscaping and foliage is beautiful, the staff is friendly and accommodating, and the guest rooms are huge. Even the entry level room is spacious with an out of this world bathroom and nice balcony.
While the hotel itself is relatively small – about 130 guest rooms – the property is enormous. This makes for the best of both worlds: guests are so spread out that no one feels overcrowded, plus there is plenty to do on property to keep travelers occupied. From the two mile stretch of beach to the gorgeous spa, which they will soon expand to be a “Spa Without Walls” (treatment areas will be placed in an array of outdoor locations), not to mention all of the activities included in the resort fee. My personal favorite area was the Boatyard, where guests can rent a number of non-motorized watersports, like paddle boards and kayaks, and enjoy them on a long lagoon-like stretch of water that runs through the property.
As we toured around the property, I noticed a couple of setups for destination weddings. While I have no desire to plan my own anytime soon, I love planning other people’s destination weddings and am always excited to see ceremony locations in person. Check out what a destination wedding at the St. Regis Bahia Beach might look like:
I wish we had planned for a longer stay at the St. Regis but, unfortunately, we had a transfer to catch to take us to the cruise pier to hop onboard the Celebrity Summit. The pier is right outside of Old San Juan, which our driver was kind enough to show us on a detour to the ship.
With its historic homes, cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn buggies, Old San Juan is like the Charleston of the Caribbean. I loved it – travelers walked along the narrow roads, locals continued the tradition of flying hundreds of kites outside of one of the old forts, a man on the corner played “Hey Jude” on his saxophone. There was true culture and flair and charm to this part of the city – I’d highly recommend spending some time there before hopping on a cruise, especially on a buzzing Saturday afternoon like this one.
We boarded the Celebrity Summit just in time to make our dinner arrangements – I met up with the other agents on board (big thanks to my wonderful Celebrity rep, Joyce, for inviting me on this Seminar at Sea, and to the host of the seminar, Monica, for everything, more to come about the actual cruise experience on the blog!) and dined in Normandie, one of the fantastic specialty restaurants that prepares many of the meals table side – like the lobster and Chateaubriand.
Lesson learned: you want to give yourself a night or two ahead of time in any new cruise port to enjoy the area. San Juan is a place that should definitely be on your radar and, if you book the St. Regis Bahia Beach through me, you will receive an upgrade on arrival if available, daily breakfast, and a $100 resort credit!