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A short stay in Greensboro and then ended at the awesome Hyatt of North Hills in Raleigh, NC
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With me and my husband being loyal Sandals Resort fans, We just returned from yet another wonderful vacation, this time at Sandals Resort in Barbados. We stayed in the Crystal Lagoon One Bedroom Butler Suite....and it was an instant "Wow", We love this place! The flowers, trees, greenery on this resort was just stunning.
We had three butlers and with each of them knowing how low key we were, they were very professional and understood when at times we purposely left the Butler Phone in the room. They did so many special things for us, bubble baths, champagne, candle light and Jazz music waiting for us after spending the day at the beach, they were really amazing.
Food at each of the restaurants was outstanding, we were looking forward to trying out the two new restaurants, Butch's Chophouse and the Indian Restaurant, Bombay, they sure didn't disappoint....actually, not a single one of Beaches or Sandals Resorts ever disappoints in the food, beverage and dessert department. Everything was perfect as always.
We were so happy to find that the Sargassum Seaweed problem that has plagued many parts of Caribbean (Including the beach at Sandals Barbados) had cleared and the ocean was beautiful. Keep in mind that ocean is a bit active.....and I love it that way. However, the seawall that was recently built has helped calm the active waves.
Being new to Barbados, we took a full day to tour the island and what a beautiful island it was...we made stops at Saint James Parish Church...one of the oldest in Barbados. We made a stop at the Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill, a quick stop for lunch at Sand Dunes Bar & Restaurant, then onto the beautiful Bathsheba Beach where we got to watch the surfers in the rough and beautiful ocean....this was my favorite stop and I could have spent hours there, but we had limited time as we were also hoping to see many green monkeys for their 2:00 feeding at the Barbados Wildlife Preserve . We got to see just one LOL. But seeing one is much better than seeing none.
Finally, we took a Sun, Sand and Snorkel Tour with Island Routes, so much fun seeing the homes and resorts along the coast and swimming with the sea turtles...I highly recommend it. Great food served and the cocktails were flowing. Their Catamaran Cruises have always been a favorite of mine.
There is construction going on next to the property and it was never a bother.....Just Sandals Resorts creating more jobs for those in need and constantly improving their resorts so that us loyal fans continue to return. I look forward to visiting again to see the finished product. Awesome Vacation!!!
More Photos and Video Here:
Celebrating our 30th anniversary on Labor Day Weekend and having Southwest tickets that needed to be used before their deadline...we decided on a 4 day trip to the Country Music Capital of Nashville, TN. We stayed at 12 South Inn Suites , which is located in the 12 South Commercial District of Nashville. Breakfast coupons for the Frothy Monkey were included in the stay which was a nice plus.
The Broadway Street "Honky Tonk Row" was quite lively with the bars and music starting at around 10:30 am, we made our stops at Tootsies and more bars on Broadway than we can recall. Many seemed to cater to different age groups and we hunted them out, all were unique in their own way and the musicians were all pretty awesome. All of the people we met from Nashville were so friendly and outgoing which made it quite the memorable experience.
Each restaurant we dined at was wonderful, from Merchants, 12 South Taproom (awesome Cuban and Mac & Cheese) Edley's BBQ quickly became our favorite...I cannot stop thinking about those Hot Chicken sandwiches that Nashville is well known for. We really wanted to try the recommended Haddie B's, but there was no way that we were going to stand in that very long line, nope, was not going to happen.
My husband being a craft beer lover, we really enjoyed the Filling Station and Beer Craft Brewed. However, being Labor Day, we could not enjoy Beer Craft Brewed the fullest with Nashville ABV laws. High gravity brews and small craft spirits were not being served.....
Having rented a car, we took a trip to the Centennial Park, then to the Grand Ole Opry and finally to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.
While we had an awesome time, the down side was that we went during Labor Day...with major football games going on and with it being a huge college town, the place was pretty busy. if we were to go back, it would be at off season and with a group of friends.
More Photos and some Video here:
We decided to take a few days in mid May to visit Acadia National Park . We stayed at The Bayview in Bar Harbor, ME.....now I know first hand why they are rated # 1 of 42 hotels in Bar Harbor on Trip Advisor. The room was just wonderful with a waterfront private balcony with some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Daily breakfast is included and the offerings were delicious. No need to worry about having adult beverages and a great evening at the many downtown bars and restaurants because another plus about this hotel is that it includes a daily courtesy van and driver for visits to downtown Bar Harbor, the van operates between 7:00 am until 10:45 pm.
Visiting Acadia Park to me was like visiting gods country and a slice of heaven....breathtaking views and landscapes, pounding surf that just surrounded us with beauty. I can only imagine how beautiful a fall season visit would be.
We took Park Loop Road and stopped by Jordon Pond, then took the road up to Cadillac Mountain to see the spectacular panoramic views. We made a stop at Thunder Hole to watch the waves crashing in. We finished the 1st day by visiting downtown Bar Harbor...stopped for a drink at Bar Harbor Beer Works and then onto Blaze for more drinks and a very nice dinner.
The second day was a bit rainy so we drove to Southwest Harbor and Bass Harbor Lighthouse, even with the light rain, the sights were still pretty awesome. We went to West Street Café for lunch, then back to the hotel to decide what to do on a rainy evening.......and then with the help of Trip Advisor, we found that they have this unique cinema called Reel Pizza which shows first run movies, serves pizza, beer & wine. Mad Max it was.
Our final day, we took the scenic drive to Schoodic Point and had lunch on the rocks as we watched the waves crashing in the distance...it was simple beautiful. We dined and had drinks at The Thirsty Wale and finished the evening off having some very creative cocktails at The Cottage Street Pub in downtown Bar Harbor. Once again, and as always, a fantastic vacation with my husband.
More Photos Here:
A quick recent visit to Grand Pineapple Beach in Negril Jamaica allowed me to view the cottage style rooms and the property. I have to say that I was pretty impressed with this Sandals sister resort. It's located on the southern stretch of the very popular and beautiful 7 mile beach in Negril. There are 64 rooms and two sides to the property, Beach side and land (manor) side, with a road dividing the resorts. Land and water sports are included. All alcohol, food and tips are included with the price.
This resort is perfect for couples or singles who are looking for an all-inclusive budget property with an awesome staff. Take a long walk along the beach, visit Ricks Café, visit the beautiful Negril cliff area for some of the most beautiful sunsets, visit the endless bars and Jerk shacks for a real taste of Jamaica....it's all there on 7 mile beach.
A short visit to Sandals Carlyle Inn last week reminded me how much I love this unique Sandals Resort and cannot wait for a return trip sometime in the near future.
Sandals Carlyle Inn is a 10 to 15 minute drive from Montego Bay airport, it's a small 52 room Bed and Breakfast style resort with 24 hour room service. It has two bars and three restaurants and some of the best staff and service. Being such a small resort, the friends one makes here will be life long friends (Yes indeed, first hand experience with that.)
The Carlyle could be considered one of Sandals budget hotels, but huge on value. The beach is across the street and is a locals favorite hangout, so it's not as private as some of their other resorts. However, it's pretty awesome to watch the locals and their families enjoying their time together, and the snorkeling is very nice as well. The well known Montego Bay Hip Strip is walkable from this resort and safe to venture out.
Booking a stay at the Carlyle Inn allows you to enjoy Sandals Resorts stay at one, play at three exchange. This means you will have full access and hourly transportation to their two other resorts in Montego Bay...Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Montego Bay...leaving you multiple discovery dining choices, beautiful beaches, water sports and land sports.
They have recently started some major upgrades to the rooms with a more modern type style....I'm looking so forward to seeing the finished product in the near future.
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Sandals Negril is on one of the most beautiful beaches in Jamaica...it takes up 1700 feet of beachfront on Seven Mile Beach. Transfers drive from Sangsters in Montego Bay takes about 75 minutes. There are 222 rooms and suites on 12 acres, 7 discovery dining restaurants and some of the best sunsets can be seen here. This is also a fantastic resort for scuba and snorkeling.
Do keep in mind that the beach is not as private as some of Sandals other properties. Beaches Negril is a short 20 to 30 minute walk along the beach and as a paying guest of Sandals Negril, you can also enjoy all the amenities of Beaches Negril.
A short drive up the road is the well know cliffs of Negril and a must see for the awesome sunsets. The very busy tourist spot known as Ricks Café also sits on the cliffs of Negril and is a nice stop to watch or participate in jumping from the cliffs (at your own risk)
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I've recently returned from a short stay at Sandals Whitehouse in Westmoreland, Jamaica. The resort is about a 90 minute drive from Sangsters airport in Montego Bay. It's a European style beach resort with a total of 360 beachfront rooms in three different villages: Italian, Dutch and French. The villages sit on a 2 mile strech of beach, and along side a 500 acre nature preserve. The views/sunsets are just absolutely beautiful and if you love long walks along the beach...this is the place. Enjoy discovery dining at 7 restaurants as well as a jerk pit on the beach.
Do keep in mind that depending on where one was to stay at this resort, there is quite a bit of walking to get to the restaurants, but the beauty and service make it all worth the stay.
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The first week of March, 2015, my husband and I had the pleasure to visit Beaches Resort in Turks & Caicos. With 4 different villages, we stayed at the newer Key West Village.
While they were at pretty much full capacity, we were blown away at the fantastic service....never a wait for meals, drinks, etc. Each and every employee on property was so very outgoing, friendly and always had smiles on their faces.....that made for a totally pleasant stay.
The food was some of the best we've had and with so many restaurant choices it was difficult deciding where we would be having lunches and dinners. Sushi and warm Sake at Soy was just wonderful. We enjoyed the ribs and the huge portion of steak at Arizona's so much that we dined there twice, Schooners served some awesome seafood. Mario's and thier never ending appetizers was pretty amazing. Choices for lunches and breakfast seemed to be never ending but we managed just fine. :)
The newest addition to the property was an awesome Rum Bar and the Jerk Station on the beach, yes indeed we enjoyed.
The beautiful blue crystal clear water of Turks and Caicos had us coming to the conclusion that it's not been rated one of the top 10 best beaches in the world for nothing. The snorkeling was extremely impressive and can be done right from the beach with a short walk off property.
More Photos here:
My husband and I booked a seven night stay at the award winning Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. This boutique style resort has won numerous awards. All rooms have oceanfront views, come with two butlers and 24 hour room service. It cannot get much better than that...however it does.
This resort hosts 74 oceanfront rooms, it's small, unique and very intimate, especially if you're looking for a peaceful, and quiet relaxing vacation. The managers and the staff will go above and beyond to make sure that you have the most pleasant stay. There are 4 restaurants that are well known for the wonderful food they serve and everything was beyond fantastic. From lobster BLT's, coconut shrimp, burgers, lamb, salads and more at the Royal Grill for lunch to dining on French cuisine at Le Papillon for dinner. They offer waterfront dining on the pier at the Terrace Restaurant. The Terrace is open for an a la carte breakfast and some very nice lunch offerings. The Wobbly Peacock is their English style pub, there you will find some awesome pub food and wonderful alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages....and it gets better for those that like a more active resort with even more dining options
Next door is one of Sandals largest resorts in Jamaica, Sandals Grande Riviera, guests staying at the Royal Plantation will have full transfer/exchange privileges. This expands dining options to 20 restaurants along with a very active night life...it was perfect for us.
Sandals resorts have a very strict no tipping policy, however the butlers are allowed to accept tips and they go above and beyond to please their guests. I look forward to a future stay and would highly recommend this resort.
More pictures here
Celebrating our 29th anniversary last month, we decided on a quick mini getaway to Meredith, NH for a few nights. Our lodging area of choice was Mills Falls at the Lake and with four different Inn's, Church Landing was the Inn we choose to stay at. The room was very cozy, nicely decorated and the view of the lake from our balcony was a huge plus, as were those beautiful sunsets ....it was at a location that's easily accessible for a nice walk to all of the other resorts, to shopping, and to all of their dining areas. Definitely a plus to just park the vehicle for weekend!
One of our favorite restaurants/bar that was on property of the Church Landing is called the Lakehouse Grill. The cocktails and appetizers were very good and the bar staff very outgoing and friendly. We enjoyed dining at Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant/Pizzeria. Yes, the portions were HUGE and we should have split our meals because we had too many leftovers for sure. Our breakfast restaurant of choice was Sunshine and Pa's ....there were other options but we liked it so much that we decided to go back the next morning.
Exploring the area on our afternoon walk we found a cute little boutique winery called Hermit Woods Winery so we decided to stop in for a tasting. What's pretty unique about this winery is that they make their wines with different varieties of fresh fruits in lieu of grapes. Fresh blueberries, peaches, crabapples, pears, blackberries, kiwi and more. We ended up taking four bottles home with us to share with friends.
A very enjoyable short stay indeed. More pictures can be found here.
Two words can only describe Sandals LaSource Grenada on my recent visit....Simply Stunning! This is Sandals newest All-Inclusive Resort & Spa that is less than a 2 minute transfer from the airport. There are 69 suites in three different villages. Each Village and the rooms have their own unique charm...one cannot go wrong no matter which level they were to book at. There are 10 restaurants on property, from Sushi, French, Italian, Japanese, to Butch's Chophouse....the choices are endless and all included.
I fell in love with the modern/traditional design of not only the rooms, but the views and the beauty of the entire resort. After speaking with quite a few of the guests who were vacationing there, they all had nothing but positive reports....by their enthusiasm to speak so highly of this Resort and Spa, I would have no hesitation to recommend this resort to anyone looking for an amazing vacation.
More Pictures Here
We spent two nights here at the award winning Beaches in Turks & Caicos and Yes, I was totally blown away at the size and beauty of this resort. This resort is known to be the ultimate vacation for not only families, but for everyone.
It's less than a 15 minute drive from the airport (all transfers are always included at Sandals/Beaches Resorts) and with four different villages, a huge waterpark, infant daycare, toddler, teen centers, 19 restaurants, 12 bars, the most included activities, land and water sports and then add in the beautiful crystal clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean, there is never a dull moment.......oh, and did I mention the fantastic food and drink all included?
If interested, call or send me a email for more information.
More pictures here
During September of 2014, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, Bahamas. This resort is about 10 minutes from the airport, has 404 Rooms and Suites and is on 15 acres. They have a beautiful offshore island with ferry transportation every hour starting at 10:00 am, with the last ferry returning at 4:45 pm, so you have the option to enjoy two resorts in one. With 10 specialty restaurants, the choices are endless.
As with every Sandals Resorts, they go all out to make sure you get the all-inclusive luxury vacation that you deserve.
More pictures, including rooms here.
Never being to the Finger Lakes region of New York, we decided on a 4 day, 3 night stay at the highly reviewed The Fox and the Grapes Bed & Breakfast in Lodi, NY with some our best friends.. The home, with views of the Seneca Lake was just beautiful. The well kept rooms, comfortable bed and the daily breakfast made for a very pleasurable stay. We wish Kim and Bud very much success in their new home and I'm sure the great reviews will continue.
The drive took us around 6 hours to arrive in Ithaca from Eastern Connecticut, just in time to stop for lunch at Ciao before heading over to the Robert H. Tremen State Park for a 4 1/2 mile round trip hike to see the falls. We took the Gorge Trail up and the Rim Trail back. Then we headed toward our B&B for a much needed shower and to unpack. We found a local microbrewery called Two Goats Brewery before heading over to dinner on the dock at the Village Marina Restaurant in Watkins Glen.
The next day we stopped at a little organic shop called Good to Go and picked up a picnic lunch, then we made the 1.5 mile round trip hike to Taughannock Falls. After picnicking we went onto visiting numerous wineries and a distillery for some tastings. There are so many wineries that it would be impossible to visit all of them...considering that they are only open until 5:00 pm during the week. We finished the evening off by dining at Mura Bella's in Montour Falls, they had some very nice Italian food and wine.
The next morning we kayaked the beautiful, and very serene Seneca Lake. If it weren't for the sound of a few children playing in the distance, I'd swear that we could hear a pin drop. It was one of the most calming and peaceful kayaking that we've ever done. We finally packed up the boats and drove over to Watkins Glen State Park for the waterfalls. Being short on time, we opted to take the shuttle bus up to the falls and then take the hour or so hike down. The views were simply amazing. After that we went exploring the village and area around Penn Yan. We made a few stops at two of the local breweries, Abandon Brewery and Climbing Bine Brewery. The last evening there, we dined at the highly recommended Dano's Heuriger on Seneca, it's Austrian style food and it was just incredible. We ended the night sitting with our friends on the B&B deck, drinking wine and enjoying our conversations.
The following morning we had breakfast, bid our farewells to Kim and Bud, drove back to Ithaca and then took a very short walk to view the gorgeous Ithaca Falls...Wow! We made our final stop at Ithaca Brewery for a sampler of their brews and some swag to take home.
I'd highly recommend the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at and each restaurant, brewery, and State Park. On a final note: If you will be visiting more than one of the Finger Lake State Parks in a single day, after you pay your initial $7.00 fee at one, save your receipt and you will not have to pay at the other State Parks.
More Pictures Here:
In early May of 2015, we took a 4 night trip to Treasure Island on the Gulf Coast of Florida. We stayed at the highly rated and very beautiful Westwinds Waterfront Resort on the Bay side of Treasure Island. (if on a budget, they have a full kitchen so dining out is not necessary)
So much to do, so little time, but we managed to fit it all in...from visiting Johns Pass, some local Breweries, Honeymoon Island State Park and taking the Ferry to Caladesi Island and then visiting Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. We had an amazing time and cannot wait to return next year.
Staying at Treasure Island is pretty awesome as there are minimal crowds, you can easily walk to the nearest grocery store, bars and restaurants. For a very small fee, there's a Trolley that stops at almost every block along the Gulf Boulevard which gives guests easy access to all of Pinellas County Beaches and Johns Pass. If you're not parking, then access to all beaches are free, if parking then there's a small fee.
Breweries we visited were Saint Petersburg, Green Bench, Cycle Brewery in Saint Petersburg and then Dunedin Brewery and 7th Sun in Dunedin. We also visited Mad Pub located at Johns Pass, they have loads of taps and we were fortunate enough to try Cigar City's Brew, Hopped on the High Seas.
Each restaurant that we dined at along our journey was wonderful and I'd highly recommend each and every one of them. Sweet Sage Cafe in Redington Beach was quite the unique breakfast stop as was Kelly's. While at Johns Pass, we had lunch at Boardwalk Grill, they had to be one of the most reasonable priced stops we made while there, and they made a very nice lobster roll. While in Dunedin, we had lunch at Café Alfresco, the pastrami sandwich was so big, it was enough for two. In Treasure Island Britt's Pizza was just awesome, so much so that we had it twice. Now I know why VIP Lounge and Mexican Restaurant get such high ratings and is always packed, it was delicious and the portions were huge. So was that top shelf margarita and all at an very reasonable price.
Last but not least was a simply amazing Greek bakery in Tarpon Springs called Hella's Bakery and Restaurant. It was the largest bakery that I've ever seen and trying to choose a desert was a pretty stressful situation :) because there was just so many of them. We opted for the Baklava and Peanut Butter Cheesecake.
More Photos can be seen here.
For the Bride and Groom, as well as their families, planning a wedding is stressful for everyone involved. It's not listed as the top 5 most stressful life events for nothing.
I just read a really good article on wedding planning stress management, it's titled Wedding Season Stress: Why Is Wedding Planning so Stressful?
While planning a wedding will always be stressful, Sandals Resorts can help you avoid most of that stress by planning your Destination Wedding with you. They offer a complete team of Wedding Professionals who will be coordinating your wedding from start to finish. Your wedding, your style.
Modern Bride Magazine proclaimed Sandals "The Best All-Inclusive Resort Chain," and the readers of Brides Magazine voted Sandals "World's Number One All-inclusive".
On July 1st 2014, Southwest will be taking over all of AirTran flights,
Prices out of Hartford are pretty awesome right now. I'm hoping that they continue. Bags fly free and they have a great cancelation policy. Prices are shown for travel within 6 months from now. Check out their fare calendar here:
Airport codes for us here in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Boston are as follows:
Hartford/Bradley BDL. Providence/TF Green PVD. Boston BOS
Montego Bay Jamaica MBJ. Nassau, Bahamas NAS, Aruba AUA
I'm in the process of uploading pictures to the business Flickr page, so for now, many of the pictures remain on my personal page. For now, the pictures can be seen here.
We recently arrived home from another wonderful trip to our very favorite Sandals Resort in Jamaica. The All-Inclusive Sandals Grande Riviera.
With 15 different restaurants, and only 5 nights, it was difficult deciding which ones to visit. We stopped almost nightly at Soy Sushi Bar for some great sushi and apps, We dined one evening at Kimonos Japanese Teppanyaki, another at Sabrina's, another at Bayside (yes, I finally tired of lobster and came home 10 lbs heavier) On our last evening there, we tried Valentino's Italian, delicious! The food, breakfast, lunches, drinks, service and staff as always was fantastic.
We stayed at the Butler Village Poolside Villa Suites on the Manor side of the resort, but made many back and forth visits to the Riviera/Beach Club via the shuttle bus. One could never possibly be bored at this resort, as there are so many things to do.
Contact me, and I'd be happy to get prices, remember that it would cost you no more or less to use a travel agent.
During our recent stay in Jamaica, Kelly-Ann Styles the Executive Assistant at Sandals Royal Plantation was kind enough to give us a tour of the award winning resort. It was nothing short of being breathtakingly beautiful.
The Royal Plantation is small, quiet and very intimate All-Inclusive resort. All rooms include a Butler as well as 24 hour room service. Each room has a wonderful view of the turquoise crystal clear water of the Caribbean. When Kelly-Ann opened the French doors of the Great House Oceanfront Suite, the view and the sound of the waves crashing actually gave me goose bumps.
For those that opt to stay at the Royal Plantation, you'd also have full exchange service next door at Sandal's Grande Riviera.
We just returned from a 3 day, 2 night very relaxing Ski & Stay Vacation at the Omni Mount Washington Resort and Bretton Woods Ski Area. The beautiful views on the drive up are just stunning.
As you drive up to the hotel, the valet attendants greet you, unload your luggage, check your ski or snowboarding equipment and then you walk into a four plus star palace. (keep plenty of cash for you valet, shuttle drivers, and the person who delivers your luggage to your room)
The rooms are beautiful, some more glamorous than others, but you can decide for a price which rooms that you'll be pleased with.
The food is very good with a nice variety of restaurants from casual to suit and tie dining. The shuttle will take you to other dining areas as well. We opted to have dinner the first evening at the casual Fabyan's Station. The following morning, we had breakfast at Bretton Arms. After a 1/2 day of skiing, the shuttle took us to Fabyan's Station for lunch. That evening we dined at Stickney's Restaurant. My husband said the Rib Eye steak was the best that he's ever had, and I know that my Steak Sandwich was the best one that I'd ever had.
They have some nice packages for all 4 seasons.....I'll be happy to help with your booking.
For anyone that travels, camps, kayaks, etc. these NRS Dura Soft Coolers are fantastic. I own two of them, a small and a large. The large one can be packed with items needed for vacations such as clothing and be used as checked baggage for your flights, then used as a cooler when you reach your destination. The smaller ones can be easily packed into your luggage.
They're leakproof and can be packed with ice, they're washable and the best part is the liners are replaceable if by chance they tear.
They come in four different sizes, 6 pack, small, 30 can and large. Inner and outer dimensions as well as weight can be found here.
Hearing and reading about so many positive reviews of Club MoBay Departure Lounge (Fast Track Service at Sangsters International Airport, Jamaica), my husband and I decided to pay the $30.00 each and give it a try. It was so worth it because it made going through airport immigration and security a complete breeze.
If anyone enjoys shopping as much as I, there's nothing worse than dragging your bags around the shopping area of the airport, but the staff at Club MoBay will hold your bags so you can shop suitcase free.
All alcoholic beverages and food is included while you wait and they'll call out your flight and flight number when it's time to depart. I'd highly recommend Club MoBay to anyone traveling to Jamaica. I'd also recommend tipping the bar staff or wait staff. If you use Club MoBay arrival, then I'd also recommend tipping the person who greets you and walks you through the service.