We returned from Tower Isle last Friday. It was a wonderful week with great weather. After missing a year, it was good to get back and see her new look in person. Lots of changes(physically), but what is still the same is the great staff and relaxing atmosphere. That is what is most important.
I really like the color scheme (lots of blue & white). It gives a nice cooling effect, especially on those hot mornings. I'm not crazy about the modern furniture and miss the dark wood, but that's just my preference. I do believe that the flower arrangement that was in the lobby needs to be back in the lobby,somewhere.
We spent a lot of time on the beach. Plenty of room, not crowded. The Logo Shop is right where the beach bar use to be. They have a coffee shop set up inside, but it's not up and running yet. There is now a red flag service on the beach. That is great as Ron was glad he didn't have to keep getting up to go to one of the bars. It's VERY efficient! Seems as soon as you put the flag up, someone is there taking your order!
Also, no more taking the beach towels down to the water sports office to exchange. There are wicker carts near the pool and beach areas to put used towels in and get clean ones.
The Veggie Bar (where the old beach grill was) is really nice. Lots of good, healthy eating choices. We loved the plate of raw veggies (with or without sweet potato chips) and hummus, but other good things as well. We ate at Bayside once, for the romantic atmosphere. Not a big fan of Asian food, but the Pad Thai was good. We liked the appetiser tray for 2 (chicken drumsticks, spring rolls, beef kabobs, and I think crab cakes or something similar).
Breakfast was as good as always. We were sorry to see the birds gone. We always enjoyed watching their antics, but am sure once the word gets around to them that the food is back, they will return.
We loved 8 Rivers (the old LeGourmet). It's always been our favorite restaurant and still is. The murals are outstanding!
The one on the west wall (Spanish landing at Tower Isle) has a number of hidden objects within the mural itself. We spent about 15 minutes picking out the different objects within it. The food was fabulous as always. Rack of Lamb was as good as ever. Salads were the best with lots of unusual viniagrette dressings, and, of course, the desserts were to die for.
The Veranda was very nice, but missed the twinkling lights on the ceiling. The lobster was wonderful, as good as Lobster Dave's in Ocho Rios (also had lobster there too!). We had a good red snapper at the Veranda and another unusual viniagrette on our salads.
The craft shops across the street are gone, but every Monday, from 10-4, a craft village is set up on the front lawn of Tower Isle, near the spa. Lots of nice things to purchase. Also, occasionally we saw a vendor set up a table or two down by the beach, near the Logo shop.
The new pool and swim up bar are nice. For those not in the pool, you can still sit at the bar or at tables where the old basket swing was on the pier. We were told that one basket swing may go back up on the front lawn.
The rooms aren't much different than before. We were in a premier in the main building (#3). Same great view from the balcony! The bathrooms have been remodeled. We liked the new showers, just put a beach towel down in front of it to catch excess water. No trouble with water pressure or temperature.
The Gift shop is very nice- lots of new and different merchandise. We really missed the jewelry shop and think they should find a place to bring it back. We were lucky enough to run into Terry. He comes to Tower Isle on Saturdays and Mondays, I think he said. He was nice enough to pick us up one day and take us to his new shop. Found some lovely Jamaican/Caribbean Topaz pieces!
The musical entertainment was enjoyable. Fusion is the house band and they are good. We did miss the Casino Night. We were told it was no more, but perhaps it will eventually return. We didn't go to the International Buffet on Saturday, but did notice it seemed to be in the Patio now. Wasn't set up around the pool like it use to be.
Most of the staff is still there- darling Ava, Byron and Kirk(the master box constructor) especially. We were very well taken care of and appreciate the kindness shown to us.
These are some of the observations from our trip. No matter how much Tower Isle has changed physically, it really didn't matter that much to us. We were just happy to be back and can't wait until next year when we'll do it all again!
Will post an album of pictures in a couple of days.
Ron & Jean