Grand Bay Hotel, Mexico

It's Safe

Grand Bay Hotel, Barra, MexicoI'm sitting at El Hornel Frances in the Mexican village of Barra de Navidad.

Barra sleeps along the Pacific Coast of Mexico fifty miles from Manzanilla.

It's been a few days since my large party of Knights and Ladies arrived at the Grand Bay Hotel across the marina from Barra and I've stopped for a cup of java and a croissant..

The coffee is good at El Hornel as well as the croissant I am having with it. It was crafted as only the French can do.

I'm a block from Marlena's, the best restaurant in the village. The schnitzel is better than schnitzel ever dared to be, possibly because Marlena's Nordic beauty adds to the flavour of her food. I tried, unsuccessfully, not to flirt with her.

I do have to admit I was egged on a bit by my friend, Larry.

Few inhabitants are out this early, only staggers of tourists feeling their way around for bargains. One splits from her group and asks my pretty waitress if she can use the toilet.

She is led politely into the cafe.

Everywhere I go in Barra I keep falling in with Canadians. They have a large tribblesque community here and their friendly acceptance of tourists adds to the charm of the village. Canadians truly are nice.

I asked a couple of sisters (who invited me to a birthday party) if the town was as safe as it seems to be and they gave it two thumbs up.

The village is awakening. As I write, a proud father peddles by on a bicycle with his young daughter on the handle bars.

Grand Bay Hotel MarinaI must go soon to follow the gaggles of tourists and find some gifts for my friends at home. Then it's a short water-taxi ride back to the Grand Bay to do more exploring.

I travelled here with 123 other members and guests of the Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club.

This was their second annual visit to the Grand Bay Hotel and, hopefully, there will be many more to come. Their friendly smiles and gracious ways will make it difficult for me to return without them.

The Grand Bay has three nine-hole courses, the Bay Course, the Mountain Course (no mountain) and the Ocean Course.

If you search carefully while playing the Ocean Course you might spot a pod of dolphins swimming just beyond the surf as we did.

They startled into sight as we were teeing off and our caddy, Augustine (a real gent) called our attention to them.

Tip your caddies well when you play. They will save you more than enough money in found golf balls to pay you back.

Andy and Betsy's 49ers partyWhen we arrived at the Grand Bay Hotel, Andy and Betsy won a raffle and were upgraded to a large suite.

They were kind enough to open their sweeping accommodations to twenty or so members of the club so we could watch the 49ers swat down the Falcons with them.

Wanda appeared to be everywhere with her sweet smile turning up the happiness dial.

Jeff was hard to find because he was working so hard but his professional touch was felt in the seamless golf outings we all enjoyed.

Built in the style of a Moorish castle, the Grand Bay Hotel crescents across a gentle hillside and flows down to the marina.

It has winding, arched, open-air hallways for its 199 rooms and each day has brought us a delight of new adventures.

An elevator going to new floors, a hidden pool, an unnamed smoking bar (no smoking in the main restaurants and bars) and convenient restrooms not previously known are there to be discovered. Sometimes you may lose your bearings but you will never be lost.

Wherever you are you will find some sort of enjoyment at the Grand Bay.

Each room has a balcony with a grand (yes grand) view and bathrooms of defined elegance. I thought I was in France when I first saw the bidet.

Patio Cafe at the Grand Bay HotelOur week has now passed and I'm sitting at a table near the Grand Bay Hotel's large pool with the swim-up bar listening to laughter from my friends. The ambience of the patio hums with pleasure.

Lunch was served here each day, freshly-made tortillas grilled to perfection and overflowing with carnitas, chicken, fish or shrimp.

Other options were available from a varied menu but after trying the tacos, seemingly transported through time from old Ensenada, I was drawn again and again to the hot kettles of delight.

The activities manager, Gabriel, stops by to give me a handshake and hug, and to say goodbye. Like all of the management and staff of the Grand Bay, he is softly cheerful to everyone who passes by.

The Grand Bay Hotel and the village of Barra have renewed my love of Mexico. The surrounding area is safer even then the Mexico of my youth and I have not found kinder, more gentle people anywhere.

I look forward to returning to the Grand Bay Hotel and, by the way, did I mention it's safe?