Group of 4 traveling with Air Canada Vacations, Feb 11/12 to Feb 17/12 We went as a couple with another couple and all of us enjoyed our week immensely. The staff were hard workers, always busy but very friendly. Food was quite good, lots of choices during the day, a few less at night but still available. You must keep in mind you are in another country so some of the flavours may be different but experiment! No one got sick, we loved that you can drink their water.
Evenings around the hotel were pretty quiet once the sun went down but a short walk to the entertainment area and there was something to do. There were people from all over the world, but mainly Canada. Sad to say the only rude ones we encountered were from a certain area of Canada! Very clean, well lit, never felt unsafe.
Arrival: We arrived at Sangster International just after 8pm. We had no issues with customs and immigration and had our luggage and directions to our bus quickly. Just over an hour ride with a quick stop at a roadside establishment for those who wanted a beer or Jerk chicken. Check in was quick and efficient, received a complimentary drink and we weren’t part of the Gold club. Our bellman took our bags to our room and our friends which was one floor above us. We did tip and he was most thankful. We did miss the restaurant for dinner but we also got instructions at check in to the all night burger place. It was fairly busy and a little slow, but you are on vacation in Jamaica.
We also got all our dinner reservations at check in for the. ACV allowed 4 so we got to try all 4 a la cartes.
Our room was fairly new and wonderful. Beds were comfy, very clean everyday. Balcony overlooked the pool and ocean. Not unlike most resorts, you do need to ask for 2 cards at check in so you are able to have power to your room, even when out. There is a reader on the wall to put the card in which keeps the AC going. The first night our safe didn’t work. We asked Philip at teh desk to reprogram the card which he did twice but no luck. Just kept our stuff in our friends safe for the night. Next day our ACV rep Kamisha took care of the issue immediately. (Very efficient ladies who are willing to help) Our tv worked fine, not that we spent much time watching tv. Lots of hot water at any time of the day, awesome views. Our maid introduced herself the next day and was always friendly and helpful. We gave her a few dollars the first day and received the same great service everyday so we tipped her nicely our last day. The rooms have big wooden doors, but you can still hear activity in the halls. no big deal – we weren’t there to sleep all day anyway.
Restaurants and Bars: Buffets were great, lots of choices for every pallet. Mikado our favorite. 2 types of service – try to reserve the Tampanaki – your dinner is cooked on the grill in front of you, tons of food and a show. Don Pablo – very good, small portions but we were full. Garden – also very good, small portions but suffice
Dolce Vita – none of us were crazy about this one, food was not as great and service was mediocre.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: First couple of days we were pool people til we went to the main part of the beach. It is a big resort so take some time to explore. Beach was amazing, soft sand, very clean, 2 bars and there was service is you were really lazy. Great area for novice snorkelers as well. Lots of things to see. Beach restaurant was at the east end of the beach with fantastic Jerk Chicken every afternoon. A must try! Beach crew were always cleaning up the area and emptying garbages, straightening chairs. Never had a problem finding beach chairs there. The pool was very nice, clean and huge. Only issue was with people reserving chairs early in the morning but never being there. We actually saw towels placed out the night before. 2 pool bars so you never went thirsty. The one closest tot he main lobby was louder and busier as the activities seemed to go on there.
Grounds were beautiful, clean and well kept. Great for photos.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: We did 2 excursions off the resort. First one was with Cool Runnings. Took about an hour bus ride to Ocho Rios, boarded a catamaran to Dunn’s River Falls. Climbing the falls was a little scary but the system works and we did not see anyone get hurt. When they tell you to leave all unecessary gear on the boat they mean it – you will lose whatever is not attached to your body! The crew was amazing. Fun yet very professional and took great care of their passengers. We did this one on Valentines Day so they made it special!
2nd trip was about 15 minutes away in Discovery Bay. Small group called Bracco tours took us tubing in the Rio Beuno. Awesome trip, great guides and very fun and relaxing. Our ACV rep Clarise recommended them and we were so glad she did.
We tipped quite a bit. Sometimes it was expected, others seemed grateful. Service was only moderately affected by tips. The workers were so very friendly and helpful. Lots of times they walked around singing. I like the fact it is an English speaking country. They do however speak their own language which sometimes felt a little awkward. You were never really sure if they were talking about you. You must keep in mind you are in Jamaica and they have their own time! Relax and go with it. They WILL get you to the airport in plenty of time!