|Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa||Annette ~ Ontario, Canada|
Arrival: Feb 6 – 14
Two couples – our first time to Jamaica. We had a later flight and arrived at the airport around 9:30 p.m. It was about an hours drive from the airport – check in was fast and our room was ready, we spend little time waiting to get to our room.
We had oceanview rooms – WOW – beautiful view – but remember – this is a much newer hotel and landscaping, trees, shrubs etc., require time to mature.
Restaurants and Bars
Most bars are quick in serving you. Leroy at the main pool swim up bar is fantastic – a small tip will definately get you great service! Make sure you ask Leroy for a "triple tower", and his famous shooters! The bar by the activity center wasn’t too bad – took a little longer for the cocktails – but who’s in a rush – your on holidays! Buffets are great – different selections every day. We went to a few of the A La Cartes (which you did not need reservations for – because there are quite a few) and they were good as well, but we decided – why dress up – we were on holidays – and the buffets were great!
I did quite a bit of research before booking this hotel and knew going in the beach(s) were not their best feature. Nice smaller beaches, if you go for a holiday mainly for a fantastic beach – you might want to reconsider going to this hotel – but having said that – the complaints about the pool – wow people – a few tiles (1" x 1") is really not a big deal. The pool was in magnificant shape when we were there. Grounds are super clean. The employees are extremely friendly and courteous. The weather was a little windy on the first few days, but the rest of the week was hot and sunny, and thankfully there was a bit of a breeze.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The activity center is the area you want to be in. They have activities going pretty well all day, if you are interested in doing that. We enjoyed the dance instruction, volleyball, horseshoes and one day they had competitions going and that was a blast as well. We went on the safari to the mountains, what a beautiful landscape in Jamaica. We got to visit an orange plantation, which also had a small water fall, went through the jungle and really had a great time. We also did the catamaran to the cliffs, not quite as enjoyable. You get to see people jump off the cliff at Rick’s Cantina, and you can also partake in that as well. One of use did do the jump – not something I would recommend – she was covered in black and blue bruising from head to toe! If you have never jumped – observing is the better way to go!
Other Comments We only had problems with our door key on a few days. They replaced the unit twice. Remember this is also new technology for the Repair guys too. My philosophy is a holiday is what you make of it. Yes there may be a few things that don’t work or need repair – but we knew that going in for eg. the beach, a few tiles in the pool – but it was nothing near as bad as some of the other reviews say. I would highly recommend this hotel and plan on going back there myself in another year or two. The couple we were with also want to go back as well. Enjoy yourselves, don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill and you’ll have a great time.
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|Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa||Rollie|
My wife and I stayed at the Grand Palladium from March 1st to March 8th. We read the reviews of the place and the bad ones left us a bit apprehensive. The place is above average to say the least.
We stayed at the Rosehall Iberostar last year. If you were to compare the two properties, they are both above average. They are totally different styles of resorts, though. The Iberostar is a more centralized, NY hotel style. The Grand Palladium is more California styled, sprawling resort. The GP has lots more shoreline and acreage. The Iberostar has a higher quality of buffett food, complete with champagne at midnight and desserts, etcetera. The GP has a larger pool, specialty restaurants, and a greater number of bar stations.
They are both good resorts in their own, yet different rights.
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|Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa||Angus ~ Dartmouth|
Arrival: Feb. 21 – 28
A 6 pm departure from Halifax meant a 3 pm arrival. Landed at Montego Bay at 11 pm, five hour flight, processed through customs, forty minute ride to resort, in room by 1:30 am. All amounted to just under 12 hours travel time.
Our "basic" room was on the third floor, with a corner balcony overlooking the Caribbean. It was over 500 square feet in size, and had amenities beyond my needs. Contrary to those who had comfort issues with the mattress, this light sleeper never awoke once during the night. The room was as good as it has to be: clean, comfortable, and well appointed. Housekeeping staff are discrete and do a wonderful job. I liked the feature where the a/c doesn’t operate when you have the balcony door open. It is but one of the measures taken in the spirit of being environmentally concious.
Restaurants and Bars Got to all restaurants but one, and left that one, Bubba’s, to those tourists (not from Canada), who can’t seem to go without their daily fix of steak, burgers and hot dogs – not that I’m no patron of red meat, but given options like Indian, Asian,Mexican, Italian, Jamaican, and buffets with a huge variety, I chose to avoid the familiar. There was ample choice on all menus, and apart from the Mexican dishes lacking anything exciting, my family unanimously endorsed every meal. Our favourites were the Poseidon for its fish, and the Asian. For lunch, we kept the jerk chicken and jambalaya chefs in business – their location at Sunset Cove dictated our choice of beach.
If I was a whiner, I might complain about the quality of the coke they mixed with my rum, but this was as bad as it got. Feel sorry for me yet?
A day trip tour guide suggested trying a Dirty Banana at a bar, which we did the next day at the beach. Resembling a Tim Horton’s iced drink, it gently brought our senses into full relaxation mode, while soothing a parched palate. Others in my family found the same relief with a similar drink called a Hummingbird, made with strawberries.
Not a big pool fan, but the place is so big you could float your own armada in privacy.The three beaches are small, but once you pick a spot in the sun or shade, and listen to the waves, size hardly matters. The grounds are a delight to walk about, with gardeners and landscapers at every corner. For a property only opening seven months ago, they have worked hard to bring it to where it is.
We came prepared for snorkeling, and while the water was as good as it gets, brilliant colors were not to be found on the bottom. It is what it is, and likely the boat you could hire would take you off shore to a more vibrant reef.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
There is a huge theatre with a nightly show that we grew to avoid coming withing earshot of its deafening MC. I trust someone in management will soon realize that all those empty seats means others felt the same way.
There were four or five spots on the resort you could find entertainment nightly, and while the bands were good, their set list was clearly appealling to the same people who lined up for Bubba’s steak and burgers. Too many mainstream pop tunes, pop tunes with a Reggae rhythm, and as a treat, some authentic Reggae, made up the evening’s entertainment. We chose a few excursions off site, as despite the excessive creature comforts at our disposal, we all felt a bit of cabin fever (even with such a big cabin).
A tubing float down a river was a poor choice on our part, as we have all grown up with water and boating. We assumed we would find a spirited river, and navigate our own tubes through challenging rapids. Instead, the dry season gave us a river so low, we were all linked to the charming guide, who had to yell "butts up" each time the river bottom threatened ours. We also expected wildlife to abound; nary an insect to be seen, and I think we saw two species of birds, probably six birds in total. A trip to Negril and Rick’s Cafe turned out to ne predictably touristy. For many I’m sure it was enjoyable, but we were naively looking for something more authentically Jamaican. The locals are warm, inviting people, but the resorts don’t want to accept the liability for the risks that come with such excursions, and can’t say I blame them. Two members of my family took a tour to Nine Mile to the town Bob Marley was born and is buried. While there was similar comment on the limitations to freely explore, there were no regrets for having gone.
Here I am offering a reflection on a type of vacation that I will likely not attend again. All in my family felt constrained by the resort model. We wanted more access to the community, and at the Lady Hamilton, they would not let you leave the premises unless with an approved escort, again, with good reason. We will choose our next vacation site where we can have the best of both worlds – the mix of sun and surf, along with a local village where we can explore the culture a bit.
This resort has it all for those who want to be pampered on site. The place is the largest in Jamaica, and that bothered some in my group, but I saw it as an excuse for a good five minute walk for the next Dirty Banana. We had a fabulous family vacation, because we focused on the measure of family, not whether the mattress was too firm or first come first served was inconvenient.
I read hours of reviews before deciding on the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton. Too many people complain about things that shouldn’t matter. My resolution upon returning was to offer a more realistic profile of my experiences there, I hope some will gain by it.
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|Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa||Dorothy ~ Ontario|
Arrival: Feb. 7 – Feb 18
We arrived in Montego Bay around 10:00pm….No problem with the airport..all went smooth. Found JTL counter for our hotel transfer, was ushered outside to our bus…sat and waited an hour for 2 more people that were going to Negril…just anxious to get to our hotel…Our checkin at the hotel went smooth as well…
Our room was beautiful…a huge jaccuzi which easily sat 4 people…an awesome outdoor shower, long chaise loungers on the balcony facing the ocean. Too bad the bubble was about to burst…A rock hard bed awaited us…I can compare it to sleeping on a box spring that someone forgot to put a mattress on…Not a good night’s sleep the whole time….For a 5 star hotel and the price we paid we expected more comfort….everyone we met were commenting on the beds….room was clean and had no rpoblems during our stay…
Restaurants and Bars
The buffets were cafeteria grade food…..The seafood restaurant at Sunset Cove was by far the best with a limited menu…The crab & cheese bread was delicious and were the mussels…Bubba’s steak was so chewy…. left a lot to be desired….The Creole restaurant has good pork chops, we ate there twice it was tasty food with great service. All the bars were the same except the swim up bar is not easily accessible for those a little timid in deeper water…
The best beach is Sunset Cove….the others are for sunning only…. We spent a lot of time at the Adult pool, loved the chairs in the water….The grounds are lovely and will be quite stunning with the time….
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel We went To Negril and Rick’s Cafe….15US per person was reasonable…The shopping wasn’t the best, vry crowded…and the worst was the vendors market….it was like arriving in a slum area…garbage everywhere and very dirty….they harrass you the minute you step off the bus…many stayed on the bus….It poured rain on our way to Rick’s cafe so we missed the sunset and sat on the bus for about half an hour while three got off to jump the cliffs….major traffic jam with busses when we left…those roads were not designed for tour buses…
We also went and did the Appleton Rum tour…very interesting, scary ride up the mountains…would I do it again ??? No way !!!!
Other Comments This is my second visit to Jamaica…and the place has not changed in 12 years…Such a beautiful island to be spoiled with garbage everywhere and being hounded constantly for tips, I think the government needs to clean up their island and try to stop people for harrassing the tourists..after all tourism is one of their main incomes…After hearing so many negative comments while we were there, I think a lot of people will be going to other islands, we know we will… As for the hotel, it is indeed beautiful but it ends there…tiles missing in the pool, very shoddy workmanship…and most of the front desk staff had an attitude. Sorry if I sound negative but for what we paid and looking forward to our annual vacation for a long time we were disappointed… Forgot to mention no working ATM machines at the hotel and the elevator was broken….Our hotel opened in November, the Jamaica side opened in July….
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|Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa||Dave ~ Halifax|
Arrival: Feb 1st – Feb 15th
Our Vacation was booked through Signature Vacations out of Toronto with the "Star" Service option. The bus ride to the Hotel was less than an hour including a stop for refreshments in route. Our room was not ready when we arrived but was available within a couple of hours
Our room was a nicely appointed Jr. Suite with a King Size Bed in Building 16. During the last couple of days we had difficulty with the A/C and at the time of our departure had not been resolved. This was one of a liteney of infrastructure problems which ranged for water leaks, water backups and strong sewage smells
Restaurants and Bars We ate at all 3 of the of the Buffet Restaurants and 4 of the 7 A-La-Carte Restaurants. The Mo-Bay and The Negril Buffets are on a staggered schedule for lunch, Because of high winds the Blue Lagoon was closed for a few days during our stay. Bubba’s Steak House was by far the most popular and because there were no reservations one had to get there early or endure a long wait to get in or be denied access completely. The Pasta restaurant was just as popular while the others there was usually a little or no wait accessing the other A-La Cartes. The food was great in the 4 A-La-Cartes we ate in especially, the Rib Eye Steak in Bubba’s, and the Rasta Pasta and the Jerk Chicken in the Creole. The Seafood Food Possidon Restaurant was not open the first week we were there. Management were constantly handing out assessment forms in the buffets asking guests their opinion to the point of overkill.
We had difficulty with guests picking up and handling food with their hands rather than use the tools provided.
Beach/Pools/Grounds The Beaches in the resort are a "Work in Progress". In the evenings when weather permits sand was hauled in and spread with heavy equipment. All the beaches with the exception of Sunset Cove are exposed to sea and when the winds were high the beaches were Red flagged.
The pools are deep, the pool with the Pool Bar is up to 4 1/2 feet deep making the bar and the built in Jacussi’s out of reach for anyone who may be a little timid about deep water. The 2 Adult Pools are 5 Feet Deep. Many of the pools have damaged tiles and there is a real danger of foot damage
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel We went on a tour of Negril and Rick’s Cafe for $15.00US. We also did the Croydon Plantation Tour. The tour was very informative and our Guide Alisa was great. We met the Plantation Owner Mr Henry who went around speaking to all his guests learning what they thought and offering a wealth of information. The road to the Plantation was hair raising at times made worse because your prospective is distorted driving on the right side of the road. We took a taxi to Montego Bay. We hired a cab outside the resort for half the price of the Juta Tour Cabs. Karl our Driver was fantastic and he took us where we wanted to go. He went with us to insure our safety and protect us from being harrased by merchants.
You can arrange free tours with the animation staff. The offer a shopping trip to Montego Bay, and Negril, and a sunset cruse to Negril
Other Comments The Hotel is new and there are many logistical problems to be ironed out. The hotel is large with many stairs so it does not lend itself well for people with mobility problems.
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|Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa||Fil ~ Brampton, Ontario, Canada|
Arrival: 01/30/09 to 02/06/09
The hotel is about 35 minutes away from the airport. The bus ride was fun and included a history lesson from our driver Everton. The Grand Palladium is the only resort in the area and is called by the locals as the ‘city’. The front staff greeted us right away and we were told that our rooms were not ready yet but to go have lunch – by the time we came back our room was ready. And did I mention it was 30 degrees!
The rooms were a nice size with a balcony (we had a view of the main pool and the beach); two double beds and a pull out couch; and a nice size bathroom with seperate shower and jaccuzzi. The beds and pillows were a little uncomfortable but our maid gave us extra pillows. The mini bar is replenished daily. A few small problems with the electricity the first day but once we called the front desk someone was at our door within five minutes — no problem mon!
Restaurants and Bars:
There are more than enough places on the resort to get something to eat – there are 3 buffet and 7 a la carte restaurants to please all tastes. The buffets were good but the restaurants were great. The staff at all the restaurants were friendly – depending on what time you went the service was slow but thats Jamaican time.
The only drawback was the lack of beach but there is more than enough sand for lounge chairs but the beautiful scenery makes up for it and it is a great place to get the sun. The other beach on the resort (Sunset Cove) is where you got to do your water activities (which are alot of fun). Once you get past the rocks the beach is quiet nice there. The main pool is huge with the best drinks at the pool bar and again, more than enough places to sit. The grounds all aroung the resort were beautiful.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The entertainment team makes the hotel – from daily activities at the main pool, stage performances at night, entertaining guests at the Infinity Bar and at the Boogie Woogie disco, their energy and enthusiasim was off the chart – the team alone made our trip.
We took the day tour into Negril which included four hours on the beach at Margaritaville (the beach alone is worth the tour – and Honest John on the beach definitely has the best jerk chicken in Negril – yah mon!); the tour also included shopping at the duty free (Times Square) and ending of with the World Famouse sunset at Rick’s Cafe (most amazing sunset anywhere). Because we only had a half hour of shopping, we decided to book a taxi to take us into Negril so that we could go to the Craft Markets – the market in Negril is much better because they are more laid back and not pushy. Our driver Andre was a delight – we talked about the history of places we drove through, and he was more than willing to accomadate us – he would have taken us anywhere we asked – including to his house for dinner! It was a great time.
Other Comments: Whether you are looking for rest and relaxation or fun and entertainment, not only is Jamaica the place to go, but the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton is your destination. From the staff to the beautiful people of Jamaica – there is no other place. YAH MON… IRIE!
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|Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa||Vancouver island area, B.C.|
Arrival and Flight Dropped off our car at the Holiday Inn Vancouver, near airport. booked seats with extra leg room, emergency rows, as there were no spots left in club class. Red eye at 1:00am won’t do that again. Long flight, with a stop in Cancun. Unloaded us on to buses then drove around the airport. Drivers seemed to be somewhat confused as to where to take us. Finally unloaded, waited a while then back on plane and on our way. Arrived in Jamacia. Then the usual hurry up and wait, but just went with the flow. bags, security. Then the rain started, poured down. wow, impressive. no worries it was warm out. We enjoyed the ride to the resort and always consider it an opportunity to check out the lay of the land. Montego Bay was very busy, loads of traffic, very aggresive. no worries our bus driver provided a great naritive during our ride. about a 45 minute ride.
Hotel Check in no problem. as work was being done at the lobby we were to go to, a large number of us converged on the one desk and they were ready. a hotel rep took four of us to a table and we were registered in under 5 minutes. A cool glass of very strong rum punch awaited us on arrival then off to our rooms. nice.
We had a Junior Suite on a third floor walk up. Very nice size, king bed. nice decor. A sofa bed also in the room. Safe in room. Coffee/tea service. Very large bathroom with jacuzi tub. nice two person. Similar to the bavaro palladium in Dominican
Lots of choice here. we went to several al la carte – all good. the main buffet was very good. something for everyone. Coffee was great. service was great.
Can’t comment much other than to say there were many on the resort. The drinks were strong, enjoyed the ones we had.
Beach and Pools Towels in room. Towels at the pools. no card, no exchanging just grab and go. nice.
We located 3 pools. the main pool (Infinity) which is huge, included swim up bar. we did not use it. the Spa pool looked nice. we did not use it. and the adult pool (Coral) see comments below.
Folks have commented on the lack of beach at this resort and this would be correct, no comparison to DR punta cana. This resort is still a work in progress but for the price we paid we had no complaints. Our room overlooked the adult pool (Coral pool) as well as a small beach area. (Coral Beach) We used both. Very nice. some snorkle possibilities here. Not possible to swim in ocean on this beach a couple of days due to strong winds, but we did not care it was nice just to sit and watch.
The main beach looks nice, (Las Brisas Beach) again a work in progress. I Believe the water keeps washing it away due to the strong winds and it also looks like the sand has been brought in. Some break water but not really enough. Lots of chairs everywhere, never a problem to find a place to sit – in or out of the sun on any beach on the resort. Difficult to find a place to actually go out into the water on this beach even with watershoes on. Big rocks causing you to loose your balance. I did manage to find a spot about waist deep. it was ok and I was determined to go in. The Red flag was up a number of days, then the yellow flag up the rest of the time. Very windy. The resort staff works on the beach daily.
The best swimming was at the sunset cove beach, where a swimming area is roped off. nice sand, bit of a drop on first entering, otherwise good area. This is also where the water equipment/ sport area and dive center is located. hobie cats, paddle boats – which we used and were a riot. Wind surfing and kyaks avaliable. Bring your own snorkle gear as it seemed to be problems in borowing, however just an observation. My comment would be if you expect a fantastic beach you will not find it here. You will find an acceptable beach experience. We are beach people and enjoyed what we found. again for the price we had no complaints.
Huge grounds, working on it constantly and will be spectacular in time.
Activities and Entertainment
We did not participate this time. although we did see folks taking part in beach volleyball and looked fun. Could here stuff going on around the pool.
Many great tours offered. We heard good comments from folks who had gone on various tours. We went on the tour to Negril which included Ricks Cafe. Stops along the way at shops and local markets. good to chat with locals they are great people, although trip was very rushed. Could have passed on Ricks Cafe, great for younger folks, very noisy. folks jumped off the cliff side into water. the best part was the live music just as we were leaving. The hotel also offered taxi rides to various locations.
Departure and Check Out
No problems at check out. Departure as always includes a bit of confusion, but not a big deal. We all got on the bus and arrived at the airport in good time. The usual hurry up and wait. Finally getting on the aircraft and off the ground involved some interesting hurdles with Air Transat which i have never experienced before.
Conclusion For the price we paid we have no complaints. the resort is a work in progress. Again, It will be spectacular in a few years. You know you are at a palladium, top rate all the way. the staff, service, quality, all top notch. The resort was not busy so that was very nice. It has two main desk areas with everything in between. Lots of walking here. would we go back, yes, but not at the same price as the palladium in the DR. It was a very nice holiday.
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