Stayed here on my honeymoon, July 2 to July 9 and happy we made the choice. After a 20min ride from the airport we were in the lobby with an ice cold face towel sipping on mimosas…no issues.
Rooms: We had the first room to the left once you get off the elevator on the 4th floor, Jr. Suite ocean view room 2426. This room has an amazing view of the ocean while overlooking the main pool/pool bar/seafood restaurant. The room is pretty much as seen in all the pics, open concept and modern…king bed w/ side tables, couch, table and desk, balcony table with chars, mini fridge stock daily with pop/juice/water/red stripe beer, safe, a/c and ceiling fan, flat-screen mounted on the wall, secrets light switch (do not disturb light outside the door). One thing I did like was the overhead speaker in the washroom which allowed you to listen to the television (wall switch allows you to control the volume). There was a “Honeymoon” banner that was wrapped around the door and they did give us flowers.
Negatives about the room: Mosquitoes! We always had the balcony door closed and blocked the bottom of the front door but they still got in. We had informed the front desk and they said they would spray the room but that didn’t work either. Another negative was housekeeping…sometimes we would come back to the room mid to late afternoon and housekeeping was not yet done also we didn’t feel the floors were cleaned to their best abilities.
Restaurants and Bars: The food at this resort is very good. The breakfast buffet has a lot of options including 3 egg/omelet stations, and a crepes/pancake station. Lunch buffet was also good with many options to choose. We ate at the World Café (breakfast/lunch buffet), Oceana Seafood Restaurant (open for lunch and dinner – good wraps for lunch), Bordeaux (French), Himitsu (ate at the Teppanyaki table (reservation required) and regular seating area), Blue Mountain (Jamaican – disappointed they didn’t not serve authentic Caribbean food), Portofino (Italian), and the Barefoot grill (open at lunch for burgers/hotdogs/patties/nachos). Be sure to catch the Jerk chicken cart at lunch on the beach area for some tasty jerk chicken and sauce. We also did room service a few times…Jamaican breakfast on the balcony with the peaceful ocean in site was a memorable experience. Drinks/Bars:
There are many bars on this resort, some offering better selections than others, but overall good selections and never too busy to get service. Piano bar gets a bit busy in the evening. Our favorite bar was the lobby/main building bar which offered top shelf selections (Jack Daniels, Grey Goose, CIROC, Appleton, Hennessy, Courvoisier..etc). Look for the bartender Rodney who works here or at the pool bar, he’s been bartending for 21 years and knows how to mix great drinks…great guy. Coco Café is in the Shopping Village area and serves specialty hot/cold coffee drinks, pastries, and sandwiches.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: We had access to the Preferred sections so we used both beaches. The beaches are man-made and a bit rocky…wearing flip-flops on the beach and water-shoes in the ocean helps. The pref. beach has lots of loungers and umbrellas, never an issue to find a nice spot to relax in the sun. The waiters come around occasionally to take your order for drinks…but they will take a while to come back. The view on the pref. side is of vast green mountains…stunning! The non-pref. beach is much narrower than the pref. beach and seems to be more crammed with loungers. There are free non-motorized water-sports – snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing, and kayaks. We only did the sailing and kayaks which was fun. The main pool has enough loungers and a swim-up bar and there’s no need to wake up early to reserve loungers. Everyone was having a good time in and out of the pool…one day one of the waiters went into the pool, fully dressed, and started giving people shots straight from the bottle.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: There are a lot of things to do on the resort you don’t have to go offsite. They deliver a newsletter, the Sundial, to your room which outlines all the news, activities, and entertainment on the resort that day. Activities include morning yoga, beach and pool volleyball, dance lessons, bike tours, nightly shows…etc. There’s an outdoor stage, casino, games area, music lounge, spa, and movies shown daily in the shopping village. Spa We did the couples Swedish massage at the spa and it was great. There is a lot to do in the spa before your appointment.. we went to the sauna, steam room, swiss shower, hot/cold pool, and “hydrotherapy circuit” (pool with different water stations..zen fountains, massage beds, Jacuzzi..etc). The Swedish massage is about 80mins and worth every penny..you can use a coupon the hotel gives you towards the spa. We did the Mystic Mountain Rain Forest excursion in Ocho Rios. Really a 4 in 1 excursion (Sky explorer, Bobsled ride, zip lining, and infinity pool with slide) and well worth the price. The Sky Explorer (ski lift) brings you up and down the mountain (15min each way with great views of the ocean, mountain, and landscape) and at the top you can also visit the museum, gift shop, restaurant, and a hummingbird sanctuary. The Bobsled ride is fast and fun but short. The infinity pool and water slide is fun and has a great view of Sunset Jamaica Grande below. Zip lining is an extremely fun experience …a must do for anyone.
We also did the Mountain Valley River Rafting excursion in Montego Bay. The bamboo river ride is about 2hrs and our captain, Omar, was a great guide. Omar made us feel comfortable the entire ride and also gave us exfoliating feet rubs and coconut water to drink. The trip ends with a guided tour of a banana plantation, rum tasting and a delicious bbq chicken lunch. We both enjoyed ourselves and would highly recommend this for couples wanting a relaxing natural experience.