Stayed here from February 1-8. Feel free to ask questions! I can alleviate any concerns you might have based on some of the petty reviews made of late!
How are the rooms? Regarding the complaints that everyone has made, is it really that bad? I have been to several types of resorts and I know this is not the Ritz Carlton, so I am not expecting the Ritz Carlton. Also, how are the kid camps? Are they pretty full or have you seen any issues? Also, how is the food, is there enough variety that someone will find something they like? Sorry so many questions, I am getting married there in about a month and all these reviews make me nervous since its either one way or the other. Thanks!
Hi, no problem answering all of your questions, I was a little worried myself after all of the recent negative reviews.
The rooms were fine in my opinion. We were upgraded to one of the family luxury king rooms with the sunken living area. The room itself was really nice and obviously recently upgraded. Our bed was hard, as they usually are down south but I've slept on harder! There was a very large closet with shelves and lots of hangers, three large drawers in the TV unit and three or four small drawers in both bedside tables. There was a mini bar fridge that was stocked every day with 3 kinds of pop (sprite, diet coke and coke) and three kinds of juice (apple, a fruit punch and a cran/raspberry) and water. In the living room area there were side tables, a couch, a large desk that held a microwave and coffee maker (coffee was decent, even gave you creamers), a side chair and a coffee table. We kept the pull out bed open plus had a cot (really, a single bed) beside it the whole week and still had lots of room to move around). The balcony was very big, held a large round wooden table and four chairs, large drying rack on the wall and still lots of space to share. The bathrooms were the outdated part, didn't help they are already decorated in a more rustic style but they were VERY clean so we were fine with them. We overlooked the inner garden and were less than a minute walk from the buffet, main bar, pool and lobby. We were in room 1225. The rooms were cleaned very well every day, sheets changed, fresh towels, turn down service and a 4 page booklet schedule for the following day was always delivered. We had excellend service in our room, received calls asking how our stay was going/what could they do to improve it, anything we needed was delivered promptly to our room.
We didn't use the kid's camps much because we had very cloudy/rainy weather most mornings so our kids just wanted to play in the water all afternoon. We visited them, though and were impressed. The caretakers working there were very friendly and contrary to what some said, any we saw interacting with kids anywhere on the resort seemed very into their jobs. There were tons of activities scheduled each day and we dropped in on a few with our kids like the cookie baking with cookie monster. I wouldn't hesitate to leave my kids there and we have not always felt that way in the past. The amount of kids in the camps varied from day to day but I would say there were always at least 5, sometimes 8-10. They are separated into 1-2, 3-4, 5-7, 8-12 and 13+ with separate buildings for the younger 3 groups. Our kids are 4 and 6 so they would have had play time separately but many of the scheduled activities found the two age groups together.
We had absolutely no issues with the food. Breakfasts were really good. Mimosas at the entrance (yippee) every morning, fast service for drinks and coffee or tea. Always had fruits, cheeses, cold meats, smoothie bar, cereals, tons of bread and pastry choices, made to order egg station, pancakes, waffles, french toast, bacon and sausage and about 5 or 6 other options that changed daily. Always hot and fresh, food changed often, usually before the trays were empty. Usually ate take out from the grill for lunch (easiest with the kids) - excellent jerk chicken, also tried the wings, jerk burger, curly fries, regular fries, nachos, jamaican patties and pizza. Everything made to order, cooked well and good. Very friendly, too. Didn't eat a la carte for any lunches but ducked into the buffet a few times. Good salad choices, excellent sandwich/panini/wrap made to order station, often better desserts than dinner. one day had an Indian themed lunch which we missed but our friends loved.
Dinners were great, could always find something and never had to bow to the stirfry or pasta station because nothing else was good. The oriental night was so so but never have come across a good one anywhere. The American barbeque night wasn't as good as we expected but wasn't bad. The best nights were definitely the mexican (awesome fajita station) and the seafood (tons of choices and LOTS of half lobster, yum!). We ate at Arizonas one night. It was good but not fantastic. Nice ambience sitting on the water, though. Did Eleanors WITH the kids (was dead so they let us and our kids behave well) and it was VERY good though the lobster was better at the buffet. Missed the Italian - it was never busy except the last night when we wanted to go there and even still there were only two parties ahead of us, just didn't want to wait for the kids.
Never a wait for anything, really, even at the restaurants and service was always fantastic. The drinks were great, lots of top shelf. I found the pool bartenders made the best drinks of all! Service at the bars were always very fast. By the waterslides is an area with snow cones, ice cream, pina colada and daquiri slush dispensers and fountain dispensers.... yes, some wasps hang around them, what can be done? They don't bother you and no one ever was stung that I saw. Public washrooms kept very clean.
IT IS NOT A BAD RESORT!!!! We loved it and only saw two families complain while we were there and it was pretty obvious they were just THAT kind of people. We were with two other families and everyone loved it. Everyone we saw or met seemed very happy. I noticed a review went up from the time we were there and the person said that the topic of conversation for most was how unhappy everyone was with the resort. Don't believe it. We did not notice ANY conversation like that at all. Any families we spoke to and observed were having a blast!!!!!!
Also, there were 4 or 5 weddings while we were there, never more than one in a day and they all loved like they were just lovely (and we were married in the caribbean so we've had some experience with it).
Hope this all helps alleviate any doubts you've been having. Please feel free to ask anything else that might come up! Oh, I should mention, friends were upgrade to the concierge category. Their rooms were identical, they just directly overlooked the beach and they never used any of the conceirge services.
AWESOME!! Thanks for your feedback and we will too be in concierge level. Now I really can't wait. Sometimes those reviews just make me question but glad that you reaffirmed my choice on Beaches. Oh, I did have one more question, did you guys go on any outside tours setup with the hotel? Or did you venture out on your own?
We didn't tour this time, we went out last year when we were in Jamaica but decided to stick close the the resort this time for three reasons. One, there was so much included here with the snorkeling, scuba, boating, etc. Two, we lost two days with all of the travelling so we were really on the resort for only 6 days. Three, the weather was crummy for all but two mornings (got sunny in the afternoon but lost good parts of the day) so we wanted to enjoy all of the relaxing in the sun we could get!
That being said, the rest of our party went to Dunn's River Falls and loved it. We went last year as well with our kids and it is well worth it. I don't know how much they paid in comparison to last year, though, as they booked through the hotel and last year we booked a cab and paid at the gate. It is about 20 min or so from the resort and SO beautiful but heed what they say about the aggresive vendors when you leave. Just keep walking and don't look! Four of our party went to Margaritaville and were disappointed. They dropped $500 between cab, food, activities and swag in an afternoon. Bummer! My advice is enjoy the resort and the activities and go to Dunn's River one afternoon. Our friends went on a 2pm tour that had them back shortly after 5 so they had the great experience but at the same time didn't miss much at the resort.
Again, glad to help and as your trip draws near, don't hesitate to ask more questions of me here or PM them to me.
Thanks for this post. My son and I are traveling May 16-22nd. Its mainly a trip for him. He is 6 years old. How did you like the waterpark? Mainly for a 6 year old active boy. What age group did the majority of slides gear to?
Everyone was telling me Negril is better but Im not sure if he would enjoy the lazy river as much as the water slides in Boscabel as they have 11. I am just torn between the two resorts. Negril is cheaper in May and is also closer. Im just torn.
Boscobel is a lot further ride than Negril... with a six year old, that alone would point me to Negril. Disclaimer: haven't been (we do have a ton of Sandals experience, though), but it certainly looks like a great place.
The distance depends on the kind of traveller your son is. My kids were fine. We were at the airport at 6am, 5 hour flight departing at 8, an 1.5 hours at the airport on arrival and 2 hours to resort. They were absolutely fine. The bus ride there isn't too bad because they treat it as a tour, talk a lot about the landmarks and parishes you drive through, etc, take a rest stop, etc. We read a lot of rumblings around here about Negril being better than boscobel but we loved boscobel for our purposes. Our kids LOVED the waterpark (and they are big waterbabies). The beach isn't as much of a draw for them because I don't think they are wowed by the ocean thing yet at their age, they can go to the beach and play in the sand here in the summer. The waterpark is divided into 3 areas. The central area has 3 smaller waterslides, all of which your son should be able to do on his own but you can go on with him if need be. There is a little island in the center with 3 or 4 small slides, no adult accompaniment on those. There is a zero entry to this pool with small, soft ocean creatures to crawl on as well as 5 ocean critters tethered to the bottom of the pool under a crawling net that my 4 and 6 year olds spent countless hours leapfrogging across! There is a pool to the right of this one with two slides, they are for anyone, mid-sized. The curved one was slow enough for the 4 year old to do on his own, the steep one, a little much even for my daredevil 6 year old. The third pool in the waterpark area is to the far left. It has 3 big slides. The height of your son will determine if he can go on them or not, they are very strict about enforcing height restrictions and you cannot take him on it, he has to slide down and be caught at the bottom. The fast green one will be too much for him, likely but the two curved ones are great, both of my kids went on them. I forget the height now but I think it was around 3.5 feet. Last year we went to a resort with two slides and a lazy river. Waterpark wise, we liked this better.... we could actually sit by the pool and watch the kids to take a breather sometimes, you couldn't do that with two huge slides and a lazy river. The glass bottom boat rides, etc, aren't spectacular but the kids loved them and they were good little side trips for them. Hope this helps. Feel free to ask whatever else you might think of that might help you out further!
You are easing my mind a bit. Thank you. A bit nervous on what we are reading. .