I have to admit that this is my first post to TA. I felt obligated to write a review given the positive experience we had. My wife and I have traveled to some great resorts and hotels over the past few years - Cap Juluca, Anse Chastenet, Le Guanahani, etc. - and we had more fun and a better time here than these other properties. Granted, these other properties may have better beaches, food, and solitude, but if you are looking for a fun resort with great service, fantastic music and entertainment, a great pool, good food and a decent beach, this is it. This is also a perfect spot for a short trip, as it is a short drive from the Montego Bay airport, which is itself a direct flight from many cities.
This was our first experience with an all-inclusive plan, which we were a bit apprehensive about after reading the reviews. Our experience was that breakfast was fantastic, the coffee bar was also great, lunch was great only if you ate from the Chicken Cart, and dinner was average at the restaurants we sampled - Asian was good, French was bland, Mexican was not good at all. A Chicken Cart also made appearances at night, and that was also great - many thanks to Shevard - Mr. Williams!
Drinks were mostly great - a few bartenders stood out as exceptional, like Dermon at the pool bar. The only complaint we had was that when the beach got crowded in the afternoon, wait times for drinks could be 20-30 minutes, which made us on occasion go to the bar ourselves. But the staff did work really hard - when waits were the longest, you could see the poor servers struggling to balance a dozen or more specialty cocktails on their tray as they walked across the sand. Maybe a few more servers during peak hours would solve that problem.
The highlight for the resort for us was the AMAZING entertainment every night. We saw reggae bands, a marching band, and great DJs over the three nights. And during the day, the soundtrack they play near the pool (and can be heard on the beach) is just terrific - unless you don't like reggae (then you shouldn't come here.) The band PACE was the highlight, and if they are playing when you go to Jamaica I would definitely seek them out. Some bands come across as glorified wedding cover bands - but not this band. They were as good or better than some of the originals they played. (Yes, I am a musician and huge music buff, so this great music all-day long heavily influenced my positive view of the resort.) And if you are into the traditional non-reggae tunes you'd normally hear on vacation, then the resort has a beautiful indoor/outdoor piano bar with live sing-alongs of your favorite Billy Joel, Elton John, and other "standards".
Transportation was a little steep - $30 each way to the Hip Strip and Doctor's Cave Beach seemed like a lot, but the service provided by Jenko and Donna were fantastic. Just really nice people - they really cared about how your trip was going, if you needed any assistance, etc. to the point that Donna even called to make sure we were doing OK after our drop-off.
Finally, the resort itself is beautiful. Landscaping (especially all the Christmas decorations they had up) was first-rate, the beach and pool are spotless, and the rooms and common areas are as nice as any 5-star resort. (Better than some of the resorts I mentioned up at the top.) And the activities (yoga, snorkeling, etc.), games (shuffleboard, darts, volleyball, pool, ping-pong, etc.) were great in their quantity and quality of up-keep.
Yes, I loved this place, and only wish we could take our young kids back. But part of the reason it's so great is because there are no children . . .
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