We booked this trip through a local travel agent. After booking we decided to upgrade so I contacted the resort for the upgrade. My credit card was charged, but I could not get anyone to confirm that I had the upgrade. After 2 weeks it was suggested here, that I contact the consignoir CAULLETTE on Facebook. She quickly responded and after working with me for a few days she was able to confirm everything. Caullette was the only thing that stopped me from canceling the trip all together. Upon arrival, using Apple Vacations we were upgraded to a private cab to the resort. At the resort we were again surprised and upgraded to the largest swimout suite at the resort. It was beautiful and greatly appriciated. The out side hot tub did not work, but we really didn't plan to use it anyway. Are there construction issues as talked about here? Yes if you look for them. Nothing serious and my wife noticed very few.The resort overall is very beautiful. The beach on the preferred side was great, and we never had a problem finding a chair at whatever time we went.(Pool or Beach) There are 4 heated pools on the property, including St.James. One at Wild Orchid preferred, 1/2 at Wild Orchid main pool, 1/2 of both the St. James and and Preferred pools. The swim outs are not heated, and were pretty cold.
My only complaint with the preferred pool and beach area is the location of the bar. You have to walk a path through the bush's to get to the bar. The servers for the preferred was very hit and miss, and seemed to stand around the bar talking a lot more time then they did serving drinks. We are pretty good tippers, but this made very little difference in the service we got. Everyone really seemed to run on Jamacian time, so don't get in a hurry.
Food was alright, we never went hungry. Room service was the only service that was quick. Their food was good and delivered either when promised or sooner..
Now for our bad experience. We took the shopping excursion. It cost 33 dollars for the two of us and was a total waste. It was pretty obvious the tour guide got kick backs, and took you to her preferred locations. If you did not have the money to buy something she and the owner would agree that she would collect the money back at the resort and bring it back to the owner later. On the middle stop, after keeping us at the store for about 15 minutes, it bacame obvious we were not going to buy anything.,She finally said we could leave if we wanted and walk to the other shops down Hip Strip. We were told to meet the bus a Margaritaville in an hour. I would not recommend this tour to anyone. The next day, we hired a private cab to Negril. It cost us $200 for the cab for the day and we really enjoyed the trip. The 7 mile beach was great and we really loved Margaritaville and Ricks. We even jumped Ricks cliffs. The driver Mr. V. Smith was very curtious and explaind a lot of Jamaican history and customs all the way to Negril and back.
Snorkeling was pretty good at the Preferred side the first 5 days of the trip. The last two the water got pretty rough and seeing not very good. I found several interesting forms of sealife, and had great fun.
Overall we loved the resort if you plan on staying on the resort. You are safe and locked in the compound and outside peddlers are not a problem. We think if you like the cruise ship experince you well really love this resort. It really felt like the cruise ship experience. A great time while there, but expensive to get off the ship.
Will we return to this resort? No,but not because of the resort. As I said the resort is wonderful, but our next trip to Jamaica will be to Negril. This resort would be highly recommended for long weekend but a week was to much for us.
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