The Jewel Dunn's River was a wonderful place to celebrate our 20th Anniversary! We stayed there from Nov 8 - Nov 14. It is a smaller resort, so it has a more intimate feel. The lush vegetation around the grounds, including the pool area, seem to turn each part of the resort into it's own little neighborhood. We loved the relaxing welcome in the open air lobby - "sit, have a drink, put your feet up, we'll get that paperwork done for you!" What an impressive welcome!
We were originally booked for an Emerald Lanai room, but were upgraded to a Sapphire room in the main building, mountain view. At first I wish we'd had ocean-view, BUT was glad later when we heard that the partying on the pool deck went on until 11pm sometimes. Each evening I would open the door to our balcony and listen to the chirping critters fill a soft warm Jamaican night. And each morning I would sip my in-room coffee (some of the best in-room coffee I've ever had!) while gazing at the lush green mountains.
The restaurants were very good, altho some more to our liking than others. The Jade was fine, and the service excellent, but we thought there were too many different flavors offered on the various foods, and it was a little too much for my stomach. I had to ask for some plain white rice to balance out the strong hoisin sauce on the fried rice. Offering plain rice in advance would be nice, but otherwise, a fun dining experience.
The Platinum is your fancy, white-glove, dress-code place, and we ate there twice. The second time was after the menu was changed on Sunday. (note, Platinum and Moonstone change menus every Sunday, so if you want variety, extend your trip from mid-week to mid-week) I had a nice-sized piece of sirloin and the chocolate mousse with a side of ice cream was the best dessert all week. Still, presentation here is the thing, with many items more along the "California Cuisine" look and portion sizes, with Jamaican ingredients and flavors.
Moonstone is the Italian restaurant, and a big dish of pasta was just what the doctor ordered after a few days of new and unusual culinary experiences. Very tasty!
Coral Cafe is the Breakfast and Lunch buffet room, and we VERY much enjoyed the open-air feel and looking out over the pool and ocean every morning. We loved the made-to-order omelet bar, the variety of fruits and especially the coffee!
We also enjoyed just going for a walk around the grounds after every meal, including out to the end of the pier and around each of the pools. It was just so *relaxing*!
We also enjoyed relaxing in the big, breezy lobby, The large couches were great spots to kick back for a few minutes any time of the day or night, especially if you wanted to check in on your electronic device with the free wi-fi. Hubby and I even had "our couch" where we would do the "cozy couple with smart phones" thing.
We didn't do any of the excursions because we're not really that adventurous, and they are expensive, but we did go into town twice to shop ($10/two hours). I did splurge on a massage and Shirley did a wonderful job of relaxing me even more than I already was!
The staff is exceptional, and I think one of their requirements for hiring is an ability to remember names ;-) "Happy Feet", "The Mayor", Salisa and the other entertainment staff were always "up", always happy to see you, and did a great job of making you feel welcome and offering fun activities. We didn't join in much, but we could tell those that did were having a great time! In the restaurants, Anthony was exceptional, as was Walvin and so many others. We enjoyed interacting with the staff, and getting to know them over the course of our stay. Joseph, the tennis pro, ate lunch with us one day, and we had a great conversation with him and he answered our many curiosities about Jamaican life.
At the bars it is so easy to try new things because it's already paid for. And if you don't like it, no big deal. But definitely try a "Jamaican Smile" - strawberry daiquiri mix + pina colada mix + Jamaican Rum Cream. YUM, YUM.
A few things I found unusual because of their absence were: 1) not nearly as much chocolate as this chocoholic would have liked. The best chocolate treat of the trip was the heart-shaped brownies they brought to our room the second day, on a plate with swirly designs and "Happy Anniversary" spelled out in chocolate. Other than that, not much. 2) cheeses. The only cheese offered at the omelet bar was mozzarella, an usual choice for an omelet, and the only cheese offered in the Italian restaurant was grated parmesan. I just found it unusual.
If I were to add anything to the resort it would be a dessert corner - ice cream, milk shakes, cupcakes, brownies, fudge, open from lunch until late at night.
Overall, I thought the Jewel was a wonderful place! We would definitely recommend it to any couple looking for a relaxing get-away. You can play hard all day and party all night, or you can just relax 24//7. This place really offers you the ability to do that. If you want quiet, choose a mountain-view room in the Sapphire building. It was perfect for us 40-somethings just needing to unwind and we would certainly consider going back. High praise from us for The Jewel Dunn's River! Yah, mon!
Mountain view in the Sapphire Building are probably the quietest. The Diamond building has a back s...
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