We had the pleasure of returning to the Jewel for two weeks January 4th-18th.
Our previous stay had been so wonderful that we knew when we left that we wanted to return. We had hoped to return in 2012 but were unable so we were very excited about this trip.
We fell in love with Jamaica on our Honeymoon 33 years ago and have returned 18 times, but seldom to the same hotel.We have traveled to many other islands during our marriage but none compare with Jamaica for us. We love the people, food, music and their culture.
The Jewel is now "home" for us!
The hotel is lovely but the staff is what sets it apart from all others!
It is just the right size for our preference...beautiful grounds, well spread out but very walkable with lots of areas to explore but not too big. We do not like huge mega resorts. Smaller and more personal is our preference. It is also quite handicap accessible. We saw several guests with motorized wheelchairs during our stay.
The beach is on the smaller side and on our first trip we wondered how that would be for us as we enjoy long beach walks.
It really never bothered us..we just walked more often. It is beautifully maintained with soft sand,,lots of shade and sunny spots and of course the incredible warm blue water for swimming and cooling off! Plenty of lounge chairs always available.
Staff regularly come around taking drink orders, bringing fresh fruit and several times I was offered a cool towel and misted with refreshing water, Who could ask for more?
Our flight was unremarkable other than anxiously awaiting our landing. The airport was backed up more than we have ever seen it, probably due to staff shortage so close to the holiday.
Our Driver Paul Williams,email firstname.lastname@example.org/Telephone 1 876 381 7881 was unable to greet us due to a family obligation but had sent a good friend to retrieve us.
We arrived at the Jewel quickly and comfortably. We had opted not to take the transport provided by the hotel because we wanted to get there as quickly as possible without stopping at other hotels but it is provided if desired.
Our greeting was better than we could have expected. Bellhop Robert welcomed us warmly and escorted us to the reception area where we were offered the drink of the day and seated comfortably to complete the quick check in process. Moments later I heard a happy shout as Marvia flew across the lobby to hug us and welcome us home! I was just about to ask where Daine was and he suddenly appeared! (he must have felt my shadow :) )
Carol Bourke General Manager also welcomed us back with hugs and smiles.
All those dear faces made our day!!
Check in was fast and efficient and we were promptly escorted to our beautiful ocean view room in the Diamond building. :) Thank you dear Daine!!
Our room was on the 5th floor with a lovely view of the resort and the sea from our balcony! Beautiful king size four poster bed (very comfortable) stocked fridge and mini bar and good size bath room with jacuzzi tub.Bathrobes and slippers were also provided. Coffe maker and coffee and tea also provided.
The room had plenty of storage space, ironing board, iron and hair dryer. The Safe is in the closet and a full length mirror was mounted on the wall. Clock radio with CD player and a TV also are provided. Very comfortable room!
We unpacked quickly and headed to the Aquamarina Grill for lunch as we were famished.
Jerk chicken and jerk pork wraps, french fries and cold rum drinks satisfied our hunger and quenched our thirst. Delicious!!
Almost always open (11 am-7am) it is a good spot for munchies, wraps ,burgers and fries etc.
We strolled around the beautiful property and were happy to see it was just as lovely as our previous visit.It was nice to see the addition of hammocks since our last visit. Tucked away behind the emerald lanai area they were the perfect spot to relax and listen to the beautiful sounds of the birds while surrounded by the gorgeous vegetation.
All staff greeted us warmly with smiles and offers of help irregardless if they remembered us our not.
The spa area was just as relaxing and peaceful as we remembered it and the gym area still in good shape. (I should have used it and maybe I wouldn't have come home with these excess pounds!)
We headed to the beach to see if our favorite water sports friends were working. They were so friendly our last visit we couldn't wait to see them again. Vidal and Johnnie were there but Stephen wouldn't be returning until the following week.
Friendships were quickly re-established and sailing plans made for the following day, weather permitting.
We had a great time with them for two weeks even though we had several windy days that we couldn't sail and lots of laughs about the darn red flag!
We arrived the afternoon of the Managers cocktail party and the dinner on the Pier which is just beautiful. Unfortunately we were so tired from our travels that we opted for room service while watching the festivities from our balcony.We knew we would attend the next week.
We had a delicious dinner of steak and shrimp ,fresh vegetables,potatoes and red wine.
Room service was prompt and efficient which was amazing as they were so busy with the dinner on the Pier.
After dinner we decided to have a cocktail at the beautiful Tree Bar before heading to the Piano Bar to soak our weary bones in the hot tub. Damitri and Uton at the Tree Bar served us with a smile and brought us refills without being asked. They remembered our names and what we drank throughout the duration of our stay. I don't know how they do that considering the number of guests they serve!
Tired from our travels we went to bed by 11 pm and slept soundly in our comfortable bed! The next morning we were excited to go to breakfast and reconnect with old friends. The staff at the Coral Cafe are the best!!! Peggy and Irvin were so sweet..remembered our faces and greeted us warmly. It was all uphill from there. :)
The food is very good with lots of choices. Marcia made the best smoothies! Kurt never disapointed with his delicious omelettes ( he always remembered my mushrooms and extra cheese). I was happy to see they still had the chocolate filled croissants that were my favorite.
We were very pleased to see they have increased the number of Jamaican dishes offered at both breakfast and lunch, and loved the corner with the Jamaican flag! Jamiacan food is our preference when we are there..I get enough American food at home. We loved when they had patties and jerk chicken and pork.
The Jamaican cuisine was the best for us!
There are still plenty of American dishes, eggs, pancakes, omelettes, sausages, bacon pastries, fruits juices, cereals etc to satisfy all tastes.
The staff are the best! Jennifer, George, Peggy, Irvin, Walwin and Camarra took great care of us. They quickly learned our table preference and always tried to accommodate us, often moving us when our favorite table became available.
Irvin so spoiled us by having flowers on our table and our mimosas waiting. Their happy smiles started our day off perfectly!
All the staff are wonderful and gracious but some are exceptional !
Daine , Marvia, Garfield, Francine ,Peggy, Irvin, Sheldon,Marvin, Shanna and Sanya, Uton and Damitri, Jason (The Mayor), Sassy, Stephen, Vidal and Johnnie we will miss you so!
I usually started the day by going to the lobby to say hello to Marvia and Daine if they were available. We love them like our own family. Francine and Garfield at the concierge desk were always so gracious and greeted us warmly. Poor Daine..he is such a busy man but always made time to give me my morning hug. It was nice to see Camille on her return from her maternity leave. She is so sweet!
Marvia..my adopted Jamaican daughter was always available with smiles hugs and conversation.
Next was our daily trip to the turtle pond before a wlak around the beautiful grounds. Most of our day time hours were spent around the beach.
Wifi worked fine and I was able to check on things back home when needed.
No request went unanswered.
I requested more hangers for our room and when we returned after lunch they were there! One day the electrical socket in the bathroom stopped working and maintenance was there to fix it within 10 minutes. No problem Mon!
Our room was always cleaned early, no waiting like at many hotels and then turned down again in the evening and towels replenished. The mini bar was replenished daily.
The elevator worked fine and the hallway was always immaculate. Our room was close to the elevator but we never experienced any hall noise.
We dined at all the restaurants except Jade and that was by choice only because we are the romantic type and when on vacation choose to spend our meals alone. We had dined at Jade the previous trip and it was a lot of fun with good food.
I can't say we have a favorite restaurant as we like the different choices each restaurant offers. We do like outdoor dining as we are confined inside at home during the sinter months,
Platinum is more elegant, Coral Cafe buffet has more Jamaican dishes and Moonstone offers Italian cuisine with some innovative Jamaican twists.
Our only disappointment was that there was no lobster this year but the shrimp everywhere was superb!
Irvin, Peggy, George and Marcia (Spicy Bubbles is our nickname for her) took great care of us wherever we happened to dine. We miss them all.
The Court Jesters Pizzeria was our favorite late afternoon snack place. Shanna and Sanya (Blondie) quickly endeared themselves to us with their friendly and humorous service. They quickly learned what we liked and never disappointed. Heart shaped pizzas with our favorite ingredients were dispensed with smiles and lots of laughs! We had so much fun!
We were staying for two weeks and the menu changed on Sunday at Moonstone and Platinum so it never felt like we had to eat the same things .
On Thursdays and Saturdays the Coral cafe was open for dinner as well as breakfast and lunch. Good Jamaican choices to be found!
Reggae band on the beach Thursday night is not to be missed with a bonfire! Tuesday is the beach party with a nice buffet and great entertainment on the beach. Ladies wear your sarongs and be prepared to dance! I'm not usually a participator but I did the first beach party night. Poor Steve!! His wife now has ne alias compliments of Daine.. Ms Hipster! LOL!
Friday is the Managers cocktail party followed by dinner on the Pier. Th cocktail party is in the courtyard with lots of appetizers, drinks being served and prizes raffled.
So nice to meet and mingle with all the various the management staff and the pier dinner is so romantic!
All restaurants are not open every night so remember to check the sheets they slip in your door daily. It details all the next days fun activities and dining choices, along with specials being offered through the spa and gift shops.
The gems, Jason (The Mayor),Marlon,Happy Feet, Cat, Susanie and Salycia and Sassy are so much fun.(I hope I didn't forget anyone)
They work very hard to keep everyone engaged and entertained. I miss Jasons socks..I have to bring him some when we return!
Their incredible energy is contagious...dance moves are the best!!!
We enjoyed the entertainment in Bling almost every night and the resident band is great! Loved the Steel Band!
The spa girls are so sweet, always smiling and asking if you would like a treatment. Kerry Ann will work out all those knots in your tense shoulders! Try a teaser massage on the beach and you will be sold!
We didn't take any trips or tours this visit. We preferred to stay on property, relax and have fun with the staff. Steve is still recuperating from surgery this summer so we didn't want to do too much walking.
We have done most of the popular tours on our previous visits to Jamaica.
We did venture off property for a lobster dinner one night as it wasn't offered on the menu during our stay. We ate at Bamboo Blu down the beach the other side of the Riu and It was delicious!!!
We thoroughly enjoyed our cabana with Sheldon as our Cabana Concierge on three occasions. You must try it on some level as there are several packages offered! Daine and Marvia we love you.
All the Cabana Concierges are great but Sheldon is our favorite as we had him our first trip to the Jewel.
He took great care of us each time! and even gave my husband a birthday gift he had the vendors make. He also brought him birthday treats to our cabana. These are the touches you can't find elsewhere!
Breakfast on the beach with mimosas is my husbands favorite!! He couldn't stop smiling!!
Lunch was served on the beach, Igloo cooler with beverages and of course the comfortable Cabana was just incredible!! Thank you Sheldon!
I had booked the full day cabana package the day before Steves birthday as his birthday fell on a Tuesday which is the beach party.
The day was perfect.
Sheldon was our cabana concierge during the day an went out of his way to make it special. Marvin took over serving us our beach dinner in the evening. The area was set up so beautifully with flowers, candles, white table cloth and red napkins. We received printed cards with our names,our menu selections and the date. A beautiful momento to save. Champagne was served and our dinner was delicious.The photographer took lots of time with our photos and it made for a perfect ending to a beautiful day.
Tyrone, Dwayne and Kevin did a great job of capturing special moments for us throughout our stay. You never knew where they would be with there cameras and we had a difficult time choosing which photos to purchase. We spent about an hour in Flash our second last day narrowing down our choices. I settled on 27 photos on a CD.
Steve bought me a beautiful photo album from the gift shop and I am looking forward to arranging it!
His birthday dawned bright and beautiful the next day and what a day it was! Birthday ballons and sign were on the door to our room.
He was totally spoiled starting at breakfast by Peggy who brought him treats and the staff sang happy birthday. So sweet!
He was surprised with a Jamaican tradition at noon around the pool deck. Everyone sang to him and then Daine and Marvia snuck up behind him and "floured" him with flour and water! A shot of rum by the entertainment staff completed his traditional Jamaican birthday indoctrination! What fun we had! (Daine had asked my permission and I had given him the thumbs up! )
Even the weather cooperated and the red flag came down and off we went sailing with Stephen!
Shanna and Sanya presented him with balloons and a heart shaped pizza with a candle while they sang Hapy Birthday to him later in the afternoon.
After a quiet dinner we returned to our room only to find another beautiful surprise!
Marvin had visited our room and what a beautiful job he did! Petals on the floor to a beautifully decorated bed adorned with balloons, a birthday card and birthday treats. Candles, flowers and soft music...and in the bathroom more candles, champagne bucket and champagne, bubble bath drawn with flowers and petals everywhere! The thoughtfulness brought us to tears! Thank you Marvin!
Take the time to do the nature tour with Liebert as it is wonderful. He knows so much about the plants, trees and flowers on property ad is totally self taught.
I am searching for another book to send him for his collection.
Both pools are beautiful and well maintained. Always clean and refreshing. The main pool and bar is the lively area and Jaspers piano bar and pool area is the quieter section.
The hot tub by the main pool was generally the warmer of the two but we enjoyed both.
Gairy, Cornell and Garth always made great drinks no matter where we found them. We always enjoyed trying the Jewel of the day!
We had the pleasure of attending the staff awards cermony one afternoon in Bling. Kudos to the management staff for recognizing the staffs hard work and efforts! The management staff is blessed to have such wonderful hard working employees and the staff are obviously lucky to have great managers to keep them inspired.
One of the staff shared with us that at Christmas the Jewel provided food and gifts to a homeless shelter and expressed how much he enjoyed being a part of this. Another compliment to the Jewel for giving back to the community!
The night before we left Peggy had prepared our dinner table so beautifully with "Missing You" spelled out in flowers.
I was already feeling tearful thinking of our departure the next day..what a sweet gesture this was!
I apologize for the length of this,,obviously I could write pages more but suffice to say I love the Jewel and will always return.
You are never made to feel like just another guest....they truly make you feel special!
Enjoy all it has to offer and be kind and respectful to the staff as they are the best!
They all work so hard so please tip them if you are able.
We always tip but I honestly never felt anyone expected it. I never noticed a difference in the way staff treated guests whether they were tippers or not.
We left surrounded by hugs and well wishes from our dear friends knowing we will will return again soon.
Once again I was in tears saying good by but no one made me feel foolish for my emotions. They only made us feel special and appreciated.
I have tons of photos so anyone can message me and I would be glad to share or answer any questions.
Thank you to everyone who went out of their way to make our stay so memorable. We will stay in touch and can't wait to see all of you again.
Carol and Steve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.