This somewhat rambling review is the product of a week of Red Stripe and sun. This was my third trip to the resort, first since Jewel took over. The airport transfer process was amazingly fast and efficient. What took an hour under Breezes, took 5 minutes under Jewel, and that's just the airport time. I was on the bus 5 minutes after checking in at the transfer booth. We waited for about 15 minutes for bus to fill, then we were off. (When you walk out the door, immediately to your right is a bar. Grab a couple red stripe or a tropical drink or two for the bus ride. It's about an hour and 20 minute ride, but you stop after about 25 minutes at a roadside bar for bathrooms and more red stripe.) It was 2 hours at the airport under Breezes one time before the bus even moved. When you get to the resort, they are ready for you. You get a clip board, you sit down, fill out a 5 minute form, and are ushered to your room. A HUGE improvement over Breezes. Kudos on the streamlined check-in. The front desk staff is amazingly efficient.
The room was clean and comfortable. The bedding appears to have been upgraded from when it was Breezes. The bed was exceptionally comfortable. The housekeeping did a great job of keeping the room up. The Bath and Body Works toiletries are a nice addition. The plunge pool was clean, and well-kept. Air conditioning worked great. Housekeeping was excellent, but you never knew when they were going to be there. Sometimes in the morning, sometimes late afternoon, no biggie, tho, they do a great job of keeping the room.
A half hour after checking in, I was sitting at the beach bar for my first Red Stripe of the trip. Keg is dry. No problem, I'll wander over to the infinity bar and get one. Nope. Keg is dry. Keron, said no problem, mon. He went to the lobby bar and brought back a tray of glasses of Red Stripe. I grabbed a couple and wandered. After a bit I returned to the beach bar, and they had bottles of Red Stripe available. Apparently the beer truck was in an accident and couldn't make the keg drop. Problem solved.
I ate the buffet for breakfast (only option really). The food is good, EggBoy is still doing his thing. I got the impression that there were a lot less options, though. There seemed to be some empty space. The quality of the food was quite good. Lunch was between the buffet and the beach grill. Buffet was good. Beach grill has more selections under Jewel, including nachos now. When I ordered a "jerk burger" I did get some confused looks at first, then I just said cheeseburger with jerk sauce. Also, the nachos are pretty plain, so I would have them put jerk sauce on the cheese sauce, and have jerk nachos. Suppers were all at Moonstone, the Italian restaurant. Nicole was my waitress the second night, and I stuck with her the rest of the trip. She is an excellent server. I would challenge her when I was unsure what I wanted, and would say "mix grill" or chicken, and see what happened. Over the course of the week, she paid attention to what I enjoyed, and what I didn't. By the last 2 nights, she was already planning my meal for me, and by the last night, I just sat back and waited to see what surprises she had for me. She did an amazing job of remembering my tastes, and working around dishes I may not have been impressed with. Ask for her, Nicole, challenge her, and trust her. She pays attention. Oh, and the food there is pretty darn good, too.
Tipping was an issue that I was concerned about. Breezes did not allow tips. Jewel does. From my observation, people were not treated differently if they didn't tip. The staff is professional, and appreciative of any gratuity. Remember, you are rewarding service, not buying a personal bartender. I highly recommend tipping those who deserve...and, on this trip, they all deserved. Bartenders Duval at the Lobby bar, Tomeik and Christopher at the beach bar, go above and beyond. Keron, went above and beyond. And Im not saying tip every drink or beer, but do take care of them.
Kids at the Jewel. This was the major sticking point for me. It was almost a deal breaker, but Scott Robbins, the General Manager (more about him later if I remember), convinced me to try it. And I'm glad he did. I was there January 22-29, a slow time for kids anyway, but I could count on one had, the number of kids there. A couple teens wandered about and participated in some of the activities. The activities have mellowed from when it was adults only, but certainly not a deal breaker. The kids were well behaved. It's the parents that HAVE to remember that the lifeguards are NOT babysitters. Nor are the other guests who felt compelled to stay poolside (ME) watching YOUR 5 year old was swimming in +5' deep water, struggling a bit, while you are with another kid on the other side of the world. Nuff said about that.
The Concierge Keisha is amazing. She know's the answers, she get's things done. And she was my "go to" lady when I had an issue. If you have an issue, go to her. If you don't, and complain about it on here, Scott Robbins, will call you to task. ;-) As he should. They will go so far out of their way to make your stay is enjoyable. They will go out of their way to fix things. Heck, I had a couple small issues that I brought up to Keisha, I can't even remember what they are now. If you can't take them to her, then don't bring them here. This place goes so far out of their way sometimes, it's actually ridiculous.
The General Manager Scott Robbins. I get the impression he really cares about the facility, and the guest's impression of it. He is often wandering the facility, checking on things, talking to people. He is more concerned about our impression of the facility than "being the boss". On several occasions, I observed him bussing empty glasses to the bar, instead of finding someone and telling them to do it. You can tell he is more concerned about the facility and our happiness, then "being the boss." This is a good way to manage people.
I can't say enough good about the new JRB. And quite honestly, I have no complaints what-so-ever. I recommend, and I will return. Do not hesitate to message me if you have any questions about the place, or people.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Resort, one of the most complete all-inclusive resorts in the world. Located on 22 lush, oceanfront acres of Jamaica's famed north coast, this spectacular resort offers some of the best SCUBA and golf on the island. Unwind in our new plunge pool suites. Indulge in our new full-service spa. Dine around at up to 5 different restaurants and 5 different free-flowing bars including a swim-up pool bar. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Breezes Runaway Bay Resort And Golf Club
- Breezes Runaway Bay Resort & Golf Club Hotel Runaway Bay
- Breezes Runaway Bay Jamaica
- Breezes Runaway Bay Hotel
- Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Resort Jamaica