I didn't know what to expect of this resort, but overall, it was a pleasant surprise. I travelled there with my mother the first week of August. I did encounter a few problems though, but the positive always outweighted the negative. Let me explain...
Check in: Took about 10 minutes. The woman at the front desk looked a bit lost, but was courteous. She asked us if a room with a king size bed and sofa bed, at third floor, was okay with us. I didn't mind the 3rd room, I wanted upper floor, but we had asked 2 double beds. We were told there were no other available rooms for the day, but that we could switch the next day. Meh...However, the welcome drink helped soothe our disapointement and staff was very helpful and escorted us to our room with a shuttle (and took our big luggage all the way to the 3rd floor)
Room: Positive surprise: very spacious, very clean, huge baththub, but hard to climb in. Walk in shower, very functionnal. TV had a nice channel selections. And the view, god the view was gorgous! We could see the adult pool and the coral beach, very small but also very blue, and surrounded by mountains. Our alarm clock wasn't working, neither our lock on the balcony door, but we didn't make a fuss, as we were on the higher floor, and all balconies are seperated with thick walls. We also had 2 pairs of brand new slippers waiting for us on the bed, I thought it was a nice attention, and pleasant when walking out of the shower. The air conditionning worked fiercely all week long (I was even cold at night) and no musty smell. Aside from the alarm clock issue and lock on balcony door, our room was perfect. We decided not to switch.
Also, our maid was very kind, talked to us the day after we checked in, and told us farewell the day before we left, we always had fresh towels and facecloths and she took the opportunity to clean the room each morning while we were gone for breakfast, and everthing was done when we were back to get changed.
Sleeping quality was so so. We didn't hear our neighboors in adjacent rooms, but I heard some rude guests in the same villa as us, obviously drunk and screaming like lunatic animals at 3 am (or later) on their way back to their rooms, whenever they entered the villa (and yelling "f words" when people tried to "shhhh" them). No one here to blame, except ridiculous guests...They woke me up on 3 different nights.
Mattress and pillows are a bit hard, but I didn't mind.
Grounds and buildings: The resort is very pretty, lots of exotic plants and trees, but the grass and some palm trees were drying out due to lack of rain. The buildings did show some signs of aging when you look up close, but nothing shows on our pictures. The resort is very big, but I've seen bigger in Mexico. I would still suggest to the elderly, or anyone with physical conditions to choose another resort though, as there is some walking to do. However, there were some nice little roofs over footpaths all around the resort, so you don't have to bear the sun or rain while walking, I think this is a brilliant idea. We also took shuttles a few times to get back to lobby. We would wave at them to get on, or they would kindly offer a ride when they saw us walking under the sun. That was nice!
Negril Buffet was good (the only buffet we tried). The breakfast was particularly nice: try the banana smoothie, chocolate croissant and omelet station! Those were the best! But you also have nice potatoes, plantain bananas, scrambled eggs, bacons and smoked salmon, capers and cream cheese and big selection of fruits. We ate so much each morning we often skipped lunch. We also got lunch and dinner twice and this buffet, some stuff was bland (cheeze pizza, for instance), but we could always find plenty of stuff that suited our fancy. We were addicted to the ice cream machine!
A la carte restaurant had some good and some bad. We never waited very long to be seated, but we ate early (around 5h30 or 6 pm, but we went at 7 pm once and had no problem). You must know not all of them had air conditionning (and those with it were still a bit warm, but nothing unbearable. The best tip I can give is to be reasonable on alcohol while eating, or you will sweat). The steakhouse (Bubba) is by far the best, my filet mignon and cheesecake were awesome! Our waiter was one of the best too, we waited a bit to get our main dish, so he brought us more drinks without even asking. Seefood restaurant (Poseidon) was my second favourite. No AC, but the restaurant is facing the beach, so we got to stare at the sunset while eating, very beautiful, and nice breeze also. Crab cake is a must. Our waitress at this restaurant was the best during the week (I only tip when I have exceptionnal service, I tipped her). Italian restaurant was decent, just stay away of the tiramisu (sabayon was awesome, though). Asian was terrible, don't even bother, except for the soup, everything was awful. There was an asian themed night on the buffet, one night, and the food was much MUCH better than at the asian a la carte...even the sushis were much better, how odd is that? We didn't try Indian and Mexican.
Drinks: I didn't try all the places, but the Infinity bar has a very nice view over the ocean. Overall, the drinks quality varied greatly, depending of the mood of the barman, in my opinion. Sometimes they were flawless, sometimes they only tasted water. Daiquiries and Pina Coladas were made of pre mixed slush, but were decent enough. My favourites were the banana coladas and hummingbirds, or anything containing banana for that matter, it seems like its their specialty!
Service: It's hit or miss. The staff is not smiling very often, but most of the time easygoing and courteous. The waiters were either very good or bored to death. Many hostesses were a pain to deal with. Most often than not, they would note your room number, pretend they are busy and chit chat with other employees, let the line up become longer, until a waiter (or many) decide to take the situation in hand. I don't know whose fault was that (waiter or hostess, never understood how they work), but they should work on a better system to make things more efficient. Once, I saw a group of girls just sit down at a table at an a la carte restaurant, without talking to the hostess, which came out of nowhere and asked them very rudely to leave the table, and go wait at the bar, until they were called, which is what they did. Believe it or not, she made them wait something like 20 minutes (and there were no line ups, restaurant was half empty), before the girls finally talked directy to a waiter who let them sit at the same table as before. Same hostess also told us our table wasn't ready, even though the manager had just told us they were ready and brought us to our table. We decided to stay there and he appologized later for the wait and inconvenience. I also encountered a very rude cleaning staff near sunset cove. I was actually finising my jerk chicken and...she came at my table with a trash bag to take the plastif cups and dishes other dirty guests had left behind. I gave her my dish to throw it away, but rudely refused and pointed me the trash can with an arrogant smile, saying she only cleans up what the other guest had left behind. I was so insulted, I started to behave like all the other "dirty guest" and never bothered to throw away my dish and cups myself...considering politeness was not an understood language, apparently. I'm complaining a lot right now, but we also met genuinely nice employees, who would take pictures of us, and solve our problems efficiently. I even lost a vest at the italian restaurant once, and found it back without any problem at the reception the day after, i was very happy! Lots of words for a few simple anecdotes, but IMO, the hotel should really make an effort to improve the service consistency (I don't know if it's salary, training or discipline some employees lack, but the managers should make sure no one has to deal with rude or unprofessional staff).
Beaches: Not the most beautiful beaches I've seen, but still very nice. I know a lot of people on Trip Advisor say Sunset Cove is the best, but I don't agree. I've been there only once, and I thought the beach was very crowdy, loud, BBQ smell of the jerk chicken hut, no waves and the water was cloudy, I felt like I was swimming in a lake or something...I suppose it's good for young children. The only thing I liked about Sunset cove was the vegetation around the beach, it felt "wilder" than the average beach. IMO, Las Brisas beach was much better. This beach was a bit rocky at some places, and there were alguas at some spots, but the water was cristal clear, so you could just swim over rocks and plants without any problems! there were many sandy spots in the water you could reach, and relax. I never used water shoes, never felt the need.There were also nice little waves, a nice refreshing breeze and salty smell...everything you expect from a typical beach. It was also never crowded, you could find a nice place under a palapa any time of the day. No loud music so you could relax (which is what i'm searching for when on vacation). Coral Beach looked nice, but very small, more intimate, a nice spot for couples!
Pools: Main pool was very nice to look at, with tons of palapas around it, and there was music and animation around there. It's personally not my thing so I prefered the adult pool, next to my villa, very quiet, with a bar next to it that was never crowded (and the pool is open until midnight, very nice to take a swim before going to bed!)
They seemed to be working hard around the main pool. There were shows every night, I went only once but it was actually the best show i've seen in the caribean so far, they were professional dancers doing moves as impressive as figure skating on TV. I wasn't fond of the music they've used (stuff from the '70's) but they were so talented I actually didn't mind!
I was very concerned before leaving because of some terrible reviews I read before I left: stories of roaches, long power outages, poor service, smelly rooms, etc etc. I experienced none of those (well we got 2 very very short power outages, lasted no more than a few seconds each time, more enternaining than a problem, in fact). Overall, I had a very good time, for the price. Beaches, grounds and hotels are beautiful. Most of the staff is nice, food is good, and drinks do the job. My main concern about this resort was the lack of consistency: up and downs in food, service, bars, etc, but the positive easily outweighted the negative. I got fond of this place and I don't regret my choice. I wouldn't recommend it to the elderly or people with physical disabilities, as the elevators are rare and only found in the main building.
Would I go back to this resort? Well...maybe. It's a good place for the price, but I will probably plan a higher budget next time I come to Jamaica and choose another resort in Negril or Ocho Rios.
Stuff you should know:
-Resort looks gorgeous on pictures, but because it's a budget friendly resort, it's not the classiest place I've been to. I saw many women go to A la carte restaurant with flip flops. Laid back atmosphere helped us bear the lack of air conditionning in some restaurant, though, we could wear comfortable clothes. However, if you're more the five star classy type, this resort is not the best place for you.
-Also, there were some partiers when we went there. If you like very quiet resort, this place might not be the best for you. But it is indeed big enough to be able able to find a nice spot around a pool or beach at all times. I would say this place is best for young couples, groups and families.
-If you like spa services, wait until the end of the week, they make discounts for massages.
-I suggest at least one excusion during the week, as there is nothing around the resort and you can't do anything on your own. We took a trip to go shopping in Montego Bay and another trip to YS Falls/Black River/Appleton. Both excursions were very nice.
-Boutiques in the hotel are nice, but prices are high. If you want discount on coffee or rhum, get out of resort!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The resort is bathed by the calm turquoise waters of Jamaica's north coast, in a small bay on a privileged enclave on the coast. The design is a perfect harmony between modernand luxurious facilities of a first class hotel and the attractive natural environment of the area characterized by the turquoise sea and the relief of the landscape. The complexalso houses an ultramodern Spa, which is equipped with the most advanced facilities and offers guests a wide variety of therapies and services. Near the village of Lucea and approximately 30 minutes from Montego Bay and its airport. Within the complex is theGrand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa has a total of 540 guestrooms in 15 villas ofthree levels with 6 Suites and 30 Junior Suites per villa. The Grand Palladium LadyHamilton Resort & Spa has a total of 516 rooms distributed in 13 villas of three levels with 6 suites and 30 Junior Suites per villa and 48 two-story cabins with 4 Cabins Suites(adults only) each. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Hotel Lucea
- Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort And Spa
- Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa Jamaica/Lucea