I write honest reviews, I tell it as I find it, I don't expect perfection, rarely anything negative I write has spoiled my trip but I feel it's only fair to give the good and the bad
We flew from the UK with Thomsons (upgrade your seats if you can!).
We hadn't thought about travelling to Jamaica but the room rate was on special and even with premium seats on the plane it worked out cheaper than Mexico. We went along with the hotel as it was recommended by the travel agent, I wished I'd carried out my own research before booking though, not because the hotel wasn't nice but there were a couple of facilities I'd expected to be available that weren't.
We used the coach organised by Thomsons, journey was ok, around 45 minutes transfer, we were the only drop off. Rum punch available on arrival. Check in was ok, but as we learned over the next couple of weeks, nothing happens in a hurry here! We had emailed the resort with a request for a centrally located room due to disability and this was met. We were given VIP wrist bands as it was our anniversary, we were congratulated and informed of our room. We walked as it was practically outside the lobby. The bell hops said they'd drop our luggage off, we waited and waited but it never arrived, we went to the lobby and there it was. My husband started to take it himself when it was eventually taken from him and delivered.
We were in villa 11, the closest building to the lobby on the Jamaica side. First impressions of the villa were lovely! The rooms are set around a courtyard type area with water feature, trees and plants. One of our key cards didn't work but we used that for the electricity slot, no issue really. The room smelled damp and musty but to be honest having been to Mexico it was no surprise and part and parcel of living in this area of the world, your nose will adjust. We were on the ground floor. Our air con worked well, was always cold. Bed reasonably comfortable, pillows very hard, you can pay for better pillows if you wish. Bathroom was fine, jacuzzi bath tub (quite noisy and can be heard in other rooms). Shower fine, door does leak as other reviewers have stated, not a problem just be careful. A couple days we were missing a towel or a shower mat but we asked for more and got them. Room cleaned daily, sheets changed every 3rd day unless you requested it with a request card earlier. Towel art greeted us on an occasion. Mini bar sometimes wasn't stocked but we called reception and it was done reasonably promptly.
One piece of advice, building 11 is very noisy at night, our room faced the infinity bar and we were kept awake on the odd night. I didn't feel I could complain since I'd requested a villa near the lobby and had got one! We put up with it and realised you sometimes can't have it all. Had to call reception one night after midnight as a group of rather loud people congregated at the entrance to the villa and talked (read as shouted) laughed, clapped and acted like fools for over an hour. Tree frogs, well!! The first night we thought they were birds, they kept us awake till dawn! However, it soon merges into the background and although you hear them they shouldn't keep you awake.
The food - I felt the buffet was your average all inclusive, nothing special, sometimes lots you wanted to eat and sometimes not very much at all. The odd night the food was only lukewarm. First time in an all inclusive I had to wait to be shown to my seat. Sometimes it was so slow, lots of tables lying empty but no one to show you where they wanted you to sit. Service was generally ok, the odd grumpy person though. At breakfast one morning I asked 4 different people over a 20 minute period for a spoon for my cereal (none on the cereal table) before I was handed a teaspoon as "the spoons are locked in a cupboard and we can't find the key".
We loved the a la cartes and felt the food, the service and the staff were a real credit to the resort. We ate in the creole, steak house, oriental and Italian, all were lovely.
Beaches - we got what we expected, not the best beaches in the Caribbean but decent nonetheless. We only used the sunset cove beach once, we were hoping to snorkel but we didn't see very much at all. Came across a real smart cookie who had removed a sea urchin from the coral and proceeded to photograph it and pass it around, thankfully they were informed of their misdemeanours by another guest.
Pools - the infinity pool looked lovely and appeared to be plenty of loungers but it was too busy and noisy so we used the "quiet" pool. It's quite small and rarely got busy, it often wasn't quiet when large groups of friends gathered shouting and throwing balls around. I didn't see any signs with expected behaviour so accepted it but had expected it to be quieter. I can't remember the girls name behind the roselle bar but she would make any cocktail you wanted. Shame people had stolen all the drinks menus so they stopped putting them out. The pool was cleaned every morning, leaves swept, life guards, pool attendants and gardeners/groundsmen spoke every morning. Special shout out to George one of the groundsmen, very friendly and chatty! One word of warning, the quiet pool is DEEP, unless you are tall you won't be able to stand, every other day the lifeguard had to jump in and help someone caught unaware!!
Shops - several shops on the resort only really used the main gift one. I hated going in, the staff were so unfriendly, never a hello, thanks, please, smile, nothing. Worst staff in the whole resort. I guess they get tired and hot and fed up, but no excuse for rudeness, frontline staff are the face of the hotel.
Wifi - free in the lobby but lots of difficulties getting a connection and holding one. It is free so I accepted it for what it was. I paid $20 (US) for one days premium service and although it was better I had very little service in my room, excellent by the pool though.
Spa - had plans for massages, refused to pay their prices, not sure about other areas of the world but the prices were 3 times higher than I'd pay in UK. At the moment the use of the outdoor spa areas are free, I was happy to use them for free but I'm informed a charge will be starting and unless they made some improvements I wouldn't pay, most of the jets didn't work, the lazy river is very lazy in that it doesn't move, it's not really a lazy river, just a waterway from the main spa pool to the jacuzzis. There's water and orange juice on tap, showers and bathrooms. One huge issue. While there a gentleman had something stuck in his foot (perhaps glass). Management were called and a pair of tweezers, some cotton wool and alcohol spray were given and with two managers looking on the man sat in the pool while a female attempted to remove the foreign object from his foot in the water!!! It took my husband and another female guest to complain before they thought better of it. I wonder if they would have drained the whole system had the object fallen in the water or the man had bled??
Gym - can be busy at times, some equipment not working
We missed room service and a beach/bar waitress service, but it didn't spoil the holiday I just assumed they'd be available
The hotel is lovely, but I've stayed in nicer and if it were for free I'd stay again, otherwise I wouldn't go back as I'd chose something that better suited what we wanted.
Rooms facing the infinity bar in villa 11 are very noisy
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.