Our family of 4 (two teenagers, 13 and 18) stayed at this resort for 2 weeks and had a fantastic time. Like many other reviewers on here we read all previous reviews and were a little apprehensive about going but we shouldn’t have worried this place was great.
We arrived at the resort at about 4.30pm and while there was a queue for check in it wasn’t too bad as our rep had given us the forms that needed completing on the bus so after about a 15 minute wait (as lots of people were checking in at the same time) and a rum punch or two, the process took no longer than 5 mins. One thing I will note, which is a management issue NOT the reception staff’s fault, is that there were not enough room keys available for us to have 2 for each room (we had 2 rooms) and there was a shortage of towel cards – we were told to come back in the morning to get towels and additional keys which we did – no problem. Surely this minor issue could be sorted by ordering some more keys and cards?!?
The wait for the cart to take us to building 23 was 10 minutes (again – a lot of people arrived at the same time!). The bellboy was polite and chatty and took us to the rooms, carried the cases upstairs and ensured we could get in. The standard tip is $1 per bag but this was not expected.
Our rooms were fine, but to be honest the rooms were where most of the issues lie. The beds were not hard as some people have reported but the pillows were – a good job we had brought our own as we tend to do when travelling because they don’t take up much weight in the case. To get to the top floor of the buildings you need to climb 40 steps (20 to the middle floor) – yes we counted them, just to see what all the fuss was about with people complaining about no lifts. This, for us , was not an issue but if you do have a mobility issue then request a ground floor room. The bedroom was nicely furnished and cool (not overly airconditioned but pleasantly cool) with a huge bed or two double beds in the twin, a TV, sofabed, table and chairs, wardrobe with safe, minibar, and as we struggled to find out on any site a coffee maker. We didn’t have the advertised iPod doc but that was not an issue for us but it would have been nice to have an alarm clock rather than having to rely on phones. Now on to the bathroom – this is where we had a few issues...overall it was badly maintained with paint drips on the tiles, badly done silicone sealant around the bath and limescale marks in the shower also the ceiling looked a bit grimy (it was plastic panels – surely it would have been better to plaster it?) also the plaster work on the walls looked like I had done it (and I have never plastered in my life), overall just a bit uncared for and needing a makeover. The lighting over the shower was not great and the drain didn’t drain quick enough but didn’t smell as some have reported. Yes, the bathrooms needed some work but it didn’t impact on our enjoyment of the holiday.
The maid came in every day and cleaned the room well but did not go the extra mile with things like towel art etc. even when tipped. This could be that the amount of rooms they have to clean means they do not have time but little things like this make the holiday special. The minibar was restocked every day too but the one issue we had was that the coffee for the machine was not replaced even when we left a tip and a note asking for more. We like a coffee in a morning before breakfast and one in the evening when getting ready for dinner but found that we were not always able to do this – until we found the room on the top floor of the building with the box of coffee in :-). Also we have noticed that a lot of people have reported an issue with no towels in the rooms, we did experience this but only once in each room over the two weeks. We would suggest on these occasions that it is not the maids who haven’t bothered to put towels in the room but the fact that they don’t have clean towels to use – again a management issue which could be easily rectified!?! On these occasions we got clean beach towels, used those to shower in an evening and replaced them for clean ones in the morning – no problem.
As for those people who have an issue with wifi – YOU ARE ON HOLIDAY, why is it so important for you to access the internet? Relax and spend time with the people you are there with.
Enough of the issues, now for the praise...don’t know where to start because there was so much to praise. The grounds were immaculate and stunningly landscaped, the gardeners and security staff were friendly – yes we said hello and smiled as we walked past. There were security guards all over the resort and we didn’t have a problem with our 13yr old walking around the resort on his own, day or night.
The food – we must say that we ate in the buffets for every meal, as we are a family with many different dietry requirements, and we all found plenty to eat at each meal. We were greeted by the staff in the buffet pleasantly and always treated them the same way –we saw a lot of people being very rude to the staff, not even using please and thank you and issuing orders like “give me” or “get me”, we were surprised that the staff managed to keep their temper with these people! Politeness costs nothing and goes a long way to making your holiday a pleasant one. We did tip the servers in the restaurant for good and efficient service, which we received most but not all of the time, but it was not expected and not once were we hassled for a tip and we were always thanked. The food in the buffets was the same in each restaurant with the exception of an ice-cream machine in Negril Buffet and not in the MoBay one – management please note that this is why Negril is busier as all families are heading that way – get an ice-cream machine in MoBay and problem solved! We all enjoyed the food and agreed that it was the best All Inclusive food that we have ever had (no this is not our first All Inclusive holiday :-) ), the range was fantastic and the variety each day was great but there was always burgers, pizza etc... available for the less adventurous amongst you along with some great cooked to order pasta. The deserts...the cakes were fantastic, especially the chocolate cake and the variety each day was brilliant, it wasn’t the same stuff every day. Some people have reported loads of flies around the buffet, some flies are unavoidable but there were not many at all and the staff do their best to keep them away by covering up the bread etc.
The pools were great and we could always get sunloungers where we wanted them. The lifeguards were always around and the pool attendants cleaned the pool every day. We did notice that the pool seemed to have a dirty area (on the Lady Hamilton side) where there were loads of drinks spilt in the pool, cups abandoned straws floating in the pool etc... but this wasn’t all the time and spilt drinks are to be expected with a swim up bar. Even though the resort was busy the pool was never too crowded. The area around the Jamaica side of the pool is quieter than Lady Hamilton side as the activities centre is there. We can’t comment on the activities or the evening shows as we didn’t do any of them. The bars around the pool had help yourself soda machines and bar tenders to serve other drinks. Yes, the cups are smallish (half pint) but so what, you have a maximum of 15m to walk from anywhere round the pool to a bar and if the cups were any bigger the drink would go warm before you had managed to drink it.
The Infinity bar in an evening is fantastic, great live bands and brilliant staff. We were here every evening and had the best time, trying lots of different cocktails and chilling out listening to the music and watching the lightning. The staff, especially Marlene, Kevon, Gregory and Junior, here are great and earned their tip with every drink. Although a tip was never requested let alone demanded (as some people have said) we always tipped these guys as they made the holiday for us – dancing behind the bar or making “special” cocktails for our 18yr old daughter who never knew what she wanted to drink! Also they made many different non-alcoholic cocktails for our son. A great team who deserve credit.
There are loads of little beaches around the resort and although these are rocky and not the best for swimming but they provided great places for wandering round and exploring. The main beach at sunset cove is lovely, not a huge beach but an interesting one and good for swimming - no need for water shoes. The snorkelling there is brilliant especially at the right hand side of the beach – no need to go out of your depth to see some fantastic fish. We did take our own equipment so can’t comment on the stuff available from the watersports team though. The kayaks, sailing boat and pedalloes were available at this beach, you didn’t get long on them but the team were helpful and pleasant.
There was a teen room which isn’t well advertised (no sign outside the door) but provided a great place for an hour or so to chill out, out of the midday sun, for our son. It is next to the Negril buffet & casino and has Xbox, playstation, TV/dvd player, PCs etc. all free to use.
We must admit that the noise at night really took us by surprise, not from the bands/entertainment but from the wildlife! The crickets and tree frogs create their own night time symphony which really took us by surprise the first night as we walked to the restaurant – initially we were looking for a smoke alarm that needed a new battery!! Must admit though that they didn’t keep us awake and seemed to get quiet about 1am. Also the reports of roaches in the bars/restaurants may be a case of mistaken identity, we saw a couple of crickets wandering around the outside bars at night but did not see one roach at all.
The size of this resort is huge but surely you know that when you book – it was one of the deciding factors for us as we like lots of places to look round and explore. From our building (23) to the main building / pool it took 3 minutes to walk at a leisurely pace and 7 minutes from the Jamaica side of the pool to the beach at the same pace. Yes, we timed it because of all the fuss made by some people. If you are fat and lazy this may be a problem for you but don’t book this hotel if that is the case! Also the resort is in the middle of nowhere (ish), again a deciding factor for us as we like a peaceful holiday, but please don’t complain that there is nowhere to walk to from the hotel as you should have known this too!
One thing that did confuse us is the need for two hotels on one site...we chatted to a few people who were staying on the Lady Hamilton side and from comparing notes the only thing we could see that was different in the rooms was that the level of maintenance was better on the LH side but the level of housekeeping was the same. Oh, and the Jamaica side is cheaper.
Overall this was a fantastic holiday with a few minor issues that did not spoil our enjoyment of the trip and we would definitely return to this resort again. You are in Jamaica Mon, go with the flow, slow down to the Jamaican pace of life, be polite and enjoy this wonderful resort.
Buildings 25 and 15 are very central.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.