GRAND PALLADIUM JAMAICA & LADY HAMILTON RESORT AND SPA
NOVEMBER 24th – December 1st 2008
A VERY LONG AND DETAILED REVIEW - so go grab a cup of coffee !
We booked with AirCanadaVacations through Selloffvacations as they had the best deal for this resort. We were very pleased with our price and have noticed that it has gone up over the last six weeks since we booked.
November 24th – departure day
Flew out of NL with a stopover in Toronto. Arrived in sunny Montego Bay in the afternoon.
Airport was a breeze, and we were quickly on our bus to our hotel.
About 16 other people on the bus with us going to the same resort. Arrived at our resort, and it was breathtaking.
When we were checking we saw a lady walking toward us with a tray full of cold Rum Punches. We gladly took one, and enjoyed it all the way to our room. Well, that would be the first of many rum punches over the course of the week.
Check in was a breeze and next thing we were off to our room on a tram. Only a short distance from the Jamaica lobby. To Villa 13 – one of the villas I requested a week before our arrival. AND the best was that we also got the top floor, and ocean view – which I also requested.
The view, sights, sounds, everything – from our balcony was amazing. I really felt instantly relaxed. We decided to quickly change into something lighter and check out our resort. For us, this was the first time that we had ever arrived at a resort in the day light hours. Most times it is very late at night for us.
So we made our way around. Checked out the Blue Lagoon buffet first for a quick bite to eat. Strolled around finding all the bars and restaurants. Had a few drinks and passed the day just by moving around. That evening we went to the Infinity bar where Live Circuit was playing. A really good band, and I was so happy to find out that they returned later that week for another night of playing.
We could have stayed easily all night just listening to the band or drinking and relaxing at one of the bars , but we decided to head back to the room as we were pretty tired.
And this is when I heard it. The famous “gleep gleep” that all the Palladium addicts talk about at this resort. I have no idea what type of creature this thing is. If it’s a frog, a cricket, or something else. But the sound lasts from about 7pm until 5am or so. It didn’t keep us from sleeping though.
DAY 2 – November 25th
Got up at 8 am. Headed to the buffet for a quick bite, then to Sunset Cove beach . Turned my back for two seconds to lay down our towels and stuff and my husband was immediately in the water. I could hear the splash behind me. As I lay down to get a bit of sun I noticed hubby having a great time out in the water by himself. He had the one area of the beach completely to himself. Then I could tell something was wrong by the way he quickly moved. At first I figured he just scraped himself on a piece of coral or something. But when he got out, it looked as if something had stung his arm. His arm got all red and bumpy, like when you get the goose bumps. But only in that one area. He said it was stinging. We had no clue what it was though. I couldn’t remember hearing if there were any jellyfish at the beaches in Jamaica (I know I had heard of it in Cuba)
Mentally at this point I had myself prepared for the worst. Because I’m beginning to think my husband is accident prone considering on our first day on our Cuba vacation he ended up falling and had a serious head injury.
Anyway, I remembered reading something online once about pouring vinegar on a jellyfish sting. Of course, I also heard about peeing on it, but I was sure he wouldn’t let me do that. Lol !!!
So, we made our way back to the pool area. I got some vinegar and poured it on his arm. About an hour later the stinging was gone. And slowly, eventually, the bumps went away. And the spot on his arm just ended up looking like a small red mark in two spots.
I thought that maybe we should ask someone – one of the workers, or the nurse on site about it. But he refused, like the stubborn man that he is. I suppose, it didn’t matter at this point now because all was well again and we were going to enjoy our vacation. We were determined.
So we hung out at the pool. The sun was warm, and there was a bit of a breeze. We spent the whole day just tanning, swimming, etc. Having a few drinks.
We ate at the Jamaican a la carte that night. We enjoyed our meal there. We were served by Winston who said he normally works at the steakhouse a la carte (Bubbas) We were treated like royalty. Have to say that Winston is one of the best servers on the resort, as he served us again at the steakhouse on another night.
We decided to go check out the theatre that night. It happened to be the “Couples Show”. And this was HILARIOUS. If you never go to the theatre any night, just make sure you go one night for the Couples Show. It’s worth it. We’re so glad we went there. I have some great video of this too. We laughed so hard.
We went to the Infinity bar again that night, another band was playing. Then we headed to the disco just to check it out, then back to the room for the night.
November 26th – Wednesday
Once again, woke to the sun shining. Actually, before we saw the sun shining we woke to the fire alarm at our villa. This alarm had gone off the night before, as we were getting ready to go out for dinner. It ended up just being a “false” alarm I guess. So we weren’t too concerned as we figured it was just a glitch. But I did worry a little that this could possible be a bad situation eventually like the “boy who cried wolf”. But, luckily, the alarm was taken care of and was shut off in no time.
Today we decided to try out the Mo Bay Buffet. And we enjoyed this buffet so much more than the Blue Lagoon buffet.
Again, our routine. Hang out at the pool in our favorite spot, then upstairs to the Infinity bar in the afternoon out in the sun for some more drinks. And then we’d head back to our room by 4:30 or 5, and grab a couple of drinks at the relaxation pool across from our villa. At this point we’d hang out on our balcony and have a drink or two.
Then later, get ready for dinner.
We ate at the Mexican a la carte that night. LOVED it. And again, routinely headed to the Infinity bar which just seems to be the gathering spot. Heard the steel drum band this night. Checked out the disco again, but didn’t stay.
Today I keep reminding myself….what day is this ?? Is it Thursday ???? And again, later on , I’d say is this Thursday ?? It was so hard to keep track.
Not to mention that my watch had been wrong for about 4 days into this trip. But anyway, I digress. It didn’t really matter in the end. My watch spent most of the time in my beach bag. I’d only take it out to see what time it was for the restaurants to open to make sure we got there at a decent time. (I always found the crowd was less and the food was plentiful and fresh if you got there at a good time)
We slept in this morning until about 9ish or so. Which is odd for us. Normally on vacation we’re up by 7 am – as many people know, Jim is an early riser no matter if he is on vacation or not.
By the time we got to the buffet this day it was actually quite crowded. Who says November is off season anyway ? Holy. No indication of that at this resort. Although, even though sometimes the buffet was crowded we always managed to find a spot at the beach or at the pool. (and the bars at night)
The omelette was worth the wait though. The best I ever had.
Again, our routine of pool, lunch, pool, bar, etc. We would refer to a certain area of the Infinity Bar as our “Cul De Sac”. It was an area that we had to ourselves every single afternoon, that was out in the sunshine.
We went to Bubba’s steakhouse this night, and as previously mentioned, served by Winston.
Then headed to the bar again , the same bar – Infinity bar.
We did spend time at other bars as well, and I made sure we had a drink at every single one of them before checking out. But most of our time was spent at the Infinity bar.
We had a few “Lights of Lucea” drinks that night, which were recommended by our server Venessa. We watched the Rasta band for a bit, and headed back to our room by 10:30 that night.
OH – it was actually this night that I found out my watch had been a half-hour faster the whole time. It was hard to figure it out anyway. Our room clock was wrong too. The clock on the bus on the way to the resort was wrong as well. So I was screwed either way, until I finally asked Venessa was the correct time was. And yes, I did realize that I could go to the lobby and check the clock up there too – for the correct time. But at that point, I wasn’t sure what was correct anyway…… as many times you hear people say “Jamaican time”……. 5 minutes could mean 15, or half an hour. Whatever. No problem.
Friday November 28th/08
Again, I open the blinds on our balcony to sunshine. It spills in the room. The heat hits you as soon as you open the door.
After breakfast we headed down to Sunset Cove Beach for a bit, then back to the pool area again. We became quite fond of our pool spot. Close to everything. Swimming, relaxing, tanning, reading, listening to the MP3 songs, etc.
Then back up to the bar in the afternoon to hang on our cul de sac again. Lol !
I decided that today we should send off a quick email to everyone at home just to let them know the vacation was going well. Stopped at the quite/relax pool again for a few drinks, then back to the room.
We went to the Asian restaurant this night. It had to be my best meal yet. I so enjoyed the Pad Thai I ordered. It was delicious. We walked around the resort a bit after dinner, and then went to Miss Lou’s bar for a Red Stripe.(the only place we could get Red Stripe – yes, it’s still Real Rock in your room and at all other bars)
Live Circuit was playing at the Infinity Bar again this night. So we had to go back to hear them as we enjoyed them so much the first time. We normally would sit down somewhere within the crowd , but this night we found ourselves a spot at the bar.
My hubby had said to me “If we sit at the bar we’ll get drunk”. I didn’t think anything of it.
But – when you sit at the bar, you get such quick service. Even when you don’t ask for a drink, your glass is automatically refilled. Every time I’d turn around to look at the band, I’d turn back and my glass was full. So, needless to say, we felt it the next morning. It was the first night that we got a little tipsy, and the next morning we paid for it. (Igol – one of our favourite bartenders, kept us very entertained that night )
Saturday, November 29th/08
This day had to be the hottest since we got there. The heat was so unbearable. I don’t know if it was just because we were feeling the ill effects of the alcohol the night before, but we did our best to get on the go. Had breakfast, and sat by the pool. But the heat was so hot from the sun. We decided to go back to the room for a little bit.
I had wished I knew the temperature that day. It was so hot. Like nothing I’ve experienced yet.
I didn’t want to waste time in our hotel room. I wanted to be outside enjoying every minute of it. So we forced ourselves to go back out. And we did. This time we hung at the other beach near the Lady Hamilton side.
Tanning, reading, etc.
We went to the buffet this night for dinner. It was okay, food was good, especially the pizza. But we really enjoyed the a la cartes best. And as you can imagine, we went back to our room early that night. I don’t think we consumed any alcohol that day. Lol !
Sunday, November 30th/08
I prayed that when I opened the blinds this day that we would have sunshine because I hated missing so much of the previous day. And wouldn’t you know it, another day of pure sunshine.
I loved this place !!!!!
Today the humidity was high. And was it ever hot. We were dripping with sweat.
Spent the day at the Sunset beach, and then finally had lunch at Poseidon this time – I wanted to try the jerk chicken that was there.
After lunch we went back to the pool again. And to the Infinity bar again the afternoon for a couple of cold drinks. I think this was one of the stickiest days yet.
Went to Bubba’s again this night. The first time we went to Bubba’s I had the salmon. I figured I might as well try the steak. I had the New York. I asked for well done. And, well…..it was pretty well done. I ate it and it was good. No complaints. Jim had the Cowboy burger – same thing he ordered last time we ate there. He enjoyed it so much he pleaded with me to go back here for another night. So we did.
We only had a couple of beverages this night because we knew we were departing the next day. Even though our checkout was not early or anything we still needed a good rest/no hangover, etc, because we had a full day of travel ahead of us to come.
December. Oh my Lord. It’s December.
I cannot believe it because here I am in Jamaica. And yes, once again, that sun is shining.
We’re not home in the cold. (Although, there’s no snow back home yet, I know it’s still cold)
I’m in disbelief at the fact that it’s actually December. This is the first time we’ve been down South in December. We usually travel in April.
Feeling bittersweet today. It’s been a wonderful time, but I swear if we had another week it would have been perfect. We never left our resort at all because we were enjoying the pure relaxation so much. I even checked into a couple of different tours/excursions.
We were tempted to do the Rick’s Café thing or the Margarittaville thing but in the end, we didn’t. I think if hubby had to have said – okay, let’s go, we would have. But all along he kept saying he was just fine hanging on the resort. I didn’t want him to get bored because having known him for as long as I do, he is not one to sit still. He likes to constantly be on the move, and go, and do, and see. Relax is not something this guy does very well. It’s like he cannot rest.
But, he sure did in Jamaica. I’ve never seen him more relaxed before.
Having been on previous vacations, this one was so different for us. And in a good way.
So, we go for breakfast. Check with the reception and the Air Canada rep on site to make sure we have the correct info for the check out time, and the bus pick up, etc.
Was no problem. Check out was a breeze. The bus arrived, and we boarded. Although, we did have a bit of a wait, which is another issue having nothing to do with the resort.
But in the end, it all worked out. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to kill. We checked in very quickly, went through security/etc, . And it baffles me that when we go through the X-ray thing that my book gets inspected, but again, my husband can travel on a plane with a cigarette lighter. Yet, they want to have a look inside my book. Airline stuff just baffles me to this day. Anyway, needless to say, it’s still a breeze getting through the airport.
We had wanted to try a real authentic Jamaican patty. So we went to a little deli and got the beef patties for our lunch for $1.75 each. They were pretty tasty. Then we went up to Margarittaville in the Montego Bay airport for a Red Stripe. Bought some Blue Montain coffee, Jerk spice, etc. And some Sangsters Rum Cream.
Boarded our plane not too long after, and we were off. So sad to leave.
This will go down in history as the best vacation we have had to date. Everything was PERFECT.
The weather, the resort, staff, service, food, booze. Everything. No complaints. Would love to go back here !
Further info on our trip home to NL :
So, we stopped in Toronto. Here we had to make our connection to our flight to NL.
So, at this point, once we go through the customs area, we’re told that our liquor, etc had to be put into our checked luggage and could not be carried on.
This really sucked. Here was a bunch of us on the floor frantically trying to put our liquor in our bags in the hopes that the bottles would make it home all right.
And then what did I do – in this frenzy I completely forgot about the small bottle of jerk sauce that I had in my carry on with the coffee and jerk seasoning/spice.
Get to the next checkpoint where they scan your carry on and I hear them talking about liquids and gels again. So crap. I took out my jerk sauce and asked them if the size was allowed or not. Nope, it wasn’t. It was larger than the allowable size for carrying on.
Again, Funny how my husband can board the plane with his lighter but I cannot take my jerk sauce. The sauce had a seal on it and everything. But oh well, I guess rules are rules. But you don’t think about this stuff when you’re frantically making your way through the crowds, and you’re tired, and you just want to get home.
Anyway, so not a huge deal, I only lost $2.50.
Finally on our way to NL this time. Very turbulent flight. But, we arrived home safe and sound.
Home to a windy and rainy Newfoundland. *sigh*
Oh well. It was really great while it lasted, and I’m so glad that we did it !
Hopefully we’ll be back again some day.
- there was indeed a bottle opener in our room (some people say they didn’t have one)
- no bugs or ants inside our room/no issues with our room at all- everything was fine. Nice and clean and comfortable.
- resort is not overly huge like some people talk about. Sure there is a little bit of walking but you didn’t have to walk if you didn’t want to. You could call a tram, but we never did. We enjoyed walking around. To us, it was the perfect size.
- Some prices in the hotel shops are cheaper than off resort. Depends on what you are looking for. I noticed stuff like magnets, keychains, were all comparable in price. But the Blue Mountain coffee was cheaper at the airport.
- There isn’t any specific place on this resort to change up your money. And often times when we’d check with the stores they would say “no, we have no one dollar bills” and other times we’d check with the lobby and ONE day someone at the Lady Hamilton side was able to change up some money for us. But each other time we checked, they couldn’t. I cannot stress to you to take as many $1 as you can. I had THOUGHT we had enough, but we didn’t. We found ourselves wanting to tip more often than we had thought of. (and we always tip quite well) what we ended up doing one day was buying a $1 bottle of water with a $5 and we got back $4. Another time we bought a Twix bar for $2 with a $10, and got back a $5 and some change.
- Bring facecloths from home if you really need facecloths as often times the maid just did not have any to leave us.
- Sunscreen at the resort is $25 so make sure you pack enough. (I’m glad we packed plenty)
I’m sure most tips have already been shared here, so If I think of anything else I’ll post later.
If you have a trip booked here do not worry – you will have a great time. I saw people of all ages having a blast there last week. It was an amazing time – our first visit to Jamaica and we LOVED every single minute of it.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.