AnnaC ROR Review
Posted 23 September 2009 - 09:58 PM
We booked majority of the Toronto contingent of our group through Sunquest. They had mispelled my MIL's name on her ticket but other than that no major issues. Three people who booked about a month before we left paid $20 less than us. We spent $1030 incl. tax from Toronto, they spent $1010. The flight was serviced by Air Transat. I would suggest upgrading to first class. For us it was $80 round trip and well worth the money. We were traveling with a baby who you do not get extra baggage allowance for, we were already over since we were carrying a bunch of wedding stuff and there are three skycots for babies in first class and only one in economy. The service was excellent, we drank as much as we wanted, they served mojitos to get you in the vacation mood, our meals included warm bread, salads and cheesecake for dessert and were actually edible. The shuttle didn't do a rest stop on the way to the hotel but we did drop off one couple at the Bahia Principe.
The hotel sets up a separate check in desks in the middle of the lobby when they know they have large groups coming in. We were offered punch but without rum. All of our group was put on the ground floor of building three. I had emailed the hotel before hand to ask for higher level rooms and to keep everyone together. I got one out of the two. The hotel rooms are very small IMO. Probably one of the smallest I've seen at an AI. (This was my first RIU so maybe this is standard here). Some of the people who had two beds had one bedhead and barely two inches between the beds. We stayed in a Jr. Suite (1304) which I found to be standard hotel room size. One side of the balcony viewed the ocean, the other side the mountains. Our room was near the entertainment stage and was very noisy at night. We had asked for a crib for our son and they provided us with a playpen with only one level. The bed of the play pen was extremely hard and it was too low to bend over to get our 5 month old so we never used it. I wish we had brought our own playpen. I was expecting a small cot or actual crib but seeing the size of the rooms it wouldn't be possible in the hotel room or Jr. suite.
The front desk staff was extremely friendly. They remembered our names throughout the trip and fell in love with our baby. Our only blip was that when we changed rooms before the wedding we waited over an hour for the bell boy to come get our bags. I kept calling reception and the operator and no one answered. (this happened a few times) I had to go to reception myself and bring someone back with me. We were upgraded to an oceanfront suite which overlooked the beach gazebo. Very nice room and came in handy when having all my friends and family with me when we were getting ready and taking pictures.
The other issue we had was that I had called in the morning and went to the front desk in the early afternoon for them to leave a message regarding a welcome dinner for the second half of our guests who arrived on Thursday and absolutely NONE of them got it (7 rooms). We were able to track everyone down ourselves but I really wasn't happy. By Thursday the front desk staff had changed.
Since it was low season, Sir John was closed. Our guests who stayed in the regular hotel rooms could only book Mandalay and Mammee Bay for dinner and most didn't want to book Mammee Bay since it was where we were having our reception dinner. We did make reservations at the Japanese (very good) and Sir John (okay but a little salty) for people in our group who wanted too. I didn't find the reservation system a hassle at all. I never saw more than 10 people in the line up and if you went around 3 or 4 in the afternoon they were willing to make reservations for you for the following day.
The beach was nice. A decent length for a nice walk. Water wasn't rough at all. I didn't go into any of the pool so can't comment on that.
We didn't watch too many of the shows but from what I saw they were entertaining. They did one where the women had to pretend her husband came home and caught her cheating and one woman got really into it and took the top of her dress off and she wasn't wearing a bra.
FOOD & DRINKS
I'm from a Jamaican background and so are most of our guests so the availability and quality of Jamaican food was important. Overall they did okay. They only serve ackee on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. I stayed at the Sunset Jamaica Grande a few years ago and had ackee 6 out of 7 days. There was always calaloo, some sort of fritter (banana, shrimp, saltfish), yam, dasheen. We had curry goat, oxtail, fried dumplings, boiled dumplings throughout the week too. There was a lot of seafood available. They served lobster in the buffet twice but I missed it since I went to a specialty restaurant. There was also the usual selection of North American food. Mexican night was great too.
The bar staff was pretty good. They give you your drinks in good sized glasses or cups so we only used our thermal mugs when we were at the beach.
I got a manicure and pedicure, hairstyle and make up done at the spa. My husband also got a manicure and pedicure. Joy did our nails and did a wonderful job. She really took her time. I got them done the day before the wedding and one of them smudged and she fixed them up for me the next day. I got a french manicure and she took a paintbrush dipped in nail polish remover to make sure all the white sections were smooth and even.
Rose did my hair and make up. My hairstyle was pretty simple and she'd finished it in about 15 minutes. She's spent another 15 minutes (along with Joy) trying to get me to do something more complicated to give her a challenge. I got my hair done at 1 and the wedding was at 4. It was pretty humid that day so my curls had fallen by the time the wedding came around so I had to redo them. I didn't have an example of how I wanted my make up done but she did a great job. Most of their products were Revlon and I'd brought a few of my own MAC products. It was definitely more make up than I was used to wearing but it does look nice in the photos.
We met with Chandlyn on the Monday. She was very efficient. I ordered three lilies- one orange and two white for my bouquet for $60. Soo not worth it but better than paying $120 for flowers for one day. (I'm a bit of an anti bride). Plus we were leaving the afternoon after the wedding. I got the free bouquet and took it apart to use for flowers for the centre pieces. They set up our table almost perfectly. They didn't light the candles. I was a little worried since Courtney (Scott-Pierre) from this board was getting married the same day and they seemed to just be focused on setting up her pool side reception.
I got the basic set up with an aisle runner. They didn't have time to change the chairs after Courtney's wedding so we got the upgraded white fold our chairs for free. They did take down her flowers. We had given them a second CD to play while we were taking group photos but both Chandlyn and Nikki had disappeared during our ceremony and it never got played.
We had a civil ceremony with our own vows. The justice of the peace mostly stuck to it. He didn't mention god which was our big thing. However, he did announce us as Mr. and Mrs. X afterwards. I don't plan on changing my name and really didn't appreciate it so if there are any brides out there who prefer to be announced as husband and wife let them know before hand. (As I said before, I'm an anti-bride)
I was very happy I didn't upgrade the cake. We got vanilla with a strawberry filling even though we thought it was going to be plain vanilla. It wasn't too sweet and I thought pretty decent. It was NOT worth paying $250 to upgrade to get different flavours for the same size cake.
The food at the Mammee Bay was pretty good. The chef came out to take a picture with us. It took a little while for everyone to get served for dinner. They served the cake very quickly though. Our waiter Jason also sent us back to our room with an extra bottle of champagne.
When we got there we found out that Michael had to leave the country for an emergency and would not be able to take our photos. We had booked an extra hour of time for a different day to take some nice photos of ourselves since we did not do engagement shots. Lincoln took our photos instead and he was fantastic. We got some extra photos included and they came to shoot the reception for us for free to make up for Michael not being there. We got to review the edited version of our prewedding photos before we left and they turned out great. They gave us all the low res version of our pictures the morning we left and they also look great. He'd taken over 600 photos of our day.
We didn't do 'full' OOT bags. I got some small gift bags from dollarama and put a welcome letter, hand sanitizer, candles and matches, magnets from vistaprint and postcards from vistaprint in them. (We did postcards that we collected at the reception instead of a guestbook). I also ordered Blue Mountain Coffee and rum sets from Floral Fantasy in Negril for $12USD each. They delivered them to the hotel and we handed them out to people in their rooms or at the welcome dinner depending on when they arrived.
I ordered my wedding dress- the J Crew Sophia off ebay. It was perfect for a beach wedding and at $74USD probably one of the cheapest parts of the whole wedding.
If you have any questions just ask!
Posted 23 September 2009 - 10:32 PM
Posted 24 September 2009 - 10:22 AM
Posted 24 September 2009 - 10:38 AM
Thanks again for the review
Posted 24 September 2009 - 12:45 PM
Posted 24 September 2009 - 07:14 PM
Posted 25 September 2009 - 07:35 AM
Posted 25 September 2009 - 08:34 AM
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