So I am officially back on Canadian soil and married...well at least according to the Jamaican certificate! We had an absolutely amazing time and I cannot say enough great things about the resort and planners! I was a huge fan of detailed reviews, so I'm going to do by absolute best to provide that! That being said, we have an absolute mountain of laundry and piles of wedding stuff that I need to put away, so I may take a few breaks in between! lol!
So to start....
As someone who has travelled quite a bit and stayed at over 20 resorts including 3 others in Jamaica, I have to say the resort itself is superb! The check in was a very simple process and went relatively quick! I specifically requested that we all be placed in section 18000 as it has the best views and most central location. I also asked that we all be on the 3rd floor or higher to maximize the ocean view. All of my requests were granted with no hassels and we got our free upgrade and were just one floor above our guests. All of our rooms were ready on arrival (well ahead of 3pm) which was much appreciated after a long day of flying! The rooms were great with 4 poster beds and we had no concerns about towels or linens as I had previously read! The safes are available, but I believe are an extra $6 per day. We all rented them and there were no concerns at all regarding thefts or feeling unsafe at any time. The entertainment in the evenings wasn't great, but the boys really enjoyed the sports bar and the late night burger runs to Burger Principe. In fact, I think they ate there almost every night. The disco was a bit sketchy at best, and we didn't spend much time there. The kareoke bar was entertaining for a bit as well.
So one thing to know is that you can book your a la carte's in advance. We made advance reservations for the Grill for our Welcome Dinner, the Mikado Teppanyaky for our Rehearsal Dinner and the Don Pablo for our last night supper for me and my hubby. Keep in mind that these reservations are booked under you, NOT under your guests. Therefore your guests can still take advantage of 3 a la cartes or 4 if they are golden club. So we all ate at the a la cartes pretty much every night.
There are two buffet options, the Orchid which is larger, or the Palmyra which is smaller. The larger has a lot more options, but the smaller was nice as it was quieter. There are a lot of types of food to choose from, and we never struggled to find something to eat. The quality was pretty good too. There is also the Pisces which is a snack bar on the beach which serves jerk chicken, nachos, pizza, etc, etc. It was great to just relax in a bathing suit and grab a quick bite. Watch out for the "Hell Fire" jerk sauce though!
So from the a la cartes, our least favorite was definitely the Grill. We all went for our Welcome Dinner and found it a bit odd that you do not order your appetizers but rather go choose them from a small buffet. Many ordered the steak and were unable to eat it as it was really gross and grizzly. The chicken wasn't bad, and the lobster was ok. Definitely the most dissapointing by far. The Dolce Vita we only did on the Wedding night, so I'll comment on that later. I'd likely rate it 2nd, as it was definitely better than the Grill but not a clear fave.
The best two were for sure the Mikado and the Don Pablo. We did the Tepanyaky with our 12 person Rehearsal Dinner, and it was so much fun! "Blackie Chan" as he called himself put on a great show and prepared delicious veg, chinese rice, beef, fish, chicken and shrimp! We also had a choice of appetizers, soups and desserts. The food was delicious and we had so much fun! Definitely one of the best nights! We also went back a second night to just eat off the menu (you have to specify if you want the teppanyaky or menu). The 4 course menu dinner was just as excellent and we really enjoyed it as well. A large selection of tempura, meso soup, sushi, lots of seafood options, but great beef tenderloin as well. Plus they have a fabulous ice cream tempura for dessert! Yum!
The Don Pablo was also amazing and probably the best food if I have to vote for just one! We had a delicious Chateaubriand that they prepare for you directly at your table and banana flambe also prepared at your table for dessert. Its the most romantic of the restaurant, so definitely worth booking for just the two of you! We were glad we did!
The bars are plentiful as are the drinks. A small tip goes a long way and ensures you won't be waiting at all or that they will serve you directly in your beach chairs. My only complaint is they have those drink machines that serve pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris. I prefer when they make them from scratch, but really that wasn't a huge concern. They also have champagne at every bar (except the burger joint) which my mother loved! I highly recommend the Purple Rain...we found it later in the week and loved it! Tastes just like sweet tarts!
So as with other Jamaican resorts in MoBay, Ochos and Runaway, the beaches are not as pristine as some of the other islands. This resort was no exception, however, we were expecting this. There are areas of the beach, especially in the central cove near the gazebo, that are quite rocky. Your best bet was to move towards the larger area that goes into the nude beach. The only trouble there is that the bars are a little further away, but the beach was MUCH nicer. There was also some decent snorkeling in the rocky areas, so we were glad we brought our snorkel gear.
So there is one large pool that runs the whole resort. The boys enjoyed going from one swim up bar to the next and swimming the whole pool. We tended to stick more to one area and just relax. Either way the pool was great...just a little bit cooler than the ocean! Also we found that the best chairs were towards the end of the resort near the newer section 23000. They had comfy wooden chairs with thick white padding as opposed to the standard blue ones. Worth the bit of a walk!
So that's a bit of the resort stuff....I'll continue with the wedding day soon!
Hope that helps!