We were in Jamaica January 9-16th. Our first day, the 9th, we flew out of Calgary at 7am and didnâ€™t get to the resort until about 7pm. It was a super long day and everyone was tired (from being at the airport at 4am) and hungry. I know Iâ€™ll forget some things in here so if you have questions ask!
This resort is MASSIVE!!! We only had a few people in our group (a group of 18) that had travelled before so overall the reviews for the resort were pretty good as we donâ€™t have anything to compare it to. The majority of our group (11) had royal golden upgrades while the rest were just in standard rooms (their choice). Our royal golden check in was a breeze, in out quick and up to our room. My hubby and I were the first ones to check in and were whisked away to our room. I wish at that moment I would have had my Martha Stewart room things (looking for someone, with the room numbers) I could have left one down there for everyone to write their room numbers on and went and picked it up later because basically we didnâ€™t know where anyone elseâ€™s room was and spent a long time walking around trying to find everyone.
Just a recommendation for people who are thinking of choosing this resort: We offered standard rooms or the upgrade to the royal golden rooms to everyone coming. My hubbys parents, grandma, and brother and his wife chose the standard rooms while the rest of us chose the royal golden. This caused a lot of problems we had with my hubbys parents while on the trip. When we checked in we were told that they prebooked (we hadnâ€™t asked at all) our ala carts for the people who were in royal golden (11 of us). The other 5 (hubbys entire family) didnâ€™t have their books. When they went to try to book all the ala carts were full and they were unable to join us for dinners. Also, a lot of our dinners were booked for 6pm, which we would have rather had them a bit later so you can enjoy your entire day. When we tried to switch times or restaurants to accommodate we were unable to do so. I think that my hubbys family felt really left out because of this (although we had no idea they were going to book them for us). Also, we were on complete opposite sides of the resort (everyone in royal golden were in the 23000s and they were in the 17000s). To do it over I would offer only standard or royal golden to the entire group, rather than both.
When my hubby and I finally found out where everyone elseâ€™s rooms were (we were 23611, all other royal goldens were in the 23400s) we tried to see if we could be moved closer to everyone else in the royal golden. They tried but couldnâ€™t move us until half way through the week so we decided to stay where we were. When we got to our room it we tried to use the safe and it wouldnâ€™t work and was broken. We waited for over an hour for someone to come and fix it. Also, the wedding planners were supposed to leave a letter for us telling us what day and time to meet with them and it wasnâ€™t there, instead it was at the front desk, which wasnâ€™t a big deal.
Everyone in the 23000s had great views and clean, nice rooms that were fairly quiet. The others, who were in 17101, 17103, and 17105, were on the main floor right by the shopping centre and disco. They said that at night it was very loud not only from the music, but because one of the walk ways through to the shopping centre was right beside room 17101. Also, we found that being in the 23000s (the newest area) we had to walk so far to get anywhere as most things are on the other side of the resort (beach, shopping center, snack bar, restraints ect) There are also a lot of stairs at this resort and I donâ€™t think it would be very handicap friendly.
We enjoyed the shopping centre; however, found that all the stores carry the exact same thing. And they try to pressure you into buying things you donâ€™t want to buy. You can barter with them quite well and usually can get the price reduced quite a lot. (The stores in the lobby of the resort, you canâ€™t barter with them well at all (except for the jewelry store) so try to shop at the pueblo principle.
We found the night entertainment was okay at best, not great. We watched a few of the nightly entertainment shows and they were okay. We enjoyed the lobby bar and the bar set up beside the one pool bar. Thatâ€™s where we spent most of our evenings. The disco was pretty sketchy and not that much fun.
We spent most of our days relaxing by the pool at one of the pool bars or at the beach. We really enjoyed the pool and the pool bar. The water was colder then the ocean and felt great when the sun came out. We spent most of our time at the pool down by the 23000s as most of our rooms were down that way, it had comfy huts with wooden padded loungers and the pool bar was usually quieter. We spent a few days at the beach. The beach is not spectacular but itâ€™s not horrible either. We would walk all the way to the other end of the beach (by the nude beach) as thatâ€™s where the best spots were found. We spent a fair bit of time snorkeling by the beach.
We had a chance to eat at every restaurant at the resort.
Dolce Vita (Italian): Our entire group sat and waited for our food for over two hours and when we did receive it not very good at all. Not one person had anything good to say about this place. It is right on the ocean which is a plus. My mom has a severe dairy allergy and she couldnâ€™t find one thing on the menu to eat that didnâ€™t have dairy in it or could be made dairy free. She ended up with a salad. Iâ€™d say this was our last favorite place.
Mikado Teppanyaky (Japanese): We really enjoyed this place. We had the opportunity to sit as a group at the teppanyaky which was really fun. Our chef put on a great show and we really enjoyed it. The food was also pretty good, although a little bit too salty. It was really fun to experience that though, definitely try to do that if you can.
Don Pablo: We ate here our last night. This is by far the fanciest place on the resort. The guys had been wearing dress shorts with sandals to all the other a la carts but were not allowed in this one without pants. They were still able to wear their sandals. This is a true dining experience with a four course meal. Mostly everyone enjoyed the food, but found the menu to be pretty limited. My brothers are really picky eaters and didnâ€™t really find anything they want to eat. Most of us had the Chateaubriand which they serve at the table side. Most of it was way over cooked and chewy and grisly, I donâ€™t think anyone finished it. They also put on a show for the banana flamb©, which is neat to see.
The Grill: We had our wedding dinner here and I will review that later. We also ate here a second time a few nights after the wedding. By far this was our favorite a la carte out of all of them. Most of our group is a meat and potato kind of people so it was great for them. They have a buffet which you serve yourself and order the main course. Just a note, the main courses are pretty tiny, so eat lots of the buffet!! We loved the soup, beef and vegetable that we all ate like four bowls of it! We found that the buffet had a great variety of different things to eat. Most people had the surf and turf (lobster and steak) which was really amazing!! Overall, this was our favorite.
Buffets: There are two buffets, a larger one (Orchid) and a smaller one (Palmyra). The larger buffet was much better to eat at for lunch or supper as it had way more variety then the little one, but we ate at the little buffet pretty much every day for breakfast as it was quiet compared to the big one, and closer to our rooms. Both offer many choices to choose from, but itâ€™s the same thing every day for breakfast, and I was getting sick of eating the same thing over and over.
Snack Bar: Pisces. This is on the beach and we ate here most of the time for lunch. The jerk chicken is amazing, although they have some sauces that are so very hot! They have a lot of snacky type of foods and we enjoyed it.
Burger Principe: We ate here some of the nights. Some nights were better than others, but overall it wasnâ€™t too bad. We did have to wait quite a long time of the nights for a burger.
Room Service: This is offered to the royal golden upgrades. Please please please do not choose to upgrade purely for the room service as it is terrible! Before 11pm you can get things like a hamburger, or hot dog with fries, or a sandwich. After 11p basically you have three things to choose from. It usually took at least an hour to get and by the time it arrived it was cold. Everyone who ordered room service said it was terrible.
A lot of people in our group like to drink. They drank a lot of beer and a lot of pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris. Iâ€™m not much of a drinker but there was a big enough selection to choose from to make mostly any drink. We also discovered rum cream and fell in love. You have to try it at least once!!
We did Dunns River Falls on the day before the wedding. It was great to go see and do but definitely not what I expected. There were so many people, that it took us almost 2 hours to climb the falls. Also, our group all got separated apart and I was by myself climbing up. None of the guides helped us out and were super rude when we didnâ€™t give them a tip at the end. It is a must see. We ended up having to wait outside duns river falls for over an hour for our bus to come pick us up which really sucked.
On the day before we left all us young group of people (9 of us) went to mystic mountain. We had a blast here and would recommend this to anyone. Itâ€™s fairly close to the resort, about 30 minutes away. You ride a chair lift up the side of the mountain. At the top there is an infinity pool and water slide which we spent a bit of time in. We did the bobsled which was great, almost like a mini roller coaster. It was pretty short but still great. We also did the zip lining. None of us in the group had ever zip lined before but we had so much fun doing it. The only downfall is that if you do the zip lining last you finish half way down the mountain and you have to take the chairlift to the bottom then all the way back to the top to get your stuff. Overall it was really fun!