I don't know about you, but I'd never heard about this resort prior to 2019, and from my knowledge, neither did many other Jamaicans. The pandemic had pushed back their reopening date around four times and needless to say...that was a red flag. The uproar on their Instagram page was intense but justified, as persons had unrefundable plane tickets, couples had delayed their honeymoons, and the communication from the hotel was dismal. However, the resort officially reopened in May 2021, so my husband and I took a leap of faith (with two other couples) and booked our stay!
Location: Falmouth, Trelawny Date Visited: December 2021
Type: All-Inclusive Resort (Adults Only) Cost: ~USD$335 per night [Discounted]
Excellence Oyster Bay is located on a very private and secluded peninsula in Coopers Pen, Trelawny. It's so private that if you're not paying attention while on the main road, you'll very easily miss the turn off. From approaching the property gates, one is met by a Security Guard, but also with an aura of suspense, as there is a long strip of road to drive along before having any visual of the resort itself. Along the strip was also where guests park, so parallel parking skills may be necessary if you decide to visit this hotel.
Style/Ambience - 9.5 out of 10
Look 'ere nuh (translation: pay close attention to the next words uttered)...this resort is next to immaculate. I'm not sure how much more aesthetically pleasing the architecture, landscaping and decor could be. Excellence Oyster Bay boasts a modern victorian style, accented by arches and columns, with sprinkles of tropical greens/blues in the decor. The resort oozes luxury, right down to the floor tiles. The grounds are well kept, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that not even a loose leaf was seen floating about. However, I have to dock half a point for this section as, while it's not a primary detail, the surrounding swamp land is still a factor. Not to worry though, as the pungent scent is concentrated during the drive up to the lobby/parking area.
Room - 9 out of 10
I'm going to go ahead and make a bold but factual statement. At 800 sq. ft. in size, this is without a doubt the biggest hotel room I've ever stayed in. My husband and I stayed in an Excellence Club Junior Suite Ocean Front room, and it was nice. NICE BAD. The room had a very eclectic design, with bold colours and patterns - reflective of an art-deco style of decor.
Our room category was stocked with top shelf liquor, including Absolut Vodka, Appleton Estate Signature Blend and Beefeater. The bathroom boasted double sinks, a rainfall shower and was outfitted with Bvlgari bath products. The room also has an X-Box, which is a cupboard-like nook inside the room by the door, which staff access from the outside to clear dishes once guests are finished. The room had not one, but two flat-screen TVs, but the channel selection was limited, 31 in total...and one of the 31 being X-rated.
However! The pièce de résistance of the room were the private jetted jacuzzi on the balcony, with the adjoining day bed. If you're not already stunned, the fact that every single room category at this resort has these two features might just get you there!
Food & Drinks - 8.5 out of 10
The first meal we had was lunch at Oregano - the al fresco italian restaurant, which was quite good. The portions were decent and the flavours were on point. Our first dinner was at Caribbean Grove, whose menu featured elevated local cuisine. I don't know about you, but once oxtail is on a hotel menu, it's a must for me! While it took some time to arrive, the wait was so worth it. I'm reminiscing on that steamy, fall off the bone flavour as I type.
Lunch at the Lobster House (another al fresco restaurant) was also good but I don't think the group really got to savour the experience, as we had another activity to rush to. Dinner at The Grill (Steakhouse) was fantastic. The mushroom cream soup was amazing! Everyone's steaks/ribs and sides were cooked to perfection! The Kitchen Table breakfast buffet had a great ambience and many food options. We were seated with a view of the ocean, which was a nice touch. On the matter of room service, our breakfast order took over an hour to arrive. However! The room service team was very, very thorough , so the order was always correct and so tasty! The resort also had cute coffee shops, jerk hut and a juice bar to get lighter eats throughout the day.
The downfall of this section was the drinks. Excellence Oyster Bay had a very eccentric cocktail menu, which definitely had an intrigue factor but in actuality were quite awful. In hindsight, the specialty cocktails didn't actually sound that nice on paper, unless a mango and scotch bonnet martini is up your alley. The tried and true cocktails such as the miami vice, amaretto sour and mojitos were a little better, but nothing to write home about either.
Customer Service - 9 out of 10
I unreservedly give a round of applause to the staff at Excellence Oyster Bay. They were, for the most part, top notch. While not all staff members had a warm and outgoing personality, they all epitomised going the extra mile - without expressing any hint of feeling bothered. On one occasion, our group (six persons) wanted to sit together for lunch, and a new seating arrangement was designed just to host us, all pandemic protocols observed. In another instance, our group wanted to do a particular resort activity outside of the scheduled time, and we were graciously and happily accommodated! Organising activities was a breeze as the staff attended to every fine detail. From check-in to check-out, everything concerning our stay was well taken care of.
Amenities & Entertainment - 9 out of 10
There are so many things to do at Excellence Oyster Bay, that I'm unsure how one will find the time to do it all. The daily activity schedule is available on the Excellence App, and I was enamored by the unique options available. The resort has the traditional water sports such as kayaking and paddle boarding, and also has a games area tucked away behind one of the main buildings, outfitted with pool tables, table tennis and a dart board.
The games area is also home to the indoor Archery pitch, which I highly recommend doing! Another activity that we did was the bike tour, where a group of 10 guests rode to the nearby resort Royalton Blue Waters and back. It was a fun way to do some sight-seeing as well as get some exercise in while on vacation.
The Millé spa is gorgeous! Hydrotherapy as a standalone service was USD $40, but is complementary with Excellence Club stays and Anniversary packages. It is a one-of a-kind experience and I highly recommend!
The resort also had a very modern gym, which was decently spacious and equipped with state-of-the art equipment for those so inclined.
There's also a Bank of Nova Scotia ATM Machine in the Lobby Area, which can be a last-minute lifesaver!
Nightime activities were nothing short of entertaining either. During our stay, they had an 80's night silent headphone party, which guests really seemed to enjoy!
There was also a fire show, that I'm not even sure I could bring to life with words. That's one you'd have to see with your own eyes. Simply put, it was spectacular!
MADD Factor - Rooftop Infinity Pool
After all I've shared so far, you'd think I'd have exhausted most things by now. Excellence Oyster Bay is a content creator's playground. There are pictureseque spots all across the property, but in my opinion, the rooftop infinity pool outshines them all. Views on views on views!
This may be a suitable place to throw in another picturesque spot, the iconic Excellence sea swing. It's located by the exclusive Excellence Club beach area, but guests can swim over and snap a quick pic or two!
Overall Rating: 9 out of 10
Our stay at Excellence Oyster Bay was nothing short of well - excellent! To this day, the entire trip almost felt too good to be true. Mere hours after our trip ended, I went to see what the prices were looking like for a 2022 return. Needless to say, Excellence Oyster Bay has already adopted the utterances of philosopher Joseph Cartagena, and "yesterday's price is not today's price". So while a 2022 stay may not be in the works, I will do a return trip as soon as possible! This resort is idyllic for honeymoons, anniversaries and couples trips! So if you were considering going, I hope this review gave you the push needed.
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Check out Excellence Oyster Bay: https://www.excellenceresorts.com/montego-bay/excellence-oyster-bay/
Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. This review is not sponsored.