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Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa Review: The honesty you've been waiting for


I know, I know, I know. It's been MONTHS. At first, you probably wondered if the link leading you to this blog post was a scam - but since you're here that either means you're glad I'm back after a near six-month hiatus...or you're easily scammed *cue side-eye* (please stay vigilant out there folks!)


Fun and jokes aside, this review is long overdue. I promised a friend that I'd share the usual unbiased and unfiltered details of my stay and that's exactly what I intend to do! Let's get into it, shall we?


Location: Montego Bay, St. James Date Visited: December 2022

Type: All-Inclusive Resort (Family-Friendly) Cost: USD$425 per night

 

Before You Go

Now this is a plug I got from a concierge at the resort and it changed the game for my stay. To save money but not skimp on the luxury, when booking a room outside of the Premium categories, request a room on the highest floor available for the lower category. While rooms are typically randomly assigned at check-in, the concierge will do their best to honour the request, especially if the booking was made way in advance. I'll show you why it pays off in a bit.


Sidebar: If you want more luxury for less vacation hacks, I've got so many more in the blog post linked here!

 

Style/Ambience - 8 out of 10

If you're a day one follower of the blog, you know by now that a key sign for me, and a foreshadowing of my entire stay if I can say so, is the experience at the gate upon arrival. Now, upon arrival to Jewel Grande, I was getting Moon Palace Jamaica vybes (you already know my feelings there). Between the big brass gates, the security guard scrambling to find my reservation in a tattered book and a random parked car with all its doors open...it was shaping up to be a long 4 days.


Thankfully that was just the gate, for once we drove through, the opulence was something straight out of a Disney movie. The further we drove in the more the manicured lawns, the tall, white, palatial towers and old English-themed signage just came alive. In other words, the grounds are VERY pretty (pretty bad as we Jamaicans affectionately say). There's underground parking for guests, so we took comfort that our vehicle would be safe from the elements during our stay.

Jewel Grande Montego Bay Lobby
Jewel Grande Lobby Area

Jewel Grande somewhat tastefully mixes the old with the new in terms of the interior design and décor. There's almost a nauseating amount of shades of brown/beige in the Lobby/Main Building alone but the wooden accents are kept well polished. A fun fact is that the resort was originally built as a luxury apartment complex/vacation timeshare rental. However, it was later converted to the hotel we know today. The property itself is MASSIVE and even has a football field.


There are three 12-storey Towers (room blocks) on the property. The Sentry Tower is the newest build, is closest to the main pool and houses the more modern rooms. The remaining towers (Sabal and Silver) feature more antique, Queen-Anne styled furniture, and some have living rooms, kitchenettes and in-suite washer/dryer units.


Another fun fact is that the Jewel Grande property is right next door to the Hyatt Zilara and Ziva Rose Hall resort. There's even a useless-for-guests bridge with a security guard at the other end who'll smile and wave at you, since that's all one can do from this point.

 

Room - 8.5 out of 10

I will boldly say that this room was very close to perfection. If I were to do a quick ranking, this room surpassed my feelings of that at Secrets Wild Orchid and claims 2nd place of all the hotels I've been to, and is a few notches below my 1st place choice: Excellence Oyster Bay. Please feel welcomed to grab a friend or cousin and argue in the comments about that opinion. Let me be clear though. This rating applies to the rooms in the Sentry Tower only. If you've ever stayed in the Sabal or Silver Towers, please let me know your ranking of those in the comments.

Panoramic Ocean View from Jewel Grande Junior Suite
Ocean View from Jewel Grande Junior Suite

Every (and they mean every) room category at Jewel Grande has an ocean view. Naturally, the view is better the higher up on is. Our room was on the 6th floor, which is the highest for the non-premium category. The view from the balcony was nothing short of breathtaking! The room itself is quite large at 806 sq. ft., and is simply but tastefully decorated with mid-century modern inspired pieces. There's a standalone soaking tub, breakfast nook and modern ceiling lighting. There's so many storage options in this room, I guarantee you'll not be able to occupy it all.

My two complaints are: 1. the wifi was quite spotty in the room from time to time, and 2. the resort doesn't have an app, so one has to rely on the guest portal site for daily activities and room service menu, which is lame.

 

Food & Drinks - 7.5 out of 10

The meals at Jewel Grande were good for the most part, but no one dish was exceptionally memorable. My go-to vacation drink is a miami vice and I must say, they served the best one I've ever had. Of all the restaurants we tried, my husband and I have a toss up between the Mexican (JamMex) and the Italian (Moonstone) as the most underwhelming. The steakhouse however (Le Bouchon) DID. NOT. MISS. and is definitely my top recommendation for an amazing dining experience!


Being completely honest, our truly favourite spot was probably the lobby café in our Tower, where we stopped for iced coffee, ice-cream and pastries every day of our stay.

Sentry Tower Lobby Cafe at Jewel Grande
Sentry Tower Lobby Cafe at Jewel Grande
 

Amenities & Entertainment - 7 out of 10

The main activity that Jewel Grande seems to be known for is weddings. I'm sure there were at least three during our stay. Jokes aside, as a family resort, there's something for everyone. There's a Games Room (which is exclusively for those 18 and under *hmph!*), the usual water sports, a Gym (with steam room and sauna), a Spa and a sprawling beach. The "party pool" near the main lobby didn't seem to have the most sustained vybes as I've seen at other resorts but it was a very relaxing atmosphere overall. To be fair, we visited the week of World Cup Finals, so most persons were glued to a television somewhere on that occasion. The resort also hosted a Casino Royale themed beach party and a silent Disco party.


Wait wait wait!!! How could I almost fail to mention that one evening, the resort hosted a Chocolate Buffet and they brought out a model who was covered from the neck down in nothing but a bikini and (you guessed it) chocolate?!?! She had a pedestal and everything! You just had to be there! Guests of all ages had a whale of a time dancing with and taking photos next to her. I can't make this stuff up!

 

MADD Factor - The Grande Spa

Have you ever been to a 30,000 sq. ft. Italian villa inspired Spa? Well neither had I until I set foot into the Grande Spa. Luxury dripped from the doorknobs inside that place! There's a 50% discount for Jamaican residents so be sure to take advantage of that benefit. The Spa houses a Himalayan Salt Lounge, a green smoothie/juice bar and hot/cold plunge pools. One can take a tour for free but be warned, you'll not want to leave once you enter! Leave your purse/wallet behind!


 

Overall Rating: 7.8 out of 10

Verdict: Let's go back together!


So...whose car are we taking? mine or yours? Cause I'm for sure going back! Jewel Grande is a great option for family vacations or a staycation with friends. The property is definitely big enough and well-laid out so one never feels overrun by a sea of people. The pockets of luxury are definitely there too for the bougie-inclined. I highly recommend booking at least 6 months in advance of the desired stay to get the best rates possible - they have a book now, pay later option!


Until my next post, do keep up with my shenanigans on Instagram and Facebook! Tell a friend to tell a friend to like, follow and subscribe to the blog!


Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. This review is not sponsored.




4 Comments


David Madden
David Madden
Mar 26, 2023

Excellent review!! Jewel Grande was an excellent experience and watching a World Cup Final at a hotel is a pretty dope experience.


And I would add that customer service at the spa was exceptional. Often times resorts can give locals the "what lef" experience of customer service but from we entered we were made to feel special and dare I say even more appreciated because of our local-ness.


Also JamMex has to be in my top 3 worst a la carte restaurants for food at a resort. Chicken Mole should not be an item in any menu. Taste like chicken that has been rubbed in dirt and then washed off with Campari. I shudder thinking about it now 🤢🤢🤢🤢


Also…


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Ashley Simon-Madden
Ashley Simon-Madden
Mar 26, 2023
Replying to

Memories upon memories for sure!

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Pammi
Pammi
Mar 25, 2023

Another outstanding review, Ashley. At the earliest opportunity I’d definitely like to stay at Jewel Grande. You make it ‘come alive’ and whet one’s desire for the experience ☺️

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Ashley Simon-Madden
Ashley Simon-Madden
Mar 25, 2023
Replying to

Thanks so much 😊 I do think you'd quite enjoy it!

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