Twas the night before Christmas...well actually it was a few nights before but that's beside the point. It's been nearly two months since this trip and I'm still trying to discern whether my experience was real or not. The trauma is THAT fresh. I'm still waiting to find out if Punk'd is getting a reboot and I'll be run a cheque soon. Anyways, Let me stop rambling and get into it!
Location: Ocho Rios, St. Ann Date Visited: December 2021
Type: All-Inclusive Resort Cost: USD ~$400+ per night
The property is massive, but upon approaching the resort, you may think otherwise. The entrance is nestled in the the town square, so one may have to navigate some [unruly] vehicles and pedestrians before glimpsing the resort's tall brass gates and the vacation bliss sets in. Well, my bliss didn't set in until I was half-way back to Kingston...but we'll get to this later on.
Style/Ambience - 6 out of 10
The resort is modern, with floor to ceiling glass windows, abstract decor in neutral tones, marble floors and the like. My husband and I went the week leading up to Christmas, and just in case we were uncertain of the season, the 30-foot Christmas Tree [pictured] quickly solved that problem.
However, noone could've prepared me for the SEA of people that had Christmas at Moon Palace on their to-do list. It was jam-packed! Di place did RAM, zeen? You'd have to wonder if a pandemic was still in effect. Chaos was on level 100 and I could barely hear myself think at times. The capacity clearly burdened the facilities, as evidenced by smelly, dirty bathrooms in common areas and long wait times at elevators.
Room - 6 out of 10
We had an Ocean View room on the 10th floor and the view (well, depending on the angle) was spectacular. On one side is the beauty pictured below, but on the other side is the lovely scenery of rooftops and traffic in Ocho Rios. The website posits that this room category has a balcony, but the jury is still out on that as it was quite small - you may have to take individual turns to enjoy it.
The room itself was an awkward shape but spacious enough for two people. The modern decor with neutral tones was maintained in the room. The bathroom had an enclosed glass shower and CHI bath products. However, there was only one sink and the room had towels but no wash rags, which I'm assuming was an oversight. Additional amenities (toothbrush, toothpaste, slippers) could be requested and delivered to the room via the Moon Palace Jamaica App.
Food & Drinks - 3 out of 10
Warning: the review goes downhill from here. The majority of the food we had was terrible. If it wasn't hypertension inducing, it was as bland as water crackers. The mixed drinks were no better, and I strongly believe that Moon Palace has 'just pure/pour rum' somewhere in their mission statement (more on this later). Room service was equally disappointing. While the room service menu is the most extensive of any hotel I've ever been to, the sheer volume surely causes quality to suffer. It was the first time I ever experienced chicken alfredo tasting like cardboard (not that I've ever eaten cardboard but imagine that's how it'd be). The saving grace in this category was the Asian specialty restaurant Momo, where you'll find THE BEST pork belly this side of the world.
Customer Service - 3 out of 10
That three is literally for the three staff members who did not royally upset me during our stay. If it wasn't flat out lies, it was omission of vital information; If it wasn't omission, it was very rude responses; If it wasn't rude responses, it was a scowling face or a bad attitude. From the Bell Hop to the Manager (who, after 4 hours of us waiting for our room, told my husband to get me some rum so I'd calm down) we were given a raw deal.
With every complaint I made, the Manager condescendingly and consistenly reminded us that Moon Palace Jamaica is a family resort, so couples' expectations should be tempered accordingly [The logic behind this is still being computed...]
Should I do a forum post detailing ALL the issues we had? I'd love to know how you'd have handled some of the situations because, honest to God? I nearly sinned my soul in that place!
Amenities & Entertainment - 8 out of 10
The resort is always buzzing with activity, so there's little room to be bored. the Awe Spa is probably the largest hotel spa in the island, but the Salon section was relatively small in comparison. The gym was spacious and well stocked (but who really exercises on vacation?!)
The poolside activities were also quite fun, we even caught an epic dance competition among the guests. There's also access to Dolphin Cove from the resort property, if one is so inclined. The flowrider surf simulator (pictured) was also a unique and beloved guest activity. There's not much of a beach, so not much to report on where that is concerned.
MADD Factor - Wired Gaming Center & Arcade
The true saving grace of this trip for us was the games lounge (pictured). It was a true place of solace for us amidst all the chaos and frustration. Quite frankly, we spent more time here than in our room, as the thought of waiting for an elevator to get back to our floor was deterring enough. Nevertheless, there were a myriad of TVs, seating areas, arcade and console games. There was also a snack bar inside with ice-cream, chips, soda etc.
Overall Rating: 5.2 out of 10
Verdict: We will NOT be back!
Under no foreseeable circumstance would our hard earned money be used to go back to this resort. Our stay was hardly enjoyable, save for the few moments of solace (emphasis on few). Moon Palace Jamaica is far too expensive to merely overlook the rotten experience we had (we can talk more in the Forum). I would not recommend this resort for a Couples trip, and apparently neither would the Staff. I left much more stressed out than before I got there, and found myself grieving for many a day after.
Beware: Staff Members may try to scam you into buying a vacation package in exchange for 90 minutes of your time and resort coupons/benefits. Don't do it!
Check out Moon Palace Jamaica: https://jamaica.moonpalace.com/en
Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. This review is not sponsored.