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  • Royalton Negril All-Inclusive Resort in Jamaica Review - A Royal Headache

    Our last trip before the Pandemic was to Royalton Negril! I raved about this resort to my husband, having visited once before in 2017 with one of my best girlfriends and having a great time. As such, we decided to do our vacation trip there. HOWEVER! It's slowly becoming a trend on my blog that going to a resort during the week of Christmas may not always be the best you probably recall from the details of our trip to Moon Palace Jamaica. Location: Norman Manley Blvd, Negril Date Visited: December 2019 Type: All-Inclusive Resort (Family Friendly) Cost: ~USD$300 per night [Discounted] Before we get further into the details, if you're not already an Insider, click the button below to subscribe to the blog and receive exclusive updates on all things Madd About Jamaica! Before You Go I'm not even going to try and sugarcoat it. This resort is HELLA FAR. The fact that I can fly from Kingston, JA to Miami, FL and back in the same time that it takes to drive to Royalton Negril is saying something. The first two hours of the drive were scenic and filled with excitement - But the last two hours?! Restlessness and anxiety. Heed my warning before embarking on the journey! Ensure that your will is strong, your playlist is stacked and your company is good. Pro tip? have a rest stop along the way to refresh the mind and body, as one can only play 'I Spy' so many times before every 'something blue' is the sea. First Impressions Once the GPS said that our destination was approaching on the right, I was overcome by relief. This feeling was quickly overshadowed by confusion, as signage wasn't immediately clear as to where Royalton Negril's Check-In was, as opposed to the Grand Lido and Hideaway properties. A security officer quickly assisted us and we were on our way. While my husband went to park the car, I proceeded with check-in. The check-in security officer fumbled for a few minutes with a thick stack of papers with guest details...only to tell me that our reservarion could not be found. Spoiler Alert: It all went downhill from here. Literally. Imagine my emotions at this point, worse after the four hour journey [cue tears]. It was difficult to distinguish where my annoyance was more directed - the fact that our reservation seemed to have gone on its own vacation, or that a 4-star resort wasn't employing a digital solution for check-in to achieve greater efficiency. I was soon told that the reservation must be at the Diamond Club (premium section of the resort) and I was escorted downhill to that Lobby. Surprise, surprise, our reservation wasn't there either. We then started going back and forth across the property via golf cart to sort out the check-in process. After an hour and a half and a few strong (but sanctified) words from me, we finally got a room. Style/Ambience - 9 out of 10 Royalton Negril has beautiful, luxurious architecture. There's a good balance of warm wood tones, glass/mirrored accent pieces and modern metallic furniture. The lobby area is quite large and al fresco, so one is greeted by a cool and soothing rush of sea breeze upon entrance. The decor is mostly cool toned, with light greys, browns and beiges to complement the relaxing aura. Room - 9 out of 10 I think the rooms at Royalton Negril are, for the most part, top tier. The rooms feature the same modern aesthetic seen across the property. We stayed in a Luxury Family Suite, which was more than spacious enough for the two of us. All Royalton Suites have a standalone jetted jacuzzi soaker tub, which is definitely a highlight. The room is divided by floor to ceiling blackout curtains. The bathroom area was also quite luxurious, with double porcelain sinks and a walk-in rainfall shower with a seating area. The point in this section was deducted for cleanliness, as when we arrived, my husband discovered an old, used bar of soap in the shower...and it remained there for the duration of our stay though housekeeping came daily. Food & Drinks - 5 out of 10 Half of the food we had was good, while the other half was not. To add insult to injury, the resort seemed to be near full capacity, so the wait time for a la carte restaurants was at least an hour. The food at the Italian restaurant - Grazie Italian Trattoria was so bland. The food at the buffet (Gourmet Marche) was okay, and the drinks similarly, but definitely nothing to write home about. The redemption in this category was the food at Score Sports Bar as well as the Hunter Steakhouse, which was really good, but the portion sizes were almost unbelievably small. Room service, for the most part, was pretty decent! Customer Service - 6 out of 10 The service at Royalton Negril was going well until our last day. Our check-out day fell on Christmas Eve and it was not pleasant at all. Most of the property seemed to be on lockdown by 11:00 AM, with preparations for Christmas Day well under way. As such, trying to find somewhere to get food in-between standard meal times was futile! We'd already left our room with the intention to check out in an hour or two, so room service wasn't an option. Staff were of little to no help; and one (fairer hued) staff member in particular was quite curt when we enquired about food options. After that encounter we were fed up and didn't hesistate to check-out early, thus leaving the end of our trip on a sour note. Amenities & Entertainment - 5 out of 10 My husband enjoyed the gym, which boasts two stories of modern equipment. I went to the Royal Spa and got a mani/pedi. While my pedicure came out great, my manicure left little to be desired, as the nail polish started to chip off by the end of the day. On the matter of entertainment, I found that not many guests were engaged with the daytime activities, which were limited to begin with. I won't lie to you, I was pretty bored for a decent portion of the trip. Children up to age 12 would give a better review, as there's a water park with a slide for their leisure. There's also a hangout lounge for teens, but I can neither confirm nor deny that it was open during our stay. The main infinity pool area was perpetually filled with people, and only those who arrived early claimed a lounge chair. The nighttime shows by the Amphitheatre were more of a hit with guests, with the classic Michael Jackson set tickling the fancy of many a tourist. MADD Factor - The Escalator I know you just read the sub-heading and are halfway confused. I completely understand. I really struggled to find something about Royalton Negril that sets it apart from...well...any other resort in Jamaica. While searching the depths of my memories (and trip notes), I recalled the novelty of the escalator, which leads from the main lobby to the ground floor of the resort with majority of the restaurants. You might think I'm reaching here, and I definitely am, but do YOU know another resort with an escalator?! Please, tell me in the comments. Overall Rating: 6.8 out of 10 Verdict: It was cute, but there are better options closer to Kingston A trip to Royalton Negril is not for the faint of heart. At the very least, it wouldn't be my first choice, knowing that Royalton Blue Waters/White Sands in Falmouth is less of a drive. I'd say that this resort is for those whose primary goal is to relax and unwind. The resort is quite family-friendly, and children could entertain themselves for hours. I'm not sure how parents with small children would manage that road trip though. If I were to go back however, I'd want to stay at Hideaway, the Adults-Only section of the resort and see how it compares. Before you go, click the links below to follow Madd About Jamaica on all socials! Check Out Royalton Negril: Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. This review is not sponsored.

  • Excellence Oyster Bay Jamaica Review - Is this a real place?

    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] First Impressions 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. While I've got you here, please click below to like, follow and share Madd About Jamaica's new Instagram and Facebook pages! Don't forget to subscribe to get exclusive updates on all things Madd About Jamaica! Check out Excellence Oyster Bay: Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. This review is not sponsored.

  • Secrets Wild Orchid Review - Is this All-Inclusive Resort in Jamaica better as a secret?

    If traversing the many gaping potholes leading to the hotel gates was any indication of how the trip could go ...I was ready to turn back immediately. Having already driven 2+ hours from Kingston to get there, the added potential of damage to our vehicle's shocks definitely put a sour taste in my mouth. This resort is far too expensive for the road to have been that bad! Location: Montego Bay, St. James Date Visited: September 2020 Type: All-Inclusive Resort (Adults Only) Cost: ~USD $600+ per night First Impressions The resort is located on a private penninsula, which was a good distance away from the Main Road. Once the GPS told us our destination was on the left, the next emotion I felt was confusion. Secrets Wild Orchid shares the property with sister resorts Secrets St. James and Breathless, but the signs were in arbitrary places, and thus pretty useless in offering any sort of direction to the correct parking lot or lobby area. On a separate note, pandemic protocols were strictly observed by all staff, which was an added comfort. Style/Ambience - 6.5 out of 10 The property has a modern tropical chic decor style, with spanish-style architecture consistent across the three resorts. The dark wood furniture was softened by neutral/earth-toned accent pieces. The decor seemed dated and basic in some areas, but it's a gorgeous property overall. If you're warned! The walking required from one amenity to another may cause you to consider medical attention. No two amenities are truly in walking distance of the rooms. The spa and gym are located on the Breathless side of the property, which felt like an almost 15-minute walk from the Secrets Wild Orchid side. Talk about a pun being intended in a name! There weren't any golf carts available to assist guests with that trek either. Room - 9 out of 10 The room? NICE BAD! We stayed in a Junior Suite Ocean View King room and I kid you not, it had one of the BEST views of any resort we've been to [pictured]. I wish my picture did it more justice! The room was decently sized, and maintained the tropical chic decor style, with a mixture of earth tone decor and natural stone accents. The bathroom was equally lovely, featuring double sinks, a standalone jetted tub and a separate glass enclosed rain shower with floor to ceiling marble. My husband would be up in arms if I didn't tell y'all that one can watch TV from the tub...and that he did. Apparently that's a major selling point! [insert brief cackle here]. Food & Drinks - 7.5 out of 10 The food was really good! [cue chef's kiss]. Room service was super quick and didn't miss the mark on quality. We had dinner at Bordeaux, the french-themed restaurant. BEST lamb I've ever had [pictured]. I highly recommend dining there if you ever decide to go to this resort. The real let down, however, were the drinks. If only they tasted as pretty as they had looked. At the time of our trip, neither the Breathless nor Secrets St. James resorts were open, so dining options were limited on a daily basis. Nevertheless, that meant that focus was really given to meal quality, and it showed. Customer Service - 8 out of 10 This trip was actually a surprise birthday gift for my husband. I had called the hotel ahead of time to let them know of the occasion, and they did not disappoint with complementary cake and wine once we got to the room! While the staff didn't always smile, they were always efficient and helpful. What tipped the scale with this rating however was a check-in call from the General Manager. It was completely unexpected, but nice to know how intentional and personal they were about guest comfort! Amenities & Entertainment - 6 out of 10 Mi nah guh lie (translation: I won't lie), the resort was a tad boring during the day. I'm sure the pandemic had a part to play in that, but even the staff looked bored on the job as we strolled around the property. Things sorta picked up in the evening, and guests got to enjoy an outdoor, under-the-stars movie night on one occasion. The spa is magnificent but the prices? NO SAH. They may as well charge just to go inside and look. The gym wasn't large but it was outfitted with all the state of the art equipment. Seeing as both are so far from the rooms, I'm not sure how much traction they got on a daily basis. MADD Factor - Secret Box I wish every resort had this feature! The secret box is a cupboard-like nook inside the room by the door, which staff access from the outside to deliver room service. Once guests are finished, used dishes etc. can be placed in the Secret Box and will be cleared away at a later time. As such, there is no contact with staff in this regard if not wanted! It was such a novel experience besides the room tablet, which controlled all the room's digital features (lights, A/C, etc.) and served as the communication hub between guests and the staff. Overall Rating: 7.4 out of 10 Our trip happened mere months after the pandemic started, so I know our experience was muted by that fact. While we had a good time, we'd definitely love to go back, especially when all 3 resorts are simultaneously up and running, to see how it'd be different. The overall vybe at Secrets Wild Orchid is very calm, romantic and couple-centric, so I'd definitely recommend it to newlyweds/honeymooners! If you're looking for more of a sexy, youthful vybe with a foam-party or two, then the Breathless side of the resort would be just up your alley. Don't forget to subscribe to get the exclusive on all things Madd About Jamaica! Check out Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay: Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. This review is not sponsored.

  • Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall Jamaica Review: Is it the Ultimate in All-Inclusive Luxury?

    I'll be the first to admit that Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall was not our first choice for a staycation...but the pandemic came without warning and really blew all other plans out the water. Location: Montego Bay, St. James Date Visited: December 2020 Type: All-Inclusive Resort Cost: ~ USD $600 per night First Impressions The resort is shared between Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall (Adults-Only) and Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall (Family-Friendly). You really could've fooled me, as the property is massive and the separation is both seen and felt, as each side has its own check-in/lobby area. Since we went when travel restrictions were tighter, the resort was nowhere near full capacity. Check-in was smooth and we were issued quaint passports [pictured] as the welcome pamphlet; sanitisation protocols were followed to a T; and we got a quick resort tour. At no point was any staff member or guest without a wask/with a mask being worn improperly. Style/Ambience - 7 out of 10 The property has a modern colonial decor style. We were told that renovations had recently occured, which explained the odd mix of really dark wood and drapery with crisp neutral marble/stone. Nevertheless, there are so many picturesque places on the property, including a ginormous chair! [pictured] I wish I'd snapped a pic in it, but I was far too cautious (translation: 'fraid like puss) to climb up! The resort really lights up at night (pun intended) and I think that's when the ambience of the Hyatt Zilara side comes alive. This is especially evident by the main pool area, with views of the bridges and the fountains flowing into the infinity pool [pictured]. Room - 7 out of 10 We stayed in an Ocean View Junior Suite with a King bed in Building 1, which was safety sealed on arrival. The decor was quite minimal, with warm neutral toned furniture - at times it felt quite sterile. The bathroom? Contractor: "How much marble would you like to add?" Hyatt Zilara: "YES." While the marble added a touch of luxury, it was eh-vuh-ree-where. I'm glad the exposed wood shelving could added some dimension, or my head would've spun everytime I walked in. The bathroom had a rain shower and a separate tub, which were quite nice! Robes and slippers were sent to the room on request. Food & Drinks - 9 out of 10 Fun Fact: All eateries on the property have a 'Z' in its name. We ate at Calypzo, Urban Heatz and Choicez. The menu options were limited, but the execution was top notch! Menus were available via QR code [pictured] and sometimes differed to the options advertised on the resort app. There was no lack where dessert was concerned. There were so many delicious options, even the memory has me overwhelmed! Mi haffi gi di Jerk Hut it's own paragraph! Located on the Hyatt Ziva side of the property is the BEST jerk chicken I've ever had. Periodt! (or whatever the kids are saying these days). Coupled with the signature sweet sauce?! Chef's kiss! The coffee shopz, Bitez Deli and Pizzeria also had tasty snack options in between the larger meals. Room Service was ON POINT. It came very quickly and was consistently good! The mixed drinks were great. My husband still holds that Hyatt Zilara made the best mojitos he's ever had! Customer Service - 8 out of 10 The staff at Hyatt Zilara are on Chick-Fil-A level service standards. They have their signature 'from the heart' greeting, where staff members put a hand across their heart and nod as they encounter a guest. On one occasion, we got locked out of our room and it was dealt with in no time. Sadly, there was a bad apple that caused this rating to drop. One evening I had cut my toe and limped quickly to the nearest staff member for help, who was the hostess at the Italian restaurant. She told me I had to file a report, then go to the security to lodge same before I could get a bandaid. I determined that the hostess was out of her mind, so I engaged her no further. My husband then helped me climb ~ 3 flights of stairs to the Hyatt Ziva lobby, where the concierge on duty wasted no time in assisting me, and not only scoured the office for a bandaid, but also nursed the cut herself. Amenities & Entertainment - 7 out of 10 Being mindful of the limitations due to the pandemic, I think the Hyatt Zilara staff did their best to be creative with guest activities. There wasn't much to write home about during the day, but the night-time schedule was a vybe! We went to the silent party held in the Hyatt Zilara lobby. It was an innovative way to get guests together, albeit socially distanced. Our headphones were sanitised before being issued, and had a local and international channel to choose from with live DJs spinning on each. It was lots of fun with no disturbance to guests with nearby rooms. MADD Factor - The Gym I am NO advocate for exercising while on vacation, but hear me out. The Gym on the Hyatt Ziva side of the property is why the expression 'State of the art' exists. Hands down, this is the best gym we've ever seen, hotel or otherwise. It's opened 24/7, and uses the room key for access! There are two stories of top of the line equipment, floor to ceiling glass windows/mirrors, plush flooring and central air conditioning ~ And to think it's just one of two gyms on property. Overall Rating: 7.6 out of 10 Verdict: Will we be back? It's a strong possibility! While the price alone may be a deterrent, we'd definitely go back if the opportunity presented itself. Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall is a solid, well-rounded resort. It does well in catering to stays for families, couples or just a group of friends. With restrictions less stringent now than when we went, we'd love to see how they've pivoted the Hyatt experience, if any! If you've made it this far, you may as well subscribe if you haven't already! New blog posts go live on Sundays at 1:00 PM and insiders get the exclusive as to what's coming! Check out Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall: Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. This review is not sponsored.

  • Moon Palace Jamaica All-Inclusive Resort Review - The Nightmare before Christmas

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

  • We're here! So now what?

    What?! You're here?! Welp...I hope you didn't fly to Jamaica solely based on this blog. Well at least not yet! This first blog post of mine will tell you absolutely nothing about any of the hotels/resorts here. I'm using my first post to set the stage, lay the foundation, establish ground rules and (insert any other similar expression here). Here's the basic outline of my plan thus far. I'm going to do a separate blog post about every hotel/resort I visit during my vacation. There are some key elements I will cover in each review, namely: The time of year I went Hotel Location Room - the category and features Amenities - including Entertainment Food Customer Service The 'Madd Factor' - basically, what I think this hotel has that others don't. Impacts the likelihood of a repeat visit. I intend to give each hotel an average weighting out of 10 based on some of the elements mentioned, so that some solid comparions, where applicable, can be made. How mi soun'? Can that plan work? - Let me know if I've missed anything! My husband and I work hard and strongly believe that annual vacations are an investment. As such ROI is due and we want a high yield. I should get my money's worth and so should you! So, to whet your appetite a bit (and really to keep me accountable), here's a list of the hotels I've been to so far (in no rank order) and the reviews to be expected: Spanish Court Hotel - Kingston Beaches Boscobel - St. Mary Hyatt Zilara - St. James Excellence Oyster Bay - Trelawny Melia Braco - Trelawny Royalton Negril - Westmoreland Moon Palace Jamaica - St. Ann Couples Tower Isle - St. Mary Secrets Wild Orchid - St. James Iberostar Grande - St. James Join the community and be the first to know when my next post launches!

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