28 November 2012 by Alison Kent
Alison Kent tells us all about her recent trip to Jamaica, where she enjoyed plenty of rum, relaxation and regional fare.
Sunday 04 November
Checked in at Gatwick South for our flight to Montego Bay with Virgin Atlantic. After a very impressive breakfast in the Virgin lounge we boarded the flight. As usual I was very impressed with Virgin. There was good food and service, all on a newly refurbished aircraft. We had seats in the upper deck, where there was plenty of legroom, it was light, airy and very spacious.
Arrived at Montego Bay and immigration was very swift, professional and friendly. Our driver George from the Roundhill Hotel met us and transferred us to the hotel (approx 30mins). George was very friendly, professional and knowledgeable.
Check in was quick and easy, and we were taken to our Oceanfront King View room. It was bright and airy had a large king sized four-poster bed and an enormous bath, as well as separate rain shower.
What we loved most was the view. We had huge windows, which overlooked the beach and the clear blue Caribbean Sea. We had a light dinner that night as we were pretty tired after the 10-hour flight. Food was excellent and we ate outside, which really made us feel we were somewhere special.
Monday 05 November
We rose early and had a wonderful breakfast in the grill, where you have a buffet selection as well as waiter service just in case you are still hungry! The service was impeccable. The staff cannot do enough for you and they keep that amazing Jamaican coffee coming.
We decided to be active today so off we went to the water sports station and took a pedal boat out. After a light lunch by the beach we went snorkelling and we didn't have to go far to see some amazing marine fish. It was one of the best places I have snorkelled so we ended up staying in the sea for some time.
In true English traditional, there is afternoon tea at four pm. That night we had a beach party, where tables were set up on the beach as well as a barbeque. The food was amazing as always and there was a really good atmosphere. I really felt that I was having a really relaxing time in the Caribbean.
Tuesday 06 November
Another beautiful day in sunny Montego Bay. After breakfast there was more snorkelling as well as some swimming in the amazing double infinity pool. There are plenty more things to keep you active at Roundhill such as tennis, more water sports and the wonderful spa.
We had dinner at the Caribbean Upper Terrace Restaurant where the food was excellent and there was a huge choice on the menu. After dinner we had a few drinks in the cocktail bar.
Wednesday 07 November
We then left Roundhill and Montego Bay and headed west to Negril. We had a wonderful time at Roundhill. The hotel has excellent facilities, the food is amazing and the staff are so helpful and friendly.
I would recommend the all-inclusive package, as it's excellent value for money. George met us and we started our drive to Negril (approx 90mins). It was great to see some of the Island.
We arrived at the Caves Hotel in Negril to be greeted with a Cliff-hanger Cocktail made from the famous Appleton Rum. The Caves is very different to Roundhill. It is set on a cliff where adrenaline junkies can jump or dive into the Ocean from a 30-foot cliff! The Caves is very tropical and has so many nooks and crannies that it was really fun to have a proper guided tour before we were shown our room, which was the Blue Hole.
The room was spacious with a well stocked mini bar and plenty of Blackwell Rum. A really nice touch here is that hotel staff ask you before you arrive what music you like so they can get the right CDs in your room. As such we were met with cool Latino sounds.
Our room was next to the Blue Hole, where if feeling brave you can take the plunge into the ocean.
There is a main restaurant as well as other cosy areas where you can eat. After lunch we decided to do some more exploring of the property and then had a chill out in the pool with a cool rum punch. That night we ate under the stars in the upstairs restaurant.
Thursday 08 November
After a very hearty breakfast we decided to do some snorkeling. We climbed down to the steps leading into the water - you need to be a strong swimmer - and it was quite something. We had lunch and then just chilled Jamaican style in a hammock and drank rum punch.
That night we ate in one of the caves. It was an amazing experience and something we are unlikely to do in the near future. The staff were amazing in the way they set the cave up, there were candles everywhere it was so romantic.
We had an amazing dinner; John in particular loved the goat curry, while I had the freshest fish! As we sat enjoying our meal the waves were crashing against the rocks and it was truly awesome. Everyone staying here should experience the caves dining.
Friday 09 November
Today we leave the Caves and head East to Oracebessa and Goldeneye (3.5 hrs) with our Caves driver Michael, or as he is know as locally 007. We had a really great time in Negril. The staff are amazing, food was good and this place is totally unique. Don't miss the Sunset in the hot tub.
Although it was a long drive we saw a lot of the Island, including the Highway that Queen Elizabeth II opened in 1953 and the place Christopher Columbus landed in 1494. The weather was certainly changing the further west we went and we were starting to see a storm brewing. Nothing could of prepared us for Goldeneye. It was absolutely amazing and again so different from Roundhill & the Caves.
We were given cold towels and a welcome drink. Our room wasn't quite ready, as we were early, so we had a wonderful lunch in the Bizot Bar. After lunch we checked into our Lagoon Suite, complete with its own Kayak and outside rain shower. The room was huge and we had a very large deck with sun loungers and table and chairs. That afternoon we chilled out on the deck and swam in the Lagoon. We had an amazing dinner in the Gazebo. John definitely recommends the Rack of Lamb.
Saturday 10 November
We awoke to a windy morning, so decided to have a very leisurely breakfast. I recommend the Porridge. After breakfast we explored the property as well as taking our kayak out. We then decided to have a spa treatment. I swam from our suite and John kayaked to the spa. We had great massages, the staff were very professional, and just as we were heading back the storm came in and it never stopped raining all day and night. Did it spoil our fun? Not at all, we enjoyed the Bizot bar! That night we ate again in the Gazebo and the food was a good as the night before. After dinner we had drinks in bar.
Sunday 11 November
Today we left Goldeneye and moved onto Jamaica Inn. Before we left we were fortunate to see the Ian Fleming Villa, where he wrote his novels. A lot of the furniture is original. Goldeneye was amazing thanks to the staff and amazing food. As Mikey our driver set off for the 30-minute drive to Jamaica Inn, we both realized how lucky we'd been to stay in three of the most amazing properties on the Island.
We arrived at Jamaica Inn and were met by Inl & Zion, the adorable Cocker Spaniels. That was me smitten. We were given the compulsory Jamaican Rum Punch while we waited for our room. Jamaica Inn was again totally different from the three other hotels we stayed in.
It has an old world charm and the setting is fantastic overlooking the white sandy beach. We then grabbed some lunch. I definitely recommend the Caesar Salad with shrimps and a glass of the chilled French wine. We then checked into our Deluxe Oceanfront Suite. Our balcony was huge; we overlooked the ocean and could even see fish swimming around.
The balcony was great as it had a sofa, soft chair and table for two to have your meals on. We lounged about for the rest of the day and as we had a storm that night, we ate in the Terrace Restaurant. I recommend the snapper.
Monday 12 November
We woke to a very sunny Jamaican day and after the biggest breakfast ever we took to our sun beds, where we stayed all day. Drinks were brought to us and if you don't fancy moving at all you can have lunch on your sun bed.
That night we had dinner under the stars with the band playing in the background. After dinner we went back to our suite and sat on the balcony listening to the waves lapping against the rocks - what a relaxing day!
Tuesday 13 November
Today we thought we should be active, so we hired some snorkelling gear and off we went. Unfortunately due to the recent storms the visibility was poor, but we still had fun. Back at the beach bar, Teddy, who has been with the hotel forever, was ready to serve us our drinks. We didn't even need to ask him, he was always there with the correct drinks.
We had a great send off tonight. There was a beach barbeque with more food than you could even begin to imagine. Tables were set up on the beach, so we kicked off our shoes and had a wonderful night.
Wednesday 14 November
Today we checked out of Jamaica Inn and caught our transfer to Montego Airport. We had an amazing stay, with fantastic staff, service and food.
We had no idea what to expect in Jamaica, but we were totally blown away. It is an amazing island with great culture, scenery and people. Nothing was ever too much trouble for the staff in the hotels. They are genuinely really passionate about their country and what they do. All four hotels were totally different and such a good contrast. We recommend that you do at least a two-centre style trip to get the feel of the Island. We can't wait to return.
Alison Kent & John Albert