Jamaica 2014

Left Sunny Gatwick on 16th February bound for Montego Bay…

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There was a lack of staff on the Virgin desk, just before half term, I was slightly surprised but despite getting there three hours before our flight, we made it through just in time to board.

Ten hours later, 17:25 we arrive at Montego Bay Airport.

Jamaica is where my grandparents are from, so it’s certainly not my first trip but I always do leave a piece of my heart here, simply because of the beauty of the place, the people and the food.

Transfer to the hotel was only about 15 minutes as we were staying in the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel. Upon arriving Brandon got us all checked in smoothly and was incredibly hospitable, this was to be a good indication of what to expect from every staff member on site.

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The hotel had one main pool surrounded by sun beds with some cabanas. ( note: these cabanas are not in the all inclusive deal and cost $US99 per day or half that for a half day – shocking ) There was also a “water park” consisted of a lazy river and two slides, one large / high one and one small, leading into a pool with a swim up bar.

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Lastly there was a beach. They have giant chess… Paddle ball and table tennis tables ( shame they didn’t have pool tables – I fancied that!)

Eateries: Fresh : where all the buffets were for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Seaside Grill : lunch overlooking the beach.
Mangoes: Lunch next to the water park.They also have an italian on – site, the name escapes me but we didn’t get there, however be warned you need to book in advance.

They also have Three Palms which is 5 minutes up the golf course by shuttle. An okay restaurant… You have to book this in advance…. This is also the case for the Italian restaurant on-site as well.

We quickly worked out there weren’t enough sun beds dotted about during the half term week. I witnessed people putting out towels at 6am and not returning till well after breakfast at 10/11 to reclaim beds.

Food at Fresh was good, a good mix but sometimes the “American / European” selection took over. I’m shocked at how many people come on holiday to eat pizza and chips and completely miss out on the great food Jamaica has to offer. Donald the chef quickly worked out that we needed the “jamaican” selection more than the other guests and took care of us!

We were granted with ackee and saltfish, dumplings and fried plantain and also some cornmeal porridge.

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The staff on this resort were absolutely fantastic! They are the assets of this place. Everywhere we went, absolutely everyone was lovely… Front desk, spa, maids, catering, waitresses, lifeguards. All of them!

We quickly worked out a lot of the other guests never left the resort. All 14 of us certainly had other ideas!

First stop: Beautiful Negril!

We stopped at Bourbon Beach along the infamous seven mile beach in Negril…Yes we brought with us…Music, Dominoes and Vibes… The locals came and joined in…

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We stayed at Bourbon Beach. Pulled out the docking station and dominoes. Ordered some lobster and festival and experienced one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in the world…
We even popped in across the road to buy some souvenirs.
After a beautiful day off we went to Rick’s Cafe to see the sunset. We didn’t eat here after eating like kings at bourbon but the menu looked intriguing!

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Next road trip: Kingston. It’s about a 4 1/2 drive from Mo’Bay so we decided to stop off at places on the way….
Ochi: for Dunns River

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St Thomas : for comfort break

Port Antonio: blue lagoon and a Jerk stop

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Boston jerk: home of jerk

Yes we saw a lady making dutch pots and naturally negotiations took place and one was purchased. That uh was not fitting in my luggage allowance – I can tell you!

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Jerk Chicken and Festival – Freshhhhh!

Final stop: Spanish Court Hotel – New Kingston. Lovely boutique hotel with lovely staff also. We spent one night here, hotel with all the modcons, luscious shower and bath! Had a nice dinner and breakfast here…

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Now it was time to meet up with some more friends who happened to be in town as well and we headed over to Terranova hotel to Regency Bar ( where I had the worlds worst cocktail : vanilla rose – no vanilla in if just lime! Food looked great tho!) then onto Club Privilege … Where we met Usain Bolt and witnessed him spin a few tunes… I certainly didn’t bank on that chance meeting.

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After the dance we headed over to Pita Grill, 5 minutes from Privilege and I got myself a plantain and egg wrap in callaloo bread! Brilliant! Back to the hotel for 3 hours sleep!

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Next stop: Bob Marley Museum & Devon House. Museum is $US20 to get in and they won’t let you take photos unless you pay! you also go on a tour. Then we travelled two minutes down the road to Devon House. If you don’t get time to do the tour just do the ice cream and patty! Best I’ve ever had! I can highly recommend the beef and cheese patty.

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On the way home… We stopped at Faith Penn Food Stop then onto home for a quick change and off to a restaurant called Houseboat. Houseboat is downtown in Mo’ Bay and roughly 10 minutes from the hotel.

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Lovely setting, beautiful food, absolutely terrible service that evening. They completely rushed us and messed up the bill…. It’ll take a lot for me to return here.

The next day we spent some time in the Lazy River water park and then it was time to ready up and depart after ten days of “Holiday” … I’m not gearing to come back to see some places I didn’t get to see, there’s so much to see and do in Jamaica, ten days makes it pretty impossible to do it all.

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