I had never been to the Caribbean and not imagined that the chance would come my way. But Jamaica, beautiful, stunning Jamaica, took my breath away, and now I crave the chance to go back. Hopefully one day, I will.
If that sounds a bit over the top, well, it's justified. Jessica and I were only in Jamaica, in the Negril resort, for four days in mid December. However, despite the rainy British weather since our return, we can still feel the recuperative effects.
But let me take you back to the wonderful day (seriously!) when Jessica and I were invited to the Beaches Resort. The idea, of course, was that we lucky people would sample the delights of this special place and then report back. I have to admit that it wasn't the most onerous task I have ever been given.
The resort had just been voted top hotel for families in the Caribbean in Tripadvisor's Traveller's Choice Awards as well as being put in the top 25 all-inclusive resorts in the world. We had never stayed in an all-inclusive resort and were extremely curious about what to expect. Could it really be as good as all that?
We flew from Gatwick to Montego Bay which took 10 hours, the longest flight Jessica has ever taken. But even that didn't seem to matter. I genuinely think it was worth it, and of course, even more so if you are staying for longer.
You can watch Jessica's video for details of some of the many things we did there, but please read below for more detail.
Beaches Negril is around an hour and a half from Montego Bay (transfers are included). There is something strange about flying to a different country and hardly seeing any of it - most people who come to Beaches spend their time in the resort, which has more than enough to entertain the whole family - so I was pleased that we did get out a little, to visit a school. But more of that fascinating trip in another post.
Firstly I need to tell you about the resort. It is stunning, located on the widest stretch of Negril's seven mile white sand beach. The sea is glorious, clear, blue, and warm. We even saw fish darting around our feet when we took a swim.
Inside the huge resort (12 acres on the Long Bay Beach front, and eight on the garden side) there are two lovely swimming pools, a lazy river (such fun) and pirate water slides, plus an incredible array of restaurants, from buffet style and Tex Mex to Italian (you can slimb out of the pool, order your pizza and garlic bread and be buzzed when they are ready) and fine dining. We particularly enjoyed Kimonos, the Japanese restaurant, where your food is cooked in front of you, and the Parisian cafe, where I had rather too many rum truffles.
We were completely overwhelmed by the fact that all of this was included, as were the drinks. You don't have to carry any money with you - you just ask whatever you want and it's given to you. On one evening there was also an amazing chocolate buffet, with fondue, chocolate martinis and more. Honestly, it's a bit like magic.
Jessica threw herself into all of this with gusto, especially when it came to the (non-alcoholic) cocktails. I have never been to a place where you finish your drink, are immediately offered another, and it seems really stupid to refuse!
Beaches is set up for families, so there is a Kids club, which operates all day, and a nursery with qualified staff. There is even a programme for teens and I have to say that everyone I saw there looked happy - I don't think you could get bored here.
Kids of all ages (um, and adults) will love the (supervised) Xbox Lounge. It's probably the first one of these I've ever seen which has enough screens for everyone. Mind you, I enjoyed the basketball game outside even more (and you can see me playing it in our video, above), and I also loved playing crazy golf (probably because I won).
The resort has a tie-up with Sesame Street, and there are activities and even parades with Sesame Street characters. This will obviously suit young children more, but even we could see that it was great fun.
We had "mommy and me" facials, and I felt obliged to try out a massage, which was absolutely brilliant. Due to my always painful shoulders and neck, I have a high standard when it comes to these. I wasn't disappointed.
We loved swimming, the sun (of course there are more than enough sun loungers, as well as balls to play with in the pools) and the excursions. We saw and held starfish and sea urchins when we went on a glass bottom boat, and Jess swam in a cave when she went on a fabulous catamaran cruise.
|The spa offers treatments for mums, dads and kids!|
We were also blown away by the Silver Birds steel band which entertained us one evening. The music - which included a Michael Jackson tribute among a huge range of songs - and dancing were fabulous. Who knew a steel band could be so entertaining?
I feel like I'm making you jealous, and I'm not trying to. In fact, each time we mention Jamaica in our house, Robert tells us to stop (he would have loved it, and I feel awful about that), and my husband laughs. You see, it was just sensational.
The only negatives of course are nothing at all to do with the resort, or what we did (the staff couldn't have been friendlier, the place more enjoyable). But I know you will want to know how much it cost, and it's not cheap. A friend of mine asked me if I thought it was worth it, but that's an impossible question to answer. If you have this kind of money and want to spend it on a holiday where you can relax and the whole family are guaranteed to enjoy themselves, then yes it is. And blimey, I am desperate to return!
Jessica and I stayed in a Negril Honeymoon Beachfront Grande Luxe Concierge Room
Disclosure note: this post was brought to you with assistance from Beaches, who offered us this holiday as part of a bloggers' trip. The opinions, photos, videos and everything else are all ours!
Seven nights staying at Beaches Negril Resort & Spa, on a Luxury Included® (all-inclusive) basis costs from £1,989 per adult and £1,075 per child. A family of four costs from £6,129. Return flights, resort transfers, tips, gourmet speciality dining, premium branded alcohol and soft drinks, and watersports are all included in the price. For further information or to make a booking, contact your local travel agent, call Beaches Resorts on 0800 597 0002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Excursions on the island are bookable through Island Routes Caribbean Adventures (www.islandroutes.co.uk). Price is based on travel on selected dates in May/June 2014.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BEACHES RESORTS AND PARTICULARLY BEACHES NEGRIL, PLEASE VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.
If you liked this video, please take a look at our (rather shaky) video of our trip to Paris!
Labels: beach holiday, Beaches Negril, Jamaica, Negril, Sandals, Silver Birds