Vacation Destination #1 - Jamaica

Today's vacation destination review will be Jamaica!!!

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I am starting with Jamaica because it's a country that 1. we've been to, and 2. we're willing to return to.  (We decided recently that we probably won't return to the Dominican Republic.  Although we had a good time there, too many people that we know have had bad experiences, so we're nixing it from our least - at least for this particular trip.)

It's also easiest to start with this post, because I have a lot of pictures and personal experience that I can share.

When we went to Jamaica, we stayed at the Breezes Runaway Bay Resort.

The trapeze and beach view from the buffet seating area

We booked this resort based on conversations with our travel agent, who mentioned that it had been upgraded, and because she knew that we wanted an adults-only resort with lots of included activities.  The resort was beautiful, the staff was excellent, and the food was decent.  We learned very quickly that it's best to eat at the buffet for breakfast and lunch but to do a fine-dining restaurant in the evening, since dinner at the buffet was often leftovers from lunch.  We never had any problem getting reservations at the two fine-dining restaurants, and the third didn't require reservations.  We only ate dinner at the buffet once - the first night.  The rest of the nights we at at restaurants and the last night was the "Managers Buffet" which was poolside and excellent.

One of my meals from the Italian restaurant, Pastafari

Our initial room was nice, but early on we noticed that there was a weird sewer smell coming out of the bathroom whenever a lot of people were showering or using the water.  We mentioned this to the front desk the first day and they sent someone to "fix" it.  The second day, when it wasn't fixed, we mentioned it again, and they offered to switch us to a different room the next day (they were booked that particular day because it was a Saturday.)  When we moved to our new room, we were pleased to find that it not only was sewer-smell free, but that it was newly renovated and had it's own private patio and pool!!!  We LOVED our private pool and used it every day for the rest of the trip.

Oh how I loved that pool..... 

Did it suck that our first room smelled bad? Yes, absolutely.  But the way that the staff dealt with the situation and worked to remedy it made all the difference to us, and definitely bought our loyalty.  On other note, when you're looking at hotel brochures and you see those rooms with the private pools, it's so easy to say, "I don't need that."  But ooooooohhhh.... they are so nice.  If we ever went back, we would definitely pay for the upgraded room.  With a husband who likes the shade and me who loves the hot hot sun, the private shaded patio and pool in the sun was a match made in heaven.

Finally, there are few other reasons why we would return to Breezes Runaway Bay.

1. The energy and attitude of all of the people - staff and guests both - was amazing.  Everyone was there to have a good time. Everyone was friendly to everyone else.  It made me want to go back with my friends and family.  It inspired this ENTIRE trip.

2. We didn't have to wait in line for reservations or beach chairs.  There were always more than enough chairs available whether it was by the pool or by the beach.  No one was pushy, no one needed to "reserve" chairs.  We could make reservations for dinner up until 3 p.m. each day.  Not once did we have to wait in line early in the morning.

3. The activities were great.  D and I aren't ones to participate, but we were highly amused just watching others.  From drinking games to beach volleyball, there was something for everyone.  We took advantage of everything that we could, including the trapeze lessons, snorkeling, wind sailing, and kayaking.  Everything was real and available (I say "real" because in the Dominican Republic, things that were advertised weren't always available.)

The trapeze - one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life
If we did return to Jamaica, I would also be willing to check out some of the other resorts, including the Sandals or some of the other SuperClubs-owned resorts.  Also of note is that many of the destinations in Jamaica are adults-only, so no little ones allowed.  Breezes does not have any "couples-only" restrictions, although it's possible that other places will have this restriction.  I'm not anticipating that this will be an issue, since I can't think of anyone that we know that is single and would consider going, but I suppose it's always a possibility!
Finally, things that we did not like about Jamaica was dealing with the constant attempt by locals to sell us drugs.  We were asked repeatedly if we wanted to buy drugs whenever we left the resort  - on the resort was fine though. Shopping was an awful experience because the shop-keepers were very pushy, but we're not big on shopping anyway, so we just walked away.  But it is disappointed that I wasn't even able to browse without feeling totally itimidated.
Have you ever been to Jamaica?  Did you stay at any great places???


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