Jamaica is one of my favorite travel destinations for some light island fun and relaxation. Although the streets of Jamaica are impoverished and often sad to look at I really enjoy the positive, care-free nature of Jamaican culture. I have been to Jamaica 4 times in my life and each has been better then the last. My first three trips were to the same resort company which is on the cheaper side for all inclusive stays; my last Jamaican undertaking was at Beaches Negril, a more upscale, family oriented all inclusive resort.
My very first stay was at Sunset Jamaica grande in Ocho Rios about 10 years ago now. I don’t remember very much about the details of my stay, other then the drive from the airport to the resort being much longer then we had anticipated due to highway construction and having an amazing time otherwise.
The next time my family travelled to Jamaica we stayed at the previous locations sister resort: Sunset Beach Resort (now under new ownership and name: Sunscape Splash Montego Bay). My third stay, with friends for spring break during my sophomore year of college in 2012, was at this same location due to all the great memories I had from family vacations to the same resort. Sunset Beach is close to the airport at a quick 15-20 minute shuttle or cab ride so arrange for your flight to arrive earlier in the day so you can enjoy some sunshine. Upon our arrival we were provided our wristbands (which apparently they no longer require) and were escorted to a beautiful room. My first stay at this location was in a deluxe resort view room and my second stay, with friends, was in the tower. Both rooms were clean, decked out in Caribbean decor and cold, which is an amazing bonus for me in warm climates. Sunscape offers a variety of rooms and suites with a number of views and amenities; these accommodations include balcony or terraces, family suites, king queen and bunkbeds, in-room mini bars and more.
What I love most about Sunscape Splash Montego bay is that there is so much to do, alongside plenty of personable staff for a more then reasonable price. First of all, it is an all-inclusive or what they like to call an ‘unlimited-fun‘ resort; this means that pretty much anything that you could possible need during your stay is included in your vacation price. For example, as a guest you will have 24 hour access to food and beverage (especially alcoholic beverages), a variety of restaurants and bars that do not require reservations of gratuities, endless land and water activities for the whole family as well as local music and daily opportunities for entertainment.
You can spend the day by the pool, bar, beach or waterpark and never miss any of the exciting activities offered. There are hourly games and challenges to be had by guests of all ages that offer up enjoyment, entertainment and often prizes! For example, I won a reggae CD and a bottle of rum by competing in a challenge where I had to catch a certain number of ping pong balls, thrown by staff members, into a red cup; my friends participated in a poolside chugging challenge and lost, miserably, to a local; and my mother competed in a game where she had a golf ball hanging between her legs, attached to her waist, and she had to continuously hip thrust to propel the ball into the side of an upside down cup in a race against my aunt. It was quite hysterical, not to mention she won herself a bottle of rum as well and a pretty necklace!
There are family and kids activities such as relay races and treasure hunts on the beach and in the water park but the best games and activities are reserved for the adults! If getting up in front of a crown and participating in silly challenges isn’t your thing you can also enjoy the water park which sports two water slides and a lazy river, multiple water sports down at the beach such as kayaking and snorkeling, daily kids and teen clubs/activities and additional tours and excursions at various prices. Excursions can range from swimming with dolphins, to a unique golfing experience or a trip my family and I have been on more then once to Dunn’s River Falls. Dunn’s River Falls is a great family outing however it is not suitable for very young children, under 3 years old, seeing as you are ‘climbing’ a waterfall. There are also night time, adult excursions. A friend of mine decided the resort night life wan’t good enough for him so he booked a bus to Margaritaville for the night with some friends we had made during our stay. The group bus tour ensured safe passage through the night time streets of Montego Bay and included his cover charge and access to a rooftop bar. Margaritaville is also a day time destination. My friend and I stayed back at the resort and enjoyed our night at the starlight lounge alongside other guests and resort staff!
We ate a lot of buffet meals for sake of convenience and because I LOVE food and variety so putting the two together is like heaven on earth. The buffet is served for all three meals of the day and includes classic american favorites, local cuisine, Italian, and Asian. There are 6 dining varieties on the resort including the buffet, three à la carte restaurants and a grill and a cafe. Under new ownership, there are two additional dining experiences for Sun Club members only. One of my favorite restaurants for all three of my stays was Da Mario which offers Mediterranean cuisine in a relaxed and friendly environments. Another great option is Porto Fino, however it is now only open to Sun Club members. Food is great however, the absolute best part of all inclusive stays is the 24 hour availability of beverages – especially alcoholic beverages. Be willing to leave your comfort zone and try some local favorite beverages and don’t forget you have to get your first beverage in before noon.
The beauty of all-inclusive stays is relaxation. You’re able to relax because the aspects of your vacation that are an absolute must, eating, drinking, sleeping arrangements and activities to fulfill your day, are taken care of. It allows for piece of mind and absolute freedom to go on and do whatever it is you desire day in an day out.