Author: Lisa C.
Date of Trip: July 2011
Jammin’ In Jamaica ~ 20-year Customers of Sandals All-Inclusives & Still Lovin’ It!
We typically spend our anniversaries in remote, waterfront locations, sometimes low-budget, paddling down the James River near-home and scooping a deal on a B&B…but every other odd-numbered anniversary we like to go ‘full tilt’ and we’ve found the most spectacular place in which to do so, three times over! Sandals Grande Riviera, in Ocho Rios, Jamaica ~ Book directly at their web-site or better yet, call your local travel agent, who knows the straight-skinny on the various booking categories, plus there are so many amenities, extras and upgrades available, it always pays to ask a professional if you don’t already possess the ‘insider’s knowledge’. Using a travel agent is a win-win because when you want to travel globally, you should always book locally or get accustomed to the fact that when you get a crappy room, less than you expected service-wise or you have one of those random glitches in your itinerary which often occur…those ‘global’ website folks won’t mind a bit if you have to hold until eternity nor do they ever have to FACE you or your travel issues, unlike your caring and ever-mindful travel agent that lives down the street and who knows what you REALLY want! Easier is NOT always mo’ better, Mon! Ok, enough plugs for agents, but I will send a thanks to the super-sweet agent who offered us her ‘special rates’ on a concierge-level room in our favorite location within this stunningly beautiful resort. “Thanks, Kandi! WE Loved It Again & Love IS All You Need!!”
There is never a dull moment in the entire week’s stay, where our luxurious balcony overlooks the swim-up pool bar and the Amphitheatre and is where we can enjoy watching all sorts of rambunctious and stimulating activities. From fun karaoke nights and talent shows in the Amphitheatre, live Nationally-known Reggae artists’ productions perform here as well, you can sign up for snorkel trips leaving 4-5 times daily, scuba-diving, as well as training necessary to do so, or you might choose to play billiards or book a Butler or a spa treatment; Returning guests are always invited to special catered functions as we are considered SSG’s = Sandals Signature Guests, or select from 5 full-service restaurants, find several nightclubs in full swing most anytime of the day or night, and a roster-full of off-sight activities to choose from such as Blue Mountain bike-riding, rafting down the Martha Brae River, visiting Bob Marley’s home in 9-mile or taking a shuttle over to one of the 6 other Sandals resorts for the day. Don’t forget to visit the nearby Dunn’s River Falls or take in the Dolphin Encounter Experience. You’ll spend time doing all sorts of fun things together until you fall into bed every single night you’re there, exhausted and slumbering peacefully in the super-soft linens.
The rooms have all been recently revamped with elegant carved mahogany beds and rattan furniture, marble-tiled, Kohler outfitted baths and mellow colored paint comingled to make the rooms seem so much swankier! Sexy-time is anytime in super-secluded hideaways just about everywhere you look; hang about in your bikini, relaxing in a concierge-level cabana all afternoon and enjoy as many Bombay & tonics as you want; No Problem, mon! From the super-cool piano bar, sandy beach-side flip-flop bar, sushi bar, or Manor-side bar, you name it there is a bar for you! The swim-up pool bartenders are ready to ‘rock and roll’, pouring you any liquor and all the liquor you want, full shots, on the rocks, one for all and best of all, it’s all included! We lock our wallets in the wall-safe the first day and (other than $ for the random ‘local services’ we enjoy) we never need our wallets ’til we are packing up to leave. We decided to visit Mystic Mountain to take in the zip-line and full-tilt rainforest bob-sledding rides– simply Amazing and Awesome adventures combined with a ski lift to make it real easy– read my TripAdvisor.com review (click link http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g147312-d1464337-r115998484-Rainforest_Bobsled_Jamaica_at_Mystic_Mountain-Ocho_Rios_Jamaica.html#REVIEWS) and just remember, be sure to get there early when you go!
We also like to support the locals by using the local fishing and tour guides, our favorite of which was found right were we left him back in 2008,,,sitting at the nearby dockside in his wooden boat. Our man “Spider” takes us out for a1/2 day’s fishing in the beautiful, clear-blue Caribbean Sea once again, and we are never disappointed although we’ve only caught one barracuda on a past occasion, as it really isn’t about the ‘catching’…it’s all about spending some face time and sharing some money with the locals, Mon! Our man delivered us to Dunn’s River by boat before the officially “open to Tourists time” back in ’08, also providing his son, Kugi, as our guide to help us up to the top of the falls and down again, we exited before anyone arrived! We also find out from Spider that Sandals’ owner, Butch Stewart, recently gave him several large (albeit outdated) Penn fishing rods and reels for his only other rods were rudimentary at best!
You just Gotta Love that Butch, Mon! And We Love Sandals, Mon! Once you go, you know!!