My husband and I received our stay through Spirit Incentives and went into this trip a bit skeptical of what might happen. I did alot of research on this villa as well as tours on the island. My biggest suggestion to people staying here is to get a rental car. Jennifer indicated that they have a shuttle, and while they do, they only have 1. There were about 6 couples staying during our time there, and my husband and I felt trapped. The Chill-Out Hut beach really isn't much of a beach and it would be fairly difficult to walk there. Duran was a super nice driver, but he was super busy with all of the guests and not always available when we wanted to go somewhere. His prices are also a bit steep. $20/person to go to Falmouth. $70/person to go to Ocho Rio. $12/person to go to Montego Bay. $35 for the shuttle from the airport. Please keep in mind, they work on Jamaican time - if you want to leave at 5pm, you might not actually leave until 6pm.
Tours - We booked a zipline tour before we got to the island and had no problem with the tour company picking us up at the villa. When emailing Jennifer, she suggested we wait to book more tours until we got there. On her suggestion, I waited, but I was very disappointed. We wanted to go white water rafting and had the tour company info, but I left the tour making in Jennifer's hands, and we ended up tubing down the Martha Brae. It was a pleasant experience and the guides were great, but a completely different experience than what we were after. The Greenwood Greathouse is literally a 5-10 minute walk straight up the hill from the villa. That was great because it was on my To Do list.
Accomodations - I went in to this with low expectations and I'm glad I did. Good things - the view is excellent. The bed was comfortable and clean, we had cable and wireless internet. Bad things - a window in our room didn't fully shut and there was no screen on it. I refused to unpack because the dresser drawers had hair and hair accessories that weren't mine. The bathroom was okay, but we had issues with the water while we were there. No hot water on our 1st morning. That night, we had no water at all. Jennifer explained that they have to turn on an electric pump if the pressure gets too low, and after that was on, I had a nice, very hot bath that night. After talking to others on the island, we also learned that Jamaica limits water the residential areas so that the resorts have plenty.
Staff - the staff was super nice. The food was also tasty if slightly overpriced, but all of the food on the island was priced high. You have to remember this is more of a bed and breakfast than a resort, and the owner's live here with their family. As a result, you get to meet the family and a neighbor's dogs, and the families 3 daughters. If you're going on a couples trip to escape your own kids, this probably isn't the place for you. My husband tried to be very patient, but we left our 4 kids in the US so having a 4 year old demanding to play with his I-phone and Angry Birds when we were trying to relax outside in the garden was a bit much. We tried to take it in stride, but after a temper tantum because another guest's 4 yr old son wasn't doing what she wanted, I had to step in and be a mom and tell her to knock it off and go sit somewhere else if she didn't like what he was doing. We were trying to relax and they were insisting on sitting with us.
Cleaning complaint - the staff is limited so I try to be understanding here, but we came back from our 2nd day tour to find our room completely open - outside balcony door and inside door. The staff was cleaning all of the upstairs rooms and all of the rooms were unlocked and open and the staff wasn't in it. They were in other rooms. Anyone could have gone in if they had wanted to. The TV in our room was also up at full blast while they used music streaming out of it.
Our solution was transferring hotels. We completed 2 of our 4 nights, and after getting back from our 2nd tour, we realized we were pretty much stuck. There was no one around who could offer us a ride anywhere, and it was 1pm. We used our I-phones including the Marriott app to find a different solution. We tried booking at the Iberostar which is right down the road, but their reservation desk was horrible (never answered) and no one else seemed to know how to make reservations. Marriott's Ritz Carlton was able to help and even sent a taxi to come get us. We were able to settle our tab with Jennifer, and we were on our way to a different experience.
This would be a good place if you were looking for low cost and only wanted a place to sleep. If you had a way to keep yourself busy from sun up to sun down, this might be a solution for you.
I wish Jennifer and her staff the best as they were genuinely nice people. This just wasn't a good fit for us.
- Also Known As:
- Emerald View Hotel Montego Bay
- Emerald View Hotel
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