My husband and I stayed at The SPA Retreat for four nights in April and our only complaint was that it wasn't long enough! We had high hopes for the hotel based on pictures we had seen and reviews we had read, but the property exceeded our expectations. The stonework and lush tropical landscaping were beautiful, but what really struck us initially was how peaceful it felt! We stayed in Octagon 2, which had gorgeous views from every window and door and we left the windows and doors open much of the time to smell the sea breeze and abundant tropical flowers. We loved the feeling of privacy we felt, and it was like a second honeymoon (after 17 years of marraige), staying in the unique stone cottages.
One of our very favorite things to do was snorkel right on sight, and we spent two mornings viewing the amazing world found just under the surface. We had thought that we were going to reserve a boat and guide to take us somewhere to snorkel, but decided against it when we found the snorkeling so amazing in the reefs in front of the hotel. The best snorkeling is found in front of where the spa is located. The reefs were teeming with a variety of colored fish and many times we were surrounded by clouds of small silver fish. The most beautiful thing we saw was a giant spotted eagle ray gracefully swimming by.
We would recommend requesting Howie to drive you around if you want to venture off the property. He is so friendly, with a ready smile, and told us all about what we were seeing and really knew his way around. He took us to Rick's Cafe and Mayfield Falls (which we would recommend) through the mountains and knew just the place when we wanted to try some local food for lunch. We tried "Juicy Patties" and had a pattie, which was a flaky pastry filled with meat or vegetables, and coco bread. He also took us to some local vendors to try all kinds of fruits that we had never heard of, and got us a great deal on jetskiing. We also used Donavan, who was a great driver as well, who took us to try fresh coconuts and to the craft market.
The staff was so friendly and helpful, but nonintrusive. We fell in love with Sherrill who helped us with breakfast every morning and was sweet and easy to talk to. Wayne, the bartender, was really great as well. Neither I nor my husband drink alcohol, and Wayne had fun creating different virgin drinks for us to try. Dian, at the front desk, went above and beyond to help make sure we had everything just the way we wanted it. Everyone was ready with an easy smile and willing to do anything they could to accomodate us.
We would recommend getting a massage while you stay. The spa is going to be gorgeous when it is completed, but it didn't matter that it wasn't done while we were there. We had our couples massage seaside, under a white fabric-draped awning, and nothing could be more relaxing than hearing only the sea crash against the reefs, feel the cool sea breeze, smell the salty air and the abundant flowers, all while having a relaxing massage. Michelle gave me the best massage of my life, and my husband said that Daniesha did a very good job as well.
We ate many of our meals at The Blue Mahoe, on site. We only went all-inclusive one day, since we were out and about during lunch, but the other days we got the package that included breakfast and dinner. For breakfast, we enjoyed the omelettes, muffins, fresh juice and akee and saltfish (the Jamaican national dish). The best thing we had at lunch was the coconut shrimp. Dinner was delicious. We really enjoyed the appetizers, so order more than one! The coconut shrimp and calamari were our favorite, but the bruchetta and lobster skewers were a close second. Our favorite entrees were the scotch bonnet chicken, the surf and turf, and the coconut snapper, but everything was very good. Our favorite sides were the bammy and the callaloo.
All in all, we were surprised how relaxing and peaceful it was. We really felt that we had made the right decision going with a smaller, boutique type property, especially after visiting seven mile beach with it's crowds of people and more commercial feel. This is the perfect getaway if you want peace, quiet, relaxation and beauty, but in easy reach of lots of exciting and interesting things to do and see. We would love to go back!!
The octogans (cottages) are the most unique and have the best view. Octogan 1 is close to the resta...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC