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Newbie to Jamaica - Resort?

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Cincinnati, Ohio
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Newbie to Jamaica - Resort?

I am trying to plan a trip for my husband and I. We haven't been anywhere since our honeymoon - 7 years ago. We are 37 and 42 (no kids) and are looking for a quieter atmosphere to chill on the beach and relax.

My husband's top priority is Excellent Service (our honeymoon to Mexico was a disaster).

My top priority is not to get food poisoning (again, Mexico)

Close to the airport.... ie, not over 20-30 min

Budget: I'd like to keep it under $4500 for the week.

All Inclusive: I guess? My husbands is a pretty big drinker so I assume AI would be best.

We don't plan to leave the resort....

I'm not too big on nudity, even though my husband doesn't mind (imagine that)

Timeframe: May?

Any opinions of Sandals or Secrets? Iberostar Grand Rose Hall? I've read reviews til I'm blue in the face and it's driving me nuts. Iberostar seems to have the best reviews

Thanks in advance!.

Woodville, Canada
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57 posts
15 reviews
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1. Re: Newbie to Jamaica - Resort?

We have stayed at the Riu in Ocho Rios and twice at the one in Negril, Negril is the one I would recommend for you to try. Abit further than the half hour from the airport you were talking about. Stellar service,beautiful beach and the kids that work at the resort are awesome. Natalie at ScubaCaribe, Everton, resort photographer, Cooper at the beach bar,Yanique at the lobby bar...they make you feel like you've come back home. This year we are booked to go back to Ocho Rios and make that side of the island feel like home too. But we are already talking Negril 2015!

Michigan
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2. Re: Newbie to Jamaica - Resort?

I've only been to the Sandals Grande Riviera, which was awesome, but from what I've read, it sounds to me like you are describing Sandals Royal Caribbean. It is close to the airport, quiet and relaxing, etc plus, you can shuttle over to Mo Bay or the Carlisle for a change of scenery.

United States
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11,245 posts
115 reviews
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3. Re: Newbie to Jamaica - Resort?

"My top priority is not to get food poisoning"

I have never found this in Jamaica but it can happen anywhere.

"Close to the airport.... ie, not over 20-30 min"

This means you want a resort in Montego Bay or Rose Hall. All other areas are over 30 min. from the airport. Resorts listed as Negril or Ocho Rios can be from 1 hr. 20 min. to 1 hr. 45 min. from the airport.

"Budget: I'd like to keep it under $4500 for the week."

There are a number of selections in this price range if the budget listed is for the hotel only (airfare is not included).

"All Inclusive: I guess? My husbands is a pretty big drinker so I assume AI would be best."

For a "big drinker" an AI is a good idea.

"We don't plan to leave the resort...."

I recommend leaving any resort. Jamaica is a beautiful island. The option is available if you change your mind.

"I'm not too big on nudity, even though my husband doesn't mind"

The option is available at some resorts in Montego Bay.

"Any opinions of Sandals or Secrets? Iberostar Grand Rose Hall?"

They all look to be what you are aiming for and are quality resorts. From your requirements I would pick Secrets first. as it is in a rather isolated location but only about 10 min. from the airport and is adults only. Second choice would be Sandals Royal Carribbean as it is adults only, is known for good service, and you can dispense with the bikini if you wish. Third choice is the Ibersosar Grand which is also a first rate adults only resort but shares the beach and some facilities with 2 other Iberostar hotels that do allow children.

The only other places I would consider are: 1) Sandals Montego Bay which is nice but a bit too close (about 150 yards) from the airport for me, 2) Round Hill which accepts children and offers all inclusive as an option, and 3) Half Moon which accepts children and offers all inclusive as an option.

Edited: 16 January 2014, 18:08
Calgary
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4,148 posts
7 reviews
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4. Re: Newbie to Jamaica - Resort?

Aquarius: If you want to stay close to the airport and Sandals interests you I would suggest either Sandals Montego Bay or Sandals Royal Caribbean. SRC is more laid back and yes, there is a clothing optional beach on the private island for your hubby! But that can be avoided. The fun thing about both of these resorts is that you can stay at one and go to all three in Montego Bay. More dining choices and different beaches. Excellent service? Then it's Sandals. The staff will treat you like gold no matter which room category you choose. About Negril, that's our destination of choice but it is a hour and twenty minutes from the airport.

Burlington, New...
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239 posts
36 reviews
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5. Re: Newbie to Jamaica - Resort?

I love SRC. It's about 10 mins from the airport. The staff is terrific. Everyone from the lowest to highest level is approachable and helpful. No issue too small.

I know the food is delicious, never had a stomach problem. They have food for everyone’s taste.

Your husband can drink to his heart’s content. If you book a concierge or higher room, alcohol is in your room. Plus you get 24 hour room service. The room service menu is delicious and fast.

The only nudity is on the far side of the island. You literally have to walk through vegetation to get to it. The island also has food, swim-up pool and cabanas for rent.

Also see travelpair55 and Rachael713 reviews and advise.

Saint Paul...
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714 posts
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6. Re: Newbie to Jamaica - Resort?

We were at Sandals Royal Caribbean late December-first trip to Jamaica. Have had lots of experience with Mexico resorts.. and this was definitely the best vacation so far: Just a few of the great things about the place: Close to the airport (the plane noise is not that big of a deal), Adults only, rooms that are on/near the beach-no straining your neck to see the beach or having to walk forever, can drink the water.. even in the room, lots of pools, entertainment that starts at 8, no tipping allowed--at all .. unless you have a butler, Sandals picks you up from the airport and drops you off--no needing to talk to your vacation rep (Delta) to figure out when you need to leave. Total relaxation.. beautiful grounds. I know there are lots of Sandals lovers.. and now we know why.

Warrensburg, MO
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203 posts
1 review
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7. Re: Newbie to Jamaica - Resort?

My husband and I stayed at Secrets Wild Orchid about a year and a half ago and ABSOLUTELY loved it. We are traveling to MB again in May and have (on the recommendation of a local we know) decided to try the Iberostar Grand Rose Hall. I don't think you will go wrong with any of your choices as MB is so much fun!

Waterford, NY
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654 posts
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8. Re: Newbie to Jamaica - Resort?

Royal Caribbean

Rochester, New York
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2,263 posts
102 reviews
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9. Re: Newbie to Jamaica - Resort?

SRC might work for you...I getting to sound like a broken record today...on this post and others. If you'd like to receive a PowerPoint presentation my wife and I share with all who ask, that describes the SRC experience, just send me a Trip Advisor private message with an appropriate email address to send it too. We love SRC of the many Sandals we've visited for many of the reasons you cite...here's our list of why SRC is our fave:

1. Proximity to airport (15 minutes.)

2. Sandals stay at 1, play at 3 program provides a HUGE array of dining options.

3. Smaller footprint. You can walk from one end of the resort to the other in 3 minutes.

4. Clothing optional section of Private Island. For us...we both love the c/o environment.

5. River Suite accommodation style rooms. These rooms are in the Butler category, and with air would be beyond your stated budget...but for us, they are a must due to size and the lazy river pools right out front of the rooms.

Ontario Canada
Destination Expert
for White House
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8,592 posts
46 reviews
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10. Re: Newbie to Jamaica - Resort?

Ditto Sandals Royal Caribbean...all-couples (not just all-adult), full exchange privileges including frequent complimentary transportation to the other 2 MoBay Sandals, fantastic service and staff.

We are often in our room at SRC less than an hour after landing..that means going through immigration, picking up the luggage, going through customs, having a beer in the Sandals lounge at the airport and taking the provided transportation to the resort.