Got home last night from a week at Breezes Runaway Bay, hope this can answer some questions that people have.
Here is my first thought...if I was to go again I probably wouldn't take a dime of Jamaican money. Everywhere we went, it was U.S money. A few times I asked if I could pay in Jamaican and they seemed annoyed because they had to figure out the exchange. I wish I would have known this ahead of time, it would have made it easier!
We went in a big group of people, and all of us were happy with the resort. When we booked the package we all had booked the same rooms, but each room we had were different in one way or another. The room we had unfortunatley, was directly beside the gym and the disco. If it wasn't the booming of the disco at 2am, it was the music in the gym at 9am. However, we did almost close the disco down a few nights, so we could deal it on those nights. Our room had 2 twin beds in it which we were kind of disappointed about. Our other rooms were another with 2 twins, one with one king, and then one that had 2 doubles. The rooms were alright, nothing really nice. The bathrooms had all been redone, but it kinda seemed like a half effort. Nice tiling on the floors, new mirrors, but an old bathtub and toilet. We had no problems with the water pressure at all, it was great every day. Our air conditioner conked out on us on the 5th night, we just dealt with it the other 2 nights.
The pools are great. The Infinity pool is nice, but it is hard to get a seat if you get there too late in the day. If it isn't windy, it is just as nice to sit on the beach anyway. Lots of chairs down there.
The staff were great. The entertainment guys Dwayne, Crazy Chris, Jermaine, etc...were always lively and full of fun. They alwasy had a lot going on during the day like drinking contests, goat races, stuff like that. We found the wait staff very prompt and kind also.
As far as tipping goes, we tipped a lot. The best way to do it was to shake their hand and slip your money in that way. We did get exceptional service after some heavy tipping too. Sometimes we felt we just had to, the staff worked hard and deserved it. Housekeeping took out money every time we left it.
The Japanese restaurant as well as the Italian were great. Lots of selection and good quality food. I wasn't overly thrilled with the Reggae Cafe, it seemed kind of limited. A few in our group were picky eaters and always found great stuff at the buffets. Friday night was gala night, and they set up the buffet around the pool, and it is all lit up. It was wonderful! They served shrimp and some other fancier foods which was nice.
A few of us had a massage in the new spa. Each room is a hut type thing in the middle of the property. it is really nice! it was honestly the best massage I have ever had in my life. I would have done it twice if I was there longer. I highly recommend this service.
If you go to Dunns River Falls I suggest doing what we did, if it is your thing. We booked a package at the tour desk for 85 bucks which got us a shuttle that drives you to the boat. When you get on the boat they let you go snorkelling for a while, then you go to the falls from there. When that tour is done, you hop back on the boat and it takes you back to the bus....but the best part is the boat is one huge party. They serve beer and rum punch, and crank the music. People really get going at this time! The people who work on the boat get dances going and stuff, it is a hoot. I just think this is the way to go instead of just getting a bus right to the Falls and then straight back to the hotel. The Falls itself, we were undecided. I think if we could have hiked it ourselves it would have been better but there are so many people that you take one step at a time all the way up while holding hands. Not our thing. The falls were nice I guess, but if you live anywhere near anything like that, it isn't all that exciting. I think 6 of said we weren't overly impressed. You are not allowed to take your camera or sunglasses or hat up the falls either because it is very very wet.
We spent an evening at Hedo III. Interesting. You hear all this stuff about how it is for singles and that sort of thing, we mostly saw couples and swingers and that sort of deal. We were there on Toga night, MAN were there some outfits!! We hit the disco there and it was a lot of fun, but there were some very interesting things happeneing in the cage between 4 people...yikes. I think Hedo would be for some but not for others.
To sum it up, we were happy with the resort. I personally don't have a lot to compare it to, although I wish I could. We were thirlled that there were no kids around, it really made a difference on the vacation. The staff, food and entertainment made it a great vacation. If I had to pick one downfall it would be our room. Oh yeah, the massage lady said the new rooms are to open next week! So for those going months down the road there shouldn't be a problem.
Hope that's everything!! If you have any questions just ask!