We traveled to SWO from March 27th to April 3rd. "One week was not enough!" This was our third trip to Jamaica so we knew what to expect. We arrived on time at 12pm to the MBJ airport and immigration had a 30 minute wait, nothing crazy. We met our private transfer and off to the resort we went. (FYI it is about a $50 difference between taking the bus or having a private car, it can save you ½-1 hour to hire a car.) The driver pointed out the hip strip and some other hot spots in Montego Bay during our 15 minute ride to the resort. Once we arrived at the grounds the bellman took our bags from the card to the preferred building for check in. We immediately sat down with the concierge and were presented with a cool cloth and beverage of our choice while we checked in. Since we arrived 2.5 hours before check in our room was not ready, no big deal we were prepared for this by having bathing suits in our carry on. We simply hit the bar and headed to the beach. Around 3:15 I went to get the keys to our room which was ready and the bellman Jeffery escorted us to our room 1101 on the 1st floor overlooking the bay on the quit side of the building. Jeffery spent a couple of minutes walking us through the room so we would know where everything was. (He was helpful) The room was immaculate and had a great view of the bay and mountains. The patio was private so we could enjoy breakfast without being bothered. The open concept bathroom was not a surprise since we researched the resort prior to going and knew what they were all about. We received housekeeping and turndown service with towel art each day which was a nice touch. We left a note for the mini bar attendant to stock us up with red stripe light and water, boy did he. We had 12 beers and 12 bottles of water, did I mention the bottle of Appleton rum and Champaign? All the staff we encountered were very nice and would go out of their way to please if you needed something. O’Brian from the preferred pool/beach area hustled to get back to you ASAP with your drinks. He had to go to the lobby bar one day for bloody Mary’s; if I knew the close bar was out I would have ordered something else to keep him from going that far! (They were a little understaffed in this area but the bar is 20 feet away, if you need another drink get it yourself) Michael from the preferred beach bar was always helpful in selecting a new drink or quickly filling our beers. The food across the resort was decent; room service for breakfast was fantastic. The Italian had some great dishes, the French was so-so, the Japanese Teppanyaki table was fun, Blue Mountain had some good Jerk dishes and the steak house was ok. We did not try the Mexican or Buffet restaurant. The service at the restaurants was really good; we also never had to wait more than 15 minutes for a table. Room service always came fast with hot food and cold drinks. If the privacy light was on they would put the food in the box and give a light knock on the door so we knew it was delivered. The resort also had some other cool features like a dedicated coffee bar, slot machine casino and a nightly bus to Margaretville on the hip strip. The glass bottom boat tour was also pretty cool, just make sure to arrange with the captain to have some beer on board. We spent most of our days split between the beach and the pool with a couple of hours of volleyball mixed in. The entertainment staff was a lot of fun, they had many activity’s going on each day to keep people occupied from poker on the pool deck, bad mitten, freebie golf, bocce, pool volleyball, aerobics classes and more. (Every night you would get a schedule of the next day’s activities) The nightly entertainment was on par with other all-inclusive resorts we have visited. The guest talent show on Wednesday was pretty cool; the winner won 4 free nights on a return visit. The house reggae band was really good and kept everyone dancing. They also have a steel drum band that comes in (don’t miss this, they are awesome!) I’m glad we brought a large amount of small bills for tips, the staff work very hard and deserve a little something for going above and beyond for all of us lucky enough to be on vacation. Remember, Respect goes a long way when in Jamaica so keep that in mind when dealing with the staff or the local people. Jamaica see you next March!!!
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