Monday, December 27, 2010

Our Jamaica Trip - Story & Photos

I don't even know where to start except to say that this was such a fantastic vacation. I have a billion pictures so I think I will have to do few posts.

I guess I will start at the beginning. The flight to Jamaica was uneventful but lucky. Like I had mentioned before, Tom and I had middle seats in different rows which sucks because I usually carry all the stuff we need for our trip (iPads, netbook, candy, pens etc.) in my purse so it's nice to be together. We tried to change seats but were told it was a full flight so no go.

Once we got on, we lucked out that someone didn't show up so Tom was able to snag the aisle seat next to me. The flight is only 2.5 hours so it was short and sweet. Upon our arrival in Jamaica, we went through customs with no problem. We found our transportation to the hotel with no problem and arrived with no problem.

When we got to our hotel and to the front desk, we were told that we would be upgraded. Now we were really suspicious because sometimes hotels love saying oh we can get you an upgrade for $XXX amount of money but they just said we are upgrading you to the Grand Rose Hall Resort.

When we booked this trip we choose the Rose Hall Suites. These hotels are a trio. Basically there is the cheapie level, the moderate level and the luxury level. We had booked an oceanfront room on the moderate level. We knew the other hotel was so much better but it was also more expensive. It was great to hear that we were moving on up!

We were shuttled over to the Grand Rose. When we got there we got towels to wipe our faces and mimosas at check-in. We also got an oceanfront room. If you saw my room vlog, you saw what a nice room it was. It you didn't see, go check it out.

After settling in we were told by our butler to go down to the beach and partake of the beach BBQ they were having. We did and it was a wonderful start to a week of gastronomic pleasures!

After lunch we went back upstairs and changed into our bathing suits and went to the beach and pool for a little while. I have to say the pool and ocean were freezing butt cold. It is winter in Jamaica as well and it was cooler than we thought. There were no heated pools so we sucked it up.

The pool area was lovely. It had 3 pools and several lounge chairs and beds all around. It was just really nice. The butler, who basically went MIA the rest of the week, also got us reservations at the Surf & Turf restaurant that evening. So we went back upstairs to dress for dinner.

I have to talk about the butler thing for a minute. We had a butler but when we called him, we would end up with the concierge. We heard from a few other people that their butlers were MIA too. Now the concierge lady rocked. Anything we needed she helped. She made reservations, phone calls and sent up ice, towels etc. The butlers finally showed up later on in the week because I bet someone must have complained because one day I talked to 2 of them and saw them all around the resort. I am not sure why they need a butler since the concierge does everything.

Okay, back to the narrative. The dinner at the Surf & Turf was fantastic. In fact, most of the food we had was fantastic. I am a willy-nilly foodie so I think I know my stuff and the plating, the presentation and the taste were dead on. It was really a fantastic experience because we love food and it is always a pleasure when the meals at a resort are great.

After a wonderful dinner we went up to the lounge to have a cocktail and then back to our room. There is nothing like having turn down service. You come back and everything is clean and restocked. They even had a pillow menu if the pillows we had were not to our liking. We didn't get turn down service every night because sometimes we were already in bed before they came by but that was okay. If we needed anything, we called the concierge.

Our next day began a routine that we pretty much kept to for the rest of the time. We got up, had breakfast either in the room or at the breakfast buffet. Once day we slept until 10, which for us is unheard of, but the maids had pulled the black out curtains when she did the turn down and we had no idea what time it was until we woke up.

After we would have our breakfast, we would snag some chairs by the pool. I read a few books on my Sony Reader, which I love!! Tom would read as well. I would try and take a dip in the pool if the sun was out and Tom would go play beach volleyball. One day they had International Trivia by the pool. I wasn't going to play until they asked questions about Spongebob Squarepants and I aced them! I racked up some points but in the end, I lost because I was too far away to be chosen first. It was actually fun and every one around the pool got into the action. They also had water aerobics, dancing, archery and a few other activities but, you know me, I hate activity.

Around noon, we would head to the seaside cafe and have lunch. They had a fabulous buffet with all sorts of tasty treats. There was meat, fish, chicken, salads, pastas, breads and so much more stuff! It was also nice being able to eat with an ocean view. We would either hang out a little more or head back upstairs to relax and nap.

Then before we knew it, it was dinner time. So we would shower, dress and head out for another fabulous meal. Our second night we hit the Japanese restaurant and it was quite delish. They had the best fried rice! OMG I could have eaten bowls of it. We ended up eating there twice during the trip and it was so good.

After dinner, it was upstairs for a few drinks and talking and then to bed. That's all we did and it was heaven.

One day we went to the spa where Tom got a massage and I got my hair trimmed and brows waxed. Tom went to the cigar lounge one night but mainly we fell into a nice routine of relaxation.

Overall, the staff was friendly and helpful. The resort itself was really clean. Even the common area bathrooms were spotless. The pool area was fantastic and there were plenty of towels and plenty of free drinks. The restaurants were all very good. They had an Italian restaurant which was delicious and the French gourmet restaurant was interesting but, overall, I have no complaints about the food.

One night we had a Parmesan mousse with apricot chutney. I loved it. The chefs were creating some dishes with molecular gastronomy that were quite creative. Some dishes were very unique and interesting. I liked that they took some risks with the food and, overall, they succeeded.

The room was so comfortable. The shower was almost as good as the shower at the W Hotel in Miami Beach. But the W Hotel shower is still my favorite. We had a mini-bar that was restocked every day. Our view was fantastic and relaxing. We also got free internets in the room and free wireless in the lobby area.

We never left the resort except for Wednesday when we booked a tour and went out of the gates. I will write a whole post about that adventure. But it was one of the best trips we had. I am sure we would have loved the other resort as well but I have to say that the huge PLUS about this resort was it was an adults only resort.

We had never been to one and it was heaven! It was quiet. There was no yelling, whining or crying that you usually hear when kids are around. Eating was wonderful because everything was quiet and there were no tantrums and kids running around. I made Tom promise we would only do adult only resorts from now on.

So that's it. I can't say much else because the trip was so good. We usually have good trips but this was just a notch above the rest. And what little we did see of Jamaica made us think we need to go back. I wish we would have had an extra day to do another off site trip. But maybe next time.

We lucked out on the trip home as well. The transportation was on time. The flight which we thought would be full wasn't so we got a whole row of seats to ourselves which is always a good thing! The flight went well. Then when we got to the Atlanta airport, which I hate, it was empty. There was no line at customs. We flew right through. Our luggage showed up and it was fast and easy. The shuttle to the hotel where we left the car was there already so we just got on.

The drive home was easy because there was so much less traffic than usual in Atlanta. We had a nice Christmas Eve meal at McDonald's and we got home early. It seems like the 24th of December is the best day to travel because there was no one around. Luckily, we got in Friday because the next day it snowed. We either would have been stuck in Jamaica or Atlanta.

Now we are back to the cold and snow, BOO! I miss my bed turn down. I miss having someone serve me food and drinks. I had to cook and I was like WTF? Where is my butler? I had to do laundry and I might have to clean this week too. WTH? Luckily, I don't have to go back to work for a week but still. I want to go back to Jamaica. Anyway, check back tomorrow and the rest of the week for more pictures and a post about the day we jumped the gates!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful vacation Carolyn... oh my goodness... they really treated you all well. It's nice to not even have to leave the resort too.