Well I am back from Jamaica and I am going to tell you all about it.
We were hosted by Travel2, British Airways and the Jamaican Tourist board. So, I would like to start by thanking them all for making this wonderful trip possible. Special mentions to Carla from T2, Lawrence from BA and the Earl the driver of our Jamaica Tours Bus, for making the experience unforgettable. Especially Carla’s Amazing singing talents!
I have been before, but it was X amount of years ago when I was the tender age of 18.
As usual I want to start with the travel. I flew from Gatwick to Kingston with BA in Economy Class. I have not flown long-haul with BA in a long time and to be honest it was ok but nothing to write home about. The seats were ok, quite narrow compared to other airlines I have flown with recently. The leg room was fine although on the return I was in an aisle seat in the middle section and it was difficult to stretch your legs as the seat next to me shared the space under my seat due to the way the frame was attached. Not good. I am a larger lady, so I always like to comment on these matters. The table came down and fitted very snuggly so had I been any bigger I would not have been able to use it. Compared to my last long-haul flight on Air Canada where I could fold the table down with ease and it had adjustment to push it back a bit if it was uncomfortable. Having said that the Food was good, and I could not fault the service of the friendly attendants.
On arrival the Jamaican immigration helped get us through the new electronic entry systems with ease and with a typical friendly Jamaican welcome. Once on the Tour Bus Earl our driver for the trip introduced himself and we set off for Ocho Rios. Most people would think Montego Bay Airport is the best for the northern coast where Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios are but it is one hour and 30 minutes from Montego Bay Airport and only an hour from Kingston since they built the new Highway across the island a number of years ago.
It is a lovely drive and gives you a real sense of the beauty of the Islands interior with mountains and lush greenery. It also gives you the first glimpse of the poverty that many local residents endure. However, being typically Jamaican they always seem to have a smile on their faces.
We arrived in Ocho Rios, a vibrant township with shops, eateries and a craft market.
The 5* Moon Palace Jamaica Grande is situated at its heart. Behind large closed gates, we entered and went to check in.
The lobby is a vast open social space. Very cool and fresh, with seating, a bar, a shop, reception and various tour desks leading off down the main wide corridor.
It consists of two Towers with just over 700 rooms. Some have walk out Balconies. Mine had a sliding French balcony style.
Being Moon Palace the All Inclusive is All Inclusive. The Rooms have a fridge stocked with Water, Soft Drinks and Mixers and beers. There is also a small coffee maker which also gives hot water for tea as well. There is a full 4 Bottle optic pull out. This contains a White Rum, A Dark Rum, A Vodka and a Whiskey. If you book a concierge Room you will still get the Appleton’s Rum, White and Dark but you will also get an Absolute Vodka and a Bombay Sapphire Gin. The fridges etc are re-stocked daily.
I had a view across a plant room of some sort and a car park, but it was a view of the Sea, which did look particularly pretty at Sunset.
To the far right, you can also see the boundary wall of the complex and the shanty town beyond. This really does not bother me as I like to feel part of the local community, but this may be off-putting to some.
TOP TIP: This does not bother me but it is important to note that Moon Place is a Smoke-Free Resort, so there are no dedicated smoking areas anywhere on the complex. Smokers must go out through reception into the arrival area to have a cigarette.
The Hotel has a Number of places to eat
The Boulangerie – Coffee Shop
This sells a selection of cupcakes, sandwiches, chocolates and snacks as well as having coffee, tea, Milkshakes etc. The great thing is it is open 24 hours so whenever you feel like a coffee or a snack, it is open.
The Buccaneer – Buffet
This is the main Buffet restaurant and is open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner daily.
It serves a range of different foods, Local, and international
The Gourmet Corner – Various
This area offers lots of tasty bites like Sushi, pizza etc
On the beach, there is a Jerk Chicken Hut serving every Lunchtime.
Pier8 – Seafood Restaurant
This does what it says on the tin. It is an outdoor speciality restaurant serving Steak and Seafood
La Gondala – Italian
Again, this is one of the Speciality A La Carte Restaurants serving Italian Cuisine
Momo Restaurant – Teppanyaki
This is probably the most popular of the A La Carte restaurants. Serving a range of Asian cuisines.
All the speciality restaurants are on a first come first served basis, so you cannot reserve a table.
TOP TIP: It was out of season when I was there, so it was easy to get seated, however in peak months November to April it is busy, so try to avoid peak times from 7.00-8.30pm and you have more chance of getting a table.
The Hotel itself offers lots of amenities if you like an action-packed holiday. It has a Flow rider, teens lounge, Playroom, Noir Nightclub. Loud bar with live music, the Piano bar for those who want a quieter drink, Watersports and a scuba centre and its own Dolphin Habitat, gymnasium, and the Awe Spa. There is a main busy pool with lots of activities going on during the day or quieter pools for those just wanting to relax and of course the beach!.
The hotel itself is situated as I said in Ocho Rios which is close to some of the top Tourist attractions on the island, including Dunn’s River Falls, Mystic Mountain with its Rocket Bobsleigh ride and Zip Line and Dolphin Cove where you can swim with the dolphins.
If I am totally honest this is not my type of resort, I like something lower key and you will be finding out my favourite hotels in one of my later blogs. However, I can really see the attraction for couples and families who want to be in a very central location close to the islands top attractions in an all-inclusive environment with excellent service.
I must give a special mention to the Moon Palace who hosted us for the stay and on the last evening treated us to a beautiful meal out on the pier.
They were fantastically generous. So Thank you.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask.
Watch this space for the next instalment.