Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Fun In The Sun…

My initial post on the trip that my wife and I took to Montego Bay, Jamaica last year, as I published here, showed a bit of what blew us away upon our arrival.  I wasn’t too familiar on the Iberostar chain’s “Grand” idea – that of an ultra-premium, adults-only, luxury resort; and my previous knowledge of Iberostar came from friends and family staying in their “regular” offerings in Cuba and Mexico – so perhaps not the fairest comparison.  But this resort turned out to be well worth it.

The pool was always wicked nice…

There were four pools, all interlocked and infinity-style.  Somehow, Erin and I always found a way to be right near the swim up bar – surprise, surprise!  The pools were all “themed”, so to speak (tranquil, active, sport/exercise/aquafit, and then The Party Pool), and the crowds converged around them accordingly.

And, since this was an Iberostar Grand, and everything was premium, I was quite pleased that upon my first swim up to the pool bar at about 9am that first day, that when I asked for a couple of Screwdriver cocktails for my wife and I, that I was pleasantly asked, “With which vodka, sir?  Belvedere, or Grey Goose?”  Hmmmm – Belvedere or Grey Goose for MIXER VODKAS??!?!?!  Awe.  Some.

And, the beach itself was no slouch either…

Beautifully taken care of by the staff.  Snorkelling and many other water sports were included, and Erin and I took a few lazy swims out there to snorkel and check out the sea life (a LOT of action in the water out there).

It was always amazing to see two things done by staff, too.  Firstly, every evening, just a bit before sunset, there would always be a few staff out there, one in a sea kayak, and another hanging on and snorkelling off the back of it, cruising back and forth in the roped off area for this resort, picking up any wayward drink glasses, any garbage, debris, even sea urchins.  Every evening, and every morning.  A noticeable care that they were heavily taking care of their beach.  Secondly, the security and service at this resort was top notch.  Servers wearing little tuxedo outfits, even with shoes on, with service right on the sandy beach itself.  While it must have been annoying and uncomfortable somewhat for the staff at times, they never seemed to show it, and the attention to us as customers was awesome.

And oh yeah – the beach.  A little sidenote.  The beach is “rented / owned” by the resort.  In Jamaica, that little slice of sandy heaven is the resort’s to do with as they please.  As our end of the resort was adults-only (the main building connected through to the other Iberostar Rose Hall resorts, the Rose Hall Beaches and Rose Hall Suites, which were more family / with-kids resorts), the staff ensured only those with wrist bands for the Iberostar Grand resort was within our property lines.  As perhaps self-centered as it may seem, we loved it.  We chose to travel on this trip for just us, with no kids – so, we didn’t want other people’s children messing with our mojo for this trip.  And then the funny thing is the local “salesmen”…

As the resort rents / leases the beachfront itself, the water is not allowed such a distinction under Jamaican law, apparently.  So, while resort security and staff could ensure any kids and/or locals stayed away from the resort itself and the beach, the water was open game.  So, quite a few times, we noticed that there were local Jamaican men who would appear out of nowhere from the water, and walk right up to the waters edge.  Kind of like that epitomal “hey buddy” trenchcoat salesman.  And, just like that guy, these local salesman had everything – carved wooden turtles, seashell necklaces, bracelets, and loads and loads of Bob Marley everything, including monster-sized joints.

Yup, the marijuana sales were always in full-swing with these guys at the waterfront – not really our thing, either my wife and I, for many years now due to our jobs (and just our preferences anyways).  But it was interesting to see the dynamic at place with these pot sellers in the water.  A local guy, wading up to the shoreline, trying to make any and all eye-contact with a tourist, and then the incessant “buddy, buddy, BUDDY, BUDDY!!!!” to get you to come over (they wouldn’t step out of the water itself / onto the beach, or else the staff could have them escorted off the property and/or arrested).  And, if you happened to be in the water yourself when these guys happened to come by, they took advantage of the location, and followed you around constantly, unless they had other customers).  All-in-all though, staff were pretty good with it, with trying to keep the bothersome advances away, and letting customers enjoy the resort itself.

All told, Erin and I only left the resort for maybe a 30-minute window, just to walk further down the beach, to see what some of the tourist-trinket sellers had to offer.  We found a couple of cute items for the kids, chatted with a few of the locals, and then went back to focus on our little get-away.  Right or wrong, and though it was different for me to “isolate” myself away from a local culture to only spend time indulging in the sun-sand-surf-food-booze mantra of an all-inclusive resort stay, it was an interesting change-up, and one we fairly well enjoyed.

After all, THIS was definitely the quality and level of a resort to do that with, with the beauty carrying through to the nighttime as well…

Cheers all.

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