Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Honeymoon to Jamaica - Whatever Wednesdays #6

By Vicky Nardone

In November of 2013, after already being married for a year and a half, Matt and I finally got around to taking our honeymoon to Jamaica.  We had decided to wait a little while after the wedding since we got married out of town and had already taken a week off of work for that.  Neither of us had ever been to an all inclusive resort and we heard Sandals was one of the best so we set aside some of the money we got for the wedding and booked a trip.  Both of us were really excited and ready for the honeymoon by the time November came - we had both been working really long hours in the months leading up to November and we needed a break.  So today I'll share with you a picture diary of our trip, just in case anyone is thinking of going to Jamaica or staying at a Sandals resort.  We stayed at the Sandals Grande Riviera in Ochos Rios.

There were two sides to the resort - a beach side and a pool side.  We chose to stay on the beach side and we got a room overlooking the ocean.  This was our room.  Note the cute little swan that the maid put on our bed everytime she made it.  Every room is stocked with a bar

The below two pictures are the view from our room.  Sandals has a private little beach area and the block it off so that the water is nice and calm without a lot of huge waves.  They also have a cool little oceanside restaurant (just to the left of the blue and green tent) where we ate breakfast every morning.  Let me tell you when it's storming out and it's the only restaurant open for breakfast before you have to leave to catch your plane home, it's not necessarily a fun place to eat. In the second picture, you can see the view to the left of our room.  The resort had a number of boats that you could pay extra to go out on - some were fishing boats and some were party boats.
Here's the lobby on the beach side of the resort.  This is where we were brought to check in.  We were given champagne as soon as we stepped off the bus to bring us to the resort.  There's a little gift shop off to the left where I bought many souviniers.
This is one of the bars on the resort.  It's below and to the right of our room and it was my favorite bar on the resort.  They had the really cool fire pit that you see in the picture and all these really comfortable wrap around couches to relax on.  Also, inside the lobby of this building, they had a really cool self-serve cappucino maker that got me addicted to cappucino.  Matt and I used to go and sit on the couches in the morning and relax and I'd have a cup of cappuccino.
Here are some pictures of the pool side of the resort.  They had a giant pool just outside the lobby and they did activities there throughout the day.
They called the entertainment staff for the resort "Playmakers."  Here I am with one of the Playmakers, Romario.  Let me tell you - if I wasn't married, I could have married this guy.  The staff did a talent show one of the nights we were there and not only can this guy sing and dance but he did an amazing backflip off the stage.
Apparently, stray cats are a thing in Jamaica.  We saw a ton of them around the resort.  There were signs up all over warning us not to feed or pet the stray cats.  This guy hung around by the pool with us for a whole day.  I made up a back story about him and one of the other cats that was hanging around.
One of the things that the resort offers is a photo session.  They have photographers roaming around throughout the week taking pictures of you and then you can buy whichever ones you like.  But you can also spend an hour going around with a photographer and he'll take pictures of you all over the resort.  Since it was our honeymoon, we decided to take advantage of this.  It was really expensive so I probably wouldn't do it if I went back again, but it was worth it for this special occasion.
Here's the lobby over on the pool side of the resort.  The style of this lobby felt like a plantation to me.  They had both lobbies decorated for Christmas since we went the weekend after Thanksgiving.

When Matt and I were choosing between the different Sandals resorts, we looked very closely at the restaurant options at each.  Both of us love to eat out.  This resort had like 10 different restaurant choices including a Sushi restaurant.  This was the most number of restaurants at any of the resorts and it was also the only one we saw in Jamaica that had sushi.  That said, we were only semi-impressed with the food at the resort.  I think we have really high standards though.  Most people I've talked to who've stayed at sandals really liked the food.  Here's Matt at the sushi bar.  We went to this one at least 3 times during our stay.
Right before we left on the trip, I found out that I'd gotten a promotion at work.  So to celebrate, I booked us a special private dinner on the beach.  It was cool, but I don't know that it was worth the extra money I spent on it.  They had a very limited menu and Matt and I actually didn't like anything on the menu, so we asked them if we could sub out the food for food from another one of our favorite restaurants on the resort.  They were very accommodating of special requests.
Every night there was some sort of entertainment put on by the Playmakers.  They had a giant stage next to one of the pools where the entertainment occurred.  In the first picture below, the are playing a version of the newlywed game with a bunhc of couples from the resort.  I tried to convince Matt to volunteer but he wasn't having any of it.  The second two pictures were from their chocolate party night.  Everyone was supposed to wear white, and they had a number of chocolate dishes for people to sample.  They also had a live band playing all kinds of dancing music.
Here's a night view of one of the pools.  This was the pool right next to the entertainment stage.  Almost every pool on the resort had a swim up bar. 
And lastly, here is a shot of Matt and I on the resort's glass bottom boat.  There were a number of water activities that were included for free with the package.  Matt and I went out on the glass bottom boat, we went kayaking and we also took out a catamaran.
I hope you enjoyed my little picture tour and will maybe consider taking a trip to Jamaica at some point.  We definitely enjoyed our trip!