Monday, January 2, 2012

Jamaica - Our Resort

As I mentioned in my previous post (our flight), we arrived to Montego Bay direct from Ottawa - from about -5C to about +27C! That's right, the weather was AWESOME! The customs & luggage pick-up were quick, and shortly after arriving at around 1 pm, we were on our way. The Sangster International Airport's hustle & bustle reminded me of home :) So did the bus that was taking us to our resort, only 5-10 minutes away.

We stayed at Holiday Inn SunSpree All-Inclusive Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It was advertised and sold as a 4-star resort. Well... it was not! More like a 3, maaaaybe a 3.5 stars max.

Here's my break down on things:

The check-in here is at 3 pm though our rooms were ready when we arrived. We were greeting by a rather long line-up to check-in and get room keys, but the punch & rum lifted our spirits :P
(oh and if you don't specify when ordering drinks, you'll be getting rum with a little bit of punch!)
Boy, was it ever strong! :D
Our particular room was alright, the sheets were clean and the flat-screen TV had a decent amount of channels. However, we only had a shower and no tub, so forget about taking a soak (it was one of those low-ledge showers, with just a curtain so you gotta watch now to get all over the floor)! Also, the A/C was super loud - every time it kicked in, it sounded like a plane was taking off!!! Of course, the flip side - at least there was a working A/C :) Also, as I mentioned, OUR room was alright, but another room that people from our group got smelled moldy... :(   I also understood why many people online commented about the bathroom doors - they ARE weird, sort of a take on French-style doors, only old and skinny. Not really a problem, just an observation. Oh, our bathrooms doors could not be locked.

TIP #2: do check out some of the recent reviews on websites like tripadvisor, etc. before you book your vacation!

One other annoying thing was the broken "Down" elevator button. We were on the 2nd floor, but with a stroller, we had to use the elevator. There was only one in our building, so we had to call it "Up" and then abuse the "1" button to go down right away. Most of the time it did, others we had to ride up to 4th then down to 1st... I don't know how the resort cleaning women did it... maybe they had some sort of a trick?! The button finally got fixed on Day 5 of our stay.
Yet another reason why this resort is NOT a 4-star resort...
Now, about the resort itself...

SunSpree is comprised of 7 guest buildings, all 4 storeys high. Depending on the type of experience you're looking for, here's where you want to be:

TIP #3: Building choice
Try to get into buildings #1 and #2 it you are looking for entertainment and proximity to the main building (that's where the bulk of the food is). From these two buildings you will here the main stage and their resident band late into the night. These two buildings are also close to the pool if you prefer to swim in the pool; I just so for the sea! :)

Buildings #3 and #4 are close to the playground and watersports. There is also a nice beach and a towel hut located next to building #4.

Building #5 (this is where all of us stayed) is closest to 2 tiny beaches and the Jerk Hut & Bar.

Buildings #6 and #7 are close to a longer beach, the pier where you can catch the glass bottom boats, and (especially building #7) close to the adult section of the resort. There is a pool + Jacuzzi + bar + beach. I have heard that these 2 building are a little more updated and modernized, though I haven't actually been inside the rooms.


~ There are 4 places were you can get liquired up at this resort. The main bar is in the lobby and located next to a large sitting area. I made use of both a few times when my babe fell asleep in her stroller. This was actually nice, to sit down on the couch, cold drink in your hand and just relax!
Main bar is open 10am-1am.
Main bar by the lobby (10am-1am)
~ Another place to get booze in the Barefoot Bar. It's next to the main beach and the main pool and Building #2. This one ALWAYS had a line-up for booze!!! But it also serves hot dogs, burgers and fries. The latter 2 were good, the hot dog - not so much (all beef, which I found dry)... This bar is open 11am-6pm (for food) and 10am-1am (for booze only).
The Barefoot Bar (11am-6pm & 10am-1am)
~ Jerk Hut was good! Booze and jerk chicken/pork served with white bread are offered 12pm-6pm. This one was great and located right by our building #5! The only draw-back is that their chicken/pork are SPICY!!! So, not very kid-friendly...
The Jerk Hut (12pm-6pm)

Mmmm.... delicious (and very spicy!) jerk chicken and pork!
Fourth and final place for alcohol drinks is what they call the Bug Smaddy Bar, located in the "adults only" part of the resort. The cool thing about this ones is that you can swim up to it on the poolside. The lame AND more important thing is that it's only open 10am-6pm. This is an adults only area, for crying out loud!!! It's located on the very west side of the resort, but the only places to get booze after 6 pm are in the main area (Barefoot or the main bars).
Big Smaddy Bar (10am-6pm)
This brings us to a VERY IMPORTANT tip, probably for all of the all-inclusive vacation destinations...

TIP #4: BRING YOUR OWN MUG!!! The bigger the better, trust me! Otherwise, you'll be running back and forth to get drinks (this includes non-alcohol ones as well). Of course, you can buy one at the resort gift shop for USD15 or haggle at a local store just outside of the resort (which is what hubby did, got 2 for USD20). But if you don't want to waste your time or money, bring your own. Especially if you're planning on hanging out at the adults only section. Expect line-ups in high season...

Non-alcoholic bevvies & food in general

Food wasn't great... It was.. "meh" at best! The buffet was more like a cafeteria; it didn't have much seafood, not much fruit, the kids section had only 3 options, which usually included fries, noddles, and some other unhealthy option :(... Hours for the buffet were weird: breakfast 7am-11am, lunch 12pm-2:30pm, and then we had to wait till 6pm for supper!!! So other than that, only burgers, hot dogs, nachos, ice cream, fries and jerk hut items were available...
Jus Kiddin (12pm-6pm): Expect a line-up even at a non-alcohol shack...
TIP #5:  Oh and the weirdest part:
...and no room service!

Stay tuned for more on activities on and off the resort. And, of course, more of the beautiful Jamaica!


  1. Great tips! All Inclusive Resorts can be total hit or miss!

  2. Thank you for the thorough review. I'm looking forward to reading more. My husband and I will be going to this resort in April for out 20th anniversary.