Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Jamaica trip recap

A while back, some friends of ours (Jeff and Leeann) wanted us to take a vacation with them somewhere. We didn't really know where we wanted to go, we just knew we wanted it to be all-inclusive, tropical, and child-free. Not that there's anything wrong with family vacations, but once in a while I like to have time to not be focused entirely on the girls. 

We started tossing around ideas for where to go, and pretty much landed on the Hard Rock in Punta Cana. We have another friend who owns a time share there because she decided she never wanted to vacation anywhere else; she loved it that much. 

She said that the last vacation she took, they offered her this 60% off deal for any referrals she made. Sounded great to us, so we had her call and see about booking it for us. When she called, they wouldn't honor the deal. I can't remember the details, but they were saying the price on the website WAS 60% off, which didn't make any sense at all. It was one of those situations that I knew was too good to be true, so it wasn't a big deal to me to have it fall through, but that left us having to pick another vacation spot. 

Steve and I had gone to a Sandals resort in St. Lucia (the Grande St. Lucian) for our 10 year anniversary four years ago, and we really loved it there. We wanted to try a new resort, though, just to see which one we liked best, and after much debate and assistance from our travel agent, we picked Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios. (which I pronounce Ocho REE-ohs, but people there pronounced it Ocho RAY-ohs). 

Our next big decision was when to go. I had wanted to go during Spring Break so my parents (who had agreed to keep the girls while we were gone) wouldn't have to deal with the school pick up and drop off hullabaloo, but Jeff wasn't able to get that week off from work. I decided to pick my niece's Spring Break week, then, so she could help babysit. Nieces are the best. 

So the when and where were chosen, and all we had to do was go!

We picked a flight out of Charlotte (hella cheaper and nonstop!), and it left at 7:55AM on Saturday morning. We found out that the Hyatt House in Charlotte had an airport shuttle and would let us park our car there all week for free. Score! We stayed Friday night in Charlotte and left bright and early Saturday morning. 

Before I start telling you about Jamaica, I have to mention our stay in Charlotte. The Hyatt House was pretty fantastic in their amenities and room size. I definitely want to stay there every time I fly out of Charlotte! Plus, right near our hotel was The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, which was an INCREDIBLE venue! We had a pre-bikini FEAST there (maybe not the best decision). The food was delicious and so were their beers. If you like a pub-like atmosphere, this is a must do in Charlotte!

As you can see, the fellas had a great time!

So great, we came back and played hide and seek...


Funny story about that night. Everyone had gone to bed and I was the last one to wash my face and brush my teeth and all that. It was dark, and I couldn't find the socks I'd laid out to wear to bed. And I HAVE to wear socks to bed. Pretty much at all times, but especially to bed. I didn't want to wake up everyone by turning on the lights and rifling through everything to find my socks, so I slept in my shoes. And took a picture to prove it.

The shoes are these, and by golly, they have to be the comfiest shoes known to mankind. I heard about them from Shay, and these certainly didn't disappoint!

We got up at zero dark thirty and headed to the airport.

When we left Tennessee, there was snow on the ground. Because of the bad weather at that time, several flights had been cancelled and postponed for the previous few days, and all of them seemed to be rescheduled for Saturday morning. The lines at the check in counters were in-freakin-sane! We all sorta freaked out when we saw those lines, but luckily everything worked out okay. We got to the gate with enough time to grab breakfast and coffee and relax a minute before boarding.

Then we were off!

Some of us even caught up on our sleep on the plane...


We landed in Montego Bay 3.5hours later, got through customs (despite a computer breakdown), freshened up in the Sandals lounge, and headed out to meet our resort shuttle. 

There was a Margaritaville right in the airport!!! We grabbed a margarita for the trip and left for the 1.5 drive to the resort. 

This is the one complaint I have about this resort. We loved every minute of being there, except for this durn bus ride. We want to go back to Jamaica, but we'll try a resort closer to the airport next time.

I had read a review about this bus ride, and the review said to speed it along, don't have the driver make the scheduled stop. So the time came for the driver to make the rest stop, and he asks if everyone wants to. Everyone says no except Jeff. Who shall henceforth be known as "Bean Bladder Jeff". Grrr.

At least we got a Red Stripe and a picture!

We finally arrived at our resort and were greeted with warm wet towels and cold water to refresh ourselves. Bell services took our luggage for us and we walked over to the concierge desk to get checked in.

Our room wasn't ready yet, so we went to get lunch. This gave us our first look around the resort.

After lunch, our room was ready, so we went to get settled in. We were in a Honeymoon Hideaway Club room (#2022).

(sorry so dark- used my iPhone since my camera was in my luggage)

We got unpacked, changed, and hit the Beach Club pool!

A swim up bar is always fun!

After hanging out by the pool all afternoon, we decided to play it cool for dinner that night and found a non-dress code place to eat. We found the Soy Sushi Bar, and loved it so much that we ate there every single night of our trip! Sometime for a whole meal, sometimes just for an appetizer, but we were there every night.

Now, I have these pictures on my phone from that night:

... and I don't remember why Steve is in his bathing suit, and why he's only half wet.

There's probably a funny story in there somewhere, like when I tried to figure out how to sit in this hanging chair thingys.


After a major travel day, we hit the hay. Stay tuned for Jamaica Day #2! 

1 comment:

  1. what an awesome trip. Love Sandals. We went to the ones in St Lucia and the Bahamas!


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