Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Our Jamaican Vacation Starts Right Here

We had a fabulous trip to Jamaica! I will definitely be going back, if not just for the people alone. Brandon and I fell in love with the people and their whole, "no worries, no problems" mentality. As we heard quite often on our trip, "In Jamaica, there are no problems. Only situations!" I'm trying hard to incorporate that mentality into my everyday life and not get so worked up over the little things! 

We flew out of Houston bright and early last Monday morning. Since we live in Dallas, we typically fly American {since their hub is here}, but flew United since we were leaving out of Houston, and their hub is there. We couldn't have been more pleased with the service we received on United and will definitely be flying with them again. Before the trip, Brandon checked to see if they would match his American status, and they did! Since he flies AA so much for work, he has great status with American, but none with United. Anyway, since they matched his status, we were able to go through the Premier Check-In {and bypassed horribly long security lines at both departure airports} and got good upgrades. Next time you're flying, check that option out! 

We arrived to our resort a bit after lunch on Monday. We stayed at Secrets St. James in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It's an all-inclusive resort, which we loved. Brandon and I are really partial to all-inclusive resorts and have stayed at them in many different locations. {Our favorites, other than this one, have been Sandals Grande in St. John's, Antigua and Excellence Playa Mujeres near Cancún, México.} 

Overall, we loved the resort. The food was so-so at a couple of places, but such is the case at many all-inclusive resorts. {We really liked the Italian restaurant, Portofino and the Japanese restaurant, Himitsu. And of course, the Manatee Bar at the pool!} The service was excellent and the people were fantastic. Again, everything was, "Yeah, mon. No worries!" I would definitely recommend this resort to anyone traveling to Montego Bay. We had a great time! 

We were welcomed to the resort with the Jamaican cult favorite: rum punch! We were upgraded to the top floor, which was a special treat and a great way to start out our vacation. 

We then hightailed it down to the resort spa for a 90-minute couple's massage. If you get there about 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment, you can partake in their sensation pools. You start in a wet sauna; then move to the dry sauna; then go into a lukewarm hot tub; then go into this larger pool that has fast-moving water coming out of various areas to focus on your neck, lower back, shoulders, knees, back, etc.; then dip into a freezing cold tub; and then do a final sensations walk through a shallow pool that goes from cold to hot, hot to cold. It was a really cool experience and a perfect way to get our spa appointment started! 

After a couple of vacations together, we finally got smart and booked our spa appointments first = no sunburn to work around and an awesome way to completely relax to start the week. {It only took us five years to figure that out, ha!} I would definitely recommend doing that, too. 

The views of the Caribbean Sea from our room and balcony were absolutely breathtaking! 

We spent all day Tuesday laying out by one of the many resort pools just relaxing. Around lunchtime every day {weather permitting}, there are two food carts set up right by the beach: one that serves homemade jerk chicken, and the other that serves fresh coconut water straight out of the coconut! We had this for lunch all but one day and loved it. The resort does have other lunch options, but we found the one place to be so-so {Seaside Grill} and the other {Barefoot} to be more snack options. Plus, with our jerk chicken, Brandon would just go wait in line for it right by the pool and bring it back, and we could just chill by the pool and eat and drink in our swimsuits! 

I started {and finished} "The Hurricane Sisters" while on the trip and it was excellent! I love books set in the South, and this one didn't disappoint. It's a quick, easy read and I really enjoyed the storyline. 

We had drinks at the Manatee pool bar, read and took naps. It was an awesome second day! 

Wednesday, we did an excursion: the Dreamer Catamaran Cruise. I definitely recommend getting off the resort when you go to these all-inclusive places {at least just once!} so you can see what the culture and country is really like. We have done this on all of our trips and these are the best memories we have! 

We took a 15-minute bus ride from our resort to Doctor's Cave Bathing Club, where we boarded a catamaran for a cruise to Negril, the westernmost point of Jamaica. Our cruise was about three hours, and they had snacks, lunch and an open bar. We anchored at Seven-Mile Beach in Negril, where we snorkeled for about 45 minutes. It started to rain pretty heavily, so they pulled us all back into the boat, where we had a giant dance party and more drinks. It was so much fun! The rain stopped after about 15 minutes; in Jamaica, it comes in quickly and leaves just as fast. 

We kept cruising into Negril, docking at Margaritaville {not impressed} and took a 10-minute bus ride from there to the world-famous Ricks Café, where we watched the "crazy Jamaicans" dive off the cliffs, had a few Red Stripes and watched the absolutely gorgeous sunset. And of course, my husband and husbands of the friends we made jumped off the 30-foot cliffs, too! I wasn't brave enough! After the sunset, we boarded our bus and made the 1.5-hour trip back to Montego Bay. 

The staff onboard the catamaran {and our bus driver Joe} were absolutely wonderful; they completely made the trip! {Especially when it started raining; they were fantastic.} I would recommend the Dreamer Catamaran Cruise to anyone who travels to Montego Bay!!! 

Thursday was our last full day in Jamaica, so we kicked it off with room service breakfast and mimosas on the patio. I didn't really take many pictures on Thursday, but we spent all day alternating between the beach and the pool, taking naps and just relaxing. 

We left the resort on Friday morning, and I was really excited to get home and see Walker! 

Like our check-in experience, we had a smooth checkout, complete with beautiful views of Montego Bay. 

We had a quick bite at Margaritaville in the airport {an actually much better experience than the one in Negril, hilariously enough!}. Of course, Brandon ordered the "Cheeseburger in Paradise." ;)

Before we boarded for our flight home, we were upgraded to First Class -- and the first row in First Class! I had never flown First Class before and it definitely did not disappoint! I loved all of my leg room, the hot towel and the wonderful First Class flight attendant!

And of course, the wine in an actual glass, no less. {Can you tell I'm easily impressed? Ha!} 

We really loved our trip and it was a wonderful time for Brandon and me to rest, recharge and reconnect. It was hard leaving Walker, but we knew we had to get away for a few days to, as my Dad said, "Remember why and that you're married." 



  1. Wow! What an awesome trip for you both - some amazing quality time together as a couple and rest and relaxation for busy parents! x

  2. What a wonderful trip!! Matt and I are already talking about when we will be able to get away just the two of us for another all inclusive trip ;)

  3. Ah!! Looks like the perfect trip! I'm a little jealous, but I'm so glad you guys had a wonderful time!! I know several people that have been to that resort and they've all loved it. Welcome back :)

  4. Thanks for the blog info. My wife and I are headed there August 2. Staying at Wild Orchid. Wasn't planning to leave resort but we love Cataraman's and that adventure sounds awesome.

  5. Ahh I loved all of these pictures!!! The spa sounded fantastic and I loved that you recommended to do it on the first day.....such common sense but I have never thought of it!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

  6. Hi! What a wonderful and beautiful trip to Jamaica! I definitely need to go after reading this post.


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