I have been a travel writer for years and although I would love to be one, I am not at all a frugal travel writer. My niche? I share how to save the most money on the most luxurious accommodations that you can afford. I will tell you how to get the deals. I will share the stories of the places I stay. However, if you are looking for PB & J’s on a budget, I am not that kind of writer. Or traveler.
I pride myself in planning once in a lifetime trips. We save all year, I get the best deals available and then we enjoy ourselves. No one comes back from vacation tired.
It was more than 15 years ago that I went to my first all-inclusive resort in Jamaica. I worked a lot and I worked hard. I wanted to play hard too. By this point in my life, I had traveled all over the world and was a little tired of the “10 countries in 3 days” vacations that I had been taking. I wanted to relax. I wanted a beach. But I wanted a waiter too!
Some good friends of mine were getting married and they invited several of us to go along. We all wanted a place that was luxurious, where we did not have to do a thing and there were plenty of activities for everyone
Enter Grand Lido Braco. Endless beaches, mountains of food, every kind of drink you can imagine and daily activities made the Grand Lido one of the most memorable vacations ever. Many of the staff members remembered our names which was a fantastic touch.
I took part in pretty much anything that they would let me do. I took a bike ride to a local pottery place. I did yoga on the beach. I laid in hammock and read a book one day. I indulged in a afternoon tea several times.
At night we played board games at the beach bar while sipping fruity cocktails or we danced until dawn. The bartenders even made up drinks for us during our stay. We walked on the beach. We even dined at every restaurant there.
The day of the wedding came and the spa staff took amazing care of us. Everyone in the party had manicures and pedicures complete with reflexology.
For relaxation with a small hotel feel, the Grand Lido Braco was the place to stay.
My next all-inclusive trip in Jamaica was to the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach Villa & Resort.
I was expecting a little more luxury than I found at Sandals but I enjoyed myself. It was large, crowded and noisy but so is Rehab at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. I kind of felt as if I was on Spring Break the entire time. I even thought of getting a tattoo (just kidding).
The large logo’d pool that Sandals is famous for beckoned to me on a daily basis. In fact, there were seven pools available at the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach Villa & Resort, 12 bars and eight restaurants. The place is HUGE. The food was ok but there was no room service which was slightly annoying.
I played a few rounds of golf overlooking the lush greenery of Jamaica. I played tennis in what felt like a jungle. The beach was short drive so we only went a few times preferring to spend our time at the main resort. I even made it to the Red Lane Spa a few times for a massage and a facial.
I most likely would not return as I felt the place was a little too commercial but for those who like that big hotel feel or desire a reasonably priced all-inclusive vacation, the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach Villa & Resort makes a great getaway spot.
Finally, I saved the best for last. The Ritz Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall made me like royalty from the second that I walked into the place. A beautifully decorated hotel with amazing private beaches on one side and the lush, green mountains of Jamaica on the other side.
Our room had the most comfortable bed and an inviting terrace where we spent a lot of time relaxing. We had a his & her massage at the spa, played many rounds of golf and took full advantage of the five restaurants available.
In true Ritz Carlton style, they ran this 427 room resort like a small, boutique hotel. We never felt crowded. I would definitely return to the Ritz Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall and perhaps bring my children this time as they offer the Ritz Kids program to entertain the little ones.
This is a Traveling Mom dedicated post.