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We have always wanted to visit Jamaica.
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I've heard so many other people say the same thing. Jamaica is on our list of places to visit… but we just haven't planned our trip yet. I totally get that and up until the beginning of this year it was the same thing for us. I sat down and made a list in January of all the places we had said we were going to visit, and just haven't done it. As Maddie gets closer to college, the urgency has grown for us. I swear she was just a baby yesterday and here she is a little over a year away from college. We have so many places to visit and see that I'm not letting anything stop us.
Jamaica is relatively easy to get to from the west coast so I just decided one day we were going and that's what we did.
We left at 1 pm Friday from San Diego and flew into Miami that evening. We spent the night by the airport and then after a little delay with mechanical issues we left for Montego Bay mid morning on Saturday. The flight to Jamaica had an actual flying time of barely an hour and it gave me just enough time to have a ginger ale and fill out entry paperwork, which I still messed up. I don't know how many times a day I fill out paperwork, but get me on a plane and my brain flies out the window. I accidentally filled out two forms for myself and none for Emmy. Each person has to fill out an immigration form and then 1 person per family fills out the customs form on the back. Thankfully we had a representative from Club Mobay waiting to escort us. We were thrilled to be able to partner with them to share about this amazing service.
When we booked Club Mobay, we didn't fully grasp what it was we were doing or how wonderful it would turn out to be. Club Mobay is a VIP lounge at the Montego Bay Airport. There are drinks and snacks, a private bathroom, wi-fi, and lounge to relax in… and you also get someone who waits for you at the end of the plane ramp, escorts you through immigration (checking your form for errors and helping you fix them, like what happened to us), through customs and then into the lounge. Once you are relaxing at your table in big comfy chairs, your Club Mobay Rep then goes and finds your transportation for you while you fall deeper into vacation mode.
We had arrangements for a private transfer from the airport to our resort and partner,Moon Palace Jamaica Grande, so she found our driver for us. He then walked us from the lounge to the waiting van. I estimated that we saved at least 2 hours using Club Mobay. Montego Bay Airport is really laid out well, but it gets really busy. I can't imagine visiting without using Club Mobay, especially when you have children. Emmy is one of the best behaved travelers. We get complimented on her behavior on planes all the time, but she is 6 and I don't like to push her too far. She was definitely getting hungry and tired. After a cold drink, snacks like sandwiches and chips, she was ready to keep going.
The drive from Montego Bay Airport to Moon Palace Jamaica Grande took just over an hour and a half.
It felt more like 20 minutes because we were all excited to see a new place. Our driver was awesome and pointed out all the sites along the way.
Once we arrived, our bags were whisked away (along with my “big camera”), please pardon the cell phone pictures…
We were offered cold towels, and if you remember from Hawaii a couple weeks ago, Emmy has a big thing for cold towel welcomes. She was looking forward to this so much. She almost didn't want to give it back!
Once inside we were offered non-alcoholic mimosas. They were a sparking ginger pineapple drink. I'm totally recreating these at home. So good!
Our room wasn't quite ready so we were invited to explore the resort and have lunch. This was the moment of reckoning for me. We love all-inclusive resorts, and we also really like luxury accommodations and good food. We were eager to see what the rest of the stay was going to be like…
The resort does feel like a palace. It's palatial and comfortable all at once. Modern decor mixed with a Caribbean flare!
There are so many pools! We thought we had seen the whole resort and then realized in the evening that we had only seen half of it. It is pretty big, yet nothing feels like a long walk. It is all very accessible.
By then we were all starving.
We made our way down to the bottom floor on building 2 (which has the main lobby), and to the buffet. I am always leery of buffets, but I do think they get a bad rap. Traveling with kids, they can be one of the best places to eat. Everyone gets what they want and there is no waiting. This buffet was definitely done right. It was huge and had a very broad choice of food. My favorite was the live action pasta station. My pasta was amazing. Having been to the Caribbean before, I was expecting to see a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables that we experienced at a different resort, but I was blown away by all fresh options here. They also had a full selection of gluten free foods. Also, I over heard someone ask a chef if something was cooked in butter (it was) and he immediately offered to make him one special in the back. Two things that jumped out at me was that the Chef knew exactly what was in the food. Rarely does this happen anymore. We find that the chef out front normally has to ask someone else what is in the food. Secondly he didn't skip a beat when he offered to make a replacement right then and there. As a family of vegetarians with 2 vegans this is such a welcoming change.
After lunch, our room was ready and we headed up to check in out.
We booked a family deluxe, which is two nice sized rooms that were connected. One room has a king size bed and the other room has two full sized beds. Both rooms have full bathrooms and balconies. The set up is lovely and works perfectly for us. The family rooms are all in one area, which gives it even more of a family friendly feel.
The girls had beach toys waiting for them, and Pete and I had champagne and a fruit plate!
Pete, Ashley, and Emmy went for an early evening swim while Maddie and I went to the coffee shop for lattes.
When we found out they had soy milk and raw sugar we were both thrilled. Another huge win for those with dietary restrictions. Palace Resorts knows how to make everyone feel welcome.
After that, we met everyone at the pool and had a cold drink. There are bars placed throughout the resort and the bartenders are awesome. I asked for club soda with lemon and lime and some simple syrup. Pretty much a mojito with no alcohol or mint. The bartender said how about club soda with lime juice and grenadine. I thought “why not” and it was so good and refreshing. I think it's going to be my new drink!
We had dinner at the buffet and it was great. I'm now in love with the pasta station and I plan to go twice a day, every day that we are here. Emmy was desperate to get back to the room but wouldn't tell me why…
One we were back in the room she grabbed this card. She LOVES room service so we ordered her some food to enjoy. I would love to tell you all about that from a personal perspective, but instead I'm going to share what Pete said about it because I fell asleep. I've shared before that I am not a good sleeper. I've never been able to fall asleep easily. Last night was different. I started to get sleepy on the walk back after dinner. Mind you that was through a lobby and onto an elevator. We're not talking more than 3 minutes. Once we were in the room I helped her pick some things from the special kids room service menu, and Pete placed the order. I remember brushing my teeth, changing into my pajamas and sitting down on the bed. Pete said I was asleep within seconds.
It's just so relaxing here and the weather is perfect. Not too humid, warm, but not hot and I just felt so relaxed. It was heavenly.
I managed to catch this sunset view and this view of the pool after the sunset!
Here is our video recap of day 1 in Jamaica!
The Moon Palace Jamaica Grande is running a special right now for all my readers. Clicking my link here will take you to their best available offer. We had such a great time at this beautiful resort and I really think you will to!
We are so excited to explore and share more tomorrow!