Jamaica Luxury Family Vacation Day 1

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Jamaica with kids day 1

We have always wanted to visit Jamaica.

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. 

miami airport

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 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. 

club mobay

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.

jamaica rum punchmontego bay airport vipvip service lounge montego bay

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. 

reese family its a lovely lifemoon palace jamaica grande ocho rios

Once we arrived, our bags were whisked away (along with my “big camera”), please pardon the cell phone pictures…

cold towel welcome

We were offered cold towels, and if you remember from Hawaii a couple of 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!

moon palace welcome drink

Once inside we were offered non-alcoholic mimosas. They were a sparking ginger pineapple drink. I’m totally recreating these at home. So good!

check in experience moon palace jamaica

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…

jamaica family resort

The resort does feel like a palace. It’s palatial and comfortable all at once. Modern decor mixed with a Caribbean flair!

luxury family resort jamaica

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. 

kids food moon palace jamaica

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, buffets can definitely 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 the fresh options here. They also had a full selection of gluten-free foods. Also, I overheard someone ask a chef if something was cooked in butter (it was) and he immediately offered to make him one special in the back without the butter. 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.

family deluxe moon palace jamaica grande

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.

kids room

The girls had beach toys waiting for them, and Pete and I had champagne and a fruit plate!

fruit platemoon palace pools

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.

coffee shop

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!

drinks at moon palace jamaica

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…

kids room service menu moon palace jamaica

Once 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 kid’s 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.

sunset in jamaica

I managed to catch this sunset view and this view of the pool after the sunset! 

first night in jamaica with kids

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 too!

Here is our Day 2 at the Moon Palace

We are so excited to explore and share more tomorrow!

Have you been to Jamaica?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog It's a Lovely Life®! In addition to traveling 150+ days a year, she also helps new bloggers build successful blogging businesses.


  • I would love to go to Jamaica one day. It’s high up on my bucket list.

  • I love how accommodating the chef was! That can be so hard to find these days but it is always really nice to see.

  • I would love to go to Jamaica! This looks like a fabulous family vacation spot! My kids and hubby would love it. I may have to look into it!

  • I’d love to take my kids on a trip to Jamaica. I love it there, but I still haven’t had the opportunity to get there with the entire family.

  • As an avid traveler myself, I love to see families exploring the islands as well! So many people think its an adult destination, but they offer so much for families too!

    • Mandi, I totally agree… and we thought the same thing too until we really started researching it. It has been very family friendly and everyone goes above and beyond to take care of the little travelers.

  • You guys always seem to have such a good time! This looks like a blast. I would love to visit Jamaica. My kids would be in heaven!!!

  • You guys go so many awesome places you make me want me to go with you everywhere. You all are a fun family and travel as much as I wish I could! I can’t wait to see more of this story.

  • It’s nice to see that this resort was great for the whole family. I think we’d spend a lot of time in the pool area.

  • This looks like a great place to go on vacation. It is on my bucket list of places to visit.

  • What a fun trip and I can tell everyone was having a great time. Your photos make me want to go to Jamaica now so I’ll have to add it to my every growing bucket list.

  • That looks like a fantastic vacation destination. I think a resort like this is the perfect way to enjoy the Caribbean as a family.

  • Wow! I am super impressed with the service and accommodations. Jamaica is definitely on my bucket list and when I do finally get to visit I know where I’ll be staying. I’m totally jealous! Glad you are all having fun. 🙂

  • This is incredible! The smiles on your kids faces say so much. I haven’t been to Jamaica since undergrad “spring break” and you have given me an entirely new perspective. I would love to take my family someday.

  • We have been to Jamaica twice, since we loved it so much during our first visit and simply had to return. Although we opted to vacation there kid free, our experience seems very similar to yours thus far. It is a stunning country with lovely people!

  • Wow, now you are having a blast in Jamaica! You guys always have the best time possible!

  • I have always wanted to go to Jamaica! I think it would be a blast. From the looks of your photos you all are having a wonderful time. This is one of the places on my bucket list!

  • We are gluten-free so hearing you noted lots of gluten-free menu items gives me hope! I’m surprised there were not many fruits and vegetables at your prior location. This resort is incredible! What a luxe vacation.

  • Jamaica is on my bucket list of places to visit. This looks like a fantastic resort. I look forward to reading about the rest of your trip.

  • Looking at the pictures made me definitely want to plan a trip to Jamaica the soonest! Oh my goodness, anywhere to get away from this chilly weather! I will bookmark this article and check on their hotel rates.

  • This resort looks very nice. We stopped in Montego Bay when we went on our cruise. I love the beaches in Jamaica. While we were there, we went to Margaritaville.

  • My favorite place I’ve traveled to so far has been Jamaica. I would definitely go back and this place looks awesome.

  • wow. this looks sooo nice. you captured some great moments. the pics are amazing. and the hotel looks outstanding.

  • I loved the service you had from customs to your VIP lounge! And with a hotel view like that, what an amazing family vacation!

  • When I tell people that I’m from the Caribbean they automatically assume that I’m from Jamaica. The thing is although it is Caribbean and I’ve been to countless other Caribbean islands, I still have yet to make it there. I’m hoping to one day though.

  • Family vacations are always the most special and fun. We’ve never been to Jamaica but I would love to go there someday.

  • This looks like a beautiful experience for all! I think that taking your kids to exotic places is awesome and you get to teach them of the beauty of other cultures from a young age.

  • Jamaica is one of those favorite places in my bucket list for long long time, but I am hopeful I will make it sometime with my husband sooner. The pictures are beautiful & exciting & I am sure you had a wonderful experience out there as a family.

  • I need to get myself (& family) to Jamaica! It looks like the perfect amount of relaxation and fun stuff to do. The resort is gorgeous!

  • This looks absolutely amazing! Jamaica is on my bucket list for sure! My sister got married there, but unfortunately it was a very last minute change of plans on the wedding and it occurred right after I lost my job so I couldn’t afford to go.

  • You always have so much fun on vacation. This looks like so much fun. Would love to go there someday.

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