It was an inevitable destination, seeing as I’ve always wanted to go there. I have many close friends, family and peers alike who are from what most would call the “baddest island” in the Caribbean. We added some spice to this vacation by bringing the whole family of 12 along on this extensive trek to this cultural paradise.
With a big family you must do it big, every time—ya hear? Cool. We booked our flight through a travel agency that recommend Royalton Negril Luxury Resort & Spa. We landed in Montego Bay and took a coach to Negril. The bus ride there was longer than expected due to rush hour traffic. It was worth the wait, though. The resort alone really set the tone for the trip; a very welcoming front-desk reception, modernized resort and rooms, reservation-free dining and a breathtaking view captured not only the people, but also the top-notch quality of their culture. For seven days this was our home.
Negril is a town on the west coast of Jamaica that spans across Hanover and Westmoreland (two parishes, which are each the equivalent of a U.S. county), and is considered a beach resort town. This makes sense because during our coach ride, we passed quite a few spots. Categorically speaking, there is a resort for everyone– family, couples, hipsters, partyers and adults-only. Upon our arrival we noticed how big Royalton was. It is huge!
From check-in, the hospitality and customer service were remarkably shown; we were instantly upgraded to a complementary Luxury Junior Suite with a swim-out infinity pool. We had our bags and luggage brought to our rooms which, when we entered, we heard the theme song for the resort. (As one commenter mentioned, we all made fun of the song when we were there but hearing it now brings back memories.) To top it off, we had free 24-hour room service, WIFI and long-distance phone calls to North America and some parts of Europe. My cousin who upgraded to the Royalton’s prestigious Diamond Club room had his own butler. Fresh Prince of Negril, for real.
With seven days in Jamaica we made the most of our stay. Thanks to Tasmin and Mikkel from Nexxus Tours, we were able to explore and practically do it all. We mingled with locals, visited historic sites (Black River, YS Falls, Saint Elizabeth, Negril Lighthouse, Bourbon Beach, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Rick’s Café), “swam” with the crocodiles, jumped from cliffs and snorkeled with the Jamaican marine life. All the tours and excursions were for all ages and exceptional. I would definitely recommend!
Jamaican cuisine is top notch. Royalton has an international selection of foods (Mexican, American, Japanese and a few others) along with a large and central buffet. I felt, though, that since the buffet is roomy and caters to everyone of all creeds and ethnic backgrounds, you don’t really get that holistic Caribbean food experience. You will likely have to add your own pepper, spice and even hot sauce to the hearty meals. It is good, but could be better. (Then again, I’m biased. I’ve been eating Caribbean food my whole life and so my expectations were high, especially being in Jamaica.) What made up for it was the staff that was very courteous and friendly, and always willing to assist and accommodate. It is not the contrived customer service that we typically deal with in North America; it’s genuine, nice and easy. The omelette station was my everyday go-to spot. (Shout out to Chelsea for holding me down those seven days!)
The beach was lovely, tranquil and colorful. I’ll be honest though, I have been to better beaches. Lots of seaweed, algae and marine life along the shore. If you are into those kinds of things, you will be amazed. There is a cool kid pool with a water playground and an adult infinity pool with a swim up bar. (Speaking of kids, this resort is definitely for them.) There were five children and seven adults on this trip of ours. The kids’ pool, nightly entertainment and the deserts alone will keep the children amused and attentive throughout your trip.
Overall, you are doing yourself a favor by coming to Royalton Negril. It lived up to the hype. It is a luxury resort with exceptional service and amenities. Hands down a phenomenal experience.
Lastly, we cannot overlook the rich history and influence this country has on the world. Its musical roots and cultural ties with Pan-Africanism and African linage dates back centuries. The Rastafarian movement and authentic veganism are righteous in cause and lifestyle. Their cuisine and language are a manifestation of the melting pot cultures that make up this island’s populace. All this goes beyond the typical marijuana and dancehall stereotypes we often see placed onto them. Jamaica is a vibrant and exciting island where experiences turn into memories.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]