Now that we are into the new year and past the holiday season, I finally have time to reflect on our fun couples’ trip we took to Jamaica recently.  It has become an annual tradition to travel with some good friends for a long weekend getaway.  We have vacationed in Cabo and the Bahamas so we thought we would try another Caribbean vacation with Jamaica.

After a bit of research, we decided it would be worth the extra travel time to get to the Ocho Rios area of Jamaica, and we wanted to be somewhat budget-conscious given the close proximity to the holiday season.  We flew in to Montego Bay and had a two-hour bus ride on a very nice motorcoach to our all-inclusive resort, Jewel Dunn’s River Adult Beach Resort & Spa.


We had pre-booked a Sapphire Ocean View class of room.  This particular type of room is in the main building closest to registration, concierge and the spa.  After a small mix-up of us starting out in a partial ocean view room, the front desk staff was very kind and went above and beyond to get us into a room with a better view on the third floor.  I recommend you ask for a higher floor for an even better view of the water.  Our room was the standard king room and the balcony was spacious and great place to enjoy our morning coffee with a view.

A word of caution about the room and service, though.  While this was a nice resort, I was disappointed in the housekeeping service.  Each day, it seemed as if something was left untouched or forgotten.  I had to request basics like hand towels and replacement coffee pods a few times, and our friends had the same issues (maybe worse?).  Once requested, the amenities were provided with kindness, but I found it frustrating that I even had to ask.

Sapphire Ocean View Room
Morning Coffee with a View

Pool & Beach

Because we traveled in the winter, we had no issues with finding a great spot on the beach or near the pool and bar.  And, as you might assume, the water was chilly so we spent more time enjoying the view rather than swimming.  It seemed as if we got better, more frequent bar service when lounging on the beach as compared to lounging by the pool.  We assume that is because of the swim-up bar.


Like many other reviewers of this resort, we especially enjoyed the fire oven pizzas each day.  We liked that we could have snacks and lunch while lounging rather than a need to dry off from a swim and dress to go find lunch.  Also, the Irie Café was a great spot to grab a cappuccino each morning.

For dinner, we did take advantage of each specialty restaurant.  The Platinum restaurant that requires resort elegant attire provided excellent service and good food.  The Jade Samurai did not disappoint with traditional teppanyaki-style dining.  And kudos to the resort for hiring a female chef for the dinner show experience.  It was nice that we only had to plan dinner reservations with the Jade Samurai while all other restaurants accepted walk-up patrons. 


One watch out for this resort is that their various events throughout the week did limit some of the restaurant options.  For example, on our first night, the resort hosted a Jamaica themed night which pushed people to dine on that specific buffet meal of traditional foods since most of the others were closed.


We chose to enjoy a couples massage as part of our vacation.  The prices are very reasonable compared to most all-inclusive resorts we have experienced.  And, we were even able to apply a resort credit to the overall bill thus reducing the cost even further. 


Though we typically don’t do an excursion when staying at an all-inclusive resort, we had a tour company credit that could be applied to various excursions which made the prices very appealing.  Like many islands, there are zip lines, catamaran boat rides, snorkeling, and dolphin experiences to consider.  And unique to Jamaica, you can take an excursion to Mystic Mountain that includes a bobsled ride. 

We chose an excursion that included a catamaran ride, snorkeling and a chance to climb Dunn’s River Falls.  The falls are just beautiful!  Should you plan on this excursion, know you will need good water shoes or sneakers for climbing.  This unique experience has you form a human chain to help each other climb to the top against the rushing water.  Our guide was a local gentleman that knew every rock and curve of the water.  He was able to ensure a great but safe time. 

We did appreciate that the catamaran crew took safety seriously by refraining from serving alcohol until after snorkeling and climbing of the falls.  But, be careful!  The crew tried to make sure no one ever had an empty glass.  And, we are not quite sure the quality of the drinks served as many in our party ended up ill.

Dunn’s River Falls

Final Thoughts

It is important to note that all vendors (transportation, hotel, excursion) required hard copies of confirmations and discounts/credits.  We found we could have benefited from having two copies of each document for the full trip, one for front end of vacation and one copy for departures. 

Overall, we enjoyed our five nights in Jamaica at the Jewel Dunn’s River resort. The tropical climate was a nice change from winter.  It was a nice getaway for the price and was a relaxed environment.  We found this resort to be about a B+ overall compared to other all-inclusive resort experiences.  There was nothing specific to make us unhappy but felt the whole experience could have been elevated slightly.  If we were to return to Jamaica, we likely would choose a different resort in the Montego Bay area to avoid the long bus ride to allow for more time to relax.


Interested in your own all-inclusive resort vacation? Schedule a complimentary consultation and let us help you find the resort that is perfect for you.

Dell Adventures Travel Agency
PO Box 3651, Grapevine, TX 76051


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