Sunsets, reggae, and zip-lining!

Some wonderful clients just returned from a short getaway at the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton resort in Jamaica. They had agonized over a cruise versus an all-inclusive, and I’m happy to say that they were thrilled with their choice! The trip report is below:

Steve and I want to first start off by saying how thankful we are for all that you did and all the questions that you answered for us. For the price that we had in our budget, and the time constraint that we had, we feel that you truly nailed it on what we were looking for. We knew going into the vacation it was not a 5 star hotel and we did not expect it. It was not a 5 star, but it was a very very nice hotel in the way it was set up, and I must say the service was 5 star. The Jamaicans really know how to make sure you are taken care of and they are so happy all the time and always have smiles. NOT SURE why the U.S. does not have service like this. Let’s say you would ever even think about being in a bad mood (not sure why as you are on a vacation) but they will make sure you smile. They really are just wonderful people who are either trained very well or are a hospitality culture who understand how to give 5 star service. The hotel was so nice the way they were set up. It is completely open, meaning the lobby has no walls so you look out to the water and feel the natural breeze throughout the hotel. The pool is the largest on the island, so they say, and it is large. There are two beaches and the sunset beach is the best one. We heard some of the best music we have ever heard in our life at the night bars. The disco is fun also….

The water sports are a blast and the pool activities are fun…no need to leave the resort. We rate the vacation 5 stars, as it was what exactly what we were looking for in a little quick get away. I am a bit spoiled on what I expect, meaning I notice when things are not kept up so I am very thankful that you discourage me from going on the lower-end cruises, as I would never want to deal with “run down” hotels or cruises. I could tell that the hotel was kept up but it was not one of those over the top hotels. It is perfect for a young or old couple or family or group of friends that do not want to break the bank but want a quick get away.

Oh get ready to always hear Bob Marley as he is God to Jamaica..we heard him everywhere but we did not care as they would say “yeah man” “everything will be alright man”

We enjoyed dealing with you prior to the trip and thank you for doing such a wonderful job as you are great at what you did and we will always use you for when we are going away and will always refer you.

The round trip flights on US Air were good. Our connecting flight coming home was a very close call. We and two other couples had to run to catch our connecting flight and therefore our luggage did not make it with our plane. That is okay because it came on the next trip, and US Air delivered our bags to our doorstep the very next morning. They actually held our flight for all six of us to catch the flight. We were told at security (we had to go through security again because we were international) that flights that come from Jamaica are always late (or usually) so US Air is prepared to hold the flights a bit. All in all it worked out!

We loved the hotel — it has everything you need. One large pool and two smaller pools, one at the spa and one smaller adult pool on the other side of the hotel. It has stores, tons of restaurants, two beaches and activities at the pool. It has a pool bar, sports bar, Cigar dessert bar, Night Club and great sunsets. I would recommend this hotel. I got a massage (not cheap but not $$) loved it! Great live music and love the fact that the hotel is designed to be all open as you are always enjoying the fresh air as you walk around.

The suite was large. There was a living room, balcony that looked over the water and a large bathroom with a large bedroom. The air conditioning works only when you are in the room and have the key in the room slot so they are smart on conserving energy, but it was not overly cold at night. If someone is a person who likes to sleep in room temp too cold…tell them to pack light on their nightgowns because they will be a bit warm at night. The bed was not overly comfortable but heck you are on vacation so you will sleep like a baby. The room was kept very clean but you can tell the rooms are a bit older. The shower is huge and there is a huge hot tub but you really don’t spend much time in the room because there are so many other places to go on the resort.

We went to all except 2 of the 7 restaurants on site. The food was good and if you like wine they do have table red and white that are included and then the other kinds are for purchase. There is a cigar bar that we found that has all the higher end liquor and it is all included. Little hidden gem as most of the bars on site have the regular types of liquor. Not that we cared because we just enjoyed the Rum but if someone likes the higher end liquor the Cigar bar has it. There is a sports bar that plays the U.S. games and is open 24/7. The Buffets all have the same food but there is a large variety so you really can not get bored with the food but yes they are all the same buffet at each place, so for dinner we suggest going to the restaurants as breakfast and lunch you can do the buffets. There is a Jerk Chicken shack on the beach that is on the other end of the resort…awesome!

We did two excursions. Since we were only there for 3 full days and a half a day. Monday was a travel day, Sunday we just enjoyed the resort, Saturday we zip lined and Friday we did the waterfalls. We did the half-day trip to the falls (I did this before on a cruise so it was not my first pick) Steve has never seen the falls so it was important for him to do it. I think it is something that if someone had never gone before they need to do it, but going one time is perfect and I probably would not do it again because once you do it you do it. However, the water is so refreshing and the falls are really incredible. (Advice) I would suggest those traveling who know they will do the falls to bring water shoes so they do not have to rent them. It was only $10 to rent water shoes but still $10 is $10 so if you have water shoes bring them because it is a requirement. We did the half-day so the rest of the day (from 1:00 p.m. on) we got to enjoy the hotel and beach.

Another excursion that we did was the Zipline. I have never done this before and I would do it again in a heart beat. There are a few Zip line tours you can do for different companies but we did the Jamaica Zipline Adventure Tours www.zipline-tours.com and let me tell you I would suggest someone to do this tour. The tour guys (one of them is named Jerry) are so great and the tour is a very laid back and fun event. It is not commercialized so you really just hang out in the Jamaican wilderness and eat some fresh fruit along the way. Steve has gone Zipping before and he said that this Zip line was very safe as it had two wires — one for main and the other for backup but you do not wear gloves or a helmet if you do not want to (as a helmet will not save you if you fall) so you really feel the “breeze” They start you off on a smaller Zip line to “warm you up” and then you end up going on the longest one in Jamaica and it is so much fun. The two guys are from the village below the hill so they are locals and really want to make sure you have a great time.

If we had another day we would have swam with the dolphins or checked out Negril for sure!

Some tips:

  • Bring a thermos, as it is an all-inclusive resort and if you want to bring your drinks to the beach to keep them cold bring a thermos. We bought one there and really did not need to if we had thought of it in advance.
  • If someone is going to Jamaica, tell them to bring $1.00 bills with them as they will only need to tip and instead of breaking big bills in the exchange rate just bring a bunch of ones with you.
  • Bring extra towels if you do not want to have only one. The hotel only provides one towel for the pool and beach at a time so if you are someone that likes to have more than 1 towel bring an extra towel. I only need one towel but it is something I thought about in case you did want more than one.
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You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)