After running and training for the New York City marathon November 12th, my girlfriend and I decided it was time for a break. Because we were a little late to book the trip, our choices were limited to San Juan, PR and Montego Bay, Jamaica. Having gone to Jamaica before and loving it (we put together the trip for ourselves) we opted for the latter.
We stayed at an all inclusive called Breezes in Montego Bay. This hotel is brand new. When we walked in the first time we could hear hammers banging away on the roof. Aside from the ongoing construction, there were a lot of really annoying peculiarities to this place that really left a bad taste in my mouth. For instance, all the air-conditioning units were remote controlled. My room, however, was missing the remote control. So we had to call the front desk, some nights more than once to get someone to bring us a remote so we could change the temperature. The elevators wouldn't stop on certain floors because they were programmed wrong. The service on the whole was atrocious but friendly. They would smile at you as they blew you off to do something else. We knew we were in trouble when checkin took over an hour. The hotel's one mitigating factor was that it is placed on a gorgeous spot on Montego Bay.
Security is a problem in Jamaica. On our heavily protected beach we weren't too happy to see this sign. I have heard all sorts of horror stories about Jamaica and after going there myself I believe them all. You can't walk across the street without being accosted by someone who want to sell you drugs, sex or their grand-mother. If you can deal with that kind of environment then maybe Jamaica is for you. I was there on vacation (From New York) to get away from all the derelicts and drug-dealers.
I found the pool and the pool area quit nice. The facilities at Breezes were all new and in good order. My favorite spot at the resort (I use the term loosely) was the hot-tub on the 6th floor, overlooking the whole of Montego Bay.
Being an all-inclusive, there were a few bars to get drinks at, round-the-clock and food a-plenty. Here is a picture of the hut containing both the bar and a grill that served barbecue mid-morning until dinner time and after-hours.
We made a side trip to Negril. To get there we hired a driver at $25 a person (four people) to take us in a van at 9 am for a day trip. The drivers there are all crooks and will try to rip you off if you don't watch out. $100 per day is the going rate to rent a van and a driver for a day. There was only one road from Montego Bay to Negril and it is winds through small towns and swamps around the coast line. they drive on the left-hand side so it is advisable to get a driver if you want to do a day trip.
Negril is a beautiful gentle descending beach that runs about 7 miles along the coast. In the last few years it has really started to become developed because in Jamaica once you buy a piece of land in an area with ascending value, it will only remain yours if you develop it. As a result, the beach is now littered with unsightly bars, hair-braiding "boutiques", hotels and restaurants.
There were plenty of water-sports going on. Water-skiing, sailing, snorkeling, glass-bottom boat rides, wind-surfing were included. There was enough on location to keep you busy, without getting you bored for about 3 days. We stayed there for 4.
We won't come back to Jamaica.