Honeymoon: Part One – March 2020 at the Jewel Paradise Cove Resort near Montego Bay, Jamaica (There will be a Part Two at Some Point)
The Hubs and I researched all inclusive resorts in the sunny and warm Caribbean waters in an attempt to finally go on a Honeymoon… almost two years late. The resort in question, Jewel Paradise Cove, looked absolutely delightful on their website. They pride themselves as a Wellness Resort, complete with Yoga classes on site, a gym, and a spa. It is an adults-only resort, so no annoying little kids screaming and shouting and ruining everything. There is a reason we don’t have children, if you could not already come to that conclusion of your own volition. They boasted delicious, healthy food, all situated on a pristine private cove an hours drive from Montego Bay. The rooms looked like sanctuaries, and the cove looked like a snorkelers paradise. Not to mention the fact that all non-motorized water sports were included in the price… free kayaking and snorkeling??? Hell Yeah (Mon)! It sounded (and looked) marvelous, but alas, the website was rather deceiving. While they did have Yoga classes on site (and supposedly cycling classes), the wellness aspect of the retreat was missing. But back to the story…
Hubs and I got on our JetBlue flights, toting along a plastic bag full of Clorox wipes in order to wipe down our plane seats in the mist of the Coronavirus outbreak. We were giggly and excited, partly because we had been awake working all night, and we were rapidly approaching delirium mode. Everything struck us as absolutely hilarious… snickering at the clothing choices of some people, to watching mask-clad travelers sulk through the airport. The virus had not been classified as a pandemic at this point, but the hysteria had already struck. Thankfully, Hubs and I ran out of toilet paper the week prior, and had managed to purchase more before leaving. I’m still baffled by the neurotic mass acquisition of the rolled squares that should be reserved for one’s unmentionable areas… what are you people using it for?!?! And why are you fools purchasing ALL the produce? You can only eat so much broccoli and onion in one day! I got a tad bit off topic there for a minute. Back to Jamaica!
This was the first time we got to exercise our newly acquired Global Entry status! Sweet Jesus, that was the best decision we ever made… we flew through security, did not have to touch the grimy bins most other passengers do, and my shoes stayed firming on my feet. We are no longer required to remove liquids or electronic devices from our baggage… it makes me jubilant just thinking about it! The first leg of our transport with JetBlue was bolstered by amazing flight attendants that, upon discovering it was our Honeymoon, gave us drinks on the house! Cheers! Our second flight was uneventful, and we were safely deposited at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. A quick pass through customs, and we were bombarded with taxi drivers and random people offering us rides to our resorts. As well as being pointed in the general direction of several alcohol dispensaries located directly outside of the airport doors. No public consumption laws here! Anyway, I had set up transportation prior to arriving, and we were directed to our shared bus. After an hour-ish drive, whizzing passed sparkling teal waters while driving on the wrong side of the road, we arrived at our resort.
A glorious breeze greeted us as we departed the bus, as did some agreeable warmer temperatures. Our room was not ready yet, so we moseyed on over to the pool’s bar (swim-up bar included). A couple of fruity, certainly sugar-filled drinks followed, before we were pointed in the direction of our room. I shall preface my upcoming description of this resort with this… I continually referred to it as either “Redneck Luxury,” or “Redneck Chic.” This adults only resort had a particular type of person roaming it’s actually very nicely manicured grounds… they were largely of the overweight variety, sporting questionable tattoo choices from (hopefully) their younger days, binge drank all day, while stuffing their faces with the plentiful amount of fried foods offered at the buffet and restaurants. The female halves were clad in bikinis that could fit three of me, while their counterparts waddled along next to them. I was by far the tiniest person on site. My eyes hurt.
As mentioned, the grounds were quite lovely with concrete pathways meandering through tall palms and lush, green hedges. Our room was a pool view room on the first floor. We were not exactly pleased with the pool, as the raucous middle-aged partiers that lined its edges were drunkenly shouting at one another. One of my favorite moments was one an intoxicated man decided to try yanking on our sliding glass door, as I am assuming in his alcohol haze, he did not recognize which room was, in fact, his. Your friendly reminder to always lock your doors… even on vacation.
A majority of our days were spent relaxing in the sun reading books on our respective Kindle’s. We opted for beach chairs most days, as the pools and the bar surrounding them typically had the pungent odor of vomit plaguing them. And it never seemed to go away… where were these people puking and hiding it?!
A few positive notes about Jewel Paradise Cove… The Jade Samurai was the Japanese hibachi grill that required reservations, and we managed to get in on our third night. It was an absolute delight! Our cook, Oshaine, was hilarious. He referred to himself as our “Blackanese chef” while he sang and danced behind the grill, but only the “low notes” as he “can’t manage the high ones.” He mentioned Jamaican rice as being imported from Japan, but with a little more marijuana. The entire table lost it. Soy sauce was affectionately known as “Blackanese Pepsi,” as he doused the rice in it. It didn’t hurt that the food was scrumptious and plentiful. Please, meet Oshaine, the Blackanese Chef at the Jade Samurai…
We frequented the Italian Restaurant, Moonstone. First night… delicious and well cooked. Forth night… awful and undercooked. However, the bar above it, the Sunset Bar, we discovered the most enjoyable bartender, Venice. She had a cheery, laugh that resonated from deep in her belly. We spent several nights (and days) chatting with her about the Levels of Weirdness. This was mostly focused on what outlandish animals people consume. We settled on Level Three Weird as where we, and most people, lie. But when you eat things like bats, anteaters, and kangaroos, you get elevated to Level Seven Weird. Venice introduced us to some delectable, multicolored drinks, the best of which was called the Bob Marley. It was red on the bottom, yellow in the middle and green on top. It consisted of Blue Curacao, daiquiri mix, some more booze, and I don’t even know what else. Our glasses rarely emptied completely.
Platinum, the “fancy” restaurant requiring “resort elegant” attire, was unequivocally NOT elegant at all. It claims to combine Caribbean cuisine with a distinctive Jamaican flair in an “exquisite” dinning room. The meal was not particularly good either, and the service was sorely lacking. We even dressed up to go there, but alas, there was no reason to do so (outside of wearing my new, blue dress), as all of the other patrons were clad in less-than-elegant apparel. However, Hubs was most definitely a fan of my frock (low cut and short usually foot the bill on that front). Although, I have no idea what is going on with my face in that photo… Hubs has a knack for catching stills of my face in some hilariously twisted fashions.
The main eatery was the open air buffet, and it was generally decent, as one could usually find something tasty to eat with all of the options. There was a mediocre piano bar, as well as a night club called Bling. We did not pay a visit to the night club… we saw enough drunken debauchery around the pools during the day. Additionally, the restaurants were open on a rotating basis, so it further limited the dinnering spots available.
Hubs took advantage of the Radiant Spa, getting an overpriced massage. Attached to the spa was a subpar gym. The AC’s were not working, leading to some insanely sweaty workouts. The equipment was insufficient, but I made it work… slaughtering my hamstrings and quads one day, working my arms and back on another, and fitting in some HIIT workouts in the hotel room. Yes, I am that loony zealot that works out like a fiend on vacation, too. Had to work off the corrupting food and wine. And Scheep joined me for one of the gym sessions. He watched from afar.
We were lucky to have sunny weather the entire time. It was a bit cloudy on the final day, but we were leaving anyway, so no biggie! We decided we would do a follow-up trip to a better resort for Honeymoon Part Two. The research already began, as we started looking into the outrageously expensive Sandals Resorts spread out across the Caribbean. We have to make up for the non-stellar experience at the Jewel Paradise Cove.
Tootles, warm weather… it’s back to winter/early spring for us. And the psychopaths cleaning out all stores of toilet paper and fresh produce. And canned goods. And cereal. And chips. And water. But NOT soap… I can still get soap literally everywhere. Just wash your hands people! It kills the beer flu better than anything else. Off my soapbox now.