Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Aaaaaaand... we're back!

Just in case you've been living in a cave out of the loop, Aaron and I were in Jamaica over the weekend. This was the first time we've (successfully) taken a warm weather vacation in the winter. We left early Friday morning and I'm telling you, we weren't even off the plane in Jamaica and Aaron said "we're doing this every year."

We stayed in Montego Bay at the Riu Palace Jamaica, not to be confused with the Riu Montego Bay which is right next door. The Palace is newer -- it just opened in December -- and it's adult-only. We were welcomed with a champagne (cava) toast. Our room wasn't quite ready but we got a couple piƱa coladas and relaxed in the shade (we were still wearing travel clothes, which were too warm for the 80 degree weather).

The Riu Palace is all-inclusive, and I do mean ALL. Here's our room, complete with liquor dispenser:

Friday afternoon, and all day Saturday and Sunday, this is where you could find us:

If you're looking for pictures of excursions or nightlife, you won't find them. Our goal for this vacation was to do nothing. We were only gone from Friday morning to Monday night. We could have gone snorkeling or to the resort next door for nighttime entertainment or any number of things, but we didn't. Aaron did get in two runs (half-marathon training) but other than that, we were next to the pool or at the swim-up bar.

This was our first time staying at an all-inclusive resort. We had read a lot of reviews of different places and we talked to fellow vacationers about their experiences. Here are my tips and observations. When going the all-inclusive route, it helps to be flexible. If you're a picky eater or a picky drinker, this might not be for you. The Riu Palace has four theme restaurants (we ate at the Japanese and Italian ones, and there's also a steakhouse and a "fusion" restaurant) and a buffet, where you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. We ate breakfasts and lunches from the buffet and seriously, if you can't find something you like, you're too picky. Also, if the swim-up bar is busy, it's really not helpful to be ordering a "banana daiquiri with dark rum on the bottom and 151 on top." Really?

Some of the daily activities included sangria and paella made on the beach.
Also, beach aerobics, pool volleyball, water aerobics (I didn't do any of that).

One of the negatives I read about the Riu Palace is the proximity to the airport. It's very close, which is great in terms of the shuttle ride to and from your resort, but if you're not a fan of airplanes flying over you all day, go ahead and find a resort that's farther away. It didn't bother me at all, and if you know anything about Aaron, you know that he's a total airplane nerd, so he loved it.

Sorry for the squinty eyes!

Another complaint I read, and also heard from some people there, was the lack of nightlife. Again, we didn't care. I mean, y'all know where we live, right? We have multiple places we can walk to anytime we want. The Riu Palace has three bars, one of which is open 24 hours. At Riu Montego Bay, there's a nightclub and being a guest at the Palace gives you access to anything at Riu Montego Bay as well (which is also where you can go windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, etc.). I also read some conflicting reviews of the staff and all I can say is that we found the staff to be wonderful: friendly, happy and helpful. I will suggest that, even though tipping is not required, take some small bills to give to your favorite bartender or anyone else who provides great service.

Our philosophy was "we can go out at night in Columbus; what we can't do is be outside in a pool/on the beach drinking and reading and relaxing." Consequently, we were early to bed and early to rise. We're definitely well-rested! And we have zero regrets and declared it one of the best vacations ever. Yesterday morning Aaron said over and over that he didn't want to leave. I kid you not, we saw no rain until the moment the shuttle arrived to take us to the airport (and it didn't last). But of course, we all have to go back to reality sometime, and this morning we woke up to snow, so I have to just keep looking at this:

One of my new favorite pictures


  1. Now it is one of my favorite pictures too. Thanks for that. :)

  2. Ohhh I'm so jealous! And so glad the negatives that you read about didn't really affect your trip!

  3. What a perfect weekend getaway!!! I am so jealous!

  4. Omg! I'm in the middle of planing a ski trip to park city and now I want to pull a 180 and head to Jamaica! What a sweet quick trip!

  5. I'm so glad you and Aaron had a great time! The pics are beautiful. And that room with the liquor dispenser?!?! Holy schneikies!! I think it's perfect that you used to the time to relax and be one with the sun. That's exactly how it should be!!!

  6. Love that last pic.

    That sounds like a perfect vacation to me! Up early, day drinking, bed early. I like it.

  7. a liquor dispenser in the room?! that's my kinda place! looks amazing, glad you had fun.

  8. Such a great review! I love to hear about all-inclusive places to see if what they offer is worth it or not. Your trip sounds exactly like something Jacob and I would like to do, including early to bed, early to rise. We're old. ;) I'm so glad you had an amazing time!

  9. Looks BEAUTIFUL. I'm glad you were able to get in a few days of total relaxation. So cool.

  10. Love the liquor dispenser in the room!!!! I have been wondering about all inclusive and it sounds fantastic!

  11. Sounds like the perfect little escape- relaxing and away from the snow!! Win win!!

  12. glad you had a great time. looks like a wonderful place to go to. and i love the last pic too with the sail boat

  13. That is so gorgeous. I love the modern, funky decor. It sounded perfect!

  14. Um, so jealous. That place looks AMAZING. We went to Jamaica on our honeymoon, and the airport went ON STRIKE the day we were supposed to leave. We were stranded there for 2 extra days and couldn't go back to our resort. Because of that, I'm scared to go to Jamaica again, but I think you just convinced me otherwise! I agree with you though...places like that I just want to relax on the beach. I wouldn't care about nightlife at all!


Send me some love and leave a comment!