All inclusive vacations are a wonderful option when you feel like traveling somewhere but either don’t want to take care of the logistics of booking and planning – you usually book a package which includes you flight, your airport transfers, your hotel and your meals – or you’re tired to the point of wanting to laze in the sun and play in the ocean for a few days straight (which is perfectly fine, if you want my opinion). This is no place for traveler vs vacationer talk; we can all be both at the same time. All inclusive vacations can be a perfect type of getaway to balance things out: spend vacation time reading on the beach, eating your weight in food and drinking colorful fruity cocktails at sunset, plus exploring your surroundings. Who’d be crazy enough to say no to that?! Especially in luxurious resorts like the Grand Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay, Jamaica.
When Simon and I were together, I surprised him with a getaway to Jamaica to celebrate his 30th birthday, a country he had longed to visit. Since we didn’t have a lot of vacation days in stock, we opted for a 5-days 4-nights package, and soon enough we were stepping foot on Jamaican soil. The ride from Sangster-Montego Bay airport to our hotel – located in Runaway Bay on the North coast – took about an hour, and after a breezy check-in we were settling in our room at the gorgeous resort of Grand Bahia Principe.
I’d chosen this specific resort for a lot of reasons: its location on Runaway Bat meant we could explore the North coast from Ocho Rios to Dunn’s River Falls to Port Antonio, places we were dying to visit. Montego Bay seemed a bit too touristy for our taste and Negril is so far away on the West coast, you’re basically stuck in your resort. The Grand Bahia Principe was an easy choice, with the brand’s reputation preceding it. The beach looked gorgeous, and even though the resort is huge (850 rooms!!), the layout of it – with 3 pools and many restaurants (7) to choose from each night – meant we’d never feel crowded. Of course, a big plus for us was that we were visiting during low season, during the month of June.
THE GROUNDS AND AMENITIES
After settling in we went for a walk around the grounds to explore the resort and its amenities. We spotted some of the restaurants we would try as we headed for the beach. The wonderful thing about the resort is that if you want lively, you can get it: head to the pools or the first part of the beach and you’ll find people who want to have fun, do activities and sports, and be near the bar. If you want peace and quiet, head to the further part of the beach instead and you’ll find people like us with a book in our hands and our eyes to the sea.
Speaking of the beach, I was pleasantly surprised. I must admit I didn’t have high expectations due to he scale of the resort; I was afraid it’d be too crowded, given that the hotel is sitting on quite a small bay. But as mentioned above, once we found a more tranquil area, we spent most of our days lazing in the sun and swimming in the ocean. The June weather had warmed up the water, and we swam and swam and swam without a care in the world. The ocean was a gorgeous shade of turquoise green, and the temperature was divine.
Food was delicious and plentiful – we had so many choices for restaurants, we weren’t even able to try them all. But I have to admit my favorite quickly became the spot on the beach where we’d have a late afternoon snack after having swam in the sea for so long, we were famished. Jerk chicken, fries, beef patties… We were in Jamaican food heaven!
The room was an indication on the scale of the resort: it was HUGE! The bathroom alone could have made up a whole suite. All marble, extremely spacious, we felt like king and queen showering off the Caribbean Sea salt every night. That’s one of the areas where the 5-star luxury of the resort is recognizable: a great bed, good toiletries, an extremely spacious room, beautiful finishes. It was absolutely perfect, especially at golden hour when we’d watch the sky turn a cotton-candy color, sipping a cocktail on our private balcony. There even was a jacuzzi on the balcony (yes, you read that right!)
Our time in Jamaica was too short and it went by like lightning. I wish we’d had more days to spend at Grand Bahia Principe Runaway Bay, at least to try out all the activities they have on offer, or just to eat all the food at all the restaurants. I really didn’t want to leave and swam in the ocean until the very last minute…
Until next time, Jamaica!