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This is the final post in my short series about going to an all-inclusive resort versus cruising with kids. To find out which option we prefer and why, check out:Cruising with Kids–the Good, the Bad, and The Yummy & All-Inclusive with Kids–Do Kids Belong at All-Inclusive Resorts?
Several people have asked about the property where we stayed in Jamaica–the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort. The front desk provided us with additional opportunities like a couple’s massage and shopping tour to make sure we experienced all that the resort had to offer. For reference, we traveled with four adults, two two-year-olds, and a nine-month-old baby.
- The hotel and staff perfectly exemplified the “Yeah, Mon! No worries!” attitude that’s characteristic of Jamaica. I want that kind of relaxed feel to my beach vacation.
- I felt safe even with the security warnings associated with Montego Bay.
- The massage was the perfect date. We do have a question though–if you have a couple’s massage, who gets the male masseuse and who gets the female? The answer varies among our couple friends.
- The dress code for meals was standard and acceptable–no flip flops allowed at many of the restaurants. We were all thoroughly entertained by the Hibachi Grill.
- The pool was lovely. I’m partial to the little waterfall and bridge. The toddlers liked the sloped entry into the shallow end.
The shore and beach area were calm and shallow. It was perfect for our little ones. There was a little island a few hundred feet away from the shore. This island sheltered the shoreline from crazy waves. The water near the beach was calm and clear–like I said, perfect for little ones. In fact, it’s what inspired me to write my most favorite post: 35 FREE things to do at the beach with young kids.
- There was a children’s activity center for kids 6 months and up. We decided not to make use of this (free) amenity, but the children inside looked happy and engaged. Cruise ships rarely accept children as young as six months in their kids’ programs. This is a definite point in favor of all-inclusive resorts if you’d like to utilize childcare services! Our girls made good use of the sandy playground outside of the children’s center.
- We loved that the non-motorized water sports were included with our package. Our girls (even the baby!) enjoyed the peddle boat and sailboat rides.
- Alcohol and soft drinks were included with our package. Tips were included as well. However, there was a note in our welcome packet that said our tips had already been paid, but we were welcome to provide additional gratuities for exceptional service.
- The entertainment options were limited (as opposed to a cruise) but the beach was all we needed.
- As I mentioned in my all-inclusive post, I would have loved to have had a 24-7 food option.
- We had no reason or desire to leave the hotel beyond our short shopping tour. However, when our kids are older, we will be going back to hike the famous waterfall. Why is this in the con section? Well, it was too far away from the resort for us to consider going with our very young kids. Yet it has such a phenomenal reputation that you may want to consider making it a “must-see” attraction when you’re in Jamaica no matter where you stay.
There were washing machines available for guests to use for free. BYOlaundry detergent. HOWEVER, we did one load and ended up with a few greasy stains from inside the machine.
Would we stay here again? Absolutely! And we recommend that others give it a try, too.
The details surrounding our stay were accurate as of April 2013.
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