So David and I ended up in Jamaica while shopping for trips with Costco. We were getting in the frame of mind for our big travels and I was curious about what Costco Travel was all about. David came home while I was passively playing around with travel details for Jamaica. First class tickets and a room upgrade, adjustments on midweek travel days, it came to a pretty good price. Let’s do it!
With a red eye flight from Denver to Miami and a jump over to Montego Bay, we were in Jamaica by lunchtime. A two hour transfer with two other couples, we pulled up to the Moon Palace Resort. While David and I usually travel in an ‘adults only’ style, this was a family friendly place. Our check in experience was a mixed bag. It took longer than needed to get checked in but then we got to the fun stuff in discovering that we had $1500 in resort credit in addition to our all inclusive food and drinks. After we dumped our bags and settled into our room, we headed back to the lobby to schedule a few spa treatments with our resort credit. From there we grabbed a cocktail and explored the property. There’s several different types of restaurants, multiple pools, and a large beach.
Even with sleeping on the overnight flight, David and I quickly hit our wall. We should’ve just ordered room service that first night, but made a sad attempt to eat at one of the restaurants. I think one if not both of us ended up snoozing at dinner that night.
Our days were mostly spent sleeping in, writing, and heading to the pool or beach. I’m often early to rise before David, so I would grab my iPad and head to the coffee shop to do some writing. On occasion David would join me. From there we’d often head to the beach first where David would set up shop in front of the grill that made Jamaican Jerk Chicken from 11-4 everyday. From there we’d move to the pool that had a swim up bar. We quickly became friends with all the bartenders as we usually do at most places we go to.
There were a few breaks in our days using our resort credit as best as we could. If they would have let us, David and I would have used all of it at the spa, but were limited to a few hundred bucks. One night we had a beach dinner of surge and turf with a delicious upgraded bottle of red wine. One afternoon we took a catamaran ride along the coast, stopping at a small cove to jump off and swim. David and I left the resort on two different afternoons. One afternoon we walked through the Main Street of Ocho Rios, stopping into a few shops and having a drink at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. The other afternoon that we left the resort we went to Scotchie’s for more Jerk Chicken. David wanted to report back to our friends in Steamboat who own a Jamaican restaurant on who had the best Jerk Chicken.
During our stay, we learned that Moon Palace is part of a vacation club. They’ve a variety of properties in the Caribbean and Mexico that are included in this membership. Depending on what level (there’s 3 levels) of membership you pick, you’d have more “free” upgrades. David and I heard them out on their sales pitch on what upgrades were for food, spa, rooms, your friends and family being able to save on their trips using your membership, etc. At a minimum of 2 vacations a year for 25 years, how much are you saving? HOw much did we pay for this trip? They kept pushing how all these things are “free,” but it really isn’t. These “free” upgrades are coming at the cost/form of your membership fees. The cheapest entry level was quoted at $75,000 up front. The most expensive membership was over $300,000. It took them over an hour to tell us what these fees were and kept giving us the hard sales pitch. David and I both stood up and walked out. Throughout our stay, we saw families with the special colored wrist bands indicating they were part of the membership club and asked what they thought of their membership. In the end, it wasn’t a complete scam but not for us. While we both enjoy down time in the warm sun at the beach to rest and regroup, David and I are generally more active on our travels.
The week in Jamaica was some great rest and relaxation. David and I would both like to go back but would try a different resort or try an AirBnB with more local experiences. Our time in Ocho Rios wasn’t bad or unpleasant. Even with the resort being family friendly, the kids behaved themselves.