A huge thanks to Royalton Negril for the wonderful stay + trip transportation! All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Happy Monday! Kicking things off this (very busy) week with a roundup of all the photos from last week’s Jamaica trip! Marissa and I were invited to come down and check out the Royalton Negril, an all-inclusive resort, for 3 nights right after we got back from our Palm Beach trip in early May — and after some late spring weather gloom, we decided to go for it! I had only been to Jamaica on a cruise stop before — and that was back in high school!
I was so pumped to stay put, get a little of the island culture, and eat some local cuisine.
WHERE WE STAYED
Negril is located on the Western side of Jamaica, about an hour and a half drive from Montego Bay — where we flew into. It’s home to the famous Seven Mile Beach and Dunn’s River Falls which is a popular tourist attraction (I went back in high school with my family off the cruise ship). Royalton Negril is located on Bloody Bay, a smaller and much more quiet section compared to other parts of Seven Mile beach around the bend. There are a few other resorts located within the Bay as well, but the Royalton feels tucked away and more private (as opposed to beach resorts I’ve stayed that line the beach all together). The beach isn’t lined with vendors — in fact, I don’t think we saw one, and there aren’t any direct outside restaurants or shops right around the resort. To me, it felt much less touristy than I was expecting!
After arriving in Montego Bay, we took a private transfer through Nexus Tours to the resort — something I’ve heard is worth the price to get you to your destination as quickly as possible. It’s already a long ride, and while Nexus offers both private and shared transfers, the shared transfers stop at multiple resorts to drop other guests off (and I’ve heard it can be a 2.5 hour ride that way + you have to wait for every guest to arrive before leaving from the airport). We landed, went through a quick and efficient line at customs and were whisked away by our private driver and on the road within a half hour from landing. We arrived an hour and a half later to find that we were upgraded to Hideaway at Royalton Negril — an adult’s only section of the resort with it’s own private check-in and some additional amenities (including pools and restaurants). The main resort has a ton of restaurants, a kid’s section with lots of activities, and the main beach — the adults section is located on the side of the resort, a bit tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main buildings. We were also upgraded to Diamond Club — a Royalton experience you can find at all of their properties which includes butler service, additional top shelf liquor for drinks, priority for seating at restaurants, an upgraded room service menu, a pillow menu, and another private beach. You can actually upgrade to Diamond Club while staying at the main resort as well — it’s basically “club access” if you have ever stayed at a big chain hotel. We were so excited to walk into our ground floor room to see we had a swim out into the main Hideway pool — with a huge bar right across from us. If you haven’t booked a swim out before — it’s totally worth it! Raj and I booked one in Cabo about 5 years ago and it’s as amazing as it sounds! No waking up early to fight for pool chairs, no public bathrooms… you literally use your room and your patio! We made the absolute best use of this upgrade and it’s one feature I’m currently missing the most while writing this post!
The resort itself feels huge — it’s long and only a few stories high, so most of our walking was done going across the resort. It probably took us a day to learn our way around, but after that, was very easy to navigate, with most of the restaurants lining the main walkway. We made sure to dine at most of the restaurants in the few days we had (minus the steak house), but really enjoyed Calypso (a West Indies restaurant where I had a delicious coconut curry chickpea dish which was probably the best meal I had), Zen (hibachi and sushi), Grazie (Italian), Armadillo (Tex-Mex), Dorado (exclusive to the Hideaway section), and Gourmet Marché (the main dining buffet).
We took one rainy afternoon and headed to The Royal Spa — well worth the extra cost (as this is one feature not included in the all-inclusive package). Marissa and I both treated ourselves to 80-minute massages, and I have to say — it was one of the best massages I have EVER had, and she agreed! We left feeling so relaxed and we loved that we decided to check out that part of the resort. Diamond Club gives you access to use the other spa amenities as well, including the hydrotherapy circuit and the sauna and steam room.
A FEW THOUGHTS/FAQs
I always end up with an influx of messages any time I travel somewhere — questions from all of you guys asking for my honest opinion on certain aspects of a trip and recommendations so that you can book.
Would I recommend the resort for a relaxing couple’s getaway? Probably not. The resort definitely had its share of honeymooners, but it was not geared towards my idea of relaxing. Typical to bigger island resorts, there was an entertainment staff on hand to keep the energy on the resort as lively as possible. Activities spanned throughout the day and around the resort — music playing by the pools, trivia, water aerobics, fun games and challenges — so while it keeps it from being a boring vacation, if you want to curl up with a good book and listen to the ocean crashing against the shore, this is not the place. I personally think this was perfect for a girl’s getaway, a (tame) bachelorette with a smaller group, or a couple’s trip if you’re looking to let loose and blow off some steam. It was by no means a “spring break” type of place, but “lively” is the word that kept coming to mind!
There were a few minor power outages that we noticed throughout the day. The power would turn off and our room would go dark for under a minute — something I was confused about until I ended up Googling it. It was always happening at the funniest times, so I seriously thought I was doing something to reset power in our room.
Speaking of being able to Google, I would probably say this was the best Wi-Fi situation I’ve had at an international resort. It was available in all parts of the resort, you didn’t have to do anything crazy to connect to it (like keep refreshing or logging in daily), and it was pretty fast. I was able to stream TV shows (I watch FRIENDS reruns to put me to sleep when I’m somewhere new), I was able to download podcasts to listen to on the beach pretty fast, and we had no issues working and uploading massive photo sizes the entire time we were there.
When you check in, they give you a wrist band that actually doubles as your room key. I don’t know about you, but this was my first time at a resort/hotel with this feature! I’ve had a room key like that on a cruise before, but it was a bulky ass Apple watch looking contraption that was hideous and ruined my outfits. This was a string bracelet (nice and lightweight) with a metal oval that you used to unlock your room. NEVER ONCE did Mariss and I have to yell — “got the room key?!” like we usually do! And it makes a huge difference not having to fumble through your beach bag every time you want to get into you room. Plus, I just turned it around on my wrist to let the string face up — no awkward tan lines!
Like some of my other travel reviews for hotels, I recommend making reservations at the restaurants when arriving. We were given priority access to restaurants, but we still weren’t able to just walk in for dinner (we could for lunch at Grazie, nothing needed for the buffet). It’s always such a downer to not be able to try a restaurant or have to change plans, so I would recommend reserving for the nights you are there as soon as you arrive!
I had a bunch of you ladies asking about mosquitoes — you probably remember me being a bug magnet. I made sure to bring bug spray with me and even wore it during the day on top of my sunscreen. We didn’t notice a swarm of mosquitoes flying around like we did in Florida a month ago, but trust me, they are there. I covered myself head-to-toe and somehow missed my ELBOW — which is the one bite I got all week. I brought a little bottle of Lemon Eucalyptus oil (which I ordered off Amazon), and mixed it with water in a spray bottle. I love the spray bottle idea because it lets you mist yourself and cover more area. Plus, I sprayed it on top of my clothes from a little farther away.
I also had questions about whether or not we felt safe in Jamaica traveling as just two girls. Honestly, I’m always a little more worried BEFORE I get to a place — my imagination can run wild, but once we were there, I felt safe as I feel I could have. The resort was definitely safe, and the airport was probably more efficient than I have ever seen in my life. Everyone was so friendly, and we just made sure to stay together at all times, we didn’t drink too much, and kept our valuables locked in the safe. Just be smart… book any excursions through the hotel if you decide to leave the resort, and don’t do anything looking for trouble!
If you have any other questions, leave in a comment below or feel free to email me! Happy to provide any other info you need — I knew a few of you guys already had trips booked there or were thinking about going! I’m also going to be doing a roundup posts with just outfits later this week as well! In the meantime, you can shop for everything I wore from this What I’m Packing post, or my SHOP INSTAGRAM page!