Saturday, November 5, 2016

Jamaica Day 1

As I've alluded to on here, Peter and I had an exciting trip planned to celebrate our 10th anniversary!  There was a lot up in the air before we left with flights getting changed and having to work to add a day to our stay to remedy a horrible new itinerary and then the resort was undergoing some major room renovations and the rooms blocks that were supposed to open weren't opening on time, meaning people this week were getting notified that they were being bumped to other resorts. All that to say, we didn't exactly know what we were walking into.

Friday morning we got up and there's just a bad feeling you get when you realize it will be 2 days before your head touches another bed.  I also have severe anxiety when it comes to leaving the kids so I battled that for the few days before we left.  I still choose to leave them behind because, being a stay at home, homeschooling mom, I am literally around my kids 24/7 and sometimes I just need a break. I also know that building up my marriage and making away time a priority is a huge part for us staying close through the busyness of raising 4 kids.

So all that to say, I pushed through the anxiety as best I could, but it was still hard. Our flight didn't leave utnil 10:40 PM on Friday. But we were finally off!  A 4 1/2 hour flight to Charlotte where I utilized my sleeping pills and tried to sleep as best I could.  Then after another 3 hour layover, we were off on the 2 1/2 hour flight to Jamaica!  A quick jaunt through customs and immigration and we found ourselves settled into the Sandals lounge with beverages for a few minutes before we were off to our resort. This is when I found out that we were indeed still heading to the resort we originally booked - whew!  

Soon we were off on the 90 minute drive to our resort on the south coast of Jamaica.  A lovely, secluded resort far away from the busy cities, just what we wanted.  A lot of peope are not a fan of this drive because it can be a bit crazy, but me personally I love actually getting to see a little hint of real life for Jamaicans. Even if the driving was a bit crazy, the landscape was quite beautiful!

There are so many important plants here. Citrus season is just starting up with harvest beginning soon. We drove by citrus trees as far as the eye could see for quite some time.  This area is also popular for coconuts, bananas, coffee, and of course sugar cane.

The tiny bars all over the roads

Sugar cane fields or as our driver referred to it as "rum trees"

And then we were there!  This is the most beautiful resort and from the second you pull up you see beautiful buildings and flowers. You are quickly greeted by smiling faces and fresh lemon scented moist towels to wash up a bit with as you exit the van.  Welcome Champagne is also close to follow!  

This time we were staying "Concierge level" so they quickly whisked us away to the club building for check in.  Staying club has some extra benefits such as a concierge team to handle any needs we may have or bookings we would like done. Snacks and other things 24 hours a day in the lounge and room service.  The main reason I booked club was to get a suite with a little bit more room and a jacuzzi tub. 

We were very hopeful that we would get a newly renovated room, but the suites in the newly renovated rooms are not complete yet so then we just hoped we wouldn't get moved to a different resort.  I had been in talks with the GM over this past week to try and make sure we didn't get moved to a different resort.  Not only did we have a note in our packet from our travel agent but we also had a note saying the GM wanted to see us when we checked in. He was not available at that moment but he has said he'd still like to catch up with us later on this week. And surprise of all surprise, he had upgraded us to a penthouse suite, but not just any penthouse suite, a penthouse suite with the BEST view of the sunsets on the resorts!  So cool and very nice of him! 

Not newly renovated but still very nice and the view cannot be beat!  We felt pretty special with getting the GM's personal attention! 

One of the best parts of Sandal's is that once you are on site you can pretty much put your money away.  Nobody (except extras) are allowed to accept tips (they get a tip from each booking) so you can be cashless once you arrive at the resort.  The bells brought our bags up and then we were off to get some food, which is all inclusive and these people WILL push as much food and drink on you as you could want. 

Our first stop was the wonderful pastry shop, a place we had fond memories from with our last trip here 8 years ago! 

We were kind of there between meals so we grabbed some quick food to take back to our room and snack on while enjoying our gorgeous view. 

Then it was time to shower and rest a little bit before relaxing on our patio and enjoying our first amazing sunset here!  We were completely wiped out after being up for almost 2 days at this point but we still wanted to make the most of our first evening in paradise!

And then we were off to an early dinner. We were so tired and eager to get dinner done that we were there as soon as the restaurant opened for the night. It was such a beautiful place with wonderful servers who pushed food item after food item on us. We only wanted entrees but or waiter insisted on adding some small appetizers to our meal just to try out. He also pushed us into dessert!  

For dinner I had pork tenderloin in spicy pineapple sauce with rice and beans

The waiter insisted on Peter trying some Jamaican hot pepper shrimp

He brought out yummy fried plantains for me 

And Peter had the dish everyone raves about and says is the best lobster you will ever taste (it was really good) with mashed sweet potatoes 

As if we weren't full enough, our waiter insisted on dessert.  Pineapple upside down cake with rum cream sauce, Sweet potato pudding with ginger caramel sauce, and Jamaican Rum Cake with Pineapple Coulis.  

Lets just say we did not leave hungry and agreed we may revisit this location later on in the week!  The food here is very good and worth that all inclusive price! 

This was also one of the coolest restaurant locations. The only positive of those room renovations not being done is that the resort is not anywhere near capacity right now so plenty of room for us! But check out this awesome open air dinner spot! Super quiet with just the sound of the waves and the crickets, surrounded by the beautiful stars! 

I'd say we are off to a great start, albeit very very tired. We have so many things to look forward to this week ahead as we continue to make new memories together!