Ya Mon! We're back
from Montego Bay J.A.
I try to keep a trip diary up-to-date while travelling however I somehow
knew that the internet access at our hotel would prevent this. I was
right as the pc's were locked up which prevented me from loading up
pictures. Not only that, the internet fee at our hotel was $9.00US for 30
minutes (the special was $18 for a hour). It is really ridiculous to
charge that much so not many people where using the 4 internet stations.
If they wanted to make more money, they could reduce that fee and they
would make a lot more money as people would consider it. Anyway since
this trip report is really a post mortem rather than a diary, I will
write about the different aspects of the trip by subject. For pictures
and videos, if you have fast internet speed, use the
start slideshow function and view in full screen.
As I mentioned earlier, the Riu Montego Bay has only been opened for 3
months so itís still suffering some growing pains. Some of these pains
are transferred to the clients.
1st Pain. We had pre-assigned rooms (4236-4237) and although we
tried to upgrade they said there was no room. We were in building 4
which is far from everything but that wasnít the problem. When we got to
the rooms, they had one king size bed. No problem for Myrna and I but
Ron and Frank did not want to get that intimate. The problem with our
room was that it smelled really bad, to the point of having a sore
throat from the harshness of the smell. Ron and Frank got moved to
building 1 (room 1006) and we tried to move but they said building 1
would only have room the next day. We moved into Ron and Frank initial
room (4236) for the night since it did not smell. The new room in
building 1 (room 1006) was bigger and had 3 large beds. That room was
perfect except for one thing which becomes pain #2.
2nd Pain. For some strange reason, when they built this resort,
they decided to use keys for the rooms instead of Card Key access. Room
1006 had only one key and they said they might have another by Monday.
On Monday, they didnít have an extra key, so Frank asked to move to a
room with 2 keys which was room 1224. They had to move everything from
one room to the next for a second time. The good part about moving was
that the fridge was restocked with drinks and beer which takes us to
3rd Pain. The restocking of the fridge is supposed to happen
every 2 days. This is even written on the fridge. We were in the room
from Sunday and the first time they restocked the fridge with beer was
Thursday although we called Tuesday and Wednesday. The front desk said
they would supply us with the soft drinks but that they were out of
beer. The bars were also Ďout ofí Sambuca for the entire week. Enough
about drinking. Now let's talk about food which, as you guessed, was
4th Pain. The food in this report needs a lot of work. Whether it
was because the resort was fully booked and they weren't used to having
so many people. If you looked hard enough you might find something you
could eat but we weren't lucky all the time. The jerk chicken hut was
good but was only opened at lunch. The problem is that people looking
for good food would keeping reverting to the hut causing a line-up. Some
people were in the chicken line-up for over 45 minutes. Two days there
was no line-up because the hut was closed, once day because of rain and
the other because of wind which brings us to the weather.
The weather left a little to be desired but wasn't that bad. The first 2
days were super hot with very little wind. The 3rd day however was
wasn't so good. Around 9:30 in the morning it started to rain heavily
for about 3 hours and continued later in the afternoon. That day was
also the day the wind picked up for the rest of the vacation. These
prominent easterly winds certainly played havoc not only by closing the
jerk hut for a day and dropping the water temperature about 10 degrees
in the bay. Actually on the first days, beach water was actually too
warm. The other place that the wind made a difference
was the golf course. You can see the rain in the video
Although this was basically a golf holiday, it was included as part of
the package which is what we usually do. Instead, we decided to go for
the 'cheap' all-inclusive package ($1297cad which is now over $1700) and
pay for the golf separately. I had pre-arranged our 5 tee-off times
which included one round at Half Moon and Cinnamon Hill and a 3 round
package at White Witch. With the Canadian dollar under 80 cents during
this week, the 5 rounds of golf came out to $1000cad (plus caddie tip)
when all was said and done. Now for a rating of the courses.
Half Moon - 2.5 ball rating. It was an OK course but considering
the price ($204cad) and the flat terrain and almost boring layout
although designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. There is history behind this
course but I would skip it all together considering the price.
Cinnamon Hill - 4.0 ball rating . This was the cheapest course at
$160cad and was far better than Half Moon. It had 2 ocean holes
including the spectacular 5th hole par 3.
White Witch - 4.8 ball rating. The most expensive course (at $210
per round on a 3 game special) this was quite a course. The only reason
I don't give it a full 5 is the price and the green condition. As you
can see by the pictures, the elevation changes on some holes rivaled
Kapalua in Maui. It was challenging and the view of the ocean, albeit
from a kilometer away were breath taking. Unfortunately, I was playing
my worst golf of the year. I will blame that on being distracted from
the views but my problem was my short game which in my case means
anything inside 110 yards. I also couldn't putt which was unlike me. The
wind didn't help either but the best part about the golf and playing at
this time of year is that we felt like we were alone on the course most
of the time. Check out the score cards here
and you will see that not one game took over 4 hours to play which is
great for resort courses.
Overall vacation rating
Other than the growing pains of the Riu Resort and the iffy weather,
overall this vacation was good. Most people in Jamaica are super
friendly and everything is really, No problem!