YPS members Gabriella Latini (left) and Ashley Grush during their recent fam trip to Jamaica // © 2010 Ashley Grush
When you think of Jamaica what comes to mind? Tropical beaches? Red Stripe beer? Amazing sunsets? All-inclusive resorts? Well, all of those things come to my mind and so much more. The last time I vacationed in Jamaica, I was 16 years old. Now, at the age of 25, I have a greater appreciation for the island nation. As an agent with Plaza Travel in Encino, Calif., and a proud member of ASTA’S Young Professionals Society (YPS) group, I was lucky enough to attend a recent fam organized by the Jamaica Tourist Board — which proved to be an amazing opportunity.
During the fam, we toured more than 15 different properties. Of course, a few stood out above the rest. Three of my top hotels are in located Negril — Rockhouse Hotel, Couples Swept Away and Hedonism II. My other favorite hotel is Iberostar Rose Hall Suites in Montego Bay.
I was taken aback by the tranquility of the Rockhouse Hotel. Its 34 octagonal, thatched-roofed villas, composed of timber and stone, boast private sun bathing decks. Each villa is located on cliffs where you can jump into the ocean right from your own deck. After our tour was over, we got to relax and enjoy the sunshine while watching guests jump off the cliffs. If you have clients looking for something different that is beyond romantic, I would recommend staying at this property.
For those who want an all-inclusive experience, Couples Swept Away, Hedonism II and Iberostar Rose Hall Suites are excellent choices. I had never experienced an all-inclusive resort before, and I can honestly say that I am now a huge fan.
Couples Swept Away in Negril is a peaceful and relaxing retreat surrounded by lush tropical gardens. Well-maintained, white-sand beaches make this property particularly romantic, and the food was absolutely delicious. Before dining at Couples Swept Away, I was under the impression that jerk chicken or pork was the country’s national dish, but I learned that Jamaica is really known for its curried goat.
I’m not sure if you or your clients are familiar with Hedonism II, but this property is extremely unique and not for everyone. Open-minded, free-spirited clients are probably the best fit for this resort. While I only toured the property, I feel that Hedonism II is something that most people should see and experience once in their life. The beachfront hotel is an adult-only resort and known for its clothing-optional policy and themed parties. The entertainment and nightlife opportunities were vast, and I would definitely go back to experience this resort again. Remember to advise your clients that, when visiting or staying at Hedonism II, they should expect the unexpected.
The last hotel that I absolutely loved was the Iberostar Rose Hall Suites in Montego Bay, where we stayed for the last two nights of our fam trip. The massive property is divided into three different properties: Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall, Iberostar Rose Hall Suites and Iberostar Rose Hall Beach. We stayed in the middle section, which was beautiful and clean, and had great food and service. The nightclub and overall nightlife was also a highlight, especially for the 20- to 40-year-old crowd.
In terms of the room amenities, I especially loved the bathrooms, which were large and featured double sinks, a bathtub and showers with rain showerheads. I found it relaxing to just sit on the balcony at night and enjoy the sunset and ocean views. This is a great property for everyone, and I would definitely stay here again.
Jamaica has so much to offer with its amazing all-inclusive resorts, hidden-gem hotels, excursions — such as Dunn’s River Falls — and its stunning sunsets and beaches. I have learned a great deal about the travel business working for Plaza Travel, and I feel fortunate to have traveled to Jamaica with such an amazing group of people. I look forward to the many ASTA YPS adventures to come.
Couples Swept Away
Iberostar Rose Hall Suites