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Jamaica certainly has its fair share of all-inclusive hotels, but now there’s a new kid on the block on Seven Mile Beach in Negril. The Azul Sensatori, formerly the Beaches Sandy Bay resort, officially opened in late April. The resort is part of the Karisma brand of all-inclusive resorts and the company’s first venture outside of Mexico.
Azul Sensatori is positioned as a gourmet and multigenerational all-inclusive experience. The resort’s existing 136 oceanview rooms were painted to evoke a Caribbean chic aesthetic and a variety of amenities were added, including plasma TVs, rain showerheads and iPod docking stations. Wi-Fi is free to guests in the main lobby area but there is a charge for Internet access in the rooms.
The resort has 10 categories of accommodations ranging from family suites with Murphy beds to duplex lofts capable of hosting eight guests. There are also one- and two-bedroom suites and a 58-room adults-only section of the property complete with its own swim-up bar. Jacuzzi and swim-up suites include outdoor day beds.
I stayed in a swim-up suite and it was a treat to go from patio to pool in mere steps. A quick swim and I was right at the bar, where the in-tune barkeep had learned after one day just how I liked my rum punch.
All rooms at Azul Sensatori have a patio or balcony as well as a minibar that’s stocked daily with soft drinks, local beer and banana chips.
Culinary OptionsAzul Sensatori has only one buffet, the Palms Restaurant, open for three meals a day. The Palms has an impressive variety of choices in a globally inclusive buffet spread, as well as local favorites like ackee and salt fish that guests can sample at breakfast. The resort’s three formal dining facilities showcase Italian, Caribbean and Mediterranean fare. Each restaurant has an ocean view, so there’s not a bad seat in the house.
My favorite spot was Ackee, the upscale Caribbean eatery, where I tried ackee calalloo polenta and jerk pork with plantains and roasted sweet potatoes. These are two common island dishes but they were prepared in an unusual fashion.
For more casual options, Oceans Gourmet Corner offers burgers during the day and the Beans Gourmet Coffee Shop caters to coffee lovers.
What To DoAzul has a weekly menu full of activity options, from Caribbean Sea aerobics to pool volleyball. Some guests opt in while others are content to catch the rays while laying out on the resort’s first-come-first-serve Bali beds on the beach. A full-service spa and fitness center is scheduled to open this summer.
Activities for children include the Azulitos Play House, designed by Fisher-Price. This kids club offers games and arts and crafts for children ages six months to four years; computer games and other activities are provided for children four to 12, as well as the opportunity to play in an outdoor mini waterpark that intrigues both children and adults.
The resort hosts a wide variety of live entertainment nightly, from a jamming reggae band to a drum-and-fire show. After dark, the adults-only Nesta Rasta Lounge — themed after Jamaica’s native son, Bob Marley — goes into full swing. A DJ spins a mix of reggae and popular tunes or a band gets guests on the dance floor. This is the place to try local rums or intriguing specialty cocktails.
The new Azul Sensatori is designed so that guests of all ages feel refreshed, which is the ultimate goal in a place where you can leave your worries and wallet behind.