Jamaica has long been the mecca for curiously discerning tourists and people who are looking for a raw genuine island adventure. Visitors to the island typically have three choices; an amazingly good all-inclusive deal at an oceanfront resort , an affordable EP plan at a resort hotel or a private villa with enviable trimmings. Most people prefer to take the one-stop shop eat and drink all you want and swim-in-the-ocean as much as you can type of scenario. One price does it all. As an avid traveler, I tend to stay away from the all-inclusives’ primarily because they sometime come with that boarding school type of feel, particularly during breakfast and dinner times. I haven’t yet mastered the art of waiting in line for food especially on vacation or joining a queue for anything to do with my culinary choices. However, having stayed at the Royalton White Sands in Montego Bay for a whopping five days, I now understand that there can be a certain type of art to this thing. The type of art your hunger can appreciate.
The Royalton is marketed as a Luxury All-Inclusive, with their selling point focused on ‘All-In’. Yes, ‘All-In’ is right. You choose an accommodation type, you book, you pay, that’s it. Unless you upgrade on the resort or request activities such as Spa and other special services, your luxury vacation cost begins and ends right there on your computer screen or in your travel agent’s office. Unlike many other all-inclusive properties on the island, The Royalton White Sands is real value upfront. Not only is it also much more trendy in design and technology than many of the other all-inclusive properties I have been to, the staff is hands down what makes this place so magical. If you are like me, a bit of a travel prima donna, your very own Butler sounds just right. The Diamond Club upgrade and a decadent suite will get you an at-your-service friendly face whose only job is to answer your every beck and call. The overall Diamond club is affordable and worth it if you are into having any and all of your meals delivered to your room,your own private beach area and depending on your room type– your very own swim-up pool in front of your quaintly appointed private balcony.
As much as I like to say that vacation should mean one on one time with me and my spa masseuse or mediation by the ocean at sunrise, in today’s world, one can hardly be without the use of their smartphones and with roaming charges so over the top, unlimited free and fast WiFi is cherry on top of your vacation pie. I could hardly contain myself when I was told at check in that I could simply download the resort’s App and use its phone features to dial North America and Europe free of charge. The WiFi service at the resort is at times better than my service in my midtown Manhattan offices and that for me and my hundred emails a day, was even better than taking my conference calls while sipping frozen rum punches with the warm turquoise ocean as my backdrop. All guest rooms are also equipped with free call capabilities to USA, Canada and Europe.
What you eat on your vacation in the country you visit should resonate with your palette and leaves you wanting more. The Royalton serves great food and for a medium sized property, the choices are adequate and satisfying. The main dining room serves breakfast daily with a plethora of choices you can’t possibly be bored by. The Sports Bar will remind you of your neighborhood drinking hole or lunch spot with beer on tap and freshly friend wings and treats perfect for the big game or a light afternoon grab and go. What good is your experience on the island known for spicy foods without trying out at least a succulent piece of Jerk chicken or Jerk Pork accompanied by bite sized beef patties and festivals (fried flour and cornmeal dumplings). The Jerk Pit on the beach is open for late lunches daily. From a romantic dinner for two to larger parties and appetites, you have The Steakhouse, an Italian choice or Zen, the Japanese fusion restaurant opened for dinner nightly with reservations.
As I write this article, I have my welcome glass of French merlot atop my desk in my hotel room at the Fairmont Princess in Bermuda, having left the Four Seasons Midtown in New York City six hours prior and jetted on our flight courtesy of NetJets to this lovely golf enclave. Yet, with a world of decadence and privilege surrounding me, I still find myself thinking about The Royalton White Sands Hotel in Jamaica. Not as sprawling and stuffy as my current situation, but certainly with the charm and personality that makes a difference to a discerning traveler like me. If only I could bottle up the amazing staff at The Royalton and tuck them neatly into my suitcase so they can travel with me from place to place to serve me up that unique Jamaican charm and whatever it takes attitude that wows you every time you make contact with them. If only in all my finest travel moments, the people were just as magical.
If not for the affordable luxury, the fast WiFi, the scrumptious food or the turquoise seas, go for the people. The personal touch is worth everything.
To learn more about Royalton White Sands, Montego Bay, click here.