I had held a reserved attitude toward all-inclusive resorts prior to this trip, and then I realized all-inclusive was actually a great option when traveling in places where it was not quite safe to get around. We both loved the all-inclusive features and our stay in Grand Palladium Jamaica.
本來一直對all-inclusive渡假飯店持保留態度，這次去了牙買加才發現其實在不適合單獨行動的地區all-inclusive真的很不錯！整體說來，我們對這次住的Grand Palladium Jamaica十分滿意。
Located in Lucea, Grand Palladium is about 35 minutes in driving distance from Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay (MBJ) and 40 minutes from Negril, the famous Seven Mile Beach. This resort hosts hundreds of weddings a month.
Grand Palladium位於Lucea, Montego Bay，離機場大概35分鐘車程，離牙買加最有名的沙灘Negril大概40分鐘，這個渡假村在旺季每個月有幾百場婚禮。
Honeymoon-Suite Looking Rooms 蜜月套房路線
The hotel offers two levels of rooms, junior suites and suites. We stayed in a junior suite overlooking a garden next to the main pool. Our bed was decorated very much like a honeymoon suite every day. Every morning hotel staff picked fresh flowers, mostly hibiscus, from the garden and use them to decorate towels shaped into a heart or a swan.
Our mini fridge was restocked with bottled water every day, which was very nice and convenient. We heard that some people tipped their bellman or cleaning staff really well and had them restock coke and rum daily. There was also Red Stripe and a couple of different local soda in the fridge.
Our travel agent dropped several hints about the importance of storing our belongings in a save. That’s the same advise I got from some traveler safety app. It seems that petty theft is common and tourists are advised to use hotel room safes. We were very careful about keeping our passports, cash and my ring in the save the whole time.
房間的小冰箱有免費的水、汽水和牙買加啤酒 Red Stripe，每天都會補，有免費瓶裝水真的很方便，房間冰箱每天兩瓶水加上我們買的一大桶，剛好足以灌溉我整整四天。聽說有人一進房間就塞給門房二十美金小費，請他們每天在小冰箱補蘭姆酒和可樂。
Tips, Tips, Tips 小費
Hotel staff fight to provide their service for tips, especially the lobby staff. Some of the all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica do not allow tipping, but Grand Palladium does. I prepared $100 in singles and we spent about $110 in tips in five days. We tipped $2 for the room every day, $1 per person at a buffet, $1 for a drink, and $5 or more depending on how good the service was for dinner at a waited table in restaurants.
As soon as our van pulled in, one guy at the hotel lobby showed up, picked up our two bags from our driver, and dragged them for 50 yards to the lobby. So that was $2 for the driver and $2 for the luggage guy.
Traveling for five days in summer, we did not pack much. I was capable of lifting my luggage for two flights of stairs and drag it to my room that was three minutes away. But no. As soon as we checked in and picked up our luggage, a bellman rushed over to pick up our luggage and led us to our room. There, another two dollars.
At first it seemed slightly annoying to see people rushing to offer their services, be it carrying luggage or arranging transportation, to fight for tips. But seeing people hustling all day for making a few bucks more in tips to put food on their tables, that makes me feel bad and willing to be fair or a tad generous in tipping.
Unlimited Strawberry Daiquiri at the Pool 池畔酒吧
Grand Palladium Jamaica shared space, facilities and service with Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa, whose lobby mirrored the design of Grand Palladium. In the center of the resort lied the main pool where you ordered drinks from the pool side bar in your swimming trunks or bikinis without carrying any money or ID with you. A short wall divided a kiddie pool and an adult pool. We came to this pool almost every day. On our second day here, we spent one entire afternoon here mingling with people in the wedding group, sipping on frozen strawberry daiquiri or pina colada one after another.
渡假村分成Grand Palladium和Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton兩個部分，共用設施，兩個飯店的大廳長一樣。渡假村的中心是個很大的室外泳池，有兒童池和大人池兩部分，連在一起，用一道牆分隔。泳池中央有個酒吧，身上不用帶現金付小費就可以穿著泳衣走到泳池中間點酒。第二天下午和參加婚禮的人們見面，大家就在這個游泳池聊天，Aaron喝蘭姆酒加可樂，我喝strawberry daiquiri或pina colada冰沙一杯接一杯。
Our room was in the second floor of building 11, probably the best location in the resort. Building 11 was the lowest red on this map, right next to the lobby and the main pool, very close to buffets and most of the restaurants.
Three Beaches at the Resort 飯店沙灘
This resort has three beaches on site: Las Brisas Beach, Coral Beach and Sunset Cove. Right by the main pool, Las Brisas Beach is a bit rocky.
飯店有三個沙灘：Las Brisas Beach, Coral Beach and Sunset Cove。Las Brisas Beach就在中央泳池旁邊，小石頭蠻多，有些地方走起來會痛。
Hidden behind trees, Coral Beach is a small corner of a nude beach. Very accessible coral reef lies near the beach in shallow water where you can see a good variety of tropical fish without any diving gear or goggles.
Among the three beaches, Sunset Cove is the best place to swim and offers the most activities. You can rent gears to go kayaking, sailing or snorkeling.
Restaurants: Bring a Pair of Pants, Gentlemen 餐廳: 男士短褲止步
Breakfast and lunch are offered at three buffets. Options for dinner would be the three buffets and the seven restaurants: Jamaican, steak house, Asian, Mexico, French, Italian and Indian. The food at the buffets rotate to feature different types of cuisine on different days of the week.
I was satisfied with the breakfast here. Some cheese, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, croissants and fruits─don’t need to be great quality─ make me happy. I loved fresh squeezed juice from the juice bar in the morning. (The sausage in the picture was bad, really bad.)
The four restaurants on the second floor had a dress code (Jamaica, Asian, Mexican and the steak house.) Men had to wear pants, which is very inconvenient. So guys, remember bring a pair of light pants with you to the Grand Palladium Jamaica. We thought about buying a pair of pants for Aaron at a boutique in the resort. Yet a pair of flax or cotton pants cost $80! I felt bad about making him put on the only pair of jeans he brought in 75F Caribbean weather just to go to dinner. One evening after a day trip, he refused to get in jeans, which I completely understand, and we ate at the buffet.
After we arrived the hotel, starving, we had to kill an hour and a half until check-in time at 3 p.m. We dropped out luggage at the lobby and headed over to the Negril buffet. To my disappointment, the food was horrible! Trying local cuisine and enjoying good food were so important to me when I traveled. I could deal with going cheap, eating granola bars for breakfast and spending very little for lunch, but I need to try some good, authentic food every now and then. Knowing the uncertainty of exploring outside of the resort, I was a bit bummed that this was the quality of food we paid for. Thankfully it got better. The buffets were kind of a hit and miss. Most of the time the food was all right. We were happy with how convenient it was to grab breakfast or lunch with a good selection anytime during the day at $2 for both of us.
Seeing a freshly cut mango bar at lunch made me very excited. Yet I found that mangoes in Taiwan were way better than what the resort offered. I expected more in terms of fruit selection since we were on a tropical Caribbean island, but we did not see much difference than what one can get in a hotel buffet in the U.S.: honeydew, cantaloupe, pineapple, and watermelon. I did get to try naseberry here though!
I made Aaron put on jeans to go to the Jamaican restaurant, Xaymaica, in the first evening because I was looking forward to trying some ackee and fish and curry goat. All the restaurants offer a la carte menus. We surely enjoy ordering whatever we would like and only had to tip. After a round of yuca chips, smoked fish, cold jerk pork, coleslaw and more from the salad bar, we were almost full.
我一直期待要吃牙買加煙燻香料雞(jerk chicken)和魚阿開木煮鹹魚(ackee and fish，又稱西非荔枝果)，第一天晚上，我拜託Aaron換上牛仔褲，去牙買加餐廳Xaymaica吃晚餐。七間餐廳都是菜單上隨便點，只要付小費。這間餐廳有沙拉吧，吃完一輪樹薯薯片、香料雞跟豬冷盤、煙燻魚片、好像有放法螺的沙拉，我們都快要飽了。
My curry goat was very good. Aaron liked his jerk chicken. I thought the texture of goat in kind of a stew would be quite tough. Surprisingly the meat was tender and not gamey at all. (However, I do normally have a high tolerance for gamey flavor of lamb.)
Ackee and fish was very dry and was not impressive in seasoning. I was convinced that this resort cooking did not do this national dish of Jamaica justice.
我的前菜阿開木煮鹹魚不怎麼厲害，鹹魚很乾，味道也不令人印象深刻，我一直相信一定是吃到飯店裡面不厲害的，這可是牙買加國菜，外面家常菜餐廳應該有比這好吃的ackee and fish.
Restaurant Do’s and Don’ts 餐廳地雷
The second evening, a group of people were going to dinner together. We tried to hint around and direct people to the steak house, which we wanted to try, but the group was determined to go to the Jamaican restaurant, which we already went. We did not want to pass on an opportunity to have dinner with the bride and the groom and get to know people, so we caved.
Our waiter of the previous night was extremely nice and hospitable. We had a great dining experience. So we thought maybe we could get him to overlook the rule and let us order from the menu of Lotus, the Asian restaurant that shared a kitchen with this Jamaica place.
Jamaica had some Chinese and Japanese population. Many people from our group liked this Asian restaurant. This was a nice hotel. How bad can its Asian food be? Besides, it was really tempting to order as many sushi as we wanted without having to look at prices. Sounded like a good idea to us.
The sushi turned out to be really, really, really bad. Rice was overcooked and overly pressed to a point it was smashed and a tad gooey. Maybe other entrees were good, but we were only able to order appetizers and sushi from the Asian menu. If you know what good sushi is like, don’t get sushi from the Grand Palladium.
From the Jamaican restaurant menu, I ordered a Jamaican fish tea this time. Since it was a Caribbean dish, I somehow thought it would be heavily seasoned with spices and maybe with a hint of lime or something citrusy. It was nothing like what I thought. The fish tea was very light and bland.
Prior to the trip, I read about reviews online that dinner at the Poseidon near Sunset Cove was terrible. However, some of the people from our group were satisfied with their dinner at Poseidon, and we were starving on the second day at the Sunset Cove. So I thought, it was just lunch; we were not paying; how bad could it be?
Well, it was bad.
Nobody came to take our drink or food order for a long, long time. We waited for forever. Giving up on the waiting staff, Aaron got up, stayed in line at a bar next to us, and got us a coke. It took forever to get our food. My jerk chicken was not good. Aaron ordered some sort of grilled chicken sandwich and it was tasteless and dry. He is an extremely generous tipper, but the service was so bad that we left without any tip.
If you were in Sunset Cove, the best combination would be to order jerk chicken and paella from the Jerk Hut and get yourself a soft serve swirl from the Poseidon’s salad bar. It would be a waste of time on terrible food if you ate lunch at Poseidon.
Yah mon! Coconut Mon!
Hands down the best part about this resort: Coconut man!
As we walk back from Sunset Cove to our room on the second day, we saw people walking around sipping coconut water from a cracked open shell. But we did not see fresh coconuts available at any bar or restaurants. Then we finally found the mysterious coconut man!
As a gardener and probably handyman working on the resort, he picked and hid a bunch of coconuts behind a bush. Whenever hotel guests who knew where to look for fresh coconuts wanted one, he dug out one and cut it open in front of you. Although I was never a big fan of coconut, under the heat and burning sun, coconut water was so refreshing and a perfect way to re-hydrate.
Every time we talked by this corner, I look for my coconut man. The second time, he was collecting some branches and leaves on the ground. I was not sure how to go about this. So I walked over, and politely asked, “Excuse me. Can I please get a coconut?” He stood up, smiled, and said:
“Yah mon! Coconut mon!”
The first coconut I got was very ripe and yellow, with flesh inside. That coconut made my day. I drank all the liquid and started eating the jelly-like flesh. Aaron and I hopped in the main pool afterwards. That was one of the best moments during this vacation. I was submerged in pool water in shade, keeping my empty coconut floating in the pool while eating coconut flesh scooped out with s straw.
第二天從Sunset Cove回來路上一直看到路人拿著新鮮椰子在喝椰子水，我們十分困惑，在餐廳酒吧或沙灘都沒有看到有人兜售椰子，後來發現是這個coconut man! 他平常在渡假村的花園工作，每天會摘好椰子藏在樹叢後面，遇到有人想要椰子水就現場剖開給遊客。我平常不愛椰子，但曬太陽走路大半天，椰子水真的很消暑。從此之後每次經過這個角落都會找一下我的coconut mon。第二次看到他的時候，他在工作，清一些掉下來或剪下來的樹枝樹葉，我不知道如何開口打斷別人工作為了一顆椰子，剛一走近，跟他眼神對到，馬上抓住機會很有禮貌試探性地問 can I have a coconut please? Coconut mon人超好，馬上微笑說 Yah mon! Coconut mon! 走到花園另一邊，變出一顆椰子。