Sometimes great friends and clients take amazing trips and send me a review of their great adventure. I had to share this amazing review from Ann Reagan. As a prologue to the story there are some amazing ladies that travel every other year to great exotic places and they have named themselves Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (GJWHF). This was a quiet year because I have been with them when there are 15 fun ladies. If you enjoy the story you will definitely want to take a similar adventure. I know that this isn’t DisneyWorld but it sure is OUT OF THIS WORLD.
Continuing the traditional bi-annual GJWHF trip, 3 veteran members of our group made the Grand Palladium in Jamaica our destination of choice. And what a great choice it turned out to be!
Gnomic enjoyed himself, as usual
The Adventure Begins:
Denise Platt, Mary McGahan and Annie Reagan arrived in Montego Bay, within ½ hour of each other. We were met at arrivals by the owner/driver for our private transport to the hotel by Kevin Coleman, of Jammin’ Jamaican Tours. He shepherded us through our first lesson in Jamaica – they drive on the left side of the road, and the vehicles accommodate having the steering wheel on the right side. Denise gladly yielded the front right side to Kevin and we were off. A short pit stop outside the airport property yielded ice cold beer from the cooler in the back of the SUV set up the amazing 45 minute ride to the Grand Palladium.
Beautiful resort and a room with a view
Kevin Coleman was a fine example of the hospitality we would encounter during our entire stay on this beautiful island. On the way to the hotel, he pointed out sights and related historical information on the views and locations we passed along the way. We made arrangements with Kevin for later in the week to tour the area.
The hotel was grand, food delicious and each morning, we enjoyed our Jamaican coffee overlooking the ocean, watching fisherman plying their trade, pelicans moving to their hunting grounds and cruise ships heading to Montego Bay. The evening Sunset Cocktail party (with champagne) was a way to relax as we waited for dinner and enjoy the beauty of the sunset, comradery of good friends and of course, the champagne!
2017 Pins N Shots
We celebrated Denise and Annie’s 50th year of friendship with rose petals scattered in our room and a wonderful dinner at the Jamaican Restaurant.
Times have changed, as we only made it through one and a half of the evening shows before our room called out for us to rest - but not before an evening cup of the delicious Jamaican coffee.
The Grand Palladium at night
Of course, during our waking hours, we took full advantage of the resort’s amenities. We saw and spoke with the landscaping and valet staff daily. They climbed one of the coconut trees, opened 3 with a machete and presented them to us, and THEN proceeded to use our cameras for a photo shoot! They were all happy, friendly people.
The ocean in the area had a strong current, but the resort’s beaches were in protected coves – yes coves – we visited all 3 on our daily tour. You will be happy to know, we carried on our GJWHF traditions and always had our floaties and drink cups with us. There were shuttles running quite frequently to each of the beaches and pools and we made use of them when we had a destination in mind. Most days we just followed our noses and wandered to the beach that was calling to us.
Be mindful of the animals Denise!
Fun activities on the resort:
- We took cooking classes featuring local cooking techniques, spices and food
- The bartending class we attended, (and completed by the way) was more like “mix a bunch of booze together” and sample. Audience participation was a must and we did not let the staff down.
- Paddle boating: While Denise and Mary worked the paddle boat, Annie was the passenger and photographer.
- Found and made use of the Beer Shack, tucked into a corner – which was on our way back to our room anyway, we did not want it to be lonely.
- Water aerobics, reading, napping and floating were daily activities.
- All three of us took a Segway tour around the resort – the adventure was halted for few moments when Mary’s Segway stopped – but our guide remedied the situation quickly and we were on our way in a short time. Since it was just the 3 of us on the tour, we were able to hear the guide explain the plants, trees and local customs. By the end of the tour, all of us were riding like pros!
Learning about Jamaica
- Did I mention the coffee? Yum!
- At one of the beaches, there was a Jerk Shack that served Jerk chicken and pork daily for lunch. We certainly enjoyed that one on multiple days.
- The rum drinks were yummy – we liked the Bob Marley – which was a frozen drink in the colors of the Jamaican flag.
Ladies - meet Bob Marley
- We visited most of the restaurants, (Mexican, Indian, Asian, Jamaican) and the buffet. The buffet breakfast was outstanding – a mix of Jamaican, American and European cuisines
Of course, we made use of the do it yourself Bloody Mary/Mimosa bar every morning
Meet Kevin - our new Jamaican brother and driver/tour guide
Tour of the Island
We had originally scheduled 2 days with Jammin’ Jamaican Tours and Kevin Coleman. It turned out to be one very long, enjoyable day on mostly the southwest side of the island. We had asked Kevin to show us his Jamaica and told him we did not mind a long day. He came through with flying colors, narrating as we drove through local villages and sugarcane fields to reach YS Falls.
YS falls is an attraction that the locals visit, so we say many families enjoying the attraction along with a small group of tourists. To our surprise and appreciation, Kevin joined us in the falls – on the swing rope, and posing for pictures taken by the local support staff. Our new Jamaican brother ensured we were safe the entire tour, stopping at a roadside kitchen to enjoy a beer and a lunch of goat. We also stopped at a roadside vegetable stand, where we bought an avocado the size of a large eggplant. That avocado was a bit of heaven when we ate it at breakfast the next day.
We then moved onto to Negril, where we did some shopping from a local vendor. Kevin took us to Seven Mile Beach by way of a local establishment, where we had a couple of refreshing beers and met King Samuel – the herb man (interpret that any way you want). Of course we took pictures and enjoyed some conversations with the locals hanging out.
Meet King SamueL
Our last stop, before heading home was Rick’s Café. This bar is a very popular tourist attraction. Parking was tight, so Kevin dropped us off and told us where to meet him inside when we were done.
We watched both the trained, local divers leap off cliffs and platforms into the cove below. Some daring tourists also attempted the jumps. The three is us were content to watch and be amazed. We stayed at Rick’s to watch the amazing sunset over the ocean, then we easily found Kevin – exactly where he said he would be.
The ride home was made following the ocean road and was full of conversation and laughter. We will use Jammin’ Jamaican Tours and Kevin then next time we return to Jamaica, both for the airport transfers and for touring. We felt safe and like we were visiting the island with family.
No words to describe
Our last treat, on the way home was to sign up for and use the Mobay club at the airport while waiting for our flight. The lounge offered comfortable seating, food and drinks (yes – alcohol included), separate from the gate areas. This would be a must do on any return trips – very relaxing on the way out, and right in the departure terminal of the airport.
Thanks Ann and the lovely GJWHF ladies for sharing this great excursion. I know I am looking forward to the future adventures!!