Normally when my alarm goes off at 6am I mumble some choice words as I hurl it across the bedroom. Not today. Today, I am headed to Jamaica with Heather for 5 nights at Sandals Montego Bay. Today, I would gladly get up at the butt-crack of dawn.
By 6:35am we have both showered, finalized our packing, and are backing out of the garage. This may not sound monumental, but for a guy that likes a long shower it is a bona fide miracle. An hour later we are at the airport. We check in, grab some breakfast, and then settle in at the gate to await our Delta flight.
The flight was the best kind, uneventful. Like most Caribbean airports we deplaned onto the tarmac and then proceeded inside for immigration and customs. For some reason we get directed to the “residents” line where we complete immigration on a kiosk. After locating our checked bags, we breeze through customs and exit to the airport’s arrival lobby.
The Compulsory Selfie On The Flight To Jamaica
The lobby resembles a busy shopping mall. Each major resort has a storefront. Here they collect our luggage and send us inside to wait for our assigned bus. Through the window I can see people drinking beer and what looked like rum punch. I can’t wait to get inside. It’s only half past twelve but I don’t care, it’s five o-clock somewhere.
Before we can reach the drinks someone grabs us and says, “We have a bus leaving for Montego Bay right now”. Since they have beer at the resort we head for the bus. Our assigned porter grabs our luggage, and we are soon seated on the bus headed for the resort.
Sandals Tip #1: You will be assigned a porter to take your luggage to the bus. You cannot do this yourself. The porter will expect a tip.
Sandals Tip #2: The bus driver is not a Sandals employee. So, while you do not tip Sandals employees, you do tip the bus driver.
Our arrival at Sandals Montego Bay is a bit chaotic. It looks like everyone arrived at the same time we did. We locate the person in charge, they have a clipboard of course, and we are ushered into the concierge arrival area. Super fancy. After a few minutes we are checked in and headed for our room.
Ahhh, the first of many Rum Punches
The Great Spa Credit Saga: We booked our Sandals Montego Bay trip when we were at Beaches Turks & Caicos. Part of the promo for booking when we did was a spa credit. Since we did not book until late in our Beaches trip, Heather could not use the spa credit.
When we returned, I asked our travel agent to see if we could transfer the spa credit to our Sandals Montego Bay trip instead. After some superb work on her end, she was able to get this done, and arrange everything for us.
When I mentioned this at the check-in desk the lady looked at me like I had two heads. She said she would look into it and get back with me. TO BE CONTINUED…
We are escorted to our room by a young man who shows us around and answers our questions. He takes time to make sure we understand how the a/c in the room works. If either the main door or patio doors are open it will shut off. Makes sense. Before he leaves I check the Internet and it is gives me an error when I try to connect. As he leaves he says he will check into it and get it fixed.
Our room at Sandals Montego Bay
It is now well after lunch time so we decide to head to lunch. Unpacking can wait. We eat at the Bayside restaurant and enjoy the lunch buffet with some cold Red Stripe. Hits the spot perfectly. After a quick lunch, we head back to the room to unpack and settle in.
With our suitcases unpacked, we change into our swimwear and head out to soak up the last few rays of sunshine left for the day. Since I am still not able to connect to the Internet, we stop by the concierge lounge to sort it out. It turns out they had never checked us into the computer system.
The Great Spa Credit Saga: Since we are already at the concierge desk I decide to check on the spa credit to see if they had it figured it out. I am told that there are no notes on our account and asked if I have an email confirmation.
With my Internet now working, I text my travel agent who promptly sends me the email confirmation she had. I forward it to the person at the concierge desk and see it arrive in her inbox. She takes a quick look at it and says, “Since we have the confirmation everything will be taken care of.” TO BE CONTINUED…
It is now time to take a deep breath and relax. The travel is done, the unpacking is done, and our spa credit is being taken care of. There is just one more thing on today’s to-do list to take care of on our way to the beach.
One of the things that I had felt needed some improvement at Beaches Turks & Caicos was the dive center. I am interested in doing some diving at Sandals Montego Bay so that I can do a comparison. Our first step was to check in at the dive center. Although it is late in the day, we are pleased to find the dive center staff pleasant and helpful. We fill out the required forms and are told to come back at 10am the next morning to do our pool check-out. So far so good for the dive center.
Finally, we head for the beach. Unfortunately, it is late afternoon and ALL of the beach chairs have long been claimed. We end up at the Piano Bar Pool where we each grab a drink before we claim a spot in the pool. Before long it is time to head back to the room to get ready for dinner.
Piano Bar & Pool – Sandals Montego Bay
Dinner is a beach party buffet. I am excited to find some jerk chicken and bammy on my first night. We eat with two other couples and enjoy the entertainment. After dinner we stop by The Cricketers Pint for a few Guinness before retiring for the evening. Phew, the first day was non-stop, but we were now into full vacation mode and looking forward to day 2.