I went to Jamaica for the first time a couple weeks ago. It was a brief trip--two days--but I managed to pack a lot in my stay at the Iberostar Rosehall Suites in Montego Bay.
As the name implies the I.R. Suites is an all suites all-inclusive hotel. It's literally the middle child located between the Iberostar Grand (Luxury, Adults Only) and Iberostar Beaches (Family). After a twenty minute ride from the airport, I was welcomed by friendly staff and a complimentary drink upon arrival. Although it's a family resort it was pretty quiet, which I loved. I do like kids, but from a distance...Is that mean?
First thing I like to do after settling in my room is explore the hotel so I know the layout. The internet cafe is open 24 hours. I didn't have to wait for a computer but even if I did there was a pool table, board games, books, and loud 80s tunes to keep me entertained. The gym is located next to the spa. It was clean and there was a variety of machines to choose from. However, it was humid (ick) and lacked an enjoyable view (sorry but the tv and concrete wall didn't do it for me.) I joined other resort guests in the large theater for their nightly entertainment. The faux Las Vegas showgirl and silly comedy routines were as cheesy as I expected. BUT as they say, "if you can't beat `em join `em," so I participated in ONE line dance with some other brave souls. It was quite hilarious.
A thing about eating at all inclusive resorts. You usually end up eating more than you expect even if you have no intention on doing so. The buffets scream "try me! try me!" Expect to gain a few pounds just by looking at the food. There are four international a la carte restaurants to choose from which require reservations. I ate at the international buffet, which you know Iusu usually don't like, but I was with a group, so I went along. I became instant friends with the whitefish and plantains (uh, yum) and mangos (soooo sweet and delicious)!
I enjoy Bob Marley and realize his importance in Jamaican culture as well as music history. But, I know this is sacrilegious to say, I was relieved not to hear another "One Love" or "Jammin" song once I hit U.S. soil. I think part of me was craving a more authentic Jamaican experience where you not only meet "real" Jamaicans but you mingle with and get a true sense of their culture. I'm amazed by how international Jamaica is. The mostly African population is mixed with people of Asian, Spanish, and Indian descent. The colors of the flag represent the the country's legacy, history and agriculture--Yellow (the sun) Black (the peoples struggle) and Green (the land). Vacationing within the walls of any resort is great for chillin' out, grazing the day away, and enjoying yourself. But if you want a more cultural experience you have to find a trustworthy guide, make friends with the locals, venture out, use common sense and of course, have fun. I plan on going back to find out more about the legendary White Witch of Rose Hall.