No lies, the infinity pool sold me. Iberostar’s all inclusive resort in Jamaica had everything I could ask for. From a shuttle for hotel pick up, to welcoming us with flower petals and towels folded in the shape of a kissing ducks, I truly enjoyed everything the resort had to offer over my Labor Day vacation.
We stayed at the Iberostar BEACH hotel, not the Grand or the Suites, which are three different hotels, on the same property and they all cost different prices. It was actually a little confusing at first because we thought we were staying at The Suites. It’s kinda crazy to understand the “levels” to all inclusive. The main difference between the Beach & the hotel is access. Those staying at the suites can wander through all the properties, but if you’re at the beach, you’ve got to be happy where you are. It’s resort, so you don’t really have to leave, but you’re only about 30 min (max) from any excursion in the area. You’re close to Negril (about an hour) but far from Kingston (2 hours). The Suite and grand have different pools (Suites has a lazy river) but I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. The suites was supposedly adults only, but I wasn’t able to see that first hand. There were definitely a few families. It was mostly parents with kids or full families celebrating special occasions (lots of weddings). It wasn’t super uncomfortable to be affectionate with my significant other, but it def wasn’t lit. There weren’t a ton of little kids running around, but would def like to try and adults only resort next time, though!
They say you never know when it’s gonna rain in Jamaica, which is probably why the land is so fertile, but we didn’t encounter too much rain. There was a downpour the day we arrive, the it rained on the afternoon of our second day. The rain doesn’t last long, but you may want to pack an umbrella, just in case! I brought a light shawl for when we were indoors in the AC. I mostly work bathing suits under sheer dresses, but shorts and tank tops work because it gets super hot. Most of the rooms come with balconies — no smoking is allowed in the rooms (unless designated) but you can smoke (weed, that is because its legal there) just about anywhere else (and you can buy it from guys on boats by the water).
I think the Suites also had better food options for room service (room service is free & offered from 7am until 11pm) but the chicken nuggets (which were actually chicken tenders) were bomb 💁🏽♀️ The buffet was fairly Caribbean; you can always find jerk chicken, rice & plantains. There are a ton of food options if you’re willing to experiment, but I stuck with the jerk chicken. I recommend taking pastries or yogurts back to your room for when room service closes. There is grill & bar underneath the pool that has the BEST chicken & jerk sauce (& quick burgers or hotdogs). There are a few restaurants on the property, but we only went to one as you are granted one fancy dinner reservation. We chose a Japanese restaurant (food made by Jamaicans) which was cool & entertaining, but not the best quality — there was only soy sauce & no teriyaki 😳🤨 You can go the restaurants any night you choose (with a reservation) but they are an extra fee. You’re also expected to dress a bit nicer at the restaurants & they’ll ask you to wear a coverup to the buffet if you’re only in your swimsuit.
There were 2 main bars at the beach (lobby and pool) where you could order free drinks. At The Beach, we mostly drank Appleton’s rum – you can drink Don Julio, Crown and other choice alcohol for an extra fee. Apparently, the Suites have different liquor for free & serve alcohol with room service. In order to drink freely, we had to get drinks at the bar & bring them to our room. My favorite drink was a Pina Banana (like a pina colada but with banana added) but there are plenty specialty drinks to chose from. BUT the employees are still watching your intake do the drinks are light — your best bet is to ask for an extra shot & mix it into your drink. If you take shots, you should take an hour to just sit at the bar because (inevitably) a rowdy/happy group will come down or the bartender will start giving out shots just to keep the vibes going.
Aside from enjoying the amazing pool, there’s plenty else to keep you busy during the day. Through the hotel, you can book a catamaran boat, kayaking, parasailing or go diving. We did everything except diving, but it looked like a great place to learn because they have daily lessons in the pool. By the pool, the employees also hold aquatic aerobics, dance contests and other random entertainment throughout the day. If you have a chance to relax, the on site spa is great – we got a 50 min, deep tissue couple massage & it was totally worth it (because Hurricane Dorian canceled our flight & we def needed to relieve stress).
Honestly… the bars/restaurants are open until about 1am but the party is pretty much over at that point. There is a nightclub on the property called “Mango Walk” which gets pretty lit at times. They play a ton of reggae but also top 40 hip hop so you can really get a dance in 💃🏽
Generally speaking, the people who work at the resort can give you advice of where to go and what to do everyone was incredibly friendly. & If you happen to share my vibes, an hoping to find spaces where people of color (or typically press people) are the majority and living vibrantly, this is a place that will inspire you. As a woman of color, I try to find spaces that celebrate me. Coming from America, it’s just really lovely to see so many brown people, in charge, in one place. When you’re greeted, the concierge gives you a book full of coupons, which you can use towards the excisions, spa, dinner or other things around the hotel. Only thing I didn’t like is how they treat you if you accidentally walk the wrong way at the Grand or Suites if you only have a bracelet for the beach. One woman literally closed a door in our face with no communication, when we were just trying to find the exit. It really rubbed me the wrong way because we had just come from a selling presentation where they talked about going out of their way for members… Similarly, I would have appreciated more help when my flight was canceled, but they didn’t offer a discount on the room or anything, so we ended up finding another hotel to go to in Kingston. The people there are totally willing to offer whatever they can, but they are all obviously working really hard for their money. All I’m saying, is you ONLY get what you pay for and no more, so take advantage where you can!!!
Have you stayed at an Iberostar? Did you share my same feelings? Did I miss anything? What other all-inclusive resorts should I try? Leave a comment below, would love to hear from you!