One Love - Jamaica 2014

We were so thankful to be able to spend a few days in Jamaica in May! We used my husband's airline points (perks of traveling for work frequently!) to book flights and found an all inclusive resort called the Royalton White Sands near Montego Bay, so there really wasn't a whole lot of planning involved! Neither one of us really had the time to spend hours researching and planning a trip, 
so we went the easy way! 

Come to find out, the Royalton is located in Falmouth, Jamaica, which is the same town that Olympic runner Usain Bolt is from. All the Jamaicans we met were seriously in love with him. guy we met named "Corn Flake" (also true) literally said "I love that man!" They absolutely love that he has become so successful and they are so proud of him! We saw the school he attended and track where he learned to run from the highway on the way from the airport. Pretty cool stuff. 

We booked an "Ocean View" room, but as it turns out the rooms with the best views actually face the pool at this resort. We technically could see the ocean from our view, but it was definitely mostly trees and the service road behind the hotel. Not a big deal, because we really did not come to spend time sitting on the balcony. There were plenty of other nice places to sit and hang out on the resort property. 

At the beach, there was a cute little "island" that you could walk to. The beach had tons of little "umbrellas" and chairs, so even though there were hundreds of people at the resort, there was almost always a beach chair available. 

However, guests at the resort would come out to the beach super early and try to put towels in chairs to "claim" them, but not come back for hours. Pretty soon we didn't feel so bad about throwing their towels on a different chair and taking the empty chairs we wanted. We never had a problem or awkward encounter. 

 The beach is where we hung out most of the week. I much preferred the breeze and the shade at the beach to what was available at the pools. The ocean was so warm and calm - we were able to walk out all the way to the resort's boundary and were only to our shoulders. It felt like bath water, and the waves were really gentle so it was super fun to play and swim at the beach! It was a beautiful turquoise color, and if the wind was calm, the water was super clear. Absolutely loved it!

There were 3 different pools, plus a kids pool with water slides at the resort. The pool was incredibly difficult to find an open chair with any shade, which is why we stayed at the beach for the most part. At the pools, the resort's entertainment team would play music and try to get resort guests to play games and have dance parties, etc. They did a pretty good job at engaging the people who cared and providing background noise to the rest of us. And Loren got in on some of the pool volleyball games. :-)

We were forewarned that there is a lot of poverty in Jamaica, and that there would be lots of people who try to sell you their trinkets, or drugs. It didn't take us long at all to see the poverty on the island, and our first night at the resort, we walked down to the beach and immediately realized that there were merchants on either side of the resort property who would walk up and down the beach every day trying to entice people to go down to their little shacks and buy their...stuff. We quickly realized that they would stay away if you would either avoid eye contact or firmly tell them no. But it was kind of eye opening and sad to see the same people standing out in the sun all day every day trying to sell their goods and walking up and down the same stretch of beach. 

We're not sure where they came from, but there were a handful of dogs who probably belonged to the beach merchants who would hang out on the beach and come visit people during the day. One day while we were hanging out under an umbrella, we noticed one of the dogs looked like she was hot, so we poured some water into a cup and gave her a drink. :-) 

So cute. We had made a friend until a girl a few yards down opened up a bag of cheetos. 

 There was a ping pong table and Loren played with a little boy one morning. lol

The weather was pretty good, considering we went the week before hurricane season starts! Our first day was cloudy, and we got sunburned, of course. All the other days were bright, sunny, and very warm, and windy.  Each day, around 4pm, it would cloud up and start raining. Our last day there, it started raining while we were in the pool, but we decided to stay in. That was fun for about 10 minutes until the rain started coming down so hard we couldn't see. We grabbed our stuff and took cover under the nearest building, and then ran for our lives back to our room because it was not letting up any time soon! It rained most afternoons for an hour or two, but it really wasn't bad at all. And it was beautiful!

The resort truly was beautiful. This was our view walking from our room to the elevator, and every time I passed by I would stop and admire the view. This was right after the rainstorm, but the sky was already bright again after just a few minutes. 

Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures of us at the restaurants, but the food was pretty good for an all-inclusive resort! We knew what to expect since we had been to all-inclusives before. I would say the Royalton had average food, and I was grateful that I could pretty much always find something relatively healthy to eat. Breakfast was always buffet, but they had tons of options including a smoothie bar and an omelet station, which we took advantage of every day. 

There was also an Italian restaurant, a steakhouse, a sports bar, and a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant where they cooked the food in front of you. We tried all of them and ate at the Japanese place twice because it was sooo good. Definitely the best food in the whole place! And the fried ice cream was delish. Both times that we ate at the Japanese place, we got to talking with the couples next to us and had a great time getting to know them. One sweet couple had just gotten married the week before (a double wedding with the bride's sister!), and we ended up hanging out and talking with them a few times for a couple of hours! It was sweet to be able to encourage a new young couple and share even a tiny bit of our lives with them while we were there. 

View of the Japanese restaurant from the outside. It was surrounded by a beautiful pool of water in the middle of the resort property. 

One of our favorite things about this resort was that they had a little coffee bar that was always open during the day. They served Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and had a legit espresso machine where they would make cappucinos, mochas, lattes, americanos, etc. 
No surprise here, but we stopped by this place probably four times a day! We figured since we don't drink alcohol, we could at least kind of make up for it by our coffee consumption! 

Our attempts at selfies outside the coffee shop. 

Every night there was some sort of entertainment for resort guests. Usually it was kind of typical lackluster song/dance, but one of the nights they had a steel drum band that was awesome and so talented! They were seriously the best of the whole week! 

It was so nice to be able to get away for a few days and just spend time together and relax, read, play, and have fun. We seriously did the same thing every day for four days straight, and we were sad to have to leave and come back to reality! But we did come back refreshed and thankful to have had the opportunity to go somewhere so beautiful and nice!

We've been back about 10 days, and the Bob Marley songs in my head have finally died down a little bit, but we still have great memories of our time on the island! Jamaica is charming in its own little way, and we had an awesome week there!

Thanks for reading, friends!