Written By: Cindy Corbett
Mom Central was invited by Sandals/Beaches to visit the resort and received complimentary airfare, lodging, meals, and activities. All opinions expressed here are our own.
When I was invited to visit the all inclusive Beaches Negril Resort & Spa in Jamaica to celebrate the launch of the new costumes for Sesame Street characters – a Mardi Gras/Carnivale-type theme – I decided to bring my boys Jake (12 years old) and Josh (10 years old) along. Beaches Resorts has a special relationship with Sesame Street and the characters are the main focus of the resort. At first I was somewhat apprehensive about bringing my boys, afraid they were going to complain, thinking spending time with the Sesame Street Characters was going to be too “babyish” for them.
From the moment we landed we felt like a VIP. Sandals/Beaches has a suite in every airport where they have a resort. We were then whisked away for a 1.5 hour drive from the Montego Bay airport to Beaches, Negril. We arrived at the resort and had a permanent smile immediately planted on our faces. We were greeted with cool towels to re-freshen us, fruity drinks and some smiling familiar faces. We pretty much stayed this happy for our entire visit.
Our room was large with a king size bed and a full size pull out couch. My boys were BEYOND excited and the idea of Sesame Street didn’t bother them, it actually made them giddy! It seems as though each room within a Sandals/Beaches property is equipped with an X-Box game and a fridge where all beverages were available for the taking at no extra charge. All Inclusive is exactly what it means. EVERYTHING is included, and no wallet needed to come out during our stay.
Our first night included a parade introducing the Sesame Street characters and the new costumes. Mouth dropping amazing is what they were. Each costume is hand painted and sewn and make the characters seem so “human.” Not like the “scary” characters that come to a child’s second birthday party with the big plastic heads. The entire evening had the feel of “Carnivale,” from the entertainers to the music. Very festive indeed!
The parade started at the front of the hotel with the most upbeat of Caribbean music and beads and had the guests follow to the beach area where the DJ was spinning familiar tunes. A large buffet of food was prepared and the staff never ceased to accommodate.
One of the highlights of our trip was the following morning. Sandals Foundation helps the Caribbean community by offering aid to the underprivileged students, schools and environment. We had the most heartwarming experience accompanying the representatives of Sandals Foundation
to visit Mt. Airy School located just a few miles outside of the Beaches Resort. We brought a holiday toy and helped hand out juice, cake and toys to the kids. What we learned out was that the school is neglected by the government, does not have running water, and the classrooms are over crowded.
The kids put on a song and dance for us all the while toys were piled high in front of them. The discipline of these kids was nothing short of incredible.
While we were there, a water delivery was made from the back of a truck. The water delivered will only last two days. The other water supply they get is the water caught by rainfall. Even with the odds stacked against them, the amazing team at this school has managed to teach these children discipline, respect and instill the love for learning among each of them. One of the teachers at the school told me that every child has the will learn. In fact, each one will go on to high school.
You can find out more about this incredible foundation at SandalsFoundation.org
Once we arrived back to the hotel we had a couple of hours to explore the great Beaches property. Beaches has not missed a single thing when it comes to accommodating their guests. They recognize that families range from all ages, babies through parents. Kids Kamp – Camp Sesame takes babies through children of eight years of age. Certified International Nannies with direct access to a nurse and 24 hour on call doctor puts parents minds at ease when dropping their children off.
For the teens and tweens there is an X-Box Play lounge. This lounge has 20+ TV monitors with a different game at each station. Trenchtown is like a club for them to hang, play pool, watch TV and mingle. Kids at this age like their freedom to roam. X-Box Play Lounge and Trenchtown gives teens and tweens the ability to act their age in a safe and secure environment while mom and dad are off having a nice dinner or dancing next door at Club Liquid.
What so wonderful about the Beaches Resort in Negril is the feeling of intimacy and non-overcrowding. Even if the hotel is booked to capacity, you don’t feel the anxiety of noise from loud music playing or screaming children or feel the need to run and hide from overwhelming crowd that is found at other resorts. No need to run out in the wee hours of the morning to place a towel on a chair to reserve it four hours later. Activities are offered throughout the day for everyone but the staff is not “in your face” insisting you play. You see the Sesame Street characters sporadically walking the property throughout the day and folks of all ages stop what they are doing. The minute we saw Elmo, Bert Ernie and even Oscar the Grouch while we were playing volleyball in the pool, or eating at one of the many restaurants, going down the water slides, etc., we were always shouting out “Hi” to whatever character was walking by.
Most restaurants are open throughout the day, some even until 3:30 am! The food options are endless. From standard American Cuisine to BBQ to Tex Mex to even Japanese Hibachi. There’s something sure to please every palette. And for those picky eaters, you can always get a Cheese Pizza from Dino’s pizza or hamburger and chicken fingers with French fries . This Mill restaurant has buffet breakfast daily with endless choices of pastries, made to order omelets, French toast sticks and fruit platters. For those who want a more romantic setting, the choice of eating at Stewfish on the beach is always an option.
Soda, cookies and ice cream are available at an endless supply. Café de Paris is a French pastry and ice cream shop where you can find French crepes, gelato and specialty pastries.
The property has two pools and a water park which is home to two water slides, a lazy river and a kiddie splash area. Both pools offer swim up bars and have special drink menus catering to the kids. The beach has a tween area where older kids can hang out on their own, with the peace of mind knowing a security guard is always nearby to ensure the safety of the kids.
Also for teens is DJ Scratch Academy. Here the kids learn the art of music mixing. They get first hand experience of being a club DJ.
Just about any type of water activity is available to you as well: banana boating, sailing, water skiing even snorkeling trips. All part of your all-inclusive stay. We took a snorkeling trip and stopped at a reef only to see a shipwreck anchor laying on the bottom of the ocean floor. VERY COOL!
The resort also offers off-site excursions of zip lining, bobsledding, and swimming with the dolphins. The off site excursions do come at an additional cost. We had the opportunity to take a catamaran cruise and rock out to tunes while sailing a few miles away from the resort, only to dock in the most incredible blue waters, slide off a water slide into the ocean and swim through the most mysterious and magical caves. The captain even let Jake drive the large vessel.
Red Lane Spa is a located on the property and offers signature spa treatments for men and women. The newest treatments added to the spa menu focuses on teens and parent/child treatments. Imagine having your teen go for a massage after a long day of playing pool volleyball or sailing down by the beach. My boys had a 50 minute massage and body scrub and were found chatting it up in the showers talking about their relaxing experience.
I’ve been to a couple of hotels in the Caribbean with my boys. For them to say Beaches, Negril is the BEST VACATION they have ever had speaks volumes. They’re the biggest critics. This really was the best vacation and I know for sure that we will be back. I can see why Beaches, Negril has been voted #1 for families in the Caribbean. It truly is the “HAPPIEST PLACE IN THE CARIBBEAN!”
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