Last October, my best friend and I took a trip to Jamaica. (By the way, 10/10 would totally recommend traveling with your BFF). It was a pretty spontaneous trip right after I graduated from university. We booked our trip about 3 months in advance, and it ended up being right after Hurricane Matthew came through the Caribbean (yikes). Since it was our first vacation without our families, we utilized the help of a travel agent. We booked our trip through Funjet Vacations, which partners with Jamaica Tours Limited. We stayed at Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and Spa (all inclusive) for a week, and we had a wonderful time! I’ll be including my travel buddy’s comments for each of these sections as well, so you get two opinions.
Check-in Process & Accommodations
Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort is a short 40 minute drive from the Montego Bay airport. It shares the facilities with the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort and Spa. Our check in process was extremely easy. The concierge just said, “You’re in Jamaica, hun! You relax and let me do all the work.” Since this resort is all-inclusive, that means free & unlimited meals/snacks, free and unlimited drinks at all of the bars. Other accommodations include:
- free sports and animation included, according to the activity.
- free towels for beach and pools
- minibar in all rooms with daily restocking (which was fantastic having water bottle readily available!)
- wifi internet & satellite TV
- balcony with a view
Katie’s thoughts: “We always had everything we needed for our rooms. The fridge was restocked every morning which was super cool if you want to grab a drink or the walk down to the pool (especially if you are in a far condo). The beds were pretty stiff which is something to consider, though I can sleep on anything.”
Restaurants & Bars
Grand Palladium Jamaica offers 7 a la carte restaurants of various cuisine for dinner such as Mexican, traditional Jamaican, Mediterranean, Italian, Indian, Asian, and a steakhouse. There are three buffets that are open for both breakfast and lunch. They typically serve the same foods, although a few of the major dishes or sides may differ from day to day. We tried to go to each restaurant, but a couple were closed for renovations since we went during off season. (No big deal). The steakhouse would have to be my favorite restaurant. The steak was perfectly cooked to my preference, and you could tell they used a high quality cut of steak. The waiters at the restaurants were all so nice and extremely helpful.
There are 13 bars throughout the resort, both outside and inside with air conditioning. These bartenders could make you anything, from a specialty drink to a classic. We got to know a few of the bartenders at well, especially at the Blue Lagoon Bar which was a swim up bar in their main pool. The swim-up pool bar was my favorite; I loved getting to stay in the water and swim with my drink. Plus who doesn’t love a classic swim up pool bar? We drank mostly specialty drinks and asked around to see what others were getting, or we just said “surprise us!” (In retrospect… might not have been the best, but the resort was safe, and the bartenders were awesome!)
Katie’s thoughts: “My favorite bar was the sports bar! Nachos are life [unlimited snacks 24/7]; it had a pool table and other fun games. It was a nice, air conditioned place to relax and cool down. All of the drinks were so amazing, so it’s hard to pick a favorite. A few are dirty banana, purple rain, Bob Marley that we liked. The bartenders always remembered us, too, so it was nice to get greeted everyday with a friendly smile.
The food was more on the American side, but still had some “out there” items that I could dabble in if I was feeling adventurous. I was satisfied with everything! Never had to wait at the buffets, minus one day we slept in pretty late.”
Experience with Travel Company
Funjet Vacations partners with Jamaica Tours Limited. The ladies working for JTL were friendly, informative, and always willing to answer questions. They gave us excellent safety tips, and not to mention a heads up on what the local Jamaican guys were like. They were extremely helpful as well. After one of our tours, an employee agreed to stop by with our CD of images from the tour. We waited a half hour passed the time we agreed to and immediately went to the representative at JTL. She called the place and learned the employee went to our neighboring resort! She set up a new time for him to stop by and made certain he came to the correct entrance.
Katie’s thoughts: Jamaica Tours Limited was very accommodating, and the girls were very friendly! It was convenient that their desks were located under the lobby so we could stop by any time to ask questions. All of the excursions were really affordable. We were able to do multiple instead of having to narrow it down to just one.
There are so many tours you can participate in while staying at Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort. Some popular ones include Dunns River Falls, catamaran sunset cruise, swimming with dolphins, 7 mile beach in Negril & Ricks Café, a visit to the Appleton Estate, and Black River Safari & YS Falls. There truly is so much more, and they all range from $25USD to $125USD. This resort had a group of employees called the “People of Palladium.” POP planned so many awesome activities throughout the week, both day and night. They planned a choreographed dance show each evening with multiple group dancers in various costumes and a new theme each evening. POP planned post-show dance parties, contests & games during the day. They helped around the pool in general, asking if we needed anything and to get us involved in their fun activities.
Here is a short clip of one of the many dances and outfits they wore. They changed outfits probably 10 times during one show!
Katie’s thoughts: “I loved that there was something to do EVERY NIGHT. It would be impossible for anyone to get bored at Grand Palladium. This resort is a party atmosphere for sure, but it does cater to everyone. It’s family friendly, too, though most of the kids weren’t at the large pool (bonus for us!). We could tell Grand Palladium is a couples/honeymoon hot spot that would be super romantic to take a significant other, yet at the same time a good scene for singles. Everyone on POP was super friendly and always invited us to the parties. I loved that they remembered us; it felt really personal. (Also, could have been that we were two blondes, so you never know!)
Overall, Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort was an absolutely beautiful resort! Perfect spot for a girls vacation, honeymoon, or to enjoy time with your family.