When the brand new water park opens here in March 2015, it will only enhance the family-friendly focus of Jewel Runaway Bay, an all-inclusive Jamaican resort between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.
I think this resort is a great value – and great choice – for families. Because it’s mid-sized, and not a mega-resort, it has a personal and friendly feel. Yet it still has all of the amenities you’d find in a big resort.
During our stay in January, we didn’t experience any of the common beach resort problems. We always found plenty of pool and beach chairs (no getting up early to reserve spots), and never waited in line to eat, or compete for dinner reservations.
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It was all totally chill. Do what you want, when you feel like it.
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This was our first time staying in an all-inclusive, and while I’m not sold on this style of travel (I like to explore!), I loved not having to lay out money every few hours to pay for everyone’s food and entertainment. All the food, drinks, activities and day care are included. Even the WiFi here is free, although the signal isn’t great. Still, free WiFi is a rare perk in Caribbean resorts.
The best thing about Jewel Runaway Bay? It brought the stress and cost of traveling with kids way, way down.
What works for families:
Among the all-day-and-night resort activities, we liked the beachside bingo (with prizes), the magic show, the evening crab races ($3 per bet – we won twice!), and dancing along with the steel drum band. They jammed!
Tip: Grab a few slices of banana bread from the breakfast buffet, walk over to the beach, throw out a few crumbs, and watch schools of fish swim right up to you. It was our daily post-breakfast ritual, and one of our favorite activities at the resort. Each day we had different schools of fish snacking on our food, including cool-looking needlefish.
What doesn’t work for families:
Dining at Jewel Runaway Bay
Food options here consist of a huge buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus several restaurants. The food at the resort is good, not great. But it’s plentiful, varied, and easily accessible. The buffet had a lot of different options, including freshly made fruit smoothies, Jamaican fish specialties like saltfish, and a table full of cute little bite-sized desserts. We never felt like we were eating the same thing day after day. We just ate A LOT (as is known to happen at all-inclusives).