I’ll admit, this vacation wasn’t even my idea. My mom’s 65th birthday was approaching, and she declared that she wanted to take her kids and all her ayniklah (Yiddish for grandchildren) on an unforgettable family vacay over March break (aka. Canadian spring break), with just a few stipulations: a breathtaking sandy beach, great amenities for the kids (the youngest being 1 and the oldest being 11), and no stress allowed (safety, cleanliness, and amazing food to boot). It seemed obvious that an all-inclusive resort was the way to go, since we could all be together with the flexibility of splitting up and trying different things, and without ever worrying about transportation, cooking, cleaning, carrying money, or keeping ourselves entertained. We already had our hearts set on Jamaica because we have family there, and we were long overdue for a visit. Plus, Bubbie (grandma) wanted to splurge – YOLO – so we set our sights on the ultimate family retreat…
The flight to Montego Bay was a breeze, and barely felt longer than flying from Toronto to Miami. After landing, getting our bags, and doing all the customs & passport stuff, we made our way to the Beaches & Sandals lounge, where someone was waiting to tag our bags, offer us refreshments (like rum punch, red stripe and juices), and within minutes we were on our way. After an early morning flight, we all managed to nod off during the 90 minute bus ride. When we finally arrived, we were immediately offered more rum punch, of course, and an iPad for the quick check-in process. Then we were shown to our rooms, where our bags were already waiting for us.
Before we could even finish checking-in, the kids were salivating at the sight of sprawling pools amidst a lush tropical oasis, and a long list of activities, and they couldn’t wait to suit up and take the plunge. Between the pristine beach, with its calm, warm water, to the fully stocked water-park complete with water-slides, splash pad, and a lazy river, they didn’t know where to begin. Not to mention snorkelling, glass-bottom boat rides, miniature golf, an Xbox lounge (decked with all of the latest games from Forza to NBA 2K), paddle-boarding, kayaking, sailing, water-trikes, banana boating, shuffleboard, nightly entertainment, and a beachfront basketball court overlooking the most amazing sunset we’ve ever seen. Even drop-off camps are included for kids of all ages from baby to teen, with daily age-appropriate programming and themes, and special visits from our furry friends on Sesame Street (that’s right, you can expect to mingle with the likes of Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Elmo, and Ernie at some point in your stay). As a bonus add-on, we joined them for a beachside buffet breakfast complete with an epic dance party (spoiler alert: we captured some serious dance moves in the video below
With 6 table service restaurants, a coffee shop/bakery, pizza bar, weekly beach parties, and a badass buffet, you will never go hungry (but you could gain a few pounds). Our family favourite was definitely Stew Fish, for their candle-lit dinner on the sand (the blue mountain coffee rubbed steak was outstanding), and a soothing breakfast by the sea, but everything we ate was fresh, delicious, and flavourful, from the poolside BBQ to the Mexican Cantina, the Hibachi Grill, and the abundance of amazing local fruits and veggies. And naturally, it was love at first sight when the kids discovered Yoyo’s, the self-serve Froyo shop complete with all the fixins’ and a never-ending Disney soundtrack. I think it’s safe to say both kids returned home addicted to virgin daquiris (and they both suffered weeks of Beaches withdrawal… in the best way possible).
And of course, we documented many of our favourite vacation highlights on the vlog, which you can check out below…