|At the couples lounge|
We booked in at Couples Tower Isle in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, with WestJet Vacations. Upon exiting customs in Jamaica (no passport stamp alas), we immediately saw a WestJet Representative, who showed us to the Couples Lounge, where we waited for other travellers who would be sharing our shuttle. The lounge featured real washrooms, as well as a bar where cold beer, and cold water were served, with a smile and some chit-chat with the bartender.
|View from the room|
We arrived at the resort, were quickly checked-in, and told that all the restaurants closed in a half-hour, so if we wanted food we’d have to be quick (only they phrased it much nicer than that.) Luckily, the buffet was still open, so we were led there, and we filled plates with food and had a nice (if somewhat quick) dinner. After that it was off to our room (with a king-size bed), where we unloaded our bags and washed our faces, before heading to the piano bar, to have a drink or two, read our books, and unwind after our flights.
The next morning we finally got our first view of the resort – while Tower Isle does have a small beach (if you’re someone who likes long walks on the beach, this is most definitely not the resort for you), it was well-kept, with plenty of shady spots, and enough lounges that we never had much trouble finding two that were free. Additionally, the beach never felt crowded, although small it was adequate for the size of the resort. The water was a lovely turquoise colour, and we nearly immediately jumped in…after our breakfast of course. (I need me some coffee in the a.m.)
|Relaxing in the water|
We lounged for the most part of our trip, enjoying the sun and warmth, as well as the waves (the isle acts as a break, so the waves don’t get very big). The resort offers a variety of activities – catamaran tours, hobie cat rides, snorkeling, scuba diving, as well as beach activities like volleyball. There are also two rings floating out in the water for guests to relax in.
The beach itself has plenty of shade – either from the palms, or from triangles of fabric rigged up between the trees above the lounges. We found we had the perfect blend of shade to sun. That isn’t to say that we didn’t end up with sunburns – after an Ottawa winter, anyone would.
|At Dunn’s River Falls|
Our second day, though, we headed out on the Dunn’s River Falls tour. The resort has shuttles to take you to the park, and they also handle the entrance fee. All you need is money for any souvenirs you want to buy, as well as to tip your guide.
|Sunset over the resort|
Back on the resort, we had decided to have dinner at the non-reservation restaurant – Verandah, which served Jamaican fare. We thought the food was incredible, and the atmosphere was very nice. The next night we had a reservation at Eight Rivers, which we had read a lot of reviews for. However, we found the food not quite as good as it had been the night before at Verandah. It was still good, it just didn’t live up to expectations. Our final night we had dinner at the Asian-themed restaurant, Bayside, which is located in several pavilions overlooking the bay. It was a little dim, and with the waves crashing underneath it was a little difficult to have conversation. Nonetheless, the atmosphere was romantic, and the food good.
Since we were there over Easter, the resort had a treat in store for us on Easter Sunday. For lunch, along with the usual buffet, we had a Jamaican BBQ on the beach, complete with jerk chicken and coconut drinks (with rum to taste.) Then they had a kids’ marching band play – down across the beach, up the dock and back. These kids were amazing – besides being incredibly talented at their instruments, there was also a brief dance portion, where they encouraged the guests to come out and dance as well – without forcing anyone who felt uncomfortable to get up and boogie.