Jamaica June 2009: 3 – Resort Hopping (Hedo and Starfish)

We’re still in Runaway Bay at the villa, but today our host will join us after work.  I also got some work done today, and a swim at our pool. Tonight we are going to Hedo III for dinner and the weekly pajama party. I’ve been aware of Hedonism for years – what regular Jamaica visitor isn’t? In Negril they call it the zoo. It’s an all inclusive resort (actually two resorts) known for nudity, parties, swinging….not my scene at all. But I’m game to check it out and see what all the fuss is about.

Our host, M, arrived at the villa in the evening. We got to know each other and the three of us got ready for our night out. It was hard to come up with the right thing to wear (!!), but I did a beach cover up/PJ sort of outfit as it was pajama night,  and went with that.

We drove over to Hedo and took a look around. It’s a smaller resort than Breezes, with a much smaller beach area. The week we were there occupancy was fairly low so it was perhaps not as crazy as it might be on other occasions, but the buffet looked OK, the bars were open, and people seemed to be enjoying themselves.

We had reservations at Pastafari, the Italian restaurant. We were seated and given a menu with appetizers, main courses and desserts. This is an AI resort so you can order as much of whatever as you want. I went for an appetizer of mozzarella and tomato crostini that was not bad at all. For dinner I ordered steak. Yep, steak in Jamaica…something i NEVER order there. And you know what? It was delicious.  I was really surprised.  We had a nice bottle of wine with our meal.

After dinner we did a little gambling at the slot machines. M gave us each $5 and I won like $100….gave it back to M (he gave me $5 back :)) as thanks for my stay at his villa.  While T and M played slots longer, I wandered over to the basketball court to shoot a few. One of the entertainment staff came over and a lively game of HORSE ensued (what’s Horse? I shoot from one spot, if i make it he has to shoot from the same spot and make it, if he doesn’t he gets an “H”.  If I miss it’s his turn.  it’s kind of like hangman, the first one to spell HORSE loses).  I was doing well at first but after a bit he started hitting 3 pointers that I couldn’t follow so I lost 🙁

It was late enough to head over to the disco for the pajama party and contest. People were dressed in all manner of “pajamas” – some actually pjs or nightgowns, some just a few strips of leather.  We observed the contest from the sidelines when I found myself dragged onto the dance floor to win the “Most Conservative Pajamas”  prize, which was a bottle of rum. So now I can tell the story….I went to Hedonism and won the most conservatively dressed prize!  No, I did not bring my camera, sorry 😉

We left soon after that and after a little chatting at the villa, we all went to bed. We are heading to Starfish (now known as Breezes Trelawny) tomorrow for the day!

I’ve read a lot about this resort too. It’s the “family friendly” Breezes, the one that is geared to families with children, especially small ones.I know where it is  – Falmouth, because you can’t miss it when you pass it, it is a high rise hotel, like maybe 10 stories.  It isn’t very appealing from the road, honestly.  But I  have heard the beach is a really nice one and  I’m eager to see what it’s like.

We set out QUITE early the next morning…I slept most of the way in the car.  When we pulled in and parked, I was pleasantly surprised by the lobby area. It is, as you can see, bright, spacious and colorful. This picture faces the lobby bar and beyond that are the restaurants, swimming pools and ultimately, the beach. (If you look in the mirror there you can see me taking that photo).

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Just the grounds

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A bush we bedazzled

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We arranged to have a room for the day, so we could shower and nap and such. We checked in, got our wristbands (as day visitors we needed one for day and one for night) and unloaded our stuff in the room. Our room was on the first floor of the main part of the hotel, so very convenient.  It had a large queen size bed and a double bed, a clean bathroom, a mini-bar and a balcony.  I could see being quite comfortable there.

Settled in, we headed to the buffet for breakfast.  There was a very nice spread…smoked salmon, a “make to order” omelet bar, fresh fruit, hot coffee, juice, eggs, bacon….pretty much everything including ackee and saltfish.  I was happy with it and ate a lot.

T had a friend staying here, I think she and her husband were checking out later, so we went to find them before they left. They were staying in one of the cottages – very close to the pools and beach, exactly the accommodations I’d want if I stayed here with my family. Ground level, private, porch, bunk beds and queen, and the location is great.

We settled for the morning by the pool on a covered king size bed sort of thing…very cozy. I walked down to the beach to check it out.  And it is, indeed, one of the nicer natural beaches in the area.

There’s a little island you can wade to:

Lots of space:

Sailboats and jetskis to use or rent:

I think my kids – who have been to JA several times but never to a resort – might actually enjoy some time here. Lots of kids are around to hang out with and they can have the run of the place.

I swim a bit, then head back to the pool. A water aerobics class is beginning and I figure hey, why not? I take the class and feel virtuous for having gotten a little workout in that day.  It was alot of fun – when it’s hot, and Jamaica is almost always hot – exercising in the water is the way to go.

After that a trivia game is started by the entertainment staff.  I get to resorts just about never, so this is all kind of fun for me. I head over and sit.  The staff asks a trivia question and if we think we know the answer we run  up and answer – if that person is wrong another can run up and so on until the correct answer is given. If we are correct we get cards, the # depending on the difficulty of the question.

Well today the trivia topic is the Caribbean. Oh YES, now all those years of reading guidebooks and history books and combing the internet are going to pay off!

At first the 20 or so people in the competition are sharing the answers but as they get harder more and more people stop coming up to answer. Many times, I am the only one to even try.  Some were just ridiculously easy and yet people didn’t get them….like “which island is known as the Land of Wood and Water?”. I mean, really? Some were harder, like  name the 4 largest islands in the Caribbean in order (this geek got that one too – Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico). There was one that irked me….it asked what island had something, the answer was Hispaniola. I wasn’t given a card though because the answer they were looking for was Haiti. Hello – Haiti is a country, not an island.  In the end it didn’t matter – when it was over I had by far the most cards. To the point that the staff asked me if I had been at the resort the previous week and heard the questions before. LOL.  I won…..another bottle of rum!

After this we hit the buffet for lunch – again plenty of good food to choose from – and head to our room for an afternoon nap. Which was lovely.
Refreshed, we changed for dinner and headed to the manager’s cocktail party which was taking place near the lobby.  There were appetizers and drinks and an opportunity to chat with various managers of the resort. From there, we headed to dinner – we had reservations at Munasan, the Japanese restaurant.

M and T have great things to say about the food there and I must agree – we had the “chef tasting dinner”, 8 courses of sushi and other Japanese food, and it was amazing. Right up there with the best I’ve had in NYC.

M had to head home – not the villa, his regular home, so I thanked him again for all the wonderful hospitality he’d shown me, and T and I head to the bar to meet Bar and Cher. Bar and Cher, the owners of Jamaica Jewel in Duncans Bay, live pretty close by and T invited them to come join us for the evening.

We had a lot of fun with them and some other guests.

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Drummy came to get us (all the way from Runaway Bay, he’s awesome)  and return us to the villa. Tomorrow, we head to Kingston.

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