Sunday 8 November 2015

Beaches - Ocho Rios

If you follow me on social media then you may have noticed last week my pictures were dominated by blue skies, golden sands and a rather chilled out looking small person.  Finn and I were whisked off to Jamaica to see first hand how stunning the Beaches resorts are.  Our first stop was Beaches Ocho Rios and after a ten hour flight with the most calm and smiley baby I was excited to settle in.

Montego Bay is the closest airport and our flight with Virgin Atlantic was smooth.  I do think that 8 months is a really easy age to fly with, especially if they can't move yet.  Finn sat and smiled at everyone, playing quietly with his toys and the only noise anyone heard from him was laughter.  Beaches describe themselves as being luxury included and this all begins when you arrive at the airport.  Our luggage was taken to be packed in the car and we had comfort and cold drinks whilst we prepared for our transfer.  Arriving at the hotel is like being greeted by old friends and every single member of staff from that first impression onwards went out of their way to make our stay special.  
Beaches Ocho Rios is set around a private bay meaning finding your way around is quite easy.  There are seven restaurants and three pools alongside the private beach that offers watersports (included of course).  There is an onsite water park with slides for big kids and little ones and a kids club that is open from 9am to 9pm

One of the first things to tick off my bucket list was a swim up bar.  Despite having travelled reasonably well, I had never sat in the water with the sun on my back as I drank a Pina Colada and that was soon rectified.  Serving a huge variety of alcoholic and non alcoholic cocktails alongisde any other drink you could possibly want, the swim up bar was a great way to stay hydrated in the sun.  Travelling in October during the 'rainy season', I wasn't expecting the skies to be so blue but the only rain we had all week was for about half an hour when we transferred between resorts.

As well as sampling the full range of drinks available, we managed to eat at most of the restaurants and I was really impressed at the speed of service.  There was never a queue, always plenty of space and fantastic views.  The main restaurant had a buffet for each meal which was both a good thing and a bad.  Eating four plates of breakfast because you can't quite decide whether you want the fresh smoked salmon, a proper fry up, delicious pastries or an omelette cooked in front of your eyes isn't the best start when you are likely to spend the rest of the day in a bikini!  The Bayside restaurant was perfectly designed for young families like mine with plenty of high chairs available and a section for young children where they can sit on their own tables.  There is a kids buffet where they can serve themselves and I know the independence would be something my elder two would really enjoy.

Neptunes had the best view and they served Mediterranean food from an a la carte menu.  My favourite place to stop of an afternoon had to be Josephine's creperie where you could have a fresh savoury or sweet crepe made up for you.  Located around a smaller pool with fantastic sea views and open until 10:30pm I know this would be a place that my big two littlies would love as well.

Neptunes as the sun rises

Seating around the pool outside the Creperie

Finn spent most of the week with me, and he absolutely loved being in the water.  He kicked his legs around the pools and in the sea with the biggest smile on his face and tried desperately to get sand in his mouth.  When I wanted to try out a watersport or the heat got too much for him, he went to have a play in the kids' camp.  Children from 0 - 17 are accommodated in a series of different rooms and the baby room had plenty of toys suitable for his age, a ball pit and a quiet room with cots for those all important naps.  He went happily in and I could pop in and out whenever I pleased.  There were no set sessions and all the staff are accredited by the American Nanny Association.  There were some great activities laid on for the slightly older kids and I know Dylan would have enjoyed cooking with cookie monster and science experiments with Grover!

Older children can enjoy the dedicated X-box room as well as exclusive access to the Liquid night club on site during their tweens and teens evenings. 

Everything about the kids club is bright, including the entrance

Whilst Finn was being looked after in the kids' club, I made sure I made the most of my time and had a go at paddle boarding, kayaking and on the banana boat.  I was really impressed that everything was part of the package and there was plenty of equipment.  Luxury included for Beaches means added inclusions rather than added charges and children can enjoy tennis or golf coaching as well as sailing lessons and other great activities for no additional cost.  

Our room was comfortable and spacious, relying on the natural light that poured through the french doors that led onto our private balcony,  My bed was huge and always sporting a wonderful towel animal and Finn had a proper wooden cot with a mattress - miles better than the plastic travel cots we are used to on holiday.  Every room comes with a mini fridge stocked with fizzy drinks, juice, bottled water and Red Stripe and there is wine and champagne next to the microwave and kettle.  Everything gets restocked daily.  Taking a bottle fed baby on holiday was much easier with a kettle, fridge and mircrowave in our room and if we came back with the big boys then the sofa you see in the right hand side of this picture pulls out to make two single beds.  There were many rooms that could accomodate 5 people as well as adjoining rooms for when the children are a bit bigger.  Travelling as a larger than average family isn't always easy, but Beaches had plenty of rooms designed for families like ours and bigger.

Travelling to Jamaica is a much bigger commitment than staying within Europe.  The flight is long haul and the prices reflect this but it is definitely somewhere I would love to go back to with all three of my children.  The five hour time difference meant we were awake to see every sunrise, but when you realise you can throw on a bikini, grab a bottle and watch it with your feet in the sea it doesn't seem quite as bad.  In fact once I realised that we could have a swim in the sea every morning before breakfast, I started looking forward to our early starts - not something you will ever find me saying at home!

Beaches  work closely with Sesame Street meaning you don't have to walk far before you see one of the characters from your childhood strutting towards you (and yes Jamaican characters definitely strut).  As well as designated activities, parades, shows and sessions, the characters walked around the resort.  We went along to a Sesame Street breakfast (extra cost) and had a chance to take our photos will all the characters as well as taking away a party bag with a cup and toy in.  Finn watched in awe as they came over and stroked their furry hands against his little face and both children and adults enjoyed the party.  As the characters danced around the room, Ernie doing a head wobble and Elmo showing off some real moves, you see a very different side of them to the show I remember.

Beaches Ocho Rios was an amazing resort with so much for families like mine.  Everything was easily accessible with a buggy, suitable for even the youngest of guests and nothing was too much for the staff.  I travelled with an eight month old and still felt like I had had a real holiday - not something I usually say when I go away with the children. 

If you want to see Beaches from a different perspective then check out the other bloggers on this trip, Sally and Trish

We were guests of Beaches for the purpose of this review.
Seven nights staying at Beaches Ocho Rios – A Spa, Golf & Waterpark Resort costs from £1,775 per adult and £899 per child. Price includes Luxury Included® (all-inclusive) accommodation in a Caribbean Deluxe Family Sized Room, return economy flights from London and resort transfers. Valid for travel dates 2nd May – 24th June 2016.


  1. It looks absolutely stunning! Visiting Jamaica is on our to do list!

    Gemma xx

  2. This looks amazing Bex!! I love going to the Caribbean but have never been to Jamaica as it never really appealed to me but I think I may have to go sometime! Your photos look beautiful and it sounds like you and Finn had a lovely holiday xx

  3. It looks absolutely amazing. My friend recently went to Jamaica, and she said how child friendly it is there. The kids club looks so colourful and enticing, and a swim up bar is definitely on my bucket list too!

  4. Wow, this looks absolutely amazing. You obviously had fantastic weather. Those photographs are stunning. It sounds like a perfect hotel to go to with a family. What a fab review! Hugs Mrs H xxxx

  5. Ocho Rios looks so different to Negril, but just as lovely. Next time we visit we'll have to choose this one and make a comparison!

  6. I think the prices are really quite respectable or what is included. The kids camp sounds amazing, I love the idea you can go in and out when you like with your children giving you great flexibility on holiday. Planning set times every day can be challenging when you want some holiday spontaneity. x

  7. I'm enormously envious! Such gorgeous colours and photographs. Manchester is especially grey and miserable this week! It sounds like the most luxurious break.

  8. Oh wow - this place looks so amazing. I have always wanted to visit Jamaica. Lovely review and photos. Kaz x

  9. wow this place looks so amazing! How amazing that all the water sports and stuff are included those bits are usually what end up costing a bomb xx

  10. Oh wow it does look even more beautiful than it did on Instagram - what a lovely place to go for a bit of one on one time with your littlest boy, a sort of karmic balancing for all the scarier time you had to spend in the hospital with him when he was really tiny and a perfectly relaxing holiday too :)

  11. I am so incredibly jealous. We are too scared to travel abroad with everything that's going on lately but it would be so much fun to spend some quality time with just one of my babies. L

  12. I am really jealous it looks like such a fabulous place to holiday with a young family. I definitely need to give this a go. Thanks for sharing. The pictures are fab.

  13. It's absolutely amazing ! The beach, sky, weather are all perfect. I'm also impressive with Neptunes - how nice and luxury this hotel is. I'm sure that your sweet baby had a lót good memories.


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