Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Jamaica Me Smile (Day 2)

Day two at the Iberostar Grand Rose Hall in Jamaica started the routine we would follow for the rest of the trip.  My friend Jenn would wake up early to take a walk on the beach and get us a front row palapa.  Sunrise picture is courtesy of Jenn since I am not an early riser.

Once I woke up we would get breakfast. Breakfast was not very appealing to me but I was fine with that because I am not much of a breakfast eater anyway.  Certain things just taste different in foreign countries to me, especially dairy products. 

After breakfast it was time for a mimosa!  We stopped at the pool bar to get mimosas to bring to the beach with us.  It was a little disappointing drinking them out of hard plastic cups, but I understand glass cannot be on the beach.  There was a couple by the pool each morning at one of the best cabana spots who had an entire bottle of champagne in an ice bucket and a carafe of orange juice.  This seemed much more civilized than our plastic cups, but I wanted to go to the beach.  Although I did mention we should become friends with them so share in their mimosas. 

The pool area is very nice with cabanas and palapas around it, but I am a beach girl.

Jenn did another great job of getting us a front row palapa so I could pull my chair out to get soak in the sun.  Unfortunately Jenn must have seriously missed some spots with the sun screen and she needed to hide from the sun. 

Service on the beach for drinks was pretty good, but we would also stop at the pool bar after going to the restroom.  We were really good about pacing ourselves with the drinks as well (well, except once, but we'll get to that later).  Just a nice buzz from morning til night.  When I asked the bartender the name of the pink frozen drink that I saw many of the guests drinking, I thought she said "Jamaica Me Smile" so that is what we called it not knowing until days later that the name was actually "Jamaican Smile".  I thought it was ok, but I do not care too much for drinks with a banana and this one definitely had a banana.  This became Jenn's new favorite drink and I stuck to strawberry daiquiris, which I referred to as my smoothies. 

Note the sunburn...ouch!
After a morning on the beach we would saunter up to the outdoor buffet restaurant for lunch.  This was the only choice for lunch which I found disappointing because after being in the sun all morning, I like to cool off at lunch while eating.  There was usually the regular buffet as well as a Jamaican barbeque going on.  I struggled to find something I liked because everything was hot and did not stay fresh very well being outside.  We decided that the food only tasted so good the day before because we were starving from a long day of travel.  Dessert was a comedy routine most days because desserts were kept in a counter top refrigerator with a sliding door.  It was difficult to hold your plate, open the door and serve yourself a piece of dessert so usually the person behind you in line would hold the door for you.  The good things about lunch was that there was wait service to bring drinks and there was a beautiful view.
After lunch it was back to the beach for a nap.  Well, a nap for me and people watching and chatting with our palapa neighbors for Jenn.  She was so excited to tell me something when I woke up...she saw the bride walking down the beach (remember, the one from the night before who had the dress that would not lace up properly in the back?)...and she was pregnant!  Oh my.  We would later discover that the newlyweds were in the room right next to Jenn and the groom liked to hang out on the balcony smoking weed at night. 

We were also perplexed by a man out in the water.  There was quite a bit of security on the perimeter of the beach to keep locals and guests from the hotels next door off the Grand's beaches so at first we thought this guy might be some kind of security, but then realized he was selling coconuts.

Jenn was getting antsy hiding from the sun under the palapa and decided we should go snorkeling so we walked down the beach to the water sports hut.  The Iberostar property in Jamaica has three resorts and we needed to walk through the other two resorts to get to the snorkel hut.  Iberostar Grand Rose Hall is the highest end resort on the property.  It is adults only and luxurious.  Grand guests can go to the other resorts, but not the other way around.  Children are allowed at the other two resorts and they are called Iberostar Rose Hall Suites and Iberostar Rose Hall Beach with the suites hotel being the nicer of the two.  There was a definite change in atmosphere between each resort as it got louder and thumped more as we went from resort to resort.  The Grand has nice peaceful music, but by the time we got to the Beach hotel, it was like an outdoor club with music thumping and the pool filled with people standing in the water with their drinks.  The funniest part of being down there was watching people pass around a baby.  A BABY!  We had no idea whose baby it actually was.  At the bar we saw someone give a giant insulated cup to the bartender and just said, "fill her up with anything".  The people watching was definitely interesting down there!  The other difference we saw was that there was no wait service at the buffet.  What there was that I loved was this cool cat!  I got him some chicken from the buffet.
When we finally made it to the snorkel hut we were told the surf was too rough for the boat to go back and to maybe try again tomorrow.  We did not have a lot of confidence about when or if this boat may go out so we decided to go shopping.  The resort had a shuttle bus that took us to a nearby shopping center since Jenn wanted to buy some jewelry.  While we waited Jenn made more friends and we took more pictures...because we are girls and that is what we do!

After shopping we were not in the mood to get back into our bathing suits so it was time for another smoothie by the pool and then off to our rooms beautify ourselves for dinner.
Dinner was at the surf & turf restaurant.  We had all turf and no surf.  Most of the staff at the Grand was very friendly, except for some of the waiter/waitresses in the restaurants.  I am not sure why this is, but the waiter we had this night was not friendly or helpful.  I ordered a green salad and a NY strip steak.  There was no dressing on the salad and the steak I was given was a rib eye.  When I asked for dressing for the salad I was not given any options and brought oil and vinegar and was told my steak was a NY strip, even though I know it was not.  I let it all go.  I was on vacation after all.  Then for dessert I ordered the fried ice cream.  When I put my fork into it and pierced the outside shell, warm melted liquid ice cream poured out.  I brought this to the attention of the waiter and was told that was what fried ice cream was.  I was exhausted by this point in having problems and the waiter just telling me I was wrong.  I tried to order another dessert, but was told it would take twenty minutes so I just gave up and shared in Jenn's dessert, which was very good.
After dinner we went to the lobby bar for a drink then off to bed.  I wanted to be up early the next day to enjoy our last full day in paradise!


  1. Was this the trip I thought about going on? Sounds really nice, except maybe the food. I can totally understand passing a baby around, no one wants to be in charge of one of those on vacation.

  2. Yep, this is the one. The food was a struggle, which I knew it would be since I had been to another Iberostar, but this one was even worse. We tried to just go with it and not let it ruin anything. The drinks were still good!

  3. This looks like it was so much fun. I'm wondering what the rest of the story about the wedding dress is...Did I miss that part?

  4. Laura - on the first night we were there, we saw a newly wed couple dancing in the bar. We could only see the back of the bride, but thought it was odd that her dress didn't lace up tightly in the back and was showing a lot of skin between the laces. The rest of the dress was quite traditional so it seemed odd. Then the next day we saw that she was pregnant so it made sense why her dress didn't seem to fit right.