How soon before we can come back home?
Flights with Virgin both ways, no delays and service was good. Arrival into Montego Bay Airport was quick to clear immigration and through to collect luggage. This was fairly slow and watch out for the man offloading bags, apparently the conveyor struggles as it fills so they offload bags to maintain it, if you canít find your bags check where they are stacking the cases.
Through to the Couples lounge for a welcomed first Red Stripe prior to transfer.
Arrival into CTI, we were met by Everald who first welcomed us home and then took us through to check in with a drink. Once checked in he confirmed our bags with us and they were taken up to our room within about 10 minutes.
The room itself was a garden view standard room. Comfortable and kept clean for the duration of our visit with a nightly turndown service. We were also treated to a bottle of sparkling wine and a plate of fruit one evening as a freebie which was very pleasant to drink on the balcony.
Having arrived at 8.10 in the evening we decided on a quick meal at the Patio restaurant from the buffet, food was good with a wide variety of choice. We had breakfast here every morning, lunch once and a number of evening meals here and were never disappointed. Food at all the speciality restaurants was excellent with Jamaican specialities at the Veranda, Asian at the Bayside and International at the Eight Rivers. Lunch could be had at either the Patio Pool Grill or at the Veggie Bar again all to a very high standard, particularly at the Veggie Bar where Tafarie will look after you very well. Service at all the restaurants was very good with drink service available from the bars as well as the house wines. Drink service was also good with all the top shelf brands you would expect with quality options available in all the varities.
Day 1 I arranged diving with completion of my open water certification. All instruction and subsequent dives was carried out in a highly enjoyable manner but to an appropriately high safety standard by the dive team of Tiger, Colin, Douglas and Rasta with the boat captained by David. With my certification dives I managed 15 dives throughout the holiday. I was out there for my 40th birthday and they were happy to ensure that I dived on one of the wrecks on the day as I requested and the other wreck on the day of my final dives. They all a great bunch of guys who will always accommodate your requests as much as possible ensuring that everyone who dives with them gets to have a good time. I broke my watch on the boat one morning and Colin who was captaining the boat for the day repaired it for me whilst I was diving, an example of the exceptional service they and the hotel offer.
The list of activities and included trips is as extensive as their website shows. We went on the horseback riding trip, a first for me and the first since childhood for my wife, a very pleasant trek through Prospect Plantation with a break to learn a little about the local fruits and vegetables. The other included trip we took was to Dunns River Falls a must in our opinion. The guide was great fun and the climb of the beautiful falls is a real experience, ensure you have your water shoes, which can be hired on route, and try to go on a day when there are no cruise ships in town. Despite reports to the contrary we were not pressured when exiting via the craft market where a polite no thank you left you to get on. The guides do remind regularly that they expect tips but everyone needs to make a living and when you havenít paid for entry and travel it is extremely inexpensive and well worthwhile.
We arranged a private driver for the day who took us through the mountains via local villages and told us of the fruits and vegetables and stopped to show us them growing, picked some for us to try and smell. We had arranged on the trip to visit Nine Mile, birthplace of Bob Marley and Luminous Lagoon on the evening both were excellent and we would recommend.
The beach is not massive as we knew but is very well maintained and to sit there during the day enjoying the fantastic weather listening to the sounds of the sea was wonderful. There were a couple of mornings with rainfall or liquid sunshine as it is known which did not interfere with our enjoyment and it is a tropical island with rainforest so it is to be expected. We were also fortunate that during our time there we only had 1 red flag day.
We did not partake of the majority of activities open to us but we were busy with other things but those who did I know enjoyed them. Due to diving or being out we did not make the island to visit early before the people who enjoy the au naturel side of things take up residence. Perhaps a consideration for CTI would be a once or twice weekly prudes day with a first come first serve basis on the island with numbers limited to ensure it does not become over crowded.
What sets this hotel apart from over good all inclusive quality hotels is the staff they are truly exceptional and are always looking to go the extra mile. It is impossible to mention all the staff but some of those were: Andre, one of the team leaders who always ensure that everything was right for us. Garicia and Kadian from the E team who were always friendly and did not push to join in the fun and games if you didnít want, not something that can always be said. Jesse, Martin, Marvin and Kayla for great drinks service. Delroy who swept our ďapartmentĒ on the beach to keep it clean and made up our sun beds every morning once we had decided on our preferred spot on the beach. Everald who delivered our luggage and was always there for a quick friendly chat. The staff are all focused on ensuring you have a fantastic holiday and if you canít here there is probably something wrong with you, apologies to those that I have not mentioned above but you were all equally wonderful.
We decided on Jamaica for a first visit to celebrate my 40th birthday and are over the moon on our decision. The island is beautiful with wonderful people and we would recommend to anyone considering CTI and Jamaica go. We personally believe that the world is a big place and we want to visit different countries and places but we will be returning as soon as we possibly can.
In a nutshell CTI thank you for a great time and we look forward to the greeting of welcome home as soon as we possibly can.