We visited the Jewel Dunn’s River from July 28 through Aug 4, 2012. The tour operator was Vacation Express with a non-stop flight on Sunwing Airlines from Cincinnati. Sunwing flights include free champagne, hot meals, and a movie, which were all very nice. Our flight was on time and uneventful. We had no trouble getting our choice of seats. Upon arrival in Montego Bay we were a little disappointed because we had to wait an hour to get boarded into a van (JTL tours) to take us to the resort, about a 90 minute drive. When we arrived at the Jewel, we received a friendly greeting, cold towel, and a rum beverage; we filled out paperwork and were quickly escorted to our room. Since we arrived late in the evening, the only restaurant open was the Aquamarine Beach Grill, which serves burgers, wraps, fries and nachos.
The Jewel is a smaller resort with 250 rooms, which we liked. The Riu next door looked huge by comparison. Our room was in the Emerald Lanai section, room 4113. We liked the location because it was close to the lobby, restaurants, and quiet pool with a tropical setting. It had a little patio with a table and chairs where you could sit but it was always a little too warm in the evening. The room’s AC worked great with easy-to-understand controls, a flat screen TV, mini fridge with two Cokes, two Coke Lights, two bottles of water, and four bottles of some kind of fruit juice. The bed (wood, four poster) and pillows were very comfortable. The bathroom, however, was very cramped, the door swung in so we had to almost climb into bathtub if we wanted to sit on the toilet and close the door.
There is an “active” pool and “quiet” pool, both with swim-up bars. We spent most of our time at the quiet pool, and had to literally to ourselves much of the time. The resort had the feel of being only about half full. The beach is small but very nice – lots of chairs (with pads), no rocks, no seaweed and warm blue water. Plenty of chairs and towels available; no need to get up early to reserve a good spot.
There is a beach party on Tuesday which had a great buffet and entertainment, including a band, snake charmer, a woman who performed with fire, and a man who laid on a bed of nails. Kevin was our server and he was great – he was also our server at Moonstone and the dinner on the pier. We were impressed with most of the employees at the Jewel, very personable. Be sure to take plenty of one dollar bills because tips are appreciated and they’ll keep the drinks coming, but we never got the impression that tipping was necessary to get good service. It was difficult to get small US bills at the front desk such as fives and tens, all they seemed to ever have were ones and twenties. Be sure to take ones and fives for gratuities and small purchases when shopping. Vendors were on the beach every day until about 5:00 p.m. and had many offerings such as jewelry, paintings, and wood carvings. The night of the beach party they were allowed to stay till about 9:00 p.m.
Our favorite restaurant was the Jade Samurai…fabulous! Be sure to make reservations with the concierge the moment you arrive on property; this is the only restaurant that requires a reservation. Tiger was our chef and he was a riot, very entertaining. We were lucky enough to be able to eat there twice. They give you so much food – appetizers (soup, sushi, and spring rolls), fried rice, chicken, steak, shrimp, and tuna. We ate at the Moonstone (Italian) one night; they had a great salad bar that included bruschetta, which was delicious. Most days we ate breakfast at the Coral Café and were always seated promptly, given great service by Leford, and never experienced a wait at the omelet station. Lots of birds so watch out; don’t leave your table without covering your food with your napkin! We also loved the Court Jester wood fired pizza, especially the jerk chicken and pepperoni varieties! The first day, the chef (not sure of her name) made us a heart shaped pizza which was very nice. We didn’t make it to the Platinum Restaurant. All of the restaurants serving dinner are air conditioned.
There is free Wi-Fi in the lobby and they do have 3 computers set up in a small cubbyhole on the mezzanine right above the lobby; it was quite cramped with no air conditioning, so you may be drenched in sweat by the time you’re done checking your email. There are photographers on staff and pictures are taken at the pool, restaurants, the beach party, and dinner on the pier. They were not all pushy with the photography; in fact, we had to hunt the photographer down at the beach party so we could get a photo. The resort also offers all the usual non-motorized water sports and Gary took a sailing lesson which he enjoyed. Sailing and windsurfing lessons are each morning at 9:00 a.m.
Friday night was dinner on the pier – it was a beautiful night with an almost full moon. A saxophone was playing while a five course dinner was served, which was very good. One of our favorite hangouts for a nightcap was the Emerald Tree Lounge. Since we like to retire early we only went to a couple of shows at the Bling. We went to the Steel Drum show on Sunday but found it overly loud and they weren’t playing tropical Caribbean music.
We didn’t do any major excursions since this wasn’t our first trip to Jamaica. We did enjoy a couples massage in the spa, which was great. We also did a shopping excursion at the Taj Mahal and at several stores they had free samplings of rum. I fell in love with the Banana Rum Crème and brought a bottle home. The shopping trips are offered three times a day at a cost of $10 per person for the round trip.
We had a nice, enjoyable, relaxing week at the Jewel and would definitely go back without hesitation.
Related: New Adults Only Resort: The Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa
Related: Honeymoon Gift Registry Now Offered by Jewel Dunn’s River Adults Only All Inclusive Resort in Jamaica
Related: SuperClubs Sells Breezes Runaway Bay