Imagine a vacation where the hardest thing you'll have to do is pack your bags and get to your local airport. A vacation where you can literally leave your wallet and passport in the safe for the duration of the trip because you won't need to spend another dime. All-Inclusive vacations are the ultimate form of a relaxing and stress-free vacation where you could decide to engage in as much or as little activity as you want.
We choose to return to Sandals for our destination wedding because we were blown away with the resorts service, staff, and amenities during our stay in March 2008. We wanted to share that experience with our friends and family and trusted Sandals to provide that experience.
Another aspect of Sandals is their tag-line, "A Resort for Two People in Love". After hearing this and seeing their (sorry Sandals) cheesy commercials over the past decade I have to admit that I was skeptical of the chain. However, Matt and I both agreed that Sandals does a great job of creating a romantic atmosphere without being cheesy or overdone. It's also not the only vibe there, there is also a really fun vibe where you have the freedom to just have fun. This is something that I've never found in the US where there are far too many rules and you have to pay for evertything additional that you want to do!
We ended up booking at the recommendation of Matt's parents, who had visited Sandals Antigua and absolutely loved it. After doing some more research, we narrowed it down to Montego Bay because it seemed to be the all-around Sandals resort. Our trip was booked far in advance of our visit, 10 months, so while we were excited to go- it was always something that seemed so far away. Then during the winter leading up to our trip we were so busy on the weekends teaching skiing at Attitash that we really didn't have too much time to think about it.
Before we knew it, the trip was a week away and we were just excited to get out of the cold! We were leaving on a Monday and took the weekend off from teaching skiing to prepare for our trip. I was perfectly content with staying in Rhode Island for the weekend, however nature surprised us with a dump of fresh snow and Matt couldn't resist the thought of skiing in powder. We headed north to Sunday River in Maine to ski. In the East, fresh snow doesn't stay as fresh as you'd like it and by the time we got there it was bumped and churned like you wouldn't believe. We skied all day, and although it was fun- all I could think about was avoiding all injuries. That was the last thing I needed, an injury to prevent us from this vacation we'd planned 10 months ago. My paranoia was warranted, I was still recovering from a broken thumb from an incident involving a rouge chipmunk and the conditions were just ripe for an ACL tear, broken leg, twisted ankle, you name it- it was all running through my head at the time. Luckily we survived Saturday, phew. I thought I would be in the clear for Sunday- wake up early, drive home, pack, go to bed early. Of course not, now Matt wanted to wake up at 6 a.m. and go to early morning clinic at 7 a.m. Early morning clinic is where the Attitash ski instructors get to the mountain far too early in order to catch the first lift to the summit (technically the second, because the Ski Patrol goes first). I was never a fan of early morning clinic for a number of reasons, mainly because it's early, the temperature is usually ridiculously low, the people who attend are morning people and ridiculously chipper, and of course, that you have to focus on training topics- like, say, skiing with one leg locked- or something else that could easily send you into the woods. On this glorious Sunday morning, 24 hours before my trip to Jamaica was to begin, it was cold, I mean realll cold, and windy. Ideal conditions for crusty, craggy, blown-over bumps from the day before.
On the chairlift ride to the summit I sat in silent resentment of this decision to join 7 o'clock Clinic. Next to me sat rearing to go Matt and my mom, a 10+ year veteran Attitash ski instructor and one of those ridiculously chipper morning people who rarely misses the opportunity to attend this clinic. As the wind whipped through the chair, we went over Middle Ptarmigan. A trail that I usually avoid if given the choice because it's steep and usually icy and just not worth the thrill. This morning it was looking particularly heinous because overnight the wind blew off every last speck of the powder from the day before. It was probably the last place on Earth that I wanted to be that morning.
When we got to the top, we learned that the focus of this clinic would be bumps. "Sweet Moses on toast", I thought to myself as I shot Matt a dirty look. We made our way to Upper Ptarmigan and I waited until last to take my turn after watching the carnage ensue below me. Determined not to break something, I took the utmost care to make sure I wouldn't end up in a heap like a few people before me had. Little did I know the worst was yet to come when our fearless leader announced, "As we were going over it in the chair I thought to myself, wow Middle Ptarmigan would be a great place to work on bumps". Yeah... now I was really steaming. Somehow I got it done and managed to come out unscathed. The best part was when we rode up the chair for the second time and did it all over again. Magical.
Needless to say, I was so happy when it was all over and it was time for breakfast in the lodge. We sat down with another ski instructor couple and started talking about our trip to Jamaica. As it turns out, they were long-time Sandals patrons and have been to them all! Now we were really starting to get excited about our trip!
Our flights to Jamaica were uneventful and we finally landed in Montego Bay. Once we got through customs, we arrived at the Sandals lounge, grabbed a Red Stripe for the ride, and before we knew it we were ushered into a lounge area, given a glass of champage, and checking into our room. Everything was so smooth! We got to our room to discover that we had been upgraded to the Honeymoon Concierge Suite with a balcony that overlooks the ocean. We were loving it. We popped open another bottle of champagne from our room and were into the All-Inclusive swing of things in no time!