When I travel out of the country, I typically look for lodging on my “go to” home lodging site. Because I simply need a place to lay my head, perhaps heat up food and store drinks, I do not need to stay in any high-end hotel. However, when I travel to the land I love (Jamaica), I always stay at an all-inclusive in Negril. My reason for staying at the all-inclusive is because I know the entire staff, am spoiled, and it is convenient to places I want to venture off property. So, knowing the high-caliber of service I receive at my favorite resort in Negril, I naturally expected the same level of service when I decided to spend the first four days out of a seven-day holiday, in MoBay during a recent trip. Epic fail.
During my visit to MoBay I decided to stay at an “all-inclusive” that was located approximately 10 minutes from MBJ. Upon arriving at the property, I noticed that it was aesthetically appealing, with a large lobby. I was greeted by one of the receptionist, had a wrist band placed on my arm, and provided the keys to my temporary abode. After settling in, I took freshened up and changed clothing, took a few pictures of my room and checked out the amenities. The room had a refrigerator stocked with beer, soda and water and there were four full size bottles of liquor in a dispenser just above it. The bathroom was spacious, had two queen beds, a flat screen television, a small table and chair and there was a little patio on the outside.
Making my way outside in search of food, I didn’t find much available. The main dining area was just wrapping up lunch and the only thing open were the bars. So, what’s a girl to do? DRINK. Well, for some strange reason the bartenders were prohibited from serving or even saying the drink named “Bob Marley”. Riiiiight? We are in Jamaica and you are seriously prohibited from making that drink. So, instead I settled for the Rita Marley. And then I had several other drinks behind that. Why? Well, as it turns out, this resort did not have any top shelf alcohol. The closest you could get to top shelf was Appleton rum. Seriously! I had to drink A LOT to even feel a giggle.
Now here is where it gets interesting. I have been to several all-inclusive resorts where tipping was never an expectation or even done plain sight. However, at this particular resort people were tipping like there were strippers on a pole. Since I do not carry a lot of cash with me when I go to all-inclusives, it was very awkward that I was the only one around not dropping one’s on the bar. Even during breakfast and at lunch, some of the servers were expecting you to tip them. Interestingly enough though I rarely tip on trips, I bring small tokens like bath and body works products with me to give as a token of appreciation. So, while I could give all the money that I wanted freely in tips, I actually had to fill out a form for giving a bartender pocket-sized toiletries. Crazy!
Aside from the tipping situation, the fact that there were four dining options, but on any given night at least two of them were closed which limited you that much more. The food was good on the night when the local cuisine was featured; however, most other days it was very repetitive and bland. There was a 24 hour bar in the lobby area that had snacks available after approximately 10p.m., but ironically enough you could not eat the snacks at the bar; you had to eat them on the perimeter. While there was no disco on the premise, you had access to the disco at a sister resort which was a five-minute walk away. Although I went to the disco once during my stay, I really didn’t care too much for it.
The rooms were really nice– as they should be considering the fact that it was only 1-year-old. The refrigerator was re-stocked at least twice during my trip, so I just gave the sodas, beer and water to some of the local staff. But other than the aesthetic appeal, this resort did not meet the standard of the older, resort that I frequent in Negril that has great customer service, the most flavorful food, AND TOP SHELF liquor. While I will not reveal the name of the resort in Mobay, but I will say that it is a part of a chain located in several destinations around the world. They have at approximately six resorts between Mobay and Negril alone. I will also so that once bitten, always shy. I will not waste my money staying at that resort or any of the sister resorts ever again.
So, what’s the bottom line? Be very careful when booking an all-inclusive. It may not be possible to know everything about a particular property in advance of a trip, but every all-inclusive resort is not created equal. All “all-inclusive” resorts are not truly beholding to the title.