Hello, my friends! How are you? I’m back in the swing of things after our adults-only Jamaica beach trip, and I’m here to share all about it with you.
This was Dave and my first big trip away from Brady, and we were gone for five days and four nights. It was the perfect amount of time. We felt like we had plenty of time to relax and have fun, but we also didn’t stay away too long. I was totally ready to get back to Brady and Rudy around the end of the final night. We don’t know when we’ll get away like this again, but it’s good to know that the four-night time-frame was a good one for us with a little one at home.
We traveled with our best friends, Grant and Bre, who live in Ohio. We all met at the resort, traveling separately. And we even had our rooms at the resort next to each other, which was fun, so we could walk everywhere together and coordinate all of our activities.
We try to do an annual visit or trip with Grant and Bre, and we had just recently seen them at their home in Ohio in early June, so it was super-nice to also have this trip together too.
All about our adults-only Jamaica beach trip
This trip was planned as an early birthday celebration for Dave. His birthday isn’t until October, but this time made the most sense for the group, so we went very early. And yes, we had Dave serenaded for his birthday several times while at the resort.
We had a group-text-chat going with a count-down to this trip, which started at 80-days away. It was really fun to see the numbers drop, then unexpectedly skip a day, after we had to move the trip up by a day to accommodate our original flights being cancelled. (Which was a big headache, but mostly worked out, other than some change fees.)
Back to the logistics: Dave’s younger sister, Gwena, flew out from California to stay with Brady. And she did an amazing job of caring for our little man while we were away. We are so grateful for her, and happy we got to spend time with her before we left and after we got back too. She did so much with him while we were gone, including taking him on his first visit to a museum. Now on to a brief trip recap …
Staying at the Excellence Oyster Bay Resort
We stayed at Excellence Oyster Bay in Falmouth, Jamaica, which is about 30 minutes from the Montego Bay Airport. The resort is on a beautiful private peninsula beach, and it has a ton of pools, lots of activities, nightly entertainment and restaurants too. It’s an adults-only, all-inclusive, which is what we were looking for for this trip. This type of set-up is a great way for parents to get away. And if you’re a parent considering a beach vacation without your little ones, I highly recommend this option.
While we were there, we did the following activities, without every being busy or feeling rushed:
- Snorkeling (we didn’t see much)
- Stand-up paddle boarding (always so much harder than it looks)
- Karaoke (not my best performance)
- Silent disco (my first one, and we all thought it was hilarious)
- Hydrotherapy treatment at the spa (which was incredibly weird, featuring hot water and cold water experiences)
- One 30-minute tabata group fitness class (and the group consisted of just Bre and me, and this was our only workout while there, and the gym was really nice for a resort)
- Music trivia contest pool-side (technically, our group came in second place in this competition)
Even though Dave and I had been to Jamaica before (we went to Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica for our honeymoon back in 2012), we knew we wanted an all-inclusive on the beach again for this trip, and we knew we didn’t want to have to travel too much further than a three-hour flight from Charlotte. And Dave found Excellence Oyster Bay through a Google search for luxury all-inclusive hotels in the Caribbean, so that’s how we chose it.
(My beach bag.)
There are plenty of other beautiful beach destinations, but because we only had a limited amount of time to be gone, we didn’t want to spend too much of it traveling. I stand by that decision. Although, after all was said and done, we ended up taking nearly a full day to get home, because our original direct flight was cancelled, and we ended up having to connect through Miami, which added many hours to our trip. Small annoyance, and totally worth it for the ability to go away.
But back to the resort: The resort was gorgeous. The setting was serene. The staff was friendly. And Excellence Oyster Bay is situated on a beautiful private beach, where you could swim (because yes, there are some beaches where you can’t swim, which we experienced in Cabo a few years ago).
The resort had a ton of gorgeous pools and hang-out areas. There were several restaurants for dinner, casual lunch options, a coffee shop, bars, and the rooms were nice too. And all the activities that we did were included in the all-inclusive option — a very cool thing, so you never needed a wallet, except for tipping.
Of course, all of our food and drinks were included too, which was nice. We drank a lot of piña coladas during the day and then wine at night (yes, more than our usual amount of adult beverages were consumed, but hey, it was vacation).
And we also went to a fancy dinner all four nights at different themed restaurants. Our favorite experience was definitely the hibachi restaurant, and that was the only one that required a reservation. The other restaurants accepted our group as a walk-in, which was convenient, so we could go whenever the mood hit.
We did a French restaurant, a steak-house and a fusion place too. I switched it up and had totally different types of foods every night, and dessert after every dinner too, of course. Oh, and we also loved the buffet breakfast/brunch situation, which we visited every morning. Who doesn’t love a breakfast buffet enjoyed with an ocean breeze?
I have to tell you that the food was not amazing. It wasn’t bad. But ever since spending eight years in the Bay Area, I think we have become a little food snobbish, if you will. As I’ve mentioned before, the restaurants we’ve tried in Charlotte are not quite as delicious as the restaurants we enjoyed in California. But it’s not a big deal. We liked some of what we ate at Excellence Oyster Bay, but it wasn’t the best food we’ve ever encountered. We went into it knowing that may be the case though, and still had an incredible time. If you’re a food snob, you probably wouldn’t love it either.
We probably wouldn’t return to Excellence Oyster Bay, just because we felt like we saw and did it all, but I’d totally do another all-inclusive, because the pros outweigh the cons.
(Quick separate fun fact: We did have to get COVID tests before we traveled, and then we got COVID tests again at the resort, in order to fly home. The process was super simple. And we felt totally safe during our trip and while at the resort too.)
Spending all the time in the sun
Dave and I haven’t been to the beach or to a beach vacation in years. Because I grew up in Florida, and my annual vacation with my family was always to the Florida Keys … over the years, I’ve become less motivated to take beach vacations. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun, and I love the beach. But I’ve always felt like branching out. But when we were planning this trip, we knew all we wanted was sun, sand and all-inclusive, especially knowing we wouldn’t have little Brady to keep busy.
Before moving to Charlotte and having access to our neighborhood pool these last couple of months, I hadn’t even put on a bathing suit in forever either. So all of that combined meant it was really nice to soak up the sun in Jamaica.
We never just “laid out,” but we did hang out in the pool, in the ocean and by the side of the pool every single day. I was slathered in sunscreen and mostly under a big hat, but still managed to come home with a tan. It felt great to have those sunbeams on my skin.
We had worried a bit about the weather before arriving, but only had a couple sprinkles while we were there. However, we did have to worry about Hurricane Elsa, and we nearly had to stay an extra day on the island because of the pending storm. In fact, we may have taken the last flight out in the morning from Jamaica on our departure day, and Grant and Bre headed to the airport just after us only to have their flight cancelled, so they stayed another day. Staying in Jamaica an extra day isn’t the worst thing ever, but of course, it also included quite a bit of hassle for them.
Unplugging and enjoying the Jamaican vibe
Guess what? Even though I brought my computer, I didn’t open it up one time when we left until we got back. In fact, I didn’t open it up until the day after we got home. Because we got back on the evening of Fourth of July, and basically dropped our stuff, ate dinner, and went to our neighborhood Fourth of July party for fireworks with Brady and Gwena.
This was big for me, because on every other trip that we do, I always bring my computer and do at least a little bit of work. I was proud of myself for not doing any this time. I also didn’t play on my phone, and only stopped to post to Instagram twice. (This post and this post, in case you didn’t see them.)
It was really freeing to be “unplugged,” although we stayed connected via WiFi on our phones just to check on Brady and Gwena. They were fine. I left very detailed printed-out instructions and information, because, as any mom would be, I was a little nervous leaving Brady for the first time for this long. He was a-okay though.
There were several times while at the resort that I just exhaled deeply, looked around, felt the sea breeze, and soaked it up. If I knew this time last year, that this time this year, I’d be away on a Jamaican vacation, I would have been so happy and excited. And that thought and that sentiment was not lost on me or on us at all. Boy how last year has given us all more perspective, right?
(Our squad bracelets.)
A few trip highlights
We had an excellent time, and we definitely did everything we hoped to do on this trip to Jamaica. Here are a few highlights for me …
- Sipping delicious piña coladas in the infinity edge pool overlooking the beach, with the breeze blowing, feeling very “vacation-y” on a daily basis.
- Flowing from one activity to the other whenever we wanted, without operating on a schedule.
- Dancing it up at the silent disco. I’ve always thought this sounded totally dumb, but we loved it.
- Spending time with Dave and with our besties! The amount of group jokes we have at this point in our lives is quite large. We love our friends!
- Wearing all my new clothes I bought specifically for this trip, and only wearing activewear once. Yay!
- Not having to do any chores, not having to make any food and not having to deal with any typical mom tasks.
- Arriving home and having sweet Brady and Rudy rush out to jump all over us.
Grateful for this trip and grateful for home too
We know what a privilege it is to get away on a big trip like this, and we took that to heart.
But as I said at the opening of this post, I was truly missing Brady and Rudy right about day four, and was so happy to make it home to see them. They were both so happy when we walked in the door. And Dave and I both agreed that even though vacations are nice, we are so lucky to have something to look forward to at home. Amen to that. We’re back in our routine now, and I’m totally okay with that, because I like my routine.
Cheers to getting away, soaking it up, and letting that “vacation” remind you of what you love about your daily life too. Thanks for reading, my friends! I’ll be back later this week with some current faves.
Other posts you may like …
- The 10 things I’ve bought to wear during summer 2021
- Start of summer 2021 coffee chat
- My wellness bucket list
Questions of the day
Have you ever been to Jamaica?
Do you have any trips planned for the rest of the summer?
What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?