A Nectar Moon, Take Two

Remember a long long time ago, when I told you how we would be booking our mini-moon (dubbed “Nectar Moon” by Mr. Ly) through Groupon or LivingSocial or some other flash sale travel site? Yeah…that didn’t happen.

As we got closer and closer to the 100-day mark, I got more and more nervous that we didn’t have a place set yet for our Nectar Moon. I looked through as many travel sites as I could think of from Cheap Caribbean to Groupon to JetSetter (through Gilt) and every other travel site out there. The prices for January, when they were even available, were WAY more than we were hoping to spend…or the resort had terrible ratings for the rooms and/or food and/or staff, or was somehow tied to a timeshare company (one of the one things we did NOT want for our short trip was to be hassled to sit through a sales pitch!). So, we were left with a few options—the first being to not go away. I definitely did not like this option, at all. The second option was to go somewhere close/driveable. And the third option was to up our budget and splurge on our Nectar Moon. We went for option three. When we originally budgeted for our four-day trip, we wanted to spend about $2,000 on everything including airfare, taxes, tips, and all food & drinks. This seemed doable, and truth be told, if we were less picky about the resorts we were willing to stay at, we could have most definitely done this. After my failed LivingSocial deal, I decided I would just hand over the responsibility to Mr. Ly and let him choose where we would go.

In the end, he ended up going through a travel agent, and we are going to be heading to the warm beaches of Jamaica for four glorious days and nights of all-inclusive goodness. It only ended up being a few hundred dollars higher than we originally budgeted, and by going through a travel agent, we didn’t have to pay the full amount all at once like we would have had we booked it online/through a flash sale site. This made it even more manageable, and we decided almost immediately where we wanted to go!

Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios is where we’ll be spending our first few days as husband and wife(!!). I hope the skies are this blue and the water this inviting when we’re there—I absolutely cannot wait. I like that we are going to an adults only, well known all-inclusive. We didn’t need anything super fancy, or something that breaks the mold. It’s our first time staying at an all-inclusive, and we didn’t want to have a lousy experience. Sandals is definitely well known and well liked.

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Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios

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The beach at Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios

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Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios

This is the style/level room we’ll be staying in. We don’t need anything fancy for the four days we’re there, just a bed and a bathroom, so long as it’s clean and comfortable. We don’t plan on spending a ton of time here, but enough that we want it to be nice. The bath was the most important thing to me—I LOVE big jacuzzi tubs, and that was probably my only requirement.

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The Great House Oceanview Room at Sandals Grande Riviera

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The balcony of the Great House Oceanview Room at Sandals Grande Riviera

So while we tried to save some money by booking through a sale site, we’ve found that by expanding our budget a bit, we were able to get a much higher quality of resort for not too much more than we would’ve gotten on our own. There are a few areas where I truly believe you end up getting what you pay for in quality, and after seeing what our “cheaper” options were, I wasn’t ready to risk our Nectar Moon in a dump!

Any recommendations on what to do while we’re in Ocho Rios? We don’t really plan on leaving the resort (four days of eating, drinking, and sleeping in the sun is all that our agenda has on it currently!), but we could be swayed by some good suggestions!

BLOGGER

Mrs. Lyre

Location:
Philadelphia
Wedding Date:
January 2013
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  1. Member
    Mrs. Wallaby 2813 posts, Sugar bee @ 1:29 pm

    Ohhh that looks nice!! I’ve heard a lot of great things about Sandals, I’m sure you two will love it. I am so with you on the jacuzzi, too!

  2. Member
    Highness 82 posts, Worker bee @ 1:34 pm

    I was told by friends who have been to Sandals on their moons to not plan too many extra activities and to book dinners early, as in earlier in the week. You can also go online to Sandals and register for excursions/dinners/spa as part of your wedding registry.
    We’re going to St Lucia over New Years for our moon.

  3. Member
    Mrs. Mink 3151 posts, Sugar bee @ 1:55 pm

    Yes, agree with Highness. Book the reservation-only dinner spots immediately. Like run from check in to that desk. If I could do our Negril trip again, I’d book us at the super nice, reservation-only restaurant at CSA every night. It was THAT good!

    I’ve heard that the falls are a must see in Ocho Rios. We did the dolphin thing, too. It was expensive, but a once-in-a-lifetime experience and though I was conflicted (dolphins in captivity), I was assured that the dolphins in Ocho Rios and Negril can get out of their coves if they want to…but they stay.

  4. Member
    annarborette 27 posts, Newbee @ 2:38 pm

    Wow! That looks gorgeous! You’ll have such a good time!

  5. Member
    Mrs. Sword 1022 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:27 pm

    glad you splurged on your nectar moon, it’ll be so worth it!!

  6. Member
    Mrs. Pony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 4:55 pm

    It looks wonderful, definitely worth the extra money!

  7. Member
    Mrs. Pain au Chocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:52 pm

    Our good friends (married in late Sept.) put off booking their honeymoon until what felt like the month before! I was so anxious for them!!! They ended up choosing a Sandals resort in Jamaica and loved it. This is a good sign!

  8. Member
    ChicagoDreamer 509 posts, Busy bee @ 8:53 pm

    This looks like an excellent alternative!

  9. Member
    jacofblues 1468 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:14 pm

    Wow it looks like you are staying somwehere unbelievable! I am sure you are looking forward to it!

  10. Member
    Mrs. Sunhat 1453 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:17 am

    Ohy my goodness, this looks amazing! Makes me want to go back on our honeymoon! You are going to have an amazing, relaxing time. Don’t pack it too many activities. Just relax and enjoy each other!

  11. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:18 am

    You’ll have an amazing time, I’m sure. Jamaica is fabulous!

  12. Guest
    Heather, Guest @ 8:25 am

    We just got back from our honeymoon in ocho rios and enjoyed climbing Dunn River Fall’s and the zipline/canopy tour at Magic Mountain. All of which are extremely close (down the road from your resort I think) so they would be easy to do for a morning or afternoon and still enjoy the rest of your day by the pool.

    We stayed at the Riu all inclusive, which was very nice, but probably a notch below Sandals. We dropped another couple from our day trip off at this resort and it looked very nice! Couples only is the way to go, that is my one small regret.

    Oh, and we did the Bob Marley tour to his mausoleaum and birth place, kind of cool to see the mountains and the real side of jamaica but the Bob Marley part was kind of ‘eh’. If I had four days, I would do a max of 2 side trips.

    But for sure! Check out all of the reservation restuarants and let them know you are only there for a certain time. At our resort, it was booked out 3 days in advance so we had a hard time getting in the top of the line restaurant but we chanced it and did standby one night and got into the nicest restaurant last minute because people did not show for the reservation.

    Have a great time!

  13. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 12:30 pm

    We went to Jamaica with two of our best friends in May for a short trip and it was seriously amazing. The ONLY negative (literally) is that we were in Negril, but the planes fly into Montego Bay (Sangster International). It’s about a 1.5-2 hour car ride and it is literally through some of the most depressing areas I’ve ever seen. It was really hard to sit through everything without feeling guilty. A lot of internal “these people don’t even have windows but I’m going to go eat and drink it up at my all inclusive” conflict happened. I feel like if I had been prepared for this, maybe it would have been a LITTLE easier? That’s why I bring it up, not to depress or dissuade you. The trip was so worth it and my FI and I are heading back to Negril for our honeymoon, so we definitely ended up falling in love with Jamaica, but this was something that seriously stuck with me.
    I’m so excited for you and Mr. Lyre! :)

  14. Guest
    Jaime, Guest @ 10:02 am

    Yay!! You’ll have a blast in Jamaica. The resort you’re at is next door to the one where we stayed, the Royal Plantation. It’s also a Sandals property, so you have exchange privileges there if you wanted to go check it out. I seem to recall a shuttle that would take you between them. Have fun!!

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