I mean, look! Just WOW! Peter took the most stunning photographs of our stay there.
Magical, dreamy, uplifting, breathtaking, mesmerizing…all adjectives that still don’t quite do our holiday justice when I think of our golden time in the Caribbean.
We were away for 8 days but we did so much, and had so many ‘pinch ourselves’ moments that it felt like 3 weeks! We never wanted to come home.
It was literally a holiday that dreams are made of, so much so, I kept welling up at how perfect it all was, how happy and content we were in Jamaica, and the sheer beauty of it all.
…The wonder in my little boys’ eyes as the Sesame Street characters coming to life, the twinkling turquoise waters they learnt to swim in, the vanilla chocolate swirl ice cream they raced to eat before the sun melted it away within minutes. the little friends they made, how hand in hand they collected shells together, baked with the Cookie Monster and danced on the hotel stage as the sun set…Amazing.
And there’s more…much more, the Caribbean food they tasted for the first time and relished (we found it hard acclimatising to not eating jerk chicken every day), the water park slides we screamed down, the glass boat we took to marvel at fish and went in pursuit of Nemo on, how we carefully caught and freed crabs by the shoreline, and together tried to learn the lyrics to Bob Marley classics while dancing with Elmo until our feet hurt…these are the moments we’ll never forget.
Beaches, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Pre-kids the husband and I loved long-haul destinations from South Africa to LA, but definitely felt nervous about flying far with the kids, so have mostly stuck to Europe and the Med for holidays.
I mean, sometimes I worry about taking them to the supermarket together, let alone long haul but I needn’t have feared…
There’s something so relaxing and sleep-inducing about being on a jumbo plane and Virgin offers ample legroom even in economy, and both boys were, hand on heart as good as gold. They watched films and cartoons on board, napped, scoffed tasty meals (Virgin really do the best airline food) and the 9 hours really flew by, literally.
The way back was the same, 9 hours felt like 2 as we slept all the way home…
…Arriving in Jamaica was a complete joy. We were welcomed into the Sandals/Beaches air conditioned area in the airport to freshen up and have drinks before a 1 1/2 drive with a private driver to the Ocho Rios resort who had his 7 seater stocked up with fresh tropical fruit, bottled water, beer and juice. Just what we needed post-flight.
And then we pulled up to paradise…
Beaches Resorts Ocho Rios is simply breathtaking: a palatial hotel with lush green grounds of mowed laws and tropical flowers and plants, a horse feature waterfall in the centre with basketball and tennis courts, all enveloped by pristine seaview views and bright blue skies. A complete haven for families.
Leo tunic dress below and cat tee Xander wears c/o me&i
Getting my pose on!
We were greeted with champagne, and apple juice for the kids (such a thoughtful welcome for all) and led through the hotel lobby to our room…
There was even a play area on the ground floor by the reception for the kids to enjoy.
Tea for two!
With a queen size bed that most nights we all found ourselves in, despite the smaller beds kids’ beds, there was also a widescreen TV, large bathroom and ample balcony overlooking the sea that proved ideal for style shots for us all too!
Inside, a mammoth (yay) wardrobe with drawers a-plenty, perfect for this family who basically brought our whole lives along with us.
And how pretty are the towels scattered with fresh tropical flowers on our bed?! All these little touches count for a lot!
We were also gifted coffee, toys, caps and hot sauces along with a platter of fruit and cheese on arrival too.
It was 5pm Jamaican time (they are 6 hours behind the UK) so we hit the sack immediately, waking up the next day feeling surprisingly refreshed and ready to explore.
This hotel is just heavenly for families, utmost luxury for all, where kids always come first.
And these little guys have never been happier 🙂
Tees for both boys below c/o Vertbaudet
Striped tee c/o Mamas & Papas
Outfit c/o me&i
My sons learnt to swim in Jamaica and here they’re rocking stunning swimwear c/o Sunuva that ensured they were both safe and stylish playing and swimming in the sun.
Even if they wanted to mostly play with the showers, despite ocean in front of them going as far as the eye could see. Kids hey!
…You know you’re on holiday, when palm trees are growing out of your head!
We loved the private beach there and spent most of our time lapping up the waves and feeling the sand beneath our toes…
The sand was almost pink!
…Every detail is thought of at Beaches too, from air conditioned glass lifts overlooking the sea to clubs for tweens and teens, a waterpark with slides for all ages, hot pools for all the family, and even pools to practice diving in.
Thanks me&i for the pretty pale pink tee and denim shorts.
Personally, nothing makes me feel more alive or chilled out, than the sea. Peter even kayaked and took a paddle boat out. Bliss.
The boys spent hours playing in the sand, collecting and arranging shells and pebbles, dipping toes in the water and watching as fish swam by.
Bright and beautiful tees and shorts c/o Vertbaudet
Trying on Mummy’s shades for size! (Chanel shades c/o Pretavoir)
We caught a little boat out by the shore that takes you on a 30 minute trip in the resorts’ waters and it was here Peter caught a wave, above and beneath the waves with his Gopro.
A little beach gif for you here too:
So much fun!
…Now onto the all important food!
Restaurants are open all day offering you food at all times and whenever you’re hungry (there’s always a restaurant open to meet your needs) and Beaches offers al fresco dining, themed nights, and world cuisine from Italian to Caribbean, the Far East, Greek and more, along with crepes and smoothie bars in the day, and a barbecue grill and hotel open buffet: you could not want for more!
Neptunes restaurant overlooks the sea and serves up superb Greek and mediterranean food.
It’s so pretty by night too with a lively atmosphere where you dine on seafood to the sound of the waves beneath crashing in. Wow.
…And for fine dining Caribbean food, Eleanor’s is exceptional-
Executive Chef Junior Frances is here with chef Lemar Lawrence presenting us with a dish of Jamaican Escoveitched Fish. I’ll be sharing the recipe on the blog next week!
…Bar.B.Q was a real hit with my boys. You can help yourself to pizza, nachos and popcorn, and burgers and jerk chicken are made to order.
You can also enjoy fresh coconut water (with a little rum if you fancy it) poolside too
We loved eating from the hotel buffet, with different themed nights and options to suit all tastes, we dined there most evenings.
All inclusive really means all inclusive too, all the drinks, from bottled water to champagne to food in the restaurants are all there for you to enjoy in the cost.
You can take food away wrapped up, from all restaurants to enjoy in your room and the beauty is you always feel totally relaxed eating out with your kids. Luxurious surroundings that are 100% family friendly.
Wait, I didn’t mention the breakfast!
My favourite meal of the day had to the be the most epic breakfast I’ve ever had-from cooked Caribbean dishes to pancakes, an omelette station, bespoke smoothies, homemade breads, tropical fruit, yoghurts, cereal-every day was different and delicious.
As you can see the boys filled their boots too, and loved it all.
Most importantly (after the food)! I must point out, all the staff at Beaches Resorts genuinely love kids and go above and beyond in every way, I was so impressed that everyone knew all the guests’ names and their kids’ names too, the attention to detail and care made every moment of the holiday a pleasure.
Children could ride around the hotel with ease too. Not only were they allowed, but it was actively encouraged, with bikes and trikes available in reception.
Gorgeous red tractor print outfit c/o me&i
He was serenaded on stage, and was given a selection of mini birthday cakes at the brilliant Sesame Street breakfast party we attended, along with champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries left in the room at the end of the day too. So kind!
A birthday he’ll never forget! It’s not every day Big Bird sings to you, right?!
And yes we were reviewing the hotel I hear you say so of course they looked after you, but the majority of staff there had no clue I was a blogger plus I observed the team and we were treated no differently to anyone else, you see every guest and their kids at the resort are made to feel special, with an emphasis on the children being happy.
Happy kids, happy folks.
And you know what, I didn’t hear or witness one single meltdown from children there, everyone felt valued and cared for and truly stimulated.
From outstanding Sesame Street dance shows to games on site, Breakfast parties and character bedtime stories, kids can never be bored at Beaches!
The Sesame Street Breakfast was like everyone’s birthdays had all come at once (never mind Peter’s)!
Oliver and Xander simply adored the Sesame Street characters (particularly the tuck in where Elmo and Cookie Monster popped over to read a bedtime story to the boys which made their entire year and they fell fast asleep after too!
Oliver loved the Kids Camp there too, he begged us to go every day!
Always supervised with trained care providers to the highest standard, Beaches offers a Kids Camp for all ages from babies to teens with after camp care too and babysitters if you choose to use them and Oliver and Xander had 2, 2 hour sessions they loved.
The colourful Kids Camp
Here is where the boys made and cemented friendships and felt truly stimulated whether it was painting beach views to science experiments and baking.
Another highlight that took our breath away, was a carnival parade with Sesame Street and a local school hosted at the resort. So moving to watch, it made me cry (again) with captivating costumes, dancing, music, candy floss and balloons, and it was hands down, one of our favourite parts of the holiday.
What a spectacle!
There are always camera people on hand too as part of SnapShots shop in the grounds who can take pictures for you or even set up professional shoots so you don’t miss a moment.
I had a shoot of my own there (with Peter behind the camera) for swimwear designer brand heidi klein, with Andrea, manager of stunning Red Lane spa in the resort arranging for my make up and nails to be done for the day.
Using all their own Red Lane beauty products (and Shellac for nails), they really made me feel a million dollars.
A sneak peak from the shoot, more photos be up in a dedicated post on the blog soon, including a UK shoot too.
…Something rather incredible happened while I was in Jamaica, I shared a picture of me in a red Avenue Boux bikini on my Honest Mum FB page of my real mama body, thinking maybe one or two people might comment, but low and behold up to date 60,000 people have been reached with thousands of women now vowing to buy swimwear for the first time and even take their kids swimming. It’s brought me to tears.
I’ve had offers to model swimwear for more brands and I’ve even started a hashtag #proudinmybikini so anyone who post their shots including it, will feature in a collage on my blog at the end of the summer. You can read more about it HERE.
I’m so pleased more women are now feeling better about themselves and together we can help one another feel good in our skin. Every woman deserves that, hey…
Someone who feels good in her skin and is a real breath of fresh air, as are her gorgeous family, is blogger Mandy of House of Rose; her and her husband Jeff of Good Financial Cents are a total powerhouse (they even have a joint blog Marriage More) and are big bloggers in the US featuring on TV as well as publishing books, e-shops, courses and beyond-they’re so utterly inspiring and are the sweetest people you could hope to meet.
We totally clicked and I miss those guys!
We’ve said we need to arrange another reunion holiday in the Caribbean someday (hint hint Beaches ;))
We also hung out with a fabulous UK family too: Carly, Andy, Matilda and Ava Rose with Xander falling for both sisters (what a charmer)!
Young love: so sweet!
Slightly older love! Aw!
It was sad bidding everyone goodbye at the end of the holiday, thank goodness for FB.
I sure miss those coconuts!
Agh what an ah-mazing week! We feel so grateful to have spent it at Beaches Resorts Ocho Rios!
I must note this holiday is incredible value for money for the experience: everything really is all inclusive, it is pure luxury and was the dreamiest holiday we’ve ever had. I didn’t pay this time, but we 100% would and will do in the future.
As Oliver said, ‘Mummy, this is the best holiday of my life’ and it really was- a holiday of a lifetime for us all.
Thank you Beaches for rocking our world!
I made a film while I was out there too so will be sharing it next week so watch this space!
Seven nights staying in a Caribbean Deluxe Family Sized Room at Beaches Ocho Rios, A Spa , Golf & Waterpark Resort costs from £1,825 per person. Price includes Luxury Included® (all-inclusive) accommodation, return flights from London and resort transfers. Valid for departures 27th August – 30th November 2015.