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Vaxed and Waxed - Jamaica with the Family - Round Hill Hotel and Villas

Vaxed and Waxed - Jamaica with the Family - Round Hill Hotel and Villas

Old May 22, 2021, 9:19 pm
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Vaxed and Waxed - Jamaica with the Family - Round Hill Hotel and Villas

Hi all,
Finally, after a year +, we decided it was time to get away from our everyday reality and indulge in some sun, fun, and rum.


Initially, I was looking to take the family anywhere warm with a pool and a nice beach. We explored Florida, Mexico (Mayakoba), and ended up settling on the FS Anguilla.

My brother caught wind of this and decided to join with his family of four, so now we were 8 in total. My sister was going to be in NYC the weekend before we left and decided to join with her family of four. My mom was joining as well, so we were a total of 13.

The entry-level rooms at FS Anguilla were modestly priced and we thought it would be smart to book separate rooms, everyone can come and go, decide when they want to spend time with family and not. However, after looking a little further, the villas/townhomes were priced competitively and we decided to book a 4 bedroom townhome. We were scheduled to leave May 10th and then Anguilla, who has had almost 0 cases of covid for the last few months, hit a bump in the road and ended up with 60+ cases and closing their borders to everyone for over a month.

We found out on May 7th that they would not reopen as planned prior to our departure and we had to pivot quickly. My brother contacted David O, who has been his trusted advisor for many years and we were provided with quite a few options. After some discussion, we landed on a 6 bedroom villa at Round Hill. My mother had been a few times in the early 2000s and indicated that this would be a great choice for our families.


May 10th
JFK - MBJ
DL1955
Aircraft: B737-900ER
Seats: 3B,C,D

JFK was surprisingly busy. It was a Monday morning and everyone seemed vaxed and waxed and ready to go somewhere. Whether it was vacation or business travelers, Terminal 4 was bustling. Bear with me and the lack of pictures, I was shlepping 3 rolling luggage bags, a stroller, a baby bouncer, and a 4-year-old, while my wife had the 4-month-old.

Views from the Air Train


Probably questioning if this was a good idea


Sky Priority Check-in was a complete mess, with two lines for international and domestic, which converged at the same endpoint and the agents randomly selecting who to take. The extra time for covid test and trip authorizations added an extra 30 mins or more. Many people missed their flights this morning, including a gentleman next to us who most likely did not understand the English commands being hurled at us by the Delta check-in agents.

Finally our turn


Off to the gate


The re-checking of travel authorization and covid test results was most likely unnecessary and caused further sweat to drip.


The F cabin was full, while the rest of the plane was at about 50% capacity. My family occupied 11 of the 20 F seats, so it did feel a bit more homey than usual.




Showtime Delta Covid Style


Arrival at Montego Bay was a bit of a mess. I was not particularly looking forward to going through immigration and customs with all the kids and strollers, etc, but we managed.
Thankfully we had reserved the Club Mobay VIP fast track service, which saved us big time. We skipped all of the lines up until the fast track immigration desk, waited maybe 5 minutes and we were through to our waiting A/C bus transfer with a bucket of ice-cold Red Stripe waiting for us.









You are greeted by a gorgeous open lobby with views of the beach and ocean just down the steps from the lobby.





A rum punch welcome drink



Round Hill has quite a history, from a former sugarcane and pineapple plantation to many celebrity visitors and a Hollywood past. You can read more about it here: https://www.roundhill.com/history-en.html

We were staying in Villa/Cottage 18, a 6 bedroom luxury villa, all with en-suite bathrooms (many with outdoor showers and tubs), multiple indoor/outdoor living spaces, and a large heated pool and hot tub. With 8100sq ft. in total, we had plenty of space to spread out and the 13 of us all had our own spaces but could gather with ease and feel comfortable.






















We had requested they stock the villa with rose/white/red wine, red stripe beer, and cases of water.


The home had one main mahogany bar, with a wine fridge, fridge, and ice maker. Separate from that, each living space had another wet bar with a fridge and ice maker. This place was made for entertaining and was fully kitted out. Sonos system villa wide, which worked fairly well with the Sonos Apple app.













Every family was assigned to a suite within the villa, which made for easier billing at the end of the day. I believe the villas can be booked by smaller parties and then individual suites can be locked off, so you would be in a large villa, but only have access to 1,2,3 bedrooms, and so on. I stayed in suite 78 in villa 18. I believe it had the nicest of the outdoor bathrooms, gorgeous double rainfall shower, double vanity, amazing A/C separate sitting area, and comfy large king bed. We also had an over-sized living area right outside of our room with two couches, a chess table, and a wet bar.

Living area






Lush, verdant landscape right outside of the room and living space. While the heat and humidity were high, the ceiling fans and breeze provided relief and the rooms were icy cold with excellent a/c.




Mango trees dotted the property



Suite 78 bedroom and sitting area






Bathroom stocked with Elemis products






Double rainfall shower that opens up onto the outdoor tub and shower










Food
The villa comes with a staff of 3 lovely women who would prepare breakfast daily, do housekeeping, and are available to prepare lunch, and dinner. The vill has a full chefs kitchen, with a large SubZero fridge and separate freezer, 6 burner Wolf range, and fully stocked.







We would eat breakfast every day in the villa, while lunch and dinner were usually out at the pool or beach restos.

Breakfast was a feast of eggs, bacon, ham, french toast, 3 types of pancakes (plain, banana, and coconut), fresh pastries, oatmeal, omelettes, multiple types of fruit juices, cereals, and the most amazing fresh mango, pineapple, etc. all within a spectacularly lush setting.







Lunch by the beach



Take-out (room service is suspended bc of Covid, however, you can call for pick-up and then they will drive you back to your room in a golf cart...so...i guess that makes some sense...but yet to figure that out)

The burger may not look like much but it's served on fresh coco bread and is so amazing. Grilled snapper wrap and fresh tuna with taco shells were tasty.




Menus for lunch and dinner were all QR codes. See below for a sample of a few of them.









Some pics of the resort at night.



Nice to see people dancing again





Excellent Blackwell Rum for an after-dinner drink



The resort had lovely live music each night. She was spectacular.




We spent a few days lounging by the main hotel pool, which was not heated (or not heated as much as our private pool was) which meant it was extremely refreshing, and set right on the beach in a gorgeous setting.







Beach
The beach is lovely and clean for the most part. Very little seaweed and at times crystal clear.









Gym and Spa
The hotel has a complete gym and an excellent spa. They are located about 10-15 minutes away from the main hotel area and accessed via a walkway along the water. Interestingly enough, the land between the hotel and spa is not owned by the hotel but by a private individual, Bryan Reynolds, who has granted the hotel and its guests an easement and license to use the walkway and access the two.
The walk is a workout itself and traverses more lush vegetation.

Path to the spa/gym






Stairs that lead to Bryan Reynold's home ( i think)






Spa/gym location, with the main hotel across the water.






Gym and yoga pavilion






Great view from the treadmills



Little cove on the way back from the gym



Covid protocols/testing
You were required to wear a mask in all public places and I'd say about 99% of the time, everyone followed the rules. The resort has on-site covid testing for your required return to the US covid test. They come to your room/villa and administer the test and then you receive your printed results a few hours later. Hand sanitizer stations were located throughout.




Service
A few miscues but not something that would be a deal-breaker. The villa was not immediately ready upon arrival. We were at the hotel by 2 pm, hot and sweaty, with 6 kids (2 infants), and in reality, we should have been able to check-in right in the villa and not have to shlep down to the lobby and then back up to the villa. This is definitely something that could have been avoided.

Lack of room service is odd. You can order for take-out and pick up and they will also deliver the odd requested amenity, but not food. Not sure I understand this.

Specific requests were not necessarily granted. We did not want to sit right in front of the music at dinner as one night we could barely hear each other. We called early in the day to request a table far away from the music and closer to the water. So, of course, when we arrive for dinner, they sit us right in front of the music. Finally, after a few requests, they moved us to one of the many open tables away from the band.

All in all, the service was friendly, warm, and personable. Most of the staff we encountered were looking to chat and engaging.

Overall it was an amazing post-vaccination trip and was so happy that we decided to finally travel again. I cannot recommend Round Hill enough. It was the perfect family vacation and we are already talking about visiting again. It's a quick 3.5hr flight from NYC and the hotel is located 25 minutes from MBJ airport. You have the benefits of privacy in your private villa and the amenities of a full-service resort.
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Old May 22, 2021, 11:07 pm
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Great to see more FTers return to the skies, especially those with little ones!
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Old May 23, 2021, 12:47 am
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Nice trip! Always interesting to see the somewhat non-conventional stays (being not a chain hotel of some type) as well.
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Old May 23, 2021, 1:23 am
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A great Report - loved the pictures

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful trip.

My wife and I are BIG Jamaica fans and we cannot wait to return to Negril & the Seven Mile Beach in November.

Your trip has helped me to dream again and I hope my UK government keeps Jamaica out of the Red status which would prevent us from travelling later this Year.

Luckily we are all double vaccinated now!

In my country your big party including so many infants and baby strollers etc would have been intercepted at check in, why is it that US airlines ( and F class travellers also) were not treated properly in an expedited way.... Delta Check In was ABSOLUTELY Shocking from my English point of view mate. Don't Families travel and need looking after differently? Did you get help getting on board the Plane? This can happen here on Charter Airlines let alone a main carrier like DL. VERY POOR......

We are really glad you all enjoyed Jamaica. The people are fantastic and provided you connect with them and talk about usual normal things like Sport & Ladies you get so much back with a Laugh & a Joke to boot. Unfortunately a lot of the Waiters all support Manchester United or Chelsea ( English Premier Top Flight Soccer Football Teams ). We cannot stand them so there is a lot of banter and respect when they deride our local mid Table teams.

We are looking forward to the Jamaican Relay Runners at the Tokyo Olympics and in England we have also a big West Indian Community so there is always interest. It's almost like a Home Match sometimes at a UK athletics meet!

Thanks again for your pictures & you did stay at a Top High End Resort, when your Children are older you might consider Beaches Negril. Good waterslides. Kids Happy u are happy...... Our resort Couples Swept Away is next door and has the best Tennis in the Carribean. We are very competitive with you Yanks !

Respect & Thanks Again

Steve
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Old May 23, 2021, 11:13 am
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Great trip report. On a grey and wet London Sunday, this had me dreaming about the beaches of the Caribbean. Thanks for sharing.
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Old May 23, 2021, 10:07 pm
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Thanks for the report. Very nice to read about that famous resort
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Old May 24, 2021, 8:49 am
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Great TR - hammers home the point I badly need a nice holiday
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Old May 24, 2021, 9:07 am
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Now, that is the way a shuttle should meet you - not boring water.
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Old May 24, 2021, 5:32 pm
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So happy to see a new TR. Great pics, beach/water looks amazing. Happy to know David O is still around.
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Old May 24, 2021, 6:30 pm
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Looking to book now!
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Old May 26, 2021, 1:04 pm
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Fantastic report. Thanks for sharing. Will go to the site and read about the history.
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Old May 30, 2021, 12:43 am
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I stayed at Round Hill in 1988 and did not like the beach for swimming at all. A lot of coral. The Jamaica Inn in Round Hill is nicer and also the beaches in Negril. However they now seem to have a new pool. The old one was small and not that great.
However we did not stay in a private cottage which look nice. I think the hotel is overrated.
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Old Jul 2, 2021, 9:14 am
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Originally Posted by chongl
Great to see more FTers return to the skies, especially those with little ones!
Thanks chongl it was nice to be back and all the kiddos thoroughly enjoyed endless hours of allowed ipad usage

Originally Posted by krazykanuck
Nice trip! Always interesting to see the somewhat non-conventional stays (being not a chain hotel of some type) as well.
Thanks krazykanuck, it was a great trip and always nice to take a break from the normal chain setting

Originally Posted by steveggetit
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful trip.

My wife and I are BIG Jamaica fans and we cannot wait to return to Negril & the Seven Mile Beach in November.

Your trip has helped me to dream again and I hope my UK government keeps Jamaica out of the Red status which would prevent us from travelling later this Year.

Luckily we are all double vaccinated now!

In my country your big party including so many infants and baby strollers etc would have been intercepted at check in, why is it that US airlines ( and F class travellers also) were not treated properly in an expedited way.... Delta Check In was ABSOLUTELY Shocking from my English point of view mate. Don't Families travel and need looking after differently? Did you get help getting on board the Plane? This can happen here on Charter Airlines let alone a main carrier like DL. VERY POOR......

We are really glad you all enjoyed Jamaica. The people are fantastic and provided you connect with them and talk about usual normal things like Sport & Ladies you get so much back with a Laugh & a Joke to boot. Unfortunately a lot of the Waiters all support Manchester United or Chelsea ( English Premier Top Flight Soccer Football Teams ). We cannot stand them so there is a lot of banter and respect when they deride our local mid Table teams.

We are looking forward to the Jamaican Relay Runners at the Tokyo Olympics and in England we have also a big West Indian Community so there is always interest. It's almost like a Home Match sometimes at a UK athletics meet!

Thanks again for your pictures & you did stay at a Top High End Resort, when your Children are older you might consider Beaches Negril. Good waterslides. Kids Happy u are happy...... Our resort Couples Swept Away is next door and has the best Tennis in the Carribean. We are very competitive with you Yanks !

Respect & Thanks Again

Steve
Thanks steveggetit - always enjoy sharing when I have some time to put these together, have a few others from past trips that I'm debating about sharing

Originally Posted by GregWTravels
Great trip report. On a grey and wet London Sunday, this had me dreaming about the beaches of the Caribbean. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks GregWTravels it's grey and wet in NYC today, so dreaming right there with you about the Caribbean.

Originally Posted by HawaiiFlyerDC8
Thanks for the report. Very nice to read about that famous resort
Thanks HawaiiFlyerDC8 it was interesting reading about the past and present guests. Ralph Lauren currently has two homes at the property, both seemingly guarded 24/7 even when he is not around.

Originally Posted by stevie
Great TR - hammers home the point I badly need a nice holiday
Thanks stevie it's been a rough year, we all deserve a nice holiday!

Originally Posted by roadwarrier



Now, that is the way a shuttle should meet you - not boring water.
Indeed it is roadwarrier, water shmater

Originally Posted by injian
So happy to see a new TR. Great pics, beach/water looks amazing. Happy to know David O is still around.
Thanks injian, My understanding is that David is around but his excellent team handle a lot of the day to day.

Originally Posted by tvnwz
Looking to book now!
Do it! you will not regret it. Enjoy tvnwz

Originally Posted by glasman19
Fantastic report. Thanks for sharing. Will go to the site and read about the history.
Thanks glasman19

Originally Posted by Bretteee
I stayed at Round Hill in 1988 and did not like the beach for swimming at all. A lot of coral. The Jamaica Inn in Round Hill is nicer and also the beaches in Negril. However they now seem to have a new pool. The old one was small and not that great.
However we did not stay in a private cottage which look nice. I think the hotel is overrated.
Thanks Bretteee - my understanding is that they have done quite a bit of coral harvesting and replenishment around the reef area but the beach itself (main swimming area) did not have any real noticeable coral. I know this because I smashed my nose while falling off the trampoline that is located in the middle of the swimming area, luckily just a bad scrape and nothing some rum couldn't cure. The main hotel pool was excellent, large, well-staffed, and not very crowded at all. I would say a lot probably has changed in the last 33 years and I'd recommend giving it another go.
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