One of the newest entries on the Jamaican hotel scene is the Azul Sensatori, the first of Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ brands to debut on the island. Caribbean editor Gay Nagle Myers visited the resort on Seven Mile Beach in Negril over Memorial Day weekend, taking in sun, sunsets, smoothies and saltfish during her stay. Her second and final dispatch follows. Click to read Gay’s first dispatch.
NEGRIL — As a Caribbean reporter, I’ve been to many islands and stayed in many resorts. On this trip to Azul Sensatori in Jamaica, I had my daughter Alicia with me. She shares my enthusiasm for travel, but to date has not collected many stamps in her passport.
So I stepped back to view the resort from her perspective as a novice traveler.
“Wow, look at this shower. The tiles are beautiful. What is that big thing?” she asked.
“It’s a rain shower head. It’s the latest thing in new bathrooms,” I said.
Room service arrived bearing a platter of small candies with a welcome message written in chocolate script.
“Don’t eat this,” Alicia said. “It’s beautiful.”
Later, she spotted two Jamaicans strolling down the beach, one with a guitar.
She waved and, of course, they stopped. And played and stayed and played again, moving between John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and Bob Marley’s “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.”
It was good for 10 minutes. I thanked them, tipped them, and they moved on.
“This is so great. Will they come back?” Alicia asked.
I told her that I could almost guarantee it.
We wandered beyond the resort’s beach perimeter, but not before the security guard at that end of the beach had taken our names and room number.
“Why did he do that?” Alicia asked.
I said it was just to keep a check on guests’ whereabouts.
We soon met Roger, who appeared to have an entire stock of handmade jewelry under his tarp and a very practiced sales pitch to go along with his inventory.
Of course, we purchased an ankle bracelet, earrings and “very special necklaces.”
“I only have two,” Roger said.
At breakfast one morning in Ackee, one of four restaurants at Azul Sensatori, I ordered ackee and saltfish, Jamaica’s national dish made with salt cod and sautéed with boiled ackee, onions, scotch bonnet peppers, tomatoes and spices.
Alicia, to my delight, ordered warm cornmeal porridge, described as Bob Marley’s favorite dish.
We both chowed down on Jamaican meat patties and downed a couple of Red Stripes at Oceans Gourmet Corner, tried Green Power smoothies (celery, spinach, limes, parsley and orange juice) at Beans Gourmet Coffee Shop in the lobby, sipped a Bob Marley special at the adults-only Nesta Rasta rum bar and took a swig of coconut water from a Jamaican walking the beach.
“Coconut water is holy water for the soul,” he told us.
Azul Sensatori, a compact resort on 4.5 acres with separate accommodations sections for families and for couples, delivered a very Jamaican experience while adhering to the all-inclusive expectations of travelers, including a variety of restaurants, beverages on demand, room service, lounge chairs and towels at the beach and pools, swim-up bars and evening entertainment.
It’s the rainy season now in Jamaica, so cloudless mornings became downpours by noon but brightened again by 2 p.m., which the staff had assured us it would.
“Does this always happen?” Alicia asked me.
“That the people who work here know what the weather will do and they are always so happy no matter what,” she said.
“Not always,” I said. “We’re in a good place here.”
Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.