Jewel Grande Montego Bay a Jamaican gem

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The pool at the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa, a recently remodeled resort in the Rose Hall section of Montego Bay.
The pool at the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa, a recently remodeled resort in the Rose Hall section of Montego Bay.

The Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa is hard to miss.

Its three beachfront towers dominate the skyline in the Rose Hall section of Montego Bay, and its neighbors include two Hyatts, the Half Moon resort and the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa.

I first stayed in this resort, then known as the Palmyra, in early 2011. It had just opened and was within walking distance of the nearby Montego Bay Convention Center.

The half-finished resort was not ready for guests or prime time. It was placed into receivership by its lenders later that year and acquired by Jamaica's Sagicor Investments in 2016.

After renovations, repairs, updates and a major redo, the renamed 217-suite Jewel Grande resort opened last December. It is one of four Jewel-branded properties in Jamaica, and it's currently under Aimbridge Hospitality Co. management until the end of May, when new owner Playa Hotels & Resorts takes over.

The Jewel name fits.

An oceanfront three-bedroom suite at the 217-suite resort.

The resort is a jewel with all the bells and whistles that guests have come to expect from an all-inclusive, family-friendly resort, with butler services, a snazzy retail shop, a library, a seasonal kids club, beachside cabanas and a choice of restaurants, including casual dining at Orchid, more elegant service at the signature fine dining Waves, poolside fare at Crickets Grill, Blue Mountain coffees at the all-day Sugar Cane cafe and late-night snacks at Annie's Pizzeria.

Peaceful respite at bird sanctuary

I abandoned my butlers, the beach and the jerk chicken barbecue at the Jewel Grande one afternoon and headed for Rocklands Bird Sanctuary, a 3-acre, out-of-the-way, off-the-tourist-track attraction in Wiltshire, a half-hour drive from Montego Bay. Read More

One of my favorite views was from the terrace of the main lobby looking out at stately palm trees that flank the long pool and the beach beyond.

"Our guests love to stand here at sunset with a cocktail in hand and admire this view," said Barbara Burton, general manager.

Morgan's Bar is conveniently located within steps of the stately view.

Topping the list of the most popular activities at the Jewel are treatments at the two-story, 30,000-square-foot Grande Spa, which has 14 treatment rooms and offers massages with names like Wild Ginger Deep Tissue and Jamaican Moringa Oil.

The showstopper, however, is the Himalayan Sea Salt Halotherapy Lounge, a dimly lit, scented room with walls made of tightly packed salt blocks from Pakistan.

"After 30 minutes in here, guests report that their congestion is gone, their energy level is up and their head space cleared," said spa manager Sienna Creasy.

The soothing Himalayan Sea Salt Halotherapy Lounge at the spa.

The spa also boasts a heated Gharieni quartz massage table (the resort says it's one of only three in the Caribbean) and a soaking mineral pool.

Nightly rates this month start at $432 per room, double, in an oceanfront junior suite. A number of packages also are available at www.jewelgrande.com.

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