Travel Weekly's twentysomething-and-single associate editor
Nicholas Pavlou checked out SuperClubs' Hedonism III resort in
Jamaica. His report follows:
RUNAWAY BAY, Jamaica -- This resort has a certain stigma
attached to it. Why not? Playboy Channel's "Night Calls" cast has
visited here, controversial nude weddings took place on Valentine's
Day and the see-through water slide has generated headlines of its
So it's no surprise that Hedonism's vacation image is that of a
playground for the self-indulgent, a Dionysian feast for the 21st
What, exactly, does that entail? What are the expectations of
guests who come to party hearty -- naked or clothed -- on a
The answer is simple: Hedonism III is Spring Break for
This atmosphere kicked in as soon as the transfer bus picked us up
for the hour-and-a-half drive to Runaway Bay, 40 miles east of
Montego Bay along Jamaica's north coast. Meeting and greeting took
Two twentysomething single guys from New York and a pair of
over-30 single men from New Jersey compared stories and shared
expectations about the week ahead. All discussion centered on
carnal activity and inebriation.
The rest of the bus was couples. A Maryland twosome were repeat
guests of both Hedonism III and its sister resort, Hedonism II in
Why did they return?
Hubby singled out the weather and the food -- he ate fish three
times a day -- as main selling points, but he quipped, "Even if
you're not somebody who gets crazy, you'll always be entertained by
the people who do."
That was pretty much the theme of my Hedonism stay. The resort
does a fine job of entertaining. With activities such as nude truth
or dare, strip pool volleyball and toga and pajama parties, what's
not to like?
Most of us on the bus stayed in contact with each other during
the week with updates and progress reports. The anecdotes were
illuminating. Hedonism III has two sides -- Nude and Prude. Each
has its own beach, common areas, pools, bars and grill.
To gather notes for this story, I passed briefly through the
Nude area. However, I wasn't in the buff and therefore wasn't
The beaches, both Nude and Prude, are disappointing in size and
quality. They are manmade because the natural coastline is littered
with sharp, jagged stones. An expansion is planned but not soon,
according to a spokesman.
The resort tries to make up for its lack of beach area with
three large pools: the Nude pool; the main pool with bar seating
and a pool table smack dab in its middle, and the Prude pool with a
swim-up bar and sun terrace above. Dining was an important part of
Hedonism III has four restaurants plus breakfast room service
from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and special Snack Attack packages from 3
a.m. to 7 a.m.
Tropical Terrace, the main dining area and venue for nightly
entertainment, served three meals and a midnight buffet. The food
here does not disappoint, offering something for every palate.
My personal favorite was roasted pig, the centerpiece of a
Hawaiian-themed night. The beachfront Scotch Bonnet served lunch
Although the service was slow at times, the Jamaican
specialities -- especially the jerk chicken and pork -- were great.
I had problems reserving a table at the Pastafari and Munahana
restaurants, both of which require reservations.
The Italian restaurant Pastafari was less difficult to book, and
I did eat there twice. Although the mood lighting was too dim and
almost put me to sleep one night, and the portions were small, the
shrimp and calamari platter was excellent and the waiters were
Our solution to the small portions: Sample heavily from the
antipasto buffet or order side dishes to fill up the plate.
Reserving a table at the Japanese restaurant was nearly
impossible. Several guests reported they either had not been able
to obtain a reservation, or it took several lengthy attempts.
Munahana's chefs cook in front of the patrons, and the atmosphere
is very festive.
Hedonism III boasts six bars along with Tropical Terrace and
Octopussy Disco. Entertainment at the Terrace includes magicians,
talent shows and concerts.
The Battle of the Sexes pits teams of men against women. They
compete to see who can change beds the fastest or identify a
spouse's rear end by touching it while blindfolded.
The Piano Bar and Octopussy Disco stay open until the last
person leaves. This strategy seemed a little unnecessary, however.
Most singles looking to hook up had already done so and vanished
long before it got really late.
The Piano Bar is an intimate room serving drinks made with
top-brand liquor while a piano player belts out karaoke tunes. It's
too bad that the size of the room prohibits more than 30
Octopussy Disco is the best place -- and the only late-night
place -- to hang, dance, drink and mingle. As one single guy put
it, "It's one or the other. There's nothing in between."
Off-site tours at extra cost include Dunns River Falls in Ocho
Rios, catamaran party cruises, all-terrain vehicle safaris and Blue
Mountain bicycle adventures.
Daytime facilities include a basketball court, two tennis
courts, beach and pool volleyball, a fitness center, spa treatments
and a games center with table tennis and board games. Guests can
windsurf, water ski, kayak, snorkel and learn trapeze feats at the
circus clinic. Diving requires certification.
Two rooms on the Prude side served as the gift shop,
accommodating no more than eight people in each room. Arts and
crafts are for sale around the resort.
Hedonism III provides exactly what its name indicates -- a
self-indulgent, worry-free vacation for those who want to get
totally loose -- if only for a week.
Male-pattern boldness: Resort needs 'more single
RUNAWAY BAY, Jamaica -- Most of Hedonism's guests are from the
U.S. The Midwest sends the couples while singles hail from both
coasts, although East Coast ZIP codes predominate.
Half the guests are couples who prefer the nude accommodations
and activities. It's this group, too, that comes back for more.
Kevin Levee, general manager, said that Hedonism III may have
the highest percentage of repeat guests in the SuperClubs
What's the most frequent complaint? Guys complained to me over
and over about the lack of single women in comparison to the number
of couples and single men. A New York male put it this way: "That's
not how they marketed Hedonism."
Resort officials recognize the problem. Hedonism's sister resort
in Negril does have more single females, and Hedo III is
"definitely trying" to attract more from that market, Levee said.
The challenge lies in changing the perception of the resort as
solely a haven for nudists, Levee said.
"We want to show that Hedonism is a place where guests can have
a lot of fun but keep their clothes on if they want to," he
Incentives to attract single women include a Threesome Is a
Freesome, in which three female guests stay for the price of two,
and Fourth Female Free, where four stay for the price of three.
There's no problem getting single men to Hedonism III. I figured
it must be the activities. During my abbreviated, four-night stay,
I was treated to a bikini swimsuit competition and a Jamaican model
contest. That's not too shabby from my perspective.
Too bad I missed the Playboy group that arrived the following
week. However, without the lovely swimsuit participants, the
singles ratio would have been even more male-dominated.
I also judged Hedonism's middle-of-nowhere location to be a
flaw. Unlike Hedo II in Negril, Hedo III offers no
outside-the-resort entertainment, such as bars, dining and
attractions, other than a few tours.
Despite what Levee said about the importance of visiting area
attractions, Hedonism III clearly wants its guests to indulge
themselves within the resort's friendly confines.
Although both Hedonism resorts have special features, Hedo III
has more "bells and whistles, like a Jacuzzi in each bathroom and
four restaurants," Levee said.
Things to bring for nudes and prudes
If you're single and mingling or accompanied by your partner,
here are some items to bring to Hedonism III:A large container for drinks. Except during the swimsuit
competition when half yards of Red Stripe beer were handed out,
most drinks came in small glasses, heavily watered down. Bring a
large cup, mug or stein, and the bartenders will fill it up ---
again and again.Sunscreen. The sun is mighty powerful -- especially on areas of
the body not normally exposed to full daylight. Many guests build a
base before arrival with visits to a tanning salon.Over-the-counter medicines like aspirin, antacids and diarrhea
remedies. Buying them at the gift shop is expensive.Accessories for events like toga and pajama parties. The toga
costume, especially, requires some planning. What Hedonism gives
out as a costume hardly qualifies as anything more than a
washcloth. Although guests were told "No sheet, no eat," many chose
not to go Roman-style. Others reveled in it, adding tiaras and
crowns of olive branches.Pants. Don't laugh. Pants are required at Pastafari and
Munahana restaurants. Most guests also wore light pants at night
when they were trying to look their best.Smokes. Smokers should bring enough to support the habit. The
gift shop carried only Jamaican brands.Condoms. I didn't see them at the gift shop, nor did I see
dispensers in bathrooms. However, I met guests, both male and
female, who brought enough latex to accommodate sailors in