Sunscape Splash Resort – Montego Bay

We went to Montego Bay, Jamaica in February 2018 and stayed at the Sunscape Splash Resort. If you like this, you’ll love a couple of other blog posts:

Sunscape Splash

Location

Sunscape Splash is located on the beachfront, around 3 miles south of Montego Bay International Airport.  It is around 15-20 minutes by transfer from the airport to the hotel, but this can depend on traffic and if you are the first of last drop-off. We were  the first drop-off, which was much appreciated after a long day of travelling!! However, the coach did have a loop of Bob Marley’s greatest hits on loop, which definitely got us acclimatised into Jamaica.

Rooms

Being a single dad with a 4 year old, we didn’t really need much in way of facilities in the room. The room had a HUGE king sized bed, a fridge, a balcony, a drying rack as well as a shower.

A nice, neat room!

The fridge was replenished every day with a couple of soft drinks and a Red Stripe and the room was tidied every day  to a good standard.

Shower

The room had a decent sized TV although there was an eclectic selection of channels, featuring some US channels, some local channels and some South American channels. However, you’re not going to Jamaica to watch TV! The free in-hotel WiFi carried up to the rooms very well so using mobile devices also works well.

The Sunscape Splash rooms are in tower blocks, and using the lifts is very much advised because of the heat! I would have thought that there would be more queues for the lifts, but there wasn’t!

Beach

As the hotel is on the beach, you have a lovely stretch of beach to play on and calm water to swim in.  Even though we went in February, the water was warm, clear and calm. The best of the water is towards the Cove end of the beach, as there is a lot of seagrass, but it won’t stop you from getting in the water.  They rope off the sea so you can’t get too far out to sea, but the water never gets too deep, so less than confident swimmers should still be ok.

The beach has a few pebbles on, but certainly nothing to worry about. There are no beach/pool toys provided, so make sure you bring your own if your child likes to build sandcastles etc! There were enough sun loungers on the beach for people, but I imagine that if the hotel is much busier, then it would be a problem.

Pools

There are 5 pools to enjoy at the Sunscape Splash. One of these pools is adults-only, with a swim-up bar and one is a children-only (probably up to 6 years old) paddling pool with small slide. You have a “regular” pool with swim-up bar, an “entertainment” pool, as well as a lazy river with slides.

Entertainment Pool

We hung out at the “entertainment” pool and the sun loungers were taken before the pool was open. However,it didn’t matter that much to us as we were in the pool most of the day! Most of the children played in this pool and they had the music playing all day, with various entertainment occurring throughout.

The lazy river is exactly as it is described, with rubber rings free for use floating around.  Feeding into part of the river are the signature slides, which we didn’t manage to get on because Heidi was a bit scared! However, they were big enough so that I would have gone on with her. I think any child older than 7 would be ok to go on their own.

All the swimming pools are relatively shallow (4ft deep or so) and have lifeguards on at all times. As such, the pools are only open during the day (9.30 to 5pm from memory)

Entertainment/Kids Club

As mentioned above, the entertainment pool is where the action is during the day. However, we did go to Kids Club after evening meal a couple of times. There is a timetable on the various notice boards showing what activities are happening.

For Kids Club, they did a different thing each evening and Heidi loved the cook-out that they had one evening. There are no adults allowed in the Kids Club and the children are safe in the enclosed Kids Club section. Each parent gets a pager in case anything goes wrong and you can watch them from a bridge on the lazy river, so if you’re missing them, you can watch them!

Rocking the Kids Club backpack!

Food

The food and drink is free and plentiful! There are 5 restaurants, but with a 4 year old, we found that the buffet restaurant was the best, so she could eat what she fancied.  The food was decent quality, especially the breakfasts, and there was plenty of choice.

We ate at the Italian Restaurant a couple of times and the food was of better quality, as to be expected. Service was of decent speed and the atmosphere was lovely as we made friends each evening!

Restaurants/buffet are open at set times, but the 24 hours snack bar is open, well, all the time! You can get a sandwich here, as well as sweet snacks, coffee and ice cream. During the day, there is a pool side snack bar, serving hot dogs, fries, popcorn etc. Perfect for a between meal snack!

There are soft drinks machines in operation and my tip would be to take a decent sized drinks bottle so you don’t have to go to get drinks all the time, especially as the glasses provided are small. There is a bar as well near the entertainment pool, and as I don’t drink, I can only comment that the mocktails got a thumbs up from us!

Mocktail!

Sunscape Splash vs Sunscape Cove

I’ve seen various questions as to the difference between Sunscape Splash and Sunscape Cove. As far as I am aware, the Cove has access to a couple more restaurants and the Sunscape Cove rooms are more condominium type, rather than in high rise towers.

View from the Sunscape Splash balcony

The Sunscape Cove rooms tend to be a bit further away from the restaurants, and the service is apparently a bit better, but we certainly had no complaints with the Sunscape Splash facilities.

Overall

Happy Heidi = Happy Holiday!

Heidi and I absolutely loved this hotel. Because of the entertainment, Heidi was a love of all things reggae and that is wonderful to see and hear.  The security situation at the time meant that we didn’t see much of the “real” Jamaica, which was a shame. However, because of the hotel security, we felt really safe.  Would we come back to the Sunscape Splash? If Heidi had her way, absolutely! She bugs me regularly every day and if your child has enjoyed their holiday, then it’s money well spent!!

Continue reading Sunscape Splash Resort – Montego Bay

Dolphin Cove, Montego Bay

Ok, I’ll get straight to the point with this one. If you ever get the chance to swim with a dolphin, do it. Do whatever it takes to do it. We did just that when we visited Dolphin Cove.

Yes, you may not enjoy it, but you can say that you have done it. This was the highlight of our holiday and is the one thing that Heidi always mentions when she is asked about her holiday.

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We booked the visit, including transport, directly with Dolphin Cove and it felt a bit safer and more official doing it that way. The journey took about 40 minutes from Montego Bay and the driver was excellent in making us feel safe on some very unsafe roads. Our guide for the day told us lots about the local areas we passed through.

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Because Heidi is only 4 and not a brilliant swimmer, we booked the Encounter Experience. This involved stroking, dancing, singing and generally playing with the dolphins. Each person got a couple of minutes as a time with the dolphins doing each activity. As there were 6 in our group, it was quite fast paced, but not at all rushed. I didn’t feel like we had done a “cheap” option.

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Even though we had lifejackets given to us, I felt that it was best to hold Heidi throughout, so she could have the security of knowing she was safe. This meant that she could enjoy it more, as the water was about 4 ft high. However, at no point did any of us feel unsafe.

The dolphin handlers were amazing and were particularly good with Heidi. This is probably because she was the only child in our group and took time afterwards so she could feed the dolphins a few more fish!

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The attraction also has a stingray enclosure, a camel, donkey and ostriches (the shark attraction was closed). However, let’s be honest, it’s all about the dolphins!

A couple of tips which might help if you go…

  • Take a full change of clothes as the last thing you want is to wear your swimming clothes on the coach on the way back to the hotel
  • Budget for buying photos if this is your first time of swimming with the dolphins. The photos are amazing, as I’m sure you can tell, and if you go into the day knowing you’ll buy them, then you won’t have an awkward decision to make.

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This is our first time swimming with them and hopefully, if money allows, we can do it again. If any businesses want to give us a free dolphin swimming session, I won’t say no!!!


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Club Mobay – Montego Bay

As you may know, I went to Montego Bay, Jamaica, with my 4 year old daughter, as a single parent. (You can read my open letter to Heidi here.  One of things that made me feel better about the travelling experience was the Club Mobay service both on arrival and departure that we had booked. As they are both different, I thought that I would break them down…

Arrivals

A Club Mobay member of staff meets you as you get into the terminal. They escort you through the entire passport/customs process through to where your transport is.

You do save plenty of time going through passport control as the queues can be long. This is because you get the next available passport control officer. Generally, getting through baggage reclaim and customs is generally a breeze anyway. The best bit is where they direct you to where you need to go once you clear customs.  In a strange airport in a new country, having that helping hand to make sure you’re in the right place really does help.

You can make use of the arrivals lounge if your transport isn’t ready and there are drinks, snacks and lovely cold towels! We did find that by saving time through passport control, you did end up waiting for other people who were going to be on your coach to the hotel. As such, you don’t really save much time in total.

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Very tired after a long day of travelling!!

However, you are looked after from start to end By the Club Mobay reps and it is a very friendly welcome into Jamaica.

Departures

The Departures service is a bit less personal as there is no meet and greet service. You get a separate lane through passport control and security, which is useful and you get a lounge with food and drinks before your flight. If you are going to have a meal before your flight, it might work out cheaper to do this option.

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Jamaican Beef Patties

As the food is a complimentary buffet, then you can eat as much or as little as you want. These is also a kids play room which is a good touch (not all airports have them!)

One thing I would recommend is to arrange for an earlier drop off at the airport. The check-in process was long when we departed and as a result, we didn’t have that much time in the lounge. As a result, I would make sure you get to the airport earlier to make best use of the service!!

All in all, it is a wonderful little service that is offered and one that I am sure that we would use again. It is perfect for families as it just takes a little bit of the stress out of travelling!!


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Travelling with a 4 year old as a single parent

The thought of travelling as a single parent is a scary prospect.  That is not a bad thing – it shows that you care. However, having been to Jamaica (with a connection in Atlanta) with just myself and my 4 year old, I thought that I would give some hints and tips which might make it easier, especially (but not specifically) if you’re a single parent.

Plan your bags

Chances are that you’ll be in a cramped seating area with your beloved child and they will want everything out of the bag at once – tablet, sweets, drink etc!! The best way to avoid a meltdown is to organise your bags so you know where everything is. That way, you can quickly pick items out of the bag without disrupting where everything else is!

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Food always helps!

Travel and Legal Documents

Most importantly, make sure you have your tickets, travel vouchers for the hotel/transfers and your passport. Make sure your passport is in date and generally has 6 months left when you enter the country. Also, make sure you don’t need any additional Visas or injections. (My guide to applying for a passport can be found here)

Also, if you’re a single parent, make sure you have a copy of your child’s birth certificate and correspondence from the other parent that you have their permission to go out of the country. I never got asked for these, but I have heard of people who have been asked.

Also, take copies of the documents and put a set in a different bag, a set with someone at home and an electronic copy as well.

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Security

Airport security is perhaps one of the worst things in the world to do as a single parent travelling.  One tip is to look really stressed and hope that an airport employee takes pity on you and helps you through the process a little!!

However, when you know when you’re going to be going through it, take all your electronics and fluids out. Either carry them, or put them in a carrier bag so when you get to the x-ray machine, you can easily put them on the conveyor belt and disregard the carrier bag if needed.  Different countries have different rules about children taking their shoes off. As such, either ask before you get to the x-ray machines or just get your child into the habit of taking them off.

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Hopefully the destination will be worth it!

Take pictures

Part of this is to look back at the brilliant time you have had. However, it is useful to take pictures of your bag so you can remember what it looks like when you land. Also, take pictures of your child so that if the worst happens and you lose them, you know what clothes they have on.

If you want ultimate parent points, just go for matching clothes – it really does work!!!

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This combo got amazing comments!!

Have fun!!

Life is about having fun and chances are you’re going on holiday and will have a great time. Relax and it’ll all be fine!

I have blog posts on Flying with a toddler and Flying with a 3 year old if they are of interest too!!

If you have any other hints or tips on travelling, please leave them in the comments below!


To read more of my blog, please feel free to:

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Email me at: [email protected]

Go onto my website: http://www.leedsdad.com