Saturday, October 27, 2018

All-Inclusive for All Ages: Beaches Ocho Rios Resort, Jamaica

Photo Credit Beaches Ocho Rios

**Disclosure:  This trip was part of a FAM (Familiarization) Trip sponsored by AAA, Pleasant Holidays, and Sandals Resorts.  Please note that all photos are the author's own, except where credited.  As a travel industry professional, I make a big investment in first hand experiences, and I spend a lot of time to keep up with my accreditation and staying up to date with current and future developments in the airline and travel industries.  This means attending conferences, seminars, site inspections, FAM (familiarization) Trips, and even group trips.  I have been able to have some of these experiences shown and described in my blog entries at a reduced cost or comped by the hotel, tour operator, cruise line, or other supplier.  The feedback supplied is based on my own personal experience.  The first hand experience allows me to better serve my clients and match the experiences they are looking for.**

There are literally dozens of All-Inclusive Resorts in Jamaica that say they are family and kid-friendly, but how about one that goes far above and beyond everyone else not just for families and kids, but are also world renown for their Autistic Children's programs?  Take a look at the excellent Beaches Ocho Rios, then give me a call and let me book you and your family there.

Before I go into the property's details and room types and whatnot, let me speak out about their Nannies.  They are amazing.  From everything we've been told and what I've asked guests and seen first hand, the Beaches Nannies are phenomenal and a must have when you bring your children to play in Jamaica.  The Beaches resorts are the ONLY resorts in the Caribbean where Nannies and infant care are included all day, every day, for every level of accommodation, from newborns, toddlers to kids of all ages.    All Beaches Nannies are accredited by the International Nanny Association (INA) and they have added training in safety, nutrition, and child development.

My visit to Beaches was definitely my favorite part of the FAM trip.  I had been waiting to see this resort with my own eyes for a long while now.  The resort itself boasts 222 rooms and Suites (16 bookable categories to my Travel Agents out there) on 22 acres, a decent 2 hour transfer from either Kingston or Montego Bay, and the suites have Concierge services, however, unlike the Sandals Resorts in Ocho Rios, there is no butler service.   The rooms are broken up into the Caribbean Village main building, the Oceanfront French Village, and my personal favorite, the Beachfront Greek Village, right on the beach and perfect for couples.

From the minute I got off the bus I turned into a 5 year old when I was met by Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street fame.  Beaches partnership with Sesame Workshop makes it the ONLY resort where kids (and some adults) can play with their favorite characters every single day of their vacation.  There are 11 Sesame Street characters on site every day, including the latest addition to the show, Julia, an autistic 4 year old Muppet who can be seen playing around the resort with her long time pal, Elmo.  There are quite a few activities kids do with the Sesame Street characters, such as nature hikes, tea parties, story time, reusing and recycling (with one of my favorites, Oscar the Grouch), to full on character breakfasts and even nighttime tuck-ins (available for an additional charge, of course).

Of course, there's also things to do for the older kids too.  From the Xbox Play Lounge, with dozens of games to choose from on the XBox One and Kinect platforms, to the massive on property water park (11 water slides in all), the TrenchTown arcade with Foosball, air hockey tables and more, to outdoor billiard tables, unlimited scuba diving, tennis clinics, and glass bottom bot tours, there's virtually no end to the fun and activities the older crowd can get into.

Photo Credit Beaches Ocho Rios
As with the other Sandals resorts in Ocho Rios, guests at Beaches Ocho Rios also have access to the Sandals Golf & Country Club, along with complimentary transfers and no additional green fees.  Not a bad perk if you want some time on the links (unlimited rounds included) while the family lounges about on the beach all day!

There's no shortage of dining options at Beaches Ocho Rios, either.  7 distinct eateries abound on the property, from fine French and Italian cuisine to Seafood served dockside, to more run of the mill offerings like fresh made crepes, pizza and BBQ, private dining on the beach for a romantic getaway, or for those with special dietary needs, let the resort know (or your Travel Agent) about a month before hand and any needs you have can be met.

The resort itself is amazing, to be sure, but what blows this writer away, as this hits real close to home, is their attention to detail and laser focus on guests with autistic kids.  Their programs go so far to include and involve autistic kids it amazes me.  Beaches is the first resort to complete and implement the rigorous training set by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), allowing the resort to offer specialized service, engaging activities, and custom dining options so all families can enjoy a memorable Beaches experience.  The IBCCES training also extends out to Travel Agents to learn about and have the ability to better sell the resorts, and this particular Travel Agent is in the middle of my own Certification.

The programs they offer include the Kids Camps, which are certified Autism Centers that ensure the team members have the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament and expertise to cater to all children and offer age-specific programs for infants, toddlers, pre-teens, and teens.  Also, there are activities that involve the Sesame Street characters, now including the newest Muppet, Julia.
Photo Credit Beaches Ocho Rios

This Travel Agents Opinion:  I do not hesitate to quote and book Beaches, especially for my clients traveling with families, honeymooners, and those traveling with special needs, dietary concerns, or autistic travelers.  Everyone deserves an unforgettable vacation, an escape from the everyday grind, if you will.  All Beaches Resorts go above and beyond to achieve this, and the Beaches Ocho Rios, from what I've seen, covers all bases. 

**All photos the Author's except where credited**

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