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Having a destination wedding can be a magical event in your life.
Of course, there will always be some downsides to having one.
We’ve provided a list of our pros and cons from our experience at Grand Palladium Jamaica and Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa (this location is unique because there are two resorts that share all the amenities).
That speaks volume for itself. The package included all you can eat food and drinks. This was a plus for people who liked to enjoy the many cuisines and unlimited drinks that the resort has to offer.
But I know there are people who are not fans of the all-inclusive idea..and I can understand why. They feel like their options are limited and it takes away the true experience of the location.
But isn’t the whole of an all-inclusive resort is to make it easier on you? Especially if you’re planning on having a wedding there. The package allows the guest to do as they please and you do not have to worry about comforting and entertaining everyone.
Bars + Restaurants
There were 7 a la carte restaurants ranging from Asian, Indian, Italian, and many more options, 3 buffets, and 13 bars throughout the resorts.
Needless to say, you will not go hungry or thirsty here. If you plan to have a large party, I’d suggest making a reservation ahead of time because the restaurants become busy in the evening around dinner time.
Our guests raved about the jerk chicken at the Jerk Hut. THE FOOD WAS AMAZING!
I loved the authenticity on some of the Jamaican cuisines that they provided there. You couldn’t go to one of the bars there and not order a Bob Marley! Simply a stable for your diet during your stay.
This truly didn’t apply too much for us, since only one of our guest had a child. But the resorts were very accommodating to our special little man (ring bearer). Our nephew was only 1 year old so we needed a place where he can swim and play safely. Grand Palladium had a nursery and indoor and outdoor play area. There was also a large pool area for the children to play in.
Varieties of activities
There were plenty of activities for guests to partake in. There was never a dull moment. Sunset Cove is a hot spot for fun activities such as paddle board, snorkeling, pedal boat, and various beach activities. We had a lot of fun participating in relay games and jazzercize in the water. The staff made sure everyone had a great time.
They also had recreational areas in the front of the resort for you to play tennis and basketball. For the gym rats out there, the gym facility provided more than enough equipment for you to get that nice burn in.
If this wasn’t enough for you, they also had many excursions that were offered for a decent price. A lot of us did the catamaran cruise that took us to Rick’s Cafe, a very popular place to visit when you’re in Jamaica. We had the opportunity to snorkel in the open water and jump off of high cliffs.
The resorts offered 5 pools for their guests. The resort is well-known for the Infinity Pool…considered to be the largest pool in Jamaica. This pool offered a swim up bar for their guests to refill on drinks.
There was another pool by our villa called Coral Pool. This was an adult only pool with a bar right next to it. We had many fun nights there with our friends doing late swims.
Another place to check out is the Spa pool. It’s nearby the gym/spa area. I’d recommend going there at night. The water was absolutely perfect to take a dip in. They also had a colorful display of lights in the water.
Facebook group support
We would recommend joining a facebook group for those that might want faster communication and honest answers. Keep in mind, they would only accept brides that will be having their wedding at the resort.
You can ask questions and receive fast responses. A lot of times we do not get immediate answers from our wedding coordinator, so the facebook group had provided a lot of insights and tips on what we needed.
We’ve been to a handful of resorts with little to no issues with wifi service. Whereas here at Grand Palladium, wifi service was not consistent and it was hard to communicate with our guests. This was critical for us because we were having a wedding there and we needed to contact our wedding party and guests.
If there were changes in plans then we would need to inform them quickly. An example, if it were to rain – we would’ve had to inform the party of the change of venue.
We didn’t really experience that many issues with our bar staff, but there was one bar in particular (Sports Bar) that had a very rude bartender. He would treat our guests with little respect and lied to them that there was no more certain alcohol to avoid providing service.
We also witnessed him skipping taking orders from our guests and helping others instead. He also called one of our guest members “stupid.” Not really a friendly staff at that bar and it definitely made us want to avoid that bar.
Kind of crazy to say this, but these folks are super laid back. The saying of “Jamaican time” is very accurate.
They get the job done, but not in a timely manner that we expect from living in the states. It goes with the cultural difference, we like to get things done and communicate quickly. The people of the island like to be very mellow and move at their own pace.
This was an issue for us because we were trying to get things finished with our wedding coordinator, but she would take a few days to respond to an important question.
*Note: this is from Tomoko’s experience with her hair appointment the day of the wedding*
She recommends having a hair-trial before the actual day of the wedding because she was not satisfied with how her hair turned out.
Her hair took longer than expected and there were certain things that she wanted the stylist to change about it, but since she was limited on time before the photographer arrived, so she was not able to have them change her hair and had to fix it herself.
It is really important to feel happy and beautiful on the day of your wedding. She was really happy on the day of her wedding, but she was really disappointed with how her hair turned out, which brought some unwanted stress. She recommends bringing a picture and really emphasizing what you are looking for to the stylist.
HOT. HUMID. RAIN?
When we were there it was forecasted to rain every day…it did not. And when it did, it rained for like an hour and everything would be back to normal. The weather was very hot and humid…starting at 8 am.
If you are planning to have a wedding here, make sure your attire is light and comfortable. Tomoko made sure her dress was light and not laced with heavy material. We recommend renting the AC/fan units for the reception.
The sun was down but it was still very hot, the AC units helped tremendously.
Of course, I’m not telling you to make your decision purely based on what I’ve written here. This serves more of a purpose on what you can expect straight from our experience. It personally helps me when I’m searching for things to weigh the pros and cons. You can also read more about what you must know prior to planning a destination wedding.
We had a great time at Grand Palladium Resort. The food, drinks, people, culture, and exotic views…the list goes on and on. We hope you can enjoy this place as well!
- 7 Must-See’s on our Road Trip to the Grand Canyon
- 10 Must-Know Prior to Planning a Destination Wedding
- Bucket List: 30 Things to do before Turning 30
- The Pros and Cons of Having a Destination Wedding in Jamaica
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