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WORTH THE QUARANTINE: Feeling safe and having fun in Jamaica

Safe! I felt safe for the first time since mid-March. I didn’t know what to expect when I flew to the Moon Palace Jamaica on their first fam trip (I was the only media person making the trip) since they re-opened in mid-June, but safe never entered my mind. In fact, like you, I couldn’t imagine what an all-inclusive resort would be like in this world of the new normal.

“Would there be a buffet? Swim up bar? Entertainment? Kid’s club? What about the spa?”

The trip starts with a “Travel Authorization” form which you get on line, fill out, and if approved, copy and bring with you to the airport. It must be done 24 hours before you fly.

Tourists don’t need to quarantine, if they stay within the Covid-19 Resilient Corridor, a defined geographical area within Jamaica designated for tourism. There is a health screening and risk assessment by the health authorities right at the airport. It is swift and efficient, so unobtrusive I forgot they even did it.

At the resort, you are welcomed and along with the warm welcome, your temperature is taken, you step on the first of two mats that sanitize your shoes, and your luggage is sanitized before being delivered to your suite. You can either check in with your cell, or at the desk which has plexiglass to protect you and the staff.

Each suite is sealed after being cleaned and sanitized, and left for 24 hours between guests. My all-inclusive bracelet is the key to open the door, and did I ever love this. It meant I never had to hunt for a key, or stomp back down to reception for another one. The suite looked as spectacular as the last time I stayed, minus the full mini-bar. You’re asked to call room service and tell them what you want in it and they bring it to the door and hand it to you. No-one including room service comes into your room except your cleaner – and she comes once a day. Service was quick and efficient, I liked the fact that there weren’t people in and out of my room.

All staff go through a sanitizing mist tunnel when they enter the property, wear masks, they change every four hours, and wash their hands every half hour. Sanitizers are everywhere, and it becomes natural to use them every time you see one, just as you use them before you sit at any of the restaurants, or bars.

It took more than 30 minutes for Managing Director Clifton Reader to tell me the Purely Palace Methods of protecting everyone from Covid19. I have met and admired this well-respected man many times over the years. And I’m not the only one – he was just elected President of the Jamaica Hotel Association.

I actually liked the table service better than the buffet which surprised me. Something I’ve always loved about the Palace is the Boulangerie in the South Tower Lobby. There are all kinds of coffee and tea, ice cream, pastries, cakes, fruit, chocolates in one, pizza in another, paninis and sushi in another. You can’t walk to the elevator without being tempted.

The Buccaneer’s Reef also tempted, Pier 8 served seafood a ’la carte, Momo was the Oriental. cuisine, and some of us loved La Gondola the Italian restaurant so much we ate there three times during our week. They have some big tables so we could eat family style and try everything on the menu, and lunch was delivered to our beach chairs from the Jerk Chicken Shack … Yes, I’ll be dreaming of the food. I’ve always loved the Palace meals and this time didn’t disappoint.

Our FAMTRIP named THE BEST WEEK EVER had a presentation from the Jamaica Tourist Board, of course a site inspection to show off the 4 pools, the fun Kids pool, the FlowRider and Double Wave Simulator. The AWE Spa got “oohs and ahhs, the Loud Bar, the Piano Bar had visits, and the Lobby Bar was the gathering place nightly. The Kids Club (4-12) was operating, the Wired Lounge was popular with both kids and their parents. There were live shows at the Event Hall, Club Noir, Loud Bar, and Piano Bar.

We had our mandatory training sessions in the Ocean each morning. If only all training sessions could be so pleasant. Yulia tried kayaking, and a paddle board. Several of us tried the gym. We bought gifts for those who weren’t with us in the well-stocked gift shop.

Leroy Williams “Eggie” provided cab service when I needed to go to Montego Bay. He’s a charmer, and so knowledgeable about the island, the people, the places, and history. I recommend him highly. leroyeggie@yahoo.com.

The seven agents hailed from Victoria to the West, and Montreal to the East.

Ann Shaw -TTAND
Judy Jordan – Travels Jubilee
Colleen Phillips- Sunrise Travel
Darlene Biagioni – Travelonly
Terry Declare- TravelOnly
Ethel Davey- Uniglobe Enterprise Travel
Yulia Borg- TravelOnly.

Diana Winters was our fearless leader. She is the Business Development Manager of Palace Resorts & Le Blanc Spa Resorts.

Diana said it best when she said “There was never a moment when I felt unsafe. Ever. We are ready to take on whatever is waiting for us at home with a clear mind and healed souls.”

Now fourteen days quarantine to remember our memories. It was worth it.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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