|The main pool|
The Resort, Its Pools & Its Service
Our main reason for picking this resort is that its marketed as being family-oriented and since this was our first Caribbean vacation with our then 13-month-old daughter, we wanted to go somewhere where our very active toddler would be at minimum, tolerated. Thankfully at the Jewel, kids aren't just tolerated, they're happily accepted.
|Playing in the "baby fountain"|
The Jewel is home to three pools. We never visited the smallest of the pools but we were regular visitors to the kiddie pool, which also was home to the resort's swim-up bar (an interesting combination and maybe a smart one when you think about it). This area actually did get fairly busy and was the only place in the whole resort where it could be hard to find a lounger. Also, despite all the activity here, it didn't offer any towels (but it did have pool noodles).
To get towels you have to stop by the big pool. Thankfully, our room was near this pool so this trip wasn't a hassle for us. This pool, which is the resort's largest and deepest pool, was often quiet while we were there, making it a great place to read and just lounge while your spouse watched your napping child.
|The kiddie structure at the water park|
The TripAdvisor reviews for this resort are very consistent in one area: Everyone raves about the staff and their service. I completely agree. We had no issues with any employees, all of them were kind, helpful and did their jobs. We're not big tippers but despite that, we didn't feel that we were treated differently than anyone else. The staff was also great with our daughter, even when she threw food on the ground, and would go out of of their way to make her smile.
|Here's a helpful map of the resort|
The somewhat rough shape of the rooms is one of the more common complaints you see on TripAdvisor and yeah, I can see why. Our room's condition was in the 3.5 range though I can see how at one point, the bathroom was at the 4, maybe even 4.5 star level. To be clear, our room was clean and a reasonable size (the balcony was actually on the big side) but it was a bit beat up.
|Our room before we trashed it|
Our room came with a comfy king-size bed, a fridge stocked with non-alcoholic drinks, a TV with a descent cable package and a very powerful AC unit. The resort supplied at crib for Baby and while she wasn't a big fan of it, I can't blame that on the resort.
We requested a waterview room and that's what we got. Unfortunately, while our view was quite nice, our room was located within earshot of the main stage, which could be quite loud. Our baby didn't care but I can see how the noise could keep older kids from getting any sleep until after 10-10:30pm, when the entertainment wrapped up (and even then we could often hear music coming from somewhere else on the resort). Additionally, the sidewalk outside our block of rooms (the 2000s) seemed to be a key pathway for moving supplies around the resort and the rattling of the supply carts started early in the morning (thankfully running the AC's powerful fan drowned this noise out). If I were to return to the Jewel, I would request a different room, even if that meant no ocean view.
And to answer the question you're all wondering: Yes, we had wi-fi in our room though at times it could be slow. I wouldn't depend on it to stream Netflix but it usually worked fine for checking email or Twitter.
The Beach & Ocean
|The fish on the left is having some bagel|
In the water is a different story. The Jewel's designated swimming area isn't huge but at no point did it ever feel crowded. The reason for its small size is because there is a stretch of coral reef just a few meters from the shore in low tide.
While it's not the healthiest reef I've ever seen (actually, it's kind of depressing to see how dead it is), it does still support a nice variety of fish including some large schools of sergeant majors who love to eat carb-heavy items from the breakfast buffet. These fish (along with a few other species including rainbow parrotfish) will come right into the fairly shallow swimming area, making it easy for kids to see and feed them. Experienced snorkelers and divers likely won't be impressed with the Jewel's marine life but your average kid should love it. Personally, I just like that I could do a bit snorkelling and see a few things while my Husband and daughter played only meters away.
Width-wise, the beach is a reasonable size and has plenty of lounge chairs for everyone. There's no beach-side service but the bar isn't that far away.
|The lovely beach|
The Jewel includes a variety of free non-motorized water sports in its all-inclusive package. We didn't see a lot of people taking advantage of this, I think because most people at the resort have kids. I did want to take out a paddleboard on my kid-free day (she was with a nanny we'd hired) but of course that was the one day the water was a bit rough.
With the exception of that day, the water was always at least swimmable inside the designated area. Of course, that's highly dependent on the weather. If you get a bad stretch, well, at least you have three pools to choose from.
Up next: The resort's food, beverages, the kids' club and more.