I’m back, hive! The wedding is done, the gifts are unpacked and put away, the thank you notes have been written, the wedding diet (or lack thereof) is a thing of the past, and we’re settling nicely into married life. So far, so good. And now I can finally tell you about our blissful honeymoon. Buckle up; this is a LONG post.
“Sans souci” is French for “carefree”, and let me tell you, I cannot think of a better way to describe our honeymoon. For those of you who don’t remember, we opted to spend our honeymoon at Couples Sans Souci in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
We got married on a Saturday evening, and first thing that Monday morning (literally first thing – we left for the airport at 5:00 AM) we were off to Jamaica! The fact that there was still snow on the ground in Boston when we left made the fact that we were headed to the Caribbean even sweeter.
The most picturesque landing I’ve ever had.
We touched down in Montego Bay, and having treated ourselves to the Club MoBay package, we were met by our Club MoBay representative, Felicia. Club MoBay granted us access to special arrivals and departures lounges, as well as expedited lines for immigration and customs. All in all, it was well worth it. Although you wouldn’t think Monday afternoon would be a particularly busy time at the airport, the lines at immgration were surprisingly long, so being able to skip the wait was a nice perk. But the best part? Complimentary rum punch. And snacks. Lots of snacks.
Over at the Couples lounge (we had access to the Club MoBay lounge and the Couples lounge, so obviously we had to try both), we were greeted with a hearty, “Welcome home!” The Couples representatives checked us in, took our bags, and gave us each an ice cold Red Stripe. (I’m not a beer drinker, but I drank more than my fair share of Red Stripe over our honeymoon. I didn’t hate it.) Within fifteen minutes, our ride was ready. We boarded a van with three other couples, all headed to one of the two Couples resorts in Ocho Rios, and we hit the road!
Ocho Rios is to the left.
Danny, our driver, gave us a comprehensive Jamaican history lesson and pointed out plenty of sights along the way, including Usain Bolt’s high school. Sans Souci is about an hour and forty-five minutes away from Montego Bay; the ride flew by, and before we knew it, we were greeted at the resort with champagne and cold towels.
WE MADE IT!
Our home for the week was the Steve McQueen suite, room D-14. We splurged on a penthouse suite because, you know, honeymoon, and it was fabulous. We had an enormous suite with one bedroom, one and a half bathrooms, a living room boasting a well-stocked minibar, and a massive balcony overlooking the beach. Some people refer to the resort decor as “dated”; maybe it’s because I love old things, but I loved it! Our room was so homey and comfortable.
Please enjoy this tour of our room. Approximately 10 people could have comfortably fit in our shower.
Fair warning: Sans Souci is built into the side of a cliff. There are A LOT of stairs between the beach and the top level of the resort. But there are some amazing views to be had along the way, and there are plenty of hammocks and other places to stop and relax. Plus, if you really don’t want to walk, the staff can always give you a ride.
We adhered to a rigorous schedule every day: breakfast, beach, lunch, nap, pool, dinner, bar, bed. Tough life. There were lots of activities going on, some of which we took part in (we highly recommend the Jamaican cooking class!), but honestly, we usually fell victim to sand gravity. Once you’re settled in that comfy lounger with a gorgeous beach in front of you, it’s REALLY hard to get up.
The mineral pool, where we spent many a lazy afternoon.
Couples includes a lot of extras with your stay. There are a ton of water sports you can partake in – we went for a glass bottom boat ride, and we went snorkeling at the nearby coral reef, which was pretty amazing. Plus, there are four complimentary excursions: Margaritaville, a shopping trip around Ocho Rios, golf, and Dunn’s River Falls. Due to the aforementioned sand gravity issue, we only took advantage of the Dunn’s River Falls trip. Sure, it was super touristy, but we still got to climb a waterfall. So badass, so fun.
Started at the bottom, now we here. It was cold.
Another freebie: with proof of marriage within the last 30 days (we brought a wedding invitation, but no one ever asked for it), honeymooners get a free 25 minute couples’ massage. Upgrading it to 50 minutes was the best decision we made all week.
The view from our spa hut. The amazing massage plus the ocean breeze and the sound of the waves crashing below us … it literally does not get any better.
There are three restaurants on the resort. I won’t bore you with the details of each restaurant, since that information can be found on Couples’ website, but I will tell you that we thoroughly enjoyed them all. Before the honeymoon, Stallion and I were concerned we’d get bored with only three restaurants to choose from, but that definitely was not the case. The breakfast and lunch selections changed daily (with the exception of Beach Grill’s lunch menu, which is always the same), and the dinner selections changed every other day, so there was always something new to try. There was always at least one vegetarian option, for those who are interested. The food was at its best when it was classic Caribbean fare – our favorites were jerk chicken from Beach Grill, brown stewed snapper from Bella Vista, and salt fish and ackee from Palazzina. Hint: the pasta bar at Palazzina is not to be missed – I’m a New Jersey Italian girl raised on pasta, so I know good pasta, and my god, Marlon’s pasta is to die for. Honestly, we didn’t have a single bad or mediocre meal during our stay. Everything was delicious. Which is probably why I gained eight pounds over the course of our eight-day stay. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
About to chow down at Beach Grill. Does it get any better than eating right on the beach?
Pro tip: every bartender has a signature drink that isn’t listed on the cocktail menu. Let them hook you up. Our favorite was Demar’s concoction, called Cool Runnings, which has blue curacao, pineapple juice, coconut rum, and other yummy stuff, and is not the drink in this picture.
But I digress. The best thing about Sans Souci was by far the staff. Every single employee we encountered was nothing less than friendly, gracious, hospitable, and professional. Everyone wanted to know our names, where we were from, how long we were staying, and how our vacation was going – and then they remembered it all! Couples has a really strict no tipping policy, which was hard to swallow at first; we truly wanted to show our appreciation, you know? But the best thing you can do for outstanding staff members is to write their names down on the survey you’re given at the end of your stay. We had encountered so many fantastic employees that we ended up attaching a piece of paper that listed everyone’s names, because we ran out of room on our survey but wanted to make sure everyone was recognized. After all, the gorgeous surroundings, delicious food, and fun activities don’t mean anything if you don’t have wonderful people around you to facilitate everything.
However, I do have one major downside: we had to come home eventually. Coming back to reality was harsh, but we’ve readjusted.
Basically, Sans Souci is a little slice of heaven. I cannot imagine a better way to kick off our married life, and I am so grateful that Stallion and I were able to spend a week here. We’re already plotting when we’ll be making a return trip.