Keriann here. Last week, I got a jump-start on summer by spending a few days in Negril, Jamaica, courtesy of Azul Beach Resort Negril by Karisma. Our stay was relaxing and magical (more on that below), but it was completely surreal to end the trip with the news of Anthony Bourdain’s death.
I started thinking about how resorts fit into the picture when it comes to seeing the world, and how I’ve always separated the idea of “vacation” from the idea of “travel.” There’s a time and a need for both (though unless you’re a far more intrepid soul than me, please take a “vacation” for your honeymoon). But while contemplating the difference on the plane home from what I would typically consider a vacation, it occurred to me that bringing some “travel” into a “vacation” is simple. Just listen to what locals share with you about their country: what their favorite local fruits are and where you can try them; what their opinion is on Starbucks arrival; how proud they are that their most famous rum was created by the world’s first female master blender. And maybe leave the resort once or twice.
I was invited to explore Azul in official press capacity (aka they invited APW there to get a feel for what it would be like if you were to plan a destination wedding or honeymoon at the resort). While this may have been my first trip to Jamaica, it was not my first stay at an all-inclusive—so I can tell you from experience that this place actually surpassed the things I think about when I hear “all-inclusive.” The drinks and food were fresh and amazing, especially the Jamaican cuisine (jerk chicken, pork, fish, I’ll take it all—particularly when there no limit on how much I can have). There are three beautiful spots to get married there (but only one wedding at a time, so you have your pick), but the real extra A++ draw is the amenities for kids and families. Because real talk: if you’re planning a destination wedding, your chances of people attending increase significantly if your best people can bring their kids. The perks include all the baby gear you could possibly need delivered to your room and a daycare and splash park that even the grown-ups wanted to hang out in. There were separate family and adults-only areas, so it felt neither like I was surrounded by kids nor like they were shunned. Put that together and you have, imho, a super tempting destination wedding option that will make the whole family happy.
The highlight of the trip, though, was taking a sunset sail. Our guide took us to the expected things, like a popular snorkeling spot with beautiful reefs and fish, and Rick’s Café to see the cliff divers, which is super touristy but super famous. And then, because the waves were too rough for us to dock at Rick’s and hang out, he took us along the cliffs to a “pirate cave” that had been featured in James Bond movies. And when he asked us if we wanted to swim some more, we all eagerly said yes. We found ourselves setting off into the sunset, following him in and out of smaller and smaller caves, just our little group alone in the sea—and I found myself unbelievably grateful for the eagerness and generosity of Jamaica’s people in sharing their magical island with the rest of us.
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And finally, #MPRRaccoon was the best part of the week!
This post was not sponsored. APW received a complimentary stay at Azul Beach Resort Negril by Karisma, and the above are our genuine thoughts on the experience. Seriously, though, if you’ve got young kids and you’ve been looking for a vacation spot, this is probably your jam. And if you’re looking to plan a destination wedding, it’s a really nice alternative to the big-box destination resorts you’ve already heard of.