With Jamaica on the amber list, and looking promising for green in the next couple of months, Mrs B has shared her review of the Excellence Oyster Bay.
Excellence Oyster Bay, Jamaica is the newest hotel to join the established Excellence group. The hotel is situated on a private peninsula 30 minutes from Sangster Airport. As with all Excellence Resorts, Oyster Bay is an adults-only, luxury, all-inclusive resort. In their own words ‘Oyster Bay is an adults-only haven offering world-class accommodation, gourmet dining and gorgeous surroundings – an escape where the best of romance and hospitality seamlessly combine’.
We flew direct to Montego Bay with Virgin Atlantic. When I originally booked BA only flew to Kingston on the south of the island but British Airways have now added Montego Bay to the north of the island, where the majority of hotels are located, to their destinations.
I had pre-booked a private return taxi from the airport as opposed to booking the hotel’s transfers which can be pricey. We actually booked directly with what turned out to be the company that the hotel use for their transfers. Currently, if booked directly, for stays of 3 nights or more complimentary round trip transfers are included.
Having travelled several times previously to Excellence Punta Cana, both before and after its extensive renovation, we had very high expectations for Oyster Bay. There are three room categories – beach villas, Excellence Suites and Excellence Club Suites (which come with VIP benefits)
Excellence Club Benefits ⁃ private check-in and check-out ⁃ exclusive use of two Club restaurants and three bars. ⁃ Two Club lounges (07:00 – 23:00) with concierge service, buffet and bar. ⁃ Two private pools and an outdoor whirlpool along with private beach areas with butler service, Club bar and VIP restaurants. In your suite: ⁃ Bvlgari toiletries, ⁃ an expanded room service menu (available 24/7) ⁃ daily fresh fruit and petit fours. ⁃ upgraded in-suite premium liquor ⁃ one aqua hydrotherapy treatment per person (this includes before and after mini- massages) ⁃ a complimentary shoe shine service was also available though I thought my flip flops could do without it!
In keeping with the Victorian styling we were transferred to our private check in by a golf buggy which looked like a little old car! **** We were offered drinks and ice cold towels while we completed check in formalities after which our butler took us in the buggy to see around the resort before taking us to our suite. Our luggage was already there. We had booked an Executive Club suite with private pool.
Just so that you are aware, the ‘private’ pool is for your exclusive use but is visible to all passing by so not ‘private’ in that sense!
That said though, I often had an unsolicited drink or two delivered to my pool by one of the super attentive beach butlers.
The bathroom was just inside the door. It had a huge double sink area, WC, and powerful shower with a good range of Bvlgari toiletries which are replenished regularly.
Opposite the bathroom was a ‘walk-in’ wardrobe that also housed the electronic safe, bathrobes, an umbrella (didn’t use it!), and a clothes steamer. I must admit I wasn’t sure about the steamer rather than an iron but it was actually very effective ….although of course any ironing was kept to a bare minimum!
Beside the wardrobe was a large ‘service box’ used mainly for delivery and clear up of room service. It was accessible by key from outside the suite so food could be left for you to retrieve from the other opening inside your room. It was a great idea to stop dirty plates being left outside rooms awaiting collection as is often seen in hotels. The main room was decorated in a modern Caribbean style with black marbled tiles and a wallpapered feature wall. There was an enormous comfortable bed with crisp cotton sheets making it difficult to leave in the mornings after a great night’s sleep!
The living area had a large L-shaped sofa, coffee tables, a rocking chair plus a desk and chair.
Sliding doors led to the outdoor patio with a double sun-lounger, table and chairs, and private plunge pool. This was a lovely place to have breakfast when you wanted a lazy start but often the lure of the Excellence Club breakfast menu was too great to ignore.
Each suite also had a double-size jacuzzi bath that looked out over your plunge pool towards the ocean. The windows around the sunken bath were fitted with Venetian blinds should you choose to protect your modesty.
Along with a complimentary mini-bar containing beer, soft drinks, and mixers each suite came with 4 full-size bottles of premium international spirits to enjoy in your suite. Should they not be your tipple of choice they can be swapped for a range of others on request. Sliced limes were left in our fridge when it was apparent we drank the odd G&T – great attention to detail! A pretty good wine list was also available and could be delivered to your suite on request (by the bottle!).
As well as the normal daily housekeeping a night ‘turn down’ service was also provided which in effect was another full clean of the bathroom and replenishment of towels plus the usual pillow chocolate and slippers touches.
Food and drinks
The Kitchen Table is the main restaurant for breakfast serving an international buffet. We didn’t have breakfast there but checked it out during service. It looked top class and next time I’ll maybe tear myself away from the Club restaurant for a breakfast! Lunch and dinner buffets are also served with several fresh cook stations on offer.
The Lobster House as the name suggests is the resort’s seafood restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. During dinner, lobster is cooked to your personal taste. As lobster is a personal favourite I have been known to eat 3 tails in one sitting!
Zenith, situated on the upper floor of the Club Lounge is for the exclusive use of Club guests serving both a la carte breakfast and dinner with an international theme. We had breakfast there almost every day sitting outside taking in the beautiful ocean views and enjoying the fresh cafetière coffee.
On our first morning, we were asked if when knew how a French Press worked – not having a clue what a French press was imagine our surprise when a cafetière and triple egg timer was delivered!
Dinner here was also an absolute delight with an extensive a la carte menu. My particular favourite was their version of Surf ‘n’ Turf – Grilled spiny lobster Thermidor, grilled beef fillet (tenderloin), and vegetables.
I was just as fond of the cooling glasses as I was of the after-dinner drinks they contained!
Other restaurants : The Grill (dinner) – American steakhouse meets Brazilian churrascaria and local Jamaican cuisine Spice (dinner) – Asian flavours, teppanyaki, sushi etc. Chez Isabelle (dinner) – classic French cuisine served in an elegant all-white dining room Oregano (lunch and dinner) – Outdoor trattoria-style restaurant serving homemade pizza and pasta teamed with Italian wines. Flavor Market (dinner) – Made to order classic tapas with a few modern twists and paired wines
For less ‘formal’ dining or while watching your favourite sports The Sports Bar is perfect. It is open between 16:00 and 01:00 serving craft beer on tap, imported beers and a good selection of bar snacks.
A Jamaican bbq is prepared daily at the Jerk Hut by the beach between 11:00 and 16:00 which is perfect if you don’t want to stray too far from your sun lounger. That said, as Club guests your beachfront butler will establish if / when / what you want to eat then deliver it directly to your sunbed (note to self, don’t leave the butler with free choice or you will be brought enough food for a week and it would be rude to waste it!)
I have always booked directly online with Excellence. By doing this your booking is fully refundable up to 24 hours before your arrival. There are always offers to be had so I usually will book when I see a good price though I check back regularly to see if a better deal is available for the same room. The cancellation policy enables you to cancel the more expensive booking and book again at the better price. I have compared the booking direct cost against booking through the likes of Expedia, Booking.com etc. The best price has always been the direct booking option.
This is a wonderful adults-only, all-inclusive hotel. The staff are welcoming, friendly, and incredibly attentive though never intrusive. Our regular beach butler had a knack of arriving at my sunbed with a fresh cocktail just as I finished the previous one! I was already a huge fan of Excellence Resorts but Excellence Oyster Bay is most definitely my absolute favourite. I’ve already booked to return in September!