Goldeneye Trip Report and Thanks

Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 08:00 AM
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Goldeneye Trip Report and Thanks

Thanks to everyone here who helped and responding to all of my queries.

Truly outstanding experience in my opinion, with a tweak of issues with regard to front office staff and general communication.

Plan to post a detailed review later today, but wanted to post an immediate thanks for all the help!
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 11:30 AM
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Can't wait to hear!
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 05:04 AM
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Time got the best of me, excuse me for the delay. Our trip took places several weeks ago, arriving on January 23rd for two nights.

Hopefully this report will not bore with all the detail. Our experience was second to none, and the tiny 'bumps' I will make observation of are only in the interest of being straight. Not a single bump in anyway tarnished this experience.

To begin with we flew into the wrong airport. Had we given it better thought and perhaps decided to try strawberry hill before our visit, we would have flown into Kingston rather than Montego Bay. Not only is Goldeneye a 2.5 to 3 hour drive from Montego bay, the road (and I mean all of it) is under construction. Every one or two miles there was another detour sign and another off road experience. When you are not asked to take an alternate route the road that remains is narrow, allowing only one line of cars, and gravel at best. I have never been one to complain about bumps in a road, even for miles, but this was more like the bus ride in Romancing the Stone. I do not know how long this will go on for, but it is a very good sign that they are trying to expand the route even if it is an inconvenience.

Our driver was not familiar with the resort, and there was some concern that we would have difficulty finding it, but really there is only a single road with no turnoffs, so if you keep an eye out (it is on the left of the road) you really cannot miss it.

We came up to stone gated wall and turning in immediately saw what set this resort apart from the others we have visited in jamaica. This was not a resort but a private estate, a retreat with enough foliage to feel as if you have entered a small shaded clearing within a gorgeous jungle.

We were early. Check in is about 3pm as is the case with most places. Our flight had arrived closer to 10am and so we found ourselves at the gate at 1pm.

There is no clear check-in area. Because our driver was not familiar with the property, and because there are no signs indicating where you should stop, he drove right up to what seemed to be the check in bungalow. Someone from the front desk, Samantha I believe, quickly emerged rather annoyed with us because we did not know the procedure. She was very short with my husband who asked politely 'excuse us, we are here to check in but are not sure where to go' several times she mentioned 'we do not pull the van up here, we do not check in this way, and you are early you know. nothing is ready'.

I have never had any problem checking in a few hours early anywhere. We understand that our room may not be ready but we are always accomodated by given somewhere to change and have our luggage dropped. We felt embarassed and a little out of place with her reaction and tone. She really did seem put out.

Nonetheless, she did allow us to drop our bags and directed us to the gazebo for lunch.

The property is difficult to describe. You cannot begin to get an accurate feel for it from the website. The villas are hidden beneath thick foliage and as you wander the winding paths between them, you feel as if you are in a vast jungle. Stepping out into the front of any villa or through the gazebo however, brings you to the most stunning and private sea views imaginable.

We wandered through the brush and emerged to find a simple white painted gazebo teetering above the lagoon and their man made private cay, low cay beach.

A table was immediately set for us, we were to find that this was to be our assigned table throughout our stay, and a very good selection of food presented. The food itself is perhaps the best we have had in the islands.

Following lunch and a few goldeneye cocktails, their signature drink presented to us upon arrival, we were shown to our villa. Honey chile, I am told often booked by honeymooners, was spectacular and again website photos did not do it justice.

To begin with it is much larger than one would assume from the photos. Two separate and very spacious villas connected by a breezeway that houses a shower, sink and toilet within a bamboo structure 'semi' outside as it were. The living room villa is very large and keeps a kitchen, fully stcoked with coffee teasm utensils, wine beer, and sodas, and opens out to an expansive stone terrace overlooking flemming beach to the right and the horizon to the very front. The terrace has a covered portion with cozy chairs and a bench, while the outside has room enough for a picnic table, two wooden deck chairs, two loungers and a small wooden table between them for drinks. Also in the living room is a huge coffee table, television, dvd player, and a bar with more wine and bottles of vodka and rum.

The sleeping villa, also very large, has a large claw footed tub behind the mosquito netted bed that looks out onto a gorgeous outdoor shower that looks as if it too grew out of the soil along with the banyan tree that houses it.

Candles are appropriately set up around the outdoor shower and lit at night.

One surprise were the roosters and hens that live in the villa. Not officially of course, but they do seem to think it is their house. We were not at all bothered by them and found it part of the secenery.

We spent much of our time on the terrace as we had everything we needed, including sporadic use of the flemming beach below, near our villa.

We did venture out several time to the lagoon and of course to explore the private and deserted beach on low cay.
Beneath the gazebo lays a tiny dock alongside a long and winding lagood from where you can take canoes or kyacks out for the day. The lagoon winds around the property and spills into the open sea. It also winds around two man made islands, one in the center of the lagoon to the back of the property where construction of additional villas will begin, and low cay beach which opens on to the ocean creating a private shielded beach.

The distance between the dock and the private beach on low cay is a matter of 5 swim strokes and easily gotten to without a boat. Both lagoon and beach are lovely. The property did not seem at full capacity and each day we had the beach to ourselves. That in itself was worth the trip, not to mention the price which we heard several people on both nights complain about - though we can't say why!

Service everywhere, with the exception of the front desk, was beyond expectation. Your wish is really a command. We came up with some outrageous requests for food (we have a lot of allergies which normally we work around without bothering anyone, but thought we would give goldeneye's credo of 'whatever whenever' a try). They came out aces everytime.

Each evening, and without our ever noticing, they light the entire property with candles and torches, including torches and candles within your room. To step out of your sleeping villa and find the entire area alight with soft fire creates a feeling of paradise.

In the end, relaxation and solemnity are the name of the game here. You can take out a jet ski, which we did one day, kyack and fish (as my husband did one afternoon) but we have never been anywhere so peaceful. We are the types that feel pressured to DO DO DO on a trip, but not once did we feel the need to ever leave our enclave.

One note to several points I have read about. The service is such that you are left completely alone. I have read many who said the service was not up to standard, or at least the standard they expected for the price. Many of these comments indicate that guests were never 'offered' this and that. Goldeneye is not the sort of place that points out what they can do for you, because the implication is that they will do anything for you if you ask.

I have also read comments about staff feeling too comfortable about just walking in to the villas unannounced. This may have been read by management because each time anyone was going to come to us, we were given a phone call prior to their arrival.

This is all I can think of at the moment, there is a lot more to say I imagine and I have probably left out specifics which I would have liked answers to before going. Please feel free to post any questions or comments you have, I check this regularly.

Thank you again to everyone who so diligently answered all of my questions!

Best!
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 06:11 AM
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Sounds like a completely idyllic experience. Thanks for taking the time to post.

Did you go anyplace else in Jamaica? Two nights seems too short a time for a vacation. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I'd love to hear about anyplace else you stayed.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 06:15 AM
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Glad to hear your expectations more than fulfilled. You are now, of course, totally spoiled....lol
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 06:27 AM
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Yes, it was really idyllic, fantastic word - i should have thought of it!

We were also at Rockhouse, Caves, Ritz and Coyaba in Montego Bay.

Caves we have visited before, this time around it was not as fabulous as we had first thought, but this is always the case with a return trip in my experience. As with love, the initial flush is always just that, initial. Wonderful of course, and the Sands is a great addition, but it is difficult to be as overwhelmed as you are the first go around.

Rockhouse, to me, is alright. My husband likes it far more. I find the food to be lacking and at the same time expensive. The atmosphere is nice as it differs from the caves feeling of seclusion and the decor is different. But everytime we go we seem to land in the middle of a wedding. Funny really, and not so horrible, but we always feel like guests of the wedding itself and so often the restaurant closes down to accomodate the reception and we lose out.

The Ritz is far better than I had thought it would be. It seemed mammoth and overdone on the website, but it was truly peaceful, and as always, the service impeccable.

As for Coyaba Resort, we had our reservations before arriving. Several of the reviews we read were lukewarm at best and in fact I posted several questions about the beach quality etc. In many ways it was much better than expected. Small and intimate, wonderful staff who are eager to please and very friendly. The beach is of course miniscule, but if you know that going in you will not be disappointed. The pool atmosphere is lovely and the food was really above expectation as well.

Our only complaint was that the Polo Grounds restaurant is 'hidden' and not well publicized as to when or if it is open. Really our fault as we should have asked questions, but on the nights they had hoped people would eat on the deck which is the luncheon area, they closed the main restaurant and never indicated that the polo grounds restaurant (above the main house and behind the main Vineyard restaurant) was in fact open.

To be honest, we thought the Polo Ground was the bar attached to the Vineyeard restaurant as there are no signs. It is a shame because their menu looks very impressive and we tired of burgers and fries.

Coyaba is very small, and staying longer than 3 nights would be difficult for me.

I hate to even say this as it sounds so obnoxious, but while it is a pleasant place in Montego Bay, it absolutely escapes me as to why or how it is a Small Luxury Hotel of the World. It could be that I am not as familiar with the criteria for becoming an slh as I should be. But unless it is a matter of paying dues, I don't understand how Coyaba - pleasant as it was - makes the cut.

Again, any additional questions please ask! I am bored at work and checking regularly
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 11:48 AM
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Goldeneye sounds really wonderful, thanks for the review
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 11:57 AM
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Tiverton you are correct!!

Although I did overhear one person discussing how 'downhill' it has gone as a resort as they gear up to make it a conddo development, which is sad.

Don't know what their plans are with the additional villas, but I do hope service does not suffer, it was fabulous!
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 03:23 AM
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Sneep, you may have just lucked out again and got one of those last fleeting 'before it changed' moments.
From a growth from 6 to 8o or 90 villas, change will sadly be inevitable;it's a matter of scale,
no matter how high-end the plan.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 03:47 AM
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Glad someone else is up

You always have the insiders scoop on everything Jamaican...what is you opinion on these Goldeneye Villas? Will they sell?

I ask because a few years ago when I first went to the Caves they were interesting in showing their villas across the road that they were developing, four years later and they haven't built anything and were raher cagey about it each time my husband asked if he could take alook at the model (he has been wanting to buy something in Jamaica for ages).

In FACT, speaking of buying a place in jamaica, where would you suggest we begin to look?

sory for all these early morning questions
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Old Feb 8th, 2007, 11:10 AM
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Sneep,
Can I ask you whether you could envision having a 12 year old stay in the living room portion of the one bedroom cottage? They just told us that was available (I was asking for the 2 bedroom), but I turned it down because on the website, I did not even see the living room. I don't know if I would feel comfortable having the outside between our son and ourselves ... Any advice?
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Old Feb 8th, 2007, 07:17 PM
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Sneep -- They'll sell but it's hard to envision the property retaining what it has with so many other villas in proximity. The North Coast is being
developed widely mainly by Spanish developers, ex of the DR and Mayan
Rivera, with roadwork always a problem and the strain on resources questionable for some many mexaplexes.
Ochie itself, other than cruise ship business, is pretty much tapped out.
Porty is impossible to get into these days because of the road, always a dire
condition on island. For less than the entry price at Goldeneye, there are existing turn-key or redecorate existing villas on the South Coast of island, remote but still the same driving distance from MoBAY that might warrant closer inspection in Belmont/Bluefields and from Black River to Treasure Beach and on to Gut River and Milk River Bath. Building is also more expensive than buying and redoing
an existing place. Haven't heard much about development plans at all at The Caves, and Jake's in Treasure Beach is pretty much boxed in by private land owners. There are places for sale in Belmont, Billy's Bay and Parrottee Point
as well as land in Fort Charles. E-mail me for particulars.

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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 05:54 AM
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Thanks to much Tiverton for your response and always helpful insight!
We did see a lot of spanish developers putting up huge complexes along the road to ocho rios, RIU and Bahia I think among them? We were interested in looking into one of the smaller villas they were touting but we cannot get over how very changed the entire place would be. Buying a villa in a place with 20 is very different than buying one within a complex of 80. I veyr much prefer the idea of finding our own house, there seemed to be a lot along the road between ocho rios and oracabessa, but we are having difficulty in finding listings for them!

West2 sorry for the long absence, I do hope my response is not too late! The living room is very spacious. a spaate villa with televisions and kitchen, french doors oening out to the terrace and yes separated from the main bedroom by a small breezeway. I am not sure what your main concerns might be about a child staying in the living room on his own but I can't see how he could into much trouble, and besides the space in between the vills is no more than 12 to 15 feet. The living room can be closed up completely to the elements fro mwhat I recall. We actually thought about that option ourselves, and felt comfortable with the idea.
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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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Check Caldwell Bankers and ReMax, both of which have Realtors(R) on island and e-mail capabilities/Web sites. Properties from Ochie to Orcabessa should be double-checked as many are on
ocean but cliffside, with no direct
beach/ocean access. This is true in the Rio Bueno/White River to Orcabessa/James Bond Beach area in particular.
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