Jumby Bay Trip Report (April 1-6)

Old Apr 11th, 2005, 12:06 PM
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Jumby Bay Trip Report (April 1-6)

My husband, son and I recently returned from Jumby Bay. We were there for 5 nights at the beginning of April. This is my first trip report, and Iím very glad to share my experiences as Iíve definitely benefited from the expertise of others on this forum. A special thanks to Penny for answering all my questions and being so honest and accurate in your assessment of Jumby.

We had a wonderful time; however, there were a few problems. Below is a run-down of our experience at Jumby. A word of warning Ė it is very long so please bear with me or skip to the parts that are relevant to your interests.

Arrival: Our outbound flight on American was delayed by more than 2 Ĺ hours, causing us to miss our connection in San Juan and arrive at Jumby much later than we had anticipated. Pickup service at the airport was great. A friendly gentleman met us in a red, air-conditioned Lincoln Continental, and we had the car all to ourselves. It was a quick ride to the ferry but, unfortunately, the boat had just left when we arrived at the dock. We had to wait about 20 min for the ferry to return and pick us up. Fortunately, the ride to Jumby is short, but we didnít get the welcome drink because the cooler was on the boat used for the Friday sunset cruise. After the whole flight ordeal, we and the other couple on the same flight as us could have definitely used the drink.

The assistant manager on duty met us at Jumbyís arrival dock. He took us on a brief tour of the islandís main facilities, and then brought us to our room. We booked our reservation for a standard Oceanview Room through a Virtuoso agent, and were supposed to get a free upgrade (upon availability) along with a $50 spa credit. However, the assistant manager informed us that the resort is currently booked solid through May, so they could not honor the upgrade. But the standard room proved to be lovely and fit our needs well enough (more on this below).

We had dinner in our room that night, as we were all exhausted and our toddler son, who had been a real trouper through the very long flight, was showing signs of an imminent melt-down. Luckily we could order from the Estate House menu, and room service was quite efficient. The food was brought in a warmer container, so we could keep our entrees warm while having appetizers. When we were ready for dessert, we just called again and they brought it promptly. (To Be Continued)
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 12:11 PM
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Dining: This was my first time at an all-inclusive, and I was wary of the food as Iíve heard that food at AIs can be mediocre at best. We like variety and usually prefer trying different local restaurants, but for the amount of time we were there it worked out fine. Food at Jumby is very good, but not stellar. The best food Iíve had in the Caribbean was in the Grand Case area of St. Martin. Jumbyís food canít compete with that of Grand Case, but I knew this coming in (thanks to Penny) so I wasnít disappointed. Plus food was only one of the major considerations for our trip. In other areas Jumby faired much better.

Breakfast and lunch were some of my favorite meals at Jumby. In addition to a buffet, thereís an a la carte menu with some nice selections. Our favorite dishes at breakfast were the eggs benedict (with ham or smoked salmon) and the Belgian waffles. However, the fruit at breakfast was a bit of a disappointment. Being on a tropical island, I had expected better quality and selection. The buffet at lunch was more impressive than at breakfast, with a variety of fresh salads, grilled chicken, cold soups and different meats at the carving station each day Ė roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, leg of lamb, barbecued ribs. On most days, I ordered the fresh catch of the day which was very good, except for one time when it was overcooked. We also thought the Cuban Ruben, fries with garlic aioli, and fried peppered calamari were quite good.

Afternoon Tea on the Verandah was nice, especially as my son has to eat many small meals during the day. The scones and carrot cake were particularly yummy. It was too warm to have hot tea in the afternoon, so we usually had iced tea or some other cold drink.

Dinner at the Estate House was lovely with palms swaying in the breeze, jazz music in the background and casual-elegant ambiance. Fish dishes were excellent including the sautéed sea bass and crispy pink snapper. Meat dishes like rack of veal and lamb were also good, but the duck was overcooked. Desserts were great Ė the pastry chef takes you on a ďtourĒ of their dessert buffet which included items like almond/milk chocolate crème brulee and pistachio/passionate fruit mousse cake. Dinner on the Verandah was pretty good, but not as good as at the Estate House. And the Sunday night beach BBQ was just okay, though it was a nice change of pace.

Accommodations: Our room (#38) looked just like the one featured on Jumbyís website. Being on the 2nd floor of the Pond Bay House, we had a great view of the beach and there was always a cool breeze blowing. With the fans going and louvers opened, we rarely used the AC unless we happened to be in our room late afternoon. It was lovely sleeping with the cool tropical breezes blowing at night and we felt very comfortable. The only problem with keeping our louvers opened was the screeching wildlife noises that would inevitably wake me up early in the morning. Iím a light sleeper so it definitely affected me, but my husband and son werenít bothered by it.

Even though it was a standard sized room, we felt it was big enough for our needs. We had a huge, king-sized, mahogany, four poster bed with nice Italian linens, feather bed, and down pillows and comforter. Jumby provided us with a very large crib for our son, and even with that in the room we had plenty of space to walk around. Also the high wood-beamed ceiling made the room feel quite spacious and airy. The bathroom was a nice size with lots of marble and tile all over. There was a basin sink and plenty of counter space. The shower was huge with a rain-shower head; however, I did miss having a bath tub since I love taking a nice soak before bed. The Lady Primrose bath products were a nice luxurious touch, and the towels were soft and fluffy.

Our balcony was fairly large with room for a good-sized table, 2 arm chairs and 2 cushioned lounge chairs. Though the view from our balcony was very nice, it was somewhat obstructed by the foliage such that we couldnít really see the sunset. This wasnít too big a problem because we had a great view of the sunset from the tower at the top of the Pond Bay House, and from the beautiful terrace lounge at the bottom Ė both of which we had practically to ourselves the entire stay. I think the Oceanview rooms to the right of the terrace lounge (#39 and up) probably have better sunset views from their balconies.

The only major problem we had with the room was on our 2nd day there. The electricity and the water kept shutting down periodically while we were trying to get ready in the morning. We called the front desk, and found out that the entire island had no electricity. While this was off-putting, they did fix it by the time we returned from breakfast.
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 12:13 PM
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Weather/Mosquitoes: The weather was absolutely perfect the entire time we were there Ė sunny, mid 80s during the day, mid 70s at night, and constant trade winds blowing. And we had no problems with mosquitoes. They spray for bugs, and I saw some of those carbon monoxide mosquito traps in the bushes. I didnít wear any bug repellant, and got only 1 bite the entire time. My husband and son never got bitten.

Beach: The beach at Jumby is beautiful with nice soft sand, clear aqua blue water, lots of palm trees, nice lounge chairs and large palapas that provided adequate shade from the sun. And the hammocks between the palm trees were nice for an afternoon nap. We spent most of our time on the beach and loved it. The beach service was quite good, providing plenty of water and ice, and the frozen tropical drinks from the bar were great. We only saw 1 starfish the whole time, but then we didnít go snorkeling. My son was perfectly content to sit at the waterís edge with his sand toys, splash around in the water, and collect sea shells. The issue of the planes flying overhead was not a big deal for us. Yes, it can be loud and distracting, but it didnít happen often and after the first day we barely noticed it.

Service: Service at Jumby is excellent, albeit more laid back then what Iím used to being from the East Coast. What really sets Jumby apart is the kindness and graciousness of its staff. There was a deliberate effort to make everyone feel welcomed and comfortable. And they were particularly welcoming to my son. After the first day it seemed everyone knew his name and doted on him. There were some occasional lapses in service, but this was probably due to the fact that they were booked up. On one occasion, we waited over half-an-hour to be picked-up by a golf cart for dinner at the Estate House, even though we were it told it would only be 10 minutes. The next evening they were there within a few minutes of us calling.

Kids: This is a very child-friendly resort, and there were lots of children there at the same time as us, ranging from infants to teenagers. This was probably due to the timing being around Spring Break, so maybe there arenít as many kids during high-season. I think itís a great place for families, but also can be very romantic for couples and honeymooners. Btw, I noticed that the staff was very good at ďmanagingĒ some of the children when parents werenít around or werenít keeping their children in line.

Grounds: The resortís landscaping is beautiful. Even though the grass is not very green, due to the fact that it doesnít rain much on the island, Jumby does a nice job of filling the grounds with lovely plants, vines, flowers, and palm trees. We loved biking around the island during the day, and walking on the torch lit paths under the stars at night. And the views from the Verandah at breakfast and lunch were stunning.

Massage: I highly recommend getting the Chinese point massage from Su Hua. I had never tried one before, and found it to be both relaxing and energizing at the same time. She really works some magic with those hands, and it was very different from any other massage Iíve ever had.

Bottom-line: I would return to Jumby again, but probably not before Iíve tried a few other resorts on my wish list like Cap Juluca and Four Seasons Nevis. Jumby is a beautiful resort that really caters to everyone, and a great place to unwind and be pampered.
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 12:18 PM
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Topping, so folks don't get confused by my other accidental message.
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 02:43 PM
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What a great report! You were dead on in your assessment, and it sounds like your room was wonderful and cool.
Thanks MLT.
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 08:49 PM
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Thanks island1856. I enjoyed writing the report; it helped consolidate my memory of the trip. I'm already thinking about the next vacation.

From reading some of your posts, I see you've visited some of the best resorts in the Caribbean with your family. Do you have a favorite place? Which did you find to be the most family-friendly?

Thanks,
MLT
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Old Apr 12th, 2005, 07:41 AM
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I'd have to say our favorite has been Anguilla - Cap Juluca for the location of the room, and Mali for its general warmth and laid back elegance. With kids, both are good depending on when you go and how old they are. During holiday weeks (we always go during spring break) CJ has a kids' club that works well for the 7 and under set. For the 7 to 11 year old crowd, Mali's pirate ship playground is super. Let me just say though, we've never been disappointed with any of the high-end resorts we've tried. The Four Seasons in Nevis was my least favorite, but they have a great teen recreation center that probbably works well with older kids.

Let me know where you go next!
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Old Apr 12th, 2005, 11:49 AM
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I'm not sure when we'll be going to the Caribbean again, as I'm hoping our next big trip will be to Europe. But
the next time we visit the Caribbean (probably in April timeframe again), I'm leaning towards Anguilla and staying at Cap Juluca.

If we decide to go for a longer stay, we may try Frangipani's 7 nights Sun, Sea and Sand package which sound like a great deal. When traveling with our son, I like the idea of the one bedroom suite with use of full kitchen and laundry facilities especially for longer stays. But I'd definitely want to stay at least a few nights at Cap as well.

Have you had any experience with Frangipani? I know it's not at the same level at Cap, Jumby and other deluxe resorts, but it looks quite nice and seems like it would better suit our needs for a longer stay.
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Old Apr 12th, 2005, 05:17 PM
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MLT,
Great trip report! Thanks for sharing...it made me feel like I was "there" again (we still miss the Belgian waffles and fries with garlic aioli). You captured Jumby Bay with your detailed descriptions and it was a joy to read.

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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 07:14 AM
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MLT: We haven't stayed at Frangipani, but I think you might find info on the Anguilla forum.
Next year we may forego the Caribbean altogether for Europe because we will need to be in France on business at the time we normally like to be in a warm place, so we may take the kids and try for some culture (I'm feeling cold just thinking about it!)
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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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I hear you about the cold weather in France around March/April. It can be quite unpredictable at that time of year. But I'm sure you and your family will have a great time in any case.

Ideally, we would like to take a Caribbean vacation in early Spring and a European trip in Summer or Fall every year. Don't know if we can manage that right now, but it's our ultimate goal.


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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 06:48 AM
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MLT, what a wonderful trip report! I am glad I could be of help, so thank you for your kind praise!

I have seen room 38, its a great location. I love the Pond House, the open air sitting area is stunning.

You described the food and service so well. The staff make the whole Jumby experience a special place. Many of them have been there for years, plus the new additions really compliment the team~

I agree with you about the breakfast fruit. In early December I thought the selection was much better than our recent trip in Febuary!

Just got back from 10 nights at Cap Juluca, the hotel just gets better and better. Again the Anguilla restaurants
are always a treat.

I have never stayed at Frangipani, but I have seen the 2 bedroom suite. Its very very nice. Howard is the poster
that stays there all the time, so he can answer your questions. We did have a delightful lunch at their Ocean Terrace this week. Lovely beach, nice ambiance-very quiet.
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 11:38 AM
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Welcome back Penny! Glad you had a nice time. I can't wait to try out Cap Juluca. I won't go all the way to Anguilla and miss it, even if we do stay at Frangipani for the majority of the time.

I've seen some of the posts from Howard on Frangipani, and that's what got my interest. I'll definitely be asking for his advice (and that of other experts like yourself) when the time comes for planning our trip to Anguilla.
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 01:11 PM
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MLT ... thanks for your great trip report. We're going to Jumby for our honeymoon on May 7th...and we're very excited! Thanks again for being so very detailed!

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Old Apr 16th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Rtramontana -- Congrats on your upcoming marriage! Hope you have a great time on your honeymoon, and glad you found the trip report helpful.

Jumby is a very romantic place, and it's worry-free (perfect after the stress of the wedding). Btw, the staff told me that the weather in May is very similar to April. So if my trip was any indication of typical weather for this time of year, you should expect beautiful weather during your stay.

Bon Voyage!
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Old Apr 25th, 2005, 06:25 AM
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Thanks, MLT. We actually got married last year in June ... but we were "expecting" (unexpectedly) ...lol... so we decided to postpone our honeymoon until this year. So .. no stress from our wedding .... although we will be leaving our 7 month old teething baby with Nana for 7 days ... heehee. Thanks again....we're looking forward to our visit in 2 weeks!
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