On Location: Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa

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Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & SpaYou know it’s an experience that incentive qualifiers will never forget when the accommodations are so fabulous that they don’t want to leave their rooms. That was the case during my recent stay in one of the Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa‘s new oceanfront junior plunge pool suites.

The suites’ infinity plunge pools at Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa are nothing less than divine, set on a bluff above the Caribbean facing north, making for spectacular sunrises and sunsets. It became my obsession to capture the perfect photo, in just the right light, to do justice to the juxtaposition of the peaceful water at the infinity pool’s edge and the crashing waves beyond. 

 The resort just added 48 of these suites earlier this year—40 oceanfront superior junior suites with private pools and 8 oceanfront superior suites with private pools. The 8 superior suites are the largest in the resort, with 161-sq.-ft. pools and outdoor terraces, as well as private living rooms with balconies. 

This English Colonial-style Grand Palladium Jamaica is also coming off a fresh $27.5 million renovation of all existing rooms, which are set in low-rise villas. Serene colors mimic the sand and sea, while appointments such as ceiling fans, jacuzzi tubs, and woven rattan décor lend an air of unpretentious elegance. The resort has also refurbished its two lobbies and ballroom; the Infinity Saloon Bar, which hosts live entertainment; and the MoBay buffet restaurant, which increased its capacity. 

The all-inclusive resort actually has two sides—Grand Palladium Jamaica and Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton. The flow between them is seamless, and guests can move freely from one side to the other. They also share restaurants and amenities, including the main pool (said to be the largest in the Caribbean), kids club and waterpark, Zentropia Palladium Spa & Wellness Center, and Sunset Cove, a sandy beach that’s the perfect spot to catch the sunset.   

Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa

In total, there are 1,054 rooms, 10 restaurants (a mix of buffet and a la carte) and 5 themed bars—which means a guest could basically dine in a different restaurant every night. The Jamaican restaurant, Xaymaica, is a must-do, with specialties such as braised oxtail, spicy curry goat and coffee rube crusted beef, topped off with sweet potato pudding or pineapple upside down cake for dessert. The coconut dinner rolls are simply unforgettable—pillows of soft dough with just a hint of sweetness.

The resort’s location in Lucea, halfway between downtown Montego Bay and Negril, means that guests can experience both of these island destinations within a half-hour’s drive. Merricka Dyer Cunningham, sales manager, says a huge plus for the resort is its rural location. “We are located in such an underdeveloped area—Lucea is considered ‘the country’ in Jamaica. There’s farming and fishing, small schools, and community centers. There are people who were born in Lucea who have never left. Yes, there’s golf down the road at The Tryall Club, and there are curated excursions, but guests can become immersed in the local culture here.” Friday night is Jamaica Night, and local craft vendors set up to sell their wares. 

Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & SpaThere’s also a charming authenticity to the service this writer experienced. Staff members frequently strike up conversations, ask questions and happily share their personal stories. Their interest is genuine. “Of our 1,600 staff members, almost all are Jamaican,” Dyer Cunningham says. “What I love about the service is that our staff is encouraged to be themselves. They will tell you their real and true experience.”


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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.