THE BEACHFRONT HONEYMOON swim-up suites have wrap-around balconies and are located in both the adults or multigenerational sections, directly in front of the beach.
Azul Sensatori Jamaica, set on Negril’s famous Seven Mile Beach, is the result of a complete refurbishment of the former Beaches Sandy Bay resort. After a $20 million investment, which included a total gutting, the resort now sports two sections, one for families, and the other for couples.
The 54 luxury rooms and suites in the adults-only section have king-size beds, views of Seven Mile Beach and the Caribbean, plus daybeds for lounging on the balcony or terrace. Tip: This section also has one oceanfront pool with a swim-up bar, which becomes a lounge in the evening.
The multigenerational section is divided into 82 rooms and suites with either two double beds or one king-size bed. Accommodations here also afford beach and sea views. Note: The section is dubbed, “multigenerational,” so as not to alienate the single-parent market, a demographic the hotel expects to see a lot of.
We stayed in Room No. 6306, an Ocean View Deluxe Swim-Up room. There are 64 of these distributed in both the adults and multigenerational sections. The best part of our room was the balcony, which offered both ocean and pool views, and enough space to fit at least three people. We loved that the air conditioners can be operated using a remote control and that in-room safes are large enough to fit a laptop computer. Nice Touch: All rooms have rain showers with strong pressure.
We say the top rooms here are the Beachfront Honeymoon Suites, with wrap-around balconies, king-size beds and separate sitting areas and bathrooms with his-and-her sinks. A-listers can step right into a lazy river that crosses in front of the suites and connects to the section’s swim-up bar. Cool Touch: All of the tiles in the pools in front of the swim-up suites are fluorescent and light up at night. There are only four of these suites, so luxury travel advisors should book these for clients at least six months in advance.
To make any special in-room arrangements for VIPs, advisors can contact Reservations Manager Nicola Roberts ([email protected]).
We felt the Kids Club is also noteworthy; it’s set outdoors and has a sheltered area if they feel the need for some shade. Children aged four and older are allowed at the Kids Club without their parents, while younger ones need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Babysitting services are also available.
Hint: Kool Runnings Adventure Park, the popular waterpark and activity center in Negril, is located directly across the street from the resort. Through a partnership with Karisma, the park offers guests at the hotel heavily discounted rates; they can also leave and re-enter the park if they want to head back to Azul for a meal.
Vassa Spa has nine treatment rooms, including a couples suite. Unique experience has been created for younger VIPs, so all family members can enjoy the spa. For example, the Pink Treatment welcomes little girls to a room screaming pink, from the beds and walls to the rose-colored (non-alcoholic) beverage. They enjoy a relaxing massage as their hands and feet are pampered with the hotel’s special Pink collection, with red fruits and gum scents for manicures and pedicures.
Hint: For brides, the hotel offers the privacy of a Wedding Spa Suite for the day and the only fee is for the actual treatments.
Advisors looking to make special arrangements for brides-to-be should reach out to Spa Manager Raymund Myers ([email protected]).
Getting There: Fly into Montego Bay and then get a transfer to Negril, a roughly 90-minute drive. Tip: The best way to get there is with Errol Flynn Tours. Ask for Errol Cox ([email protected]), the owner, who will offer VIP transfers for an extra fee. We were picked up in a luxury SUV, which makes for a smooth drive. That’s important since most roads in Jamaica can be very bumpy. Nice Touch: Cox also provides passengers with a cooler full of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages and is also full of knowledge about Negril.
Our favorite restaurant at the Gourmet Inclusive Azul Sensatori Jamaica was Di Romagna for Italian food. It opens at 6 p.m. and we suggest getting there by 7 p.m. as it was packed by 8 p.m. during our visit. An early arrival also almost guarantees a spot at one of the three booths near the window, offering sweeping views of the ocean. Those seats lose some of their appeal past 8 p.m., when it’s too dark to see anything outside.
Pictured: KARISMA'S 136-room Azul Sensatori Hotel brings together spacious facilities, offering a number of services.
Our favorite spot for lunch was the Garfield Beach House, which serves Mediterranean cuisine. Here, we ate perhaps the best mussels (served in a delicious cream sauce) we’ve ever had in the Caribbean. Note: The resort has a partnership with Kendall-Jackson wine, so expect to see their vintages on the menu.
For breakfast, Palms restaurant on the first level near the pool on the multigenerational side is great for a quick bite. But we suggest Ackee instead, simply because it’s located on the other side of the resort and therefore serves as a sort of a hidden secret. Chances are you’ll have the place to yourself while enjoying views of the Caribbean Sea.
Luxury travel advisors looking to make special dinner arrangements for VIPs should contact Food and Beverage Manager Daniele Galligani ([email protected]).
The Nesta Rasta Lounge is another cool hangout here. It is set in the fashion of an old rumba bar and offers roughly 30 different types of rum from all over the Caribbean. There is also live music around 10 p.m., just about every night.
Advisors looking to make any other special requests,contact the resort’s General Manager Mario Chavez ([email protected]hoteljamaica.com).
“The number one thing to point out is that the Karisma brand is ‘gourmet inclusive’, not just all-inclusive,” says Emily Fisher, a travel consultant and executive sales agent for VIP Vacations. “This doesn’t mean that clients have to dress any fancier every night, it just means that the brand strongly focuses on its food and that includes taste and presentation,” says Fisher. “The other thing I make sure to mention to families looking for a great vacation is that Karisma has an incredible partnership with Fisher Price and Little People. The Azul resorts actually have a toy-lending program in place, where little ones can look at a toy menu during check in, and they can choose which toys they would like in their room. And for families traveling with real little ones, the Karisma brand makes it very easy by having a wide variety of baby products [like strollers] available for use, making packing a bit more light for parents and a lot less stressful.”