Experience Oyster Bay Excellence |  TravelPulse

Experience Oyster Bay Excellence | TravelPulse

Experience Oyster Bay Excellence |  TravelPulse

A trip to Excellence Oyster Bay in Jamaica was kicked off with a cold towel and a glass of champagne upon arrival. Conroy, the hotel rep, then said, “Welcome home.”

Often it’s not what you say that counts, but how you say it. Conroy’s lyrics were genuine and compelling, more of a selling point than your top car salesman.

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In Conroy’s words, Jamaica felt like home. It took less than 30 seconds.

For anyone wishing to take a trip to the beautiful island, know that there are very few choices among Jamaica’s 14 parishes that would be considered a poor choice. And if you’re looking for a vacation spot that might sound like “Fantasy Island” in your mind, look no further than Excellence Oyster Bay.

A look out the window of the plane entering Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay is a stunning sight. From the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean to the general landscape surrounding Saint James Parish, calling Montego Bay “aesthetically pleasing” is an understatement. Adding Excellence Oyster Bay — a private all-inclusive peninsula about 30 minutes away, near the Falmouth cruise port — to that scenery is a proverbial icing on the cake that some may not be ready for.

Think of Excellence as a tropical getaway without the shenanigans of college fraternity. You won’t find any eyesores like unnecessary trash in the areas or discarded liquor cans or bottles in the grass. The property prides itself on being clean and, while not officially classified as “upscale”, very upscale. This is a resort that gives you the respectable Caribbean experience without the permitted natures of those who don’t value cleanliness.

Excellence Oyster Bay is one of five Excellence resorts. There are two resorts in Mexico and two more in the Dominican Republic. Led by Managing Director Antonio Madrid, Excellence Oyster Bay has bounced back well after a period when COVID-19 played a significant role in its overall growth.

“We opened here in 2018,” Madrid said. “We tried to adapt the company culture to the country to grow our idea here in Jamaica. Then suddenly COVID hit. We were closed for 15 months, and we didn’t know what was going to happen, if we were going to lose everything.

“But we came back stronger than ever. We have great occupancy and a good rate. It’s all working and we have a future in Jamaica. The country is ready to continue to grow and build on the hotel.”

Rooms

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Excellence Oyster Bay Hotel Room (Photo via Jennifer Sayles)

Described as a “Victorian paradise”, the Excellence Oyster Bay offers world-class accommodation and high-level luxury. The rooms are comfortable yet relaxing. Each junior suite located on the ground floor includes its own hot tub, infinity pool and day bed.

The rooms have king-size beds and well-stocked mini-fridges. As this is an all inclusive holiday, everything in the fridge is free. The liquor above the fridge – Jamaican rum and vodka during my stay – is also yours if you wish.

There are 315 suites on the property. There are also beach villas that can be acquired. Guests receive 24-hour room service on groceries. And speaking of food…

Food

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Excellence Oyster Bay (Photo via Jennifer Sayles)

When you think of Jamaica, you think of exotic cuisine. Perfectly seasoned jerk chicken. Goat curry. Oxtails. Pork ribs. A Red Stripe beer to wash it all down. And, of course, the finest Jamaican rums – the key ingredient to the best rum punch in the world.

Excellence did not disappoint with its menu variety. If anything, the resort exceeded our expectations. Excellence offers 10 on-site restaurants, including Caribbean Grove (authentic Jamaican cuisine and rum), The Lobster House (chic seafood restaurant), and Spice (Asian teppanyaki).

As mentioned above, the Excellence offers 24-hour room service. You can order anything on the menu at any time and have it at your doorstep in minutes – usually with the smile of a restaurant attendant.

Entertainment

Those who visit Excellence Oyster Bay are more than willing to venture off the property. However, those who choose to stay at Excellence will be treated to a fabulous show every day. While I was there, Monday included an international gala featuring 10 dancers doing routines from multiple countries around the world. Tuesday was a tribute to Bob Marley and Wednesday was a tribute to Michael Jackson. Wednesday also featured a silent party, where three DJs played music for revelers wearing headphones and selecting which DJ they wanted to listen to.

Daily activities for guests include yoga on the beach, a cooking class, and beach games in the morning, and water games and beach volleyball in the afternoon. Hydrotherapy and spa treatments are also available if you feel like pampering yourself. The hydrotherapy – which includes cold bath dives incorporated into sauna sessions – is an experience everyone should have at least once. The staff masseuses are some of the best I have had.

There are also several excursion possibilities available with Excellence. I took a bike ride in and around the property (about a two mile hike). I also visited the captivating “Luminous Lagoon”, a night boat ride that will make you fall in love with what nature has to offer without explanation. A tour with Glistening Waters takes you into a lagoon that, according to the website, “is home to microscopic organisms that emit bioluminescent light when agitated.” In short, water glows at night because organisms light up the surroundings. It’s something that’s fascinating – and addicting – to watch.

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Excellence Oyster Bay (Photo via Jennifer Sayles)

The people

With all that I have experienced at Excellence Oyster Bay, none of it would have been memorable without the people who worked on the property and drove me to and from the property. My first driver, Sloane, was the first to admit that Jamaicans are kind and welcoming, but brutally honest with their verbiage. In many ways, this combination is why Jamaicans are among the greatest people on the planet.

As I prepared to leave the property, I had one last rum punch. The bartender gathered everyone – complete strangers – to toast. It was as sincere and good-faith a toast as I have ever heard, one that made it really hard for me to leave the island.

It is easy to fall in love with the good nature of Jamaican culture. The warmth from the staff members is something you don’t get anywhere else in the world. Very hard to explain in full, but something of an “a-ha!” when you experience it in person. It’s an inviting atmosphere that guarantees you a return on the spot.

Excellence Oyster Bay was one of the best trips I have ever taken. For a relatively new resort, it has built a reputation for quality in a short time.

There is a level of class and professionalism that goes perfectly with the good-humored coasts of the attendants. The executives were welcoming and listened to every question. It was a first class experience from start to finish.

“Jamaicans realize how important tourism is. They are really excited and really value our customers,” Madrid said. “They are really ready to enjoy the customers and our guests. I invite everyone to come and enjoy Jamaica and its culture.

“Here, it’s a different atmosphere from the rest of the Caribbean.”

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