As many of you know, we took our kids to Montego Bay, Jamaica for Spring Break 2015. We had such a great time and loved the resort so much, that we went again for Spring Break in 2016 and 2017!
We now stayed 3 times at the Holiday Inn All-Inclusive Resort, in Montego Bay. This is an all-inclusive property located just 15 minutes from the airport.
The best part is, we pay for almost all of our trips here with points and miles. Here are the details:
Getting to Jamaica for Free
Using points from two Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier cards, we paid around 20,000 points plus $90 in government-mandated taxes and fees per round-trip flight from Indianapolis to Montego Bay. Each of us also had the Southwest Companion Pass, which meant that our kid’s flights cost zero points. Nothing. Nada.
Meanwhile, we used points from two separate IHG® Rewards Club Select credit cards to book our rooms. Normally, this resort is about 35,000 points per night, but we opted to use their “points and cash” option for 25,000 points plus $70 per night. This allowed us to book six nights for 150,000 points and $420 – a sum we paid for using cash-back from one of our Capital One Spark Business credit cards. Pretty sweet deal considering this is an all-inclusive resort with meals and drinks included! Learn more about all of these cards below.
Side note: Interested in planning this exact trip? Contact my through my free rewards advice page for details!
Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort, Montego Bay: First Impressions
Although Holiday Inns aren’t necessarily known for luxury, the Holiday Inn All-Inclusive Resort, Montego Bay is actually quite nice. Since we arrived around noon and our room wasn’t ready yet, we built our first impression based on a self-guided tour of the grounds.
Everywhere you go, the workers are busy tending to gardens, sweeping walkways, painting, and cleaning. The entire grounds are truly immaculate, and the beaches are breathtaking.
Once 3:00 rolled around and our room was ready, we were pleasantly surprised to find that we had been upgraded to an oceanfront one-bedroom suite. This meant that my kids had to sleep on a fold-out couch, but it also meant that we would be able to sleep in separate rooms. If you have ever vacationed with small children, you know just how valuable that can be! Here is the view from our room the first day:
One thing we really liked about this resort was the fact that it was so kid-friendly, especially when it came to their beach and pools. The main beach, for example, sat across from a small, private island that completely blocked all waves from coming in. As a result, the water right off the beach acted like a warm, Caribbean bath tub with no waves of any kind. My kids loved it and the lack of waves made it easy for them to look for shells and get around.
The beach was also very shallow, which made it safer for little ones. However, the adult beach on the other end of the resort had some deeper waters for those who want to swim. And when it came to pools, this resort had plenty to offer as well. In addition to a main pool right near the main beach and private island, the adult side of the resort had a private, adults-only pool with a swim-up bar. Here’s a picture of the main beach and private island from our balcony:
The Food and Drinks
The cool thing about all-inclusive resorts is that all of your meals and drinks, even alcohol, are included. The downside to that is that the food isn’t always the greatest. However, after visiting all-inclusive resorts in several islands across the Caribbean, I can honestly say that this resort had some of the best food I have ever eaten at this type of resort. Some highlights:
- The Barefoot Grill, which sat directly on the beach, served hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fried fish, veggie burgers, and grilled cheese with fries during daytime hours. As a vegetarian, it was nice to see veggie burgers on the menu.
- A small snack shack, called Just Kiddin’ served ice cream cones, nachos, and popcorn during daytime hours.
- Everyone we talked to raved about the Jerk Hut on the beach, which served jerk chicken and homemade bread and rolls. It looked good, but we didn’t have any.
- This resort serves Red Stripe beer and any kind of mixed drink you can dream up, including some wicked-strong Rum Punch.
- The resort has several sit-down restaurants with evening hours, including a Jamaican restaurant, an Italian restaurant, a Japanese restaurant, and a big buffet. All of the food I had was pretty good.
We loved the resort and the food, but there were a few other perks that made this property an excellent bargain – even if we had paid for it! First of all, being a Platinum member with IHG, we were offered two free 30-minute massages upon check-in. We drank too much beer and got too lazy to take advantage of them, but it was certainly a nice perk!
Second, there were a ton of activities for kids, including a kid’s club. The kid’s club was open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day, and was completely free. We didn’t leave our kids there all day, but instead dropped them off each morning for an hour so we could get all of our stuff set up down at the beach. That gave them time to do one of the planned activities that the club had set up each day – things like painting, feeding fish, and playing tag.
In addition to the free kid’s club, the resort also had free non-motorized watersports. We did kayaks one day, but we never made it around to using the paddle boats. We did go out on a hobie cat, which was super fun for the kids. Meanwhile, snorkeling around the private island was great. While snorkeling with my daughter, I saw large crabs and plenty of tropical fish. What made it really nice was the fact that the snorkeling area was only waist deep.
The Bottom Line
Once we left the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort, Montego Bay, I knew we would be back. In fact, we are already planning a return trip for Spring Break 2016. It was such a perfect place to bring the kids, and we can’t wait to experience the whole thing one more time.
The food was good, the resort was beautiful, and beaches were out of this world. And believe me, I have seen a lot of beautiful beaches over the years. I really liked the way this resort was set up, and the private island pushed it over the edge. The fact that I could fly there on Southwest Rapid Rewards® points and stay at the resort with IHG points was just icing on the cake.
Want help planning the same trip? Please contact me at our Free Travel Advice Page!
- 11 Easy Ways to Save Money on Flights
- Chase Ultimate Rewards: Complete Guide for 2016
- Best Credit Card Rewards Offers for 2016
- Best Travel Cards 2016
- 8 Cheap and Beautiful Travel Destinations