At Beaches Negril you will find all the pleasures you need for an amazing vacation whether you are traveling with the family, friends or if its just you and your hubby. From exemplary staff and great food to a white-sand beach and clear blue ocean what more you could ask for? The beautiful resort in Negril, Jamaica hosted a recent bloggers conference, Social Media on the Sand, where I can honestly say I spent the most fun 4 days I had in a long time. The conference provided an opportunity for me to learn more about blogging, the Sandals Foundation, meet other bloggers and reconnect with my hubby!
It had been 12 years since my hubby and I traveled just the two of us and believe it or not the prior trip was also to Jamaica so it was definitely meant to be! I was ecstatic to receive the invitation to Social Media on the Sand. I know I have a lot to learn as a blogger and I thought this would be an incredible opportunity to do so while also being surrounded by other bloggers for 3-4 days.
The trip from Atlanta to Jamaica was pretty easy. It included a 1 1/2 hour flight to Montego Bay followed by a 1 1/2 hour informative shuttle ride to the Beaches resort. We were hungry and thirsty when we arrived and being greeted by a double line of smiling hotel employees waving colorful fans put us immediately at ease. A buffet of finger foods was waiting with an open bar. I won’t go into every detail but let’s just say that the pampering doesn’t stop here. The staff at Beaches continued to exceed expectations as they went above and beyond to ensure we were having the perfect vacation. Bartenders have a list of their popular drinks but will put together your favorite too! Let’s just say there are 6 full-service bars, 9 restaurants, 3 pools and 2 swim up bars, land and water sports, Snuba and Scuba diving and more! You can stay as busy or as relaxed as you want. Enjoy Jamaica’s famous jerk chicken and tasty island fruit (I love Papaya!), sushi, Italian fare, crepes, Mexican, barbeque …..the list goes on!
I will admit to having a preference to white sand beaches and the beach at the resort did not disappoint. Just to relax by the ocean (kidless) was all I had been dreaming about for months. Beaches Resorts is a designed as a family destination. Kids splashing in the water and enjoying Disney characters at breakfast was fun to watch and I did not find annoying at all. Families have the option for their kids to attend a supervised camp while they have some one on one time. Kids can be even more entertained in the XBox play lounge or the Teens Only game room. Evenings are filled with Jamaican style entertainment that is fun for all ages.
Over the next few days, we indulged in all the wonderful drink and food we could imagine (Dirty Banana drink was my favorite island drink), attended conferences and had ample down time to spend with our family. My husband tried Snuba which is a new water-sport offered (a cross between Scuba and Snorkeling). Bloggers had a chance to learn how to concoct island drinks, sailing techniques, skincare regimen/Red Lane products, and how to play the drums the Jamaican way. For many (including myself), the most memorable activity was the Reading Road Trip where we had a chance to visit a local school and help students make letters for those affected by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. We each Packed for a Purpose and brought much needed supplies with us to present to the schools. My luggage was heavier on the way down with school supplies and games than it was with clothes! “The Sandals Foundation represents a way for Sandals and Beaches to give back to their community through initiatives that support, uplift and improve the lives of the Caribbean people.” The Sandals Foundation provides a safe space for kids in underprivileged communities and has helped over 300 kids this year in Jamaica. They have partnered with School Specialty in the Pack for a Purpose program and providing much needed school supplies to schools like the one I recently visited (Mt Airy Elementary School). You can help those affected by the hurricane (especially in Haiti and the Bahamas) by donating at GoFundMe.com/beachesmoms. “Over the next twelve months, School Specialty has committed its support to students and teachers in The Islands with a donation of educational supplies valued at $150,000. The Sandals Foundation and School Specialty partnership was announced at Social Media On the Sand at Beaches Negril on October 26-30, which was attended by a number of special guests including event sponsors and influential media bloggers, who sought to sharpen their social media skills with immersive and empowering sessions.”
The conference taught me better ways to communicate with my audience and that we all can learn from one another. There are so many ways to give back globally and we have the opportunity to choose which ones touch our hearts the most. I encourage you to learn more about the Sandals Foundation (I cant wait to tell you more about Samantha and Gabrielle) before and after you visit Beaches Negril! I returned home to our kids with an even more intact marriage, blogger acquaintances and a beautiful knowledge of the Caribbean people I had not known before.