I thoroughly enjoyed my 3-day, 3-parish birthday staycation in the previous year, so much so that I opted to do a similar celebration this year! At 3:00pm, check-in time commences at SeaGarden Beach resort. After reading and signing the necessary documents, you’ll be promptly greeted by a smiling baggage handler and refreshing glasses of rum punch. Front desk attendants will then present room keys after giving a quick synopsis of the available activities on and around the property. The baggage handler, who won’t allow you to lift a finger, will escort you to your room. We stayed in a standard room furnished with a decorated king-sized bed, television, air conditioning, double night stands and lamps, and full bathroom.
A quick walk around the property will reveal a swimming pool with adjoining snack and drink bars, an elegant water fountain, two restaurants, a piano bar, entertainment room, discotheque, and gym. A white sand beach with gazebos, lounge chairs, and teal waves is a short walk directly across the street.
The hours can roll by as gently as the waves do while you indulge at the beach bar & grill admiring the gradient evening sky. Before we knew it, it was 7pm which meant the beginning of buffet-style dinner in the main restaurant. The wide food selection may leave your mouth willing, but heart (or stomach) weak; we found ourselves eating less than we desired but more than we could manage at a time. After dinner on the first night, we enjoyed an entertainment segment by the poolside, filled with colourful acts.
Birthday Dinner at SeaGarden Resort
Unfortunately, rain revealed a leak in the window sill, which instigated an unexpected yet welcomed room change for us on the second night. A warm shower and quick shampoo after a full day of activities cut in on the time to visit the Piano Bar, which is only open on select days. The Jasmine restaurant downstairs laid a different selection of meals from the previous night. Polite staff members wished me a happy birthday as a waiter escorted to an available table of choice. Cocktails were served with dinner, followed by a small cake with cursive ‘Happy Birthday’ chocolate writing on its plate. My partner & I shared 3 slices, and requested to have the remaining 3 wrapped in foil. These were shared with the 3 employees who enhanced the overall experience: Shandar, Julie (front desk), and Henry (reservations).
After midday checkout, you still have access to the property’s facilities until 2pm if desired. With other plans brewing that day, we unfortunately couldn’t hang around that long.
Night Out at Pier 1
Driving along the Hip Strip on a Friday night will hint at numerous lymes and bar parties as music pulsates with each passing building. Persons can be seen taking a nightly swim in the public Buccaneer Beach. Vendors of many kinds are spotted along the stretch with products arrayed on their carts. No doubt about it though, Pier 1 seems to be the Friday night hot spot, drawing a great crowd from as early as 10:30pm (in Jamaica, that’s early). I rang in my birthday by dancing to a barrage of dancehall and hip hop musical selections with lively patrons. The party by the marina apparently raves until the wee hours of the morning, left in full swing around 3:30AM.
Seven Mile Beach
The next morning, the breakfast buffet at SeaGarden Resort presented a selection of local as well as American-style morning dishes. After eating, we headed out to the second destination of the weekend: Negril, Westmoreland. Walk in the sun on one of Jamaica’s most popular beaches, Seven Mile beach, and observe many beach-front resorts populating the area. September is considered one of the less busy tourist periods for the year, which probably explained the unusual low activity at the time. During the walk we were amused by a man, wrapped in wires, cables, and telephone receivers who ‘rang’ as persons passed by. He informed them that “Jamaica is calling” before breaking out into song if a patron chose to answer the line. Numerous locals can be found along the shores selling hand-made jewelry, apparel, crafts, marijuana, and water sport activities such as parasailing, snorkeling, and glass bottom boat tours.
You can walk in shallow water for a few metres before it becomes deep enough to submerge yourself in the warm sea. Some of the swimming areas left me disappointed due to the obvious increase in seaweed since my last extended visit some time ago.
The highlight of the beach that day was at Margaritaville, where the party came alive! Kids and adults alike swam in the clear waters under the afternoon sun, taking turns bouncing on a trampoline in the sea. A lively host with an equally vivacious crew of dj and dancers attracted most persons from the water with an entertaining show. Patrons could enjoy free rum punch shots, group dances, and watching as entertainment raved on. A number of persons, myself included, were coaxed into the centre circle to show off moves; the vibe never dwindled. Even a little rain wasn’t enough to stall the party, it was surely 5 o’clock somewhere.
This Margaritaville seemed much livelier than the MoBay location at the time. The hip strip venue had smaller crowds when visited; the main pull being the waterslide which spat you out into the Caribbean Sea.
About 45 minutes away in Trelawny, follow the signs to Chukka Adventures, Good Hope for thrill-seeking good time. Their long waterslide starts in darkness then opens up to a view of the sky and trees before plunging you into a pool. The pool will lead to stepping boulders acting as a path to a large waterfall fountain. You get a great view of this section and more whizzing through the air via the zipline adventure. 5 sets of steel cables 1000ft in length fly above the famous Martha Brae River and its surrounding greenery. Subscribe to the YouTube channel for a first look at views from the zipline!
Due to rain that day, the tours were delayed for some time, so zipline and pool area were the only activities we had time to experience before leaving. Other activities offered on-site included ATVs, mud buggies, river tubing, Plantation Great House tour, obstacle course, and bird aviary. I would love to go back and enjoy a full [rain-free] day, but it was time to head home. Another great birthday recorded.
- Room 80%
- Affordability 75%
- Staff Interactions 100%
- Food 70%