It’s a moment every parent dreams of. The kids were with Grandma, and we’re on a balcony at Zoetry Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, glasses of sparkling wine in hand, looking at a shade of turquoise that the Caribbean Sea does oh-so-well. As I breathed in the warm, tropical air, I turned to my life partner of 20 years, looked into his eyes, clinked our glasses and said:
“I wonder what the kids are up to?”
Not quite the most romantic first thoughts for our parent getaway, but we’re out of practice. After some texts and a quick call, we’re reassured that all was well on the home front, and we returned to the view on the balcony, which just happened to have a Jacuzzi tub on it.
“Let’s just stay on the balcony a little longer, shall we? And maybe, well, we could…”
Of course, there’s also what every parent fantasizes about doing on their kid-free vacation – absolutely nothing.
Nothing was something we were able to do well before kids and a house, a time when an entire weekend could be whittled away with long brunches, coffees, music and drinks. But now we were rusty. Fortunately, the tranquil and luxurious Zoetry Resort was the ideal place to relearn this lost skill.
“Welcome home,” said a staff memeber when we checked in, handing us a cool cloth and a welcome drink. And then she told us about the 24-hour room service, inclusive laundry, and a mini-bar that restocked twice daily. We were well on our way to a state of idleness.
And we found plenty of other nooks and spots to perfect this unpracticed art.
There was The Cave, an aptly named lounge set under an extra-large thatched umbrella that kept us in the shade, but with a view of the sea and excellent drink service. Sun-lovers are welcome to the resort’s large pool or less covered spots on the white-sand beach, but for us rather sun-sensitive folks this ‘cave’ was ideal.
Right behind our cave was Jerky Jos, an outdoor eatery serving up chicken and pork with authentic smoky jerk spices. With its beach location, picnic tables and Bob Marley quotes, like “Love is my religion,” we found ourselves humming Bob Marley songs.
Chillin’ was starting to feel all right.
Jamaican Jerk was an island speciality I was familiar with, but I had no clue how amazing the country’s coffee was until I tried a cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain at Coca Café. Rich, smooth and sweet, it was one of the tastiest coffees I’d ever tried, and it was available 24 hours at the resort.
No cooking is standard at any all-inclusive, but at Zoetry there’s no lining up and you won’t be eating from typical resort buffets. Canoa and Coyaba serve European fusion a-la-carte cuisine with plenty of fresh seafood and some of Jamaican’s specialties. The oxtail at Coyaba was especially notable and paired well with their selection of wines and the serene ocean view. All the meals we enjoyed were served in healthy portions with plenty of organic vegetables and salads.
Our usual city rhythm of life slowed to a snail’s pace, and shoulder knots were loosening. This process was further aided by the complimentary 20-minute massage every guest receives at the resort spa. It was the real deal, with professional masseurs who expertly kneaded away any remaining body stress we had left and the outdoor Jacuzzi completed the experience.
Just two days later, we were once again sitting on the balcony with our replenished sparkling wine and fruit plate, looking out at the turquoise sea as shiny as a mirror. It hadn’t taken long to once master the art of doing nothing. I wasn’t even thinking of the kids when I turned to my partner, clinked glasses and said:
“I need to do something.”
I enjoyed our lounge lizarding, but after so many years, I didn’t have the same loafing tolerance.
Fortunately, there was plenty to do for the rest of our time.
Options on the resort included yoga, aqua aerobics, snorkeling tours and excursions to Rose Hall, a reportedly haunted Georgian mansion.
Guests at Zoetry have access to AMResorts other properties on Jamaica, including Breathless, Secrets St. James and Secrets Wild Orchard. Unlike Zoetry, which has 48 rooms, these resorts are considerably larger with more entertainment options to choose from. In fact, when we arrived at Breathless Resort we followed the music to a foam party, where bodies were moving to the pulsing beat of the DJ and rum was being very generously poured into cups. We enjoyed it on the sidelines.
Combined, these connected resorts have over a dozen restaurants and bars, including Breathless Resort’s Altitude, a roof top bar and restaurant with great views, crafted cocktails, tasty food and a fun and relaxed ambience. Later in the evening, after a delicious meal of Jamaican salted fish at Blue Mountain Restaurant, we once again followed the sound of the music, but this time it led us to the Piano Bar. The talented pianist knew every request and the audience clapped and sang along. Unlike the foam party, we joined in.
Off the resort:
Amstar Tours had all sorts of excursions to choose from, and we enjoyed this intriguing Jamaican attractions.
“It doesn’t snow in Jamaica, it glows,” said our guide on the Luminous Lagoon Tour. And the waters of the lagoon did indeed shine with a mysterious neon green when the boat moved through the water. Though it looked like special effects from a movie, it’s a totally natural, though rare phenomena, caused by microscopic organisms in the water called dinoflagellates. The more movement in the water, the more dramatic the effect; so when we jumped in and splashed around, the water was radiant with florescent shimmers.
It was a surreal sight and swimming in the warm water under the moonlit sky, I turned to my hubby and said:
“I wish the kids were here to see this!”
Air Canada operates direct flights from Toronto to Montego Bay twice daily.