by Andrea Guthmann
Size matters. If you think bigger is better, you’ll love the oceanfront Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa, 40 minutes west of the Montego Bay Airport in Lucea, Jamaica. There’s a Las Vegas quality to this hotel, from the marble floors in the lobby to the massive Grecian columns in the pool. You’ll even find slot machines in the aptly named Las Vegas Bar and Gaming Lounge. No full casino here though, as Jamaican law limits gambling. If you grow tired of slot machines, you won’t be out of luck, because there’s plenty to do, both day and night, at this massive oceanfront property.
The Grand Palladium is actually made up of two adjacent hotels — the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton and Grand Palladium Jamaica. Together, they make up Jamaica’s largest resort. The two hotels share facilities, such as the spa, fitness center and restaurants. Guests at one hotel can use any of the pools or amenities at the adjoining hotel.
They do everything BIG here. Not only is the Grand Palladium Jamaica’s largest resort, it boasts the country’s largest spa (18 treatment rooms!) and the island’s largest pool. Yes, this is truly a grand, or as the Spanish owners might call it, “grande” hotel.
You’ll find that most of the guests have come here through package tours, via companies like Apple Vacations.
Our Editor Loves
- Kid's club
- Private beach and water sports
- Nightly family-friendly entertainment
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa has over 500 rooms. Combine that with over 500 rooms at the neighboring Grand Palladium Jamaica, and this sprawling property seems like a small town. You'll find yourself referring to the posted maps during the first day or two as you get used to the property. The walks between the beaches, rooms and other facilities can be long, so guests are shuttled around the resort via golf cart trams.
All the guestooms are referred to as villas, and each has its own white leather pull-out couch. The villas are stylishly decorated in a Tommy Bahama-like casual elegance. The modern bathrooms are luxurious with Jacuzzi tubs and large, beautifully tiled showers.
There are only two room categories. The Junior Suite has a king bed or two double beds and a pull out couch. The One-Bedroom Suite has a king or two double beds in the bedroom and a pull out sofa in the spacious living room, with flat-screen cable TV's in both rooms. Both the Junior Suite and One-Bedroom Suite can sleep two adults and two kids in the bedroom, two kids on the pull out sofa and another small child in a crib, which the resort provides free of charge. Families larger than four are strongly encouraged, but not required, to book a One-Bedroom Suite. The resort does not provide bed railings for small children.
All rooms come with air conditioning, cable TV, a refrigerator, phone, safety deposit box, coffee maker, iron and ironing board, hair dryer and plush robes.
One room tip: Don't stay at ground level in rooms 3201 through 3436, unless you don't mind looking at a sign saying "DANGER: CLIFFS" with a picture of a person falling, as your child plays in the grass behind your patio. These oceanview rooms have a large drop-off just beyond the patio, which has no protective railing. Leave these buildings to the honeymooners.
There are still 11 other buildings to choose from! Villa buildings 35 through 40 are a nice choice, as they are a quick walk to Sunset Cove, the secluded and safe family-friendly beach.
I love jovanne water aerobics class it was a Blast!I love the experience of the class I will definitely do it again I love the way he teach I see how he shows interest in the class I love his interaction as well he is well train and he is a very nice individual out side of class you should meet him, have fun in jamaica.????
From beginning to end.... best customer service and you feel the love from the start. I didn't want to leave. The drinks was on point. The facility needs more activities on the premises. The room service food was horrible.
Included in the all-inclusive rate is a kid's club for 4 to 12 year-old children, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There's also a baby club, open during the same hours, for tots who are between 1 and 3 years old. Unlike the kid's club, the baby club closes for lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. The kid's club is particularly good for smaller children, as it has its own playground and wading pool with plenty of toys.
Upon check-in, kids are given small backpacks with goodies. These backpacks come in handy at the kid's center, allowing them to bring along whatever they want, whether it's sunscreen or a favorite stuffed animal. There is additional babysitting available after hours for $10 per hour, per child. Another perk is the complimentary strollers available for guest use.
For the older kids, there are video games in the air conditioned kid's club. There isn't a club for teens, but during busier times, the entertainment staff will gather teens to play beach volleyball and other sports. Teens can also choose to hang out, with or without parents, at the sports bar, where there's ping-pong and a pool table. Access to alcohol isn't a problem -- if you're under the age of 18, you're given a different colored wristband than adults.
Sunset Cove is the resort's picture-perfect, family-friendly beach. You'll find calm, clear waters in a protected cove shaded by rocky cliffs. There could hardly be a more idyllic spot to spend the day beach bumming with your kids. There's also a water sports area to check out kayaks, paddleboats and hobie cat sailboats. Snorkeling equipment is also free, but you have to leave a small deposit, returned to you once you return the equipment.
There are two daily snorkel excursions to a nearby reef, available for a fee per person. Lifeguards say the snorkeling right off the beach here is good, so you may want to give that a try before booking the boat trip. Another water sports tip -- they'll charge you for a lesson aboard the hobie cat sailboats if you tell them you don't know how to sail, but if you just need a refresher course, it's smooth sailing, free of charge. You're captain of your own destiny, so you can decide how comfortable your sea legs are. Want to chart an even more adventurous course? There's also a Watercraft motor boat available for rent at Sunset Cove.
Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton has three other beaches. If you're looking for more excitement, head over to Las Brisas Beach or Gully Beach. Located next to the massive main pool, the volleyball courts and a popular bar, it's where the party is. Throughout the day, the activities staff holds dance classes and cruise ship-like games in a covered area, just off Las Brisas Bar.
Unlike Sunset and Coral Cove beaches, Las Brisas and Gully Beach lie in open unprotected areas, making for rougher waters. The sand is also quite rocky, unlike the smooth sand in the coves. There are thatched huts along the beaches here, as well as a few unique two-story cabanas. Underneath, there's a shaded daybed, while the top level is a daybed for sun lovers, with a perfect view of the volleyball court and staff-led activities.
The resort has three tennis courts, two volleyball courts, a basketball court and a nine hole mini-golf course. Equipment is provided free of charge.
The evening entertainment is just as big as the resort. There's a huge open-air auditorium showing nightly children's movies around dinner time. After the movie, the kids take center stage, entering the spotlight for their family members, who make up the entire audience. The kids love being on the huge stage and participating in a variety of activities, including freeze dance and karaoke.
The kid's show is followed by a family-friendly show. The resort has its own troupe of dancers and singers who frequently make up the evening's entertainment, performing popular numbers, including a few Caribbean-influenced songs. These performances have a cruise ship quality to them. Other nights, reggae and steel drum bands perform more authentic Jamaican music.
At Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa, all inclusive means lots of food, but not always the highest quality. There are three buffet restaurants and seven a la carte restaurants arranged around international themes including Indian, Chinese and Italian. Except during peak periods, they rotate which restaurants are open for dinner throughout the week. All the restaurants have high chairs and kid's menus, but do not provide crayons or coloring materials.
You likely won't be writing home about the food. It seems the priority is often just to get people fed, and with over one thousand rooms, that's no small accomplishment. There's a lot of standard cafeteria style fare on the menu. Bubba's, the steakhouse which had a long wait the night we were there, did not feel like a high-quality steak house.
You should make reservations for the a la carte restaurants to avoid the long wait.
Breakfast is served at the Negril Buffet, where you'll find an omelette bar, cereals, fruit and an interesting selection of specialty juices, including celery, cucumber, carrot and beet juice. You can also choose more traditional Jamaican breakfast dishes like brown stewed chicken and vegetables. During lunch, the Negril Buffet has a pasta bar, salad bar, soups, hamburgers and quesadillas; there's plenty of options.
Poseidon is the lovely open-air restaurant overlooking Sunset Cove, a tranquil beach area. This restaurant has an a la carte menu for lunch, including hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwich wraps, alongside a salad bar. For dinner, it becomes a fine-dining restaurant.
You'll also find the casual beachside Jerk Hut at Sunset Cove. This grill serves up sandwiches and jerk chicken, making it easy for you to have a relaxing lunch at the beach with your kids.
There is no room service offered.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa has a massive modern fitness center, located in the spa area.
The resort offers free Wi-Fi in the lobby. If you don't want to bring your own laptop or tablet, the lobby's Internet cafe charges a small fee per half hour or hour. In-room Wi-Fi is available for an additional fee.
The resort has an adult gaming lounge with slot machines and a disco next door. There's also a 24-hour sports bar with a pool table. There are thirteen (yes, thirteen!) other bars onsite.
The Art of Smart Timing
High season at this resort is January through May. The weather in Jamaica is generally pleasant and similar year round, without much variation between the cooler and warmer months. Be aware of hurricane season, which occurs between June and November.
There are plenty of direct flights to Montego Bay's Donald Sangster International Airport from major cities in the United States and Canada. Transportation from the airport to the hotel may be included in your room rate, depending on who you book through and the rate. If not, the 40-minute ride from Montego Bay's airport will cost you upwards of $40, depending on the number of people.
Since Jamaica is a former British colony, residents drive on the left-hand side of the road with the steering wheel on the right. You may want to pass on renting a car and let your drivers do the work. The front desk will order up cabs for you when needed.
For Mom and Dad
Coral Beach is a tranquil adults-only beach with thatched huts, lying just below the adults-only Coral Pool. This is the Caribbean beach of your dreams. Calm, crystal clear waters in a secluded setting make for a peaceful retreat. Grab your partner and a fruity drink from the bar at the Coral Pool on your way down to the beach, and you've got the ingredients for a romantic afternoon, while your child's off enjoying the kid's club.
If pampering is paramount, the Grand Palladium has the largest spa in the Caribbean, offering a wide array of services and couple's massages. There are numerous luxurious pools and Jacuzzi tubs set amidst murals of Greek goddesses. It's a relaxation bonanza that makes for a heavenly afternoon. There's also an open-air couple's treatment cabana perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean.