I had a brief, one-night stay at the Memories Negril (formerly the Grand Lido Negril Resort & Spa) in Jamaica in August 2011. It's an older resort, but clean and with decided Caribbean charm. It's an AAA 3 Diamond Award property, with gorgeous grounds (hammocks abound, drop in one and relax), six restaurants and bars, and 210 rooms, including a pair of presidential suites (lucky me, I had one). There's a stretch of beach where clothing is optional for the more adventurous guests (not me, I'm not that brave). There is a clothing optional hot tub and pool as well, but nudity is allowed only in those areas. The resort is, understandably, for adults only.
Memories Negril Resort & Spa Rooms
There are 210 full and junior suites here, all featuring beach, ocean or garden views, all with air conditioning, satellite TV and mini-bars stocked with soda, water and beer.
•Junior suites: These number 24, tucked into manicured gardens, with king or two twin beds with sunken living area.
•Junior suite ocean view: There are 58 of these with views of gardens and the water, sunken living rooms and king or twin beds.
•Junior suite beach front: These number 56, set against the shoreline with views of the beach or French doors opening to the ocean and beach.
•Junior suite beachfront cove: These 55 units have their own private white-sand beach with swimming pool, grill, bar and huge chessboard. This beach is clothing optional.
•One-bedroom beach front suite: There are 18 of these, each with separate living area, additional TV, and other upgraded amenities. These playfully named suites include The Stella Suite (Terry McMillan, author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back, authorized its use), and the Belafonte Suite.
•One-bedroom suite with private patio Jacuzzi: These eight units are on the beach, each with hand-carved mahogany furnishings, crystal chandeliers and panoramic views.
•Presidential suites with private patio Jacuzzi: There are two of these top-flight suites, with high-end amenities, mahogany furniture, separate dining area, wet bar and smashing views.
I had a presidential suite, with somewhat tired shower fixtures, but overall very well appointed and roomy, with balcony hot tub and full dining room.
Memories Negril Resort & Spa Restaurants
The restaurants here are:
•Piacere, formal French elegance in candlelight setting serving nouvelle cuisine, open for dinner only.
•La Pasta, a casual dining experience with Italian cuisine, open from 3-10 p.m.
•Grand Café, a continental restaurant with changing menus, open for dinner only.
•Gran Terraza, the main dining area for breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets
•Reggae Café RASTAurant, serving Jamaican fare, open noon to 2 a.m.
•Munasan, serving Japanese fare from sushi to teppanyaki cuisine, open for dinner only.
I was only there one night, but chowed mightily at the killer buffett in the Gran Terraza, which was hosting "Beach Barbecue Night," with an amazing assortment of Jamican grub and, for the less adventurous, American fare. Roast pig was divine.
Had lunch at Reggae Cafe, where you must try the Jamaican chicken soup, thick and creamy, loaded with bone bits and fat, rich as hell and delicious.
There are also six bars at the resort stocked with premium international and local brands of liquor. My favorite was the lobby bar, where barkeep Shavanna made me a "Hangover." Lives up to its name if you're not careful.
Memoriesa Negril Resort & Spa Activities
Land sports included are four tennis courts (two lit for night play) with lessons and tournaments, beach volleyball, table tennis and many others. Water sports include windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling, underwater vision-boat rides, water skiing and sunfish sailing. Scuba lessons are available at extra charge. The resort also has two pools and five Jacuzzis, and a fully equipped fitness center. Golf is available at extra charge, as are treatments at the Blue Mahoe Spa.
I was lucky, in my short overnight stay, to squeeze in a half-hour rubdown at the Blue Mahoe, getting Marcia, she of the magic thumbs, using them, and heels of her hands, to deliver a quick "Native's Touch" massage, a power-packed and most-relaxing way to spend a scant 30 minutes.
Memories Negril Resort & Spa in Jamaica Information
Norman Manley Boulevard
Rates from $205