Guys, I take vacations seriously.
It all started about 15 years ago with a road trip from Baltimore to Vegas with The Husband. Call me crazy, but I enjoyed every minute of that trip. Yes, even the part where I spent three days in a car.
Driving cross-country, seeing Vegas light up the desert as we rode in, making silly stops at roadside attractions, trying new food, spending time with The Husband just “being,” I loved it all.
We didn’t immediately start traveling more after that trip, but the bug bit us. Probably me more than him which is why after having kids I committed to taking a trip with them yearly. And once the kids were old enough, The Husband and I also started our yearly anniversary weekend trips tradition. –Shout out to my in-laws who selflessly agree to babysit for us. I can’t thank you guys enough!
Anyway, one of our favorite kids-less vacations was to an all-inclusive four years ago in Punta Cana.
At the time we were celebrating my good friend Jen’s 40th birthday. She picked the resort and invited people to join her. I jumped at the chance and persuaded the husband. At that time his fear of flying prevented us from these types of vacations.
I was so excited when he reluctantly agreed.
The Start of a Tradition
Spending a few days at that resort changed us. It may sound drastic, but it’s true! The Husband even committed to flying once a year just so we could go again and we did!
The following year for my 40th birthday we tried another all-inclusive. This time to a resort in Jamaica and it was just as fun! (Even though we didn’t like the resort as much as the first year.)
Last year we spent our now traditional 4 nights in Cancun and again, we weren’t disappointed. It was our favorite all-inclusive to date, UNTIL this year.
This year, well, this year I’m speechless.
We just got back from paradise. Simply thinking about it puts a smile on my face.
Excellence Oyster Bay
The resort was Excellence Oyster Bay. It was the third Excellence location we’ve tried and the newest. They just opened June of this year!
The resort was only at 48% capacity, so part of our excellent (get it? get it?) experience was probably due to that fact, but even if there were double the people, I think we still would have a fantastic experience.
Let me try to recap and share some of the photos I took on my phone. I decided last-minute not to bring my camera, and now I regret it.
First, when we arrived, they greeted us with a cold towel and a glass of Champaign. Our bags were immediately taken, and we were escorted to the front desk to check in.
The staff was unbelievably friendly.
We were taken to our room and given the tour.
Here’s where I kick myself for not taking any photos inside the room. It was gorgeous! Large shower, double sink, king-sized bed, sitting area, desk, fully stocked mini-bar, enclosed hot tub and a deck with our own infinity pool.
The first thing we did was make ourselves a cocktail, lay back, and soak it in.
Even the rain didn’t ruin our first few hours there.
Oh! And the bed was made up with an I-love-you message.
I’m assuming this was in response to me letting them know it was our annual anniversary trip. Later that night we also came home to a giant piece of chocolate cake.
Sunrises in Oyster Bay
My absolute favorite time at the resort was daybreak. We had the place to ourselves to enjoy and explore.
We found the Infinity Pool.
Walked and RAN on the beach.
(Guys — He RAN EVERY MORNING!! I can’t even. I’m still in shock about his newfound motivation to fitness.)
Back to these sunrises, I mean…
Every morning looked like this!
We couldn’t get over how beautiful it was.
We were obsessed with the beach, but the resort was just spectacular. It’s all alone on a peninsula. We were in building 5, smack dab in the middle.
Here’s Jen in the main pool.
And here’s where I think that 48% capacity came into play. We would be, pretty much, the only people in the pool until after lunch. We couldn’t get over it!
There are six restaurants, 10 bars, and room service at the resort. We didn’t even have enough time to try them all!
Here we are at the bar above the pool.
I know this is going to sound odd, but I just loved all the seating they had around the resort. It was just fun and funky.
We tried every restaurant we could. Here I am at the Grill. It was like an American steakhouse.
The food was hit or miss. Some dishes were fantastic. Other missed the mark. My favorite, however, was the Jamaican Station at the buffet.
Every day they would highlight different Jamaican foods, and I tried them all.
We had the best waiter too. He’d tell us about the dishes and local produce. I called it “research” for GreenLiteBites.
While at the resort I also like to take advantage of the water sport options (they are all included). This year The Husband and I tried paddle boarding and had a blast!
I still have a bum foot so standing was out but it was still a blast!
Overall Excellence Oyster Bay Review
I highly recommend Excellence Oyster Bay. This is not a paid post or advertisement. The Husband and I slowly paid for the trip all year (like we do every year) and we only go for four nights because, honestly, it’s all we can afford.
That said, even though it’s paradise I’m usually ready on the last day to head home. It’s the perfect long weekend to escape, get pampered and come home refreshed.
The only true negative I can think of about this resort is the mosquitos. If you go, BRING BUG SPRAY. I was eaten alive at night. The resort is in a pretty marshy area, so they are a problem.
If you are interested in more info or want to book your next vacation at Excellence let me know in the comments and I’ll email you back. Now that I’m a part-time travel agent I can price it out for you! I booked with an agent for the first two years we did an all-inclusive and it was fantastic because I was able to pay it off slowly. It’s one of the reasons I started taking the agent training. I wanted to learn how it all worked.
Besides the travel agent thing, I have some other news too, but I’m gonna save that for another post. It’s time to write up and share my latest Jamaican-inspired recipe on the food blog. I came home itching to get into the kitchen. Stay tuned!