Blue Diamond Resorts’ Luxury North Coast Resort
When our taxi driver stopped in front of Royalton White Sands instead of Royalton Blue Waters, the couple sharing my cab from the airport yelled, “We stayed here last year—we love this place!” I’ve stayed at Royalton White Sands, too, so the question on my mind was this: How would Royalton Blue Waters, which opened in late 2016 (White Sands debuted in 2013) differ from Big Sister?
Royalton Blue Waters is just one of Blue Diamond Resorts’ recent additions in the Caribbean. Although the company only launched in 2011, it has already grown to 23 resorts in eight countries. This all-inclusive east of Falmouth, Jamaica, has an ocean-facing glass wall in a modernist lobby and 228 suites, all with Royalton DreamBeds, rainshowers, unlimited free calls to North America, and complimentary WiFi. Blue Waters’ All-in-Luxury also includes a white beach, infinity pool, a lazy river and fitness center (off limits to White Sands guests), and use of both resorts’ pools, sports facilities, restaurants, bars, theater, spa, Clubhouse Kids Club and Hangout Teens Club, and water park.
The suites, in two towers, face the pools and sea, and all but the lowest offer ocean views. The ground-level suites make up for that by having swim-out pools. My recommendations for swim-out suites: 4110-4112, because they get more sunlight.
I stayed in a Diamond Club Luxury Junior Suite Ocean View, which has fashionable earth-tone furnishings, double sinks, and a jacuzzi set at a jaunty angle near the king bed as well as one on the patio. It also has a screen on the sliding door so you can get fresh air and gadgety features such as an outlet for charging your cellphone in the safe.
Although the only notable physical difference between my Diamond Club Suite and a Luxury Junior Suite was elevation, there are advantages to booking Diamond Club: the separate check-in, Diamond Club Lounge and beach bar, the reserved section of the beach with waiter service, in-suite spirits, preferential seating at restaurants, and butlers. One of my butlers, Andrea, explained every feature of my room, handed me a phone for calling her, nailed reservations in first-come-first-served a la carte restaurants, escorted me to meals, and more. Latonia, my other butler, insisted upon standing in line for me at the Jerk Hut while I sat under an umbrella, no matter that she was wearing a heavy butler’s uniform.
The majority of guests were couples, but several people I talked with were sharing a room with their children; others said they also had a Connecting Room or a Presidential Ocean View One Bedroom Suite with two baths. (The resort offers 2- and 3-bedroom suites, too.) I saw some parents on daybeds or in a poolside cabana (extra charge) while their children were at the Clubhouse Kids Club. Other days they played with their children on the beach, in the lazy river, and in the water park, an array of slides and other water features for guests of all ages.
The kids loved Gourmet Marche, the buffet, which not only has a children’s section but myriad stations offering unusually fresh, flavorful foods. Not surprising; a recent stay at Royalton CHIC Punta Cana had reminded me how important cuisine is to Royalton. It’s not just that Blue Waters guests enjoy 12 restaurants; it’s the quality, from Jade (Asian Fusion) to C/X Culinary Experience Chef’s Table (the one restaurant that costs extra, and it’s worth it). True, my steak at Hunter Steakhouse was overcooked, but that never happened again: When I told a waiter at Opa to make sure my bouillabaisse wasn’t overcooked, the result was tender, succulent seafood in a classic Provencal broth. Could anything top that? Only the lamb artichoke ravioli and pan-fried duck with a honey Balsamic reduction at Grazie.
On my last afternoon, Latonia the butler came to my room to prepare a bubble bath. I told her not to bother: “I only take showers.”
Latonia smiled and said, “My mission is to help guests relax!” She prepared the bath (with a decorative palm frond, even), smiled again, and left the room. I politely tried it for five minutes, which quickly turned into almost an hour. It’s relaxing. Who knew?
Luxury Junior Suites start at $374.40 per couple, including taxes; a Diamond Club Luxury Junior Suite Ocean View starts at $487 per couple.
Royalton Resorts: royaltonresorts.com/en/blue-waters