My new husband and I just got back from our honeymoon at Swept Away in Negril. Since I benefited so much from reading reports in this forum, I thought I'd write a brief one for anyone who is interested. Swept Away was absolutely marvelous. We took a quick peek and some of the other resorts along the strip and in our opinion, Swept Away was much nicer. It was the perfect spot for a romantic honeymoon.
We got there around noon and were given fresh orange juice while we checked in. Our bags were taken to our room -- our room was so large and nice. We had an Atrium room which is the middle lane and I thought it was the perfect location. We could see a bit of the beach from our balcony, but were surrounded by beautiful trees. The windows in each room have mahogany panels and no glass. The balcony was almost as big as the bedroom itself. We were impressed. We put on our swimsuits and explored the grounds.
Everything was very well kept and the grounds were lush with palm trees and many other tropical flowering plants. The beach was very large and well kept -- they raked it every morning. There were always plenty of chairs on the beach with foam mats. There are also plenty of places to sit in the shade for those fair of skin. FOOD: We made our first trip to the bar and the bartender never forgot our names after that. This is an example of most of the staff at Swept Away: they are very friendly and make an effort to remember your name and what you like.
There are four bars on the property: one on the beach, one in the main dining hall, one in the piano lounge and one in the sports complex. I tried many new drinks, my favorite being the Dirty Banana. I also tried the Jamaican Delight (yum) and the Yellow Bird (which I'm convinced is for alcoholics). :-) They also have a Veggie Bar (open daily from 11a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Beach Grill. Paul runs the bar and can introduce you to many new fruits and fruit drinks.
I drank out of a coconut and my husband fell in love with the Mediterranean olives. The beach grill offers grouper or snapper sandwiches and chicken sandwiches. We ate here almost daily. There are two restaurants at Swept Away: the Main Dining Room and Feathers (at the sports complex across the street). Both have very good food. Feathers is more gourmet and we were always impressed with the food there (but weren't too crazy about the deserts). Definitely try the lamb at Feathers. Yum! One thing: you must get used to the Jamaican way and not expect your food to come as quickly as it may in American restaurants.
Things run slower there, so take your time and enjoy the wine and company. We did have breakfast in our room most mornings (the only time you can get room service). I guess a local bird got used to us having breakfast on our balcony. The last morning we were there, we were sitting having fruit and banana bread and a little bird came, sat on our plate and started eating my bread!! It was pretty cute.
Swept Away has a very very large sports complex that is well known. We aren't the athletic types so we didn't make good use of this aspect of the resort, but know that many people did. We did get a massage, which came free since we were honeymooners. We also took the couples massage class (offered twice a week, I think) and that was fun. We concentrated mainly on water sports. We snorkeled a lot, learned to wind surf (we weren't very good at it), water skied and even learned to SCUBA.
We didn't get officially PADI certified, but we took the resort certification course. The instructors were very good and made sure that everyone was comfortable in the water before ending the class. SCUBA was a neat experience and we dove twice. I think I'd recommend maybe getting officially PADI certified though. Although the instructors were good, there simply wasn't enough time in a three hour class to learn all you need to know about the physiology of the sport. I ended up not equalizing myself correctly and had an ear problem that sent me to the doctor. It's cleared up now and wasn't a big deal, so it didn't spoil our experience.
Our one trip off the property was to go horseback riding to Babo's. This was arranged through the resort and cost about $77 per couple. I am very glad that we did this. We got a chance to see the "real" Jamaica. We rode up into the hills and met a couple of Rastafarians living up there who showed us some "historical" sights.
The ride was scenic and educational -- Jamaica is really a third-world country and many of the homes looked like they were about to fall over. I was never uncomfortable, though. Everyone we met was very friendly. O'Neill was our guide. My husband lost his sunglasses along the way. A couple of days later O'Neill found them for us and sent them back to the resort!! We did walk down the beach and visited some of the vendors selling carvings, jewelry, etc. Again, Jamaicans are very friendly people and they expect the same from visitors.
If you are not interested in seeing their stuff, just smile and say "No thank you." They'll appreciate that and leave you alone with a "No problem, Mon." If you ignore them (like we are "trained" to do in the states) they get a bit irritated. GENERAL: Monday night, the resort has a beach party with buffet food (and lots of it) and entertainment. We learned how to dance raggae and saw fire-eaters, etc.
It was a good time and we walked down the beach later listening to the sounds of the Calypso band. It rained daily for about an hour in the afternoon. The last day or two it started raining about 3 p.m. and didn't quit, but it was no big deal. We sat on our balcony, listened to the rain and read. We also played pool and ping pong. They have a room next to the piano bar that plays movies on a big screen TV and also has an assortment of many board games.
During the rain, we saw some people take advantage of this room. Swept Away does not have the night live some other resorts do, which is one of the reasons we chose it. There is dancing and nightly shows until midnight every night, but after that, things are quiet. For that reason, the resort may not be for someone looking for parties, but it's perfect for people like us who enjoy a good dinner and then a quiet walk on the beach without the distractions of loudspeakers announcing the next race.
We didn't have any trouble getting through customs either coming or going. Our flight back to Atlanta was delayed three hours, which was disappointing as I could have had more beach time. We spent about $150 total in American cash while we were there on souvenirs, cab rides, etc. We brought it in 1, 5 and 10s, which I think is the best way to go. Anything bigger is unnecessary. We did exchange money for our exiting tax which is about $14 per person ($500JA). In short, my husband and I had a wonderful time at Swept Away and are planning to return next year.
I would highly recommend this resort to anyone wanting a relaxing vacation in a beautiful, quiet setting.