by Andrea Guthmann
Your idea of paradise is a cushioned chaise lounge overlooking the ocean, tropical drink in one hand, a good book in the other. But your teen is looking for excitement and you need someone to watch your toddler while you enjoy a romantic dinner. The answer? Moon Palace Jamaica Grande.
Opened in 2015, the all-inclusive resort is located in Ochos Rios, an hour and a half east of Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport.
You’ll not only find 17 acres of private beach, but also activities to keep everyone entertained. Among the resort’s $50-million in upgrades are the largest luxury spa in Jamaica; a first-rate kids’ club and children’s water park; hip teen lounge; the country’s only FlowRider surf simulator; complimentary sailboats, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards; a dive shop; and a swim with the dolphins program.
Be aware that this beach is located at the busy Port of Ochos Rios, so there are usually cruise ships nearby.
The resort is within walking distance of downtown Ochos Rios. You might want to buy a couple souvenirs at some of the nearby gift shops, but with five fabulous restaurants on property, you’ll likely do all your dining and drinking at the resort since it’s an all-inclusive property with unlimited food and alcohol.
This is a large 10-story resort, with 700 rooms scattered across three buildings. If it’s an intimate island escape you’re after, this is not that kind of place. But if you’re a family with different ages and preferences, you can’t go wrong here.
Our Editor Loves
- Kids' club and teen lounge
- Complimentary non-motorized water sports
- Plenty of cuisine choices
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The sprawling Moon Palace Jamaica Grande has three buildings. The low-rise Cabana building is only for members of Palace Resorts vacation club. The 10-story North Tower and 15-story South Tower have similar room layouts and decor, and similar views. Aside from the larger, high-end suites, every room in the two towers is exactly the same size -- the only difference is the view and the balconies. South Tower rooms have small balconies with lockable sliding glass doors, a glass enclosed railing that goes about chest high and two patio chairs and a small table. North Tower rooms do not have outdoor patios, only French balconies.
Rooms in both towers are furnished in a modern, minimalist decor with a 42-inch flat screen TV and iPod dock. There's marble flooring, a table with two chairs, coffeemaker, mini-fridge, free bottled water delivered every day and a free safe that can fit a laptop.
The marble bathrooms are modern and luxurious with free toiletries, plush bathrobes, and a hairdryer. Note: Bathrooms have large walk-in showers, but no bathtubs, except in the Presidential Suites.
These 334-square-foot rooms are the most economical and come with two double beds or one king size bed. As named, you'll be able to see the ocean, but may also have a view of something not nearly as desirable.
These rooms have the same layout and decor as the partial ocean, but have the better view of the beach. These rooms and the partial ocean views can accommodate four people. A rollaway bed or crib can be added for free to fit another child.
Family Deluxe Connecting Rooms
A nice choice for larger families, these always connect a room with a king bed to a room with two doubles. There are 174 connecting rooms. These rooms also come with an Xbox player in the room with complimentary games. Child-size robes and slippers are another special amenity in this room category.
Each floor in the North and South Towers has one of these luxury suites. These are the only resort rooms with bathtubs -- luxurious soaking tubs surrounded by marble with views of the ocean. Bathrooms also come with higher-end L'Occitane bath amenities.
Presidential Suites have two closable bedrooms (one with a king, the other with two doubles) with flat screen TVs, another TV and a pullout sofa in the living room area, a dining room with table and a wet bar. There are 2.5 bathrooms, including one with a tub. These suites sleep six people, seven if you add a free rollaway bed.
There are four pools (one of which has a waterfall area and another of which has a basketball net) and two hot tubs. There are also two swim-up bars. There are no adults-only pools. Pools are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
There's a great water park with a big corkscrew slide and a splash pad with multiple fountains and a bucket that periodically dunks water on the kids. The splash pad is located right next to the kids' club, allowing kids to run around there while visiting the kids' club. The children's pool is also open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
A vast array of water sports makes for a fun-filled day at the beach. Complimentary non-motorized water sports include stand-up paddle boards, windsurfers, kayaks, Hobie cats and boogie boards. Staff will gladly take you out for sailing lessons or help you with any of the equipment. Water sports can be rented from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Got a beach boy or girl in the family who wants to go on a surfing safari? This is the place for beginners to give surfing a try. Hop on board for waves of fun at the country's only FlowRider surf simulator. There are friendly staff who encourage adults and kids to come over and try it out. They'll help you figure out how to stand and stay up. Family members can challenge each other to see who can stay on the board the longest. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
The Playroom is a colorful, modern, first-rate kids' club -- one of those places your kids are likely going to beg to visit. Friendly, attentive staff; plenty of indoor activities, including a kids' karaoke machine and mini stage; new arcade games designed for younger kids; air hockey; a McDonald's-style indoor playground; and traditional toys like a dollhouse and play kitchen keep every kid engaged. There are also a couple TVs where kids can play age appropriate video games or watch a movie if they want some down time.
Immediately outside the kids' club is a fenced-in shaded area for riding bikes (with or without training wheels) and rideable cars. The splash pad is also connected to the Playroom, allowing kids to run and play in the spray fountains during their visit.
The Playroom is a drop-off program for kids 4 and older; those under age 4 can visit with a parent. Babysitting for younger kids can be arranged for an additional fee. Hours for The Playroom are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and kids can take their meals there.
Teen Lounge/Game Room
A wall of free arcade games in a hip setting with a bar where friendly young staff serve up complimentary frozen virgin cocktails and slushies? What teen wouldn't want to plug in, at least for part of their day, at Wired?! Wired also has a pool table and air hockey table, and cool gaming lounge area with bean bags set up in front of flat screens TVs. Wired is for children 12 and older and is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Ping Pong Tables
There are two Ping-Pong tables near the kids' club and teen lounge.
The resort has an onsite dolphin encounter program where you can get in the water and interact with dolphins. The Encounter Experience includes a 15-minute interaction with the dolphin where you get to hug, kiss and "shake hands." It costs $87 for adults, $62 for kids, and is best for younger or timid kids. Kids must be a minimum of 39 inches, and kids can only participate with a paying adult.
Braver kids and adults may want to try the Royal Swim -- a half-hour dolphin interaction that includes a dorsal pull "swim" with two dolphins through the enclosed lagoon. Kids ages 3 to 7 cost $165, kids 8 and older are charged the adult rate of $215. All kids must have a paying adult with them.
Both of these interactions start with a short presentation and history about dolphins and their behavior.
Palace Dive Shop
Next to Dolphin Cove is the resort's dive shop, where scuba diving and PADI scuba certification can be scheduled for additional fees.
This is the resort's main dining area, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, located in front of the main pool, with both indoor and shaded outdoor seating. This is your stereotypical massive, all-inclusive resort buffet. Everyone will find something to enjoy here.
Breakfast has everything from fresh fruit to an omelette bar to the Jamaican specialty of ackee and saltfish. Lunch and dinner offer a vast array of international items, from Indian and Asian to Jamaican specialties, as well as kid-friendly items like burgers and hot dogs.
There was never a wait when we were there -- we were always promptly seated. It's open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Perfect for a date night, this intimate a la carte restaurant, decorated in elegant dark wood, features a nice assortment of Italian pasta specialties, as well as meat and seafood, and has a good wine list. Open only for dinner.
This is the resort's Asian-themed restaurant. There's a hibachi area where the chefs cook the food right in front you, always a hit with the kids! There are also separate areas where you can order other Asian dishes, from a Japanese Miso soup, to Thai noodles and Vietnamese specialties. Located in the South Tower, it's only open for dinner.
Open for lunch and dinner, this is the resort's oceanfront seafood restaurant, located by the main pool. It's in a beautiful open-air setting with fantastic views, and offers different fresh catch options each day, along with a set menu that includes shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque, creole seafood gumbo and meat options.
This 24-hour grab-and-go spot offers pastries, bagels, specialty coffees, ice cream, salads and panini sandwiches. But what people really come here for and are willing to stand in line for are the magnificent crepes, made right in front of you. Take it with you or enjoy at one of the tables.
There's also a food court area, near the Boulangerie, where you can quickly pick up pizza or prepared sushi and maki rolls. Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sundeck Pizza & Bar
Located by the main pool overlooking the ocean, this casual dining option offers families a great way to enjoy lunch in your bathing suit while not missing any of the fun. Located right by the FlowRider surf simulator, this al fresco dining hut serves up pizza, burgers, jerk chicken and more - it's a great option for teens and tweens where they can grab a bite to eat on their own. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Located by the waterpark, kids' club and main pool, this is a great shaded outdoor spot to grab lunch or a drink in your bathing suit. Menu options are limited, but include plenty of kid-friendly choices like corn dogs and chicken fingers, burgers and cold cut sandwiches. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There's complimentary room service. A breakfast order can be placed on your door any time before 3 a.m. to have coffee, juice, yogurt, cereals, pastries, eggs, pancakes, and more choices delivered to you. Lunch and dinner can also be delivered to your room.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Moon Palace Jamaica Grande has free Wi-Fi. There's also a business center on the ground level with computers that let you access the internet, as well as fax and photocopy.
Open 24 hours, the huge fitness room has a world-class selection of cardio equipment and weights. Morning stretching, afternoon water aerobics, beach volleyball and soccer are also offered daily.
A large gift shop in the lobby offers a wide selection of souvenirs, as well as anything you may have forgotten, from toothpaste, contact lens solution and sunscreen to sunglasses, bathing suits and flip flops. Like any resort gift shop, be prepared to pay a premium for any of these items.
The Art of Smart Timing
December 15 through April 15 is high season in Jamaica, when rates are at their peak. Hurricane season is June 1 through November 30. The lowest rates are usually found September through October, and April 15 through June 15.
It's an hour and a half drive from Montego Bay's Sangster International Airport to the resort. A complimentary shuttle is included in the cost of your all-inclusive stay. There are direct flights to Montego Bay from various U.S. cities, including Chicago, New York and Miami/Fort Lauderdale.
The concierge will order a taxi to take you to any nearby sites you wish to visit. Downtown Ochos Rios is only a two-block walk from the resort.
For Mom and Dad
For a romantic evening, head to the Martini Bar to hear a jazz pianist performing in an elegant, dimly lit setting.
You could also head to the Awe Spa for a treatment -- it's the largest spa in Jamaica, with 34 treatment rooms offering a variety of massages and facials. Treatments range from the Aromatic Coffee Body Wrap to the Sea Breeze Facial. There's also a hydro therapy pool room, as well as saunas and heated stone loungers. Haircuts, styles and Jamaican braiding, as well as nail services, are also offered.