If you read any of my blog posts, you know I like to do travel in as much local way as possible. Well, this trip was a pretty big exception to the rule – one that I am very much willing to make about every 3 years? See why…

Context & goal: Beach vacation and family time with Brian’s family – so all together about 18 people in one house, ages 4 to 84. We see each other about every 4 years so this is to be unique. Criteria were: house to fit us all in without co-sleeping with awkward relatives, beach, sun – and some sort of services so we don’t have to cook and clean. No huge adventure or localization needed – so location was really irrelevant.

What we got:

  • Country: Jamaica – didn’t care where we were going as long as there was a flight.
  • House: A gorgeous 9-bedroom house in sort of a country club with staff of 5 (yes, keep reading) – details on the mansion are here
  • Services: YES – unbelievable and best part of the vacation. If you are a parent whose vacations don’t feel much like a vacation b/c you do laundry, dishes, think of food to eat, try to keep the rented house clean – and feel like you need a vacation from vacation – alone – this is for you!!
    • Desrick – our butler was a waiter, concierge, bartender, kids entertainer and pretty much any -er for the whole week. I wanted to pack him in my bag – the sweetest man with only Ya-man answers. The magician Desrick
    • Rose – our laundress – you know when your clothes fall on the floor where you drop them before shower – well, they were gone by the time you got back and ironed on your bed, clean in 12 hours. I literally could have packed 2 outfits.
    • Michael – the chef, willing to accommodate our variable eating habits and needs – truly an artist, always willing to make whatever you had taste for IMG_7198
    • Wilson – the gardener, always cleaning around, bringing us coconuts and showing animals to the kids
    • Tracy – the housekeeper, yes, the beds are always made and everything is super clean, fresh with turn down service and real art !the bed everyday
  • Food: Whatever we want and when we want it. Literally, make your own menu and Mike will cook it – so we tried to stick with local, akee with salt fish, cod, fish, fish, lobster. Do you know how many eggs you need to buy to feed 17 people for breakfast for a week? Especially Maxie who orders 3 breakfasts?
  • Sightseeing: Well, a bit of a mix here.. Fabulous Chukka trip to ziplining and rivertubing. Very well organized, super fun guides and just a great day trip for the whole crew ! A bit of a hike through the jungle with some attacked by mosquitoes a bit more. Our custom tour of Falmouth, meant to be a historical tour, proved to be a disaster though – driver didn’t know much about anything so ended up driving  2 mins  through the city, visiting closed and dirty church,  seeing the “cruise ship” – well it didn’t cut it. Lesson learned..we stayed in the house and entertained ourselves.

    Entertainment: Our own, every night – from lots of drinks to charades, reggae night, Trivia pursuit – just a fun time with family

  • Extra special events: Mia’s birthday, Samantha’s birthday, Max’s broken head and 4 stitches with local surgeon, Mia’s swimming as Nemo with broken clavicle = one flipper, learning how to do selfies from the 20somethings, chasing lobsters around the pool, sitting in the trampoline in the sea, discovering almonds on the tree, driving around with golf carts (big hit!), my broken toe…. – fun ah??

Welcome to our Jamaica family holiday…