AGAINST THE beautiful backdrop of Montego Bay’s coastline is the family-owned business, SeaGarden Beach Resort. A local family bought the property in 1986 and operated it as Club Paradise until the mid-1990s, when it was renamed SeaGarden Beach Resort. The resort closed at the end of the 1990s, but reopened on December 20, 2013.
Given that it is a legitimate fiveminute drive from Sangster International Airport, it has become a favourite for many tourists, especially those from North America. “We have a lot of persons coming from Canada based on relationships we have built over the years,” shared Tricia-Ann Bicarie, director of sales and marketing.
Entering the semi-circular driveway of the hotel, guests are met with a verdant garden to the left, which is complemented by a clean environment. Once the guest has stopped, the bellman on constant lookout is quick to assist with luggage as well as show the driver where the concealed entrance to the additional parking space is.
In terms of size, with 150 rooms, SeaGarden Beach Resort is more of a small hotel. This is immediately obvious, based on the intimate layout of the lobby area. However, the 392,040-square-foot property is packed with amenities for all.
Beyond the obvious – like the pool, the snack counter and the beach bar – there are a host of other facilities nestled in every corner.
To the rear of the property are two full-size tennis courts, where guest are usually playing in the early-morning hours. For those who prefer a more structured way to exercise, the gym is behind the pool bar. Exiting the gym, there is a games room immediately facing guests. It is equipped with a pool table, a ‘Pop-a-Shot’ arcade basketball game, and other things teens love to engage in.
For all the foodies, there is the Jasmine Dining Room, which is the main restaurant. It can seat up to 160 persons and, there, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served buffet style, with an abundance of savoury food from all the essential food groups. If a guest misses the period allotted for these meals, the option to visit the Beach Bar and Grill is there up to 1 a.m.
With all this said, the hidden treasure, where dining is concerned, is on the hotel’s private beach, which is located across the street. It is enclosed by a security post at the entrance, and the jerked chicken special is a must-have. Afterwards, meals can be taken to the boardwalk, where guests have a perfect view of the Caribbean ocean. There will also be countless opportunities to see planes descending in preparation for landing.
The rooms are cozy and the walls are extremely sturdy. This means there will be no vibration when the planes pass overhead. This is something that many hotels in the vicinity should take note of and can learn from. There are few things more annoying than trying to sleep when the walls keep shaking at intervals. Added to the therapeutic effect is hearing the waves crash against the parameter walls across the street.
“Each room is tastefully furnished with either one king bed or two double beds. Complimentary Wi-Fi access keeps [guests] connected throughout the resort and cable channels are offered for additional entertainment. An iron and iron board are also included,” disclosed Bicarie.
Regarding the rates for the hotel, she continued, “Our basic room is the standard room that starts at US$291 per room per night, double occupancy. However, we have discounts available for locals and run social media and direct booking promotions that sometimes have rates as low as US$92 per person per night.”
Bicarie was also quick to point out that the hotel is very active on social media, where persons can look for offers. “It’s a good idea to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or chat with us online on our website, seagardenjamaica.com, to grab these deals when they pop up. We also have Deluxe Garden/Pool View and Deluxe Ocean View rooms, along with suites and Family Rooms.”
THE FUTURE AND CHARITY
Bicarie stated that the hotel has a lot of potential to accomplish so much more, but being familyoperated presents certain limitations of which they must be mindful. “Immediate access to funding for expansions is, to an
extent, a constraint. We are constantly improving our product and visitors will notice these changes each year they return, but this comes at a significant investment and we are not always able to roll out our projects as fast
as we would want to, as we must first earn the funds that are required to reinvest in our property,” Bicarie explained.
Despite not having robust resources, the hotel takes pride in giving back to the community. “Each summer, the resort participates in a number of internship and mentoring programmes. We also find a way to treat orphans from homes that work closely with the Child Development Agency. Another thing we have consistently done is accomodate the community churches and non-profit organisations by providing meals and a venue for fundraising projects,” shared Bicarie.
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