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Jamaica: Grand Lido Sans Souci

by Kathryn Lemmon, Wedding Zone Staff Writer

Ocho Rios, Jamaica, the name translates to mean eight rivers. Situated on the northern coast of Jamaica, Ocho Rios is about a two-hour car ride from the airport in Montego Bay. Numerous resorts dot the coastline, but our choice of lodging was the Grand Lido Sans Souci, a luxury property on the sea, with a full European style spa. If you want to be pampered in paradise, this is the place. During our one week stay in January, the weather never varied, it was 85 degrees and sunny every day. How can you improve on that?

Sans Souci sits on a wooded bluff, rather than a flat stretch of beach. This more picturesque location gives the property personality, not-to-mention a fantastic view of the Caribbean Sea. The lovely gardens and hidden grottos produce that lost on a deserted island sensation. In addition, low-rise architecture is pleasing to the eye and feels more private. Grand Lido San Souci is part of the SuperClubs group, well-represented on the island.

The spa gets high marks in several categories. The staff was courteous and efficient. I signed up for three treatments, including a body scrub, facial and massage--such luxury! Most of their treatment rooms overlook the water, so gentle wave sounds add to the overall experience. There's no question you'll come away so serene and relaxed, the rigors of the real world will seem far, far away. The spa offers couples massages, where you'll be side by side with your loved one.

Weddings and honeymoons are very popular at Sans Souci. The staff works especially hard to accommodate whatever style of ceremony couples prefer. Choices range from a casual service for two, surrounded by dazzling tropical flowers, to dozens of guests and all the trimmings. Various sites around the property are available, including their wedding gazebo, which sits on a prime spot over the azure blue Caribbean.

Weddings ceremonies are complimentary, with a minimum four night stay. You'll get wedding cake, champagne, flowers, marriage license, music and a non-denominational marriage officer. A wedding coordinator works closely with each couple and handles all the details and witnesses can be provided. If you decide to wed at Grand Lido Sans Souci, be sure to allow enough time to complete all the necessary paperwork.

We met Laura and Tony Pottebaum of St. Louis, Missouri, who were married at the resort while we were there. Tony comments, "I'd say the trust factor was one hundred percent--everything was lined up carefully and we had no worries. Our stay was structured for the first couple days to help us get accustomed to the routine. This was our first time at a resort of this type and we were unsure about things. We've already vowed to come back here next year!"

Laura adds, "Staff members were very helpful in making our arrangements. Of course I was concerned about our ceremony, but everything was handled smoothly. One of the staff even came to our suite and helped with my dress. They were so thoughtful! They guided us to the wedding gazebo and it was just what we wanted. I would definitely recommend this to our friends."

When asked about their expectations, Laura said, "There's no question, all aspects of the wedding and the resort have exceeded our expectations."

If you seek something less traditional for your wedding, SuperClubs has helped couples exchange vows in some unique ways over the past twenty-five years. One couple stood atop a gigantic sand castle wedding cake, while another couple was married swinging from a trapeze. But the award-winner goes to the group of ten couples, all married at the same time, in the nude.

Sans Souci is an all-suite lodging and is considered a super-inclusive, which means alcohol and spa treats are included in the price. All types of watersports are available and they too are included in the price. John Issa, Executive Chairman of SuperClubs notes, "The all-inclusive idea has become somewhat diluted in recent years. Many people travel to all-inclusive resorts and unexpectedly encounter concealed charges. At SuperClubs, the super-inclusive holiday package encompasses everything in one up-front price."

Dining is an indulgence at Grand Lido, from gourmet dishes in their Cassanova restaurant to jerk chicken at beach side. We found the quality never varied--it was always excellent. In island-wide competitions, SuperClubs chefs have earned numerous awards and you'll taste the reasons why. If you need private time, twenty-four hour room service is also an option.

On Friday evenings the Grand Gala on the lawn is quite a showpiece for both food and decor. Individual food tents are set around the lawn, offering a vast number of tempting dishes. It was so tough to choose! Music, with dancing round out the night.

Grand Lido Sans Souci has been honored with a AAA 4-Diamond Award. For more information click on www.superclubs.com.


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