ROYAL DECAMERON CLUB CARIBBEAN’S TROPICAL PARADISE
Royal Decameron Club Caribbean Runaway Bay is a hidden gem in the Caribbean with royalty to it’s name. Even where it is located increases the chance of it being overlooked. If you are not keen with the directions and location, you may miss your turn. Upon arrival, it looks and feels like a 20th century coastal Caribbean village. It’s the Christmas season, so were also greeted by the Christmas theme. The decorations were beautiful.
The theme gives a tranquil or mellow feel, as us Jamaicans would say. In fine style, you can live like how our ancestors did. Additionally, it is pretty affordable, so you can stay for weeks or even a month. We’ve heard of people staying there for 6 months! I know you might be confused now that I’ve mentioned ancestors, but actually, this resort is built central to a historical theme, which we will speak more on later. There is an authentic Jamaican feel to it, from the Caribbean Sea breeze, to the many coconut trees paraded on the beach front.
Royal Decameron may not be the atmosphere for everyone, but if you are somehow seeking a quiet and relaxing spot to free your mind and sleep your worries away, then here would be ideal for you. There are even designated smoking areas where you can relax even more if you are someone who smokes. Some resorts forbid smoking as it might affects others, seeing that the space is mainly enclosed.
“if you are somehow seeking a quiet and relaxing spot to free your mind and sleep your worries away, then here would be ideal for you.”
The idea behind the architecture
The architecture and visuals at Royal Decameron hold great historical significance. Some might not know this, however. This significance is also not something one would readily pick up on, especially if you do not have any knowledge of Caribbean History. The historical significance is the selling point of the resort. Of course, from the look of things, anyone would know that it is not the typical resort, especially with the thatched roof and detached rooms. Despite this difference, we know that there is a method to this obscureness. As in, there is a deeper meaning to everything. This is what makes Royal Decameron unique.
We can’t forget the hammock! The Tainos made and attached them to trees and relaxed in them. Maybe this is where the stereotype comes from about Jamaicans living in trees. We don’t casually have hammocks in our backyards in Jamaica however, but Royal Decameron surely does.
Wooden sculptures were also Taino artefacts. Royal Decameron incorporated this aspect of Jamaica’s history into their embellishments and decoration. This mostly includes sculptures of our infamous music icon, Robert Nesta Marley, A.K.A. Bob Marley.
The idea behind the architecture: Rooms
The rooms resemble that of Taino (Arawak) architecture. The Tainos are said to be the first set of native Indians to have populated the island of Jamaica, and by extent, the Greater Antilles (Jamaica, Dominica Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico). They built cylindrical houses with thatched roof. We don’t know if they had pineapples at the top (maybe they did), but at Royal Decameron, all the rooms have pineapple at the top. Of course, not real pineapples. Pineapples seem to hold great historical significance to Jamaica because it is also on our Coat of Arms.
Unfortunately, inside the room that we got was a bit below our expectations. At first, we thought there was no light, but then we queried it and confirmed there was really no light. Haha…well, main light. There were only ambient lights in the room. This is a bit limiting as it doesn’t give freedom to possibly do work that would rely on bright lights, like engaging in a meeting. The lights were however bright enough for us to not stumble.
The room gave more of a guest house feel and not much of a resort feel, but that is understandable. Nonetheless, we were disappointed that the room did not have much features or appliances, such as a fridge or a coffee-maker. Many of the appliances and features appeared predated. There was evidence of rust on some. The bathroom looked like those in a residential home. Just the typical bathroom, nothing fancy. We also got only 2 towels. Other resorts would typically provide 2 spare towels. There also weren’t any emergency products like mouthwash. Only a shampoo, lotion and bar soap. If you leave anything at home, you’ll basically be on your own, or you maybe would have to purchase.
For the most, the room was comfortable…until…the weather changed. Because of the rural theme, one cannot avoid walking on the lawn. This is always totally fine until it rains. It rained heavily and continuously during the days, so this made the room really messy with mud. We also found out that the roof was leaking. Of course, it’s thatched, so we weren’t surprised per se. This may not be the case for other rooms however. There are also joined apartments with different architecture and roofing, so you have the choice of booking one of those.
Authentic Jamaican Cuisine
Royal Decameron serves you Jamaican food without reservation. I’m talking about Saturday evening soup, yam, sweet potato, boiled pumpkin, white rice, fricassee, jerk and marinated chicken. Sadly, there was no rice and peas, but maybe because we weren’t there on a Sunday. Obviously, these weren’t the only food prepared. We were looking out for the dumplings, but maybe that was a no no. They are marketing brand Jamaica and want you to experience what it is to be Jamaican, so they prepare and serve mostly Jamaican food. Nonetheless, visitors will have options. Well, a few. Not only Jamaican style food is prepared, but also a bit of international cuisine. Sorry to say, the pizza was horrible, but honourable mention of the ham. Ham is always good.
Overall, the food was okay. There isn’t any memorable dish per se, but what they served was edible and just…okay. You wouldn’t have a problem with it. Nonetheless, the taste is average. It is not really something that would blow your mind. The taste and flavours are what you would expect of a typical Jamaican dish. Maybe this is bias because we’re used to Jamaican style food, so if you’re not Jamaican and would love to try it, go ahead, you might have an entirely different opinion. Some of the dishes are also spicy, so that’s characteristic of Jamaican cuisine.
There is one other restaurant on the premises, as well as a snack bar. At the snack bar, you can get burgers and hot dogs, and it operates after midnight…well, at times when regular meals are not being served. There are no swim-up bars unfortunately, like most of the novel resorts, but there is a bar beside each pool.
Pools are the main features of a resort. Frankly, if pools weren’t at a resort, I don’t think people would want to go there. So, with Royal Decameron, though it’s themed differently than the typical resort, it still had pools. Two to be precise. There is the Animated Pool and the Private Pool. The Animated Pool is the main pool at the front. It’s given the name because the area is also where daily entertainment activities take place. It’s like Royal Decameron Central. The main dining area is there as well. Also the main bar, the entertainment stage and the lobby area. There is also a Disco that is out of service due to COVID-19. There is also an archery area and a giant chess board, but you know, COVID-19. Additionally, there is a basketball court beside the tennis court, and a gym.
The most adventurous thing we’ve done was to play Tennis. Now I know you might be thinking, “Tennis? Adventurous?” But yeah, we were sort of new to the sport. It was fun learning and catching on. I was failing at first, but now I feel like I could win a whole tournament! The people we met were very friendly and warm as well. Two were foreigners and then we had the trainer, Bryan, who is also one of the entertainment coordinators.
Here’s to embarrassing ourselves!
I believe this the best feature of Royal Decameron, apart from the unique architecture. It feels like this is what everyone who stays there anticipates. After relaxing for most of the day, perhaps reading a book at the private pool or in the hammock, they get the grove on again.
The nights we were there we saw that the performances were broken down into two: pre-show and the main show. The pre-show showcases musicians who play traditional Jamaican music and instruments, while the main show is a dance show with incredible dancers. The dances are diverse. They highlight a very important aspect of our culture – the diversity. Our culture is influenced by other cultures. This is essentially what Jamaica is – a melting pot.
In the afternoons before the shows, they host other activities such as Bingo. We almost got caught in one of those Bingo-playing gatherings, but luckily, we escaped.
Overall Impression of Royal Decameron Club Caribbean
Royal Decameron Club Caribbean is perhaps the most “Jamaican” resort in Jamaica. If you want a real feel of native Jamaica, this is totally your ideal destination. Many resorts and hotels in Jamaica are Americanized, but this one is different. They seek to maintain an authentic Jamaican atmosphere so that tourists and other visitors can have that authentic Jamaican experience. It is also one with a light atmosphere where you can relax in a cool and windy environment. The downside to this is that because of the significant hit by the pandemic, the resort seems to have suffered a great loss. Therefore, you can prepare to pay extra for any little thing that arises, such as arriving before check-in time or losing your beach towel. Also, be prepared to be kicked off the WiFi every hour, this maybe as a result of the lease time configured on their network. Furthermore, it was also a bother that we had to wait until 3:00 pm to check in, but the good thing is that they allow you to have lunch at noon while you wait. They also offer you and other guests who may not necessarily be staying refreshments.