|Jamaica Jim's Views on Hedonism
Hedonism! The very name conjures up fantasies of ribald, raucous days and lewd, lascivious nights in a tropical paradise. The facts tend to be far less than that, but that is what a first timer expects.
But, rather than being a wild bacchanalian orgy, replete with men and women sating themselves with wine and wild merry- making, the real Hedonism is quite different. Oh yes, some guests there can be seen reveling in the hot tub late at night! And, Toga Night and Pajama Party, both regular events each week, do tend to bring out the exhibitionist in some guests!
But, Hedonism is MORE than this, especially for most devotees of all-inclusive vacations in the Caribbean. As someone who's been to Hedonism a score of times, let me tell you about Hedonism as I know it!
Hedonism II was created by John Issa and SuperClubs, the organization which he serves as it's Chairman of the Board. It followed the successful innovation by John's uncle, Abe, of the first couples only, all-inclusive hotel at Couples, Jamaica. More than fifteen years ago, Issa negotiated the purchase of Negril Beach Village and began creating Hedonism II. (And, there never was a Hedonism I!)
From the moment guests enter the front gate and walk up the steps into the main lobby, they are struck with the beauty of the resort. They walk down a passageway, with a covered arch and tropical plants on both sides, into the main dining area. This is where all meals are served and it contains the entertainment bandstand and dance floor. To the left front is the large main bar, where accomplished "mixologists" blend the finest of drinks, which are included at no extra cost to the guests.
Beyond the bar is the huge swimming pool, with plenty of comfortable lounges to use in getting a tan. There's even a net across one end where guests can enjoy a game of water volleyball. Beside the pool is a small Jacuzzi, where guests can relax. From the railing around the pool, guests can look down on the main beach area, with it's huge trees providing shade from the sun and a scattering of hammocks for an afternoon nap under the palms.
Guests will find the rooms to be a "cut above" those that are normal at most Caribbean resorts. Each room has either a king size double bed or two twin beds. The latter are for those guests who arrive without someone to share their room, in which case they're assigned a "same gender" roommate. Each room has it's own air conditioning unit, with individual controls for maximum comfort. And, above the bed is a mirrored ceiling!
The floors are tiled wall-to-wall. The bath area is tiled and contains a tub, with shower, and a vanity. The window opens out to a view of the beach or the gardens, depending on the room's location. Beneath the window is a built-in lounge for relaxing.
The grounds are maintained by a staff of trained landscape personnel who are continually manicuring the lawns and the shrubbery. There are a variety of indigenous plants and trees, including "paint brush plants", ackee, banyan and breadfruit trees, as well as flowering hibiscus and native palms.
The beaches extend for more than two hundred yards along the arm of Rutland Point on the North end of Long Bay. The main beach is on a wide sweep of curving sand, with a long concrete pier at the middle. There's a large bar situated just behind the tree line, with a beach grill, for a snack without the necessity of having to go to the main dining area. And, there are plenty of lounges, so one can always find one available.
Beyond the pier, there is a beach area that is officially designated as a "clothing optional" or "nude" beach. Here a guest can get that "all over tan"! This beach also offers the guests a fully stocked bar and a grill.
Both beaches have floating rafts, anchored about twenty yards off the beach in four feet of water, for soaking up the sun's rays. And, behind the clothing optional beach there's a huge hot tub - large enough to seat fifty people at one time - as well as a new "misting pool," a therapeutic Jacuzzi and a super fresh water swimming pool, with swim up facilities to the beach bar!
A multitude of sports are offered and included in the price of the resort. The water sports include wind surfing, salt water kayaking, water skiing, sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Hedonism even has its own fully equipped and staffed dive shop, providing not only excellent diving for those divers already certified, but full and resort training classes for those guests who desire to learn to scuba dive while on their vacation.
Land sports provided include shuffle board, weight lifting, table tennis, badminton, bicycling, squash on two fully air conditioned courts and tennis on six lighted courts. There is a fully equipped Nautilus gym, that's open twenty-four hours a day.
For the guests with a gambling urge, there is a recently opened small "casino" with slot machines, where gamblers may pit their luck against the revolving wheels.
Also, there's a complete circus workshop, located next to the main bar on the beach. It has tightropes, flying trapezes, trampoline and unicycles. Plus, there are skilled instructors on hand to teach the circus arts to the guests and full safety equipment, such as nets and harnesses, to provide for the "occasional" fall!
Each evening, there is live entertainment, most featuring local Jamaican bands and performers, in festive shows. There are also "theme" nights, including a guest talent night, when many of the guests participate, making their own contribution to the entertainment of the others.
There's even a piano bar, located off to the right of the main dining area, where guests can relax in air conditioned comfort, while listening to the piano player, or to other quests "performing" on the "karaoke" player machine!
Hedonism has a full disco for those who delight in the after-hours dancing to a Caribbean beat. The disco has all the equipment that one might find in a New York or London night spot. There are laser lights, spot lights, revolving mirrored balls, television sets showing the dancers and a professional "disk jockey," playing the latest in "pop" and Reggae music for the hardy souls. Oh yes, the disco opens at 11:00 P.M. and stays open 'til 5:00 A.M. - or 'til the last guest leaves - whichever comes last!
And, the disco bar offers more than just liquid libation when the dancers need a respite from their exertions. It even has windows which provide underwater views into the swimming pool. This allows the bar patrons to watch other guests cavorting in the pool late at night!
With it's current 280 rooms (construction will soon begin to add more rooms) set in twenty-two acres of lush, tropical gardens and sunny beaches, it's no wonder that Hedonism has the highest rate of returning guests of any resort in the Caribbean.
Yes, there is an air of excitement at Hedonism. There's also a certain air of sensuality about the place. In addition, Hedonism has a "laid back" atmosphere in which a guest can do as much - or as little - as they want.
As the Hedonism brochure puts it, "Be wicked for a week. Stay up late. Give up counting calories. Have a drink before noon. Give up mineral water. Dine in shorts. Talk to strangers. Don't make your bed. Don't call your mother. Go skinny dipping. Let your hair down. Don't pay for anything. Don't leave a tip. Be your beautiful self. Be a hedonist. At Hedonism, the pleasure comes in many forms. Remember, living well is not the best revenge - it's the ONLY revenge."
Well, that about covers "my" Hedonism, or should I say "Heavenism"! To me, Hedonism isn't a place, it's a state of mind! Or, as a friend of mine once noted, "At Hedonism, you can again find that child in each of you - that Peter Pan - that you thought had long ago been lost!"
Long live Peter Pan!
The "Chairman of the Hedonism Board" - and a legend in his own - MIND!
(Originally created by Jamaica Jim Jordan - 1996)
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