Joy on the Caribbean seas, but all-in clubs fail the single girl

Despite all that pampering, Lucy Gillmore discovers that all-inclusive clubs are not a cure for a damaged love life

British Airways don't give it to you like this, Virgin don't give it to you like this. Only Air Jamaica gives you spirit, gives you passion, gives you style," a voice purred over the intercom as the flight attendants shimmied down the aisle modelling the latest chi-chi designs from "Reggae- to-Wear".

And that was just for starters. My boyfriend had gone Awol and I was off for a week of recovery-through-pampering. But here we were, about to land at Montego Bay and Air Aerobics was kicking in. Before we had time to say "Jane Fonda", the whole plane had their hands in the air in a demented Mexican wave.

The exact prescription for a lost boyfriend was a week at an "all-inclusive" resort in Jamaica - sun, sea, sand and gourmet meals, 24-hour room service and as much champagne as you like - all courtesy of SuperClubs' Grand Lido Sampler.

With the Sampler option, you can stay at not just one but two of SuperClubs' most luxurious resorts, choosing between Grand Lido Sans Souci in Ocho Rios, Grand Lido Negril, and Grand Lido Braco, a Jamaican fairyland with gingerbread houses and a cobbled town square.

SuperClubs is the daddy of the all-inclusive resort, founded in Jamaica by John Issa 23 years ago. Now with 14 hotels in the Caribbean and expansion into Brazil, St Kitts and St Lucia underway, the super-inclusives seem to be taking over the world.

Arriving at Sans Souci, an elegant hotel straight out of the Italian Riviera in a sugary shade of pink, with lush green mountains rising out of a turquoise sea, I was shown to the Roger Moore Suite, complete with marble bathroom, Jacuzzi, and roof terrace. A framed picture of the man himself gazed down at me, eyebrow raised.

Rolling around (alone) on the enormous king-size bed, I flicked through all the satellite channels before emptying a bottle of bubble- bath into the Jacuzzi, and totally submerging myself in the fragrant cauldron with a glass of champagne until seasickness set in.

Later, bored of solitary decadence, I wandered down to the beach bar where the drinks were flowing, and couples smooched as the Caribbean lapped gently against the sand. Perching on a barstool I ordered a margarita. "Where's your husband?" the bartender asked confused.

Friday night was gala night and from my balcony I'd watched the lawn being set up to mimic an elaborate wedding reception - which is what it was for those married at the resort that day. If you book a holiday with SuperClubs they throw in a wedding for free.

With tables under the stars and a buffet under open-sided marquees, I took a deep breath and joined Brett and Tiffany, honeymooners from Michigan, and Len and Milena, an old Russian couple living in Wisconsin. "Are you here on your own?" they asked, horrified. Trying to make conversation in between mouthfuls of smoked salmon and Mississippi mud pie, I asked if they'd seen anything of Jamaica yet. "We went to the Taj Mahal shopping centre the other day - you must go," said Tiffany as Brett tenderly stroked her cheek and I grabbed the wine waiter.

Stuffed and unable to move after the mammoth binge, I watched the "social directors" line up like Red Coats in front of a captive audience to get us in the mood for SuperClubs' very own Lionel Richie. In a red suit and black shirt, he warmed up with a couple of Bob Marley numbers and finished with the leery "My Big Bamboo". Butlins in the Caribbean.

The next morning I took my hangover to Charlie's Spa for my complimentary treatments. As part of the package you are entitled to a free massage, facial, reflexology treatment and body scrub. Lying in a wooden gazebo, the cliffs dropping sharply into the sea, I was pummelled and pulled and rubbed down with scented oils. Feeling vaguely human again after a dip in the mineral pool, I lazed the day away - in a hammock made for two.

Across the island at Grand Lido Negril, voted Best Caribbean Hotel by readers of Conde Nast Traveler in the States in 1997 and 1998, the atmosphere is less classical European and more contemporary American. My welcome mimosa in hand, I strolled around the resort, doing a double-take as a blond-braided Mr T in a stars-and-stripes outfit, one leg blue and white stripes, the other red and white stars with a cut-out vest attachment, strutted past.

Around the pool, Michael Jackson was pumping out as water-aerobics for the terminally obese got underway, while on the beach, ageing fraternity boys were playing volleyball, egged on by their cheerleader brides. Taking my book I walked to the furthest end of the shore where the Eighties hits faded to a dull throb.

Starting to feel like a social pariah, I booked myself onto the sunset cruise on Princess Grace's honeymoon yacht. Lining up self-consciously with the happy couples on the dock, we motored out to join the launch where we were greeted by the captain, slim and grey-bearded, as threatening clouds rolled overhead. "Come and sit with us honey." Sherry from San Diego patted the seat next to her and gave me an encouraging smile.

The first spots of rain fell after only a few minutes, quickly turning into a tropical deluge as the boat pitched and rolled across Bloody Bay. The band ran for cover and champagne glasses went flying, crashing onto the deck as the not-so-happy couples clung to each other, a delicate shade of green. Abandoning the mission, the captain turned the boat around and headed back to shore.

Secretly delighted and increasingly jaded with honeymoon hell, that evening I decided to sneak over to Hedonism II next door. The first SuperClubs resort to be opened, Hedonism II is not for the squeamish. The brochure says "Be wicked for a week" and guests take it at its word. An American, and occasionally Scandinavian clientele, SuperClubs believe there's no market for Hedonism in the UK. They obviously haven't heard of Club 18- 30.

Walking in on a fake orgasm competition, five girls and five guys were lined up on stage waiting for their turn to outmoan Meg Ryan. Heckling and a clapometer got it down to one girl and one guy who had to give it their best shot one more time. Over in the swimming-pool, things were hotting up and there was absolutely no faking involved.

Escaping back to Grand Lido Negril, an ageing Elvis impersonator was crooning Frank Sinatra's "My Way" on stage. Was this really what I needed to recover from a damaged love life?

I couldn't remember who had actually prescribed me this particular medicine, but sitting on the balcony later, looking up at the stars, alone apart from another bottle of bubbly, I made a mental note to get the doctor in question struck off.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

    £15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reception Manager

    £18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...

    Guru Careers: Marketing and Communications Manager

    £Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence