Most people get the wrong idea if you mention that you’re a hedonist or enjoy hedonistic delights. For some reason, a lot of folks equate hedonism to carnal activities, which isn’t quite fair, for hedonism is simply the self-indulgent seeking of pleasure. Granted, those who devote their lives to hedonism live shallow, utterly faithless existences; but the idea of a hedonism resort is to allow folks who normally don’t indulge in pleasure-seeking to do so, if only for a week or two, and who can’t use a little gratification in their life?
That said, Hedonism II in Jamaica did have its lascivious side, but as I did not engage in such activities while staying there, I will focus on other hedonistic delights.
The most appealing aspect of Hedonism II, for me, was the all-inclusive nature of the resort. After you check in, you receive a room key hanging from a cord that you wear around your neck; that’s all you need while staying there (for the most part), because the meals, many activities, the entertainment and the bar are all included in the price; and tipping is not discouraged, but forbidden.
Food, one of my greatest hedonistic pleasures, is served all day, from the regularly scheduled buffet meals (all of which I sampled were anywhere from decent to delicious) to snacks in between.
I have no idea how late the bar stays open; while staying there, the bar was still open every night when we staggered to our room, usually well after 2 AM. Around the inside of the panel over the bar hangs photos of every specialty drink served there. My friend challenged me to “drink the wall” one night, and I’m happy to say that he won… and spent half of the next day in bed. There was one minty drink in particular that I recommend you avoid, or at least limit yourself to one. It's called the "shooting star" and just one will make you see stars... shooting ones at that. It is served in a brandy snifter, flaming, and you drink it in one shot through a straw. Do not have this cocktail after having downed several others or you will regret it. In addition to the wide selection of unique drinks concocted at the bar, there is a self-serve vodka slushy machine facing the swimming pool that serves deceptively strong icy treats. For you coffee lovers, you’ll be delighted to know that only Blue Mountain coffee (arguably the best in the world, and I argue in its favor) is served in the resort, as much as you want, anytime.
Salty bathwater is how I describe the Caribbean; while Hedonism II has plenty of pools for those who like to swim, why bother when the sea provides the best pool you could want. While there, I did some snorkeling, and I have to admit that it was a disappointment. Although there are a few wrecks of old Spanish galleons to draw interest, the only corals I found were drab, nearly dead and I saw very few fish.
In nearby Negril, you will find Rick’s Cafe nestled along the coast, atop a small but still imposing cliff. While sipping drinks, you can enjoy watching the more courageous or foolish souls take turns diving from the cliff into an incredibly lovely grotto featuring water the most incredible shade of blue that I have ever seen. And if you have enough drinks, who knows if you won’t be in line to take the plunge, too, though I wouldn’t recommend it even if you were sober.
Negril has a lot more to offer other than drunken cliff diving. While there, my friend and I partook of jet skiing and parasailing, two activities I strongly recommend for the inexperienced. And if you’ve heard horror stories about parasailing in Mexico, set your mind at ease: the company that took us out had a winch on the back of the boat that slowly released the line, raising us gently and safely into the air. Once you’re up there, the view and experience are unforgettable.
If you just want an all inclusive resort with no kids (no one under the age of 21 is allowed to enter), where you can relax, have a few laughs, enjoy good food and good drinks, from which you can launch on exploratory jaunts around Negril and its environs, where you’ll find entertaining shows, friendly employees (all Jamaican, incidentally; Jamaican law forbids anyone but locals to work in the resorts), plenty of diversions and the usual fun in the sun, Hedonism II may be just what you’re looking for, and at a reasonable price if you go off-season, as we did. And if you do go off season, don't expect a meat market at the resort unless you are a woman: when we were there, the men outnumbered the women about 20:1.