One of the requirements for entry into Jamaica is successfully running the airport gauntlet. You’ll wait in long lines, encounter remarkably strict (but always professional) officials, and be met by a horde of taxi drivers before you even exit the building. But the other thing waiting for you before you leave the building is Club Mobay arrivals lounge (word to the wise: Montego is too long for anyone to say here – if you call it “Mobay” while wearing that rasta cap, everyone will definitely take you for a local).
This is a lounge that takes the idea of luxury seriously. It’s not actually incredibly swanky, but the service makes you feel very welcome. This is definitely a lounge you don’t want to miss – even if its just to organize your things, wait for a friend, or ensure that you’re completely sloshed on rum punch before you officially enter the country. After all, why wouldn’t you load up on booze before you hit the all-inclusive? But don’t go to the lounge uninformed – you need to read our Club Mobay Arrival Lounge Review – Montego Bay (MBJ) before you arrive.
Our Trip – Club Mobay Arrival Lounge Review – Montego Bay (MBJ)
A lot of people think the best way to get from New York to Chicago is to take the direct flight. But here’s the thing. Its winter, and Chicago is cold. Last-minute flights from New York to Chicago are way, way too expensive. The only way to make the most of a bad situation is to fly this route with a two-day stop in Jamaica. And that’s just what we did. We’re sure you’d approve.
The Facts – Club Mobay Arrival Lounge Review – Montego Bay (MBJ)
Getting to the lounge is obvious and easy. Exit customs, walk straight and you’ll fall straight into the lounge. There are many kiosks before immigration. They lounge staff will even meet you at the plane to escort you through a fast-track line and into the lounge. For that, you’ll need to pay money two days in advance. For more details, see their website. This will cost you $50 per adult.
For those of you willing to save a buck by standing in the imimgration line, you can make your way to the lounge yourself. They take all sorts of cards, including Priority Pass, Dragon Pass, Diners club, and obviously cash. Business class passengers on a range of mostly European airlines also have access.
You’ll be met by staff before you come in. You can leave your larger luggage outside if you’d like, in a dedicated area. Then you’ll get a hot towel and be swiped in. By the time you take your seat a staff member will be welcoming you and offering you Red Stripe or rum punch. They are pretty eager to get you lubricated as fast as possible. It’s actually wonderful. The staff’s zeal to distribute drinks is laudable and should be rewarded with tips and accolades.
One small warning: it’s been said that when the lounge is busy they’ll refuse entry to people with card access. That wasn’t our experience, but there were brief flashes when the lounge did get a little full. But once the Sandals guests boarded their jetpacks to head to their exclusive SEZ or whatever, it instantly cleared out. Until the next flight arrived from Minnesota. Then it was crowded again.
The Space – Club Mobay Arrival Lounge Review – Montego Bay (MBJ)
The lounge is a small square room with a few pillars. It’s decently appointed with comfortable wicker furniture and thick cushions. There are some couches, and some tables. It’s not a slam-dunk in terms of workspace, but its good enough to pound out an hour of emails and charge your laptop and phone. There is soca-type music jamming all the time to get you in de island mood, so if you find that distracting, bring headphones. I did witness a few midwesterners searching for a table without a speaker nearby. But this is Jamaica, and there is no such table. Too bad, so sad.
The food – Club Mobay Arrival Lounge Review – Montego Bay (MBJ)
Okay, there’s food. Its small sandwiches, some pastas that seem very mayonaise heavy, cut fruit and an assortment of yogurts. It didn’t really cut the mustard for me, and it might not quite be fulfilling if you’re coming off a long flight and you’re hungry.
For those of you who just don’t have the patience to slowly eat yogurt from a cup, there are Go-gurt packets so you can pound out 4-5 shots of yogurt before you head to your accomodation. Not sure what’s hitting me harder right now, the Red Stripe or the Strawberry gogurts I’ve been chasing every beer with.
Okay, there are not a ton of options in the drink department, but somehow it doesn’t seem so bad. In the alcohol section we’re looking at Red Stripe and Red Stripe Light on tap (ice cold) and rum punch (appropriately chilled and dispensed from an orange gatorade cooler). These are available at the food station (except the rum punch which is poured in the kitchen), but the roaming servers will make sure you’ve got a drink in your hand at all times (“Another beer sir? The answer is YES YES YES, YOU WANT TO SAY YES.” That is a literal quote when I showed hesitation due to my rapid inebriation at twelve noon.
I’m not actually sure if you’re supposed to touch the tap – I never really had the chance or the ability. It’s hard to pour yourself a third beer when you’re already double-fisting. (update: yes, you may touch the tap. I touched it.)
There is also coffee at a coffee stand. Didn’t see anyone queueing up for that, though.
There are plenty of juices, lemonade, sprite, coke, ginger ale and, I dunno, um, milk?
BOMBOCLAAT! This is some damn good internet. Jamaica doesn’t always have the fastest speeds, but this one ranks pretty highly in our lounge experience. If you need to do a little work or download some
porn files, this isn’t a bad place to do it.
This is a superlative place to do your personal business. You can’t take a shower here, but you can certainly perform your bodily functions in reasonable comfort. You may, however, have to queue up to drop that ✌️, because there are only two restrooms and they are unisex. If there’s a crowd, you may find the toilet seat to be warm when you finally get to it.
Is the Club Mobay Arrival Lounge – Montego Bay (MBJ) worth getting excited about? Sure. It’s not the departures lounge in Antigua, but you’re on vacation, you want to drink and feel luxurious, and this place just about manages to hit that bar. The food isn’t much to go into a tizzy over, so if you’re not a drinker, you might not want to stick around for long. Unless, you know, you love Go-gurts. In which case, this is your heaven, weirdo.