It was August and I was already spent for 2019. The year can be a marathon and between work, my personal life, and just the everyday of life, I was looking at the remaining four months of the year like someone who is at mile 20 in a marathon and realizes there are 6.2 more to go. By the time the came around, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was ready to be renewed with a few days in Ochos Rios, Jamaica. I didn’t know many of the women in attendance; however, by the time I left, I gained a new tribe of women friends.
The event is organized by Nikkia McClain, owner of . She has organized a retreat for Black women, that accidentally started 3 years ago. While basking underneath the Jamaican moonlight and sipping a glass of wine, she shared, “This happened by accident.” A few of her girls needed a getaway, McClain, who is one to always jump into action and the service of others, booked a getaway to Jamaica for her and close friends. While on the trip they realized it needed to expand into something more. Hence how I was invited on the with about 35 other women.
I booked my flight via Delta Airlines to Montego Bay, where I would have a luxury VIP transfer organized by McClain and her team whisk me away to Ochos Rios. The Delta Airlines flight was pretty good. It arrived on time, was non-stop, and cost under $500.00 (I booked it about two weeks in advance and actually ended up using my points). You have to take a car transfer to Ochos Rios so be prepared. While flights to Kingston may be cheaper, it’s about a four hour drive versus a one hour and twenty minute drive from Montego Bay Airport. In Ochos Rios I checked into the fabulous Moon Palace Resort.
I’ve been to Ochos Rios once before, but had never stayed at The Moon Palace Resort. I highly recommend this resort for families, friends, and couples. It’s huge and it’s absolutely beautiful holding everything you need. My room overlooked the parking lot and had a partial view of the sea, which was good enough for me. The hotel is really big, so be prepared to do a lot of walking. On my last day, I discovered parts of the hotel I never even saw for the past three days!
I’m not really one that gravitates towards all inclusive properties because I tend to find the food subpar there. This was not the case for The Moon Palace Resort. The expansive property had every food imaginable. I had smoothies with fresh mango and other fruits in the morning to sushi in the afternoon to fresh fish and even the chicken from the jerk hut was absolutely delicious. I definitely feel like one gets their moneys worth from the resort.
Upon arrival, I received my swag bag. McClain had sent an e-mail warning us to leave room in our suitcase to bring items home. She should have stated you should have brought an additional carry on! Within the goodie bag she had gifts from various sponsors including a Google Home Mini from Google ($49.00, store.google.com), Apple Air Pods ($144.00, amazon.com), Stay Lit Incense Meditation Sticks ($4.97, reversekarma.com), Urban Hydration Hemp Seed Oil Body Cream ($9.99, urbanhydration.com) and way, way more!
The Welcome Dinner was a beautiful experience. We were all instructed to wear shades of pink and had the opportunity to get to know each other better as well as the resort.
Representatives of The Moon Palace Resort stopped by to welcome us and explained how much this retreat also meant to them as well. It was a touching experience and was an indicator that this would not be a regular weekend.
We had scheduled workouts every morning that were led by member, Jennifer Williams, who was so sweet. The workouts were held on the beach and in case we didn’t come prepared to workout, each woman in attendance was gifted a workout outfit by All Day Alba.
I received their Creative Time Leggings ($100.00, alldayalba.com) and the All Day Alba Top ($60.00, alldayalba.com). I loved this workout outfit! The top has a slimming effect and a built in bra so I felt even more secure while jumping around in the sand. The workouts were good and rewarding (but I’m still waiting for my ‘Jennifer Williams’ body to magically appear).
It wasn’t just about relaxation, the retreat was also about preparation. Lucinda Cross Otiti, author of ($19.99, amazon.com), held a where we were able to hone in on a goal and be able to decipher of when and how we were going to reach said goal. There was also a financial literacy dinner held by Sherkera Green, which allowed our #GlossyPosse to gain more financial knowledge.
The retreat held such a high caliber of Black women that are doing it in their respective fields. If there is anything you wanted to do, there was someone on the retreat that could help make it happen. Seriously. The best part is that these women are willing to help!
The four days were exactly what I needed to take me into and through my 3rd and 4th quarter for my year. McClain had a vision and grew this retreat from 9 women to doubling it the next year to making it 35 women this year. While there was a full schedule, McClain ensured there was time for us to bond, talk and connect. Honestly, I could have stayed four more days with this group of women! Since the trip, I have had lunch with one of the women, speak regularly with another, have connected some of the women for opportunities, and have catch up dinner with another one when she returns from Thailand in a week. It can be hard to make genuine, authentic connections in your 30s when people already have established friend groups. However, this trip provided a whole new network of dynamic women. I love when I see new messages in our group chat. This sisterhood extends beyond Jamaica. While the next retreat isn’t until 2020, you can still get in on some of the action.
You can also support McClain and her girlfriends at the on September 19th, 1019 from 6PM to 10PM. ($16.74, amazon.com) author Charreah Jackson will be hosting while women like Yandy Smith-Harris, Tamron Hall, Tiffany R. Warren, the Curly Girl Collective and Monique Idlett Mosley are honored. You can purchase your ticket .
Beauties, have you been on a Women’s Retreat? Have you ever attended a Black Women’s Retreat? Are you interested in attending this exclusive experience? Talk to us in the comment section and reach out to Nikki McClain and her team if you would like to be included next year!