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Friday, February 03, 2012

They Call me Mrs Fete :Yorke All Inclusive - The Review

Fete : Yorke All Inclusive, Ortinola Estate Maracas St Joseph
Price: $600.00
Date: January 22,2012

Ortinola Estate in Maracas St Joseph is the former location of Beach House, who held their fete there for a few years, it is also a popular spot for weddings because of its scenic beauty and sprawling hilly layout. The only caveat to this location, which was also a problem for Beach House, is the traffic congestion getting to and from the venue. Parking for Yorke was not at Ortinola but offsite at three designated parking spots and guests were shuttled to the venue. However, there were still those that parked on the streets leading to Ortionla which caused some traffic as both sides of the road were lined with cars.

The layout for Yorke was a bit different from Beach House in the past with a large area dedicated to the food court with lots of tents and fabric used to decorate. On one side there was a massive Digicel tent with seating, two main bars and several other sponsor bars like the Carib Brewery. The grassy areas also had a plastic flooring added throughout the venue and this made walking around in heels much easier for the ladies. I liked the idea of the "drink table" swings hanging from the trees , people used them to stash their drinks while they partied.

For the price expectation had to be tempered, I mean this is one of the All Inclusives under by "budget" list so I was not prepared to see a long list of food items like some of the more expensive fetes. There was the usual All Inclusive fare; roast pork, horse, barb b que pigtail, soup,doubles, bake and shark, Chinese , Indian and local dishes. In addition there was bake and shrimp and a gourmet station serving shrimp skewers. I sampled the roast pork (very popular food station) and had the shrimp skewers which was very good.

Again, standard "premium" drinks included which meant Johnny Walker Black and 1919 among others. There was a champagne/sparkling wine tent and I had the MUMS champagne. I liked the HUGE beer mugs that were given out by the Carib Brewery, people were filling up that WHOLE mug with drinks of their choice. I had to ask for my Johnny doubled up to get it tasting right and they served PEPSI while I am a coke drinker. Bar service was pretty quick, no long lines.

Saw Dil E Nadan for the second time, however their performance was not as electrifying as at UWI. I must also note that the stage was ridiculously high; yes it gave you a vantage point if you were standing on the hilly areas but if you were down below you had to crane your neck to view the performers on stage! Rhapsody featuring Olatunji were also ok and by the time Kes came on we left mid performance at around 10:30pm to try and beat the traffic. From other reports many other people had left by the time Destra finally took the stage.

Crowd Vibe
This was my first Yorke All Inclusive and it was a mixed crowd of older, much older and younger patrons. For me personally I saw few people that I knew at the fete ; not my usual crowd but generally most people seemed to be enjoying themselves. 

Eye Candy
Depends on what you are looking for, women as usual looked great and if you were looking for an older guy lots to choose from.

The shuttle service deserves its own space in this review. Granted that the venue has been plagued with traffic woes in the past the shuttle service caused even more problems as it did nothing to stop the traffic and had patrons waiting for over 30 minutes to GET to the fete. If you arrived very early shuttling from the car park to the venue was no problem. We got to St Joseph a little after 6PM and were directed to park at the furthest Car Park located at the RC School. After waiting at least 20 minutes for a shuttle that was supposed to arrive in "10 minutes" we decided to drive to the venue and look for a closer park as the shuttle idea seemed like it would be even more trouble when we were ready to leave.

There was some traffic on the road leading to Ortionla as cars were parked there as well, enterprising residents were also offering their yards as Car Parks. When we finally got to the entrance of the short road leading into Ortionla we were directed to park on the street running right of the venue, and there were cars parked on either side for as far as the eye could see. After parking and a two minute walk back to the entrance we had to take a shuttle since it would take about 5 minutes walking to actually get to the gates. There was some chaos as shuttles were not stopping to do the mini run but were going to the other car parks. Eventually we got a shuttle to take us to the gates of the venue.

Leaving the venue after partying in 5 inch wedges, NO SHUTTLES to be seen. So, everyone waiting had to walk the 5 minutes out from the gates to the main road. My feet were not happy! I do not know how those parked in the car parks away from the venue fared getting back with the shuttle service.

Located on a hillside FAR from the main area these were D John bathrooms, fancy mobile restrooms but the air conditioning was not working!

Overall Rating
I would give Yorke a 6 out of 10, for the price I think patrons got what they paid for, though their could have been some extras, and the venue was lovely. The shuttle service was unnecessary as it did nothing to alleviate traffic; they could have just allowed patrons to park on the fields next to the venue as we did for Beach House.

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