PRINT PREVIEW
send to printer

Concierge.com

Jamaica Hotels

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Caves
Light House Road
West End
Negril
Jamaica
Tel: 800 688 7678 (toll-free)
Tel: 876 957 0270
reservations@islandoutpost.com
www.thecavesresort.com

This 12-room resort challenges the notion of the tour package/cookie-cutter all-inclusive, not only for its small size but also for its abundance of character. Narrow stone paths shaded by grape and almond trees lead to pastel cottages with whimsical hand-carved furniture and fabrics in eye-popping colors. A member of Island Records founder Chris Blackwell's hip hotel empire (Jake's, Strawberry Hill, Geejam), the Caves occupies a spectacular setting on two cliffside acres (the closest beach is a 15-minute drive away). Stairs carved into the rock take you up to sunbathing platforms, and down into two grottoes, one of which houses a rum and cigar bar. Service here is impeccable to the point of being invisible.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Couples Swept Away
Norman Manley Boulevard
Negril
Jamaica
Tel: 876 957 4061
www.couples.com/12sw/index.html

"The front desk remembered me from a trip six years earlier." Look for "great sunsets" from this 27-acre beachfront all-inclusive where Caribbean-style suites have whirlpool tubs and private hammocks; "older ones do not have TVs or minibars." Restaurants range from the swimsuit-casual Sea Grape Café to the semiformal Feathers. Of food, "the variety is great."

(312 suites)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Geejam
San San
Port Antonio
Jamaica
Tel: 800 688 7678 (toll-free)
Tel: 876 993 7000
reservations@geejam.com
www.geejam.com

When music exec Jon Baker decided to expand his recording studio complex into deluxe villas, he turned to music impresario-cum-hotelier Chris Blackwell, owner of the coolest hotel collection in the Caribbean. Now Geejam is part of Blackwell's Island Outpost, which includes Jake's, Strawberry Hill, and the Caves. Geejam is configured as three pine cottages, a three-bedroom villa, and a deluxe suite, all scattered on a lush hillside in Port Antonio. The structures blend right into the dense foliage, but their white-on-white interiors and Philippe Starck fixtures are a nice balance to the area's raw, jungle appeal. A host of high-tech amenities (Apple iTV, Motorola RAZRs programmed with the staff's numbers), and pop art and photography from Banksy and Juergen Teller attract a young, creative, and sometimes famous clientele. The Bushbar, a bi-level lounge suspended under a canopy of giant fig trees, doubles as reception and restaurant/nightlife spot.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
GoldenEye
Oracabessa
Jamaica
Tel: 876 975 3354
goldeneye@cwjamaica.com
www.goldeneye.com

There's no better place to channel the spirit of Agent 007 than this stunning, three-bedroom clifftop house, where Ian Fleming wrote the bulk of his James Bond novels. Now owned by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, the 52-acre estate also includes three smaller satellite villas, 11 cottages by the beach or lagoon, and six suites, all located in a quiet village 20 minutes from Ocho Rios. Rustic Balinese furniture, louvered doors, ceiling fans, and decks with tropical plantings give the accommodations a luxurious yet chilled-out vibe. Private tours are offered to neighboring cays by Jet Ski or glass-bottomed boat, and to Firefly, Noel Coward's former estate. There's also a small, sheltered guests-only beach, a tennis court, and watersport gear for windsurfing, kayaking, and snorkeling. Peer into the shrubbery and you'll find plaques commemorating famous visitors who have planted trees here—a half-century-long tradition.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Half Moon
Rose Hall
Montego Bay
Jamaica
Tel: 866 648 6951 (toll free)
Tel: 876 953 2211
reservations@halfmoon.com
www.halfmoon.com

Seven miles east of Montego Bay, Half Moon is the island's most upscale all-inclusive resort (although it's also possible to book just lodgings, if you'd rather avoid the package thing). The 398 rooms, suites, cottages, and villas here are spread over a 400-acre property, which includes a pair of white, crescent-shaped beaches (one for sunrise, one for sunset), and, well, just about everything else you can imagine. For starters, there's a Trent Jones par-72 golf course, a tennis academy, squash courts, and an equestrian center. There's also an outdoor mall, a 68,000-square-foot spa, a gym, six restaurants, seven bars, and a pool for every week of the year (although some of these are for private villas). There's a whole kiddie village for the little ones, with a pool, a water slide, and even a lagoon with two resident dolphins (there's an extra charge for petting them, though). As for the lodgings themselves, picture a plantation house transplanted from Dallas and you'll have a pretty good idea.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Jake's
Calabash Bay
Treasure Beach
Jamaica
Tel: 800 688 7678 (toll-free)
Tel: 876 965 0635
jakes@cwjamaica.com
www.jakeshotel.com

Funky, hip, and set on the relatively remote south coast, Jake's serves up the quintessential vacation in Jamaica. Part of the Island Outpost hotel group (which includes the Caves and Geejam), the 30 cottages are the handiwork of Sally and Jason Henzell, wife and son of Perry Henzell who directed the iconic movie The Harder They Come. The buildings all look the opposite of "designed," as if they had simply evolved from the landscape. The oceanfront honeymoon suites, Octopussy 1, 2, and 3, are fantastical mini-medinas with arched windows and upstairs decks; others are plantation houselets with verandas and sea glass set into the walls; many have alfresco bathrooms. With its sorbet palette, poolside bar, Driftwood Spa, and tours that incorporate the local Treasure Beach community, Jake's is all about chilling out and keeping it real(ish).

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Jamaica Inn
Main Street
Ocho Rios
Jamaica
Tel: 800 837 4608 (toll-free)
Tel: 876 974 2514
reservations@jamaicainn.com
www.jamaicainn.com

This is one of Jamaica's class acts. During high season, most men wear jackets to dinner—not because they have to, but because the seaside terrace with its balusters, candlelit tables, china and crystal, and quietly playing live band makes dressing up feel appropriate. The 51 guest rooms, spread among five buildings along a beach and six acres of lawns, are modeled on traditional island villas. Enclosed, air-conditioned sleeping quarters—with four-poster beds, antique repro furnishings, and floral upholstery—lead to spacious private loggias furnished as outdoor living rooms, with overstuffed sofas and wing chairs. Beach Wing suites put you closest to the sand, but some guests prefer the East Wing, where the terraces look out over rolling green lawns and the sea beyond. The newest and most opulent lodgings on the property are four private cottages, set apart from the main hotel. They're conveniently adjacent to the KiYara Ocean Spa, which offers moonlight massage on a seaside, flower-surrounded veranda.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mocking Bird Hill Hotel
Port Antonio
Jamaica
Tel: 876 993 7267
info@hotelmockingbirdhill.com
www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com

This 10-room inn, on a quiet hillside 600 feet above the shoreline, is like a family-run New England B&B that's been plopped among palms and bamboo. Public areas, filled with original art by co-owner Barbara Walker, include an intimate restaurant and a sunset-viewing deck with panoramic views of the sea and Blue Mountains. Guest rooms have bamboo furniture—much of it locally made—and are upholstered in pretty, homey blue-and-white floral fabrics. There's a garden with hammocks and massage gazebo, and Frenchman's Cove Beach is only a five-minute drive away. The hotel is also a perfect base camp for exploring the northern flanks of the Blue Mountains.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall
One Ritz-Carlton Drive
Rose Hall
St. James
Montego Bay
Jamaica
Tel: 800 241 3333 (toll free)
Tel: 876 953 2800
rc.mbjrz.concierge@ritzcarlton.com
www.ritzcarlton.com/resorts/rose_hall_jamaica

Its driveway seems to be longer, its porte cochere grander, than at other Jamaican resorts, and a brigade of doormen leap to swing open the big bronze-and-glass doors. Inside, the 40-foot-high lobby of polished mahogany faces a wall of tall windows overlooking the gardens, the pool, and the beach. The 427 guest rooms are exactly what you expect from the Ritz-Carlton—plump multi-pillowed beds with Frette linens, antique reproduction furnishings, lavish marble baths, large balconies—although only a quarter of them face directly onto the sea. It's worth shelling out a little extra for a room on the fifth-floor Club Level for its dedicated concierge, computer access, and continuous food and beverage service. Among the six on-site dining options, Jasmine, with its innovative Caribbean-Asian cuisine, is the standout.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Rockhouse Hotel
West End Road
Negril
Jamaica
Tel: 876 957 4373
info@rockhousehotel.com
www.rockhousehotel.com

Set on the cliffs near Seven Mile Beach, this charming collection of thatch-roofed, timber-and-stone villas is one of the best all-inclusive values on the island. And yet resort-style comforts are all here—even the least expensive rooms have balconies, minibars, queen-size four-poster beds, and powerful, solar-heated showers. It's worth shelling out a little more for one of the 19 villas, though; these have wraparound oceanfront terraces and alfresco showers. The rest of the compound includes a 60-foot infinity pool, a spa and yoga room, and a lively restaurant and bar that are destinations in their own right. The resort's newest restaurant Pushcart sits atop neighboring Pirates Cave (where 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was filmed). The menu features cuisine based on Jamaica's street food, including jerk chicken with roast yam and steamed conch with breadfruit.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Rose Hall Resort & Spa
Rose Hall Road
Montego Bay
Jamaica
Tel: 866 799 3661 (toll-free)
Tel: 876 953 2650
roomscontrol@luxuryresorts.com
www.rosehallresort.com

In the grand scheme of Montego Bay hotels, Hilton's 489-room Rose Hall falls somewhere between the Ritz-Carlton's polished luxury and the area's behemoth all-inclusives. A $35-million-dollar face-lift in 2007 gave rooms a new look that's clean and tasteful, if not particularly Caribbean. They also added a giant water park with a 280-foot slide, swim-up bars, and faux Roman ruins. Most guests (especially those with kids) flock here, which means the the main cabana-lined pool and the narrow beach that fronts the hotel are nice and quiet.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Round Hill Hotel and Villas
Hopewell Hanover
Montego Bay
Jamaica
Tel: 800 972 2159 (toll-free)
Tel: 876 956 7050
reservations@roundhill.com
www.roundhilljamaica.com

Like a mini-Mustique, this former pineapple plantation on a 110-acre peninsula in Montego Bay is a collective run by the owners of its 29 villas. Past owners have included Noel Coward, Oscar Hammerstein, Bill and Babe Paley, and Viscount Rothermere; these days, Ralph Lauren keeps two villas here (along with a neighboring estate). His influence can be seen in the English country/tropical Wasp decor of the main building called the Pineapple House—the 36 deluxe rooms here have checkerboard floors, blue-and-white striped furniture from his home collection, and bamboo four-poster beds swathed in netting and white linens. The rooms also have ocean views, and all the usual comforts except for TV (there is a common TV room, if you're really jonesing). Most of the villas, which can be rented in their entirety or split into suites, have private pools. Kids are well catered to with a daylong Pineapple Kids' Club, and an annual summer tennis clinic at no extra charge. For the grown-ups, there's a spa with Elemis aromatherapy products and a nightly semiformal dinner at the Seaside Terrace restaurant.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Royal Plantation
142 Main Street
Ocho Rios
Jamaica
Tel: 888 487 6925 (toll-free)
Tel: 876 974 5601
Fax: 876 974 5912
www.sandals.com/main/plantation/rp-home.cfm

Sandals recently took over Royal Plantation, a 17-acre, 1950s sanctuary for Hollywood celebs and British royalty. Each room has a sea view, beds layered in Italian linens, and 24-hour pillow menus and butlers and are "as appealing as the surroundings." Dining choices touch on French, Mediterranean, and Jamaican. Champagne and caviar are the focus of C-Bar.

(74 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Sandals Montego Bay
N. Kent Avenue
Montego Bay
Jamaica
Tel: 888 726 3257 (toll-free)
Tel: 876 952 5510
smbmail@grp.sandals.com
www.sandals.com/main/montego/mo-home.cfm

No one will bat an eye if you do tequila shots before noon at this 251-room, all-inclusive resort—and you certainly won't be drinking alone. With the hum of the blender, and the egging on of a boisterous, enabling staff, even the most bashful will find fast friends at the swim-up bar. This is one key ingredient in Sandals' pioneering formula; the others are comfortable West Indian–style rooms with mahogany furniture and beachfront locations. Higher room categories come with butler service, an amenity that may be lost on people who favor a certain degree of peace and privacy, but it's great if you want someone to unpack your bags. The frequent on-site weddings—a whopping 120 per month—underscore that this is a far cry from Montego Bay's more corporate-oriented establishments like the Ritz-Carlton or Rose Hall. While a similar sense of merriment pervades all of the chain's resorts, including the more relaxed Negril property, this one parties hardest.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Sandals Negril
Norman Manley Boulevard
Negril
Jamaica
Tel: 888 726 3257 (toll-free)
Tel: 876 957 5216
sngmail@grp.sandals.com
www.sandals.com/main/negril/ne-home.cfm

This is Jamaica's more laid-back Sandals (especially compared with its raucous sister property in MoBay). Situated on a gorgeous stretch of Seven Mile Beach, the resort has a few undeniably romantic setups, including a semisecluded beachfront fire pit surrounded by a low-slung couch. The 222 rooms have the West Indian look that Sandals is known for, but the resort does offer two additional room categories: the River Suites and the Plantation Suites. The former have patios that lead directly into a lazy-river-style pool (some are also beachfront); the latter have private pools and yards—with enough space to host a small cocktail party. But lest you forget you are at Sandals, head to the Piano Bar and join in the soused sing-along. (If that's not your style, the more low-key nightlife at Alfred's is a short cab ride away.)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa
Whitehouse
Jamaica
Tel: 876 640 3000
Tel: 876 640 3001
www.sandals.com/main/whitehouse/wh-home.cfm

"Guests are made to feel like family" at this all-inclusive on a nature preserve 90 minutes south of Montego Bay. Dutch-, Italian-, and French-themed villages have rooms with Atlantic views; French Village accommodations, for instance, come with mahogany four-poster beds. Neptune's Mediterranean menu showcases mezes—"the food is pretty good." Employees "really enjoy working there." "Feel truly pampered" at Red Lane Spa.

(360 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Strawberry Hill Resort
New Castle Road
Irish Town
Jamaica
Tel: 800 688 7678 (toll free)
Tel: 876 944 8400
strawberry@cwjamaica.com
www.strawberryhillresort.com

Forget the beach; this is one of the most breathtakingly romantic spots in the Caribbean. Set 3,000 feet up in the forested slopes of the Blue Mountains, it has views of Kingston and its great sweep of bay far below. Wooden walkways link three hilltop pavilions (bar, restaurant, library/lounge) with the guest rooms, a collection of 12 charming Georgian-style cottages ranging between 400 and more than 3,000 square feet. Each of the 18 rooms is elegantly furnished—period sideboards, cane chairs, sofas, exotic antiques and artifacts, mahogany four-poster beds draped with netting—but also comes with modern perks like minibars, heated mattress pads (evenings in the mountains can be chilly), and a selection of CDs. The room known as 59 Steps is almost swallowed up by banana plants and ferns; Mountain View lives up to its name; and Birds Hill, a one-bedroom suite, has its own gazebo with a hot tub screened from the view of every creature except the birds.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Tensing Pen
West End Road
Negril
Jamaica
Tel: 876 957 0387
tensingpen@cwjamaica.com
www.tensingpen.com

Simplicity reigns at this stylish and affordable retreat on Negril's rocky west coast. Originally constructed in 1974, the 18-room hotel has managed to maintain a bohemian spirit amid Negril's rapid development. Much of its character lies in the Caribbean architecture (cut-stone cottages with thatched roofs, wooden suites that look like treehouses) and the ginger-lily-and-palm-laden landscape. Inside, the rooms are minimal, with batik lamp shades and bamboo beds protected by mosquito netting. The hotel attracts laid-back travelers who don't need a ton of amenities, since only some rooms have AC, and none have phones or TVs. But you'll find ways to fill the time. There are platforms cut into the rocks for sunbathing or diving into the water and a yoga pavilion with terrific sunset views. Though the hotel is not right on the sand, Seven Mile Beach is a ten-minute drive away.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Villa Rentals in Jamaica
Jamaica

Jamaica is famous for its luxury rentals, many of which are villas staffed by maids, cooks, gardeners, and butlers. Most come with swimming pools and anywhere from two to eight bedrooms (a few, in fact, are mini-palaces with their own helipads or tennis courts or—in one case—a recording studio). Some are located along the beach, others in the countryside. Still others, like the 77 villas at Tryall Club, near Montego Bay, offer the best of both worlds—verdant privacy, and also full-scale resort facilities at their doorsteps (876-956-5660; www.tryallclub.com).

The best source for information on rental villas in Jamaica is Villas by Linda Smith; her website provides a virtual tutorial on villa vacations and costs. A reminder: Though the rates might seem extravagant at first, once you've divided by the number of guests and the number of nights, you may find them a steal (301-229-4300; www.jamaicavillas.com).

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.