The island of Jamaica conjures up images of sugar cane fields, banana plantations and reggae music but has gained a reputation for its resorts and hotels. Many properties tie into the local culture with native cuisine, architecture and entertainment, while providing a home base for exploring the villages and natural beauty of the island. International airports in Kingston and Montego Bay provide access to the hundreds of lodging choices spread across this island nation in the Caribbean Sea.
By far the most popular accommodations for Western visitors to Jamaica are the all-inclusive resorts scattered across the entire island. Montego Bay is known for its variety of all-inclusive properties in close proximity to local shops and attractions, with an abundance of bars and nightclubs for the party crowd. Families favor the hotels in the laid-back town of Negril for the area's long white beach and clear waters. All-inclusive resorts here are often upscale establishments that provide an array of amenities including meals, alcoholic beverages, entertainment, taxes and tips. For a more remote all-inclusive option, Fodor's travel guide recommends the Goldeneye Resort, located 20 minutes east of Ochos Rios. It was the former estate of James Bond author Ian Fleming, covering 15 acres with a main house and private villas.
Families traveling to Jamaica will find hotels that offer elaborate kids camps and programs, some providing Jamaican arts and crafts, local excursions, water activities, game rooms and teen discos for older children. Family activities range from building sand castles to snorkeling, sailing and renting motorized watercraft. Beaches Resort, with a pirate theme and water park, is directly on Seven-Mile Beach in Negril. The Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay has its own children's village, and the Franklyn D. Resort in Runaway Bay provides each family with their own "vacation nanny" upon check-in.
Resorts that cater to those over the age of 18 can vary widely, appealing to either singles, honeymooners or the party crowd. The Hedonism Resort in Negril is pretty much what it sounds like—a place with few restrictions, including whether to wear swimsuits when splashing in the waves or lounging at one of its private sandy beaches. Couples Resorts are located in Negril and Ochos Rios, specializing in romantic getaways for couples, as well as weddings and honeymoons.
Though the larger hotels seem more accessible and predictable, many smaller, less commercialized hotels are also on the island, many of which are locally owned. Generally these boutique hotels are in more remote areas, and the more expensive ones offer transportation from the airport. Meal plans range from breakfast-only to the full American Plan with three meals daily. In the less tourist-laden city of Port Antonio, the Jamaica Palace Hotel is a mansion adorned with white marble columns, crystal chandeliers and Persian rugs; it has 80 guest suites. Jakes Hotel is a small eccentric collection of 31 Bohemian style cottages and 29 rooms set in a cliff on Treasure Beach in a secluded fishing village on the south coast of Jamaica.
- Half Moon: Contact
- Beaches Resorts Negril: Contact
- Franklyn D. Resort: Contact
- Hedonism Resorts: Norman Manley Boulevard; Negril, Jamaica; 800/859-7873; hedonismresorts.com
- Couples Resorts Jamaica: Contact Us
- Jamaica Palace Hotel: Home Page
- Jakes Hotel: Location
- Fodor's: Caribbean's 10 Best Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts
- Jamaica Guide: Accommodations
- Tumbonas image by Cobabunga from Fotolia.com