Fresh from her exploratory trip to Jamaica, Product Manager Amy reports back on some of the island’s most iconic hotels. Although it’s not just about these gorgeous five-star resorts – Amy found adventure abound in Jamaica’s mountains, waterfalls and rivers.
Trident and the Rio Grande
Chic, bijou property Trident has just thirteen rooms and a very exclusive ambience. Arriving at night, the dazzling impact of this luxurious resort hit me in the morning: cerulean blue skies, an aquamarine ocean and a white-sand beach dotted with palm trees waving in the breeze. Located along the island’s northeast coast in Port Antonio, Trident celebrates the local, from rum punches on arrival to an authentic Jamaican breakfast featuring ackee and saltfish, breadfruit and fresh coconut water. But this intimate hideaway is also a place to escape the crowds and relax. Spacious suites have private plunge pools and sea views, and smiley staff go above-and-beyond to make your stay a happy one.
While we were here, we experienced the mighty Rio Grande on a unique river rafting journey. We travelled on long bamboo poles bound together, a method originally used to transport bananas from inland to the coast. It was surprisingly comfortable and aided by our skilled raft captain, we drifted downstream, absorbing the pristine flora and fauna around us. We pulled in for lunch at foodie institution Miss Belinda’s for curried goat and grilled red snapper.
GoldenEye and Mystique Mountain
GoldenEye is an iconic Jamaican hotel, not least because of its association with famed James Bond author Ian Fleming, who wrote all 14 novels here. Bond aficionados should rent the Fleming Villa, where you can sit at Ian Fleming’s own desk. The villa is also ideal for families with its own private pool and private beach, encased in tropical gardens. I’d recommend trying the GoldenEye cocktail while you’re here (made with rum, of course). Overall though, what struck me about GoldenEye was its laidback ambience, where guests were as much at home at the colourful Bamboo Beach Bar with a Red Stripe and jerk chicken as the chic Gazebo restaurant, based in the treetops and serving fine cuisine.
GoldenEye is the perfect base to explore Mystique Mountain, a rain forest adventure park in Ocho Rios which is just the ticket for thrill-seekers. Take the chairlift up to the top of Mystic Mountain alongside phenomenal jungle views, then ascend by bobsleigh through the lush tropical rainforest on high-tech sleds. Quite the rush!
Jamaica Inn and Dunn’s River Falls
One of the best-loved resorts on the island, Jamaica Inn did not disappoint. It’s imbued with old-world Caribbean charm, and the stretch of beach on which it’s located is truly stunning. It’s at Jamaica Inn where you’ll receive top-class service as many of the staff have been here for years, and their attention to detail is renowned. This is the resort for those who like a little glamour in the evenings. It was lovely to dress up and enjoy a six-course tasting menu accompanied by a live reggae band.
To counteract this scene of refinement, we headed out to climb Dunn’s River Falls – one of Jamaica’s landmarks and probably my favourite experience of the trip. Just a stone’s throw from Ocho Rios, the Dunn’s River Falls are a set of waterfalls that flow over smooth rock terraces, which you can climb up or take dips in its turquoise pools. It was a gorgeously natural spot for a refreshing swim.
Jamaica is clearly an extremely lush, beautiful place, and with such a high level of accommodation, it was easy to see why it makes a great holiday. But I didn’t expect for there to be so much activity aside from sunbathing and snorkelling. It was great to see more of Jamaica and learn about its all-natural interior and meet the welcoming people who live here.
With the raft of activity on offer in Jamaica, be sure to bring appropriate swimwear and shoes for hikes and waterfalls, plus you’ll need formal wear for dinner in your hotel.
If you can, time your visit with a manger’s cocktail party at Jamaica Inn which is followed by a beach BBQ. It’s a great chance to socialise, plus the grilled lobster and spicy meats showcase what Jamaica does best.