Imagine yourself rum punch in hand, looking out over a sparkling turquoise sea backed by lush tropical gardens. Imagine yourself in Jamaica! If you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean and are looking for a beautiful boutique hotel in Jamaica, here are five of the best and some tips on what to do when you get there.
Rockhouse Hotel in Negril, Jamaica
Located in Negril, on the cliff’s edge overlooking the clear turquoise water of the Caribbean Sea, the Rockhouse Hotel is a sanctuary to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul. Amazing thatched roofs and rock walls located where the lush tropical forest meets the crystal waters give this hotel its defined look and exotic location.
The Rockhouse Hotel features 34 rustic-styled rooms, featuring every modern comfort. Built from locally supplied stone, timber, and thatch, the rooms each have air conditioning, large queen sized beds, Wi-Fi, and a mini-bar. Large doors open onto private patios where you have private loungers and magnificent views of the horizon. Spacious bathrooms offer large showers with solar-heated hot water.
Created to be environmentally friendly and socially mindful, guests at the Rockhouse Hotel can enjoy lounging on locally sourced timber furniture. The luxurious, relaxed atmosphere invites you to savor gourmet dining featuring the authentic flavors and ingredients of Jamaica. A large shimmering swimming pool is the perfect place to have a refreshing dip. If you would prefer to swim in the warm ocean waters, there are ladders at the end of the stone steps leading down to the water. Work on your tan while lounging on one of the cliff-side lounging chairs, while enjoying a fresh cocktail. Once you have had your fair share of the tropical sun, you can renew your body and mind at the first-class spa.
Start each day with rejuvenating morning yoga on the cliff side as the sun rises over the hotel. Due to the ideal location of the hotel, you can enjoy swimming and snorkeling around the coral heads teeming with colorful marine life. The Rockhouse Hotel offers a wide array of activities on-site, including Caribbean Zumba dancing, cooking classes, African drumming, and painting lessons.
Things to do near Rockhouse Hotel, in Jamaica:
Seven Mile Beach: The most famous beach in Jamaica, Seven Mile Beach, offers some of the most incredible views of the crystal blue waters and white sandy beaches on the whole island. Continuing for what seems like forever, you can rent snorkeling equipment at various places along the length of the beach, or get your adrenalin pumping with parasailing or surfing.
Rick’s Café: One of Negril’s most popular attractions, Rick’s Café is a well-known cliff where you can enjoy the true Jamaican vibe. Spend some time talking to locals over a fresh cocktail, listen to the smooth sounds of live reggae music, and watch as the cliff diver’s leap from trees and ledges into the water 35 feet below. And if you’re an adrenalin junkie – leap off the edge of one of the diving boards. More information on Rick’s Cafe Website
GoldenEye Hotel & Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
A true gem of Jamaica, the GoldenEye Hotel and Resort is one of the most trendy and lavish hotels in Ocho Rios. Originally the home of Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond, the property has been renovated to include beautiful cottages and villas. Set among the tropical gardens overlooking the private beach and lagoon, the laid-back, intimate atmosphere of the GoldenEye is translated throughout the resort.
21 stylish rooms are available at the GoldenEye, each offering something unique, including outdoor bathtubs, and bedrooms that step into the sparkling lagoon. Large wooden doors lead you out onto patios and balconies that overlook the spectacular water and the lush tropical gardens that surround you.
GoldenEye prides themselves on serving food that is fresh and natural – from the sea and the tree. Enjoy breakfast by the poolside at Bizot, experience the rich flavors of a Jamaican barbecue at Bamboo Bar, fresh cocktails and cold lagers at Shabeen, and sumptuous dinner at The Gazebo. Two large swimming pools provide plenty of space to cool down once you have enjoyed the warm waters of the lagoon. The tree house spa is fully equipped to provide you with everything you need to relax and renew your body and mind.
There are a wide range of on-site activities provided at GoldenEye. If you are a keen fisherman, try your hand at catching Blue and White Marlin, Barracuda, Sailfish, Spearfish, and Wahoo on a deep sea fishing trip. Snorkeling and swimming are, of course, two of the most popular activities, and stand up paddle boarding is becoming more popular by the day. Other activities that you can enjoy at GoldenEye include sailing, tennis, glass bottomed boat trips, water sports, and planting a tree.
Things to do near Goldeneye in Jamaica:
Turtle River Falls: Situated on 15 acres of tropical gardens, featuring 14 amazing waterfalls, Turtle River Falls is one of the most outstanding gems of Ocho Rios. Walk through the gardens where you will see colorful birds and indigenous plants, and cool down in the natural pools at the foot of the waterfalls. Turtle River Falls also offer spectacular botanical gardens and a tranquil Koi pond. More information on Turtle River Falls website.
Firefly: This property has been home to many who have loved it for its location and view, from the infamous pirate-turned-governor, Sir Henry Morgan, to the renowned playwright Noël Coward, who it belonged to last. Located on the top of a mountain just 15 minutes from GoldenEye, you can enjoy a tranquil afternoon picnic overlooking the bay, and watch the sunset – bright pink, dusky blue and deep gold light meet in the sky. More information on Firefly website.
Geejam Hotel in Port Antonio, Jamaica
Geejam Hotel, in Port Antonio, combines the comforts of modern living with the authentic culture of the Jamaican lifestyle. Located in the lush tropical bushes, Geejam Hotel boasts unbelievable vistas of the Caribbean ocean, and the comfortable wooden cabins leave nothing to be desired. Offering true luxury, privacy, and exclusivity, there are only seven double rooms available in the form of 3 deluxe cabins, 1 suite, and a self-contained 3 bedroom villa.
The 3 bedroom villa is perfect for families, and has its own outdoor swimming pool, two verandahs, and spectacular views. The nautical themed bedrooms have spacious en-suite bathrooms, and there is a media lounge where you can enjoy relaxing as a family. The deluxe cabins are surrounded by rainforest, and each with their own Jacuzzis with an ocean view, a steam room, and a hammock. Large doors allow the outside in, where you can enjoy the seclusion of your location. The Suite also has a Jacuzzi on one of its two verandahs, and is bathed in light from the large doors. Due to its location on the hillside, you get uninterrupted views of the Caribbean horizon. All of the cottages have air conditioning.
Unlike most hotels and resorts, there are no communal amenities at Geejam Hotel. Dining is offered in your room or on your private verandah. You can also enjoy delightfully fresh meals at the Bushbar, which offers an outdoor pool table and amazing views. Digital surround sound system with Apple TV allows for endless entertainment. Wi-Fi is available both in your cottage and around the entire property.
Located just a few minutes away from the beach, you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, rafting, and fishing. Hiking is also an incredibly popular activity that is fun for the whole family.
Things to do near Geejam in Jamaica:
The Blue Lagoon: Initially called The Blue Hole, this 176 foot deep glistening blue hole was the famed setting for the movie Blue Lagoon, after which a decision was made to alter its name. Considered one of the most dazzling attractions in Jamaica, locals believe that the lagoon has no bottom, and that a dragon lives in the depths below. The Blue Lagoon is perfect for a cool swim and a picnic.
Frenchman’s Cove: This unique beach is often called Paradise, and is the point where the river meets the ocean. Frenchman’s Cove beach is fairly small, but rarely crowded, and is ideal for a day in the waves, or floating down the meandering river. There are also river swings, where you can skim across the water below. There’s a beach bar that serves burgers, fries, and jerk chicken, and a variety of drinks.
Strawberry Hill in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica
Located above Kingston in Jamaica’s Blue Mountain, the 26 acres of Strawberry Hill, a former coffee plantation, offers a unique experience. The 12 cottages are built into the curves of the mountain, allowing for privacy and intimacy. The spacious accommodations open onto balconies with breathtaking views over Kingston and the ocean in the distance.
All of the cottages and villas at Strawberry Hill have been designed to reflect classic colonial style. Each cottage has large queen or king sized beds with mosquito nets, Wi-Fi, and a mini-bar. Large doors open onto private verandahs where you can relax and take in the glorious views of the lush green forest and the twinkling lights of the city below. The spacious bathrooms are bathed in natural light and offer large showers and luxurious bath products.
Although Strawberry Hill is a much smaller and more intimate property, it still features the amenities of a large resort. An extensive spa offering top-class treatments is the perfect place to unwind. The open air hilltop restaurant and bar presents delectable cuisine representing the multi-cultural history of Jamaica. The shimmering infinity pool will have you awestruck with the spectacular panoramic views.
Due to its isolated hilltop location, Strawberry Hill does not present the same type of activities as many of the other local hotels. The most popular activity, aside from swimming, is hiking to scenic waterfalls. Enjoy walking through the lush forested areas surrounding Kingston to the cascading waterfalls where you can savor the refreshing water on your skin. The lush gardens are the perfect setting for an afternoon stroll or a picnic, and there is plenty of space to relax.
Things to do near Strawberry Hill in Jamaica:
Fort Clarence Beach at Hellshire: This private park and beach is located on 40 acres of prime beauty, and is well loved by both tourists and locals. Take a dip in the shimmering clear water, or relax on the white sandy beach and catch a tan. There are 2 restaurants on the property that cook the freshest fish that you can enjoy after a lively game of volleyball.
Bob Marley Museum: One of the most iconic figures in Jamaican history, Bob Marley bought this Hope Road house in 1975, where many of his belongings still remain to be viewed by tourists. Children are often seen playing soccer in the front garden, which was a favorite pastime of Bob Marley. More information on the Bob Marley Museum website
Tensing Pen in Negril, Jamaica
Situated on the stunning limestone cliffs of Negril’s West End, the spectacular stone walls and thatched roofs of Tensing Pen stand out above the turquoise water of the Caribbean Sea. Each of the cottages offers something distinctive and unique, promising you a holiday in true Jamaican style. Tensing Pen is located on a secluded part of the peninsula, making it the perfect spot for rest and relaxation.
Valuing quality over quantity, Tensing Pen features 17 cottages that have each been designed and decorated with a unique theme. Each of the cottages boasts large verandahs where you can watch the sun set on the horizon. Most of the rooms have air conditioning; however, based on the positions of some, cooling is not needed. All of the rooms have no phones and televisions, inviting you to switch off and take in your surroundings, but Wi-Fi is available if you wish to connect. Offering large spaces with comfortable furnishings, the wide variety of cottage choices present something for everyone’s tastes.
The luxurious, intimate setting of Tensing Pen welcomes you to relish in gourmet cuisine prepared with fresh local ingredients as you watch the sunset. The shimmering waters of the swimming pool are the perfect place to refresh after a swim in the crystal clear ocean. If you fancy a massage or body treatment, the award-winning spa has exactly what you need to revitalize.
Start your day with sunrise yoga as you overlook the cool blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Work on your sun tan while lazing on one of the any lounging chairs around the swimming pool. With the ocean in such close proximity, snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, and other water sports are a popular option. Hiking through the lush natural forests is a well-loved activity for adventurers.
Things to do near Tensing Pen in Jamaica:
Booby Cay: This is one of the most beautiful areas in Negril, where you can enjoy the wonder of the gorgeous coral reefs teeming with spectacular ocean life. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming are naturally the top activities, but you can also enjoy other water sports such a wind surfing and parasailing. Take a picnic along and soak up the Caribbean sun before hopping in a glass bottomed boat and gliding across the top of the water, observing the marine world below.
Negril Lighthouse: Built in 1894, the Negril Lighthouse is the tallest building in Negril, measuring in at 30 meters. Take a climb to the top of the lighthouse via the narrow stairs to get to the observation deck, where you can see for miles, and watch the sun setting on the horizon. Located just a short distance from Rick’s Café, this is a great activity to enjoy with the family.
Author Bio: Thalia Oosthuizen is a 27-year-old travel blogger and explorer with a passion for travelling from a very young age when her parents first took her on a camping trip. Today she’s living her dream and exploring amazing places around the world and sharing with others. She contributes to several websites, including Jamaica Hotel Review which highlights some of the amazing resorts and hotels in Jamaica.
For more information about holidays to Jamaica check out the Visit Jamaica website
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Photo credits: Frenchman’s cove – Nigel Burgher | Negril Lighthouse Karen Maraj | Rick’s cafe from rickscafejamaica.com | Noel Coward at Firefly by firefly-jamaica.com | Bob Marley Museum by Bobmarleymuseum.com |