The Latest Jamaica Hotel Openings, Upgrades

The ongoing transformation of Half Moon in Montego Bay is being implemented in a way that will not inconvenience guests this summer.

Several new properties are opening in Jamaica this month and later this year, while one venerable resort hotel adds villas, and another continues its ongoing multimillion-dollar transformation. Here are some of the details.

New High-End Villas: The Tryall Club in Montego Bay has opened two new luxury villas: The seven-bedroom Dragonfly, and the oceanfront four-bedroom Tradewinds on the Sea.  Travelers taking residence in these accommodations can get access to the seclusion of a private villa and the amenities and service of a luxury resort. 

Guests have a variety of experiences to choose from at the Tryall Club, including a recently renovated championship golf course, a tennis club and private beach club. In addition to in-villa dining (villas have their own chef and household team), guests can eat at The Beach Restaurant, Organic Garden and The Great House. 

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Perched atop Garden Hill, Dragonfly has views of the Caribbean Sea to its left and mountains to its right. There are floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors spanning the living room and dining room, as well as a two-story balcony gazebo in the center. Off the dining room, guests can sip craft cocktails or try their hand at poker at Dragonfly’s bar. 

Each of the seven bedrooms has a private balcony or terrace and a full-bathroom complete with dual-rainfall showers, a vanity area and plunge bathtub. The master suite provides a private living area and a terrace with a hot tub.

Outside, the poolside veranda has such amenities as a 100-foot-long infinity pool, swim-up bar and grill with lounge area, and a wraparound terrace. Directly off the veranda, the game room has a collection of board games, chess and pool tables, a movie theater and an Xbox console. Active travelers can also access the villa’s wellness amenities, including a private gym and a full-size basketball court.

Every bedroom at Tradewinds on the Sea has ocean views and an en-suite bathroom with a walk-in shower. Three  of the bedrooms also have their own private outdoor shower. A new heated, walk-in infinity pool with an integrated hot tub complements the villa’s veranda and outdoor terrace. 

As residents of Tradewinds, guests have access to two golf carts, which they can take over to the resort’s golf course, tennis club and Beach Club. Technological amenities include Sonos sound systems and flat-screen smart TVs throughout the villa. On hand is a household staff of five: butler, chef, laundress, housekeeper and gardener.

The living and dining rooms at Tryall Club’s new Dragonfly seven-bedroom villa have floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors affording views of the Caribbean Sea and nearby mountains.

More Rooms in Trelawny: The Excellence Group is opening its first property this month, on a private peninsula in Trelawny Parish. Just 30 minutes from Mobay’s Sangster International Airport, Excellence Oyster Bay, which will include about 325 rooms, is the first of two hotels to be built by the group. This Victorian-style, waterfront, adults-only resort offers all-inclusive, all-suite accommodations; a variety of restaurants and bars; three swimming pools and four outdoor hot tubs; and a spa/fitness center. Wedding and honeymoon packages are available.

Rockhouse Gets Sister Property: Skylark Negril Beach Resort, sister property to the Rockhouse Hotel, is also set to open this month. It occupies two acres along Negril’s famous Seven Mile Beach, including 220 feet of beachfront.

Spanish Court Coming Soon: Set to open later this year on the popular “Hip Strip” along Gloucester Avenue, the Spanish Court Montego Bay will have 125 rooms, most with views of Doctor’s Cave Beach. Each will have spa-like bathrooms with roman tubs and sauna showers, and some will also comprise exterior balconies, and on the ground level, private plunge pools.

Playa Buys Five All-Inclusives: Earlier this year, Playa Hotels & Resorts entered an agreement with Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited whereby Sagicor will contribute to Playa a portfolio of five all-inclusive resorts and two adjacent oceanfront developable land sites on Jamaica’s North Coast. The portfolio includes four existing resorts, including the 489-room Hilton Rose Hall, the 268-room Jewel Runaway Bay, the 250-room Jewel Dunn’s River and the 225-room Jewel Paradise Cove. 

It also includes an 88-room hotel tower and spa, two developable land sites with a potential density of up to 700 rooms and a hotel management contract for the Jewel Grande Palmyra. The existing assets are currently managed by an external third-party operator and upon closing of the transaction, Playa will be able to immediately internalize and self-manage the assets.

Half Moon Transformation: In Montego Bay’s Rose Hall area, Half Moon is investing $75 million in massive upgrades in celebration of its upcoming 65th anniversary. The ongoing project is expected to be completed by November. The resort remains open, with new backroad service routes positioned to ensure that there is no interference with guest activities. 

When the fully completed project debuts in November, new additions will include an elegant entry and Great House, an expanded beachfront with a natural swimming cove, adults-only swimming pool, two restaurants, a market cafe, a vegan cafe at the Fern Tree Spa and three bars. The 57 new accommodations include Prestige Ocean and Estate Ocean rooms, Estate Ocean suites and a Great House Ocean Suite.

The new resort arrival path will be relocated from the west end to the middle of the property to enhance symmetry. Upon arrival, guests will enter the Great House, the new resort lobby and concierge, which unlike the existing lobby, offers guest accommodations.

The Great House will additionally feature a signature Lester’s Bar, built around a mural by artist Michael Lester, and Marketplace & Cafe, serving takeaway snacks, pastries and beverages as well as local crafts. Also, a beachside bar and grill with a traditional Jamaican cuisine venue will open on Sunset Beach. New pathways will be added to connect and enhance pedestrian access throughout the property, such as walkways from the focal point of the Great House to Fern Tree Spa.
Azul for Adults: A new adults-only section has debuted at Azul Beach Resort Negril by Karisma. Comprising two buildings on the south end of the Gourmet Inclusive property, it provides exclusive access to a private section of Negril’s Seven Mile Beach, as well as the Premium Pool and the swim-up Tamarind Pool Bar.

Couples Boosts Commissions

Couples Resorts has increased standard travel agent commissions to 15 percent on all new bookings. The move, made effective as of May 15, comes as part of an expanded travel agent incentive/education program that features Couples Resorts Travel Agent University, an online training tool designed to better equip travel partners with key selling-points and differentiators. Couples has also added to its roster of North American sales representatives who are trained and skilled to assist travel professionals with arrangements, collateral support and client care. 

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