There are scores of swanky, new all-inclusives popping up all over Jamaica, but the country’s classic hotels aren’t just falling by the wayside. Travel Agent explores four of the hottest new hotels and a trio of longtime Jamaican favorites that have been making moves to keep up with the new kids on the hotel block.
Riu Reggae, Montego Bay, Jamaica: This resort recently became the newest all-inclusive in Jamaica when it opened its doors a few months ago and is a good fit for clients looking to party. In fact, the adults-only Riu Reggae is among the hottest Jamaican retreats for guys or girlfriends getaways. For a vacation with a group of friends, there are some family rooms that can accommodate up to five people.
They are comprised of two bedrooms, one with a king-size bed and sofa bed and a second room with two single beds and two bathrooms. A lively program of day and night activities includes evening shows with live music. For a quieter way to relax, there’s the Renova Spa. Two of its three infinity pools come with an adjacent swim-up bar.
Royalton Negril / Hideaway at Royalton Negril: For a new option for small families and groups, Travel Agent recommends the six-month-old Royalton Negril, which has waterfront rooms throughout three sections, including the main resort, an exclusive Diamond Club wing and, for guests 18 and older, the Hideaway at Royalton Negril. Diamond Club Chairman’s Suites, which have a private balcony with private outdoor Jacuzzi and dining table, are a good fit for Millennials traveling with other couples or for small families.
Royalton Negril has eight bars and eight restaurants offering a wide selection of local and international fare. After dinner, entertainment comes in the form of sunset champagne cheers at the 18-plus Hideaway, boogying at XS Disco Bar and live nightly shows.
Zoetry Montego Bay: This new hotel, which opened in December, is located on a private stretch of white sand beach, but only five minutes from shopping, dining, golf and the Sangster International Airport. All of Zoetry Montego Bay’s 49 suites come with enhanced amenities and extraordinary architecture and features, designed to embody the holistic approach of Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, with suites situated in three main buildings: Wood & Water, Bamboo and Blue Mountain — a nod to Jamaica’s ecological tapestry.
Breathless Montego Bay Resort & Spa: AMResorts’ Breathless brand has been trending high with Millennials ever since the brand was introduced about four years ago, which is why the first Breathless brand resort in Jamaica has been creating a buzz since it opened in March. Breathless Montego Bay Resort & Spa, surrounded by Montego Bay Marine Park, is an adults-only resort with a chic design and modern technology ranging from free Wi-Fi to in-room tablets.
Singles seeking exclusive service should book the Junior Suite Ocean View category or higher to receive the complimentary butler service. Other top amenities include a swanky rooftop pool and bar, a beach club, fire pits, cabanas and five bars and lounges. The resort also hosts occasional theme parties, such as the 1920’s-style “Gatsby Party.”
Breathless Montego Bay Resort & Spa’s xhale club Master Suite Swim Up has a furnished balcony or terrace with Jacuzzi and direct access to a pool.
Round Hill Hotel and Villas: This classic Jamaican hotel in Montego Bay got a little publicity boost back in March when Prince Harry and his girlfriend, actress Meghan Markle, stayed there for a friend’s wedding. In fact, the buzz surrounding the hotel was so strong after Prince Harry and friends took over resort that Round Hill Hotel and Villas made a push for even more resort takeovers by more actively promoting the option.
Whether the occasion is a destination wedding such as the one Prince Harry attended, a milestone birthday, a graduation, an anniversary, retirement or reunion, Round Hill aims to meet every need for guests in a full resort takeover. In the past five years, Round Hill has hosted five such takeovers for CEOs, dignitaries, celebrities and others.
The hotel includes 36 Ralph Lauren-designed oceanfront guestrooms and 27 private, luxury Jamaica villas. Occupying the Pineapple House, the hotel’s guestrooms overlook Round Hill Bay and are steps away from the infinity pool and offer front-row access to sunsets.
The starting costs for a full resort takeover for three nights begin at $320,000 with optional add-ons that the resort can coordinate for the group, including bespoke spa packages, chartered yachts, Olympic-style family competitions, off-property excursions such as horseback riding, swimming in private waterfalls, ATV tours, or even setting private reservations at some of the trendiest restaurants on the island.
Half Moon: A longstanding, popular, luxury resort in Montego Bay, Half Moon is undergoing a major makeover and the hotel is in the middle of Phase II of a massive $75 million renovation. Scheduled for completion in October 2018, the second phase of Half Moon Master Plan includes the introduction of new guest facilities and restaurants, as well as expanding the beach and the accommodations, which include 57 new rooms and suites that will replace 44 existing ones.
But you don’t have to wait until next year to see at least some of the hotel’s upgrades as this phase follows the 2015 refurbishment of the Sugar Mill Restaurant, the resort lobby, the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed golf course and the introduction of the popular Lester’s Cafe. The resort, occupying 400 acres of tropical gardens and bordered by two miles of beachfront, will remain open for the duration of the development project.
The 63-year-old resort has 31 four-, five-, six- and seven-bedroom luxury villas, all with private pools and a personal staff that includes a butler, a cook and a housekeeper.
Sandals South Coast: After the huge success of debuting the Caribbean’s first-ever Over-the-Water Villas in Jamaica and then 12 additional Over-the-Water Bungalows at Sandals Royal Caribbean, Sandals Resorts recently announced 12 new Over-the-Water Honeymoon Butler Bungalows at Sandals South Coast (formerly Sandals Whitehouse), which are available to book now for travel beginning in November.
Guests who stay in the Bungalows will also receive exclusive inclusions such as in-room dining and room service menu, personal airport greeting, expedited immigration, private luxury transfers and welcomes gifts, including a branded tote and towel set and Molton Brown bathroom amenities.
These over-the-water accommodations have hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings and custom-crafted king-size beds with soft linens. Each bungalow is also equipped with a smart TV and a large ceiling fan. The spa-style bathrooms are equipped with his and hers sinks, a large backlit mirror adorned with mosaic tile, and a walk-in rain shower.
These bungalows also come with Butler Elite service, which handles every detail of the couple’s vacation with unobtrusive grace, and 24-hour room service to complete their over-water vacation. Rates for Sandals South Coast’s new Over-the-Water Bungalows start at $1,078 per person, per night.