As the old adage goes, you want to go to a hotel that feels like home and treats you like family. Well, that’s a lie because the whole point of going to a hotel is to experience things that aren’t at your home (who would want to leave if they had a beach or a golf course in their backyard?). There are brand name hotels in Jamaica that everybody knows, but this list also includes other local (non-multinational) hotels, based on their different merits (all-inclusive, luxury, family, adult, spa, activities, etc). These hotels cater to a variety of budgets (because this writer believes in luxury on a budget). By no means is this list exhaustive, but hopefully, it’s a start to finding your ideal vacation.
Doctor’s Cave Beach and Hotel – Activities
What is Jamaica without access to the beach? You may have heard about Doctor’s Cave Beach and Bathing Club, but less known is the adjacent hotel. Yes, there is access to their namesake beach, but what was more striking was their list of activities, which for lack of a better word, is impressive. These activities include (but aren’t limited to):
- water sports
- cultural/historical tours
- horseback riding
- nature hikes
and the list literally goes on. The best part is that they offer year-round specials so the prices are good. It’s definitely a hotel worth visiting as it’s a locally owned hotel that offers local-oriented activities.
Grand Palladium Resort & Spa – Luxury
Two separate resorts that share facilities, Grand Palladium Jamaica and Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton are pretty high up on the luxury totem pole. It has everything one could ask for in a luxury hotel. The first-class amenities of a spa and wellness centre, several pools, water sports, a casino and 20 restaurants and bars throughout the property, a night club. Best of all it offers an all-inclusive package with meals, snacks and activities. Special packages for honeymoon and caters to weddings by the beach are also available and look very worthy of the high price tag.
Half Moon – Country Club
The concept that Half Moon is working with puts a new meaning to catering to everybody. That’s because it lets you plan your perfect day, whether you’re looking for relaxation or romance, a family day or a day full of activities, so you’re bound to find something to enjoy. And they plan the perfect day from sunrise to sunset, accommodation to activities to dining, but you also have the option to wing it and plan your own activities based on the myriad that they have to offer. They offer rooms, suites and villas, assorted dining options, a spa and golfing; it rings closer to a country club by the beach rather than a resort, but this only serves to make for a unique vacation.
On the shores of a private beach, Royal Decameron Montego Beach and Royal Decameron Cornwall Beach both advertise a modern twist to the Caribbean vacation. They offer different levels of rooms based on price point, all day food options that are open until midnight, water and non-aquatic sports and the private beach. Guests of either hotel have access to the other hotel’s facilities, which is double the fun for when you get bored, and you’re only paying for the use of one hotel. Don’t let that deal of double luxury go to waste.
Royalton Blue Waters – Luxury Resort
If you’re looking for a luxury vacation, not that others on this list aren’t luxurious, but Royalton Blue Waters is the upper crust of luxury. This is obvious starting with the rooms that offer balconies or terraces, an in-suite jacuzzi and an ocean-view or swim-out back terrace. If you’re still not impressed, there are 7 restaurants of different regional cuisines with 8 bars situated across the hotel. But luxury doesn’t equate to no family; there are designated clubs for children and teens with outdoor and indoor activities. Royalton also offers excursions around Jamaica’s north coast. But, if that’s not your style, there are plenty of options to enjoy yourself at the hotel, visit the spa, lounge by the pool or walk on the beach.
Sea Garden Beach Resort
Sea Garden definitely has a more sedate atmosphere than any other hotel that you’ll see on this list. But what it lacks in activities I can personally attest that it makes up for in hotel facilities, good food, friendly and accommodating staff and a gorgeous private beach with a view of the sunset. It would definitely be better for conferences or if you’re looking for somewhere to stay while you explore the rest of Montego Bay as it’s in a central location (close to city centre and Margaritaville). And it’s a definite recommendation for weddings because that private beach at sunset is hands down majestic.
Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay– Adult
If your budget is high (or you’ve thrown the budget out the window altogether) and you’re looking for somewhere to escape from your children and other people’s children, Secrets Wild Orchid more than makes the cut. It offers the white sandy beaches with turquoise waters that make a paradise, but also offers a variety of indoor and outdoor activities that caters to individuals, couples and groups. And if that weren’t enough, the accommodations offer different views (based on price point), concierge service, 10 restaurants and 9 bars. It’s definitely prime for a romantic getaway but also has a “treat yourself” vibe with a resounding “leave the kids at home theme”.
Sunscape Cove and Sunscape Splash – Family
There are two Sunscape Resorts in Montego Bay, Sunscape Cove and Sunscape Splash, and since they allow guests access to both facilities, I thought it was worth mentioning them together. Sunscape is definitely a family-oriented as it has tons of activities geared towards the entire family (aka the children). Primarily a water park, it also offers clubs for different age levels. And for the adults, after you leave your kids at their respective clubs, you can have your vacation at the Serene Spa that offers massages, face and body treatments and overall wellness. Finally, their restaurants and bars cater to different tastes, from the open palate to the picky eater, because again, family hotel.
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