Jamaica – rum, reggae and beaches in the Caribbean. Or is it? EliteVoyage travel designer Adela Hubnerova just returned with this travel report.
Holidays in Jamaica
Jamaica is not about high levels of luxury. The holiday experience is all about the people, the culture, the parties and going out to explore.
Jamaica is a beautiful country with so many nice experiences. A young couple or a group of friends will have so much fun here.
I can’t imagine a family with children visiting Jamaica – there are better places in the Caribbean for this, like combining Anguilla and St Barths.
Some people think Jamaica isn’t safe and there are some unsafe areas, just like many countries. But I found the country to be very safe, especially when you’re with locals and guides.
I recommend a Jamaica holiday visiting multiple places. It’s not a flop and drop holiday, it’s really all about meeting the people, exploring nature and culture, and the parties!
Comparing Jamaica’s Best Hotels
I was on a trip organised by the Jamaica Tourism Board, who wanted to showcase the best five-star properties in Jamaica.
In Negril there’s a really nice long beach with many hotels, but I didn’t find any memorable property. I stayed at Jamaica the Cliff and it was very disappointing. Definitely don’t stay there, it’s 25 minutes by car to the beach and the pool was dirty and cold.
Fortunately, I did stay at some good hotels elsewhere.
GoldenEye was the property of Ian Fleming, who wrote the James Bond books. It’s a stunning property with private villas, spread around a lagoon and lush gardens.
GoldenEye is really beautiful and I loved the villas directly on the beach or those by the lagoon.
The beach is quite small and not great for swimming, even if the water looks stunning. Villas on the lagoon side have sunbeds next to the water. And there are no crocodiles!
Jamaica Inn is a very historic property, where Megan Markle had her first wedding (before Harry!). It’s old and most of the resort needs some renovation.
The beach is beautiful, in a private area of Little Bay, and some of the rooms have large terraces opening onto the beach.
It’s also in the middle of nowhere and the restaurant is nothing special. Overall I wouldn’t recommend Jamaica Inn, unless you take one of the renovated suites by the beach for a couple of days.
Half Moon Resort
Half Moon is Jamaica’s most famous resort. It’s a huge property with three parts, each with its own beach area. One area is only big three, four and five-bedroom villas – they are ideal for groups of friends or perhaps families.
I loved Half Moon Resort because it is set in nature, it felt like I was in the jungle.
The entire resort is very focused on American tourists and you can feel the American touch. I stayed in the newest part, Eclipse, in a very nice suite in the main building.
Founders Cove is the oldest part of the resort. Some sections of Founders Cove have been redeveloped but others feel old and tired. The Rose Hall Villas area felt abandoned, probably because this was off season and it’s mostly used by families during the school holidays.
Round Hill Villas
Round Hill Hotel and Villas has a similar old-world colonial American style to Half Moon Resort. I really like this property close to Montego Bay.
Round Hill Hotel and Villas is more understated and secluded than Half Moon. Most of the suites were designed by Ralph Lauren.
There’s everything here to keep you entertained, like the beach, spa, golf course, tennis courts, water sports. The beach barbecues are cool as well.
Important Information for Jamaica Travel
Jamaica has many adventurous experiences to try. I walked up and down some waterfalls, which seemed a little bit dangerous and definitely isn’t for children.
The entire country is beautiful and there’s a lot more than the beaches. Mountains are spectacular and of course there’s the culture.
The locals were always inviting me to these great parties and I really enjoyed their friendly vibes. This is a certainly country where you’ll have fun.
I flew via Havana and this can be an amazing holiday combination – imagine exploring Jamaica and Cuba in one trip? However, because I did a layover in Cuba I can’t get the ESTA visa waiver for visiting the United States. So be wary of this route. You can also fly to Jamaica via the United States, or to Montego Bay via Zurich, Frankfurt or Amsterdam.
Winter Sun in the Caribbean
The Caribbean is becoming more popular, partly thanks to some of the outstanding accommodation on offer. Like Rosewood Le Guanahani and Cap Juluca, a Belmond Hotel.
Here’s our Caribbean travel guide for beginners, comparing the different island destinations, like Anguilla and Dominican Republic.
I have a lot more to share about my Jamaica trip. At EliteVoyage we explore these places so we can advise you personally and create the perfect holiday for you.