In spite of its size, Jamaica’s influence has undeniable international reach, counting Bob Marley, Usain Bolt, and Grace Jones as just three iconic figures on an exhaustive list. One saying in Patois sums up the spirit of the Jamaican people succinctly: “wi likkle but wi tallawah!” a feisty declaration of national pride and resilience. The island has unparalleled natural beauty; a treasure trove of white sand beaches, coves, and waterfalls, to say nothing of its music and flavorful cuisine.
Whether you want the services of a hotel, or prefer to stay in somebody’s home, here are ten hotels and Airbnbs in Jamaica to consider, depending on your specific needs, tastes, and budget.
1. Tryall Club
The Tryall Club consists of over 2,000 acres of natural beauty, offering suites for solo travelers and couples, and stately, beachfront villas well suited for larger, multi-generational groups. Guests can enjoy access to golf, tennis, fine dining, and of course, stretches of pristine beach.
As of 2021, Tryall announced that it had once again been included on Trip Advisors’ list of Top 25 Hotels for Families in the Caribbean.
2. Crystal Waters Villas
Located in Negril, Crystal Waters Villas consists of a row of villas ranging from one to three bedrooms, and it is a good option for guests looking for an authentic Jamaican experience that won’t break the bank.
Each house has a living, dining, and kitchen area, and outdoor features include use of a communal pool (only guests of Crystal Waters can use it) and the beach. Nightly rates vary depending on villa and time of travel. But even during high season and the festive periods, they are quite reasonable, including maid, cook, and 24 hour security.
Please note that Margaritaville, a bar and restaurant, is just next door, so if you’re occupying the villa closest to the beach, you might hear loud music at night.
3. Half Moon
Located in Montego Bay, Half Moon has won numerous awards, including being ranked the number one resort in Jamaica, and number six of the top 50 resorts in all the Caribbean. Like Tryall, there are suites and large villas available.
Wake up each morning and take your first sip of Blue Mountain coffee as the sun rises over the Caribbean Sea. When you’re ready to tackle the day, consider a round of golf at the championship course, horseback riding on the beach, an afternoon at the spa and more. Half Moon takes pride in its conservationist work, “particularly the turtles that return year after year to lay their eggs. Each year, over 2,000 baby turtles are released into the sea.”
This Negril resort is clearly catered to a specific kind of adult traveler, so leave the kids at home. It offers all the amenities you can expect from any resort, with a scandalous twist. First, it’s clothing optional, so you can enjoy an unencumbered dip in the pool or sea.
After dinner, pre-game with live entertainment, and as the cherry on top, pay a visit to the Romping Shop, where single women, couples, and select single men can live out their fantasies without judgment. If you like to walk on the wild side, just about anything goes at Hedonism, so long as there is consent.
5. Selah House
For guests looking for a private home that isn’t palatial, Villa Selah with four en-suite bedrooms is an ideal base for a family or group of friends. It’s situated on the northern coast of Jamaica, on a private sandy cove just off Runaway Bay Beach.
Three of the bedrooms are appointed with king-sized beds, while the fourth has twin beds for children or teenagers. Be pampered by your very own staff, including a butler, laundress, housekeeper, gardener, and cook (the cost of food and drink is extra).
The closest city is Ocho Rios, which offers an array of fine dining options, shops, and beach clubs. More inland, you’ll find the stunning Dunn’s River Falls, doubtless one of the jewels in Jamaica’s crown.
6. Ocean View Suite
If you’re traveling alone, and aren’t interested in too much razzle dazzle, this simple, but lovely apartment, part of the Coconut Palm Villa family, could work. The host goes out of his way to make sure guests are comfortable, and can make suggestions for activities and local places to eat.
The apartment is appointed with a living area, dining table, kitchen, one bedroom with a queen-sized bed, and a bathroom. Perhaps the nicest amenity is the little terrace, offering views of the lush greenery and the sea beyond.
7. Tumbleweed Cottage
This cute, unassuming little cottage in Ocho Rios, is ideal for golfers, writers, painters and weekend travelers. Be inspired by tropical forest, and when you’ve written enough of that short story, take a dip in the pool. When night falls, be lulled to sleep by cricket song (or kept awake if you’re a light sleeper). Interior features include a common space, dining area, kitchen, one bedroom with a queen bed and one bathroom.
Smoking, parties, and pets are strictly prohibited, and guests are expected to respect the private, humble nature of the home.
This unassuming beach resort doesn’t try to be a high-end accommodation. It takes pride in its Bohemian simplicity, making it a good option for young adult travelers looking for casual digs. Enjoy access to Seven Mile Beach, where you can enjoy complimentary paddleboarding, or arrange for a short boat trip out to the reef for snorkeling,where sea coral, colorful vegetation, and reef fish await.
Skylark offers four styles of suite: Ocean View Studio, Balcony Studio, Patio Studio and Studio Room, appointed with Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and maid service daily. There is also a spa on the grounds, as well as Miss Lily’s restaurant serving Jamaican staples, including oxtail, curried goat, jerk chicken and a delicious Rum Punch.
9. Round Hill
Located in Montego Bay, this is a 110-acre private enclave of luxury villas, award-winning seaside dining and a spa. The resort is home to the Pineapple Kids Club which offers a safe, fun center for children to play under the eye of trained chaperones, while their parents enjoy some necessary downtime.
In addition to being great for families, Round Hill offers wedding planning services and is a great site for a honeymoon.
10. S Hotel
This new Montego Bay hotel, close to Sangster International Airport, markets itself as chic, yet locally inspired, blending the welcome, vibrancy, and beauty of Jamaican culture.
The 120 rooms and suites, which face the Caribbean Sea, are appointed with sleek, modern furnishings, and they all offer most of the same amenities. If you’re interested in hosting a business retreat with a tropical backdrop, there is a well-fitted Conference Room and Board Room.