Easily one of the most beautiful properties in Jamaica, it's hard to find a more romantic boutique resort hideaway than the award-winning Jamaica Inn. Every suite and villa faces a private, postcard-perfect golden beach and is surrounded by flower-filled, fragrant gardens. The real treat here are the villas, called "cottages," perched in bluffs above the sea. They are every couple's dream come true–although any glam traveler would fit in just fine–with infinity tubs, terraces with 180-degree sea views and all the bells and whistles of a luxury home. If you're going all out, book Cottage 3 with its outdoor shower hanging on the cliff's very edge, directly above the Caribbean Sea. Private gated entrances and stairways to the sea complete this resort's oozing romance.
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Here, old-world tradition and elegance abound. The staff and level of attention to service is impeccable. The gentlemen behind the bar with their starched short red tuxedo jackets, white shirts, and black bow ties against a backdrop of dark paneled wood hark back to a bygone era. The waiters carrying their trays on their heads, while certainly not necessary, gives you a little insight into how by honoring traditions, Jamaica Inn sets itself apart from the many options on the populated coast of Ocho Rios. The beach is private and tranquil and pretty as a postcard and if you insist, you can bring your iPad or laptop down with you, as wireless internet abounds. A croquet lesson with Mr. Rupert is a must! His white shirt and black bow tie, mallet in hand on that perfectly green lawn, popping against the signature dark periwinkle blue of the hotel is otherworldly. I have a confession to make, I love being called “Ma lady” especially when it is said with such warm, gentle sincerity as it is at Jamaica Inn. High tea? Yes please! Cucumber sandwiches, potato pone ( a traditional Jamaican cake made with sweet potato ) and the like on the upper veranda overlooking the sea. Cocktail hour means chatting with Lord and Lady so and so and the Ambassador from here or there or the couple that have been vacationing here for 20 years. Repeat clientele, especially in these rapidly changing times, is a wonderful marker of success. Things don’t change rapidly here...and that’s a good thing.
Freshly made rum punch (fruit punch for those who don't imbibe) is a daily offering by an ever smiling Georgia on the beach. To receive this tasty delight, no need to stir .. simply a "yes please" will suffice. Makes for my favorite time of day at Jamaica Inn. Photo: Cookie Kinkead