Briana R. -- Oyster Reporter

Born and raised in Seattle, Briana caught the travel bug in Nepal and India at age 16, and hasn't lost it since. She taught in Prague and Iceland after graduating, and celebrated her return to the States with a six-week road trip. She camped in canyons, surfed in South Carolina, and visited Dollywood, among other things. When she joined Oyster, she had to express mail her passport to the State Department for some extra pages. She also likes to run, eat, drink, and cook, and is Oyster's resident baker when not on the road.

  • Hotels Reviewed: 76
  • Destination Expert for: Jamaica, Dominican Republic
  • Hometown: Seattle, Washington
  • Places Lived: Seattle; Paris; Rabat, Morocco; Prague, Czech Republic; Reykjavik and Holar, Iceland; Panama; Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Education: B.A. in comparative history of ideas and B.A. in international studies with a focus on the Middle East, University of Washington
  • Prior Experience: Akcent International House, Blackbird, Advanced Style
  • My Favorite Hotel: Jake's, in Jamaica -- it's a little off the beaten path but totally worth the long drive. It's charming, romantic, and beautiful, and you feel like part of the family when you're a guest. The best part is that it isn't insanely expensive, so I could go back myself and enjoy a long weekend without breaking the bank.

My Favorite Hotels

Jake's

1

Jake's

With just 30 hippy-chic cottages in secluded Treasure Beach, Jake's is a member of Bespoke Hotels, a trendy, luxury hotel group. Guests come to unplug -- there's no phone, Internet, or TV in the cottages. The black-sand beaches aren't Jamaica's most impressive, but the Driftwood Spa, on-site painting and yoga classes, and excellent food make this a particular favorite.

Tensing Pen

2

Tensing Pen

With an intimate collection of 17 cottages (22 rooms), Tensing Pen is where guests come to unplug -- no TVs, phones, or radios in the rooms -- and enjoy the breathtaking cliffs of Negril's west end. The pool, spa, and restaurant are a little smaller and less popular than at the similarly priced, similarly styled Rockhouse boutique, but most guests prefer the quiet exclusivity found here.

The Caves

3

The Caves

Arguably Jamaica's most romantic escape (for adults only), the Caves' 12 unique, private cottages and suites are tucked along lush garden paths and dramatic seaside cliffs (there's no beach). High-quality, locally focused cuisine, a top-shelf bar, and intimate, incredibly attentive service make it Jamaica's best all-inclusive, though nearby Tensing Pen and Rockhouse offer similar settings at cheaper prices.

Natura Cabanas

4

Natura Cabanas

Offering eco-friendly bungalows in a lush, friendly setting, Natura Cabanas is a taste of serene, northern coast luxury for a remarkably fair price. Guests enjoy delicious, fresh food, a clean, crowd-less private beach, yoga classes, and a fabulous spa. It's quiet, and a bit rustic without TV or AC in rooms, but that's the point.

Angler's Miami South Beach, a Kimpton Hotel

5

Angler's Miami South Beach, a Kimpton Hotel

Separated from busy South Beach by lush gardens, this 46-room art deco hotel is a low-key oasis. There's a top-notch restaurant, free off-site gym passes, and a small, but serene pool. For the price, other hotels offer more features or direct beach access, but the massive, Wallace Tutt-designed rooms are hard to beat.

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