Best Beach Hotels in Jamaica

A team of Oyster reporters spent weeks exploring 50 hotels in Jamaica. We slept in the beds, lounged by the pools, ate in the restaurants, and even sampled the nightlife, all with an eye toward selecting the most distinguished properties. Here's a list of our favorite beachfront hotels.

GoldenEye Hotel & Resort

1.

GoldenEye Hotel & Resort Rating: 4.5 Pearls

The 21-room GoldenEye is hands down Jamaica's hippest and most luxurious resort. It's also one of the island's most historic, as the former home of Ian Fleming, and the hideaway at which the author scribed all 14 of his James Bond novels. Today, the property, which reopened in 2010 after an extensive $50 million renovation, includes stunning cottages and villas overlooking a private beach and lagoon, as well as two happening restaurants, two pools, a tree house spa, and an extensive roster of on-site activities.

Half Moon, a RockResort

2.

Half Moon, a RockResort Rating: 4.5 Pearls

Half Moon takes its name from the two miles of spectacular, crescent-shaped beachfront -- with soft, white sand and warm, clear water -- that span the 400-acre property. Drawing everyone from Queen Elizabeth to 50 Cent, Half Moon strives for timeless, understated luxury (even at the swim-up bar). The 400-room resort offers attentive service, quality cuisine, and seemingly limitless activities like golfing and horseback riding.

Sandals Royal Plantation

3.

Sandals Royal Plantation Rating: 4.5 Pearls

The intimate beach at the adults-only Royal Plantation resort is among the best in Ocho Rios -- though its swimming area is fairly small. But the sand is exceptionally soft, the water is perfectly clear, and there are ample lounge chairs available.

Jamaica Inn

4.

Jamaica Inn Rating: 4.0 Pearls

A small, romantic resort that once drew Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, the Jamaica Inn is about quiet luxury -- a single thatch-roofed bar, a small pool, and beautiful rooms with oversize terraces and soft, colonial décor. The private stretch of beach, nestled between low cliffs, is bilssfully serene.

Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay

5.

Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay Rating: 4.5 Pearls

The sprawling Secrets Wild Orchid is one of the more luxurious adults-only all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay, and has a laundry list of property features, including eight restaurants and five bars, and a host of activities: a theater, a spa, a water sports and dive center, a shopping center, and a casino. But the resort shares virtually all of its amenities with the next-door Secrets St. James, and some of the best amenities and freebies are reserved only for the VIP guests staying in the “Premiere” part of the resort. The beach is isolated from other resorts on the peninsula, and has white sand and clear, warm water.

Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall All-Inclusive

6.

Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall All-Inclusive Rating: 4.5 Pearls

The best of the three Iberostar resorts in Montego Bay, this 295-room all-suite hotel is light years beyond its neighbors in terms of decor, food, and features. While some elements remain shared with the lesser Iberostar Rose Hall Beach and Iberostar Rose Hall Suites -- for instance, the spa, fitness center, casino, nightclub, and shops -- guests at Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall get the pick of the litter with free access to all three resorts’ restaurants, bars, pools, and beaches. The rates might be higher, but for good reason.

Couples Swept Away Negril

7.

Couples Swept Away Negril Rating: 4.0 Pearls

Location: Negril, Jamaica

Restricted to couples ages 18 and up, this large (though quiet) 312-room all-inclusive is on one of Jamaica's best beaches. Modern rooms with Wi-Fi and iPod docks, quality food, and a low-key atmosphere best Sandals, but hundreds of guests share the beach and restaurants. Sunset at the Palms offers a more intimate experience, but it's across the street from the beach.

Beaches Negril Resort & Spa

8.

Beaches Negril Resort & Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls

Location: Negril, Jamaica

Kids' activities galore, including a water park and "Sesame Street"-themed activities, makes this one of the best family resorts in Jamaica. (Guests seem to prefer it even to the cheaper Beaches Sandy Bay.) Both adults and kids will appreciate the location on one of Jamaica's best beaches.

Negril Tree House Resort

9.

Negril Tree House Resort Rating: 3.0 Pearls

Location: Negril, Jamaica
Categories: Beach, Boutique, Party, Romantic, Value

The 70-room Treehouse is about the most relaxed hotel in Jamaica, almost to a fault. There’s only a skeleton crew on staff at night, and the rooms feature nothing but an old TV and a bar of soap. But most guests don't seem to care, once they're swinging on a porch hammock overlooking Jamaica’s best beach. Plus, great bars and restaurants are right next door.

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