With additional reporting by Anne Olivia Bauso.
Most hotels' green initiatives relate to things they do, like using non-toxic cleaning products and installing energy-efficient lighting. But occasionally, we come across a hotel that is green not necessarily because of what it does, but because of what it is -- a hotel specifically designed to minimize its environmental footprint. Jamaica is rife with such eco-conscious places, from a property carved into a cliff to a Bali-style beach getaway. Take a look at the top eco hotels on the island.
Rates are based on average starting rates for a standard room, as of December 2017.
With its spectacular cliffside setting and a laid-back bohemian vibe, The Caves is rightfully deemed one of Jamaica’s most romantic escapes. Quirky, colorful cottages with names like “Sun Dancer” and “Moon Shadow” are connected by garden paths cut from limestone cliffs with panoramic views of the sea and sunsets. Every element of the hotel seems in sync with the nature surrounding it, from the junglesque landscape enveloping cottages to the limestone tables and chairs carved into the private dining caves down below, from to the local ingredients used in the top-notch cuisine to the owner’s commitment to preserving natural habitats of all of its properties.
Rooms start at: $532 Rating: 4 pearls Location: Negril
Hermosa Cove is a nine-room resort with a close-to-nature vibe on the beach in Ocho Rios. The hotel’s eco-friendly ethos can be seen in the thatched-roof bungalows and cooked-to-order meals made with locally sourced ingredients (some of which are grown in the resort’s gardens). Terraced walkways with stone walls wind through the grounds, which are characterized by multiple sundecks, gazebos, and groves of shady palms.
Rockhouse Hotel seems to have grown organically from volcanic rock cliffs. Private, thatch-roofed villas are scattered along winding paths and enclosed by palms and exotic flora. On the cliff’s edge, isolated loungers rest on leveled platforms as high as 40 feet from the water, overlooking the most beautiful sunsets in the country. From the hotel’s inception, it was designed to limit its impact on the surrounding jungle, and the hotel operates as environmentally consciously as possible, including using solar-heated hot water, furniture crafted from local timber, and local bath products. The private owners have also established the Rockhouse Foundation, a registered not-for-profit based in that donates to Negril schools in need.
Rooms start at: $110 Rating: 4 pearls Location: Negril
Geejam is secluded boutique resort set in the remote foothills of Port Antonio, Jamaica’s lushest, rainiest region. Dense vegetation seems to engulf the five-bungalow property, but the hotel’s architects built each cabin to fit around the existing plant life, rather than on top of it. Bonus: Privacy is paramount here. It’s not uncommon to spend days at the resort without encountering other guests.
Rooms start at: $493 Rating: 4.5 pearls Location: Port Antonio
After the hours-long, pot-holed journey to remote Treasure Beach, Jakes swiftly emerges as a rustic, colorful, one-of-a-kind jewel that’s worth the trip. The property is like stepping inside a hippie artist’s utopia straight out of the late ’60s. Colorful, funky cottages sprawl along a rocky coastline, connected by meandering stone and tile mosaic pathways. These 84 hippy-chic cottages, rooms, and villas are deliberately low-tech, with no phones, TVs, or Wi-Fi. The pool’s saltwater is pumped to and from the sea and the restaurant serves a rotating menu of Jamaican dishes with an emphasis on locally farmed produce.
Rooms start at: $102 Rating: 3.5 pearls Location: South Coast
This relaxed adult-only boutique resort is across the street from a lovely natural beach, one with its trees, roots, and rocks intact. The hotel’s lush, tropical grounds are filled with beautiful flowers and indigenous plants and an intimate, low-key ambience pervades throughout. Most of the 85 rooms spacious treehouse-style rooms with large bathrooms and tranquil balconies. In 1998, Sunset at the Palms became the first hotel in the world to receive certification for environmentally sustainable tourism from the U.K. organization Green Globe. Sunset at the Palms is technically “all-inclusive,” but that just means guests don’t need to stress over paying for drinks, meals, or water sports. Like all of the properties on this list, the vibe here is blissfully free of the techno music by the pool, wacky evening entertainment, and industrial one-size-fits-all service mentality typical of many Jamaican all-inclusives resorts.
Rooms start at: $261 Rating: 4 pearls Location: Negril
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