The third-largest island in the Caribbean, Jamaica is famed for its beautiful beaches, reggae music, and tasty jerk chicken. Its reef-lined shores, dramatic coastline, and laid-back vibe beckon travelers looking for a gorgeous escape. Meanwhile, travelers who peel themselves away from the coast are rewarded with stunning mountain hikes, rushing waterfalls, and insight into local life. This destination is also widely known for its beachfront all-inclusives, though there are plenty of other beautiful resorts, too. From charming cliffside cottages to opulent, amenity-packed mega-resorts, here are our top 12 picks for the most beautiful hotels in Jamaica.
The Caves, an upscale boutique resort in Negril, was originally opened by a Rastafarian artist couple who designed each of the unique cottages and furniture (much of which is hand-carved), as well as dreamt up the whimsical interiors. Today, travelers flock to this property for its dramatic cliffside setting and bohemian vibe. The 12 private cottages and suites unfold along lush garden paths and dramatic cliffs carved with steep stairways that lead down to the water and into incredible grottos. An Aveda spa is perched over the water, dinner is served on a terrace in the treetops, and guests have access to a private, candlelit dining experience in a cave. There’s also a grotto bar, in addition to a rooftop bar with unbeatable views.
Geejam is easily the most intimate and exclusive property on the island. Its hilltop setting and dense surrounding vegetation provide a tropical setting that pops boldly against the white modern interiors. When you add in excellent service, free chauffeur service, a private ambience, and exclusive amenities (like original Banksy murals and an on-site recording studio), it’s easy to see why it has drawn the likes of Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys, and Drake. The five main villas are tucked into the lush garden grounds and feature peeping ocean views and clean, minimalist decor. For travelers seeking even more space and privacy, Geejam also manages two private homes. These come equipped with private pools, multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, full kitchens, tons of living space, and a retro-glam aesthetic.
Sincere service, a beautiful plantation-style design, and breathtaking grounds make this property a top option in Jamaica. Travelers can stay in one of the 36 hotel-style rooms designed by Ralph Lauren. These spaces have four-poster beds, white walls, and pops of blue and pink in throw pillows and blankets. Ceramic pottery, pineapple-shaped lampshades, and silver kettles add upscale touches. For more privacy, 27 individually owned villas have living spaces, classic decor, and pools in most. The expansive grounds also house an infinity pool, a lovely spa with a pool and adjacent fitness center, and a kids’ club.
Sprawled across 52 acres, this oceanfront resort was designed by a local architect and served as a hideaway for author Ian Fleming, who wrote all 14 of his James Bond novels here. The lobby is contemporary, but casual, while villas, cottages, and suites marry modern features with traditional Jamaican architecture. The stunning accommodations also overlook a private beach and lagoon. But that’s not all. You’ll also find a private island swimming distance from the mainland, as well as two restaurants, two pools, a treehouse spa, and a roster of on-site activities.
Set along rugged cliffs, Tensing Pen Resort may not be the poshest of the bunch, but its rustic charm and jaw-dropping setting make it worthy of this list. The thatched-roof cottages feature terra-cotta floors, stone detailing, four-poster beds, and conveniences like mini-fridges and Wi-Fi (but no TVs or phones). Guests can spend the day soaking in the stunning ocean views or cliff-jumping into the water. Plus, some of Jamaica’s best sunsets can be enjoyed from the property.
On the outside, this oceanfront resort features a long wooden pier with a gazebo plus a beachfront patio with fire pits. However, the interiors are equally attractive. The lobby is outfitted in plush white couches, a breezy tropical library, and earthy-green walls adorned with paintings. The white, colonial-style buildings are topped with red tiles, and the chic rooms and suites come with Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, tablets, flat-screen TVs, and bedside lamps with USB charging ports. Plus, a list of thoughtful free amenities and a host of waterside features sweeten the deal.
Moon Palace Jamaica is a sprawling, 705-room all-inclusive with a gorgeous location on a private beach within a short walk of downtown Ocho Rios. The entire resort feels grandiose — opulent marble interiors, upscale rooms in neutral tones, chandeliers, and magnificent light fixtures give ritzy resorts in Vegas a run for their money. The Awe Spa, which encompasses 23 treatment rooms, is also a marvel, thanks to an ice-room covered in mother-of-pearl mosaics, an indoor pool topped with glass chandeliers, and polished marble throughout.
Located inside the Hyatt’s two-resort compound, this beachfront property offers a sophisticated look and stellar ocean views. The large, striking pool complex is landscaped with palms, while the chic, modern interiors utilize soft neutral tones as well as natural materials like coral stone, wicker, and wood. Plus, a strict adults-only policy means a screaming child won’t ruin the tranquility.
Sandals Royal Plantation has just 74 rooms and an intimate design — two things you might not expect from the massive — and sometimes rambunctious — properties within the brand’s portfolio. From the beach to the outdoor restaurant to the cozy lobby lounge, every common area feels tucked into its own nook or alcove. Beautiful garden grounds plus interiors with checkered marble flooring, artwork in ornate wooden frames, and colonial-style furniture (some that has been reupholstered with bright or patterned fabrics) set the scene. Rooms are spacious and elegant with four-poster beds, marble countertops, and modern amenities like iPod docks and flat-screen TVs.
Jakes is the type of place where folks come to unplug and reap the benefits of fresh air, a slow pace, and rustic comfort with a view. Colorful, funky cottages line the rocky cliffside, sporting bright interiors with high ceilings, wood floors, and artful accents like glass bulbs embedded in concrete. An enchanting saltwater pool, adobe-style spa area, and open-air yoga studio add to the overall charm of the property.
This upscale beachfront property has a laid-back bohemian vibe, thanks to the thatched palapa roofs, colorful hodgepodge of hues, and decoupage-like structures (including a castle-like tower) that incorporate rock, stone, cement, and wood throughout. A paved garden path playfully winds through the garden grounds, and guests have access to a small, but idyllic, private beach. The nine rooms and villas have more of a colonial look, and feature paddle fans, painted wood furniture, and mosaic and stone tile walk-in showers.
Who needs beach access when you’ve got prime cliff-top views and near-seamless integration into lush surroundings? Formerly a coffee plantation, Strawberry Hill wows guests with panoramic vistas and a hilltop location within the Blue Mountains. Just 12 cottages and villas are nestled among the property’s 26 acres of land, creating a secluded oasis for guests. If the views don’t send you right into a zen state, there’s always the Ayurvedic spa, classes in the yoga pavilion, and hydrotherapy center. Rooms have a classic, colonial-style look and come with private balconies, four-poster beds, and jalousie shutters (beware as not all have AC).
COVID-19 Update: All travelers must have a recent negative COVID test (PCR and/or serology), and must wear masks and social distance while on the island.
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