Rockhouse Hotel 4.0

Negril, Jamaica
The Rockhouse restaurant is one of the best in the West End. Come for dinner to enjoy great sunset views.

Rustic Beach Retreats: Release Your Inner Bohemian(2 of 26)

 The Rockhouse restaurant is one of the best in the West End. Come for dinner to enjoy great sunset views.
At Oyster, when we say rustic, we don't mean camping. We mean intimate, deliberately simple properties with lots of wood and stone, breath-stopping views, serene locations, and back-to-nature vibes. First up, The Rockhouse Hotel. The lush, laid-back Rockhouse creates a holistic haven -- gourmet dining, morning yoga, cliffside loungers, a premium spa, no kids under 12, and beautiful eco-appropriate design. But most astounding are the reasonable rates. (The slightly chicer Caves costs about three times more.) The Rockhouse restaurant is one of the best in the West End. Come for dinner to enjoy great sunset views. Designed by Jean-Henri Morin, the Rockhouse seems to have grown organically from the volcanic rock cliffs. Molding natural stone with concrete, the entire property settles snugly into the preexisting cove formations. Rooms are basic but comfortable, and there are no distractions. (TV, Wi-Fi, and radios are nonexistent.) Baths are stocked with locally made products. The Hotel Hana-Maui overlooking Hana Bay delivers rustic luxury in the middle of Maui's lush, secluded east coast. Incredible service, top spa, excellent food, a long list of stuff to do, and only 77 rooms on acres of uncrowded property. The rooms are large, clean, sleekly furnished -- and stripped of TVs, clocks, and radios. Hard to reach, but worth the trip. The hotel's beautiful infinity pool overlooks Hana Bay. Hotel Hana's single-story cottages house everything from junior suites to three-bedroom, two-bath suites. All the units are spacious and every bit as modern (and large) as the rooms at a top Hawaiian luxury hotel like the the Fairmont Kea Lani are, but with one huge difference: no electronics (unless you count the coffeemakers that brew the organic Kona coffee that's provided). As the hotel website explains: "To preserve your tranquility, all rooms at Hotel Hana-Maui are television and radio free." So guests will find nothing more than room phones to disrupt their peace. With just 30 hippy-chic cottages in secluded Treasure Beach, Jake's is a member of Island Outpost, Jamaica's trendiest 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. Mostly Jamaican dishes made from quality ingredients are on a rotating menu at Jake's, and excellent seafood and pizza are served at Jack Sprat's. Rustic, quirky cottages with a hippie-chic aesthetic have no TVs, Internet, or modern technology, but that's the point. Driftwood Spa is set in an impressive building atop the cliffs. The front desk and a few treatment rooms are inside, and the spa has a calm, pleasing aesthetic (think rustic and artsy, not sterile and steely). But the truly unique part of Driftwood is the several open-air treatment rooms that descend from the main building toward the ocean. Built from a historic sugar plantation, this profoundly serene 166-room resort sits on 170 acres of a protected national park dotted with seven remote beaches. Even with a quaint pool and rustic rooms that lack TVs and phones, Caneel's attentive service and unparalleled setting make it one of the Caribbean's best resorts. Wild donkeys still roam the grounds. 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. Tensing Pen's cottages are all unique, but they each contain simple furnishings and comfortable beds. No phones, TVs, or music players are provided (to promote quiet simplicity). Tensing Pen's rooms are hardly uniform. Several types of bungalows, rooms, studios, and "tree houses" are available, so the room and furniture configurations differ widely. A small, but beautiful pool is set below the restaurant and reception area, atop a steep drop-off on one of the cliffs. It has a beautiful view over the ocean and over the rest of the property. 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, daily yoga and Pilates classes, and a fabulous spa. It's quiet, and a bit rustic, but that's the point. Each of the 11 stone-walled, thatched-roof bunaglows is eco-sensitive, meaning there is no AC, light bulbs are energy efficient, and guests must manually activate (and then shut off) hot water when showering, and most of the furniture was constructed from the bamboo and coco palm trees that were cleared to construct the property. Rooms also have no televisions and no phones. All rooms come with an amazing stone bathroom. Arguably Jamaica's most romantic escape (for adults only), the Caves' 11 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. The resort has no beach, but a series of platforms carved into the cliffs instead, with comfortable lounge chairs and varying levels of privacy. You can plunge into the water from the 30-foot ledge near the breakfast lounge, or take smaller dives from ledges just a couple of feet above the water. The resort has eleven unique one- and two-bedroom suites and cottages, all far larger and quirkier than traditional hotel rooms. Rusticity reigns with outdoor showers, large tubs, stone floors, and no TVs. The resort has a very small saltwater pool and Jacuzzi, both of which offer fantastic sea views. Location trumps luxury at these 11 beachfront bungalows sitting just above the sand on the picturesque North Shore. Sure, the bungalows are modest, amenities are zero, and service is minimal. But a beautiful beach is just outside the door, as are hammocks and grills. And Oahu's most famous surfing spots and a charming surfer town, Haleiwa, are just down the street. Ke Iki Beach is long, wide, and uncrowded. It's bordered by volcanic rocks and has views of lush green mountains.