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Jewel Dunn's River Beach Resort & Spa, Ocho Rios, Curio Collection by Hilton 4.0

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Quiet, adult-only property along beach in Ocho Rios
  • All-inclusive rates include top-shelf liquor, meals, and snacks
  • Pleasant rooms have colonial-style decor, outdoor spaces, and coffeemakers
  • Suites have separate living spaces and jetted tubs
  • Two ocean-view pools, each with a swim-up bar and hot tub 
  • 11 restaurants and bars include upscale Japanese eatery and all-day buffet
  • Spa with whirlpool, hot and cold plunge pools, and couples' treatment rooms
  • Tons of included activities such as non-motorized water sports and volleyball
  • Low-key nightly entertainment and weekly beach barbecues
  • Free airport transfers
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Some decor is on the dated side
  • Occasional maintenance issues such as weak air-conditioners
  • In-room alcohol and room service only free for upgraded rooms
  • Fitness center is outdoors
  • Complaints of long check-in lines
  • 90-minute drive from airport in Montego Bay
  • Entertainment is reportedly mediocre

Bottom Line

The 250-room Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa, Ocho Rios, Curio Collection by Hilton is an upscale adult-only property with a peaceful location along the beach. Although charming with their colonial-style decor, rooms are showing a bit of wear. Nevertheless, they come with outdoor spaces, minibars, coffeemakers, and flat-screen TVs. On-site features include 11 restaurants and bars, including a raved-about Japanese eatery and outdoor pizza grill, two pools with hot tubs, a full-service spa, and daily activities and nightly entertainment. Note that room service and minibars with alcohol are also included in upgraded units. Also on the downside, some gym equipment is located outside. Travelers willing to pay a bit more may prefer the 74-room Sandals Royal Plantation, which has more impressive rooms and only a la carte dining. 

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Scene

Quiet, adults-only all-inclusive with attractive colonial style

Previously a Sandals property, The Jewel Dunn's River Beach Resort & Spa is an all-inclusive property with a quiet setting along the beach in Ocho Rios. Unlike Sandals resorts, the adults-only policy includes friends and same-sex partners here, so expect to see some groups of friends and adult families. The design throughout is elegant and colonial-style, with lots of carved wood, gold and red fabrics, and green marble. An upscale atmosphere greets guests immediately in the lobby, thanks to a dual marble staircase flanking a white sculpture water feature, green marble columns, and an adjacent hallway with fresco-painted ceilings. Unfortunately, long check-in lines can detract from the vacation vibe. 

The rest of the grounds are well-maintained and filled with greenery, and there are designated areas for smoking. Two ocean-view pools, multiple eateries, and a full spa keep guests occupied, though some past visitors have said the entertainment is mediocre. On the plus side, this is a fairly compact property for a Jamaican all-inclusive, and the property never really feels crowded. Overall, it's a great pick for low-key adults, particularly those interested in visiting nearby attractions such as the Dunn's River Falls. For more money, the 74-room Sandals Royal Plantation, offers a more intimate and upmarket experience. The Jamaica Inn, meanwhile, is a good alternative for travelers seeking a quiet, charming stay nearby.

Location

Close to Dunn’s River Falls, near Ocho Rios’ main strip of mega-resorts

As the name indicates, the Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa is right next to Ocho Rios’ major attraction, Dunn’s River Falls. It’s a bit surprising that the resort does not include shuttles or tours of the famous waterfall as part of its all-inclusive rates (after all, Couples Tower Isle and Couples Sans Souci do, and they don’t even have the word “Dunn’s” in their name). Still, the Jewel’s tour desk and concierge can help arrange excursions, which take place several times daily, to the site, as well as several other nearby attractions. Nothing off-site is within walking distance, which is typical for Ocho Rios resorts. The hotel does provide free shuttle transportation to the airport, though it can make other stops along the way and take longer than a private transfer.

  • 90-minute drive to Montego Bay International Airport
  • Six-minute drive to Dolphin Cove
  • Seven-minute drive to Dunn’s River Falls
  • 10-minute drive to Margaritaville
  • 10-minute drive to Ocho Rios’ city center for local shopping
  • 12-minute drive to Upton Golf Course

Rooms

Three buildings offering rooms of drastically different quality

Rooms are divided into three different buildings, each named after a different jewel and with specific amenities. The Diamond Building is the best, featuring all ocean-view rooms, special concierge services, and free 24-hour room service. The second tier is the Sapphire Building, which features both mountain-view rooms and ocean-view rooms, while the least impressive rooms are in the Emerald Building, which many past guests have noted feel dated, have poor views, and occasionally come with shared balconies. These are also the only units that offer two double beds.

Regardless, all rooms are done in an appealing colonial style, with nicer furnishings and guaranteed private balconies in the Diamond and Sapphire rooms. Expect four-poster mahogany beds (canopied in suites), light ceramic tile floors, neutral-tone walls with framed paintings of Jamaica, and earth-tone linens. Also standard are individually controlled air-conditioning, work desks, flat-screen TVs, tea- and coffee-making facilities, turndown service, and hairdryers. Minibars only have alcohol in concierge- and butler-level suites. Sitting areas and closets with safes and ironing facilities are also provided. 

Lower-category bathrooms are done in marble, with shower/tub combos, hairdryers, and quality toiletries. Sapphire units add bathrobes and Diamond-level and up have whirlpool tubs. 

Beach

Pretty stretch of beach

The Jewel’s beach runs right up to the border of the neighboring Riu Ocho Rios beach; a lovely pier is located right near the divide. Soft sand and clear water is appealing, and several padded lounge chairs are available. Non-motorized water sports are included in the rates, and unlike at a lot of other resorts, guests need not worry about locals hawking their wares. The property allows a select number of vendors on the beach during designated times for those guests wishing to purchase local crafts; however, these vendors are not aggressive or loud.

Upscale cabanas can be rented, and they include a personal butler who delivers snacks, meals, drinks, and cold spritzes of refreshing water throughout the day.

Pools

Two pools, each with a swim-up bar

The main pool at the Jewel is clearly a leftover from the property’s days as a Sandals resort. Featuring a swim-up bar, volleyball net, adjacent hot tub, and checkered deck, all that’s missing is the Sandals’ logo emblazoned on the colorful mosaics that line the pool floor. The vibe is mellow and relaxing in the morning and early afternoon, and a bit more lively in the late afternoon and early evening.

Just steps away, a second smaller pool also has a swim-up bar, large whirlpool, and sunbeds. It surrounds Jasper’s Chillin’ Piano Bar, which features a large bar, plenty of tables, billiards, and an evening pianist.

Both pools are adequately staffed and well-maintained. One notable perk is that the pools’ concierges make the rounds throughout the day giving out fresh fruit skewers, eucalyptus-infused water, and cold face towels, as well as spritzing overheated loungers with a refreshing mist.

Food

Well-regarded buffet and a la carte dining

The six restaurants include the typical beach grill and buffet options, as well as several specialty venues: Platinum, the resort’s “white-glove” dinner-only restaurant; Moonstone, an Italian eatery with indoor and outdoor seating; Court Jesters, serving fire-oven pizza on a terrace near the pool; and The Jade Samurai, a highly popular Japanese teppanyaki-style venue. It would be enough options for a resort of this size -- if all of these restaurants are open every night of the week. Food receives good reviews, and the majority of guests cited The Jade Samurai as the best option.

There are weekly candlelit dinners on the pier, which is a more refined and romantic version of a beach party dinner. The six-course meals are served in a quiet beachfront setting and included in the all-inclusive rate. The resort also features 24-hour room service, but unlike at many all-inclusive resorts, guests will have to pay extra for this service, unless they are staying in either the concierge-level or butler rooms.

There are six bars, including two pool bars and the inventive Emerald Tree Bar, which features a massive tree growing from behind the bar. Top-shelf liquor is part of the all-inclusive rate and many guests like the Jewel’s "Gem of the Day," which is a collection of seven rum-based cocktails blended with different mixers; the result is essentially a different fancy rum punch each day. Irie Cafe sits next to the pizza joint and serves coffee-based drinks, including frozen booze-filled concoctions, smoothies, and pastries.

Features

Tons to keep guests busy, including spa treatments and nightly live music

All-Inclusive rates include all food, drinks, Wi-Fi, and non-motorized water sports such as snorkeling, kayaking, and windsurfing, but room service and liquor cabinet access is extra for guests not in concierge and butler suites. Other amenities that come at an extra cost are scuba diving, off-site excursions, private dinners, and spa services. Airport shuttles are provided for free, but these buses make stops at several resorts along the way. Other free perks include movies shown by the pool, a nine-hole pitch and putt golf course on-site, volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts, and and games such as giant lawn chess, shuffleboard, and billiards. 

The Radiant Spa is modest but appealing, featuring a whirlpool, hot and cold plunge pools, beautiful bathhouse-style locker rooms on the first floor, and a square-shaped second-floor balcony with treatment rooms all around. The treatment rooms themselves are small and relatively unadorned, though two rooms are for couples, one of which has a two-person bathtub. Therapies are extensive, including several massage styles, body wraps and scrubs, hydrotherapy, and facials. The spa also has a separate salon, which is located near the lobby and provides hair, nail, and make-up services.

The fitness center has a good array of cardio and strength-training equipment, but it's open to the elements and can get hot. A wealth of free weights, weight machines, dumbbells, yoga balls, and stretching mats are provided. Several fitness classes such as yoga, boot camp, and kickboxing take place throughout the day as well. 

Entertainment-wise, local reggae bands and musicians perform on a nightly basis, and an on-site nightclub called Bling! offers more of a nightlife vibe than the resort’s bars. Most guests find the entertainment fairly underwhelming.

For a fee, there are photo and wedding planning services on-site, and multiple wedding packages are available. The Jewel has two meeting and conference rooms.

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Things You Should Know About Jewel Dunn's River Beach Resort & Spa, Ocho Rios, Curio Collection by Hilton

Address

Mammee Bay, Saint Ann Parish, Caribbean

Phone

(876) 972-7400

Also Known As

  • The Jewel Dunn's River Beach Resort & Spa

Room Types

  • Diamond Ocean View Concierge Room
  • Emerald Lanai
  • Honeymoon Haven Butler Suite
  • One Bedroom Ocean View Butler Suite
  • Premier Guest Room
  • Sapphire Mountain View Room
  • Sapphire Ocean View Room

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