Plenty of Jamaican resorts welcome guests of all ages, but there are some beautiful properties that are specifically designed for families with kids and teens (think water parks, kids’ camps, daily sing-alongs, parades, beach bonfires, talent shows, and alcohol-free nightclubs). With these kinds of supervised activities (and available babysitting services), parents can even enjoy spa visits or candlelit dinners.
Partnered with "Sesame Street," the Beaches brand of resorts offers Muppet-led activities for kids. Beaches Negril comes with a great water park, a pristine, calm beachfront, an extensive, supervised kids' club, and enough entertainment to keep kids totally occupied. The buffet's Kids' Corner comes with quartered grilled cheeses, pizza, waffles, and French fries at all three meals. Even the a la carte restaurants have kids' menus -- a rarity among Jamaica all-inclusives.
The all-inclusive Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club is one of the most kid-friendly hotels in Jamaica, offering an XBOX garage for teens and tweens, as well as Camp Sesame (where Sesame Street characters can be found), a water park, and babysitting services. There are activities for adults too, with golf and scuba lessons, the Red Lane Spa, and an adults-only piano bar. Since the majority of guests are families, the resort can be noisy. The 223 rooms have upscale Caribbean style.
Kids under 16 eat and sleep for free at this classic luxury resort. Anancy Children's Village has a series of colorful cabins that house supervised activities like video games, arts and crafts, and stories with nap time. From a great playground to a mini-golf course to horseback riding stables to a private dolphin cove, Half Moon's 400-acre property offers ample resources for families, including full-time nannies. Rooms are large, and multi-room villas are also available.
Iberostar Rose Hall Suites is the family-friendliest pick of the Iberostar resorts trio, with affordable rates, pull-out sofas in every room, on-site babysitting services, all-inclusive meals featuring kids' menus, and, best of a all, a rockin’ kids' club with a water park, video game center, playground, pool, and arts and crafts. Lucy’s Kids Club is free for kids ages four to 12, and has a (literally) cool water park, with a playground pool showered by fountains and a giant bucket that spills over the children as they play on slides and bridges.
The four-pearl Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa is situated on Jamaica’s resort-heavy north shore, a 15-minute drive from Montego Bay's Hip Strip. This all-inclusive hotel offers an excellent list of amenities, including an immaculate private beach, a spa, and plenty of adult- and kid-friendly features. However, the on-site Sugar Mill Falls Water Park -- Jamaica’s largest -- distinguishes the Hilton from other area resorts. The 488 rooms are sharp and contemporary, with large flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and private balconies. The hotel’s only drawback may be the lack of attractions within walking distance. However, a shuttle provides free transportation to Rose Hall Plantation House and other destinations.
While the mid-range Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort gives plenty of opportunity for guests to laze about by its three freeform pools or on the beach, its real strength is in the sheer number of activities on offer, most of which are included in the rate. Kayaking, golfing, and weekly bonfires are all part of the entertainment. And families are attracted to the numerous kids diversions like the on-site water park or laser tag. While the 266 rooms are simple in their decor, they do have furnished balconies, and suites have private plunge pools and butler service. The resort isn't really walking distance to any attractions, but with all the features included, most guests are content to stay put.
Debuting in late 2013, the 352-room Royalton White Sands Resort is an stylish all-inclusive in Trelawny, just 30 minutes from Montego Bay. Rooms come with comfy pillow-top beds, mini-fridges, private patios, and large rainfall shower heads. Unfortunately, they also contain hip but cheap decor and many are already starting to show wear and tear. This upscale resort has multiple bars and restaurants (including a delicious jerk hut), large hydrotherapy spa, family-friendly features, two pools (one with swim-up bar), and a water park, though, some may be disappointed at the limited beachfront and late-night bar options and limited beachfront.
ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios is among Ocho Rios’ largest all-inclusive resorts, with a huge amount of services and entertainment. The massive, upper-middle-range property feels like a city unto itself. Seven restaurants, an enormous private beach, two large pools (including a kiddy pool), a kids' club, and a theater with rotating theme nights all top the list of features. The 846 rooms are typical of the Riu brand, with dark, traditional decor that's pleasant, but dated. In-room amenities are excellent. While downtown Ocho Rios is less than 10 minutes away by car, there's little of interest within walking distance.
Located 45-minutes west of Montego Bay, Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and Spa feels a world away from anywhere. Even compared to the island’s typical large hotel complexes, the three-and-a-half-pearl mega-resort is massive. With an 86,000-square-foot pool complex, ten restaurants, late-night entertainment, and eight bars with nearly 24-hour drinking opportunities, it’s easy to imagine that most guests will never leave the property. The 540 rooms are spacious and done in a predictably traditional colonial style, with flat-screen TVs, minibars, and large furnished balconies or terraces. The massive size won't be for everyone, and other drawbacks include the remote location and the rocky man-made beach.
Located 15 minutes from the airport, the beachfront Sunscape Cove is an upper-middle-range, all-inclusive resort. It's the more upscale, calmer sister to next-door Sunscape Splash, which shares its many amenities with Sunscape Cove guests. Boutique atmosphere, a colonial villa-inspired aesthetic, and plantation-like grounds are a refreshing departure from more chaotic Splash. Across both properties, there are four pools, five restaurants, multiple bars, a 24-hour cafe, a state-of-the-art water park, water sports, a fitness center, spa, a beauty salon, and excellent Wi-Fi. The 122 guest rooms feature either modern, minimalist decor or have a colonial feel, but guests should note that not all have been renovated -- so some can be dated.
The mid-range Franklyn D is geared towards families on vacation. Supervised arts and crafts projects, a Teen Center with activity coordinators, and even free nanny services for all guests are just some of the kid-friendly perks offered. Pools (including a mini-pool for toddlers), a waterslide, dock space for easy access to water sports, tours to off-site attractions, and many other amenities are also available. Accommodations are tech-savvy for the location; guests will find iPod docking, satellite TV, and an Internet cafe with free Wi-Fi. However, while suites are spacious, decor is a bit dated as are most facilities in general.