In Jamaica, luxury can come in the form of a treehouse spa, gardens filled with palm trees and peacocks, and cottages with private porches overlooking a lagoon or the ocean. Here are the top luxury hotels in Jamaica.
Set on a private beach within a short walk of downtown Ochos Rios, the 705-room, five-pearl Moon Palace Jamaica Grande is a sprawling all-inclusive that’d give Vegas joints a run for their money in scale, features, and extravagance. After undergoing a full renovation, this family-friendly property reopened in 2015, with majestic marble interiors in a luxurious setting. The sleek beach-house-inspired rooms have balconies with water views, and include iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, liquor dispensers, and welcome wine. There are four restaurants, multiple bars, four swimming pools, a world-class spa with 23 treatment rooms, a surf machine, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Guests can even swim with dolphins (for a fee).
For couples seeking a luxurious, all-inclusive experience, with plenty of activities and dining options on-site, Sandals Montego Bay is a beautiful option (though it definitely feels like the branded resort that it is). Large and expansive, with a long private beach and list of things to do, the resort is close to both the airport and downtown Montego Bay. Guests can enjoy restaurants and activities at the other two Sandals resorts nearby, providing even more options. The resort’s sprawling layout can be confusing to navigate, and the proximity to the airport can make the property noisy when planes go overhead, but with plenty of tours around the island and a number of restaurants, shops, and craft shows nearby, as well as local attractions, there’s plenty to do both on and off-site.
Situated along Jamaica’s resort-heavy northwest shore, Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall is one half of a two-resort beachfront Hyatt compound. Along with its sister property, Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, the two collectively offer a long list of communal amenities, including nearly a dozen restaurants, two large pools, and an oceanfront spa. The quiet, elegant vibe is what most guests would expect of a five-pearl, adult-only Jamaican resort. Each of its 234 rooms features a spacious floor plan and a bright, modern decor. Amenities include fully-stocked minibars, free Wi-Fi, luxurious marble bathrooms, and private balconies or terraces -- many with ocean views. For a luxury property, though, the small, man-made beach is surprisingly rough, rocky, and dirty.
Arguably Jamaica's most romantic escape (for adults only), the Caves' 12 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.
The 21-room GoldenEye is hands down Jamaica's hippest resort. It's also one of the island's most historic, as the former home of Ian Fleming, and the hideaway at which the author scribed all 14 of his James Bond novels. Today, the property includes stunning cottages and villas overlooking a private beach and lagoon, as well as two happening restaurants, two pools, a treehouse spa, and an extensive roster of on-site activities. The rates might cause some to flinch, but those who can afford it will find little cause for complaint.
The Geejam is made up of five private, high-tech cottages on the lush (rainy) foothills of Port Antonio. The setting is gorgeous and the service is extraordinary. One of the Caribbean's most beautiful beaches is only 10 minutes away (the hotel does not have direct beach access). For quiet isolation (and little else), this is where to head.
Drawing everyone from Queen Elizabeth to 50 Cent, the Half Moon strives for timeless, understated luxury (even at the swim-up bar). Stretching over 400 acres (including two miles of beach), the 230-room resort offers attentive service, quality cuisine, and seemingly limitless activities like golfing and horseback riding.
The sprawling Secrets Wild Orchid is one of the more luxurious adult-only all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay, and has a laundry list of property features, including 10 restaurants and cafes and eight bars, and a host of activities: a theater, a spa, a water sports and dive center, a shopping center, and a casino. But the resort shares virtually all of its amenities with the next-door Secrets St. James, and some of the best amenities and freebies are reserved only for the Preferred Club guests.
This all-inclusive beachfront resort on a remote peninsula is one of the more luxurious adult-only options in Montego Bay, and has a laundry list of property features, including 10 restaurants, eight bars, an expansive spa, nearly half a mile of beach, and tons of activities: a theater, dive center, shopping plaza, casino, and game room. Secrets St. James shares most of its amenities with its sister property next door, but rates here are often a bit cheaper.
Round Hill is phenomenal. Sincere, intimate hospitality; private child care; large, beautifully designed rooms by Ralph Lauren; and breathtaking grounds (to which no photo can do justice) -- it is easily among the best resorts in Jamaica, even with a few mosquitoes and ants in the room.
Situated in the heart of Ocho Rios’ resort district, Sandals Royal Plantation is an excellent luxury resort that sits right on the sea. This all-inclusive property offers some of the best amenities of any hotel in Jamaica, including a stunning, secluded beach, an elegant spa, and all meals served a la carte -- meaning there's no mediocre buffets to suffer through. The 74 sophisticated, colonial-style rooms feature a spacious, multi-room layouts with canopied four-poster beds, minibars, and private butler service -- some have balconies with beautiful sea views. The hotel even offers a free airport shuttle, a rarity in this part of the country.
The best of the three Iberostar resorts in Montego Bay, this 295-room all-suite hotel is light years beyond its neighbors in terms of decor, food, and features. While some elements remain shared with the lesser Iberostar Rose Hall Beach and Iberostar Rose Hall Suites -- for instance, the spa, fitness center, casino, nightclub, and shops -- guests at Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall get the pick of the litter with free access to all three resorts’ restaurants, bars, pools, and beaches. The rates might be higher, but for good reason.
For guests seeking a laid-back all-inclusive in a less crowded area of Jamaica, Sandals South Coast is a beautiful, secluded option. The only hotel in Whitehouse, the resort is spread over a two-mile stretch of beach, and features European architecture, a wide variety of activities and entertainment options, and all of the amenities guests familiar with the brand have come to expect. Spacious and inviting, the resort is surrounded by 500 acres of wilderness preserve, making it quiet and very private. Guests who want to explore the local area will have fewer options than those staying at the Sandals properties in Negril and Montego Bay, but there are waterfalls, zip lines, and a variety of local tours, as well as the Appleton Rum factory and the nearby town of Whitehouse.
This former coffee plantation nestled among the steep and winding hills of Jamaica’s famous Blue Mountain is a little oasis above the very un-resort-like city of Kingston. The resort offers plenty of intimacy and privacy, with just 12 cottages on more than 26 acres. It also has the features of a larger property: an expansive spa, a breezy restaurant and bar, a hilltop pool with panoramic vistas, lush gardens, and ample relaxation space. Rates might be considered a steal given the property's level of luxury -- if it weren’t for the inaccessible location and lack of beachfront.
For travelers seeking a large all-inclusive with plenty of activities and amenities, and a laid-back, easygoing vibe, Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa is a great choice. Located along the largest private stretch of Negril’s beautiful Seven Mile Beach, the resort is spacious and luxurious, with open-air dining, a variety of water and land sports, and enough entertainment and relaxation options to keep guests happy and relaxed. The resort is a bit removed from the larger strip of hotels and cottages along the highway, but is still close enough to popular local attractions and shops to give guests looking to explore the area easy access to the downtown area. It is also a ways from the airport, though there is a free hotel shuttle.
For adult guests who want to enjoy an all-inclusive experience but prefer a resort that’s a bit smaller and more private, Sandals Royal Caribbean makes a great choice. With a number of small beaches and a private island, the resort feels intimate and secluded even though it’s a short drive to both the airport and downtown Montego Bay. Restaurants cater to all tastes, from a romantic French restaurant to a laid-back British style pub to snacks on the beach, and premium alcohol is unlimited. Guests can also dine at restaurants and partake in activities at the other two Sandals resorts nearby, and on-site activities and entertainment are also extensive.