Best Luxury Hotels in Jamaica

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In Jamaica, luxury can come from a colonial-style canopy bed frame or an outdoor shower; from over-the-top pampering or warm hospitality; from a champagne flute garnished with sugar cane or a private drive to a roadside jerk chicken shack. We've searched the island for the best hotels and slept in their high-thread-count linens, and these are the few hotels that truly live up to their promised elegance or refined, natural beauty.

  1. The 21-room GoldenEye is hands down Jamaica's hippest and most luxurious resorts. 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, which reopened in 2010 after an extensive $50 million renovation, includes stunning cottages and villas overlooking a private beach and lagoon, as well as two happening restaurants, two pools, a tree house 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.

  2. Drawing everyone from Queen Elizabeth II to rapper 50 Cent, Half Moon strives for timeless, understated luxury (even at the swim-up bar). Stretching over 400 acres (including two miles of beach), the 400-room all-inclusive resort brings attentive service, exceptional cuisine, and an unbeatable list of features, ranging from its own golf course to horse stables for some trotting along the beach.

  3. Composed of 11 colorful gingerbread cottages, this uniquely stylish adults-only (17+) eco-boutique hotel from Island Outpost is tucked along lush garden paths and dramatic seaside cliffs. Doing away with in-room TVs, the Caves brings luxury in the form of outdoor showers, private candlelit dinners inside a cave, fresh cuisine, and some of the friendliest, most attentive service in Jamaica.

  4. A classic picture of Jamaican luxury, the historic Round Hill boasts sincere, intimate hospitality, private child care, beautifully designed suites and villas by Ralph Lauren, and breathtaking grounds (to which no photo can really do justice).

  5. Quiet and classy, the colonial-style, 74-room, adults-only (18+) Royal Plantation snatched a prime patch of beach when it was built in the 1950s. Though it's an all-inclusive Sandals outpost, the hotel still offers superb food, service, beds, spa services, and even affordable rounds on a championship golf course.

  6. A private hotel from the chichi hotel group Island Outpost, the Geejam consists of only five private, eco-friendly cabins on the lush (rainy) foothills of Port Antonio. High-tech rooms feature free Apple TV -- eclectic music and hip movies from a 42-inch flat-screen -- and a cell phone to call anyone from the hotel owner to the free, hotel-provided private driver. And Frenchman's Cove, one of the Caribbean's most beautiful beaches, is 10 minutes away. (There's no direct beach access from the hotel.)

  7. A small, romantic resort that once drew Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, the Jamaica Inn is about quiet luxury -- a single thatch-roofed bar, a small pool, and beautiful rooms with oversize terraces and soft, colonial decor. The intimate, estate-like setting sports a crescent-shaped beach with chairs spaced comfortably away from one another.

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