Jamaica is an island where individuals come and never really leave. It has been an inspiration to Bob Marley, Ian Fleming and Noel Coward, and a place that Ralph Lauren escapes to at the weekend.
Noel Coward first visited Jamaica on a two-week holiday in 1944 and fell in love with the island and returned to rent Fleming's Goldeneye in 1948. On that trip he was determined to claim a piece of his dream island and settled on a slope 10 miles away from Goldeneye with a magical view of the sea where he built his own house which he named ‘Firefly’. Here he entertained guests such as Sir Laurence Olivier, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, David Niven, Katharine Hepburn, Errol Flynn and Ian Fleming.
Jamaica is a place where the beaches take your breath away, the mountains produce stunning scenery and the laid back atmosphere is enchanting which can only be matched by the people and music. Reggae beats through the veins of the island and the smiles, hospitality and sense of fun of its people will remain with you long after your visit ends.
The hotels are as fashionable as they were in the '50s. Below are three hotels with their own unique star qualities:
Jamaica Inn’s guest list includes Sir Winston Churchill who stayed there in the fifties, Kate Moss graced it with her presence in the '90s, and a whole clutch of other famous names have temporarily sidestepped their lives in the spotlight by checking into one of the incredibly welcoming suites.
Jamaica Inn takes beachfront living to the extreme. It exudes elegance and grace while maintaining a friendly exclusiveness. Most of the rooms have verandas that extend on to the beach. The beach remains private and perfect, the décor is colonial yet chic, and although you can still play a game of croquet on the lawn, you’re probably going to be more turned on by the hot stone massage in the KiYara Ocean Spa.
Few hotels are able to name drop quite as impressively as Round Hill. Clark Gable, Noel Coward and John F Kennedy are just a handful of the celebrities who graced the resort with their presence when it first opened in the '50s. Today is no different, famous faces of the stage and screen are still attracted to its exquisite but not showy qualities. This resort cascades down a lush hillside and gardens and overlooks a reef- encased bay. The Managers adopt a painstaking attention to detail. The live entertainment magically encapsulates the needs of their clients yet incorporates the culture and rhythm of Jamaica. The rooms in the pineapple house have been designed by Ralph Lauren and reflect his creative flair and minimalist approach. They offer some villas on site which are uniquely designed and decorated. All have their own house keepers who will prepare breakfast daily.
Children are welcome and they have a children’s club from age 3 – 12. The child-free spa is set away from the main hotel in a beautifully restored plantation house and is reached along a beach side path.
If you like the idea of wowing your entire family then the Half Moon has to be a serious contender. Your children are guaranteed something exciting to do here every day. They can get lessons in tennis, golf, water sports and even horseback riding. The Anancy Children’s Village is where they’ll be encouraged to learn more about Jamaica through play – there are stories, puppet shows and arts & crafts, as well as a wading pool, sand pit and shaded play area. There are also child-size bikes for them to rent as well as a Dolphin Lagoon where younger children are invited to wade waist-height into the water and interact with the dolphins.