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The Caribbean nation of Jamaica is a small island packed full of spectacular natural wonders and rich cultural history. Set amidst tropical seas abounding with coral reefs, big game fish, and crystal-clear lagoons, the diverse Jamaican terrain includes savannahs and dramatic mountains which are home to unique flora and fauna. Culturally, the island has punched well above its weight in its contribution to popular culture, with icons such as Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff exporting reggae and Rastafarian culture to a global audience.
Part of the British Commonwealth since 1655, but welcoming people from many nations, locals speak English with a distinctive accent. This ethnically diverse history has resulted in an open and accepting culture with a strong sense of pride and identity. Having long held a reputation as an idyllic tropical getaway, Jamaica offers a range of historic and luxurious hotels and resorts, including some of the iconic properties below.
Best Overall: Iberostar Rose Hall
Occupying a massive piece of beachfront property, Iberostar Rose Hall is three resorts rolled into one, and between them, the resort contains every feature visitors could desire in an all-inclusive. The adult-only Grand is easily the most spectacular of the three, with modern rooms richly decorated in reds and blues, big marble bathrooms with jacuzzi tubs and walk-in showers, and comfortably furnished balconies overlooking the gardens or the sea. The huge pool is a centerpiece of the resort, separated into three cascading levels and featuring a swim-up bar and a relaxed, sophisticated vibe. Guests get access to six exclusive restaurants serving Japanese, steakhouse, and Italian cuisine, as well access to seven restaurants at neighboring resorts.
Families with children should stay at the Rose Hall Suites, which also has a large pool courtyard and lots of child-friendly features, such as a water park, lazy river ride, and kids’ club. The range of activities available includes snorkeling, scuba diving, golf and tennis, and an oceanfront infinity pool has a swim-up bar that serves refreshing drinks for the whole family. Three restaurants serve bayou-style, Japanese, and American dishes, followed by nightly live entertainment.
Best Budget: The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel
Located on the west coast of Jamaica with excellent sunset views over the ocean, the SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel is a relaxed and tranquil budget-friendly option. Here, hand-built stone cottages are set within tropical gardens and are beautifully crafted in local style with thatch roofs and attractive wooden furnishings. Seaside cottages come with direct access to the ocean, with the garden and rooftop cottages also providing ocean views. The pool sits on a limestone bluff overlooking the water, and although there is no natural beach, there is a sandy beach deck and a terrace built with natural-cut stone. The snorkeling and diving opportunities in the waters at the base of the cliffs are highly regarded.
Those looking to relax should book an appointment at the open-air spa — set among graceful white columns and freshwater ponds — which offers a range of body wrap treatments, massage therapies, and manicure and pedicure services, as well as relaxing private cabanas. The Blue Mahoe restaurant prepares a variety of fresh, organic dishes. The chefs take advantage of seasonal produce to serve tasty, locally-procured seafood, salads, and regional specialties.
Best Boutique: Jamaica Inn
The iconic, historic Jamaica Inn has been welcoming guests to its boutique property since 1950. With large ocean-view suites, cozy beachside cottages, and opulent private villas set amid immaculately manicured grounds, guests come to enjoy the serene surroundings and warm, attentive customer service. Guest accommodations are comfortably furnished and have modern amenities, but come without TVs and radios to preserve the peaceful atmosphere.
Guests can sip cocktails while relaxing in hammocks, play a game of croquet on the lawn, or use kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkeling equipment in the seas off the large sandy beach. The open-air Ocean Spa offers a full range of massage and therapeutic services, with treatments using natural ingredients sourced from local organic farmers and the surrounding jungles. On the scenic dining terrace, gourmet dinner selections with a strong local flavor are served accompanied by refreshing sea breezes. Alternatively, guests can choose to dine in the comfort and privacy of their villa or enjoy a romantic dinner on the beach.
Best for Families: Beaches Ocho Rios
Facing onto a large private beach and just minutes from the Ian Fleming International Airport, Beaches Ocho Rios boasts a wealth of kid-friendly amenities that make it the premier family destination in Jamaica. With the huge Pirates Island waterpark providing waterslides, winding lazy river rides, whirlpools, and water cannons, as well as family-friendly pools with a swim-up soda bar, guests will feel like they are staying at an amusement park rather than a hotel.
Young children can join in supervised activities with their favorite Sesame Street characters at Camp Sesame, and teenagers can play the latest video games in the Xbox Garage. A large stretch of private beach is replete with shaded sun lounges, and in the sheltered lagoon water activities such as kayaking, scuba diving, and paddle boarding are provided free of charge. Avid golfers can enjoy unlimited access and free transfers to the green links of Sandals Golf & Country Club. Dining options at the seven restaurants include Caribbean cuisine, fresh seafood, and classic Italian fare, as well as international buffets and a creperie serving coffees and desserts.
Best for Romance: The Caves
Set atop a dramatic limestone outcrop overlooking the Caribbean, The Caves is a unique boutique hotel that provides a secluded and memorable romantic escape. A collection of thatch-roof wooden huts, built in a traditional island style with natural materials and painted in shades of blue, white, and orange, look out into cave grottos, verdant gardens, and ocean vistas. A saltwater pool constructed along the cliff edge takes advantage of the beautiful sea views, and hot tubs, jacuzzis, and saunas complement the range of treatments available at the highly-regarded Aveda Amenity Spa.
Down a set of limestone steps, guests can enjoy atmospheric and intimate candlelit dinners in a private cave grotto. Next door, the Blackwell Rum bar provides cocktails and sunset views framed by the cave entrance. At the beach-hut style Sands Bar, guests can dine on jerked chicken and rum cocktails under hanging lanterns strung between the palms. After taking breakfast on the ocean view terrace, guests can snorkel, kayak, and cliff-jump in the waters at the base of the cliffs or access a number of secluded rocky coves ideal for undisturbed sunbathing.
Best for Luxury: Round Hill Hotel & Villas
With a rich history and proud tradition of hospitality and service, Round Hill Hotel & Villas offers a refined and elegant environment for guests to relax and pamper themselves. With oceanfront rooms and private villas set amidst 110 acres of landscaped grounds and jungle, guests can enjoy a serene natural atmosphere. Guest rooms were designed by Ralph Lauren, with a bright, modern feel softened by the addition of wooden furnishings with natural finishes. Villas come in a range of styles, with the most luxurious featuring private pools, games rooms, and mahogany-lined libraries.
When it comes to outdoor activities, there's the oceanfront infinity pool as well as five tennis courts — two which are lit for night games. Guests can also snorkel, scuba dive, or take kayaks out among the colorful coral reefs in the bay. For more of an adrenaline rush, water-skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing are also available. The Restaurant at Round Hill prides itself on delivering fresh local cuisine in a stylish and refined environment, while the casual Seaside Terrace offers themed buffet evenings accompanied by sweeping ocean views.
Best for Singles: Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall
Although golf courses and the restaurants, bars, and clubs of the nearby Montego Bay are in close proximity, many guests at the adult-only Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall prefer to simply stay and enjoy the excellent amenities and service offered at this upscale all-inclusive resort. Large modern suites feature bright, colorful décor and offer swim-up access for ground floor suites and furnished balconies for the rest. The large central pool contains a social swim-up bar. The large stretch of sandy beach is filled with sun lounges and shade umbrellas, with attentive staff providing a food and drinks service. Suspended over the calm lagoon waters, the wooden boardwalk leading to the gazebo is a prime location to relax and enjoy the sea views. Professional masseurs offer services both in the scenic Zen Spa and in the privacy of rooms, and a modern, well-equipped gym keeps guests fit and active. With nine restaurants available, dining options include Brazilian steakhouse grills, Japanese fusion cuisine, and traditional Western buffets. The Union Jack’Z bar serves classic British pub grub, and becomes a lively nightlife hotspot in the evenings, with live music and a boisterous crowd.
Best Ambiance: Sandals South Coast
Set on a secluded stretch of beach in the heart of a 500-acre wildlife reserve, Sandals South Coast provides the ideal hidden oasis for guests looking to surround themselves with nature. Featuring classic European architectural elements, the graceful hotel's buildings surround the expansive oceanfront courtyard, which contains Jamaica’s largest pool. All guest rooms are styled with modern yet classic décor and come with ocean views, while upscale suites offer soaking tubs, concierge service, and private patios.
For guests looking to get closer to the water, newly-constructed overwater bungalows offer a superb stay, with the hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings complemented by features such as glass floors, over-water hammocks, and two-person soaking tubs. The expansive grounds contain activities from croquet and lawn chess to tennis and beach volleyball courts; kayaks, sailboats, and paddleboards can be taken out onto the clear blue waters. Nine restaurants and seven bars offer a huge range of dining and drinking options. These include everything from sophisticated restaurant dining to intimate beach dinners, and chill swim-up bars to lively British-style pubs.
Best Beachfront: Half Moon
With two gently curving expanses of beach running the length of this resort outside Montego Bay, Half Moon is a sprawling hotel packed full of activities and amenities. The elegant main building, with its marble columns and graceful balustrades, is surrounded by meticulously landscaped grounds. The hotel exudes the relaxed and sophisticated air of a country club, an impression that is enhanced by the variety of activities on offer. On land, there are tennis courts, a 72-hole golf course, and an equestrian center offering horseback rides on the beach, and out on the water wakeboarding, water skiing, and parasailing opportunities are available.
The award-winning Fern Tree Spa offers a full range of amenities and services, such as aromatherapy steam rooms and a waterfall lagoon to hot stone massages conducted in tranquil overwater bungalows. Guests suites are filled with rich, opulent furnishings in a traditional style, with polished hardwood floors and fluted four-poster beds. In the renowned fine-dining Sugar Mill restaurant, gourmet creations are served below leafy fig trees decorated with hanging lanterns. The beachside Moongrape restaurant offers local delicacies in a more relaxed and casual setting.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 28 different hotels and read over 60 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.