Along with the Dominican Republic, Jamaica is well-known as a go-to destination for all-inclusive, tropical resort-style vacations. But, this iconic Caribbean island is home to far more legit, relaxed lodging that provides a better glimpse into the “real” side of Jamaica. Skip the overcrowded mega-resorts on your next trip in favor of these three boutique hotels in Jamaica.
Jamaica Inn (Ocho Rios, Jamaica)
Among the uber-resorts of Ocho Rios, Jamaica Inn stands out for what it’s not. Blink, and it’s easy to miss. But that’s exactly why guests have been coming here to escape the tourist hustle for which the area is so well-known. Since 1950, this tiny inn has hosted celebrities from Marilyn Monroe to Arthur Miller and continues to be the ideal getaway for those looking to enjoy one of the island’s most beautiful beaches in seclusion. With only 48 cottages and suites, it’s easy to find a private stretch of sand all to yourself. The decor is beautiful, understated coastal chic in a way that’s equally elegant and relaxed. The flagship beachfront cottages offer sprawling layouts, large sea-view verandas, and stunning, cliffside plunge pools enveloped in lush greenery.
Polkerris Bed and Breakfast (Montego Bay, Jamaica)
Just a few blocks from Montego Bay’s always-on Gloucester Avenue, Polkerris Bed and Breakfast feels worlds away. The hilltop location on a quiet residential side street provides a welcome reprieve and affords panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea. The vibe is equal parts bed-and-breakfast and traditional inn. It offers the charming, intimate feel of a B&B without the awkward, forced interaction among guests. Rooms are sophisticated, but not stuffy with a Tuscan-meets-Caribbean decor. Amenities are surprisingly modern — free Wi-Fi, flat-screen satellite TVs, and mini-fridges. With a limited number of guests on-site at any one time, it’s often easy to have the two outdoor pools all to yourself. The party-hard nightlife for which Montego Bay is so well-known is also less than 10 minutes away on foot.
Rockhouse (Negril, Jamaica)
Situated on a dramatic cliffside in Negril’s West End, Rockhouse is the definition of rustic luxury. Each of the 34 eco-conscious rooms is built with beautiful, locally sourced, raw materials including timber, stone, and thatch. Many offer private stone terraces integrated into the surrounding cliffs with sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea. The scene here is purposely holistic and one of near-total disconnection — there are no TVs and no Wi-Fi. But there is a gourmet restaurant, a high-end spa, and a distinct lack of children (no one under 12 is allowed). The best part? The nightly rates are almost always unbelievably low.