Deborah Thompson, the Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Luxury travel magazine New Jetsetters tells us why she loves Jamaica. The first time Deb saw the turquoise blue waters surrounding Bermuda from the air as a child, she was smitten. Already in love with the written word and writing itself, a black leather-bound diary was soon filled with treasured memories of the charming island and her stay at the luxurious Elbow Beach Hotel. Since then she has traveled far and wide, and written dozens of stories and reviews on exotic locations from around the globe. As a multimedia journalist Deborah shares her favorite experiences and photographs on the most popular Social Media Platforms and connects with New Jetsetters readers on newjetsetters.com, placing a special emphasis on intimate and romantic destinations. As a self-professed “foodie” Deb also loves to review notable gastronomic restaurants in our Fine Dining section and has now found a new passion – her ever-growing series of Notable Chef interviews. She is also ecstatic about the popularity of New Jetsetters gorgeous Luxury Travel Magazine, New Jetsetters Gloss.
When did you first fall in love with Jamaica? When are you headed back?
We fell in love with Jamaica in a very strange way. As a young couple just dating, my now husband chose a movie for us to watch on VHS (remember those?). It was “The Mighty Quinn” with Denzel Washington. Well, we both fell in love with the gorgeous island depicted in the movie (and I developed a bit of a crush on Denzel at the same time :). We both said at the same time “I want to go there!” After doing some research, we found out it was Jamaica, the location was Port Antonio, and the name of the property where much of the filming was done was the Trident Hotel. That year, my birthday card contained two tickets to Kingston, Jamaica and a reservation at the Trident in a beautiful villa bordering the sapphire ocean. Thus began our love affair with Jamaica.
We have since returned to Jamaica three more times, with stays in Ocho Rios (Jamaica Inn), Negril (Couples), and Ocho Rios (Couples). Now we are coming back once again, this time returning to our original love, Port Antonio with a stay at GeeJam, a sentimental visit for dinner and drinks (with some live jazz thrown in for good measure) with the General Manager and Assistant Manager at the re-imagined Trident Hotel. We then head for Ocho Rios with a stay at the gorgeous little Hermosa Cove for a number of days.
What is the one food everyone must try when they visit Jamaica?
If I had to choose one food that every visitor to Jamaica must try, it would be Ackee and Saltfish for breakfast! We first tried this delicious dish when we stayed at the Trident Hotel in Port Antonio, as mentioned above. We couldn’t believe we weren’t eating scrambled eggs (but better!). I can’t just stop at this one food though…. Sorry! I would also tell them they must absolutely try Festival – after the first bite it became one of my most favourite foods anywhere, and I had (and still have!) severe cravings for it after I left the island! And one more to finish of my foodie-musts – Jerk Chicken, of course! We were headed for Boston Bay when we came across “Shaggy’s Jerk Shop” and stopped to check it out. Besides being fascinated by the method of cooking the meat over the hot coals, with the pimento wood on top to add that unique flavour, we were head-over-heals in love with authentic jerk chicken and are looking forward to experiencing it again in a few weeks.
What three Jamaican tourist attractions do you recommend people to Jamaica See
- Rafting the Rio Grande. It’s a magical experience, romantic, peaceful and exhilarating at the same time.
- Ricks Café – Just sitting on the patio, watching the daring cliff-jumpers leap into the stunning, aqua blue ocean below, and enjoying the live Reggae bands in the evenings whileyou sip from a frosty bottle of Red Stripe beer!
- Drive through the Blue Mountains! Stop to buy some fabulous Blue Mountain Coffee, meet some of the colourful locals in the villages. The epic scenery is an unforgettable sight; with the soaring trees and plunging valleys it is like a true paradise.
What Does Jamaica have to Offer in the Luxury Travel Market
Luxury can be interpreted many different ways by many different people – but I think most will agree that a boutique hotel will usually hit that luxury “sweet-spot” by offering more personalized service, exceedingly well-trained staff who will greet you by name, and actually get to know you and your preferences during your stay. For New Jetsetters, luxury is found in places that are unique, intimate, and truly service oriented with a high level of attention to detail and engagement with guests.
We have found this at two Jamaican properties we have stayed at in the past – the Jamaica Inn and The Trident. Staff took an active part in helping us to plan our days, gave us honest feedback on what to do and with whom, and seemed to take a personal interest in making us feel welcome and happy.
We also believe that Jamaica is beginning to realize that small, intimate properties are more beneficial for the island and its inhabitants as well. Guests who stay at boutique properties are more likely to want to get to know the local people, go out and explore off the property, investigate the arts and music culture, (which few people at all-inclusives are likely to do), and thus spread their tourist dollars into the population at large rather then it all going into the pocket of one massive organization.
We look forward to sharing our feedback and reviews on our fast-approaching Jamaican adventure which will see us staying in the Port Antonio area as guests at the famous “GeeJam” Hotel. We are already impressed with the excellent level of engagement we’ve had from the staff at this hotel, and we are expecting nothing less than an amazing experience with them!
The other hotel we will be staying at also has a great reputation and is again, smaller, more intimate and offers a more personalized experience to their guests. Hermosa Cove offers pretty little houses nestled amongst the lush vegetation of Ocho Rios . We can’t wait to take a hike through the meandering paths on their expansive oceanfront property to hopefully find some gorgeous birds like the “Doctor” Hummingbird! Our audience of New Jetsetters want to connect with not only the property they have chosen to stay at, but also find pleasure in meeting fascinating new people and having unique experiences that connect them to the destination. We can’t wait to report on what we see and do at both of these properties!
What Do We Love Most About the Jamaican Culture?
The Music! Our mutual love of Reggae Music is one of the reasons we found such chemistry when we first met, and is something that we still listen to and love. Of course, the unforgettable music of Bob Marley, your national hero, was what we grew up listening to in North America and to this day his songs remain as important and loved as they were so many years ago. The gift of his musical message of love, respect and standing up for your rights is appealing to new generations of music lovers. We also love the iconic Jamaican movie “The Harder They Fall” with Jimmy Cliff – the movie that brought Reggae to the world. We branched out to many other Jamaican Roots, Reggae and Ska performers and I fell seriously in love with Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Maytalls) and of course, the father of all reggae, Joe Higgs.
The songs of Jamaica are so beautiful, full of spirit, love, beauty, defiance, and pride. They document the history, the culture and the reality of life for the Jamaican people. It’s worth noting that so many of Bob Marley’s great songs of love and freedom are still so topical in today’s world – “Get Up, Stand Up” and “One Love”.
We hope you and your audience from around the world, and your many Jamaican fans and Jamaica lovers will find interest in what we will be bringing to the attention of our audience – people who live to travel – and travel to live – The “New Jetsetters”.
You can find New Jetsetters on all the following Social Media platforms: