There’s something for everyone. Budget travelers and big spenders will both find something to suit.
Note that prices, unless otherwise noted, are in US dollars.
Prices are per room, based on double occupancy. In the case of all-inclusive properties, prices are per person.
$ = up to $50 per day
$$ = $51 to $100 per day
$$$ = $101 to $175 per day
$$$$ = over $175 per day
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Resorts, Hotels & Inns
THE ATRIUM AT IRONSHORE HOTEL
Morgan Road, Rose Hall
876-953-2605, fax 876-953-3683
This 33-villa, family-run property is air-conditioned. All accommodations have kitchen and dining facilities as well as a pool and satellite TV. Located near the airport. Part of the Insider’s Jamaica program (see page 108).
BLUE HARBOUR HOTEL
6 Sewell Avenue
876-952-5445, fax 876-952-8930
This 24-room inn is air-conditioned and has access for the handicapped. Family-sized rooms can accommodate groups of up to 10 persons. Rooms have kitchen facilities and satellite TV. There’s a saltwater pool or you can stroll down to the nearby beach. The inn is located on a hill. Part of the Insider’s Jamaica program.
COMFORT INN AND SUITES MONTEGO BAY
876-953-3250, fax 876-953-3062; reservations 800-228-5150
This 150-room hotel is the former SeaCastles and is a part of the Choice Hotels International group. It’s situated on a small private beach. The recently renovated property includes one- and two-bedroom units as well as studios. The all-inclusive package features three buffet meals daily, supervised kids activities, non-motorized watersports, gratuities and taxes, house-brand liquors and soft drinks, tennis and daily entertainment. Every Friday the hotel offers a Jamaican night with local food and music.
CORAL CLIFF HOTEL
876-952-4130, fax 876-952-6532
This 30-room Colonial-style inn is near Doctor’s Cave beach and includes dining facilities and a pool. It’s not far from Cornwall and Walter Fletcher beaches. The standard rooms have air conditioning, phone and individual bathrooms. Superior rooms have larger bathrooms and balconies with a pool view. The property has a good location for those interested in nightlife with its position along the Hip Strip. Part of the Insider’s Jamaica program.
AUTHORS’ TIP: Gamblers should note that this hotel is home to the largest gaming facility in Jamaica.
COYABA BEACH RESORT AND CLUB
North Coast Highway at Mahoe Bay
876-953-9150, fax 876-953-2244; reservations 800-237-3237
($$$-$$$$) (All-inclusive optional)
This $10 million resort has the feel of an intimate inn, but it offers the amenities of a larger resort. Located on a shady stretch of beach, Coyaba is a good option if you’re seeking the niceties and luxuries of an exclusive retreat. The hotel offers all-inclusive deals or European Plan only. The plantation-style great house on the property houses the main restaurant. Amenities include a freshwater pool, hot tub, massage, tennis, watersports, recreation room, tennis, a dive shop, windsurfing and a playground.
Guest rooms are light and airy, decorated in an elegant tropical style with mahogany furniture. You’ll be greeted by a basket of banana bread, a sweet introduction to this special property.
DOCTOR’S CAVE BEACH HOTEL
876-952-4355, fax 876-952-5204
This 90-room hotel is near Doctor’s Cave Beach (surprise, surprise!). It has air-conditioned rooms, kitchen facilities, handicapped access for some rooms, a pool, satellite TV and a fitness center. Part of the Insider’s Jamaica program. The hotel is home to two restaurants, one casual and the other semi-formal.
HALF MOON GOLF, TENNIS AND BEACH CLUB
North Coast Highway, 7 miles east of Montego Bay
876-953-2211, fax 876-953-2731; reservations 800-237-3237
Half Moon is one of the country’s most elegant resorts, the place to be pampered. It offers a variety of room configurations, from large guest rooms and junior suites to villas that look like something right out of Beverly Hills, complete with sweeping staircases and maid and butler service. The black and white decor, like everything in the resort, is ultra-chic.
The resort is a favorite with well-to-do Japanese vacationers, who feel right at home in rooms that offer Japanese-language periodicals and Japanese television channels.
Half Moon sprawls out across the island’s north coast and you’ll never feel crowded. Along with 13 tennis courts, 39 swimming pools, croquet, horseback riding, bikes, squash, numerous restaurants, a dive shop, kids’ program, ultra-pricey shopping center, and even a hospital, you’ll find a quiet nature reserve. The resort also now offers the David Leadbetter Golf Plan, with daily instruction from a David Leadbetter-certified instructor.
HOLIDAY INN SUNSPREE RESORT
North Coast Highway, 6 miles east of Montego Bay
876-953-2485, fax 876-953-2840; reservations 800-HOLIDAY
Couples and families make up much of the clientele at this popular resort which has undergone many changes in the last several years. A $13 million facelift in 1995 transformed it into an all-inclusive property. The 523 guest rooms have all received an overhaul. There is a variety of activities on offer, including watersports, tennis, volleyball, nearby golf, a kids programs and more.
876-952-3287, fax 876-979-0351
This 33-room inn is air-conditioned and includes dining, a pool and satellite TV. Set on a hill, the property offers good views of the sea and is convenient to the airport. The beach is a short ride away. Part of the Insider’s Jamaica program.
HOTEL RIO BUENO
876-954-0048, fax 876-952-5911
This 20-room hotel has air-conditioned rooms and dining. All rooms have a view of the Caribbean Sea. The small property houses the Joe James Art Gallery (Joe offers art lessons too; [email protected]). Part of the Insider’s Jamaica program.
20 minutes west of Montego Bay on the North Coast Highway
876-956-4920, fax 876-956-4927
Montego Bay is best known for its beachside getaways, but if you aren’t looking for a stretch of sand on which to relax, consider a stay in the surrounding hills and valleys – or at least a daytrip into this charming region. Recently, we spent time at Lethe Estate, a serene hideaway tucked on the banks of the Great River near the village of Lethe. Quiet, except for the sounds of singing birds in the surrounding forest, this 15-room inn is an ideal place to get away from it all. Despite its location, amenities are not lacking. The inn includes a gourmet restaurant, pool, tennis and plush rooms. A top daytime activity here is the float on a bamboo raft down the river under a canopy of forest. A free shuttle runs hotel guests to the beach and shopping areas daily.
RICHMOND HILL INN
876-952-3859, fax 876-925-6106; reservations 800-423-4095
A trip to Richmond Hill Inn is like visiting your grandmother’s house: you’re a little afraid that you’re going to knock something over; you really wish it weren’t so fussy, but you love the way you get treated. The rooms here have seen fresher days, but still the view is special – straight out over Montego Bay and the sea from high atop the hill.
Richmond Hill has a long history, dating back to the 1790s when it was the property of the Dewars of Scotch whisky fame. Guests can take advantage of a free shuttle to MoBay shops as well as the beach. Facilities here include an excellent restaurant, coffee shop, pool and laundry service.
Reading, St. James
876-952-5909, fax 876-952-7217
This 28-room inn has air-conditioned rooms, kitchen facilities, a pool, satellite TV, beach, watersports and restaurant. It sits alongside Bogue Lagoon just 15 minutes from Montego Bay. The hotel has several features of special interest to adventure travelers, including Reading Reefs (photographed by Jacques Cousteau) and the Bogue Islands (nesting site for birds). Part of the Insider’s Jamaica program.
26 Hobbs Avenue
876-952-7218, fax 876-952-7218
This 41-room inn offers a complimentary airport shuttle as well as a restaurant, pool, satellite TV and ocean views. All rooms have king-sized beds, a fully equipped kitchenette and air conditioning. Along with guest rooms, visitors can also select from one- , two- and three-bedroom apartments. A complimentary shuttle bus runs to the beaches. Part of the Insider’s Jamaica program.
ROUND HILL HOTEL AND VILLAS
North Coast Highway, 8 miles west of Montego Bay
876-956-7050, fax 876-956-7505; reservations 800-237-3237
A favorite of the rich and famous set, Round Hill offers suites, traditional hotel rooms and 27 villas. Expensive and lavish, the villas include maid service (cook service is available as well), and many have a private pool. The resort includes numerous amenities, from tennis courts to a dive shop to windsurfing.
INTERESTING FACT: If Round Hill looks familiar, there’s a good reason: the property was the location of many scenes in How Stella Got Her Groove Back.
ROYAL COURT HEALTH RESORT
876-952-4531, fax 876-952-4532
Of special interest to vegetarians, this 25-room resort has a vegetarian restaurant and a fresh fruit and vegetable juice bar. It offers a free airport shuttle, beach shuttle and shopping transportation. All rooms are air conditioned. Part of the Insider’s Jamaica program.
SANDALS MONTEGO BAY
Kent Avenue, near the airport
876-952-5510, fax 876-952-0816; reservations 800-726-3257
This popular (heterosexual) couples-only resort does a huge amount of repeat business and is a great choice for those who want to be close to the airport (you can’t get much closer than this). Planes buzz overhead, but that doesn’t seem to deter people. Like other Sandals resorts, guests at Sandals Montego Bay enjoy a Stay at One, Dine at Six policy, where they can dine at any of the 23 eating establishments in the Sandals chain. A desk at Sandals Montego Bay handles reservations for the sister resorts, and free shuttles are available to other Sandals located in Montego Bay.
Amenities here include five restaurants, numerous pools, tennis, racquetball, a dive shop, windsurfing and more. The resort’s Sunshine Tennis program includes two hours of complimentary instruction per week with the visiting professional.
North Coast Highway
876-953-2231, fax 876-953-2788; reservations 800-726-3257
What’s the difference between Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Montego Bay? Quite a bit. While Sandals Montego Bay boasts more of a party atmosphere, Sandals Royal Jamaican takes an elegant, laid-back approach. In general, this property is much quieter than its sister.
We recently stayed in an oceanfront deluxe room with a mahogany four-poster bed and two-level floor plan. On another visit, we came for dinner at Sandals private island restaurant, Bali Hai, known for its Indonesian fare and unbeatable night view of the city. It was a great dining experience. Amenities at the resort include four restaurants, numerous pools, tennis, a dive shop, windsurfing and concierge service.
Gloucester Avenue, in town
876-952-4140, fax 876-952-6913; reservations 800-726-3257
The Sandals Inn is great for the budget-conscious traveler who wants to enjoy the luxuries of a Sandals property. This small hotel isn’t the sprawling beachfront resort usually associated with the Sandals chain, but it does have many of the same amenities. An all-inclusive package here takes care of transfers, activities, drinks and dining. Guests can also partake in the Sandals Stay at One, Dine at Six policy (with free transportation to the Mo Bay resorts). There’s also a free shuttle that runs throughout the day to take you and yours (remember, this is a heterosexual couples-only resort) from the inn to the larger Sandals Montego Bay or Sandals Royal Jamaican to enjoy beach fun. On-property facilities include tennis, pool and concierge service.
1 Kent Avenue
876-952-4370, fax 876-952-6591
The 73 rooms here all have air conditioning and some are handicapped- accessible. All rooms have either a garden or pool view and private bath. Located in the heart of Montego Bay near the Doctor’s Cave Beach. Part of the Insider’s Jamaica program.
SUNSET BEACH RESORT AND SPA
876-979-8800, fax 876-953-6744
This new 420-room resort sits on the Freeport peninsula. The property is divided into two sections: the 120-room, low-rise Beach Inn and the 300-room, 11-story Sunrise and Sunset Towers. The resort has an impressive list of facilities, with three private beaches, three swimming pools, snorkeling, Sunfish, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, paddle boats, Hobie Cats, jogging trails, beach volleyball, a fitness center and a supervised kids program.
For late-night fun, there’s a disco as well as an electronic game casino. All meals are part of the package and guests have their choice of four dining establishments, including Asian and Italian specialty restaurants. Six bars are located throughout the property. There’s also a spa, although treatments are not part of the all-inclusive program.
TRYALL GOLF, TENNIS AND BEACH CLUB
North Coast Highway, 15 miles west of Montego Bay
876-956-5660, fax 876-956-5658; reservations 800-238-5290
If you’re a golfer, you’re probably already familiar with Tryall, a celebrity resort that has hosted many tournament games. This posh getaway includes everything you need to hole up and never leave, if you so choose. There’s a golf course, private villas with their own pools, tennis courts, dive shops, a driving range and more. You’ll never feel crowded at this 2,200-acre property.
VERNEY’S TROPICAL RESORT
Leader Avenue, in town
876-952-2875 or 876-952-8628, fax 876-979-2944
This 27-room inn is an excellent place to find true Jamaican hospitality. Rooms are nothing fancy, but owners Kathleen and Earnest Sterling are on-property like round-the-clock concierges. Need a babysitter? Kathleen will find you one. Want to know where to shop for spices? Just ask. You’ll feel like part of the family. “We really believe in personal service because once you are away from home it is good to know someone cares,” says Kathleen.
The hotel’s Kit Kat restaurant is a favorite. Whenever the hotels in Montego Bay are asked to recommend a restaurant serving real Jamaican cooking, they refer people here. A free shuttle runs to Doctor’s Cave Beach on weekdays; there’s also a pool on the property. Part of the Insider’s Jamaica program.
WYNDHAM ROSE HALL
North Coast Highway, east of Montego Bay
876-953-2650, fax 876-953-2617; reservations 800-996-3426
($$$$) (All-inclusive optional)
You can enjoy Wyndham Rose Hall on either a room-only basis or as an all-inclusive property. This sprawling resort is just a short drive from the airport, a real boon to those on a short vacation or traveling with restless kids. Once you arrive, there’s no need to worry about those kids remaining restless for long. Wyndham Rose Hall is home to a massive waterpark, a recent addition to the property. This 110,000-square-foot, $7 million water complex is called Sugar Mill Falls and comes complete with lagoons and a towering waterslide. Guests can enjoy lazy river rafting among waterfalls scattered throughout the park.
This resort is presently undergoing a major upgrade, equipping its guest rooms with new furniture, carpeting, 27-inch TVs, movie channels and more. The golf course is located directly across the street and soon golfers will be able to also use the nearby White Witch golf course, presently under construction by the Ritz-Carlton