3 Best Lodging Options In JamaicaAll Inclusives, Caribbean, Extras, Hotel News, Hotels & Resorts — By Nancy Y on September 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm
by Nancy Yeomans
LG Air Travel News Editor
Which Caribbean island is home to miles of sandy beaches, an impossibly blue ocean, bright sunny days and is incredibly easy to travel to? Jamaica. With dozens of flights from most major U.S. airports, you’re probably no more than a half-day away from feeling the soft sand between your toes. What you’ll find when you arrive are friendly locals, no currency worries (the U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere) or language barrier. Just sultry days and breezy nights. The laid-back vibe that permeates the island is addictive and you’ll be relaxing and sipping your rum punch before you know it.
Jamaica is home to many of these resorts. RIU and Sandals, two of the best known all-inclusives in the industry, both have several properties on the island. Whether on a honeymoon, bachelorette party or family reunion, there is an all-inclusive to suit your taste and budget. It’s a hassle-free way to enjoy a vacation; food, drink and most resort activities are included in the price upfront, so there won’t be any surprises when you check out. There’s no need to rent a car when you’re staying at one of these properties; everything you need is located at the resort. If you’re in the mood to do a little exploring outside the resort property, there is a concierge waiting to match you up with just the right excursion. You can be as active – join in on the scheduled activities every day, or enjoy the fitness room – or as idle as you wish. Best for social types; it might be tough to find a secluded corner in which to hide away.
Tip: at the RIU resorts, don’t miss the fresh-squeezed juice bar at breakfast or the jerk shack on the beach at lunch.
Rent A Villa
On the opposite end of the lodging spectrum lies the villa rental. You’ll have complete privacy with your own space to relax and unwind. Villas By Linda Smith lists many properties in Jamaica or check out VRBO for their offerings. Many of the rental properties come complete with a private pool and/or hot tub. The types of options available run the gamut from cozy cottages for two to villas large enough to make you feel like a celebrity. Many times you’ll find an information packet from the owner letting you in on local secrets like the best restaurants, beaches and shopping. A car rental is necessary, but you’ll want one anyway to check out the island. A private rental is ideal for large groups; everyone has their own private area, but there is plenty of common space for socializing. One potential downside: it’s easy to become isolated in your own place…make a point to get out and meet the local residents.
Tip: make sure your rental contract covers any additional costs for electricity, cleaning, etc.
Somewhere in the middle of the two previous types of lodging lies the boutique hotel. You’ll find these accommodations smaller and more intimate than an all-inclusive resort, but more social than a private home rental. If you like daily maid service and the occasional room service breakfast, but want to explore a little more on your own, a boutique hotel is for you. In Jamaica The Rockhouse Hotel is a sublime example. You won’t find organized pool volleyball games or a gratis liquor dispenser in your room here, but what you will find is accommodating staff members who will go out of their way to recommend sights, restaurants and may even drive with you to find that hidden waterfall. Understated elegance and an easygoing atmosphere surround you at a hotel of this sort. You’ll be left to your own devices if you wish, but you’ll have the guidance of those in-the-know when you need it.
Tip: Go off-season (mid-April thru mid-December): the rates at The Rockhouse are quite reasonable.
For real time assistance and answers to any questions follow @AskJamaica on Twitter. Run by the Jamaican Tourist Board, they’re a fantastic resource.
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