New Castle Rd., B1, St. Andrew
Most Jamaican resorts are all about the beach, which is precisely what makes Strawberry Hill—situated high on a mountaintop looking down over Kingston on one side, and Blue Mountains National Park on the other—such a breath of fresh air. Owned for more than twenty years by Chris Blackwell (the founder of Island Records), the estate was famously an escape for Bob Marley and his musical entourage in their heyday. Today, the place retains all the local charm, but with distinctly dressed-up amenities, including a world-class restaurant, an appealingly low-traffic pool, and heavenly beauty products (called Blue Mountain Aromatics) made with mint and rosemary harvested in these very hills. The studios themselves, updated with rich wooden four-poster beds, are simply decorated, and outfitted with mosquito nets so you can throw open the shutters and enjoy the mountain breeze without fear of being eaten alive. And though you're within an easy drive of gorgeous Caribbean beaches and Kingston's lively cultural scene, the gardens and ample hiking in the hills provide enough excitement that you may not want to leave at all.
Ocho Rios, Saint Ann Parish
The resort is known for having the same feel now as it did when it opened (when Sir Winston Churchill used to come here to paint). Colonial-style cottages offset the tropical beachside setting that has a bit of a retro Jamaican feel—and there's croquet on the lawn. Blessedly, there are no TVs to be found. The rooms are as on the beach as it gets (open the door and step in sand) and they are happy to bring you breakfast on your veranda if you don’t feel like making it over to the palm-covered dining room.
Fair Prospect to Folly Rd., Anchovy Gardens, Port Antonio
You can be as private or social as you like at this resort, which feels like a village of waterfront villas. Most people spend the day lounging by the infinity pool overlooking the sea, but you can relax by the private pool in your villa for a more secluded experience. The rooms are newly refurbished, simple, and modern, keeping the gorgeous setting the focus, with features like outdoor soaking tubs and sun decks. The town of Port Antonio, where the resort is located, was a hotspot in the 60’s and part of the experience is checking out the restaurants, bars, and live music in town. Fun feature: If you get tired of the beach, there’s a screening room that you can reserve.
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