144 One Love Dr., Negril
Comprising a handful of Caribbean-blue villas nestled in the limestone cliffs of Jamaica’s west coast, the Caves benefits from one of the best locations on the island. Each one- or two-bedroom cottage is fitted with tasteful wooden furnishings, stained-glass windows, and hand-dyed fabrics. For larger groups, the Clandestino, a three-bedroom villa under a thatched roof, offers a private pool, a hot tub, and a sauna. Not all of the cottages have sea views, but those that do will bring you so close to the endless expanse of water that it feels as if you could jump in from your back door. In fact, beach access requires a leap of faith—guests climb ladders, ranging from five to thirty-three feet, to jump off the cliffs into the warm sea below. The staff is well-versed in everything related to the ocean and can guide you through a snorkeling adventure while providing amazing detail. For breakfast, the Gazebo serves Jamaican and American items like callaloo, ackee, and saltfish, as well as fresh banana pancakes and omelets. At night, stroll down a coral staircase to the Blackwell Rum Bar, carved out of the…
Zimbali’s Mountain Cooking Studio
Canaan Mountain, Negril
The staff at Zimbali, a twenty-minute drive east from Negril, hold a theory that Jamaica gets more interesting the farther out you get from the cities, and the eco-friendly retreat makes a strong case. It’s attached to a seven-acre organic farm, and the abundance of Jamaica’s bounty is delivered fresh and prepared exquisitely. The dinner begins with a blended juice made of fruit picked straight from the soil or tree, and then a guided tour of the land that grows the ingredients for the night’s meal. Then sit at the counter and watch the chef create a six-course culinary journey, with bowls of pumpkin soup, jerk shrimp, and perfectly seasoned fish wrapped in banana leaf. Try to snag a table on Wednesday night when African drummers provide live entertainment.
Seven Mile Beach
There’s hardly a bad beach in Jamaica, but this one is a star among stars: calm waters; soft, powdery sand; excellent restaurants; and that painfully beautiful ombré of blue that matches sea to sky. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, this is not your spot. Instead, save Seven Mile for when you’re feeling social. This is where tourists and locals reliably like to meet up.