Wharf House (from US$170 nightly per room or US$640 for an exclusive rental with up to eight guests, add US$40 per day for cook and 15% gratuity on total, breakfast included) is an impeccable 300-plus-year-old collection of stone hewn buildings facing Bogue Lagoon, a protected marine sanctuary. Gun slits in the 18-inchs walls were once used to protect the sugar and rum warehoused on site. The property has been remodeled into a rustic luxury accommodation fit for modern day barons with TV, sound system and Wi-Fi throughout.
Tranquility on the Beach is one of the top villa options in the Montego Bay area, sleeping up to 14 with seven bedrooms and six bathrooms. Located at the mouth of the Great River, the villa shares tennis courts with Serentity villa next door. Amenities include beach club membership at nearby Round Hill, wireless internet, AC, a staff of nine, gourmet chef, kayaks, snorkeling gear and a gym, all 20 minutes from Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.
A luxurious hilltop oasis commanding fine views of the city, the river and the sea
Goat Hill is one of the most over-the-top gorgeous villa properties in the greater Montego Bay area, and likely boasts the best view of the city itself. With only three bedrooms sleeping a total of six, the villa is perfect for intimate retreats with a few sets of couples. Lit tennis courts, a Jacuzzi, pool, open format and attentive staff make it a top-pick. It's also relatively affordable (US$7,000/week low season, US$8,000 high, US$9500 Christmas).
Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall is a 387-room all-inclusive resort catering to families. The best rooms are located at the ground level with swim-out pools from the balconies. Food options include both buffet style and a la carte options, including an Italian restaurant, Di Roza, serving pizzas from a wood-fired oven and Fuzion, an Asian-style restaurant with a chef station as its centerpiece doing noodles in a wok. Calypzo is a beachfront grill, Choicez and indoor/outdoor buffet-style restaurant.
Secrets St. James and Secrets Wild Orchid (US$188/326 low/high), located next to one another on the southwestern tip of the Freeport peninsula, opened in March 2010. All 700 suites at the two properties have essentially the same layout, with whirlpool tubs and either a balcony or patio. The food is above average for all-inclusive hotels, with an excellent breakfast buffet spread and fine dining restaurants specializing in French, Italian, and Japanese cuisines.
Sandals Carlyle Montego Bay (starting at US$334 d all-inclusive), formerly Sandals Inn, is a 52-room property that has been undergoing a transformation over the past few years as its renovations move forward little by little. Located along Dead End Road, steps from Mobay's Hip Strip, this is the most proximate Sandals property to the city's bars and nightlife, with the popular Dead End Beach located across the street. Rooms have balconies looking over the central pool area and out to sea. Tennis and beach volleyball courts are found at the far end of the property.
Iberostar completed a massive resort complex in 2007, with three all-inclusive hotels representing three distinct price categories. Guests staying at the more expensive hotels can use the restaurants and facilities of the lower categories, but guests of the lower-category hotels are not permitted on the more expensive properties. The quality of the food varies considerably by the price point, as you'd expect.
From its perch above Mobay, Hammerstein offers guests luxury in nature's midst
Altamont West (US$90 d) is the latest boutique hotel to crop up along the Hip Strip in Montego Bay. The Altamont West marks the first foray into Western Jamaica for the Jarrett family, which has run the Altamont Court hotel in Kingston for years. Rooms at the Altamont West are cozy and well appointed, with flat panel TVs, Internet, air-conditioning, and private baths with hot water. Linens are soft and clean.
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