Built in 1962, Belmont is a four-bedroom villa at the base of Alligator Head, a peninsula overlooking San San Beach and Pellew Island. The villa has a minimalist, modern and inviting feel that pays homage to Jamaican culture and the island's natural beauty, with a small pool at the center of well-manicured lawns. Three bedrooms have king-size beds, and the fourth has two double beds, all with air conditioning, ceiling fans and en-suite bathrooms. Two bedrooms have private decks, while the third and fourth bedroom share a deck between them.
Birdie 'ill (USD 4,000/5,000 weekly, low/high, USD 6,000 Christmas-New Year's) is a four-bedroom hilltop villa ideal for families or small groups overlooking San San Beach and Alligator Head.
Geejam (US$595/705 low season, US$2,035/2,125 high season) is a recording artists’ paradise where the likes of Les Nubians, No Doubt, India Arie, Amy Winehouse, and Tom Cruise have chosen to take their working vacations. Sitting on a low hill overlooking San San Bay, the property consists of the main house with three bedrooms, three cabins dispersed across the property, and a one-bedroom suite below the recording studio. Inside the huts, more than the basic amenities are covered: TV, Apple home theater systems with DVD, iPod docks, and minibar are included.
Kanopi House (US$600-1000 all-inclusive) is the latest addition to Port Antonio’s high-end market. Four self-contained wooden cottages stand on stilts along the jungle-covered slope rising from the eastern bank of the Blue Lagoon. For a Medicine Man rush or even a spoiled-Tarzan kind of feel, there’s no place like Kanopi, and it’s the only accommodation option that actually sits on the lagoon. The most tasteful and simple decor adorns the cottages’ exposed wood interiors.
Norse Hill (US$3,500/$4,000 weekly low/high season) was built by Iris and Reidar Johanssen as their winter home. The Johanssens lived amazing lives, jumping across the globe before their time in Hong Kong during the 1930s. The Norwegian-style chalet is accordingly grand and filled with art and antiques from China. Norse Hill is a steadfast, gorgeous, stately structure, with an industrial-size kitchen, three bedrooms, and a loving and dedicated staff.
The Fan (US$160-250) is a private villa in the hills above Drapers with a breathtaking view of Dolphin Bay, Trident Castle, and Blue Mountain Peak. The villa rents two guest apartments. The grand suite, located on the top level, has a king bed, a large living room, kitchen, and balcony. The junior suite, on the ground level, has a king bed and up to three single beds. Excellent meals are prepared to order at an additional cost by the housekeeper, who should be tipped equivalent to 10 percent of the rental cost for your stay, as is the norm for villas.
Frenchman’s Cove (US$125-460, inclusive of tax and continental breakfast) remains one of Jamaica’s prime properties, considered by some to have the best beach on the island. The cove itself is small with a short, wide beach and fine white sand. Fifteen villas are scattered about a large property.
Goblin Hill is located at the heart of Port Antonio's most coveted seaside district, San San, which encpompasses a sloping, wooded hillside peppered with villas that meets the aqua-colored Caribbean at Smatt's San San Beach. The hotel offers good value for families and couples. The grounds ave rolling lawns and love seats at romantic intervals, and a swingset for the kids, making the property a Top Pick.
The Bonnie View Hotel (Bonnie View Rd.) is another dilapidated former Errol Flynn property, no longer in operation as a hotel. The view is the best in town. To get there, take the washed-out Richmond Hill Road directly across from the Anglican Church on the corner of West Palm and Bridge streets. Bonnie View is not an organized attraction and there is no cost to have a look around as long as no one is around to make reference to the sign on property that states all sightseers must pay US$3 (J$150), which doesn’t compute for today’s exchange rate and dates the effort.