Jamaica: A Dreadfully Good Getaway
The third largest Caribbean island, famed for its dreadlock Rastas, reggae music, and blue mountain coffee is rising as a high vacation spot for each budget-conscious and excessive-rolling holidaymakers.
My first observation, after touching down in Montego Bay, was that journey to and from the airport and hotel should by no means be carried out after sunset, as highway transportation will get fairly treacherous at midnight right here. *SEE Photos Below*
Nevertheless, on reaching the secure tourist compound of Swept Away at Couples in Negril, an hour-and-a-half’s drive, the champagne on arrival and attentive staff signaled the true begin to my much-anticipated visit to Jamaica.
When the sun rose within the morning, I might really take in where I used to be, with the resort taking pleasure of place on the bay, set off by a perfect powder white sand seashore.
The sprawling complicated has every little thing you would ever want on your vacation, from swimming swimming pools with their very own bars to 10 acres of close to-Olympic-high quality sports facilities, and i rapidly felt it would be simple to remain inside its confines for the entirety of my stay.
But after a delicious traditional breakfast of contemporary ackee and salt fish on the hotel’s Patois Patio restaurant, my keenness to discover the wider area acquired the better of me and that i booked a horse trip on a trail half an hour’s drive up the coast.
It was the right outing, with simply me and the instructor navigating through the mangrove swamps and taking within the rolling countryside earlier than galloping along deserted beaches and finishing with a dip within the ocean to cool each ourselves and the horses off.
Again at the resort, I opted for a Swedish massage to ease my saddle pains, and was expertly tended to by a effectively-skilled masseuse within an oasis of relaxation, full with a soothingly-lit tranquility pool.
Then it was time for a plunge in the crystal clear sea, the place I could see from a few hundred meters out, the full panorama of lodges stretching across the seven-mile bay, from Sandals to the infamous Hedonism II (the place you will doubtless catch an eyeful of the all-over-physique-tan, anything-goes social gathering people doing their thing).
Whenever you tire of paddling about, the hotel’s glass-bottom boat is nicely worth taking a trip on for a laid again tour of the shipwrecks, stingrays and clown fish in abundance additional out to sea.
And when you get peckish and need a chunk back on dry land, Couples’ Palms restaurant gives an ideal array of freshly-caught seafood for lunch before sumptuous dinners at Lemon Grass, the place you’ll be entertained by steel drum bands and singers providing their own novel take on chart hits.
If you’re feeling like venturing out and getting down with the locals then Bamboo Roots nightclub is a 15-minute drive by taxi. This veritable outside hotbed of native entertainment has genuine live reggae music, complete with log wooden burning by the night, in addition to … other Jamaican foliage.
Shifting further alongside the coast the next day, I found one other part of Negril with no beaches, but a plethora of cliff tops with spectacular views.
Constructed into the rock faces here are a selection of various residences and hotels, however none are more spectacular than The Caves (located subsequent to Harrison Ford’s ex-spouse’s house), stated to be a favorite getaway of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Its huge dozen one and two-bedroom guest homes offer a really luxurious and genuine colonial vibe, with stunning exposed timber beam ceilings and classic white wooden shutters, not to say well-stocked, full-size bars in each. None of this ‘mini bar’ nonsense here.
There’s plenty to do in the world, together with scuba diving and snorkeling journeys to take you down into the caves beneath the resort. Here your information will flick a stone on the canopy to create a whirlwind of bats around you. And if you are still unfazed, he’ll get you to climb the steps back up so you possibly can plunge 40 ft off the sting!
Cliff-diving is most definitely not for the fainthearted, however it is an actual rush as soon as you’ve broached the fear of your first leap. After I threw caution to the wind and took a step off (following half an hour of stomach-lurching consideration), I used to be hooked. And within the unlikely event you hen out half-manner and stomach flop, the hotel’s wonderful masseur will doubtless put you proper in his decadent cliff-top balcony spa.
The meals here was excellent too, whether you’re sitting with the opposite company in its al fresco gazebo restaurant or you want to wow your partner by hiring their torch-lit private grotto. Within the latter, the waiters carry every thing down the cliff steps and throughout the entrance’s precarious stepping stones, all of which adds as much as your very personal personal candlelit nirvana … and perhaps probably the greatest places on the planet to pop the big question, while the capturing stars and crashing waves set the mood.
The last place I visited — on the Western-most part of the island — was Treasure Beach and another boutique resort known as Jake”s, favored by celebrities who prize their privateness. No doubt part of its enchantment to singers looking for solace is that it’s owned by Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records who found Bob Marley and U2.
Lily Allen is claimed to remain in this bohemian resort’s rustic shacks, and that i significantly preferred their outside showers decorated with seashell and mirror glass mosaics, and of course my shack’s fantastic balcony that opened out on to the sea.
Taking within the sunsets while you are relaxing by yourself rocking chair is a must, especially with a rocket-powered rum punch blended by Dougie, the resort’s resident barman. The massage rooms here additionally open out onto a fantastic ocean view terrace so you can watch the solar set on the horizon in-between your toes. Bliss!
If this doesn’t sound exclusive sufficient, a half-hour speedboat journey out to sea takes travelers to a shoal on which you may uncover the actually image-postcard perfect Pelican Bar: an ocean oasis for the discerning drinker who needs to tick the ‘most remote bar experience’ box off their lifetime to-do listing.
Clamber up this makeshift shack-on-stilts’ rickety driftwood steps and you will find vacationers slamming dominoes with the locals while necking Crimson Stripes till the final water taxi leaves for the mainland.
Again at the lodge and dinner on the celebrated, adjoining Jack Spratt restaurant was for me a mixture of pleasure and ache… maybe what I ought to have anticipated after ordering a ‘smashed crab’ curry jerky.
It regarded, smelled, and occasionally tasted superb. But extracting the microscopic morsels of meat from one million fragments of shell definitely isn’t the perfect dish to order when you’re very hungry.
Seven nights at Couples Swept Away with Virgin Holidays + Hip Resorts, including Virgin Atlantic flights and accommodation on an all inclusive basis with transfers starts from £1,415. Costs are per individual based on 2 adults touring and sharing a backyard room. Visit www.vhiphotels.co.uk or call and communicate to a VHip Journey Guru on +forty four (zero) 844 573 2460
Seven nights on the Caves with Virgin Holidays + Hip Hotels, including Virgin Atlantic flights and accommodation on an all inclusive foundation with personal transfers begins from £2,199. Costs are per person based on 2 adults traveling and sharing a one drop suite. Go to www.vhiphotels.co.uk or name and speak to a VHip Journey Guru on +44 (zero) 844 573 2460
Seven nights at Jake’s with Virgin Holidays + Hip Inns, together with Virgin Atlantic flights and accommodation on a room only foundation with non-public transfers starts from £1,139. Prices are per individual based mostly on 2 adults travelling and sharing a deluxe garden view room.