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Jamaican me crazy!
These days, even fully vaccinated travelers landing at Montego Bay will find themselves tested (prior to arrival) and locked away in a “resilient corridor,” where touristic travel is approved.
But never fear. That zone is nearly omnipresent. It includes all resorts and attractions that meet the island’s COVID-19 protocols, and even roadside jerk shacks, where flavors aren’t dampened for tame-tongued tourists.
The island’s best luxury resorts have been especially “resilient” over the past year. They’re even sporting new extras that will appeal to even the most experienced eater of escovitch fish.
Start your journey by stepping off your flight and into the back of a black BMW, where cheese and wine are served, on your journey through scenic mountainscapes to the sprawling, 50-acre Sandals South Coast.
With distinctive architecture themed after European cities, the 392-room, adults-only, all-inclusive powerhouse upped its game last December when it added 20 “rondoval” units (aka “suites in the round”), to its newly renovated Dutch Village.
These swim-up, thatched cottages boast private plunge pools, outdoor showers and the ability to circumnavigate the longest lazy river in the Western Hemisphere waist-deep, champagne in hand.
When you spring for the suite life, you’ll be whisked past check-in directly to your room by your private butler, available to unpack your suitcase, coordinate activities (like boat excursions via Island Routes) and strip every ounce of cognitive strain from your stay.
Rondoval Butler Suites run $1,625 per night (or, for solo travelers, $812 per person, per night), fluctuating with the season.
If commuting to the chilled-out south coast isn’t on your itinerary, it doesn’t get easier — or more lovely — than Round Hill.
Less than 30 minutes from Sangster International Airport, the Ralph Lauren-designed resort shows off with the lushest greenery, dark woods, old-school service and plenty of preppy panache.
Split between luxe hotel rooms within the main resort and 27 hillside villas with private pools and ocean views, this suave, mid-century icon is offering ritzy new packages.
Dubbed the “Ultimate Private Luxury” package, Round Hill has partnered with evoJets for private charter flights to the resort, where guests will be given a tour of the organic garden with James Beard award-winning chef, Martin Maginley, followed by lunch and a 50-minute massage.
That’ll set you back at least $639 per night — not including the cost of your private flight..
For a more understated experience, the resort is treating families to a home-away-from-home “Villa Retreat” package, designed for those who seek salubrious solace. It includes a swanky accommodation and tailored in-villa dining prepared and served by your villa’s dedicated staff. The cost of anonymity starts at $499 per night.
For a different taste of white-glove refinement, Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios should be on the menu. This white-on-sky-blue haven is about days on the beach, spirited contests of croquet and French 75s at sunset.
Rooms are divided between beachfront hotel suites with handsome outdoor living rooms, private bungalows and luscious cottages — if your definition of cottage includes ocean access, private pools and more square footage than your NYC two-bedroom.
Book now to get in on the inn’s upcoming three-day “Alchemy of Abundance” wellness retreat (starting Aug. 26) with “transpersonal psychotherapist” and spiritual teacher Lena Franklin. Expect to merge meditation, inspirational talks and ancient teachings with spa treatments, beach barbecues and a burning ceremony under the stars.
For $2,200 for individuals, or $3,500 for couples, you’ll get an ocean-view suite, roundtrip airport transfers, an all-inclusive meal plan, plus all those good vibrations.
Continuing west to Oracabessa, there is a languorous lagoon that snakes from the sea, where Old Etonians once took a rum punch cure for lethargy. This storied locale is, of course, GoldenEye, the home of James Bond pen-smith Ian Fleming and frequent retreat of his bold-faced friends.
Thanks to owner, rum purveyor and Bob Marley producer/promoter Chris Blackwell, these days Goldeneye hosts a coterie of kicked-back creatives and pleasure seekers who lounge along the spacious decks of splashy swim-up suites.
But Bond fans and men with the Midas touch will want to take advantage of the “Ultimate James Bond Experience,” which includes a mix of MI6-esque adventure and sophistication, including a guided snorkeling tour through Fleming’s beloved reef and visit to Firefly, witty Brit Noël Coward’s hilltop home where the Flemings spent many afternoons. Package rates are shaken, not stirred, and start at $2,630 for four nights.
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