Big-brand resorts of every stripe line the sparkling turquoise coast around Montego Bay, Jamaica. Some feature DJ sets and frolicking pool partygoers, others serene spa music and the sound of the Caribbean surf, but a sense of indulgent relaxation runs throughout the whole lot. If you’re looking for the best places to stay in Montego Bay, you’ve come to the right place.
Given its Small Luxury Hotels of the World stamp of approval, S Hotel Jamaica is an unsurprisingly stylish, sexy and compact luxury hotel in Montego Bay on the beach, with interiors you’ll constantly want to photograph. Scarlet double daybeds jut out over the ice-blue pool, and vines dangle from the lofty, polished-wood lobby ceiling. Meanwhile, the minimalist, black-and-white rooms have circular mirrors and minibars. It backs the naturally gorgeous Doctor’s Cave Beach and is within walking distance of Montego Bay’s nightlife scene.
With just 49 suites set across a cluster of villa-size buildings, there’s a feeling of low-key luxury to Zoëtry Montego Bay. The long pier and slender crescent of sand are ideal jumping-off points for paddleboarding, snorkelling and boat-based adventures, while your all-inclusive rate covers à la carte restaurants, premium drinks, room service, afternoon tea and even a 20-minute spa treatment. You’ll want to linger for far longer in the compact, glam spa at this Montego Bay hotel, however, with its outdoor whirlpools and massage beds.
Upmarket Round Hill is something of an institution on Jamaica’s luxury scene – and for good reason. You’ll swoon over the Ralph Lauren decor and the little details, such as Blue Mountain Coffee and photography books, in the rooms at this beach hotel in Montego Bay. There’s also the tree-shaded beach and gorgeous raised pool terrace overlooking the sea. Here, there’s a palpable sense of island history (Villa 3 once belonged to Sir Noël Coward), and the tropical reef will encourage you to strap your fins on and dip below the surface.
There are few bad beaches in Jamaica, but it’s fair to say that Sandals has one of the most showstopping, with powder-soft, ice-white sand, pale jade waters and fabulous thatched cabanas for lazing. Rooms at this beach hotel in Montego Bay have varying levels of bling – swim-up lagoon pools, bathtubs on the balconies, full-size bars and airport transfers – and many have 24-hour butlers on hand to indulge your every whim.
Riu Hotels & Resorts offers a large-scale, unpretentious party vibe with the feel of a sociable cruise ship. The adults-only Hotel Riu Reggae is a five-minute taxi ride from the airport, so you’ll find yourself waist-deep in its vast pool overlooking a sparkling Caribbean beach in the blink of an eye. The simple but crisp contemporary rooms at this beach hotel in Montego Bay come in blue and white, with minibars for DIY top-ups. For clubbers, the nightclub Pacha is right next door.
This Sandals resort is famous for its overwater villas – some of the first in the Caribbean region – and they do not disappoint. The villas at this Montego Bay hotel open out to serene wooden decks with seating areas for two protruding over the clear waters, while circular daybeds and plunge pools are cutting edge in design. Inside, the glass-bottom bedrooms enable you to spy on the local marine life from bed. Whether you’re in these A-list stilted rooms or not, the resort is seductive, with live Jamaican music on the beach by night.
Don’t expect a hushed and breathless vibe by the pool at this adults-only hangout – afternoon-long DJ sets, theme nights and foam parties keep things rocking day and night. Glam design details give it a bold and bohemian feel, from abstract murals in the rooms to origami-esque light fixtures and living walls by the pool. The beach is stocked with comfy daybeds and loungers for those fuzzy-headed mornings after.
A warm welcome party greets you at this informal but glam place to stay in Montego Bay, with its calming rooms featuring soothing colours and marble-adorned bathrooms. Kids will love the crowd-pleasing pizzas and pasta at Di RoZa, while a primary-coloured jerk shack on the beach serves up a great introduction to Jamaican food. Join in with aqua aerobics at the pool, borrow goggles, snorkels and fins from the watersports centre, or book a morning at the pretty spa, which has treatments designed especially for teens.
A handy 12-minute drive from the Sangster International Airport, this large-scale Hilton spa resort sits within gardens with rocky cascades, rope bridges and sculpted shrubs alongside the obligatory swaying palms. The beautiful neutral-coloured suites have simple glass balconies to unwind on after a day at the beach, and there’s an 18-hole golf course to break up spells by the pool. Make time for a body scrub inspired by the island’s natural crops, from coffee to cane sugar.
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