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Montego Bay, or MoBay as the locals call it, brings glitz and glamour to the north coast of Jamaica. Trimmed with flour-soft sand and jewel-bright Caribbean waters, with posh restaurants and nightlife you’ll want to get dressed to the nines for, it’s also home to a swathe of luxurious all-inclusive resorts and beach hotels. We’ve picked the best to make the decision-making a little easier for you – and they’re all bookable with Culture Trip.
With a pristine white beach cupping a shallow, sheltered turquoise lagoon, this smart trio of towers offers postcard Caribbean views. Suites are styled like low-key beach condos with sea-facing decks and swinging basket chairs, while a swim-up bar will make you feel like a Bond girl, or villain, depending on your order. Eight dining options mean you could eat out in a different restaurant every night – don’t miss the flash teppanyaki grill on the pier for seared tuna or fluffy tempura.
A whizzy 15-minute drive from Sangster International Airport, this is the place to book for that whirlwind getaway. There’s an undulating lagoon pool, glossy palms and a slender but pretty beach – but this one’s all about the activities: putt your way around the 18-hole golf course, fly down twisty chutes at the waterpark, or book a series of tennis lessons. It’s particularly well suited to families: teens will love the dedicated hangout space with Wii and Xbox games, plus karaoke and bowling by night.
From the moment you enter the palatial, high-ceilinged lobby of the Iberostar with its dome and columns, you know you’re in for a sumptuous stay. The adults-only status is underlined by romantic, curtained beachside cabanas and swim-up bars, as well as tastefully decked-out rooms with direct pool access and huge terraces with dining areas and hot tubs. The beach is one of the best in the area, too, with golden sands and plenty of space to lounge.
Strung with gently glowing lanterns, the hotel’s magical al fresco Sugar Mill restaurant is famous enough to attract a flow of dinner guests from other resorts. But there’s plenty more to the Half Moon, enough to have three separate sections to it – families should make a beeline for the vast Rose Hall Villas, while couples will love the chic rooms and expert spa at Eclipse. This is the place to come for memorable food that’s a million miles from your average all-inclusive buffet.
Loved by honeymooning couples, the Secret St James is scattered across a slim peninsula jutting out into luminous Caribbean waters, so you’re surrounded by ocean views on all sides. The sexy factor comes courtesy of an intimate spa with heated mosaic beds and chocolate-fondue body wraps, as well as a seemingly floating cocktail bar atop the swimming pool, and a 24-hour restaurant for late-night dinners after evenings on the beach.
The Breathless Montego Bay resort has more design flair – in both interiors and grounds – than the competition. Huge driftwood sculptures draw your eye in the lobby, while sail-shaped seating trims the mosaic-tiled pool bar, and a curious man-made “cliff” divides the outdoor pool and bar areas. It’s adults-only, with a party spirit that will suit twentysomethings more than their parents – expect top-notch cocktails across five bars, and foam parties by the pool.
This affordable all-rounder doesn’t have the sharpest design creds of the pack, but it’s fully geared up for active types. Get your scuba certification at the dive centre, join yoga sessions on the beach, or commandeer a catamaran and sail the sky-blue waters. Rooms are colourfully colonial, with splashes of coral and lemon, ceiling fans and embroidered cushions. Clock-watching airport-anxiety sufferers can breathe easy, too, as it’s a mere 20 minutes from the airport.
All-inclusive really means just that at this polished, family-friendly resort – you won’t be surprised by a rogue wifi charge or a premium drinks bill. Pretty coconut-hued mansion blocks in white and brown are flanked by an expansive central pool and spacious terrace of loungers, while pared-back rooms with white linen and dark-wood furniture let the sea views do the talking. Get a taste of authentic Jamaican cooking at the jerk hut on the beach.
There’s an old-fashioned flair to this smart, well-established beach hotel, which is within walking distance of the hip strip of music bars and restaurants in Montego Bay. Fondant-fancy buildings in yellow and white snuggle up against fountains in tropical gardens, lobbies have checkerboard floors and vases of bird-of-paradise blooms, while gently lit rooms reflect Jamaica’s flag colours in their textiles. A sheltered aquamarine bay is a dream for snorkelers.