A tropical paradise with an edge, the birthplace of reggae and source of some of the most coveted coffee on the planet, Jamaica has a complex vitality that’s all its own. Yet it is also a luxury destination home to some seriously excellent all-inclusive resorts, most of them on the north coast of the island. If that’s not to your liking, our in-depth list throws in some of the best deluxe boutique options alongside five-star luxury hotels– all bookable with Culture Trip.
Comprising 11 oceanfront villas that combine modern interior design with an inspired take on 50s and 60s era artwork and décor, the Trident is the ideal perch to explore Port Antonio, known as the Jamaican Riviera. Once you’ve settled in, explore the area’s shoreline, a stretch that has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, waterfalls, caves and rainforests.
The clue is in the name. This 150-suite luxury Jamaica hotel has a rooftop pool and bar with 360-degree, unobstructed views of the mountains and Montego Bay that will, well, leave you breathless. And it’s not all nature and no mod cons here. The suites are tech-savvy and amenity-packed and you can ratchet up the pampering even more by booking into the Xhale club suite that comes with its own butler.
A boutique resort in the upscale Rose Hall neighborhood, Zoetry Montego Bay is steps away from the Caribbean Sea. The 49 suites here are located in three main buildings – Wood & Water, Bamboo and Blue Mountain – that act as a nod to Jamaica’s natural beauty. You can connect with the real thing on a serene, private beach, tuck into meals made from local ingredients at the restaurant or rejuvenate at the spa.
The devotion to comfort and joy at The Moon is impressive and in this virtually self-contained coastal resort, many guests never leave to sniff “real life” in Ocho Rios town. An almost bewildering array of rooms and suites fill two main blocks with modern, tasteful décor, though polished marble floors are a touch austere. Four pools (with cabanas and swim-up bar), a FlowRider wave simulator and a children’s waterpark underline the family credentials. Food offerings resemble the UN and the huge Awe Spa has chandeliers above a swimming pool.
The Grand is the plushest of a trio of linked resorts overlooking a sandy beach near Montego Bay. A cathedral-like lobby with classical pillars and a rotunda ceiling suggests that the adult-only clientele are here to worship at the altar of pleasure. Rooms have garden aspects or ocean-front views while swim-out suites seemingly have it all. Four restaurants (reservations essential) embrace Japanese and European haute cuisine. Grand guests can access the facilities of the adjoining sister resorts whose often livelier pool and beach scenes keep pure the holiday faith.
Beautifully sited on a private hook-like peninsula at Falmouth, this luxury resort faces the ocean on one side and a pretty bay on the other. Tranquil exclusivity is its lifeblood and the lack of children lends a sophisticated grown-up atmosphere. Suites and villas are supremely tasteful, most with in-room hot tubs and pillow menus, some with plunge pools or private pools, and the elite tier with personalised butlers. At the heart of it all is a two-level pool and restaurant complex just yards from the limpid Caribbean.
With a relatively secluded peninsula beach, the Wild Orchid has an enviable location by Montego Bay. The unlimited luxury buzzword here means unfettered access to 10 restaurants and nine bars (with gourmet dining and top-shelf beverages), themed parties and entertainment, and a raft of activities – pretty much everything apart from the spa.
Near Ocho Rios, this unique haven offers quirky bohemian-tinged luxury courtesy of an arty couple who nurtured their 5ha (12-acre) seaside plot in the early 2000s. Divided into the village and boutique lodging areas, accommodation ranges from pretty Caribbean-style cottages and bungalows to a swanky modern villa plus a treehouse. Tasteful décor with Gaudi-esque touches includes locally produced wooden sculptures and artworks. A trio of cascading swimming pools, luxuriant gardens and a highly regarded Jamaican-focused restaurant help gild this one-of-a-kind property.
Opened in 1954 on an already generous plot, this grand dame of the Caribbean now occupies an extraordinary 160ha (400 acres) with 2mi (3.2km) of private beach. Elegant accommodation comprises three distinct zones, from the original cottages to newer five- and seven-bedroom fully staffed villas. Unifying them in varying degrees is a handsome whitewashed colonial style with pillars, arched verandas and balustrades. Past guests encompass royals, politicians and celebrities, while a lavish 2018 renovation has further secured its polish and anchored its pedigree.
Overlooking the sparkling limpid sea of Cocoa Walk Bay on the northeastern coast, Geejam marries ultra-cool celebrity vibes and spectacular views with a section of rainforest in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. The original recording studio opened by industry veterans has segued into boutique accommodation ranging from sleek modern rooms to rustic-looking cabins and a trio of boutique villas. There’s a private cove beach and the alfresco bar features an infinity pool plus a state-of-the-art sound system. The musical DNA and studio of Geejam still draws some of the biggest names in pop.
For more options, discover our guide to the best hotels in Jamaica. More luxe breaks await in our rundown of the best resorts in Jamaica and the top boutiques on the island. Or if you’ve got a destination in mind, why not check out our guide to the best hotels in Negril and the finest resorts in Montego Bay – then book your stay with Culture Trip.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Pierre de Villiers contributed additional reporting to this article.
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