Jamaica? Ya mon!
July 3rd, 2012
My first taste of Jamaica was eating a vegetable patty grabbed at a stand outside the Montego Bay airport and it was the perfect introduction to the island: Easy, unassuming, and fantastic.
Our group (made up of two PR reps and three fabulous fellow bloggers) drove along the scenic highway to Ocho Rios. We drove past several swank resorts but the organizers had something even better in store for us: The Jamaica Inn.
When we arrived at the small resort, I was blown away. The view to the turquoise ocean, the two cocker spaniels roaming around the property, the periwinkle blue exterior, the deserted beach, the Planter’s Punch welcome… It was everything one could want in a quiet, romantic getaway. After all, if it was good enough for Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe -- and a whole lot more A-listers! --, it’s certainly good enough for me.
Even better? I somehow lucked out and got to stay in Cottage #7, a.k.a. the newest and most exclusive suite in the place. Think two floors, three showers (and a tub), a private pool and private access to the beach.
We also enjoyed outdoor spa services, nightly al fresco dinners with a live band playing in the background and our fair share of laughs. To say that island life is laid back would be the understatement of the year.
Besides the awesome "no problems" vibe of the island, I adored the food. We had fried fish at Miss T’s, jerk chicken, pork and fish at Scotchies, more jerk chicken at the Chill Out Spot and a lovely farewell at Pier 1. Everything was fresh, delicious and, of course, spicy!
After two nights, it was time to travel back to Montego Bay where we stayed at the Roundhill Hotel and Resort, an expansive property that was once a plantation. Today, it is home to lovely cottages and rooms that have been refurbished by Ralph Lauren, so think lots of white and stripes. It also boasts one of the most beautiful double infinity pools that I’ve ever laid eyes on, as well as a ton of on-site activities ranging from snorkeling to glass bottom boating.
We were treated to more al fresco dining and this time, a dance/fire eating/extreme fire limbo show provided the entertainment on Friday night (turns out that one of the dancers ended up being our yoga teacher the next morning. So cool!).
My two favourite water activities? Climbing the Dunn's River Falls (for the adrenaline lover) and lazing the afternoon away on-board a bamboo raft on the Martha Brae River (for the relaxation seeker).
Finally, because lying on the beach and being treated to decadent massages and coffee scrubs (don't toss those coffee grinds: Add brown sugar and use as an incredibly effective scrub) can be oh-so exhausting, we took a cultural trip to Greenwood Great House, build by the Barrett family in the 1800s. I was almost as enchanted by the incredible mansion and relics of the past than I was by Billy, our tour guide/resident – he lives among the priceless artefacts with his lovely wife!
Jamaica amazed me in so many ways: The incredible people, the unforgettable sights and sounds and, of course, the to-die-for food. The perfect way to end my journey? Another Jamaican patty at the airport. Ya mon!
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