GOLDENEYE AND MYSTIQUE MOUNTAIN
GoldenEye is an iconic Jamaican hotel, not least because of its association with famed James Bond author Ian Fleming, who wrote all 14 novels here. Bond aficionados should rent the Fleming Villa, where you can sit at Ian Fleming’s own desk. The villa is also ideal for families with its own private pool and private beach, encased in tropical gardens. GoldenEye has a very laidback ambience, where guests can be as much at home at the colourful Bamboo Beach Bar with a Red Stripe and jerk chicken as the chic Gazebo restaurant, based in the treetops and serving fine cuisine. Try the GoldenEye cocktail while you’re here (made with rum, of course).
GoldenEye is the perfect base to explore Mystique Mountain, a rain forest adventure park in Ocho Rios which is just the ticket for thrill-seekers. Take the chairlift up to the top of Mystic Mountain alongside phenomenal jungle views, then ascend by bobsleigh through the lush tropical rainforest on high-tech sleds. Quite the rush!
TRIDENT AND THE RIO GRANDE
Chic, bijou property Trident has just thirteen rooms and a very exclusive ambience. Located along the island’s northeast coast in Port Antonio, Trident celebrates the local, from rum punches on arrival to an authentic Jamaican breakfast featuring ackee and saltfish, breadfruit and fresh coconut water. This intimate hideaway is a place to escape the crowds and relax. Spacious suites have private plunge pools and sea views, and smiley staff go above-and-beyond to make your stay a happy one.
While you’re here, take the opportunity to experience the mighty Rio Grande on a unique river rafting journey. Travel on long bamboo poles bound together, a method originally used to transport bananas from inland to the coast. Surprisingly comfortable and aided by a skilled raft captain, you’ll drift downstream, absorbing the pristine flora and fauna around you, before pulling in for lunch at foodie institution Miss Belinda’s for curried goat and grilled red snapper.
JAMAICA INN AND DUNN’S RIVER FALLS
One of the best-loved resorts on the island, Jamaica Inn does not disappoint. It’s imbued with old-world Caribbean charm, and the stretch of beach on which it’s located is truly stunning. It’s at Jamaica Inn where you’ll receive top-class service as many of the staff have been here for years, and their attention to detail is renowned. This is the resort for those who like a little glamour in the evenings and guests love to dress up for the six-course tasting menu, accompanied by a live reggae band.
To counteract this scene of refinement, head out to climb Dunn’s River Falls – one of Jamaica’s landmarks. Just a stone’s throw from Ocho Rios, the Dunn’s River Falls are a set of waterfalls that flow over smooth rock terraces. Work up a sweat clambering up it before coming down via a series of turquoise pools. It’s a gorgeously natural spot for an active afternoon.
JAKES HOTEL & ZIPLINING YS FALLS
The choice for those that prefer a more authentic stay, Jakes Hotel is a colourful slice of Caribbean culture, with its brightly hued cottages and oceanfront bungalows strung along the shoreline of a peaceful fishing village on the south coast on Jamaica. Located right on Treasure Beach, Jakes has a bohemian, laid-back vibe and the vibrant colours that surround the hotel gives it a cheerful, upbeat atmosphere. Staff are very friendly and happy to chat about all things local including the food that is sourced from nearby fields and farms, the chef’s cookery classes and local artisan craft-making workshops.
While you’re here take a visit to the seven-tiered waterfall, half an hour from Jakes called Ys Falls. Not only can you splash and swim in the clear, cool waterfall and its natural pools, you can also zip line across it through the treetops or grab a rubber tube for lazy ride down the river. Fuel up afterwards with a coconut juice and a bag of spicy pepper shrimp.