By Lisa Loverro
Since 1950 the Jamaica Inn, located in Ocho Rios, continually receives a truly sophisticated crowd, a clientele that appreciates barefoot elegance and understated luxury in a small boutique hotel setting. It’s no wonder Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Mill honeymooned here, as this place is all about quiet and romance. The resort has an old colonial Jamaica feel where verandas and white louvered windows blend beautifully within the green manicured croquet lawn and the ocean’s blue waters. If you’re looking for a party, this will not fit the bill. If you’re looking to experience Jamaica at it’s finest where the staff remembers your name and welcomes you with open arms, this is the place. That said, it’s definitely not your typical stuffy crowd; this is Jamaica after all where the Rum Punch reigns supreme and is continuously served throughout the day at their beach bar, manned by the Inn’s long time veteran bartender, Teddy.
While I visited, the crowd was a mix of young couples, honeymooners and guests who have been vacationing at the Jamaica Inn for many, years. Families here are few and far between as the resort does not allow children under the age of 12. The only mischievous “child” I could find was in the form of a beautiful Black Labrador Retriever puppy named Shadow IV, who is their Black Lab in residence. It seems many “Shadows” have been gracing the property of the Jamaica Inn for years, and it seems fitting since the entire place feels like a warm and inviting home.
There are 52 rooms and cottages on property located on a secluded stretch of beach which I would imagine is not easy to come by on an island filled with large, all-inclusive resorts. The Jamaica Inn has just two floors; the ground floor rooms offer large verandas for easy access directly to the beach. All accommodations have ocean views so you can’t go wrong with ground or second floor rooms, which have small terraces. There are seven cottages just past the main building with one and two bedrooms. Cottage number 7 is the largest offering a two-story one-bedroom slice of heaven with a sprawling living room, luxurious bathroom, outdoor shower and private plunge pool with direct access down into the ocean below, perfect for a honeymoon couple. There are no TV’s in the rooms but I highly doubt anyone will miss them.
The dining at the resort is as special as the property itself. Breakfast is served on a terrace overlooking the ocean and dinner is a formal, al fresco experience with a menu of fresh fish, pastas and steaks infused with an island twist. Non-guests often arrive for dinner as well leading me to the conclusion that it must be one of the best fine dining experiences in town. A three-piece band will serenade you while you dine with chilled-out versions of Reggae tunes we’re all familiar with, a la Bob Marley, and the candlelit ambiance completes the entire romantic experience. Off property, and just a few minutes down the road, there is a wonderful local restaurant, Miss T’s Kitchen, allowing you to get your island fix of Jerk Chicken and Oxtail.
The resort is roughly a 90-minute drive from the Montego Bay Airport. I cannot recommend the Jamaica Inn enough for a quick getaway or romantic holiday. To put it all in perspective, during my visit I was under the weather and almost daily was checked on by the staff. The few nights I did not make it to dinner I was brought a big bowl of homemade soup. What more can I say? When you’re there, you are treated like family.
For more information: