We rounded out our anniversary trip in Jamaica with a 2 night stay at the classic Jamaica Inn located in Ocho Rios. It was the perfect hideaway to end our romantic getaway.
Built in the 1950’s, the Jamaica Inn is an elegant, country-club casual boutique hotel with just 52 rooms & cottages. It harkens back to an era when you dressed up for dinner, enjoyed afternoon tea and sipped cocktails before supper. It was a favorite haunt of Winston Churchill and Ian Fleming. In fact it’s thought that the phrase “shaken, not stirred”, came about while the two were enjoying drinks at the beach bar. The bartender Teddy has been at the resort for the past 60 years and has some amazing stories to tell if your fortunate enough to be there when he’s working. Other famous patrons include Marilyn Monroe and playwright Arthur Miller who honeymooned at the Jamaica Inn. The library and lounge are filled with amazing photos from famous past guests. The resort remains largely unchanged even after all these years. Why mess with perfection?
This award winning, all-suite hotel offers spacious accommodations with the perfect blend between British Colonial + Caribbean inspired decor. The bedrooms are all rather standard but comfortably outfitted with breezy white linens, jalousie windows and historic prints from JB Kidd that bring to life the Jamaica of old. The real draw for every single suite is the balcony or terrace. No matter which suite you are in, you will enjoy stunning ocean views from expansive terraces. Some have direct beach access and the cottages offer direct water access by way of a ladder into the sea. There is air conditioning in the bedrooms and open WIFI throughout the property. But no TVs or clocks. I’ll also make note that there is a fair amount of walking including steps and stairs with no elevators. So it’s not the best choice for those that are wheelchair bound or have significant mobility issues.
In addition to the suites, there are 7 cottages up on the cliff side that are ideal for groups or those looking for larger accommodations. We were fortunate enough to stay in Cottage 3 which is simply stunning. Larger than many houses in the US, this cottage features a wrap around verandah with 2 ways to access the sea. Take a look at this short video.
There is just the one main restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As a traditional boutique hotel, rates are typically room only but meal plans are available at an additional cost. The most common is the breakfast + dinner package which is what we did. It’s ideal really because the town of Ocho Rios is really close so venturing into town is easy if you want to eat off-site and explore during the day. Room service is also readily available. We ordered breakfast in every morning on our terrace. You really can’t ask for much more than to start your day with a fresh cup of Jamaican coffee & pastries while enjoying the sunshine, sea breezes and bird songs from your own private terrace. The balconies and terraces are so big in fact that if you’d like to enjoy dinner on your private terrace the staff will come and set up a white linen service with candles and serve your meal course by course (if staying in the suites). We found the food to be good and while the menu changes daily the options are fairly limited. Plan to dress up for dinner which starts at 7:30PM each night. Gents need to bring pants and a collared shirt but jackets are not required.
Not strictly adult-only, the Jamaica Inn will accept children age 10 and older. There are non motorized water sport options available onsite as well. Because the hotel was built in the 50’s before the vast majority of hotels in this area, their location also benefits from a wide cove like sandy beach. It’s quiet and peaceful with ample loungers and palapas. There is also a small onsite spa with individual treatment huts. Imagine a couples massage while enjoying the ocean views and sounds of the sea.
When so many resorts in Jamaica are busily adding bigger buildings, more restaurants, bars, pools, waterslides and rock climbing walls – the Jamaica Inn is maintaining the charm, elegance and tradition that is so rare now. You may be thinking perhaps that it must cater to an older clientele and that would be true to a certain extent. There are clients that have been coming to the Jamaica Inn for their holidays every year for the past 30+ years because they want that tradition. In fact one night while we enjoyed dinner under the stars at the Terrace restaurant, a local band was playing soothing, jazzy music and this couple in their 80’s got up to dance and honestly it was the sweetest thing. As I looked around the rest of the tables I saw the same smile again and again on the faces of travelers of every age. From the young millennials on their honeymoon to the power executives looking to unplug and recharge. It’s that rich history and traditional elegance that draws travelers to the Jamaica Inn year after year.
It’s true. The Jamaica Inn is not for everyone. If you like the mega resorts with dozens of dining venues, lazy river pools, onsite nightclubs and 24/7 activities there are better options for you. If you want an elegant but not stuffy boutique hotel escape, a chance to truly unplug, unwind and escape from the masses – the Jamaica Inn might just be the perfect match. You’ll find a resort where the staff truly care and want to know you. You’ll make friends and want to come back year after year.