|Stoke your spring romance in Jamaica|
Winter's chill may still be in the air, but spring is fast approaching. So why not plan a romantic escapade with your sweetheart to herald the advent of a fresh, new season in Jamaica?
"In the past, romance was about tales of travel and adventure—the kinds of experiences that help regenerate mind and body," says Dr. Matthew Edlund, director of the Center for Circadian Medicine and author of The Power of Rest. "Modern ideas of romance focus more on sharing deep experiences with someone you love.”
According to Hotwire.com, a discount travel site, a recent online survey of some 2,200 adults showed that nearly 70 percent “strongly agreed” that their romantic relationships would benefit if they embarked on more leisure trips together.
With that in mind, may we suggest a romantic sojourn to Jamaica? For couples seeking an escape, the warm blue waters of the Caribbean beckon with a lush setting that’s perfect for amour. Think pristine beaches, tropical drinks, and reclining under a palm tree—with your favorite person by your side, of course.
Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Montego Bay, Jamaica
What do Paul McCartney, Angela Bassett, Bruce Willis, and the late Dame Elizabeth Taylor all have in common? They’re just some of the A-listers who’ve over the years stayed and played at Round Hill Hotel & Villas in Jamaica.
The famed Montego Bay resort is perched on a hilltop amidst 30 acres of tropical gardens, overlooking a jewel-like Caribbean Sea with a golden sand beach.
Originally opened in 1953, Round Hill has long been a favorite retreat for Hollywood's glitterati, including other such fabled stars as Grace Kelly, Fred Astaire and Paul Newman. Royalty like the Windsors have been special guests, and John and Jackie Kennedy spent part of their honeymoon in Villa 10, where the original mosaic-tiled sunken bathtub (built for two) remains.
The scenic hideaway is also where the hit movie “How Stella Got her Groove Back,” starring Angela Bassett was filmed; leading man Taye Diggs later returned there to marry his Broadway baby, Idina Menzel. Other celebs have enjoyed the resort, too: Alfre Woodard, Patrick Dempsey, Gabrielle Union, and Russell Simmons among them.
Today, Round Hill retains its old-school glamour and casual elegance. The resort features 27 private villas (owned by individual "shareholders" whose places are available for rent when the owners are not in residence) and a 36-room oceanfront hotel, "The Pineapple House."
The hotel rooms are decked out in island chic décor designed by Ralph Lauren. Think four-poster mahogany bamboo beds, sumptuous upholstered furniture and spacious bathrooms with deep soaking tubs.
The villas, each beautifully decorated in unique style, boast a bevy of amenities such as private pools. Expansive porches allow for stunning sunsets and tropical breezes.
There's plenty to do here, including the SPA at Round Hill, located in an elegantly restored 18th century plantation house on ten acres of beachfront lawn. Facilities include an indoor/outdoor fitness center, full-service beauty salon, nearly a dozen treatment rooms and a “Garden Loft” set amidst the lush Jamaican rainforest.
You’ll also find guests enjoying water sports, tennis, golf, yoga classes, and massages by the sea. Fragrant gardens have walking trails and tropical flowers such as orchids.
The service and overall vibe at the resort is warm and exceedingly gracious. No wonder couples, families and from all the over the world, have returned to holiday each year.
You can’t leave Round Hill without sampling its house specialty tomato tapenade created by Executive Chef Martin Maginley, which is available for purchase at the lovely resort gift shop. The mouth-watering coconut pancakes that the staff whips up for breakfast are reason enough to come back. Last but not least, a popular treat is limbo night, complete with live music, folk dancing and general revelry including flame swallowing and other daring feats. It's one more reason you'll love Round Hill.
Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
It’s a tiny oceanfront inn with no clocks, TVs or iPods to keep pace with the outside world. And that’s just the point for its vacationers—famous and otherwise, who escape to this intimate adults-only hideaway that’s rated one of the world’s top three island resorts.
Jamaica Inn, an eight-acre family owned property is situated on a private cove with a 700-foot private white sand beach.
Marilyn Monroe shared a honeymoon here with hubby number three, writer Arthur Miller. Sir Winston Churchill painted in the privacy of his cottage, and Kate Hepburn was a former guest.
In recent years, Kate Moss, has strutted the pristine white beach when taking a break from the runway. Meanwhile, everyone from Joan Collins to world leaders like John Major and King Peter of Yugoslavia have enjoyed the amazing sunsets and azure blue waters.
The rooms inspire relaxation and sweet dreams. Cottage 7, which opened its doors late last year, is a 2, 018 square foot suite, which boasts a teak floor, and a custom four-poster bed crafted of Jamaican mahogany with a Guango tree headboard. The baths have a free standing oval tub, two vanities, walk in closet, and shower with iridescent glass tiles and a pebble floor leading to an outdoor shower.
Meals at the Jamaica Inn are deliciously decadent, prepared by Executive Chef Maurice Henry, whose skills were fine-tuned in Miami. His menu of light, flavorful cuisine with a Caribbean flair uses fresh local ingredients. The jerk calamari is a standout dish.
Cocktails here are sublime, best enjoyed at the breezy beachside bar. Do say hello to Teddy Tucker, the resort’s veteran mixologist who has proudly created fab concoctions for some five decades, while crooning Calypso tunes (check him out on YouTube). His specialty is the “Dirty Banana” — a potent and yummy blend of dark rum, bananas, and cream. We hear it’s a hit with everyone from sexy starlets to heads of state.
Finally, you must experience KiYara Spa, set on a bluff overlooking the sea. You’ll be pampered and polished in rustic thatch-roofed huts surrounded by tropical gardens, with treatments drawn from the plants of the island. Can you say pure bliss?
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