Just when the weather in New York was looking particularly dreary, I got the chance to hop on a plane and travel to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, to stay at the historic Jamaica Inn. When you arrive, the first thing you notice is the resort’s happy cornflower-blue exterior, kept bright with the help of frequent touch-ups. The color is called Jamaica Inn Blue, and many guests take home paint chips to bring a little piece of the inn back with them.
No matter where you stay on the 48-room property, you are guaranteed a view of the Caribbean. Some of the rooms are literally on the beach, steps from the water—so close, you are lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves. Check out that gorgeous view…. Although you can eat breakfast in the dining room, many guests wisely choose to savor their morning meal on their private porch.
Eric, who owns the property with his brother, describes the hotel’s secluded location inside a small cove as “a pair of arms hugging you close.” Unlike most crowded, bustling resorts, the inn feels incredibly private, as if you have the place all to yourself. Fittingly, the staff greets every guest by saying, “Welcome home.”
For those who prefer the shade, there are plenty of spots on the beach under leafy trees where you can put your nose in a book for a few hours. There’s no need to pack up your things when you get hungry—lunch can be served right at your beach chair, the ultimate in laid-back luxury.
I was lucky enough to enjoy a massage at the property’s Kiyara spa. Outdoors, right on the water, a perfect breeze…you can’t help but doze off. Rather than generic spa music, the only sound you hear is the waves.
Each evening began in the open-air dining room, where we sipped on cocktails and ate the inn’s addictive baked coconut chips by the handful along with other complimentary hors d’oeuvres. For this self-diagnosed carboholic, it’s no surprise that the most memorable part of every meal was the bread basket—the selection of rolls is baked fresh daily on the premises. My simple grilled butterfish on the first night was a close second.
We also took a day trip to visit local Jamaican artist Laura Facey‘s studio, about half an hour away, up in the mountains. Her workspace and home are in the midst of a working cattle and vegetable farm that her husband runs. We stopped for cold lemonade and gingerbread fresh out of the oven, and took in the lush green landscape as we ate.
Much of Facey’s artwork is made from trees she finds on her sprawling property. The Jamaica Inn has a few of her pieces, like this gorgeous wood installation on the right-hand wall that greets guests at reception. It was there that we said our goodbyes to the Jamaica Inn, and boy, was it bittersweet.
Until next time, Jamaica Inn!