Coveted for its calm vibe and named for the iconic towering black cliffs, Negril is the Jamaican road-less-traveled about a 90 minute drive from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.
A vacation platter of stunning sandy beaches and a small local population numbering less than 7,000, the former fishing village is on the A-list for vacationers looking for the real deal beyond the big resorts that line the northwest shore.
Adults-only, Sunset at the Palms is a treehouse-style all-inclusive boutique hotel rated in TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame.
Laid-back luxe in Tree Top Deluxe Suites or Tree Top Suites, vacation must-haves run the gamut from private porches and garden views to gratis Wi-Fi, Gilchrist & Soames bath amenities and plush bathrobes.
For an extra dose of relaxation, check out the rubs and scrubs in Ginger Lily Spa like the Coconut Delight that marries a coconut oil massage with a relaxing facial.
“Our resort is the ultimate vacation choice, “smiles Sharon Powell, hotel manager, “many of our guests are repeat visitors and like family to our staff. “
All-inclusive means just that with dining options like the Palm Breeze Beach Bar & Grill for Jerk nachos and an icy cold Red Stripe beer, a la carte restaurants like Lotus Leaf for tasty Caribbean-Asian signatures, sumptuous buffets for breakfast, lunch, dinner and chocolatey desserts worth the splurge.
Cocktails straight up or on the rocks are shaken and stirred at a trio of bars and one swim-up in the pool. For the active crowd, there’s tennis, fitness center, yoga, nature walks and a boatload of non-motorized watersports.
For an early morning pick-me-up, Blue Coffee Bar gets the adrenalin going; Bamboo Bar is cocktail-perfect while at the Martini Bar, Alex Samuels shakes and stirs like nobody’s business. “Apple martinis are my specialty, “said the affable bartender, “my personal pour is tangy, sweet and refreshing on a hot Jamaican afternoon or as the sun sets over the resort. “
Got your goat
Have you ‘herd’?
Betty and Royal Brown are the proud parents of four kids born at the resort. Arriving courtesy of a farmer who swapped her for kitchen swaps to feed his pigs, the affable goat named Betty is the official hostess popping up in happy holiday photos.
Soon after, a handsome fella named Royal Brown joined the party and although a shy guy, opposites attract and he and Betty became a couple. To the delight of guests, the resort hosted their wedding which, as it turns out, was a shotgun wedding because Betty delivered her first set of twins soon after.
A second set of twins are now part of the family and like the first set, the new arrivals are the only ‘kids’ allowed at the adults-only resort.
The friendly family of goats
“What a wonderful treat to meet the friendly family of goats, “said New York tourist Janet McKenzie Kopec, “ the resort staff are such pros as they introduced us to the goats for petting and photo taking, what an incredibly unique experience that I recommend to all animal lovers staying at the resort. “
A short stroll from the resort, Bloody Bay Beach is two miles of sandy splendor that got its name from the 19th century whalers who butchered their catch on the sand.
Fast forward to today and the beach is the primo perch for taking five under the sun, enjoying lunch at the bar, testing your meddle on a kayak, exploring down under with a snorkel mask or on a glass bottom boat and setting sail on a catamaran.
The more adventurous like paddle boarding and parasailing available at the Scuba Caribe kiosk.
High flying cliff diving
Not much has changed at Ricks Café since it opened in 1974 at the west end of Negril. A vacation rite-of-passage, the funky clifftop restaurant is still the go-to for watching the brazen as they dive from dizzying heights of 40 feet above the waves.
One of the most visited landmarks on the island; the naturally-formed cliffs are the perfect backdrop for soaking up the reggae vibe, checking out the magical sunset and digging into shareable platters of peppered shrimp and jerk chicken.
Save room for sweet potato pudding and a heady Jamaican Me Crazy cocktail.
For trivia fans, the cliffs were the backdrop for Thunderball; the 1965 James Bond spy thriller. www.visitjaimaica.com/.
Travel in style
Jamaica’s leading airport lounge, Club MoBay at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay is a relaxation haven prior to boarding a flight.
The VIP Lounge is chockablock with pre-flight amenities like a full-service bar staffed with spirited bartenders, snacks, satellite television, newspapers and gratis Wi-Fi. For a VIP escort upon landing, “Fast Track “takes travelers through Immigration and Customs before enjoying a refreshing drink in the lounge prior to the drive to the resort.
About the Author
Melanie Reffes is an island girl at heart. Born in Manhattan, she now lives on the sunny island of Montreal and covers the Caribbean for a variety of publications including Montreal’s The Suburban; largest English-language weekly in Quebec, USA TODAY TRAVEL, USA TODAY 10BEST, Captain Jetson Aviation & Travel, CaribbeanTravel.com and MarryCaribbean.com. A journalist with a boatload of writer awards under her belt, Melanie’s affection for the Caribbean started young when her family vacationed in Puerto Rico. Melanie holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Toronto. You can find her via Twitter @Reffes1, Instagram melanietravel2019, Facebook melanie.reffes and LinkedIn melaniereffes.
Featured Image: Beach perfection in Negril. Credit: Sunset At The Palms.
p.s. If you enjoyed reading about the things to do in Negril, Jamaica, then don’t miss Melanie Reffes’ popular article Up, up and away: Plane spotting in St. Maarten!