The days pass differently in Jamaica. There is a balm in the air that slows everything down to leisure speed. You know the moment you breathe it in and feel it against your skin that not all getaways deliver such respite.
The temperatures could quite possibly hang between the 80s and 90s when you set foot on the grounds of Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Montego Bay, Jamaica. You have a few choices: Swing the doors of your suite open and take in the ocean breeze on the private patio, sip piña coladas by the pool, wade into the cool water from the beach or perhaps enjoy a dish of Jerk Chicken Spring Rolls Wrapped In Rice Paper with Sweet Chili Mango Dip on the terrace of the Grill at Round Hill. Or … you could do it all. Truth is — the splendor that is Round Hill makes it difficult to decide.
One of the Caribbean’s most elegant getaways, Round Hill is legendary for its atmosphere and the company it has long attracted. Since 1953 its guest list of world leaders, cultural icons and Hollywood A-listers have coalesced with well-traveled lodgers who seek understated luxury. Picture this: Entering the managing director’s cottage atop the sprawling resort and being greeted by actor Rupert Everett, also invited for cocktails. True story. And one that signals something special happens here.
Actually, you discern it from the point of entry down a manicured driveway of vivid tropical blooms and peeks of private cottages that shroud the Oceanside sanctuary. You feel as if you’re leaving the hustle and bustle of the world behind. In fact, you are. The Old World-style resort is an oasis of 36 Ralph Lauren-designed oceanfront guest rooms, 90 lavish villa rooms and suites, and 27 private two- to six-bedroom Signature Villas — most with private pools. You could believably designate an Oceanfront Doubleview in the Pineapple House my home away from home in Montego Bay. Each 460-square-foot space features two four-poster double beds, high ceilings and louvered windows for stunning views of the Caribbean as well as Waterworks-designed bathrooms with double sinks, a deep soaking tub and separate rain showers.
The focus of the food at Round Hill is simple, locally-produced (where possible) and sustainable. On property, an organic garden is the source of many Grill menu options. For dinner, the choices of an antipasti bar with a variety of salad greens and garden vegetables, as well as charcuterie, fine cheeses, and composed salads; a la carte starters like Caribbean Blue Crab Cakes, Grilled Prawns, Chilled Gazpacho and Fresh Vine-Ripened Tomatoes with Basil; and entrees from the wood-fired grill — Fresh-Caught Local Grilled Fish, Spiny Caribbean Lobster Tails and Jamaican Rock Shrimp from the ocean, and Certified Sirloin Angus Steak and Lamb Chops from Northern California’s Niman Ranch keep things deliciously interesting. Friday’s Jamaican Night is served on the seaside terrace and hit the sand on Monday for Beach BBQ.
Owned by individual shareholders primarily from the United States and Europe, the 100-acre peninsula winds around from its mainland recreation of water sports, golf and tennis to Elemis spa, an 18th century plantation house set along 10 acres of oceanfront. You’ll make a mental note of the cove just before the spa as ideal for lunch and relaxation, and the calm of cooling tradewinds. Treatments like the Elemis Exotic Coconut Rub and Milk Ritual Wrap, however, will beckon you on. A traditional Balinese recipe of coconut, mungbean, spices and lavender is combined with Exotic Frangipani Monoi Oil to polish the skin followed by Warmed Skin Nourishing Milk Bath poured over the entire body before you’re cocooned in a comforting foil wrap. This opulent exotic wrap is excellent for skin smoothing and softening. One of its signature treatments: the Round Hill Hangover Massage has infused genuine Jamaican Sweet Basil that will stimulate your immune system and offer toxin extraction to get you feeling rested and rejuvenated.
Up until 1989, the nearly 60-year-old club/resort mélange was only open during the Caribbean winter season. Today, lovers of the finer things in life can get away to the haven year round.