THE PROPERTY: At The Ritz-Carlton Resort, Rose Hall luxury is the key word, as the property is Jamaica’s only AAA five-diamond property. Here, bright colors and plush furniture decorate the lobby and public areas—bringing Jamaican culture to the forefront—and 427 guestrooms and suites provide pampering with 400-thread count linens, a fully stocked refreshment cabinet, 24-hour room service, and LCD flatscreen TV.
THE GREENS: Occupying 600 acres of the Rose Hall Plantation, the White Witch Golf Course is known not only for its mountainous terrain but also for the panoramic views it provides of the Caribbean Sea. In a design by Robert von Hagge and Rick Baril, 18 holes span 6,718 yards of elevated greens, putting golfers at the mercy of the wind. Some of the tougher holes include the first, a 550-yard par 5 that drops, climbs, and turns to a hidden green on the right; and the 14th, a 164-yard par 3, where a good shot depends on the wind as it travels across a water feature.
THE AMENITIES: Five dining options provide all of the flavors of the tropics, from shrimp ceviche to jerk chicken, while cocktails are served up daily at Cohoba Lounge until it turns into an adults-only nightclub. Of course, The Ritz-Carlton’s spa is on hand to offer full-service treatments featuring organic and indigenous ingredients.
THE SCENE: While visiting the Rose Hall Plantation, a visit to the Rose Hall Great House cannot be overlooked. Built in the 1770s and the previous home of Annee Palmer—said to be the “White Witch” herself— the 3-story manor draws millions of visitors every year who are curious about her so-called murderous legacy.
THE RATES: The Fairways and Greens package starts at $559 per night and is available through July 31. It includes accommodations in a garden- or oceanview guestroom, daily breakfast for two at Horizon restaurant, and unlimited golf at the White Witch Golf Course, including golf cart.
THE PROPERTY: Combining a full menu of modern hotel luxuries with the comfort and convenience of a residential community, the vacation villa rentals at The Marbella Club make for a home-style vacation. As part of the Palmas del Mar Resort, The Marbella Club features 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom villas ranging from 1,064 sq. ft. to 1,960 sq. ft., all done up with stylish furnishings inside and colonial Spanish architecture outside.
THE GREENS: Two 18-hole championship-caliber courses are on offer at Palmas del Mar Country Club: the Flamboyan Course, a Reese Jones design, and the Palm Course by Gary Player. Recognized as the second best course in Puerto Rico by Golf Digest, the Flamboyan Course opened in 1998 and features 7,117 yards of waterfront fairways, where the signature hole is the 12th—a par 3 requiring a strong hit into the wind to reach the raised, canal-protected green. Meanwhile, the Palm Course dates back to 1973—with a recent update in 1998 by Reese Jones—and is slightly smaller but still manages to pack a punch. Fairways here are tight, and greens are protected by strategically placed bunkers and water hazards.
THE AMENITIES: With three miles of private beach and two pools, this property offers just as much an island vacation as it does a golfing one. Meanwhile, equestrian facilities provide trail rides, the tennis center stakes its claim as the largest in the Caribbean, eight miles of outdoor trails beckon joggers and bikers alike, and appetites are bound to be satiated with no fewer than 18 restaurants to choose from.
THE SCENE: Palmas del Mar Resort is located near El Yunque National Forest, a rainforest where—if they’re lucky—visitors might spot wildlife such as the Puerto Rican parrot as they travel along hiking trails and between lookout points. Another popular spot is historic Old San Juan, bursting with museums, sites, landmarks and plazas for a busy afternoon of sightseeing and shopping.
THE RATES: The Golf package starts at $480 plus 7 percent tax per night, including 3-night accommodations in a gardenview villa, complimentary golf cart, and discounts on golf fees purchased at the golf club: three rounds for $165 or five rounds for $250.
Archived related articles:
Tee Off, Barbados-Style (May 2011)
CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa: cuisinartresort.com
The Fairmont Southampton: (866) 540-4497;
fairmont.com/southampton or famousagents.frhi.com
Grand Lucayan Beach & Golf Resort: (855) LUCAYAN; grandlucayan.com
The Marbella Club: themarbellaclub.com
The Ritz-Carlton Resort, Rose Hall: (800) 542-8680; ritzcarlton.com