Royal Plantation, Jamaica

For many, luxury accommodations are a high-rise hotel featuring lots of marble, sleek stainless steel and state-of-the-art technology. Still others picture it in the form of an intimate, secluded beachside resort where an ice-cold piña colada is always an arm’s distance away. For the latter, it doesn’t get much better than the Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Upon entering this charming, all-suite resort, guests will feel as if they’ve just arrived at a close friend’s home—perhaps a very wealthy and hospitable friend who sends a butler to greet them at the airport with champagne in hand.

What sets the stage for this setting is an open-air lobby surrounded by lush and tropical vegetation. The hotel’s general manager, Peter Fraser, calls it, “Indigenous luxury, where the hotel is part of nature. When you enter, you see plants, gardens, water. You smell the jasmine and the lemon grass that grow just outside the spa. And the property has a plethora of lovely trees; guests can even pick fruit from them.”

The adults-only Royal Plantation—the only property in Jamaica that’s a member of The Leading Small Hotels of the World—features just 72 suites and a private 3-bedroom villa, making it ideal for vacationers who don’t want to be part of the pack.

Fraser points out that the resort is not necessarily, “a couples’ hotel. We are for discerning adults over 18. We don’t have organized activities, we just have a lot of experiences that they can observe, can taste and touch.”

a room of one’s own Suites here are divided into seven categories and range from the Deluxe Oceanfront Jr. Suite to the 2,100-sq.-ft. Prime Minister Oceanfront 2-Bedroom Suite. Every suite boasts panoramic ocean views and features plush king-sized beds, in-room bars, sitting and dining areas, marble bath and showers, plasma TVs, CD players and iHome docking stations. This editor’s favorite in-room amenity is a pillow menu that features everything from hypo-allergenic to feather pillows—available for guests on the all-inclusive Royal Plan.

In fact, guests can choose between two plans during their stay at Royal Plantation: the room-only European Plan or the all-inclusive Royal Plan, which we recommend you book for your clients. On the Royal Plan, guests will enjoy an array of complimentary amenities, including roundtrip airport transfers; meals at any of the three a la carte gourmet restaurants and 24-hour room service; “Mangosas”—the hotel’s signature cocktail of mango puree and champagne—and cold towels served daily at the beach from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; daily traditional English afternoon tea at La Terrace from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.; all alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; Manager’s Cocktail Party every Monday from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Martini Moments on Fridays in the Appleton Lounge from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.; in-room pillow menu; and full in-room concierge bar, which according to Fraser, can be customized prior to guest’s arrival. Additionally, the Royal Plan includes complimentary use of all non-motorized watersports including scuba diving (if certified), as well as complimentary greens fees and free golf course shuttle service to the hotel’s 18-hole championship golf course, located in Upton just 10 minutes from the property.

“The Royal Plantation is for people who enjoy relaxing, who enjoy meeting other people,” says Fraser. “You see, guests can mingle, but they can still have their own space. It never becomes a crowd. So you can socialize and talk and have a martini, and then return to your own space.”

Speaking of one’s own space, just off the main hotel is the property’s Villa Plantana, perfect for larger groups or anyone looking for a bit of extra privacy. The villa features three bedrooms, its own separate driveway, a private pool, a private butler and room attendant, as well as a personal chef. All restaurants and activities are easily accessible from the villa.

to “dine” for When it comes to dining, Royal Plantation has something to satisfy every palate. La Terrace, for instance, is the hotel’s signature open-air restaurant and features a menu of light dishes and Mediterranean fare for lunch and dinner. On Thursday nights, La Terrace transforms into a lively Jamaican celebration with Jamaica Night, featuring an authentic Jamaican buffet and live entertainment such as traditional Jamaican dancers and musicians.

In the mornings, guests won’t want to miss hot chocolate at La Terrace, where staff prepares real old-time Jamaican hot chocolate, grinding and simmering it the same way it’s been done by locals for over 200 years—it’s absolutely delicious.