Island wisdom suggests one begin one’s Jamaican holiday with a glass of
green coconut juice said to be “the only water that washes the heart.”
My NYC sister and I had just arrived at Sangster Airport after an easy, non-stop 3 ½ hour flight on Jet Blue. Thirsty, but always a bit of the rebel, I immediately reached for an icy Red Stripe beer. Sis selected a racy Rum Punch to keep her refreshed on the short drive to our home for the next few days, Round Hill Villa Resort in Montego Bay. We were smitten at first sight with this dreamy island paradise.
Why Round Hill Villa Resort?
Simply put, they just don’t make ’em like this anymore. Round Hill Villa Resort is a laid-back enclave where understated elegance and easy gentility still rules. This legendary getaway opened about 50 years ago and has since been frequented by a roster of the rich and famous such as Noel Coward, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Michael Douglas have been repeat guests. Sir Paul McCartney and his family used to stay in our exact villa!
Perhaps that’s why Sis kept humming “ It’s A Hard Day’s Night…” albeit slightly off-key. The Round Hill vibe is seductive: slow down, re-wind, and keep it real. Granted, my reality isn’t typically a gorgeous villa complete with a warm, welcoming staff (think two Cooks/Housekeepers, a Gardener and a pool attendant) but I pride myself on my adaptability.
Just minutes after our arrival, we plopped into comfy chaise lounges next to our private swimming pool. The enchanting view was a delightful slice of Round Hill’s 110 acres of natural beauty, included a stunning tableau of the Caribbean sea and fluttering palms, accessorized with festively colored tropical flowers, butterflies and parakeets.
Tucking into the fresh fruit welcome-plate, we followed directions (for once) on the attached card with recommendations to “dip the papaya and pineapple slices into the dish of sea salt. Follow with a drizzle of the 21 year Old Appleton Estate Rum.” Such is life at Round Hill.
A perfect time can be had at the resort without ever leaving the villa. Scrumptious, customized meals are available to be enjoyed en suite after a refreshing dip and a lazy day of books and naps. How unfortunate though, not to venture out for a look-see at some of the other uniquely designed private dwellings or to gander at Pineapple House, Round Hill’s simple, stylish 36 room hotel, right at the water’s edge. Ralph Lauren owns two villas here and clearly influenced the hotel’s elegantly/ beachy makeover.
And to skip the beautifully restored 18th century Plantation House where the contemporary Spa is located would be like ignoring sunscreen. Ten treatment rooms, a beauty salon, fitness center, and a luxurious green lawn with hammocks are reason alone to stop in, not to mention the spa’s superb Signature Pineapple Buff. After our treatment, we meandered over to the terrace to show off our newly silken skin while enjoying the complimentary tea, sammies, scones and sweets which would have to tide us over until dinner. Tomorrow would be time enough to take in some exercise and go for a swim in one of the three fabulous larger pools, join an outdoor yoga class, or arrange a round of golf at one of the nearby championship courses.