Sophisticated. Subdued. Sublime. Round Hill Hotel, located a few miles outside of Montego Bay, Jamaica has been defining luxury boutique perfection since it first opened in 1953. Known for its timeless elegance, understated luxury and Jamaican soul, Round Hill’s award winning resort is renowned for being one of the finest in the Caribbean. The illustrious history of this Montego Bay resort reads like a who’s who of 20th century society. Originally the private haven of style icons such as Cole Porter, Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy – even Queen Elizabeth has graced the breezy halls with her regal presence.
I arrived in the early morning and was greeted by a team of smiling staff. It is clear friendly personalized service is a hallmark here. I instantly fell in love with the white and black checkered floor lobby featuring elegant wicker chairs which when comfortably seated offer jaw dropping views of the resorts intimate beachfront.
My visit would start with a warm cup of Blue Mountain coffee and a plate of sweet banana pancakes with crispy bacon. Over breakfast I chatted with staff about why they love Round Hill. To my amazement many of the hotels 220 staff have been working at the property for over 15 years. They are an enthusiastic lot that regularly refer to their workplace as “paradise.”
Many of the spaces on property have been renovated by world renowned American designer Ralph Lauren who is an owner of one of the villas on property. Mr. Lauren was actually on property that day, in town to attend The Sugar Cane Ball, an annual fundraiser which takes place here each February.
After a quick bite I enjoyed a leisurely stroll across Round Hill’s petite property waving hello to a resident rasta basket weaver, local painter and a bartender duo who shook up fresh pina colada’s and mojito’s for thirst quenched tan fans on the beach. Hopping on a golf cart we soared over the surrounding hills, first stopping to meet with a horticulturalist at the hotels on site organic garden where fresh herbs and vegetables are harvested for the kitchen daily. In 2012 Chef Martin Maginley launched a farm-to-table 3 course dinner series, a family style feast featuring all local Jamaican ingredients and products from the resort’s garden.
After a short stroll along the hotels Rain Forest Oceanfront Walkway my tour would conclude at the Spa at Round Hill, located in a beautifully restored 18th century plantation house on 10 acres of beachfront lawn. The Spa is an adult only area and offers a distinct quiet calm both inside and out. Hammocks sway in the breeze while couples cuddle on beds overlooking the ocean. I was greeted by an intimate yoga class before finding my own calm in one of seven treatment rooms. I would spend the next hour enjoying the spa’s signature Tranquility Massage which uses Swedish massage strokes to calm and relax tight muscles.
I slumped off of my massage table feeling refreshed and strolled back to the hotel for lunch on a sun drenched patio. I slurped a rum spiked Pina Colada while devouring two Mexican inspired dishes: a towering plate of Jamaican Nachos featuring sweet potato, plantain, corn, guacamole, spicy jerk cream, pepper jack cheese and salsa and Pimento Jerk Pork Flautas served with sweet pineapple cabbage slaw, roasted corn salsa and pickled sweet red onions.
After lunch I relaxed on the beach with my feet buried in the sand accompanied by a cold Red Stripe to quench my thirst. I listened to Bob Marley while the waft of coconut scented sun tan lotion wafted by. Before bidding Round Hill adieu I made certain to stop by for their daily afternoon tea service. While sipping on a cup of oolong I nibbled on fresh scones, dainty sandwiches and boozy rum balls. All the while day dreaming that Grace Kelly, JFK and Queen Elizabeth were sipping their own, a whisper of milk and sugar cube, in harmony with me.