Taylor Morris Eyewear

The Other Side of Jamaica

This time around, my travels took me to Montego Bay in beautiful Jamaica with its white sandy beaches, delectable cuisine, and its rich culture.

After having a pretty smooth and relaxing flight, I looked out of the window and saw the beauty of the Caribbean; I was eager to land and commence my exciting Jamaican adventure.

Once I arrived at the airport and gone through the motions, I picked up my luggage and headed to the S hotel, an ultra-chic boutique hotel overlooking Jamaica’s Famed Doctor’s Cave Beach and the Hip Strip. Entering the lobby was breathtaking; a towering 25-foot lobby walled with coral stone and a central boardwalk made from local Jatoba hardwood throughout, you can enjoy the beauty of displayed art pieces made by the local artist providing a true Jamaican ambiance.

Check-in was a breeze with very friendly and courteous staff assisting me, and after sipping on their welcome drink, I headed to my suite where I was pleasantly surprised to see that my suitcase was already delivered to my room, and what a view! Upon entering the room, I marveled at the spacious and sleek interior decorated with a monochromatic theme, a big king size bed, and not far from it, you can step out to the patio to take in astonishing views of the ocean. Walking towards the west side of the room, a gorgeous custom-designed, oversized bathroom with a free-standing soaking tub was calling my name; massive walk-in shower with three showerheads releasing the perfect pressure, fluffy robes, bottles of water and the ideal mini-fridge for those night-time snacks. The view from my room itself gave me such a comforting feeling where I decided that, from then on, I was going to enjoy my morning breakfast there and delight in the gorgeous Caribbean sunrise.

S Hotel Montego Bay, Jamaica
S Hotel Montego Bay, Jamaica. Photo courtesy of the S Hotel

I unpacked as fast as I could and headed downstairs to familiarize myself with the surroundings. I noticed a beautiful high-spirited pool scene with striking red umbrellas and comfortable lounge chairs throughout, I felt like I was somewhere in the 1950s era! and just a few steps away from the beach. The Sky Deck offered exclusive access to Sky’s Club Suite’s guests, boasting an advantageous rooftop location with a glass-enclosed pool surrounded by cabanas and loungers, the picture-perfect spot to enjoy delightful tapas and cocktails.

S Hotel Montego Bay Jamaica Sky Deck
S Hotel Montego Bay Jamaica Sky Deck. Courtesy of S Hotel

The restaurants provided a variety of Jamaican cuisine; the pool bar & grill offered healthy snacks, made to order sandwiches, salads, fresh juices, and craft cocktails; the Lobby Bar was chic and the best central meeting spot, serving a custom selection of wines, beers, and champagnes. Thus far, I loved everything I had seen and with that, I headed to the fitness facility, another spacious space displaying state of the art cardio machines, free weights and much more. Around the corner, a few steps away, I ventured into the Spa, which offered different packages of beauty treatments, including manicures and pedicures, massages, facials, body scrubs, and more.

S Hotel Suite

As I had planned, the next day, I had my morning breakfast on the balcony, where I enjoyed a plate of fresh fruits, a delicious blueberry egg-white omelet, with callaloo & saltfish, a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a cup of espresso. The time was well spent, and after getting myself ready, I headed downstairs to the main lobby where I met Dwight, our wonderful driver and guide who told us things about his beautiful Island. Today, we ventured off to Chukka Good Hope in Falmouth, approximately 22 miles from Montego Bay. Good Hope Estate was once a working village and sugar plantation, the Caribbean’s first and only nature adventure park that includes a zip line, rugged ATV and Dune Buggy adventures, amongst other activities. We also saw that they have a jungle river tubing for anyone who wants to kick back and enjoy the sun. At one point, I headed to the cascading waterfall pool, and with a cocktail in hand, I sat and enjoyed the sun and the surroundings. The experience in the Chukka Good Hope was like no other, with adventures for all ages.

The Entrance to Chukka Adventures in Falmouth, Jamaica
The Entrance to Chukka Adventures in Falmouth, Jamaica. Photo by Alina Cabral

Back at the S Hotel and a few hours later, I was getting ready to attend a Round Hill Hotel and Villas cocktail party hosted by the chairman of board and HC to welcome the Newport RI International and Jamaican Polo teams. The Round Hill Hotel and Villas is situated on a lush 110-acre peninsula just west of Montego Bay; offering an array of vacation packages and exclusive offers for anyone who wants to visit this part of Jamaica. Their accommodations include 36 Ralph Lauren-designed oceanfront guest rooms, 90 luxurious villa rooms & suites, as well as a selection of 27 private 2-6 villas, package for every taste and family size. Round Hill was once the retreat of choice for glamorous personalities of the 1950s, such as Jackie Onassis and John F. Kennedy. The cocktail party was great, I conversed with lots of people and learned many things about Jamaica, especially their charity work that offers support to needy causes in the Island. Another event I had the pleasure of attending, was the yearly Sugar Cane Ball, a black-tie event drawing over 400 socialites, ambassadors, celebrities, and business leaders from around the world. This year, the event was able to exceed last year’s $600,000 efforts. What wonderful news to learn the dedication of all its participants for such an incredible cause. I truly had an amazing experience and if you get a chance next year to be a part of it, don’t miss the opportunity to attend and enjoy the excitement of ultimate giving.

ready to attend a Round Hill Hotel and Villas cocktail party hosted by the chairman of board and HC to welcome the Newport RI International and Jamaican Polo teams
Ready for Round Hill cocktail party hosted by the chairman of the Board & HC. Photo by Alina Cabral

All the activities I was part of, were refreshing and invigorating, I know myself, when I visit a Caribbean hot spot, I always tend to focus more on the beach, and other tourist places to visit, but on this occasion, I was gifted with a side of Jamaica that has a different aspect to it, the side that explores ways to make every life count.

Me with one of the RI Newport International Polo Players. Hanover Charities/Chukka Foundation Polo Match at Sandy Beach
Me with one of the RI Newport International Polo Players. Hanover Charities/Chukka Foundation Polo Match at Sandy Beach

Excited to see the Newport Rhode Island International Polo Team; I could hardly contain myself for the much-awaited annual Chukka-Hanover Charity Polo Event that took place in Sandy Bay. Hanover Charities has continued, through the years, to serve the needy, offering food for the hungry, helping schools, libraries, health facilities, and assisting deserving Hanovarian students through the Morris-Watkins Scholarship. The game turned out to be as electrifying as I had expected; you can watch the horses running at full speed and their skilled players hitting the ball downfield, everyone was roaring for their own team! I even had the chance to experience stomping the divots while sipping champagne.

At Chukka Sandy Bay, where polo players competed for the Hanover Charities Cup while giving back to the charity.
At Chukka Sandy Bay, where polo players competed for the Hanover Charities Cup while giving back to the charity.

It was time to head home, and after a long visit, I was fully satisfied and happy to have had such a wonderful opportunity to view and experience the other side of Jamaica.


Adina Laura Achim
Adina Laura Achim
Adina Laura Achim is a published author, luxury brand consultant, journalist, and PR executive. She covers the luxury sector in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Latin America, and her work was published in South China Morning Post, Jing Daily, Cosmopolitan, L’Officiel, Grazia, Fashion TV, Society Magazine, Buro 24/7, Zink Magazine, The Jewish Business News, and The Rake. Her writing portfolio includes topics related to luxury travel and hospitality, beauty, fashion retail, and bespoke luxury experiences.

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