Montego Bay and the Northwest

Accommodations

 

Accommodation options vary widely from cheap dives and inexpensive guesthouses to luxury villas and world-class hotels. In the center of town, on Queens Drive (Top Road), and to the west in Reading there are several low-cost options, while the mid-range hotels are concentrated around the Hip Strip along Gloucester Avenue (Bottom Road) and just east of the airport. Rose Hall is the area's most glamorous address, both for its private villas and mansions surrounding the White Witch Golf Course, and for the Ritz-Carlton and neighboring Half Moon, the most exclusive resorts in town. Also on the eastern side of town is Sandals Royal Caribbean, easily the chain's most luxurious property, complete with a private island.

Along the Hip Strip several mid-range hotels provide direct access to Mobay's nightlife, a mix of bars and a few clubs, and guesthouses farther afield offer great rates.

Mobay is the principal entry point for most tourists arriving on the island, many of whom stay at one of the multitude of hotels in the immediate vicinity. The old Ironshore and Rose Hall estates east along the coast are covered in luxury and mid-range hotels.

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Hyatt Ziva & Hyatt Zilara

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall is a 387-room all-inclusive resort catering to families. The best rooms are located at the ground level with swim-out pools from the balconies. Food options include both buffet style and a la carte options, including an Italian restaurant, Di Roza, serving pizzas from a wood-fired oven and Fuzion, an Asian-style restaurant with a chef station as its centerpiece doing noodles in a wok. Calypzo is a beachfront grill, Choicez and indoor/outdoor buffet-style restaurant.

In: All inclusive

Secrets St. James & Secrets Wild Orchid

Secrets St. James and Secrets Wild Orchid (from US$188/326 low/high), located next to one another on the southwestern tip of the Freeport peninsula, opened in March 2010. All 700 suites at the two properties have essentially the same layout, with whirlpool tubs and either a balcony or patio. The food is above average for all-inclusive hotels, with an excellent breakfast buffet spread and fine dining restaurants specializing in French, Italian, and Japanese cuisines.

In: All inclusive

Sandals Carlyle Montego Bay

Sandals Carlyle Montego Bay (starting at US$334 d all-inclusive), formerly Sandals Inn, is a 52-room property that has been undergoing a transformation over the past few years as its renovations move forward little by little. Located along Dead End Road, steps from Mobay's Hip Strip, this is the most proximate Sandals property to the city's bars and nightlife, with the popular Dead End Beach located across the street. Rooms have balconies looking over the central pool area and out to sea. Tennis and beach volleyball courts are found at the far end of the property.

In: All inclusive

Iberostar

Iberostar Grand Rose Hall (starting at US$336/472 per person low/high season) has 295 rooms, all with ample living areas, day beds, private balconies featuring a swinging chair for two and a couch. In the plush bathrooms, whirlpool tubs and separate rainwater showers delight. Mini-bars are stocked daily with premium beverages. The property has two pools, each with a swim-up bar. The food at Iberostar Grand is top notch, with buffet and a la carte dining options featuring well prepared dishes...

In: All inclusive

Hammerstein Highland House

From its perch above Mobay, Hammerstein offers guests luxury in nature's midst

In: Villas

Altamont West

Altamont West (US$90 d) is the latest boutique hotel to crop up along the Hip Strip in Montego Bay. The Altamont West marks the first foray into Western Jamaica for the Jarrett family, which has run the Altamont Court hotel in Kingston for years. Rooms at the Altamont West are cozy and well appointed, with flat panel TVs, Internet, air-conditioning, and private baths with hot water. Linens are soft and clean.

In: Hotels

Richmond Hill

Richmond Hill (US$70/115 low/high season) is located at the highest point in the vicinity of downtown Mobay, with what is easily the best view in town from a large terraced swimming pool area and open-air dining room. While the accommodations fall short of luxurious, the sheets are clean, the restaurant is excellent, and the pool area's unmatched view and free wireless Internet access make Richmond Hill one of the best values in town.

In: Hotels

Half Moon Resort

Half Moon Resort (US$250\400 low season, US$1250\1,800 high season) is one of the most upscale resorts in Jamaica, comprising an assortment of rooms, cottages, and villas. Most of the cottages and all the villas have private pools. Set on a 400-acre estate, the resort has 33 staffed villas with 3\7 bedrooms, 152 suites, and 46 rooms. The cottages are tastefully furnished and cozier than the villas, which can feel cavernous due to their immense size and vary considerably in decor based on the taste of their individual owners.

In: Villas, Hotels

Sandals Montego Bay

Sandals Montego Bay (US$970\4,050) was the first Sandals property and remains the group's flagship resort. Located near the end of the runway, guests are encouraged to wave to the planes as they fly overhead. The property boasts the largest private beach in Jamaica with 251 rooms, a Red Lane Spa, butler service in the highest suite category, four pools and four whirlpool tubs, private villa cottages, and a private wedding chapel. The resort has a series of gazebos along the beach, as well as canopy beach beds to rent for an additional charge.

In: Hotels

Sandals Royal Caribbean

Sandals Royal Caribbean (starting at US$473 d with a minimum three-night stay) is the most opulent Sandals hotel in Montego Bay, with 197 rooms and suites well deserving of the chain's "Luxury Included" motto. The suites are over-the-top with wood paneling, large flat-panel TVs, and tiled baths with standing showers and tubs. Balconies look over the courtyard and out to sea, with steps off ground floor suites leading directly into a large pool.

In: Hotels