Ocho Rios and the Central North Coast

Accommodations

Ocho Rios has developed a wide array of accommodation options thanks to its place as one of the original resort towns in Jamaica. Nevertheless, at the lower end, conditions tend to be consistently on the shabby side with few exceptions, while there are several good mid-range and high-end options.

Many of Jamaica's wealthiest families have weekend homes on Discovery Bay, making it one of the island's most exclusive villa enclaves. Many of these homes rent through agents, while some rent directly through the owners, but usually the pricing is the same either way and renting through an agent can afford some accountability and recourse should you have any problems.

A smattering of low-key budget accommodations can also be found in Discovery Bay, with little in between the budget and luxury extremes.

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River Lodge

River Lodge (US$60–80 per room, including breakfast) is located on the site of a refurbished 400-year-old Spanish fort owned by Brigitta Fuchslocher. Rooms inside the fort complement a pair of cottages. From River Lodge there are hectares and hectares of unspoiled wilderness reaching almost all the way along the coast to Port Maria, where waterfalls and black-sand beaches are best reached by boat with the local fishermen.

In: Guesthouse

Strawberry Fields Together

Strawberry Fields Together Beachfront Cottages and Adventure Tours (US$90–220) sits on a seven-hectare property with six cottages ranging in comfort level from rustic Hibiscus to seaside honeymoon lavishness in Moonlight Magic. Two small private beaches with fine white sand line idyllic crystalline coves protected by coral reefs. An outdoor dining area has a wood deck, bar, pizza oven, and jerk center for eating and entertainment under the heavens.

In: Accommodations, Tours

Jamaica Inn

Jamaica Inn (from US$349/586 d. low/high season) has remained one of the top hotels in the island for decades for good reason. Several features make the 55-unit property unique and charming.

The beach is one of the best in Jamaica, with fine golden sand and crystal clear water that drops off quickly, fringed by low coral bluffs. Thatch umbrellas are planted abundantly across the sand and the bar staff makes regular rounds. Even at full occupancy Jamaica Inn never feels overcrowded.

In: Hotels, European Plan

Scotch on the Rocks

Where better to rest your head and rejuvenate your spirit in Ocho Rios? Nowhere.

In: Villas

Moon Palace Jamaica Grande

Moon Palace Jamaica Grande (rom US$466 low season, US$652 high season) is the most prominent hotel on Turtle Beach, oc­cupying the prime piece of real estate on the point of the bay. Completely refurbished in 2014 and taken over by Mexico-based Palace Resorts, the 705-room hotel boasts its own Dolphin Cove, a surf pool, a discotheque, buffet and à la carte dining. Rooms come in partial sea view and sea view categories, are modern and immaculate with quality toiletries, soft linens and minibars. Wi-Fi is available in the rooms and throughout the property.

In: All inclusive

Kaz Kreol

Kaz Kreol (US$98) is located on a beautiful beach along White River Bay, adjacent to the Shaw Park Beach Hotel (which is run-down and definitely not recommended). Rooms have queen or king beds, cable, Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and private bathrooms with hot water.

In: Hotels

Columbus Heights Apartments

Columbus Heights Apartments, managed by Jennifer Llewellyn, is a large condo complex on a hill overlooking Ocho Rios, affording great views. Studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments with air-conditioning and hot water range US$100–200, with a US$20 difference between low and high season. Longer stays afford reduced rates.

In: Condos and Apartments

Mahoe Villa Guest House

Mahoe Villa Guest House is a cozy and private guesthouse run by Michael Riley. There are seven basic rooms (US$40-60 depending on size) with either one double or two single beds, fan, TV, and shared bath; plus two slightly larger rooms (US$50) with private bath and private entrance; as well as a master suite (US$80) with standing fan, a component stereo, TV, a whirlpool bath, two walk-in closets, and a private balcony with sea view.

In: Guesthouse

Tranquility Cove

Tranquility Cove (US$180–600) is located across the road from Harmony Hall in Tower Isle with 26 units containing one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites, inclusive of a housekeeper/cook. A clubhouse has an infinity pool out front overlooking the sea. There are laundry facilities on the property. Reggae Beach, the closest piece of fine sand, can be reached in about 15 minutes by foot. The stretch of coast this property is on is not suitable for swimming as it is lined with cliffs and the sea is rough.

In: Condos and Apartments

Moxons Beach Club

Moxons Beach Club (US$85–225) is a boutique property perched atop the cliffs in Stewart Town, between Tower Isle and Boscobel about 12 kilometers east of Ocho Rios. The four-level property descends to a private beach. Rooms face the sea or a courtyard and have queen- or king-size beds and en suite bathrooms. Wi-Fi is complimentary. A restaurant serves a mix of Jamaican and international dishes (US$8–28). This is a smart, well managed hotel ideal for couples or families with mature children.

In: Hotels, European Plan