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Terry Ward, Contributor
Reasons to book a vacation to Jamaica abound. A visit to singer Bob Marley’s homeland brings with it swimming in crystal clear Caribbean waters, sampling fresh lobster and perfectly spiced jerk chicken, and swaying to reggae beats with your toes in the sand.
Better yet, Jamaica is known for having some of the best all-inclusive hotels in the Caribbean, which makes it one of the most affordable islands to visit. Many fine resorts wrap everything into one reasonable rate, including gourmet cuisine, refreshing cocktails, live entertainment and water sports. Don’t forget to pack plenty of sunscreen—the Caribbean sun is particularly strong when you’re wakeboarding or waterskiing in the sea.
Here are the best Jamaican all-inclusive resorts to consider, whether you’re looking for a romantic adults-only escape, want to cater to your inner foodie, explore a clothing-free beach or bring along the entire family for fun in the tropical sun.
Best Beachfront All-Inclusive: Sandals Negril
Who Will Love It: Couples who can’t get enough beach and party time
All-Star Amenities: Swim-up beachfront suites overlooking Seven Mile Beach; seven restaurants; live entertainment; beach parties
What Not To Miss: Waterskiing and wakeboarding along Jamaica’s most famous beach
Location: Seven Mile Beach
Sandals Negril, an adults-only, all-inclusive resort on Jamaica’s famous Seven Mile Beach, has intimate, hammock-strung spaces to explore as well as poolside party zones. It all adds up to the ideal retreat for couples looking for a mix of romance, letting loose and fun in the sun. Guests can spend their days sipping something stiff and frosty while wading in clear turquoise waters, wakeboarding behind a speed boat or heading out on a scuba diving or snorkeling trip. All of these activities are included in the all-inclusive rate.
The resort’s dining options bring something for all tastes to the table, with Japanese teppanyaki at Kimonos, fresh Caribbean fish and lobster at Barefoot By the Sea and antipasti and pasta at Cucina Romana. Energetic staff lead poolside games throughout the day, so the party never quite seems to end. In the evening, resort-goers can see live shows, got to the piano bar or attend Jamaican-themed beach parties that will continue into the wee morning hours.
Best Boutique All-Inclusive: The Caves
Who Will Love It: The tropical hipster who loves to swim
All-Star Amenities: A rum bar inside a limestone cave lapped by the sea; kayaks; cabanas; Aveda spa
What Not To Miss: Candlelit private dining experience by the water’s edge
Location: Negril’s West End
The chic and sophisticated Caves feels like a secret. Guests follow West End Road south from Negril to a quiet stretch of beach near a historic lighthouse. The adults-only, all-inclusive Jamaican resort clings to a cliffside and has 11 thatched roof accommodations.
Guests stroll barefoot down to the sapphire sea for a swim or kayaking excursion, sidle up to the rustic-chic Sands Bar for a frosty Red Stripe, or book an outdoor treatment at one of the shaded cabanas at the property’s Aveda spa.
The resort’s dining options are casually elegant and atmospheric. Slink down a staircase carved into the limestone rocks for a nightcap at the Blackwell Rum Bar or pair watermelon juice with some spicy jerk chicken at the open-air Gazebo cafe. Splurging on a private five-course dinner inside the resort’s romantic candlelit cave is a must for couples.
Best Luxury All-Inclusive: Excellence Oyster Bay
Excellence Oyster Bay
Who Will Love It: Adults looking for a luxurious tropical escape
All-Star Amenities: Private pool and beach at the Excellence Club’s VIP area; five swimming pools; spa
What Not To Miss: Proper tea service after a spa treatment at Miilé Spa
Location: North Coast
Excellence Oyster Bay on Jamaica’s North Coast makes the case for the uber luxury all-inclusive resort. Accommodations—private beachfront villas with infinity pools or oceanfront suites with rooftop terraces and plunge pools–are indulgent, to say the least. There are five swimming pools, a gorgeously manicured garden, fitness classes and cooking lessons, as well as activities like snorkeling and archery. The resort is also home to the lush Miilé Spa, where ancient wellness traditions and botanical ingredients are used in decadent treatments like the Jamaican Cocoon Ritual or standard Swedish massage.
The property’s elegant included dining options include lobster vol au vent at oceanfront Magna, steaks and jerk meats at Caribbean Grove and housemade pasta at Oregano. And don’t miss the resort’s expertly curated evening activities, including beach barbecues, dance parties under the stars and late-night karaoke sessions.
Best All-Inclusive For Families: Beaches Negril
Who Will Love It: Families who love to stay busy by the beach
All-Star Amenities: Kids and teens clubs; childcare; in-room bars; 21 restaurants
What Not To Miss: The pirate-themed water park and lazy river
Location: Seven Mile Beach
Right on Negril’s Seven Mile Beach, the sprawling Beaches Negril wows travelers of all ages with its access to soft sand and calm waters, and an enormous pirate-themed water park. Little ones stay entertained all day at the park with two slides, a lazy river for tubing, toddler slides and a splash zone.
When tweens and teens want a change of pace, they can towel off and go to the game room with its Xbox lounge, air hockey, pool tables and basketball hoop. Certified nannies can even look after newborns at the kids camp, which offers activities that range from scavenger hunts and arts and crafts to a private nightclub for teens.
There are too many amenities wrapped into the all-inclusive rate to count, but they include 21 restaurants serving every imaginable cuisine, 15 bars (there’s a fully-stocked bar in-room as well), scuba diving and snorkeling excursions, and unlimited access to water toys like Hobie Cats, kayaks and paddleboards. The dreaded word “bored” will never be uttered.
Best All-Inclusive For Golfers: Hilton Rose Hall Resort And Spa
Hilton Rose Hall Resort And Spa
Who Will Love It: Die-hard golfers
All-Star Amenities: Access to three championship golf courses; waterpark; clubs for kids and teens
What Not To Miss: Eating pasta diavolo while overlooking Cinnamon Hill golf course
Location: North Coast
Home to many of the Caribbean’s most beautiful golf courses, Jamaica is a must-do destination for avid golfers. A stay at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa offers golfers nirvana with enviable access to three of the island’s most iconic courses: the on-site 18-hole Cinnamon Hill course and the nearby greens at White Witch and Half Moon. Guests can and should dine at Three Palms restaurant, where specialities like crispy calamari and pasta diavolo are even more divine paired with views of Cinnamon Hill’s manicured fairways.
Water lovers will also find plenty to do at Hilton Rose Hall, which has a private beach and Jamaica’s largest waterpark. The watery playground features a 280-foot-long waterslide, waterfalls, two sprawling pools and a lazy river.
The all-inclusive rates cover kids and teens clubs, tennis, and non-motorized water sports like kayaking and catamarans. Whether you choose a rum cocktail and jerk chicken at the Rum Factory, an artisanal burger at Cricket Burger Bar or a daiquiri at the swim-up bar, you will never go hungry or thirsty.
Most Romantic All-Inclusive: Sandals South Coast
Sandals South Coast
Who Will Love It: Couples who like a mix of mingling and quiet time
All-Star Amenities: Overwater bar; nine restaurants; live music; suite and villa accommodations
What Not To Miss: Staying in an overwater bungalow
Location: South Coast
All Jamaican vacations are dreamy, but for something truly unforgettable, book an overwater bungalow at Sandals South Coast. The all-inclusive resort is 1.5 hours south of Montego Bay on the island’s quiet South Coast. You’ll never tire of strolling under the stars across a footbridge to reach your romantic room with glass floors and over-the-water hammock.
With three beachfront pools, two miles of pristine beachfront, a swim-up bar and nine fine dining restaurants highlighting everything from Caribbean to French cuisine, each day offers a new adventure. Active couples can stay busy scuba diving and snorkeling in offshore reefs, waterskiing and wakeboarding, and playing tennis and pickleball. When the sun sets, the resort keeps things lively with live music and shows.
The Over-the-Water Butler Honeymoon Bungalows, situated around a heart-shaped dock, are Sandals South Coast’s most luxurious and romantic rooms, but swim-up suites situated around a private pool and swim-up suites overlooking the beach with outdoor soaking tubs are also sure to spark romance.
Best All-Inclusive For Activities And Service: Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort And Spa
Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort And Spa
Who Will Love It: The vacationer who doesn’t want to lift a finger
All-Star Amenities: The 30,000-square-foot Grande Spa, inspired by an Italian villa; postcard perfect beach
What Not To Miss: Relaxing to the sound of the sea in a private beachside cabana
Location: Montego Bay
Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort and Spa offers the white glove service and amenities that turn a vacation into a real escape. Just a 15-minute ride from Montego Bay’s airport, the resort wraps guests in a true tropical oasis with two swimming pools and private beachside cabanas overlooking sea and sand with a beach concierge on standby to retrieve cocktails and snacks.
Room options range from ocean view suites to three-bedroom villas to sprawling penthouses with dazzling views that stretch on for miles. Restaurants include Jamaican, French, Japanese and Mediterranean, and there’s even a juice bar and gorgeous little swim-up bar, Rum Runner, where you can order refreshing rum drinks.
Steal away to the hotel’s Grande Spa for a Jamaican skincare remedy or massage inside an Italian villa-inspired building surrounded by tropical gardens. Save time for a soak in the spa’s oceanfront mineral pools after your treatment.
Best All-Inclusive For Foodies: Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Who Will Love It: People who plan trips around where they’re going to eat
All-Star Amenities: Top-shelf premium drinks included in the rate; butler service; rooms with balconies or terraces and wine fridges
What Not To Miss: A mango-passion wrap treatment or other splurge at the spa
Location: Montego Bay
Do you like white tablecloths and fancy French cuisine? Sweet Caribbean lobster and fresh fish with an ocean view or a romantic Italian dinner with perfectly cooked pasta and Old World wines? These are the difficult choices you’ll have to make at Secrets St. James Montego Bay, a food lover’s all-inclusive and all-suite property. The resort’s 350 rooms have balconies and terraces overlooking the sea, soaking tubs, and wine fridges stocked to guests’ personal preferences.
Secrets Spa by Pevonia specializes in rejuvenating and transformative treatments like a mango-passion wrap or anti-aging facial. After your treatment, take time to linger and enjoy the private Vichy showers, hydrotherapy circuit and sauna and steam room. Secrets St. James Montego Bay specializes in indulgences of all kinds.
Best Wellness Retreat All-Inclusive: Couples Sans Souci
Couples Sans Souci
Who Will Love It: Couples looking for a tropical and holistic vacation
All-Star Amenities: Private clothing-optional beach for sunbathing au naturale; tennis; fitness classes; meditation
What Not To Miss: A soak in the resort’s spring-fed pool
Location: North Coast near Ocho Rios
The soothing landscape surrounding Couples Sans Souci—it’s backed by emerald green mountains and fronted by a sublime stretch of soft sand—inspires even the most skeptical wellness seekers to relax. Your suitcase should be light; plan to be barefoot and in a bathing suit most of the time. The resort has three swimming pools, three jacuzzis, and a private beach and pool where you can sunbathe in the nude.
Wellness treatments at Couples Sans Souci’s spa are designed to melt away stress, like the Aromatherapy Massage with essential oils and a full-body wrap with peppermint and freshly harvested seaweed that improves circulation and purifies the skin.
The resort’s five restaurants specialize in healthy yet flavorful dishes using island-grown produce and locally sourced seafood. Spending time in the resort’s mineral grotto and pool, carved into the rocks and shaded by lush tropical plants, is a must. Filled with waters from one of the resort’s natural springs, it is said to have powerful healing powers.
Best Value All-Inclusive: Sunset At The Palms
Sunset At The Palms
Who Will Love It: Boho vacationers who prefer to go barefoot
All-Star Amenities: Tree house-style accommodations surrounded by lush gardens; watersports center; swim-up pool bar and beach bar
What Not To Miss: The resort’s fun island cooking and mixology classes
There’s a real back-to-nature feel at the adults-only Sunset at the Palms, a surprisingly affordable all-inclusive resort surrounded by lush gardens right across the street from one of Negril’s prettiest beaches. The private, tree house-style accommodations set the scene for romance and have comfortable outdoor lounge areas on their shaded patios where guests can snuggle up with a book or cocktail.
The crescent-shaped beach—right across the street—makes it easy to set up for the day on the sand alongside a grill restaurant and watersports center stocked with kayaks, SUPs, pedal boats and snorkeling gear (all included in the all-inclusive rate). Dining is mostly casual and open-air with a swim-up pool bar, beach bar, open-air buffet and a special Chef’s Showcase dinner several nights a week starring produce grown in the hotel’s garden.
About Terry Ward, Your Jamaica Guide
I’ve dedicated my career to covering travel as a freelance writer since 2000 when I quit my first (and only) desk job to travel the world. I visited Indonesia, Fiji and Australia as a budget backpacker, and I have lived in Sydney, Southern France, coastal New Zealand and my current home, Florida. I have explored all corners of the U.S. and the Caribbean including the island of Jamaica, which is one of my favorite destinations. You’ll find me reporting on such diverse travel topics as scuba diving, educational vacations and cultural trends in publications like CNN, National Geographic, The Washington Post, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, AARP and many others.
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