A Natural High: Go the distance in Jamaica
Things to do in JamaicaSep 16, 2019
By: Melanie Reffes
Source: Captain Jetson
Coveted for its calm vibe and named for the iconic towering black cliffs, Negril is the Jamaican road-less-traveled about a 90 minute drive from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.
Photo: Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay is one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean. Credit: Inter-Jamaica Information Service.
A vacation platter of stunning sandy beaches and a small local population numbering less than 7,000, the former fishing village is on the A-list for vacationers looking for the real deal beyond the big resorts that line the northwest shore.
Photo: Tree house suites are perfectly private at Sunset at the Palms. Credit: SATP.
Adults-only, Sunset at the Palms is a treehouse-style all-inclusive boutique hotel rated in TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame.
Photo: Tree house suites at the adults-only Sunset at the Palms in Negril. Credit: SATP.
Laid-back luxe in Tree Top Deluxe Suites or Tree Top Suites, vacation must-haves run the gamut from private porches and garden views to gratis Wi-Fi, Gilchrist & Soames bath amenities and plush bathrobes.
Photo: Loungers on the balconies are primo for an afternoon siesta at Sunset at the Palms. Credit: Melanie Reffes.
For an extra dose of relaxation, check out the rubs and scrubs in Ginger Lily Spa like the Coconut Delight that marries a coconut oil massage with a relaxing facial.
Photo: Relaxing at the Ginger Lily Spa. Credit: Sunset at the Palms.
Photo: Dinner for two at Sunset at the Palms in Negril. Credit: Melanie Reffes.
“Our resort is the ultimate vacation choice, “smiles Sharon Powell, hotel manager, “many of our guests are repeat visitors and like family to our staff. “
Photo: Hotel manager Sharon Powell at Sunset at the Palms takes expert care of all her guests. Credit: Janet McKenzie.
Photo: Rastaman vibrations at Sunset at the Palms in Negril. Credit: Melanie Reffes.
All-inclusive means just that with dining options like the Palm Breeze Beach Bar & Grill for Jerk nachos and an icy cold Red Stripe beer, a la carte restaurants like Lotus Leaf for tasty Caribbean-Asian signatures, sumptuous buffets for breakfast, lunch, dinner and chocolatey desserts worth the splurge.
Photo: All inclusive dining at Sunset at the Palms in Negril. Credit: Julie Jetmore via SATP.
Photo: Sweet and spiritual at Sunset at the Palms. Credit: Melanie Reffes.
Cocktails straight up or on the rocks are shaken and stirred at a trio of bars and one swim-up in the pool. For the active crowd, there’s tennis, fitness center, yoga, nature walks and a boatload of non-motorized watersports.
Photo: Dining under the stars at Sunset at the Palms in Negril. Credit: Evan C. Smith.
For an early morning pick-me-up, Blue Coffee Bar gets the adrenalin going; Bamboo Bar is cocktail-perfect while at the Martini Bar, Alex Samuels shakes and stirs like nobody’s business. “Apple martinis are my specialty, “said the affable bartender, “my personal pour is tangy, sweet and refreshing on a hot Jamaican afternoon or as the sun sets over the resort. “
Photo: Alex Samuels shakes and stirs at the Lobby Bar at Sunset at the Palms. Credit: Melanie Reffes.
Got your goat
Photo: Meeting the goats at Sunset at the Palms is a must-do for animal lovers. Credit: Maggie Ronda.
Have you ‘herd’?
Betty and Royal Brown are the proud parents of four kids born at the resort. Arriving courtesy of a farmer who swapped her for kitchen swaps to feed his pigs, the affable goat named Betty is the official hostess popping up in happy holiday photos.
Photo: Betty and Royal Brown are the goat mascots at Sunset At The Palms in Negril. Credit: Sunset At The Palms.
Soon after, a handsome fella named Royal Brown joined the party and although a shy guy, opposites attract and he and Betty became a couple. To the delight of guests, the resort hosted their wedding which, as it turns out, was a shotgun wedding because Betty delivered her first set of twins soon after.
Photo: A family of goats at the Sunset at the Palms. Credit: Melanie Reffes
A second set of twins are now part of the family and like the first set, the new arrivals are the only ‘kids’ allowed at the adults-only resort.
The friendly family of goats
“What a wonderful treat to meet the friendly family of goats, “said New York tourist Janet McKenzie Kopec, “ the resort staff are such pros as they introduced us to the goats for petting and photo taking, what an incredibly unique experience that I recommend to all animal lovers staying at the resort. “
Photo: New York tourist Janet McKenzie Kopec petting the goats at Sunset at the Palms. Credit: Melanie Reffes.
A short stroll from the resort, Bloody Bay Beach is two miles of sandy splendor that got its name from the 19th century whalers who butchered their catch on the sand.
Photo: Sunshine Smiley is the star attraction on Bloody Bay Beach. Credit SATP.
Fast forward to today and the beach is the primo perch for taking five under the sun, enjoying lunch at the bar, testing your meddle on a kayak, exploring down under with a snorkel mask or on a glass bottom boat and setting sail on a catamaran.
Photo: Party hearty on the Sun Shine in Negril. Credit: Melanie Reffes.
The more adventurous like paddle boarding and parasailing available at the Scuba Caribe kiosk.
Photo: Parasailing is popular with high-flying guests at Sunset at the Palms Resort in Negril. Credit: Xtreme Sports.
High flying cliff diving
Photo: Cliff diving at Ricks Cafe. Credit: JA Hotel Review.
Not much has changed at Ricks Café since it opened in 1974 at the west end of Negril. A vacation rite-of-passage, the funky clifftop restaurant is still the go-to for watching the brazen as they dive from dizzying heights of 40 feet above the waves.
Photo: Diving from the high cliffs at Ricks Cafe in Negril. Credit: JA Hotel Review.
Photo: Brazen beware at Ricks Cafe in Negril. Credit: JA Hotel Review.
Photo: Ricks Cafe has been a Negril mainstay since 1974. Credit: Melanie Reffes.
Photo: Icy cold Red Stripe beer at Ricks Cafe. Credit: Sunset At The Palms.
One of the most visited landmarks on the island; the naturally-formed cliffs are the perfect backdrop for soaking up the reggae vibe, checking out the magical sunset and digging into shareable platters of peppered shrimp and jerk chicken.
Photo: Bloody Bay Beach is one of Negril’s finest sandy strands. Credit: Sunset At The Palms.
Photo: Sunset over Bloody Bay Beach. Credit: SATP.
Save room for sweet potato pudding and a heady Jamaican Me Crazy cocktail.
Photo: Jamaican Me Crazy cocktail at Ricks Cafe in Negril. Credit: Melanie Reffes.
For trivia fans, the cliffs were the backdrop for Thunderball; the 1965 James Bond spy thriller. www.visitjaimaica.com/.
Travel in style
Jamaica’s leading airport lounge, Club MoBay at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay is a relaxation haven prior to boarding a flight.
Photo: A VIP good time with the bartenders at Club MoBay in the Sangster International Airport. Credit: Melanie Reffes.
The VIP Lounge is chockablock with pre-flight amenities like a full-service bar staffed with spirited bartenders, snacks, satellite television, newspapers and gratis Wi-Fi. For a VIP escort upon landing, “Fast Track “takes travelers through Immigration and Customs before enjoying a refreshing drink in the lounge prior to the drive to the resort.