JAMAICA TRAVEL: Romantic retreat hits the suite spot

But it’s impossible not to feel uplifted in a sunshine paradise like this. 

Having just completed a multi-million dollar makeover, the five-star Sandals Montego Bay resort is the place to be for unbridled, all-inclusive luxury in dazzling tropical surroundings.

Occupying a half-mile stretch of shoreline with warm, Caribbean waters lapping the soft sand, this couples-only abode is a prime location for beach lovers. Its two new restaurants, Butch’s Steak & Seafood, named after Sandals Resorts founder and chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart, and Soy, serving stylish Asian cuisine and sushi, takes its tally of unique culinary concepts to 12. 

There is also the brand-new Latitudes Overwater Bar. Just a few steps from Montego Bay’s finest beach, this offshore drinks venue has 360-degree ocean views, hammocks suspended over the turquoise waters and cosy fire pits. Its brand-new Palms bar is a cool hangout for after-dinner drinks. 

For anyone who wants a show-stopping setting to tie the knot, this premium resort has also just unveiled its Over-The-Water Serenity wedding chapel,which hosts up to 40 guests, with glass floor aisle and bell tower. 

I was staying in one of the luxurious Butler Suites at the far end of the beach. These rooms come with a string of perks, my personal favourite being the seaview balcony equipped with a huge, free-standing outdoor bathtub. 

Another lavish indulgence is the personal butler service. My assigned butler Orion, dressed in his snazzy red overalls, happily entertained any request I had, no matter how trivial or extravagant it felt. 

A crate of ice-cold Red Stripe beer delivered to the sun lounger? 

“No problem, Matt”. 

How about a bath on the balcony, accompanied with a pina colada, to enjoy the glorious sunset? 

“Sure thing, sir.” 

Reckon I can get some cheesy nachos in 30 minutes? 

“Coming right up, my man.” 

Orion and his colleagues have all attended the elite Guild of Professional English Butlers and this being the Sandals experience, everything is included – unlimited dining in all restaurants, premium brand drinks, stocked bars in all rooms, wines, free wifi, transfers, plus shows and themed parties every night. 

Watersports such as kayaks, Hobie Cats, paddleboards, waterskiing, snorkelling and even scuba diving via the resort’s power boats are also part of the package. 

There are four pools, a four hot tubs spread across the property, with the main activity centred around the main rectangular pool near the central beach bar. Down on the beach, there are plenty of sunbeds with shade and waiters pass by regularly taking drinks orders. 

Sandals owns seven properties across Jamaica, and its Ochi Beach Resort, just along the north coast, is another classic. 

Split into two sections – beachside and hillside rooms – in 100-acres of lush gardens, it has many of the same complimentary offerings, such as dining, watersports, drinks and activities, plus access to the nearby Sandals Golf & Country Club, with its Par 71 course. 

A choice of 16 on-trend restaurants gives guests an incredible list of dining options and includes the picturesque Reef Terrace. Located on a private courtyard up on the cliff overlooking the sea, Jamaican specialities such as tasty wood-fired snapper and similarly-punchy cocktails provide the perfect introduction to the Sandals luxury life. 

This resort has the fun-factor too – a Negroni-fuelled rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, at Ochi Beach Resort’s new speakeasy bar The Rabbit Hole will forever standout in the memory. 

The resort is close to the famous Dunn’s River Falls, immortalised in Dr No, the first ever James Bond film, and Tom Cruise classic from the 80s, Cocktail. 

Tourists can climb the giant natural staircase of rocks where the water cascades down into the sea and jump and swim in the lagoons interspersed on the vertical sections. 

Caribbean adventure company Island Routes also offer all sort of tours including deep sea fishing, off-road dune buggying and catamaran sailing trips. 

Just another ingredient in Jamaica’s perfect tropical holiday cocktail.

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