Let’s escape to the Caribbean for the holiday season. Jamaica is my favorite island in the Caribbean and happens to be the place I call home. I was born and raised on this magnificent island filled with a mixed culture of Spanish, Irish, British, African, Chinese and Indian influences. Whether you’re driving by the seaside or taking a boat ride around the island, this magical place is filled with so much culture and love. Our cuisine is a mixture of different flavours and spices. Popular Jamaican dishes and staples in everyone’s home are Ackee and saltfish, patties, and jerk chicken. It’s impossible to think of Jamaica without imagining the picturesque white sand beaches and crystal-blue water, but that’s just the beginning of what the island has to offer. Whether you’re interested in visiting a beautiful waterfall hidden off the beaten path or relaxing on the beach with our Jamaican rum cocktail, here are a few of my favorite spots.
The Jamaica Inn has been a Caribbean classic since the 1950s. Known to have hosted stars like Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller to British nobles and aristocrats like Sir Winston Churchill, Prince Charles and Princess Margaret, The Jamaica Inn remains as timeless as its guests. The 8 acre property is set in a stunning private cove in Ocho Rios. The suites and beautiful blue cottages all have a sea view and island vibe with their charming decor. There are no TVs in the cottages unless requested. The fully unplugged experience is recommended, so pack your favorite book, relax by the ocean and take in the sunset. With the open white sand beaches it’s an intimate moment to unwind.
GoldenEye Hotel Ocho Rios, once the former home of James Bond author Ian Fleming, is now a luxe resort that allures the international crowd including Jay-Z, Katherine Zeta Jones and Kate Moss. This hotel is surrounded by 52 acres of mango and banyan trees and includes 26 new beach huts, a snorkeling cove, a rooftop terrace and a private four acre lagoon. The open plan design lends you to sitting under a canopy of almond trees. Snorkeling through Jamaica’s most eye-catching reefs and sunbathing in the sun are just the beginning of what attracts the A-list crowd to this hotel. Everything from the nonchalant entrance of the hotel to the perfect soundtrack curated by the hotel developer and Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell, proves that staying at GoldenEye is faithful to its heritage and is Jamaica’s place to be.
Sitting on the idyllic beaches of Montego Bay, Jamaica’s Round Hill Hotel & Villas was the retreat of choice for the rich and glamorous 1950s personalities including Alfred Hitchcock, Adele Astaire, JFK and Jackie who spent their honeymoon in Villa 10. Nothing seems to have changed except for renovated suites and restaurants with the family-friendly resort. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle The Duke and Duchess of Sussex recently visited this Caribbean treasure. Today, the 30-acre resort features 27 stunning villas, as well as 36 newly redesigned oceanfront rooms in the resort’s Pineapple House designed by Ralph Lauren. I love the suites on the second level, they offer amazing sounds and views of the ocean. The chefs at Round Hill’s restaurants The Grill and Seaside Terrace have outdone themselves to provide a fresh interpretation on Caribbean cuisine. If you can book your trip around a Wednesday, the hotel hosts a Manager’s Reception followed by a “Curry Night” dinner. I highly recommend the Curry Goat, it’s unbelievable. I love having a cocktail in the Old School Bar after dinner. There are black-and-white photos detailing the long history of the esteemed guests who have visited this stunning property.
Jamaican food has so many cultural influences. From the North to South coast of the island, there is so much to try. Enjoy the most memorable jerk chicken, pork and fish at Scotchies. The jerk is smoked and chopped right in front of you. The coconut-infused rice and beans is my favorite side dish to pair it with! The Sugar Mill restaurant at the Half Moon Resort is definitely worth making a reservation at. It is set in a vaulted-ceiling dining room behind a 100 year old water mill yet it creates a modern Jamaican vibe. Come for a swim and stay for a traditional lunch of Escovitch-style fried fish, my favorite! For cocktails, I like Pushcart Restaurant & Bar. It’s a great place to try a variety of Caribbean rums and tropical drinks. If you’re near Kingston’s National Gallery of Jamaica, you must stop by Gloria’s Rendezvous. The 44-year-old institution is beloved by prime ministers and musicians for its grilled fish and bammy (cassava cakes).
When traveling to Jamaica, it may seem the only thing you need to pack for this relaxing vacation is swimwear and your favorite book. Packing the essentials is a must, but remember to keep it sexy and chic. Pack enough swimwear and daywear looks. Think minimal yet stylish. Neutral tones with a pop of color is great. Here are some of my favorite getaway looks.
Fresh off the Spring 2019 runway, this Jacquemus Piana Bandeau Jersey Dress will be a sight of hotness in the Jamaican sun. This dress featuring a front cutout creates the perfect beach style. Take this look from day to evening with these Alexander Wang Kaia high heel sandals. Balenciaga’s Everyday tote M is ideal for all of your essentials. Never bask in the sun without your favorite shades. These ’90s-inspired cat-eye sunglasses from Illesteva won’t go out of style.
When it comes to the Jacquemus burgundy Souela skirt, we love its perfect flow. It’s so simple, yet cool. Pair with this bikini set from Haight and you have the perfect cover up for this look. With a splendid tan, everything will be golden.
Jamaica is all about soaking up the sun. What better way to do this than with an array of bikini options. Nothing is better than adding a Fendi logo to elevate your swimwear style. To add a pop of color, wear this perfect yellow Sommer Swimwear bikini. The statement metallic bronze bikini from Lisa Marie Fernandez will shimmer as it catches the sunlight. This Haight Marcella Mocca & Preto bikini with mix of color tones makes for a posh and modern twist. Pair with a Dior reflective tinted visor that will shade you from the sun in style.