As much as I love and in most cases prefer solo travel, it’s always nice to have a familiar face around, especially on longer trips. I was lucky to have Sam, the homie from LA, come down for his first visit to Jamaica and our very first villa vacation experience. Here’s how it went down…
Fresh off a business trip in Miami, I met Sam, dressed in his usual all black everything, at Sangster International Airport. We picked up the rental, a silver Toyata Yaris, from Island Car Rentals and hit the road. Fifteen minutes later we arrived in Ironshore, a more upscale Montego Bay neighborhood lined with huge vacation homes, private residences and villa rental properties. I maneuvered our little Yaris up a steep, windy driveway to our home for the next few days, Vista del Mar…
Before we could get to the front door, we were met by Ms. Evan (our lovely housekeeper and chef) with two tall glasses of ice-cold lime-aid. Mr. Dennis (our “Mr. Everything”) helped us with our luggage and gave us a tour of the property. Everything we needed from fresh linens to a perfect view of the Caribbean sea was in place. Everything was spotless and welcoming; it was like visiting a good friend of family member’s home.
Because there was only two of us, we only rented the master bedroom, which sleeps four comfortably. If we would have had more in our group, we could have chosen to rent an extra room or all the rooms of the house. Regardless of how many rooms are rented, all common areas, including the pool were available for use. And boy did Sam make great use of the pool.
For the consummate cook, the stainless steel and granite kitchen was perfect. Every kitchen gadget you could need was there. Sam’s only concern was a coffee maker. And I made sure to pick up some fresh Jablum blue mountain coffee, which Ms. Evan had brewing for him every morning. When it came to the kitchen, I let Ms. Evan work her magic for breakfast and dinner every day. I stopped at the market and picked up what I wanted and she made it happen. If I wasn’t sure what I wanted for the day, she’d pick up some supplies and surprise us. I never left the table hungry or disappointed!
Besides the food, space and privacy, I really enjoyed the shower. The ceiling of the shower was open (covered with a screen and decorative grill work) that let just enough of the outside in during my shower. I could literately stay in there for hours standing under the water and taking in the sights, sounds and smells from outside!
Four Reasons to Choose Montego Bay Villas
There are a lot of great reasons why you might choose a Jamaican villa the way Sam and I did rather than using the average resort hotel. In fact, the advantages of a good villa are almost too many to count, but here are the top four reasons Sam and I found our Jamaican villa vacation so awesome:
1) In-House Staff
Sure, room service at a luxury hotel can be pretty tasty, but it can also come with a hefty price tag. Plus, you’ll never get to enjoy the kind of amazing home cuisine that we got from Ms. Evans, our local chef and housekeeper located on site. Ms. Evans was only too happy to cook delicious Jamaican or American meals on request.
2) All the Amenities of Home
Most hotels try to accommodate your daily needs with a few domestic amenities, but in a villa you truly feel like you are at home. That includes unrestricted access to your own full kitchen, coffee pot, washer and dryer combo, personal driver (if reserved) and even in home spa services (at an additional cost). We had everything we needed (and more) at our fingertips.
On the same note, some resorts cater to thousands of guests during their busy seasons. While staying at our private Jamaican villa, there was no one else to worry about but us. We could make our own itinerary and keep to our schedule or not — and we’d never have to think about crowds or long lines for anything.
When you’re charged based on the number of guests in your group, you end up paying more for less. At any good Jamaican villa, you have the opportunity to be charged based on how many rooms or what property you’ll be using. That means you can get great value whether you bring a friend or two or the entire extended family on your trip.
Have you ever rented a villa on vacation? Would you consider this an alternative to a hotel?