Last Updated on January 27, 2021 by haveclotheswilltravel
At this time last year, I was sipping a cocktail in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It’s crazy to think how much has changed since then! I don’t know about anyone else, but after the way this year has gone, I am in need of another beach vacation with zero stress!
Jamaica is one of the few places Americans can travel to at the moment. However, there are some new requirements for traveling to Jamaica as an American – read the travel updates, here.
For this post, I’m sharing a few of my personal recommendations for the best places to stay in Jamaica. I have also enlisted the help of fellow travel experts and bloggers to share where they think the best places to stay in Jamaica are and why! These places range from all-inclusive luxury resorts to off-the-beaten-path hotels and this post even ends with some of the best hostels. We’re happy to answer any questions anyone has in the comments section as well.
The Best Places to Stay in Jamaica
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Best All-Inclusive Resorts
Sandals Montego Bay in Montego Bay
Sandals Montego Bay is a luxury all-inclusive beach resort with a private white-sand beach. It features 12 onsite restaurants, fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving and free rentals of Hobie Cats, paddleboards and kayaks. Plus, Sandals Resorts are all adults-only.
My personal favorite place to stay in Jamaica is at Sandals Montego Bay! This is one of the most luxurious travel experiences I have ever had. At Sandals Montego Bay my husband and I stayed in a Beachfront Honeymoon Butler Suite with a Balcony + Soaking Tub.
A few reasons why this stay was amazing for us:
- This is a big resort with a lot of different activities and restaurants. You never felt as though you were “on top of” the other people staying at this resort. There is plenty of space!
- Stay at 1 play at 2 resorts. Staying here meant we could also enjoy free transfers, dining options and hanging out at Sandals Royal Caribbean.
- Our room was brand new! Sandals Montego Bay has undergone some huge renovations in the last year, which makes it feel as though it’s a new resort (despite being the first Sandals Resort ever). It also had a soaking tub and a personal butler – which made for an unforgettable experience!
I can’t recommend staying here enough! I also recommend booking a week-long vacation to Sandals Montego Bay, to properly relax and get the best resort rates.
- Click here to see the current rates for Sandals Montego Bay.
Sandals Negril Beach Resort in Negril
Sandals Negril is situated on Negril’s 7-mile beach, and is home to some incredibly calm waters! It’s the perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, water skiing and lounging by the beach. While it’s not as large as Sandals Montego Bay, I still had a great time staying here with my husband. Sandals Negril has less of a “party” atmosphere and was a bit more romantic… which was nice for a change!
Many of the rooms also have direct access to the beach, as you can see below.
- Read next: A Detailed and Honest Sandals Negril Review
I like the intimate atmosphere at Sandals Negril. And while this beach is not private (like Montego Bay’s) it is still absolutely stunning and the water here is so calm! I, personally, think this would be a great resort to have a wedding at, given its more intimate and relaxed atmosphere. (We do have friends who were married here, and recommend it 100%.)
- Click here to see the current rates for Sandals Negril.
The Royalton Hideaway in Negril
Recommended by Angela Price of Where Angie Wanders
The Royalton Hideaway all-inclusive resort in Negril sits on a sprawling expanse of sand along the southern section of Bloody Bay in Jamaica. It offers a beach holiday destination with three distinct areas, families, over 18’s only and the recent addition of a nudist section.
The quieter exclusive Royalton Hideaway section that we chose had a private beach, private dining restaurants and ultra-lux apartment rooms complete with an in-room rainfall tub. Balcony views to the azure Caribbean Sea were perfect to watch sunrise and sunset. I might add we were not in the nudist section!
If you are looking for complete unadulterated luxury then this resort is for you and daily activities are offered in the Hideaway pool ranging from aerobics to party games; all made more fun with the addition of the all-inclusive cocktails at the swim-up bar.
We stayed for 10 days and felt it was long enough. Negril is a lot further away from much of Jamaica’s wonderful natural sights and therefore we didn’t get out as much as we had wanted during our stay, although diving off the rocks at Rick’s cafe was a true experience.
I would add that tipping is expected, if not demanded, from all staff. Having been all over the Caribbean I had not encountered this kind of expectancy before and found the service in resort to fluctuate depending on tip values.
To conclude I would say that if you want a relaxing, beach holiday with first-class accommodation then The Royalton Hideaway will suit you down to the ground, however, if you want to explore the island then a base in Montego Bay will work out better.
- Click here to see the current rates for the Royalton Hideaway.
Bahia Principe Grand Jamaica in Runway Bay
Recommended by Sarah from In Search of Sarah
Bahia Principe Grand Jamaica is an expansive, all-inclusive resort in Runaway Bay, an hour from Montego Bay airport. It hugs the shoreline of a stunning coastline with powder-soft sand and azul blue waters. This resort caters to everyone from families to couples and is the perfect place for rest and relaxation, but there are also endless activities to partake in.
I traveled with my husband and another couple and we were never bored! There was entertainment throughout the day like culinary and mixology workshops, dance lessons, sports, and beach parties to themed events in the evening ranging from a silent disco (SO fun!), burlesque shows, and DJ.
With bars throughout the resort and 6 restaurants to choose from, there is no shortage of options to try.
If you’re traveling with kids, there is a new waterpark to entertain them! If you’re traveling as a couple, you have the option of staying on their exclusive Adults-Only side, Bahia Principe Luxury, where you’ll have access to adults-only dining, pools, and beachfront.
What made this stay really memorable for me was the snorkeling. Just a few feet offshore along the coast are incredible corals with brightly colored fish swimming around you. You can rent snorkels (I suggest bringing your own!).
There are also plenty of activities nearby such as Dunns River, horseback riding on the beach, zip-lining, and more!
We stayed for a week and it was the perfect amount of time to feel rested and allowed us to explore some off-site activities too.
- Click here for the current rates for Bahia Principe Grand Jamaica.
Hyatt Zilara in Montego Bay
Recommended by Ruby Escalona of A Journey We Love
Hyatt Zilara is an all-inclusive beachfront resort in Montego Bay. We loved our stay there because everything is included, from alcohol, certain specialty restaurants, cappuccinos in the coffee shop, and even non-motorized water sports.
Since its beachfront, there’s also plenty of places to hang by the beach or the pool. We traveled as a couple and stayed at the all-adult Hyatt Ziva side that includes access to the Zilara.
We would definitely recommend a stay there, especially for travel hackers, as our entire budget trip to Montego Bay costs less than $500! We would recommend a three day, two-night stay. That will be enough to try a few of the restaurants for lunch and dinner, as well as the different pool bars available.
- Click here for the current rates for Hyatt Zilara.
Best Resorts and Hotels That Are Not All-Inclusive
Tensing Pen Resort in Negril
Recommended by Lori Sorrentino of Travelinmad
When it comes to chillin’ in Jamaica, there are so many places to stay, but the one place that continues to embody the Irie vibe of Jamaica is Tensing Pen, a boutique hotel located on the West End cliffs that’s truly one-of-a-kind. The eco-luxe feel is evident in everything from the chic treehouse-style cabanas and elegantly prepared local Jamaican cuisine to its enviable location in a quiet neighborhood on the sea.
- Click here to see the current rates for Tensing Pen Resort.
Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay
Recommended by Eric Hoffman from Food and Drink Destinations
- Click here for the current rates for Half Moon Resort.
Jakes Treasure Beach Jamaica Hotel in St. Elizabeth (South Coast)
Recommended by Michelle C. of Intentional Travelers
- Click here to see the current rates for Jake’s.
Great Huts Eco Resort in Port Antonio
Recommended by Ashley Jansen of Jetset Jansen
If you are looking for a unique place to stay in Jamaica, Great Huts Eco Resort is an awesome option. It’s located near Port-Antonio right on the coast. The accommodations are actually tree houses or huts. They have a variety of different rooms so no treehouse is the same. They are designed with modern amenities while still putting nature as the main focus. You’ll see African décor throughout the property and eco touches like bamboo utensils.
The property also lies on the edge of a cliff, so you have beautiful views of the bay below. A stairway leads you right down to the water where you have your own private beach and plenty of hammocks and hidden spots to relax.
The property is quiet and peaceful with exotic plants all around you. There are several larger gathering areas where you can hang out, browse the bookshelves or connect to wifi in the lounge. You can also enjoy a tasty breakfast in front of a large birdcage that houses several colorful birds. It truly is unique and a great place for a tropical escape.
- Click here to see the current rates for Great Huts Eco Resort.
Holiday Inn Jamaica in Montego Bay
Recommended by Nicole from AffordableFamilyTravel.com
The Holiday Inn Jamaica in Montego Bay is the perfect resort for families. It’s extremely budget-friendly but provides great service and numerous activities making it a wonderful value. With Rates starting as low as $150 per night for 2 adults and 2 children under 12 free.
A very short shuttle or ride from Montego Bay Airport will take you to the resort. The activities are the best part of this resort for families. The resort offers a kids club with daily activities. In addition, they offer games every afternoon on the poolside stage that the kids are sure to love. The resort offers Hobbie Catboat rides, as well as paddleboats and kayaks and snorkel gear you can check out at no cost from the beachside hut. Tennis lessons are available at their onsite tennis courts. They also have basketball courts, a mini-golf course, pool tables, table tennis and more. The large gated play area is perfect for younger children to freely run around.
While this is a wonderful family resort, it’s also great for singles and couples. The resort offers an adult-only building which is located next to the adult-only pool with a swim-up bar and the adult-only beach area. The resort provides a free shuttle to Margaritaville on select evenings if you are looking for a change in the atmosphere.
The resort offers several options for sit down dinners and their jerk hut serves up delicious jerk chicken and pork. 4-5 days is the perfect amount of time at the resort but if you are interested in venturing off-site to explore the area you could spend a week to enjoy both the island and the resort.
- Click here to see the current rates for Holiday Inn Jamaica.
The Best Hostels
Judy’s House in Negril
Recommended by Lora Pope of Explore With Lora
Negril is one of the best places to go while visiting the tropical island paradise of Jamaica, and Judy’s House is the perfect place to stay while there. This locally owned guesthouse is made up of several cottages, with gorgeous lush gardens around the property. There are both shared and private cottages, so it’s a great place for budget travelers.
The cottages are in a small community, just ten minutes away from the ocean. It’s a great location to be based in Negril as you are minutes from restaurants, bars, supermarkets, gift shops, banks, and of course, gorgeous white sand beaches.
Judy’s Place is a great place to stay in Jamaica if you are traveling solo and looking to connect with other travelers. I was there as a solo traveler, and staying at this hostel really contributed to my positive experiences in Jamaica, as I was able to make friends quickly there to explore Negril with. The staff are friendly and there to answer any questions you have about the area! Plan to spend at least two nights here, as Negril has such a friendly, laid-back atmosphere that you won’t want to leave!
- Click here to see the current rates for Judy’s House.
Mobay Kotch in Montego Bay
Recommended by Daniel James of Layer Culture
When looking for the best place to stay in Montego Bay and whilst on a budget, be sure to check out Mobay Kotch. Located just a few blocks from downtown Montego Bay you’ll find a big old British style house that has been very well preserved and makes the perfect guest house. This is your home away from home and great for those travelers who find themselves in transit to parishes in Jamaica.
A 2-3 night stay at Mobay Kotch gives you the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with the main attractions in the Montego Bay area as well as meet other travelers. I find February or March the best time to go to Jamaica and whenever I fly Into Montego Bay, I stay at Mobay Kotch as my go-to place to stay. Not only will you feel safe, but the house is welcoming to the point you’ll find yourself wanting to return.
Vanessa, the young lady who works at the hostel, will make sure all your questions about travel in Jamaica are answered and has a wealth of knowledge about getting around the island.
- Click here to see the current rates for Mobay Kotch.
Where is your favorite place to stay in Jamaica? Let us know in the comments!
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