With its special mix of tranquil beaches and verdant mountains, Jamaica remains one of the most popular island destinations in the world. This is the birthplace of reggae music and the heart from which many Caribbean trends and styles originate. A vacation in Jamaica can take any form. So whether you seek pulsating parties or a peaceful retreat, Jamaica is sure to hold a little corner of paradise just right for you.
Montego Bay is an ideal place to start exploring Jamaica - and not just because its international airport welcomes direct flights from hubs throughout the United States. The beaches here are beautiful, the clubs and restaurants are eclectic in a positively Jamaican way, and great music is abundant. The most luxurious enclave is the resort area of Rose Hall, located just a few miles east of the airport but well outside of the hustle and bustle of Montego Bay proper. Nestled between the mountains and sea on the site of an 18th-century sugar plantation, the Rose Hall Resort & Spa, A Hilton Resort, caters to families, couples and groups. Fresh from a multimillion-dollar renovation, guest rooms feature luxury appointments and modern conveniences like flat-screen satellite televisions, iHome clock radios, large electronic safes, built-in refrigerators and wireless high-speed Internet access. The resort features one of the Caribbean's largest water theme parks, which is always a hit with kids and parents alike. Couples love the pampering Soothe Spa and the world-class golf and tennis facilities. Weddings and events can be celebrated at 18 different exotic locations throughout the resort, including by the romantic seaside ruins of an aqueduct dating to 1837. 866-799-3669, Visit Website
Spread across more than 400 beautiful acres, Half Moon Resort has been welcoming guests to the Rose Hall area for over 50 years, and today it continues to set the bar for service and innovation. Half Moon is a Green Globe-certified resort, indicating that it is leading the way in environmental and cultural sustainability. Fern Tree, the Spa at Half Moon, has brought many unique firsts to the Caribbean: the first Spa Elder versed in the art of indigenous Jamaican remedies and treatments to guide guests on a path to wellness; the Caribbean's first dedicated spa suites complete with in-suite spa studios, chromatherapy tubs, rain showers and ultracomfy beds; and Jamaica's first over-water bungalow for spa treatments and yoga and fitness classes. Offering golf, tennis, squash, croquet, running trails, a dolphin lagoon, awardwinning children's programs and many dining and shopping choices, Half Moon is truly a complete resort, which is why we particularly love the pre-arrival concierge and romance concierge services, which help guests customize their vacation plans in advance for maximum enjoyment. Half Moon is an ideal destination-wedding resort, offering over 30 event locations, along with an army of wedding specialists, culinary artists and set decorators to create one-of-a-kind ceremony experiences. 888-830-5969, Visit Website
Looking for luxury and romance without any children splashing around? Head to the new Secrets St. James Montego Bay and the Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, opening in March 2010. Recognized for their excellence in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, Secrets Resorts & Spas now brings its Unlimited Luxury® all-inclusive concept to Jamaica. Every room is an opulent suite with an oversize four-poster bed, unlimited minibar and whirlpool tub. Fronting over a half-mile of private beach, the resorts are a perfect choice for couples who want to truly recharge and reconnect — and with 24-hour room service, breathtaking ocean views and that whirlpool tub, some couples and honeymooners may just not leave their suites at all. That's a shame too, since the world-class spa features lush gardens and pampering treatments, including special couples treatments, and the seven gourmet restaurants and ten chic bars are certainly worth exploring — together, of course. 866-GOSecrets, Visit Website
Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort near Lucea, a coastal town about 25 minutes west of Montego Bay. Grand is certainly an appropriate moniker for this all-inclusive resort. Every room is a spacious suite, including the unique adults-only cabana suites featuring outdoor showers and stunning ocean views. Dining choices include three buffets and seven a la carte international restaurants showcasing Italian, Indian, Mexican, Jamaican and even Creole fare. Though the beach is certainly the resort centerpiece, we love the opulent facilities and Europeanstyle treatments at the Renova Spa, the largest spa and wellness center in Jamaica. 888-237-1226, Visit Website
Luxury villa rentals are a great way to experience Jamaica, and the leader here is Jamaica Villas by Linda Smith. Routinely named the top villa specialist in Jamaica, Linda provides her guests with an incredible collection of properties and a 25-year track record of excellence. Every villa comes with a full-time staff, as well as an on-island concierge and property management services. Linda's villas are child-friendly and a great opportunity for families or extended families to vacation together. 301-229-4300, Visit Website
One really can't talk about travel to Jamaica without also talking about Sandals Resorts, the trendsetting brand for what a romantic all-inclusive island vacation can be. Sandals operates 14 resorts on Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia and the Bahamas. All resorts are beachfront, and the seven in Jamaica include ideal locations along the famed sands of Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios. Recognized as the "World's Best All-Inclusive Company" by the World Travel Awards for 14 consecutive years, Sandals provides guests with a Luxury Included® vacation. Simply put, it's paradise at one easy, upfront price. The rooms, suites and villas are stylish and contemporary; the dining is refined, with choice of up to 11 a la carte international restaurants per resort; the wine and spirits are premium brands; and of course, round-trip airport transfers, plus all tips, gratuities and hotel taxes, are included. That's an enticing package, but for Sandals it only scratches the surface. Water sports, including PADI scuba diving to some of the Caribbean's best dive spots, is also included. Championship golf is included at select resorts on St. Lucia and Jamaica. Suites include exclusive concierge services, and some resorts - such as the new Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, the Bahamas - even provide butler services from graduates of the Guild of Professional English Butlers! (This "new" Sandals was until recently a Four Seasonsbrand resort, and it now features a Greg Norman-designed golf course, an opulent Red Lane Spa, five gourmet restaurants and a full-service marina.) And when all of these included services and amenities do what they are supposed to do, which is send your passion into hyperdrive, go ahead take the marital plunge, because Sandals will also include a free basic wedding! What's more, in a new collaboration with Martha Stewart, Sandals Weddings by Martha Stewart provides personalized wedding services using themes, designs and memorable touches sure to make nuptial dreams come true. 800-Sandals, Visit Website