Ok, let’s just clear the air by saying I’m not only partial to Jamaica but I truly have and continue to have a love affair with this island. It is one of the most gorgeous islands with its tall, verdant Blue Mountains, which reach heights of 7400 feet and cascade dramatically into the clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean. The beaches look like sugar and sparkle in the sunlight. The vegetation is rich and lush. But wait – there’s more – I promise you…
Maybe it’s because its original name from the Arawaks was Xaymaca, which meant the land of wood and water. It’s a powerful analogy as the island does explode between its lush rainforests, profusion of colorful and exotic flowers, majestic mountains, crystal-clear Caribbean and cool rushing rivers that cascade dramatically into spectacular waterfalls. I’m drawn to the beauty of the island, with its dazzling beaches of fame like Negril’s 7 Mile Beach or the secluded Frenchman’s Cove in Port Antonio.
While most visitors to the island might describe it as anything but subtle (think loud, pulsating music, spicy food, street hagglers), perhaps it is the nuances that keep me captivated with each visit. It’s the soft wind cooling my skin that has been warmed by the sun, it’s the stunning pink sunsets, it’s the laughter of school children as they pass in their nicely starched school uniforms, it’s the warmth of the people and friends I’ve made on the island who make me feel like I’m returning home with every visit.
Maybe it’s the mystery of knowing Jamaica is where Ian Fleming wrote all of his James Bond novels or the opportunity to bask on Jamaica’s famous James Bond Beach where the movie Dr. No was filmed, and where Ursula Andress emerged from the sea in her tiny bikini.
Maybe because there exists a certain magnetism about Jamaica. It’s a rich tapestry that embodies the Jamaican people and culture. The national motto of “Out of many, one people” captures the very essence of the island and couldn’t be more truthful. The influences in language, customs, beliefs, cuisine, music and art explode in Jamaica from all over the world.
Renting a villa on Jamaica is an exceptional experience that really permits the visitor to become part of the island as opposed to being confined at an all-inclusive and never experiencing the “real” Jamaica. With a local Jamaican cook included with the rental of all of the villas, guests can indulge in both the familiar and Jamaican specialties which go far beyond the popular jerk. Maybe it’s the excitement of every meal that presents a fusion of local spices and influences from around the world.
Located on the north coast, the Ian Fleming villa provides a seaside hideaway, which was the home of Ian Fleming and where he composed his spy novels and where agent 007 came to life. It’s an ideal hideaway for a family or a group of friends and provides splendid ocean views.
The lure of history and glamor is evident in the Frankfort Villa, which was once the holiday retreat of Winston Churchill, Queen Mary, Prince Edward, Dr. Henry Kissinger and even Drew Barrymore. Photos are displayed of the celebrity guests and the original stone walls, as well as two old canons, remind guests that it was once a British fort that defended against pirates.
Whispering Waters evokes the serenity that can be enjoyed at a private villa.
At Villa Lido, guests walk on 16th century Spanish flag stones and dine at a table once owned by Lord Horatio Nelson. There’s even an old canon that was used to defend the site from the Spanish centuries ago on the property. The head houseman, Roy, has been at the villa for over 40 years and can entertain guests with stories about famous guests that have stayed at the villa. He’s also an amazing resource for learning more about the local culture and beliefs.
The Emerald Seas entices guests with its five luxurious bedrooms, private pool and private tennis court.
As the ads say, “Come to Jamaica and feel alright”… The island and its people will not disappoint and its striking beauty will soothe your soul and the culture and people will enrich your life. I know I will return again and again-guilty as charged and always hungry for more.