Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Montego Bay, Jamaica, became somewhat of a household name in March 2018 when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stayed there for a friend’s wedding. Though the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended resort, open since 1953, has long been a favorite of celebrities — Jackie and JFK honeymooned in villa 10 and Lupita Nyong’o, Emma Watson and Taye Diggs all have visited — it’s equally popular among couples and families looking for serious R&R in a stunning setting.
There’s lots to love at Round Hill Hotel, from the butter scones at afternoon tea to the dewey bougainvillea that drip from every surface, and we’ve rounded up four of our favorite things about this serene Jamaican resort.
There’s a reason that the service at this island hideaway is so stellar — more than half of its staffers have been at Round Hill for longer than 20 years.
Among these is head concierge Kingsley Blake, who will retire this year with much fanfare. Blake — whose nephew also works at Round Hill — presides over the lobby in a sharp cerulean shawl-collar blazer, dispensing advice on the best day trips and outings, what to have for lunch and which activities are happening at the resort.
Staffers are effusively warm and genuine, making you feel not like guests, but like family. Afternoon tea, complimentary and served daily between 4 and 5 p.m., is a great time to chat with veteran team members who are full of stories and suggestions for things to do.
The Family Activities
Rare is the resort that caters impeccably both to couples and families with young children, but Round Hill pulls it off. The trampoline anchored a few feet off the beach beckons the young (and young at heart), as does the watersports office with its walls lined in waterskis, snorkel masks and fins.
The kayaks, windsurfing equipment, stand-up paddleboards and Hobie Cat sailboat docked outside promise a day full of fun, as does a daily, complimentary glass-bottom boat tour that’s ideal for younger children who can’t yet snorkel.
At the family pool, games of Marco Polo, noodle floating and ring diving are all the rage while the adult infinity pool is more tranquil with cocktail-sipping couples and groups of friends splayed on royal blue lounge chairs.
Two kids clubs — Pineapple (ages 3 to 6) and 7-Up (7 and older) — are open daily and offer myriad activities, such as reggae lessons, story hour, arts and crafts, outdoor activities, water sports and an array of books and toys to keep little ones happily occupied all day.
While we love the stylish Ralph Lauren-designed rooms in the Pineapple House, with their mahogany four-poster beds and white stone floors, the villas are the way to go at this scenic oceanfront resort.
The 27 privately owned accommodations — of which 21 boast private pools — have two to six bedrooms, and the décor of each skews to the tastes of its owners. Some units are done up almost entirely in white with sea-green and blue accents while others have more patterns and brighter color palettes.
In the living rooms of all villas are soft couches for lounging during afternoon rainstorms, playing games or reading Julia Child’s My Life in France, Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park or one of the dozens of other books on the shelves.
Villas come with dedicated housekeeping and kitchen staff, and breakfast (included) is served each morning on the veranda. You can book an entire abode — ideal for wedding parties or families who want ample space to spread out — or an individual suite.
A short stroll from the main resort is the 18th-century plantation house on a beachfront lawn that now serves as the eight-room Spa at Round Hill. The deliciously sumptuous treatments here utilize either exclusive Elemis products (this is the only Caribbean spa to feature the luxe British brand) or wonderfully fragrant Jamaican aromatherapy oils in scents such as lavender and sweet lemongrass.
To take full advantage of the stunning surroudings, an open-air room allows you to enjoy alfresco massages — a table can also be set up on the shaded, gently sloping lawn.
For those who want to be pampered, but can’t bear to spend too much time away from the white-sand beach and pool, the spa’s signature 25-minute treatments — including a pleasantly fragrant Pineapple Body Buff — offer the solution.
An array of Skin Renweal therapies are also under an hour — the zesty Lime and Ginger Salt Glow gently exfoliates, polishing away rough winter skin and leaving you feeling reborn.
As you glide from the spa out onto the lawn, make your way to one of the hammocks to continue the feeling of Zen.