Jamaica Inn Boutique Hotel Review: THE Anti All-Inclusive Resort to Know About!
Opened in 1950, the Jamaica Inn is a self-proclaimed "anti all-inclusive resort", and has hosted the likes of icons such as Marilyn Munroe and Katharine Hepburn. The property boasts a mix of standard suites and standalone cottages, with a private beach and stunning views all around. I've visited Jamaica Inn a total of six (6) times, with the first visit being in November 2020. There's a lot to unpack about this hotel...so let's get right into it!
Location: Ocho Rios, St. Ann Last Visited: March 2022
Type: All-Inclusive Optional Cost: USD ~$400 per night + tax
Before You Go
Where are my Jamaican Residents? This information is for you! Locals get 50% off room rates, 10% off food and beverage and 10% off all Spa treatments. However! One must call the hotel to unlock these benefits, as a special code may be needed to book online. Otherwise, the reservations staff will be happy to make the booking for you over the phone.
This hotel is family friendly-ISH. Slightly heavy on the -ish, as while children are welcome, they'll have to be age 10 or older. To families with younger children who may be reading this, please don't shoot the messenger!
Upon arrival, my first thought was: Ah wah dis?? [Translation: What in the world is this?]
This is not your typical all-inclusive. I repeat, THIS IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL ALL-INCLUSIVE. Instead of seeing sprawling lawns, perfectly manicured landscaping and tons of sprinklers with a big fancy sign, you drive into what feels like a rainforest.
The lobby area is open air, small, intimate and lowkey with a beautiful view of the ocean and the beach. At this point you’re probably wondering what you paid all this money for if you’re used to the opulent, highly stimulating all-inclusive experience.
There is no loud music. No loud games. No crowds. No lines. You can see the main resort area from the lobby which consists of a small pool, a lawn and a beautiful beach. The rooms are a few steps away from the lobby (depending on your room category). No elevator or stairs needed, unless you choose a Balcony Suite. You’re met with a ‘Welcome Home’ from the front desk staff who unload your bags. At this point my family started shooting daggers in the back of my head because they were pretty sure we were scammed (and I recommended this place). Up until this
point, we’d mainly frequented large family all-inclusive hotel chains and this was not the vibe we were used to.
Oh! Before I forget, you may also see the hotel's black Labrador, Shadow roaming around the property. She is so well behaved, and paddleboards and swims with you! For anyone with allergies/fears, take this into consideration.
Check-in was surprisingly fast - less than 10 minutes! To access our rooms, we got KEYS. Not keycards. Not armbands. REAL KEYS. Intentionally aged, gold keys that looked like antiques. Unlike most modern hotels, Jamaica Inn took us allll the way back. I had childhood memories of going to Grandma’s house and feeling ensconced in her time. We got a choice of Rum Punch or Blended Fruit Punch for our welcome drinks, which were served in our room.
Style/Ambience: 8 out of 10
The owners of Jamaica Inn are really committed to keeping this place looking like the frozen 1950s. Furnished with local antiques, the hotel has an unmistakable British colonial-style Inn feel. It can be an adjustment for many of us who are used to modern minimalism, but I’ve come to see it as unique and iconic. The ambience itself really deserves a 10. In terms of natural beauty, there is absolutely no setting like this one. Extreme relaxation and romance is guaranteed.
The Room: 7 out of 10
We stayed in a Deluxe Verandah Suite, and my first impression was: "di place SMALL EEH?? " [Translation: This room is really small!]
Turns out looks can be deceiving. When we entered there was an entire wall of closed windows and french doors that we figured led to your typical balcony. Umm…It’s a whole VERANDAH. It’s bigger than the bedroom itself! It has sofas, recliners, fans, writing desks, a drying rack, beach towels, a mini fridge, water pitcher and ice bucket with a beautiful picnic dining table. The best part? The room is literally steps away from the ocean. One can watch the waves roll by or hear them from the bed as you drift off to sleep.
I think I started to buy into this unfamiliar concept of a hotel room when I realized all I had to do was step off my verandah, walk for 15 seconds and I was on beautiful white sand. There was one drawback though. Even though you’re hidden behind banana leaves it feels very exposed. There are no crowds but people do walk by and it can feel a bit weird for someone who is used to more closed off hotel rooms.
Have I already mention that there are no clocks nor radios on the property? Also, there are very limited TVs on the property, with one being in the Main Lobby area and the only others are in the Cottage room levels (private 2-4 person Villas), which are located far away from the main hotel building. Jamaica Inn believes that this equipment would disturb the serene ambience. They have amazing WiFi, but I know the no-TV bit may be a dealbreaker for many.
The bathroom is on the smaller side. and features a single vanity and a shower/tub combo. The bathroom is also stocked with luxury Molton Brown products, which is serious aromatherapy. The room also has a walk-in closet with lots of hanger and shelf space, so unpacking is easy. There are also have the fluffiest towels and cozy robes and slippers so you feel set for a great night’s sleep.
For those who may still crave a bit more luxury, the Cottage room levels have Indonesian-style interiors with private, heated plunge pools, and outdoor showers/bathtubs.
Food & Drinks: 8 out of 10
Since Jamaica Inn prides itself on providing an anti inclusive experience, dining is no different. There are various meal plans available, and all are at an added cost per person (in USD) and can which can run pretty expensive. The main dining area is primarily al fresco, with a stunning view of the ocean. There is afternoon tea everyday at 4 PM which offers complimentary tea, sandwiches, pastry and other finger food. I found the food here to be okay but not impressive.
At dinner, the ambience was VERY romantic. There was a live band serenading us and waiters in tuxedos with white gloves waiting to seat us at the candlelit tables. We were over the ocean with lights from the coast reflecting on the ocean. They had everything from steak, to pasta to flourless chocolate cake. The food. was. flawless. Best meals we'd all had. The meals are priced with pasta being on the least expensive end and fish, lobster and steak being the most expensive. Some may question if it is true value for money. There's also the option to order from the ‘All Day Menu’ which is more affordable, and offers a mix of Jamaican and European cuisine.
Room Service, which is more like in-room dining, is also available for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks at an added cost (from USD$5-$8)!
Customer Service: 9.5 out of 10
Jamaica Inn's staff are warm, welcoming and extremely responsive. My only gripe is that when things go wrong (such as maintenance issues), while they do resolve the issues as quickly as possible, they make no effort to compensate for the vacation time you lost due to the inconvenience.
Amenities & Entertainment: 7 out of 10
Where do I start! Jamaica Inn offers the usual complimentary water sports like paddleboarding, wind sailing, snorkeling, kayaking etc. There's also access to the Main Pool, a white sandy beach and a Gym! But they have some unique activities too, for example - Croquet and a glass of rosé happens every evening (it’s old time cricket) as well as garden tours.
On the property is also the Ocean Spa, which is the most immersive nature spa I’ve been to. The infinity saltwater pool by the ocean is honestly tear jerkingly beautiful and the massages over the ocean were amazing too.
Although I’ve been to Jamaican Inn six times, there are still more things I want to do. HOWEVER! Compared to most resorts, there isn’t much to do. So if you just want to relax and reconnect by yourself, with family or a partner it is great, but many may feel bored after a night or 2.
I got to hold baby turtles! Jamaica Inn is a part of the White River Fish Sanctuary, and is committed to ensuring the survival of the endangered Hawksbill turtle species. You may see the mother come up on their beaches to lay her eggs, but what I got to experience was the hatching of hundreds of baby turtles, cradling them in my arms and seeing them off to the big wide ocean. Truly a surreal experience every time. They have a turtle season calendar here you can use to plan your trips. Dates obviously aren’t concrete but hey you may get lucky.
Overall Rating: 7.9 out of 10
Verdict: I’ll go back til the day I die
All in all, Jamaica Inn isn’t a traditional resort experience but it is honestly an unforgettable one. There is honestly so much more I could say but you would be reading forever. If you need peace, if you need centering, if you need romance…this high end eco resort experience is the right place for you.
Honestly, this isn’t really a place for people who need to SEE how much money they are spending. If you are a quantity equals value kind of person, Jamaica Inn may not be the place for you. For me, it is absolutely worth it because in all the vacations I’ve had across the country, this is the first place where a glow stays with me for at least 2 weeks after I come home. It’s the first place I’ve wanted to return to again and again, and share with family and friends. It’s the first place that has really made a true impact on me.
I'm curious, would you visit Jamaica Inn? Why or Why not? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Disclaimer: This review is not sponsored. Opinions and photos are exclusively those of the Guest Contributor, except where otherwise credited.
About the Guest Contributor
Hi I’m Hillary! I love hospitality and giving people amazing experiences. I actually design those for technology but my dream is to design them for vacations as well.