An Affordable Villa Vacation
Everyone’s favorite affordable (and no-fuss) Jamaican resort, the Rockhouse, has upped the ante by adding eight villas, which make it possible to sleep in style—and stay on a budget. But be sure to cut yourself loose from the comforts of your waterfront nest: exploring the island is easier than ever, thanks to a new road linking Montego Bay to the bohemian party town of Negril.
WHERE TO STAY The new villas at the laid-back and understated Rockhouse (West End Rd., Negril; 876/957-4373; www.rockhousehotel.com; villas from $295) have terraces, outdoor showers, and views of Pristine Cove.
WHERE TO EAT Don’t miss the Jamaican Jambalaya, a rich mélange of fresh crayfish, shrimp, and conch, at the Rockhouse Restaurant (dinner for two $90). The Lobster Trapp (Sawyer’s Beach Rd., Hopewell; 876/783-5046; dinner for two $50), a shack just outside Montego Bay, is famous for its fresh-fish menu. Diners must call ahead to place an order with Derby, a local fisherman who catches and cooks the evening’s meal.
WHAT TO DO A 15-minute cab ride from the Rockhouse, the Royal Palm Reserve (Springfield Rd.; Sheffield; 876/364-7407; www.royalpalmreserve.com) buzzes with more than 300 types of birds, butterflies, and reptiles. Kayak along the coast to Rick’s Café (West End Rd., Negril; 876/957-0380; drinks for two $12) for a rum punch, a dip in the new pool, and a view of the daily cliff-diving show. A festive crowd mingles at Alfred’s Ocean Palace (Norman Manley Blvd., Negril; 876/957-4669) for live reggae rhythms, then heads to the end of the driveway, where jerk chicken awaits, courtesy of the chef, Blue Dandy. —Xander Kaplan