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RITZ CARLTON ROSE HALL, Montego Bay, Jamaica
By Dwight Brown
Dwight, an executive at a major media company located in New York, is also a passionate travel writer who specializes in the Caribbean Islands and Brazil, writing about upscale hotels, resorts, dining venues, sports and cultural tours. He is a frequent contributor to Sleeping Around.
In August 2000, the world-renowned Ritz-Carlton chain opened a new, 200-acre
resort on the white-sand shores of Rose Hall Jamaica, just 15 minutes from
Montego Bay airport. In just a year, Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall, Jamaica has
become one of the island's most elegant and well-maintained resorts. Its
graceful, seductive, gray-taupe, horseshoe-shaped, 5-story building beckons
vacationers from all over the world.
Guests who stay in one of the 427 rooms with private balconies and panoramic
Caribbean Sea or mountain views are treated to exquisite accommodations,
opulent interior design and attentive service -- a time-honored Ritz
tradition. The lush lodgings include a special Ritz-Carlton suite, 51
executive suites and 36 Ritz-Carlton clubrooms and suites.
The landscape on the shore side of the hotel features an expanse of green
lawn that leads to a large pool just steps from the beach. After breakfast
at the Horizon's Restaurant and Lounge's buffet (7:00 to 11:00), some amble
over to the shore or the pool to relax, sunbathe and swim. For food or drink
service, you raise a blue flag attached to a beach chair, and an attendant
appears to takes your order that is filled at Mango's, the seaside
Dining: Mango's is open daily for lunch and on some evenings when it features
Jamaican cuisine. You can enjoy dishes like Jerked Pork Tenderloin baked in
Festival Crust served on wilted callaloo and fried plantain, under
the stars, in their open-air veranda facility. Horizon's continental dinner
offerings tend to have smaller portions and higher prices, in the $30 USD range.
For adventurous eaters Jasmine's Restaurant
is opened several nights a week and serves an eclectic mix of sixteen unique
Jamaican Asian fusion dishes. The fever grass speared prawns atop
breadfruit, drizzled with sweet & sour glaze, and traditional Jamaican curry
braised goat with yam, dumplings and wilted callaloo are delectable.
Recreation: A little activity will help you work off those tasty meals.
Lifeguards at the hotel beach assist guests with nonmotorized water sports
and beachside volleyball games are a daily event. For a quieter surf, take
the shuttle bus service three miles east to the Rose Hall Beach Club. At
this oasis, you'll find a food stand (with the best, fried Jamaican
escovitiched Red Snapper), jet skis, parasailing and scuba diving. There is snorkeling, sailing and a two-hour sunset cruise (includes beer,
rum punch and sodas) at an additional charge. There's a small equestrian center, a
basketball court, no crowds and the placid water. This private getaway is
worth the trip.
The White Witch Golf Course: - It's a 600-acre, par 71, 6,718-yard, gorgeous
golf course -- a golfer's dream, with a wicked twist. Golf Concierges, not
caddies, help players navigate the 18-hole, championship course designed by
Robert Von Hagge. 16 of the 18 holes feature seaside views and many tees
require hitting the ball up hills, across ponds or down to other plateaus.
Duffers like actor Steven Seagal and sportscaster Brent Mustbomber can verify
that this challenging course will test every club in your bag.
After a round, have breakfast or lunch at the open air White Witch
restaurant. Dinner is served in winter high season, and its menu specializes
in hearty, grilled foods from lobster to steaks. For a decadent dessert, try
the Mango and Bitter Sweet Chocolate Cake with a duo of fruit sauces, it is
sinful. And speaking of sin and wicked twists, legend has it that back in
the 18th century, Annee Palmer owned the 2,000-acre sugar plantation that
became the Rose Hall section of Jamaica. She killed her first three
husbands. But the fourth husband, the smart one, murdered her. Hence the
name White Witch. The course is on her land. Blame your bogeys on Annee!
Even if you don't play golf, visit the clubhouse for its spectacular view and
fine food. White Witch Golf packages range from two-night hotel stays ($965
to $1305) to seven-night stays ($4,080 to $5415). Sans package, daily green
fees start at $140 (low season) and $180 (high).
The Ritz-Carlton Spa Rose Hall: After a round of golf, visit the spa back in
the main building to rejuvenate the skin, relax stressed muscles or comfort
tired feet. Massage therapies start at $65 for a 30 minute Personalized
Massage, facial therapies start at $60, body therapies such as the Allspice
Essential Oil Wrap (60 minutes) begin at $115. The special Escape Packages
use combination therapies and can last up to 4 heavenly hours. The Elegance
& Sophistication Escape package cost $435 and includes: a Vitamin C Facial,
Aromatherapy Spa Manicure, Aromatherapy Spa Pedicure, Shea Butter Enhancement
or Deep Conditioning Enhancement, Scalp & Neck Massage or Just a Touch of
Elegant Rooms: The well-appointed beds with goose down pillows are inviting.
The cream-colored marble bathroom with pale yellow walls and the private
balconies are enticing. If an afternoon rain shower strands you in your
room, it's almost a blessing. Twice-daily maid service, plush, white terry
cloth bathrobes and slippers and premium bath essentials put you in the lap
Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall distinguishes itself from other high-end Jamaican
resorts by having all its accommodations and essential amenities in close
proximity. You can shuttle to the beach club or golf course, but the pool,
main beach, tennis and restaurants are within an easy walking distance. And
the service is superior. The friendly, attentive staff is ever present, but
Elegant atmosphere, gorgeous surroundings, exciting golf, relaxing spa and
attentive service make Ritz-Cartlon Rose Hall a dream destination for
discerning travelers who place these assets as their top priority.
Tourist information: Call the Jamaica Tourist Boards in New York
(212-856-9727), Miami (305-665-0557), Chicago (312-527-1296) or Los Angeles
(213-384-1123). Or log on to Jamaica Travel.
All photos ©Dwight Brown.
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