Thinking about booking a winter escape? The new hotspot on our radar: Negril, Jamaica. Today, Maje’s Head of Marketing, Sarah Lawrence, shares her top picks from the dreamy locale based on a recent trip with her beau, Versace’s VP of Marketing, Marti Crampshee. (Yeah, they’re kind of a power couple.)
Sarah's Take On Negril
Sarah and Marti in Negril. Photo: Courtesy
"If you are looking for a lazy, laid back, sun-drenched retreat, look no further than Negril. Think: white sand beaches, kaleidoscopic sunsets, cliff jumping, and warm, bright blue seas. At night, the Red Stripe and rum flow like water."
Where To Stay
"This cliffside boutique hotel and spa is nestled along the lush coastline of Negril, away from the hustle and bustle of the Seven Mile Beach in town. It features private, thatched-roof bungalow villas with sun-decks. The bungalows overlook coves, which you can go snorkeling in."
"A supped up version of the Rockhouse, The Caves, which is owned by music heavyweight legend Chris Blackwell, offers an all-inclusive, luxury experience."
"For a rustic, no-frills but charming experience, check into Chippewa Village across from the Seven Mile Beach. The hotel features stunning backyard views and quirky cabins with just the basics. The owner, John, and his two dogs, Rocky and Princess, are the best."
Where To Eat
Murphy's West End
"Past the lighthouse in the West End, this quirky roadside shack serves true Jamaican food. Make a reservation in advance to ensure a table - the place is tiny. Best dishes: garlic grilled lobster, curried fish and shrimp and festival; a local treat similar to a fried donut. Bring a pack of cards and order the strong rum punch to occupy you while you wait for your meal."
"Dinner at Pushcart in the Rockhouse Hotel offers breathtaking views of the coastline cliffs, live music, and inspired Jamaican street eats – oxtail stew, curried goat, steamed snapper, jerk chicken, peppa shrimp and delicious cocktails made with fresh juice. The staff couldn’t be nicer, too."
"About a 10-minute drive from the main drag, Just Natural is a small, family-owned hidden gem nestled in the jungle. Rustic and tranquil, the garden setting features a super-healthy menu: local fruits, fresh juices, and unexpected vegetarian dishes. Be prepared to wait!"
What To Do
"For a local nightclub experience, head to the beach and find The Jungle. Overlook the tacky décor, shot girls and hagglers and enjoy the true Jamaican sound system and dancing on the sand, under the stars."
Half Moon Beach
"This secluded private beach has a no-vendor policy. Sunbathe on the soft white sand or snorkel in the crystal-clear warm waters. There's a beach bar that does offer refreshments and fresh grilled lobster to keep you satisfied."
"Arrange a private taxi from Negril to Ocho Rios via Juta Tours for a day trip – don’t be shy to negotiate the rate. The journey is approximately 2.5-hours so leave early. Along the way stop at Scotchies for local delicacy – jerk!"
The White River (Ocho Rios)
"The White River is a calm, crystal clear river that separates two Parishes in Ocho Rios that feed directly into the sea. For a mere $20, you can float on a bamboo raft with a local guide who will serenade you with reggae tunes."
Selvin's Fishing Trips (Ocho Rios)
"After the rafting trip, arrange a half-day boat excursion with Selvin, a local guide who specializes in sightseeing, snorkeling and deep sea fishing. The half-day adventure ($350 for 4 people) includes ice cold beers, coastline visits to the infamous James Bond beach where “Dr. No” was filmed, waterfalls, and deep sea fishing for local catches like marlin and tuna. Well worth the money."