JA­MAICA

KAREN HAL­ABI TAKES A LOOK AT THE PLACE USAIN BOLT CALLS HOME.

World Travel Magazine - - Feature Island Getaways, Jamaica -

AWest Indies is­land in the Caribbean, Ja­maica is syn­ony­mous with reg­gae, rhythm and ro­mance, bold colours, Rasta­far­ian cul­ture and a laid-back Caribbean life­style. Grace Jones, Sean Paul and Naomi Camp­bell all have Ja­maican roots.

The birth­place of reg­gae mu­sic and the home of le­gendary mu­si­cian Bob Mar­ley, Ja­maica is also where Ralph Lau­ren goes on va­ca­tion at his holiday house at Round

Hill, a fab­u­lous re­sort out­side Mon­tego Bay.

Noel Coward and Ian Flem­ing of James Bond fame also had their homes here. Flem­ing’s house has since been turned into a fab­u­lous re­sort, Golden Eye at

Ora­cabessa on the northern coast.

At Ne­gril on the western tip of the is­land, the is­land’s new­est stun­ning lux­ury prop­erty, The Cliff re­cently opened. It’s at West End, the qui­eter, more pri­vate part of Ne­gril where you can swim off the cliffs and ex­plore rock in­lets and caves. There’s no beach, but the deep Caribbean azure wa­ters full of trop­i­cal fish are a

re­fresh­ing break from the heat.

Well known chef Cindy Hut­son who cre­ated Cui­sine of the Sun and has a string of Caribbean in­spired res­tau­rants through­out Florida and Grand Cay­man is now ex­ec­u­tive chef at Zest The Cliff’s des­ti­na­tion restau­rant. The food is the best on the is­land.

Ne­gril is world fa­mous for cliff jump­ing, a nightly spec­ta­cle at nearby Rick’s Cafe, Ja­maica’s most pop­u­lar gath­er­ing spot for sun­set. Lo­cal cliff jumpers clam­ber to the top of tall poles to jump from dizzy­ing heights into the wa­ter be­low. You can also lis­ten to reg­gae well into the wee hours or at nearby Push Cart, part of Rock­house, an Aus­tralian-owned re­sort. Rock­house is a col­lec­tion of rus­tic thatched stone vil­las dot­ted along the vol­canic cliffs of Pris­tine Cove with steps and lad­ders down into the serene wa­ters of the Caribbean sea.

Other pop­u­lar spots on the is­land in­clude Mon­tego Bay,

Ocho Rios and Port­land with its un­spoilt beaches. Stay in Port­land at Great Huts. Modelled on an African vil­lage, you can choose from mud huts, tents or tree houses. Also here, the exclusive Gee­jam where many record­ing artists have recorded tracks.

Drive to the Blue Moun­tains where Ja­maica’s fa­mous cof­fee is grown, swim in a blue hole or, even bet­ter, The

Blue La­goon, my favourite spot in Port­land where the movie of the same name was filmed. Take a spec­tac­u­lar raft trip across the la­goon with Ja­son to the min­eral wa­ter ponds, Mon­key Is­land or just to see the deep pris­tine crys­tal blue wa­ters. If you have more time, Trea­sure

Beach and the rum dis­tillery at Ap­ple­ton are worth a visit and the Bob Mar­ley Mu­seum in Kingston and nearby Port

Royal of pi­rate fame are un­miss­able.

But the real rea­son to go to Ja­maica is the peo­ple - as warm, sen­sual and colour­ful as the Ja­maican flag, as in­tox­i­cat­ing as its sig­na­ture rum and as spicy as its na­tional dish - jerk chicken. You can prob­a­bly find bet­ter food and beaches some­where else but the Ja­maicans move from their heart, not their heads.

Pre­vi­ous page, aerial view of Spa & Fit­ness Cen­tre , Round Hill, Ja­maica This page,

Rock­house pool Op­po­site, pad­dle­board­ing the clear cerulean wa­ters of Pris­tine Cove near the Rock­house and The Cliff

This page, from top, Theresa, owner of the Just Nat­u­ral Cafe, jokes with lo­cal reg­gae artist Frezi at her pop­u­lar Rasta­far­ian eatery set in an all nat­u­ral gar­den just around the cor­ner from The Cliff; One of the gor­geous mod­ern rooms with poster beds at The Cliff Op­po­site,

clock­wise from top left, the vil­las at The Rock­house perch on the edge of the vol­canic cliffs; the lounge area at The Push­cart, the reg­gae bar at the Rock­house; raft­ing the fa­mous Blue La­goon with Ja­son - he uses a bam­boo pole to push the bam­boo raft around the la­goon; Deluxe Villa In­te­rior, Round Hill

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