Azure waters, pristine beaches, immaculate lawns and impeccable service combine to make Round Hill in Hanover Parish, Jamaica, not only a world class destination, but one that raises the bar in so far as resorts are concerned.

Entrance to ocean front luxury.

Just eight miles west of Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Round Hill sits on a 110 acre peninsula, overlooking a private beach and Round Hill Bay.

Round Hill’s achievements are legion including recognition for the fifth consecutive year as the World’s Leading Villa Resort. The recognition was announced at the World Travel Awards gala ceremony, known as the Oscars of the Travel Industry earlier this year at the Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort and Spa.

It was no surprise to those in the tourism sector as Round Hill has consistently been the winner of the Caribbean’s top awards since it began operations in the 1950s. It also took top honors in the Regional categories with the presentation of the Caribbean’s Leading Villa Resort Award.

This is just a cottage.

The resort won both of these awards overwhelmingly from the over two million votes cast worldwide from 167,000 travel agencies and professionals in 200 countries. It also was named Jamaica’s Leading Spa Resort.

In addition to these achievements, Round Hill was recently recognized by Code Nast Traveller, a world renowned magazine, as the ninth favorite out of 20 leading resorts in all of the Americas and the Caribbean.

The resort features 27 secluded villas with 74 suites on a hillside that slopes down to the sea with breath-taking views. Most have private swimming pools. The 36 spacious rooms in the Pineapple House Hotel were recently refurbished by Ralph Lauren, one of Round Hill’s shareholders.

But this is a Villa.

The suites are very luxurious and spacious and have much of what one would find in a grand manor house with large bedrooms and living rooms, private terraces, larger swimming pool and a warm and friendly staff.

Each guest room is furnished with a four poster mahogany-colored bamboo bed and decorated with paintings from Jamaican artists and has expansive windows, framed by white shutters.  Open air living rooms provide stunning views of the tropical gardens of Round Hill and the Caribbean Sea. The baths contain double sink vanities, separate bathtubs and showers.

The new swimming pool designed by Thomas Woltz of Nelson, Byrd and Woltz Landscape Architects of Virginia.

The new swimming pool that has just been completed was designed on three different levels by a landscape architect and creates a sense of space and the landscaping is breath-taking. The main pool is 50ft by 16 ft with the deepest end at seven ft. Water cascades over two vanishing edges into a spa pool below. The walls of the pool large made of ballast stone and retrieved from the ruins of the Golden Grove Sugar Works, an 18th century Jamaica sugar mill to add to the authenticity of the pool’s environment.

Round Hill's new azure pool along a pristine beach.

It is one of the proud achievements of Managing Director, Josef Forstmayr who spent many days overseeing the work and ensuring the planting of tropical trees to provide ecological qualities of the site.

Unique Carib spa treatments.

The Spa at Round Hill is one of the truly amazing amenities being offered guests. The path to tranquility winds through oceanfront property and rainforest where guests experience exotic and abundant aromas.

The spa is located is located on a 10 acre oceanfront lawn, in a restored 18th century plantation house. The facilities include an indoor and outdoor fitness center, full service beauty salon, seven body treatment rooms as well as an outdoor treatment area, set amidst abundant gardens.

The waterfront lawn is used for afternoon yoga classes or a massage by the sea. Exotic therapies using the best of Jamaican natural ingredients have been created. The exclusive line of ELEMIS lifestyle aromatherapy products from the United Kingdom has been introduced last winter.

Round Hill is also a classy tennis resort.

Beach activities abound.

Walk up Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios.

Resort amenities include fresh water pool at the edge of the Caribbean Sea for use by all guests private beach offering a fully equipped water-ports center with some complimentary services, PADI diving, deep sea fishing boats and yachts are available for charter.  Round Hill also provides five all-weather courts, two lit for evening play for complimentary tennis.

There are several plans to choose from. The platinum plan for example provides for airport transfers, breakfast, lunch, dinner, room service and afternoon tea. All drinks at the bar, a bottle of champagne, gift baskets and fruit basket upon arrival.  Guests can dine around four restaurants in Montego Bay, benefit from aerobic classes, health and fitness center with a Fitness Director, use of tennis courts, windsurfing, snorkeling, sailing, pedal boats, kayak, glass bottom boat, one 30 minute tranquility massage per stay, nightly entertainment including a live Reggae Band and management cocktail party.

For those who like the outdoors they can choose from the Chukka Blue Adventure Tours, horseback riding, jungle river tubing, black river safari, mountain valley rafting, Ocho Rios/Dunns River falls, the canopy tours where participants fly through the trees and visiting the Great House as well as Greenwood Great House.

Chukka Caribbean Adventures is the new corporate name for the long established Chukka Cove and Chukka Blue Adventure Tour Companies operated by the Melville and Byles families in Jamaica.

Jungle zip lining.

One of the most exciting tours is the two and a half hours Chukka Cove Original Canopy Tour Adventure. A short nature walk takes you to the first platform, nestled on the hillside overlooking the treetops and jungle canopy. Participants soar through the trees on an intricate system of harnesses, pulleys and carabiners on horizontal traverses.

There are nine traverses, from 105 feet to 660 feet apart, swinging through the Laughlands River gorge, a giant valley carved by the surrounding mountain by ancient waters which still h as a sparkling river flowing through it. During the tour, one can survey the flora and fauna of this magnificent landscape and glimpse the Caribbean Sea.

Another interesting tour is in the Zebra Striped Safari Jeeps which takes you through the famous Fern Gully and view some of the 200 different species of ferns.

Click for Jamaica BlogPeter Smith who was awarded Tour Guide of the Season for 2004/2005 explains some of the scenery, including the highest viewpoint, Murphy Hill, 2000 feet above sea level. He explains how the famous ackee is reaped and cooked. The tour takes you through small villages, Jamaica’s largest estates to view a working cattle station and taste some of the fresh fruits along the way.

Feature by Edwin Ali, Jetsetters Magazine Caribbean Editor.