There are mom ‘n’ pop B&Bs, there are small, family-run hotels, and then there’s Bluefields Bay Villas. Yes, it’s an amazing setting, with a caring and attentive staff and a marine sanctuary…but it’s also a great entryway to the real Jamaica away from the tourist crowds of Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril. Listen to Peter’s most recent show to hear from all the people who make Bluefields and Jamaica so special.
You might just hate yourself for ever having to leave this luxury resort.”
For the seasoned Caribbean traveler, who is likely accustomed to a certain tropical roughness in the best of surroundings, Bluefields Bay Villas is a stark exception: an all-inclusive resort with standards of elegance and luxury we’ve rarely experienced before, anywhere else in the world (all-inclusive or otherwise). A cozy gathering of six resort homes directly on Jamaica’s gentle south coast – all fully staffed with a butler, housekeeper, maids, nannies for child care, footmen at meals, and each with a personal chef – Bluefields is a welcoming world far from the madding tourist mobs that flock to the more cookie-cutter, all-inclusive resorts of Montego Bay and Negril.
Bluefields Bay, at 7,413 acres the country’s largest marine reserve, has seen fish, waterfowl and other wildlife return since fishing villagers lobbied for its creation in 2009. Invasive lionfish can still be caught legally; try them sauteed at Bluefields Bay Villas, which also serves locally made jams and organic produce.
His uncommon travels have taken him to some truly remarkable corners of our home region (and beyond), of course, but somehow JA’s charms have eluded him. I’m not sure why, but I’m guessing that all the sprawling mega-resorts, faux-local bars and tripe touristy attractions most commonly identified with the island’s tourism product keep his compass pointing in other directions. This place, I think, might change his course in 2013…
Travel Weekly has honored Bluefields Bay Villas with the prestigious Magellan Award for excellent hospitality in a luxury resort. See us featured alongside other award winners in September’s issue of Travel Weekly.
The town of Bluefields, Jamaica, is best known as the home of Peter Tosh, an original member of Bob Marley and the Wailers. But in recent years, Bluefields has also built up a profile as a hidden seaside paradise of pristine white beaches, unspoiled by roves of peddlars hawking shell necklaces and hair braiding.
Houston Moncure of Bluefields Bay Villas supports the efforts of these groups by purchasing produce from the farms, the jams from the womans co-op, fish – particularly the evasive and destructive lion fish – to serve to his guests, and his generosity to the school in which Patrick Marti has also worked teaching environmental education and literacy. “What we do is easy to do,” say Moncure. “We choose to support the people of the town, the people whose family members work with us, the people that keep Bluefields a travel destination.” Serving the lion fish to guests is a resourceful way to help combat a problem created when a pair of the fish were accidentally” introduced to the waters off of Florida. Those fish have spawned a wave of destruction that can wipe out a healthy coral reef of all the smaller fish in a matter of hours.”
Although we had pored over photos before leaving Vancouver, nothing prepared us for the unique experience of Bluefields Bay Villas. After the hustle and bustle of Negril, a short distance south, Bluefields offered a welcome retreat into Jamaica’s colonial past.
The end of that drive fully justified everything that came before. The drive itself was a pleasure, and we arrived at Bluefields with a thorough education in island horticulture, stopping to look at gardens, orchards, and native plants. The Bluefields Bay Villas are six unique homes along a private waterfront. Each villa has its own stretch of beach for swimming, snorkeling or cloud watching, and each has its own personality. Largely designed inside and out by owner Debbie Moncure, the homes have open air designs outfitted with island and British influences, including antique Jamaican pieces that make Bluefields Bay the largest repository of such rarities in the in the world, according to A. Houston Moncure, our guide for this visit.