Culloden Cove

Culloden, Jamaica Book from US$520

Reviewed by Emma Love
A staffed villa and cottage with gorgeous gardens and a sea-view pool, tucked away above a small, private beach (sleeps 4-12)
Once a restaurant called Culloden Café, this gorgeous lilac-coloured villa sits in a tiny village on Jamaica’s southeast coast, hidden away at the end of a long, lush drive. The villa itself is lovely - simply designed, spacious and homely, with everything you might need. In the main house are 3 bedrooms (2 with four-poster beds, plus a twin) and an airy open-plan living area; there’s also a self-contained cottage in the grounds with another couple of bedrooms. But the real wow factor is the outside space. Hummingbirds flutter around the wooden trellis that covers the terracotta-tiled alfresco dining area, and lawns lead down to the infinity pool, a shady gazebo with hammocks and sofas, the private beach, and the turquoise sea beyond.

In short, this place is dreamy - ideal for families or a group of friends wanting to fully relax. It’s tempting not to leave at all (and the rates include friendly staff to cook your meals and look after you, so you really don’t have to), but do drag yourselves away to explore. Some of Jamaica’s most beautiful landscapes and beaches are within easy reach, as are boat trips in search of crocodiles, rare birds and more.

Highs

  • This is a peaceful, utterly secluded spot, and the small, sandy beach that belongs to the villa is heavenly (there are snorkels and kayaks to borrow, too)
  • The meals, served wherever and whenever you want, are huge and delicious; you’ll eat like kings
  • The cottage is perfect for teenagers or those in your party who want more privacy, and smaller groups can book use of 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms only for reduced rates
  • Plenty of kit for those with children in tow - extra beds, baby cots, toys and games, bottle warmers, highchairs, even car seats. Babysitting can be arranged, too
  • The staff are incredibly welcoming. The caretaker lives on site, the housekeepers will cook, clean and shop, and there’s a security guard at night for peace of mind

Lows

  • It's best to have a car to explore the area, though transfers and tours can be arranged
  • There's only one restaurant within walking distance, so you'll need to drive if you want more variety
  • You can see a Sandals resort across the bay from the end of the garden; the plus side is that its fantastic beach (open to the public) is just a short walk away
  • Full prepayment is required prior to arrival

Best time to go

The warm, tropical climate means that Jamaica is a popular destination all year round. High season runs from December to April; the official rain and hurricane season lasts from the start of June to the end of November, but it usually only rains for short periods in the afternoon so it isn’t a big deal. Culloden Cove is open all year.

Our top tips

Raj Tours is a Bluefields-based tour company run by Wolde Kristos, who specialises in responsible tourism. As well as introducing you to local characters (including eccentric artist Jah Calo), he can organise anything from day trips to the hummingbird sanctuary in Anchovy to nature walks around the Mayfield Falls.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villa
  • 3 double bedrooms + 2 twin bedrooms
  • Chef included in rates
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Snorkelling equipment and kayaks
  • Books, board games and badminton set
Room: Villa

Rooms

There are 3 bedrooms upstairs in the main house: 2 with four-poster mahogany queensize beds draped in mosquito nets, and another with twin beds. The master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom with a shower and a huge walk-in wardrobe, while the other rooms come with built-in wardrobes and share a bathroom with a shower over the tub. All have the same simple and airy style: white walls with a pointed, white-panelled ceiling. There are mahogany bedside tables, terracotta floor tiles and small touches such as black and white photographs, driftwood arranged on a bookshelf and, when we stayed, bunches of flowers picked fresh from the garden.

Downstairs, there is a large sitting-cum-dining room with a table and wooden benches that seat up to 6, plus a couple of comfy wicker sofas with striped cushions arranged around a low coffee table and a TV. Oversized paper lampshades dangle from the ceiling, and muslin drapes hang by the windows. There’s also a kitchen, a small room with a shelf-ful of paperbacks, and a further shower bathroom.

The smaller cottage, set halfway down the drive, has 2 more bedrooms. The first has a queensize four-poster bed; the second has 2 double four-poster beds. The cottage also has a kitchenette, a shower bathroom, and a small terrace with a table and 4 chairs overlooking the garden’s lush vegetation.

Both the villa and cottage have air-conditioning and are stocked with towels, toiletries, hairdryers and baskets of magazines. Reduced rates are available if you only need to use 2, 3 or 4 of the bedrooms, and 2 floor mattresses can be provided if you need to accommodate additional people.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbeque
  • Cd player
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Mosquito net
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

The kitchen is well equipped - fridge, freezer, oven, hob, microwave, blender, toaster, coffee maker - and you’ll find basics such as sugar, oils and spices in the cupboards; the cottage has its own small kitchenette (no oven or stove). You can cook for yourself if you wish, but housekeepers and chefs Dion, Lily and Gail - whose services are included in the rates and who all used to work here when Culloden Cove was a restaurant (“We came with the house,” jokes Gail) - are excellent cooks.

The welcome pack you’ll receive on arrival includes a list of possible menus, but you can also ask for whatever you fancy. One of the staff will do the shopping locally in Whitehouse (you just pay for the ingredients, plus the taxi there and back) and prepare meals which you can eat wherever and whenever you like. There is an outside dining table on the terrace, beautifully lit with candles and fairy lights after dark, but we loved eating on the second terrace at the end of the garden, right by the sea.

For lunch, we were treated to a delicious chicken salad with mango, papaya, pineapple and a homemade passion-fruit sauce; for dinner, we had roasted yellowtail snapper followed by a mouth-watering key lime pie. For breakfast, we ate a traditional Jamaican spread of ackee and salt fish with fried plantain and breadfruit - superb. You can also ask for more international dishes if you prefer.

If you want to eat out, just let staff know the night before so they don’t buy or prepare anything. There's a good restaurant within a 5-minute walk called Blue Waters, as well as more a short drive away - ask for recommendations. As nearby Whitehouse is the island’s main fishing port, the local seafood is particularly good.

Features include:

  • Children meals
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • In house cook
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Swim in the pool, go snorkelling or kayaking off the beach (there’s equipment to borrow), or simply relax in a hammock with a book or board game
  • For a longer sweep of beach, stroll 5 minutes around the bay to the Sandals Whitehouse resort, whose sands are open to the public (you can try diving and other watersports here, too). There are also lovely beaches in the neighbouring fishing villages of Belmont and Bluefields, plus the more touristy but picture-postcard 7-mile stretch at Negril (an hour away)
  • Visit Jamaica’s oldest rum estate, Appleton (40 minutes’ drive), to learn about the distillation process and taste the results
  • Go on a boat safari from Black River (a 15-minute drive) to see crocodiles and rare birds; older children in particular will love it. A little further afield, you can visit the manatee colony in the wetlands of eastern Jamaica
  • Swim in the refreshing rock pools at the famous YS Falls (half an hour away) then, if you’re feeling adventurous, have a go at zip-lining
  • Have cocktails at Pelican Bar, a brilliant and totally unique wooden bar on stilts that’s owned by local fisherman Floyd. It’s set a mile offshore from Parotee beach (25 minutes from Culloden Cove) and there are boats to ferry you out
  • Explore the beautiful hills of Cockpit Country (an hour’s drive). They were once the scene of a guerrilla war launched by the Maroons, the descendants of escaped slaves - there’s a museum where you can learn more in the village of Accompong, a semi-autonomous state governed by the Maroon Council
  • Golf and horse riding are also on offer nearby - the villa’s staff can point you in the right direction

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wildlife
  • Zip-lining

Kids

i-escape's Best for Kids Awards 2014
Winner: Best Newcomer
> See the full list of winners

Children of all ages are very welcome, and the helpful staff mean parents really can relax without having to worry about cooking or cleaning. Culloden Cove is very well equipped with baby kit, and there are 2 wicker baskets full of toys. There are also board games in the cupboard under the stairs, plus the pool to splash around in.

The twin rooms are ideal for kids, and the cottage is very handy for teenagers or grandparents who want their own space. If you need to sleep additional kids, 2 floor mattresses can be provided (free for under 12s).

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by the hour - just give the staff some notice.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • Baby bedding
  • Nightlight
  • Potty
  • Highchair
  • Bottle warmer
  • Car seats (rear-facing for babies and front-facing for infants)

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Staff will happily tailor meals to suit children - just let them know your requirements.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Kids’ DVDs and books
  • Small, private beach with shallow water
  • Gardens to play in
  • Kayaks
  • Snorkelling equipment
  • Badminton set
  • Toys and board games
  • Paddling pool

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Plenty of long sandy beaches nearby
  • Boat trips to see crocodiles and more
  • Waterfalls and zip-lining
  • Manatees to visit
  • Butterfly gardens and hummingbird sanctuary
  • Horse riding

Families Should Know:

The pool is unfenced, but it’s 40m from the villa and cottage and in full view from the terrace.

Distances:

  • Airport: 1-hour drive (Montego Bay)
  • Hospital: 20-minute drive
  • Shop: 2-minute walk (local shop) or 2-minute drive (supermarket)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

{{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},
Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

Rates for Culloden Cove