Round Hill Hotel & Villas

Montego Bay, Jamaica Book from

MOST COOL FOR KIDS MOST COOL FOR KIDS
Reviewed by Cat Martin
Elegant oceanfront suites and hillside villas in extensive tropical grounds, with a private beach, spa and gourmet restaurant
A Jamaican institution, created on a former sugar plantation when socialites, style icons and literati were invited to build cottages and invest in the resort, Round Hill has welcomed satisfied guests - including a honeymooning John and Jackie Kennedy - since 1952. Conveniently close to west coast Montego Bay, it’s just a short drive from the airport and is blessed with 30 acres of lush grounds, which cascade down to a sandy cove.

This exclusive resort is made up of several 2-6 bed Villas, plus Oceanfront rooms and suites. With a private beach, infinity pool, excellent spa and plentiful watersports, Round Hill is great for people who want to stay put, and give in to indulgent relaxation. You won't go hungry: 2 gourmet restaurants serve great seafood and Jamaican specialties, and afternoon tea is on the house. Families love having their own space, without disturbing the neighbours (and the Kids' Club is complimentary); romantics flock here in search of quality chill-out time. Round Hill supplies Old World glamour in an impeccable setting, enjoy.

Highs

  • When we revisited in 2014, we fell in love with the Oceanfront rooms. If only we could wake up to that view every day...
  • The service is fabulous, and many staff have been here for over 15 years - you're greeted with big smiles and a welcoming rum punch
  • Timeless chic decor; think lots of white and an airy understated feel (Ralph Lauren decorated the Oceanfront rooms and cocktail lounge)
  • The luxurious villas offer total seclusion so they're great for honeymooners, 2-5 couples, or a large family party
  • Pretty sandy beach with shade, pontoons to bathe on, and a calm, clear sea

Lows

  • Unless you rent a villa in its entirety you'll have to share it with strangers, and you can't choose the villa or the mix - but they try to avoid pairing young families with couples
  • The beach is secluded, but also on the small side and can get very busy; the sea bed is a little rocky, too
  • Slightly magazine trendy, with all the predictable gloss
  • Pricey for both accommodation and food, but the location, history and exclusivity is what you're paying for
  • The estate is so large you may need to use the complimentary golf buggies - they look a bit naff but kids love them!

Best time to go

Open all year for a relaxing break and consistently warm tropical weather ensures Jamaica is a popular destination year-round. On the coast, temperatures range from 22C and 31C. Mid December - mid April is High Season in terms of climate. May, June, October and November are Shoulder Season in terms of climate but also Jamaica's rainy and hurricane seasons (it rains for a short spell most afternoons, but isn't a big deal). Low Season is from mid-April to mid-December - fewer crowds but less reliable sunshine.

Our top tips

The gardener offers nature walks on Fridays; they're really interesting.

Great for...

Family
Beach
Spa
Wedding
Foodie
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Luxury Resort
  • 63
  • Restaurants + bars (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Tennis Court
  • Private beach
  • Boutique
  • Board games
Room:

Rooms

At Round Hill, you can choose a suite in one of the 27 villas, or opt for an Oceanfront Room in the Pineapple House, close to the beach. The glamorous villas offer more seclusion and space but are further away from the restaurant, beach, pool and bar - hence the need for golf buggies. Oceanfront Rooms, in contrast, are closer to the action, so are a great choice for couples who want to wake up to the sound of the waves and don't mind noise from the restaurants.

The villas are all privately owned - Ralph Lauren amongst them - but when they are not in residence, you can rent the suites or whole villas. Each villa has 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 individual suites, and all have a west-facing sea view, private living room and terrace or garden. And 23 villas have a private shared pool, or you can choose the cheaper option of a villa with no pool.

Décor varies in each villa (and some have been decorated more recently than others) so there's no standard layout and you could get either a shower or a tub or both in the bathroom, but in general expect low-key classic style and comfort: bamboo furniture, mahogany beds, large sofas, and hardwood floors.

The 36 Oceanfront Rooms have been designed by Ralph Lauren; these display understated elegance with white linens, picture windows, four-posters and Elemis bathroom products. Some are on the ground floor and benefit from a patio, while those on the first floor have huge shuttered windows which make the most of the view.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Ceiling fan
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

A buffet breakfast is available in the restaurant, or a la carte breakfasts can be made to order and brought to your room or served on your private terrace (each villa has its own breakfast chef).

For snacks and lunches there's The Grill, which has a relaxed atmosphere, an inviting open terrace and the only indoor wood-fire grill on Jamaica! We had a gorgeous Mahi Mahi wrap with sweet potato fries, followed by an ice-cream tasting platter!

The Ralph Lauren-decorated Cocktail Bar offers late lunch or early dinners for children, plus a not-to-be-missed complimentary afternoon tea (pastries, scones, cakes and fruit). The Manager hosts a (free) cocktail party here on Wednesdays.

Dinner is more formal affair - long trousers and collared shirts for men are required after 7pm in the dining areas. You can eat in the colonial-style Georgian dining room overlooking the sea, out on the candlelit Seaside Terrace or at The Grill. Food is contemporary international cuisine with Jamaican specialties plus fresh tropical fruits and plenty of seafood. Themed buffet nights (Jamaica Night, and Caribbean Curry Night) are popular, and on Mondays dinner is served on the beach, with a steel drumming band as entertainment.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • There are plenty of watersports for the energetic: windsurfing, snorkelling, tubing, water skiing, and a PADI diving centre. Most non-motorised sports are complimentary - dingies, pedal boats, kayaks
  • Yacht charters, glass bottom boats and deep-sea fishing can also be arranged; there's a reef off-shore teeming with fish which you can snorkel over (parrotfish and barracuda are common; hire equipment from the dive centre)
  • There are 5 all-weather tennis courts (2 are floodlit) with ball boy services and an on-site Pro. Or head to the fitness centre for an exercise class
  • Relax at the Elemis spa and salon; try the signature Pineapple Body Buff or Visible Brilliance Facial; enjoy a massage on the adults-only spa lawn to the sounds of the sea
  • Adventurous types can go rafting in Mountain Valley, on a zipline canopy tour or tubing down the Great River (recommended)
  • Jamaica is a wonderfully diverse island, with lots to see and do. For more of our favourites, see our destination guide

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Kayaking
  • Rafting
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkelling
  • Tennis
  • Tennis coaching
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing

Kids


i-escape's Best for Kids Awards 2013
Winner: Active Older Kids category

Round Hill is exceptionally family friendly with a wealth of activities and facilities for families of all shapes and sizes. If you want to keep to yourselves, the villas are large enough to feel secluded; alternatively you can throw yourself into their activities, which include 2 free kids clubs, and use all their facilities.

It's great for children of all ages; children over 3 are charged at 50% for the meal plans.

Best for:

Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

If you've got 1 child, the easiest thing is to add a cot or extra bed to your room.
If you have 2 children or want extra space, book either 2 connecting oceanfront rooms or a 2-bed villa with or without pool. The latter option gives you additional living space.
If you have 3 or more children, book a 2, 3, 4 or 5 bed villa with a pool. This is also a great option for families holidaying together or multigenerational family breaks. You can add extra beds and cots and all bathrooms have bathtubs.

Babysitting:

English-speaking nannies and babysitters are available for a minimum of 3 hours at an additional cost. Book in advance; see Rates

Baby equipment:

  • 10 cots
  • Baby bedding
  • High chairs
  • Booster seats
  • Toys for children aged 3-12

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

Creche/Kid's Club:

The free Pineapple Kids Club (for kids aged 3-6) and 7-Up Club (for kids aged 7-teenage) offer activities like nature walks, arts and crafts including basket weaving, watersports, talent shows, reggae lessons, movies and story hour, from 9am-5pm daily

Children's meals:

The restaurant serves a child's menu (until 7.30pm), has children's mealtimes and serves half portions of adult mains. You can also order in-villa dining, served by private chefs

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool with shallow end
  • Kids pool
  • Outdoor playground
  • Craft materials, crayons, pens
  • Board games
  • Games room for the 7-Up Club kids with foosball, pool, Wii, Xbox, Rock Band, Karaoke, computer and chairs wired for music and games
  • TV room with board games, computer, bean bags

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beach
  • Watersports – kayaks and snorkelling gear provided
  • Glass bottomed boat trips
  • Tennis
  • Nature walks
  • River rafting

Families Should Know:

The pool isn't fenced. Nannies and all kids club personnel have undergone special training. You can buy baby food, nappies, beach toys etc 15 minutes away

Distances:

  • Airport: 30 minutes
  • Hospital: 20 minutes
  • Doctor: 10 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
8/
Value
10/
Overall

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