At the Jamaica Inn, the Art of Being Timeless

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - October 1, 2015

A landmark hotel 

By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon

It’s called Ultramarine Blue. And it’s been the color of Jamaica Inn since the Ocho Rios resort opened back in 1950.

It’s a color so synonymous with the hotel that once you’ve been a guest, if you happen spot it elsewhere, it elicits a pleasant Pavlovian response: an instant feeling of calm and serenity that only the Caribbean can bring. Which is only fitting since the color was originally chosen to echo one of the many striations in the water that laps this quietly elegant resort.


And the iconic hue isn’t the only thing that’s remained the same since Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, Noel Coward and Ian Fleming sought sanctuary here in the days when a Jamaican vacation was a privilege few could afford. Afternoon tea is still served on the ocean-view terrace promptly at 4pm. Waiters still sport crisply starched Nehru collared jackets. Trousers and collared shirts are required for gentlemen after 7pm. There are no alarm clocks, radios or flat-screen TVs in the 48 British Colonial-style suites and cottages. And room keys are still … well … keys.

“If you came here in the ‘50s and you returned today, you could still find your room,” says managing director Eric Morrow, whose family has owned and managed the hotel since 1958. “You might be aghast at the fashion,” he says with a twinkle in his eye, “but the hotel and grounds would still be very familiar.”


Familiar, yes, but not exactly the same. Because while time here appears to have been paused in the middle of Dr. No, things have indeed changed. They’ve added the Ocean Spa, where Sabeina’s deep-tissue massage in a cabin overlooking the sea is a truly transcendent experience. There’s strong and speedy WI-FI throughout. Paddleboards complement the traditional sailboats and kayaks.

And the clientele now skews younger, to include millenials, who consider Jamaica Inn’s Old Caribbean aesthetic and quiet gentility to be the height of retro-cool.


“Luxury, for us, isn’t about having 50-inch TVs in the rooms,” says general manager Kyle Mais. “It’s about delivering the experience of space; of having room to relax; of being able just to chill on your own verandah. And that something that’s always in style.”

So while other resorts claim giant swim-up pool bars, Teddy, the oldest member of staff with 55 years of service, still tends a simple beach watering hole with just a dozen stools planted in the sand.


Let other hotels tout their water parks and circus schools; bartender Rupert will instruct you on the finer points of croquet on the main lawn.

Costumed characters and video arcades might be the in thing at other resorts but the Inn won’t accept children under 10.

And while other hotels’ strands are lined with plastic chaises chairs mere inches from each other, the Inn’s petite, smile-like curve of sand is still as intimate as ever, studded with a only a handful of palapas sheltering the most discerning travelers.

It’s this seamless combination of classic traditions and contemporary conveniences that beguiles within the first 24 hours. It’s living proof that what’s old is, indeed, new again.

And it’s the reason why a vacation at Jamaica Inn is always a good idea.

Popular Posts

The 10 Best Overwater Bungalows in the Caribbean, From Aruba to Belize

Overwater villas at Caribbean resorts aren’t just a novelty — they’re also among the most luxurious and beautiful accommodations you can stay in. And while all of the bungalows perched above the waves have their charms, some stand out among […]

The 10 Best Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean, From Antigua to Jamaica

all-inclusive hammock cove

All-inclusive resorts are more popular than ever, particularly in the Caribbean. The all-inclusive concept just keeps winning over travelers, who have been drawn to the ease, comfort and convenience of the concept. But the biggest thing within the space isn’t […]

The Bahamas’ Atlantis Paradise Island Just Completed a $150M Renovation

walking on the beach in nassau

A new eatery by Michelin-star Chef Michael White. A new-look casino. State-of-the-art guest rooms and the Caribbean’s first Shake Shack.  The Bahamas’ Atlantis Paradise Island resort has officially completed a $150 million resort-wide renovation, a significant project that included a […]

Related Posts sandals royal bahamian pools

American Airlines' New Daily Nonstop Flights to Nassau, The Bahamas

World-class chefs, magnificent resorts, pristine beaches and dynamic art galleries. Whether you’re looking for a classic sand-filled vacation, a foodie getaway, a golf week or a culture trip, Nassau Paradise Island has it all.  In the last few years, it’s […]

Marriott’s New St Regis Cap Cana Is Planning a 2025 Debut 

st regis cap cana

The highly-anticipated new St Regis Cap Cana residential resort is opening its doors in 2025, Caribbean Journal has learned.  Marriott’s newest ultra-luxe Caribbean property is targeting a first or second quarter 2025 opening, a spokesperson for the property confirmed to […]

Bonaire Tourism CEO Stepping Down 

bonaire tourism ceo

Miles Mercera, one of the top tourism directors in the Caribbean, is stepping down, Caribbean Journal has learned.  Mercera, who has helped lead Bonaire to record-breaking tourism arrivals since taking over back in 2021, is departing as CEO of Tourism […]


Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.

No. Thank You