Jamaica Is Now Open for Tourism — Here’s What to Expect

sandals resorts caribbean moreStewart turned the former Bay Roc hotel into Sandals Montego Bay in 1981, the company's first-ever resort.

Some of Jamaica’s most prominent resorts reopened today as the country reopened its borders for international travel, and more hotel reopenings are on the near horizon along with steady increases in flights from the U.S. to Jamaica.

Crucially, Jamaica will be testing all visitors with COVID-19 nasal swab tests at the airport.

And all travelers to Jamaica must complete a Travel Authorization Form in advance of their trip.

So what’s open right now in Jamaica?

The Moon Palace resort in Ocho Rios, Sandals Montego Bay, Riu Ocho Rios, Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay and Beaches Negril all are welcoming guests back as of June 15.

Moon Palace Jamaica.

The Iberostar Grand Rose Hall, Montego Bay also reopened on 15, and several other resorts have targeted July 1 as their reopening date, including:

  • Couples Negril
  • Couples Tower Isle
  • Hilton Rose Hall, Montego Bay
  • Couples Sans Souci
  • Couples Swept Away 
  • Hedonism II
  • Azul Beach Resort Negril

Sunset at the Palms Negril has announced July 9 as its reopen date. “Sunset at the Palms appreciates the thought and planning from the government entities in Jamaica when deciding to re-open our airports to international travelers,” said Carol Slee, senior VP sales and marketing for Sunset Resorts. “From the beginning of COVID-19, our first concern has been for the health and safety of our staff and guests. We are now prepared to open our resort with a complete array of enhanced protocols, which will help alleviate concerns and enable our guests to fully enjoy their stay with us.”

For example, Sunset at the Palms will now offer in-room check-in, dining by reservation only, and will offer guests the option to forego daily housekeeping if they are reluctant to have staff enter their rooms.

The Royalton Negril Resort & Spa, Hideaway at Royalton Negril, and Grand Lido Negril will reopen on July 15. The Island Outpost group of resorts, which includes Goldeneye, The Caves, Strawberry Hill, and Fleming Villa, will open to guests on Aug. 1, while the luxury boutique Round Hill resort has a tentative reopening date of Sept. 1.

bahamas caribbean historic hotels
Round Hill.

In line with Jamaica’s mandatory COVID-19 protocols, resorts have been quick to adopt cleanliness and safety as part of their branding. Couples Resorts, for example, is touting their “Good Clean Fun” program, while Royalton Resorts is touting “Safety Assured Vacations.”

The Couples program will include social distancing protocols in airport shuttles as well as in restaurants and in pool areas, for example; the resort also is including masks among its room amenities and has pledged only to work with excursion vendors who comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 safety protocols.

The clothing-optional Hedonism II’s “Party Safely” plan includes temperature checks, luggage disinfection, PPE and sanitizing stations, and frequent disinfecting of air conditioners and in room surfaces. 

“In anticipation of Hedonism II’s July 1 re-opening, we have spent the last month undertaking preparations and consulting with local and international organizations to make sure our enhanced safety measures are up to the highest standards,” said Kevin Levee, general manager of Hedonism II. “We look forward to welcoming home our guests and are confident that the iconic Hedonism II experience will shine through, even if it’s with some adjustments.”

Travelers heading to Jamaica from June 15 on can choose from American Airlines and Delta Air Lines flights from several major U.S. gateways. American is flying daily between Miami and Montego Bay, Miami and Kingston, Charlotte and Montego Bay, and Dallas Fort Worth and Montego Bay. Delta has daily flights between Atlanta and Montego Bay and Monday and Tuesday flights between Atlanta and Kingston.

JetBlue is resuming Montego Bay and Kingston flights from New York/JFK and Fort Lauderdale in June, with two or three flights weekly but a plan to ramp up to daily service in July and August.

Saturday-only flights from Boston to MoBay will resume in July as well, as will flights between Orlando and Montego Bay. JetBlue’s Fort Lauderdale-Kingston service will restart with three weekly flights in July and August.

Southwest Airlines intends to resume service to Montego Bay from Baltimore Washington International Airport and Orlando on July 1, and Spirit has plans to start flying again to Montego Bay and Kingston from Fort Lauderdale the same day. United Airlines’ daily service from Newark and Houston to MoBay will recommence on July 6.

Travelers returning to Jamaica will enjoy new features at several new properties, including the 57-room Eclipse at Half Moon resort enclave, a dozen new rooms (called the Marumba Studios) at the Geejam Hotel in Port Antonio, an organic restaurant at the Round Hill resort that serves uncooked vegetables and fruit, and a new beach club at the Tryall Club in Montego Bay.

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