What could be better than a tropical Girls Getaway to the third largest island in the Caribbean? As we found out, not much!! I arrived in Montego Bay, Jamaica (a very convenient 2+ hour direct flight from Orlando) around 9:30 a.m. While still a bit sleepy from my early wake up time of 5:00 a.m., I was thrilled to see a man holding a sign with my name on it before I even got close to the immigration line. Oliver introduced himself as a representative from the Jamaica Tourism Board and quickly took me to the “no-wait” line, which was very nice. As we picked up my luggage and found my transportation, I had to laugh at the bar outside the airport terminal, the Groovy Grouper Beach Bar. If the airport provided that kind of atmosphere, this was sure to be a good trip!
I arrived at Round Hill Hotel & Villas and got settled into our villa around 11:00 a.m. Coleen and Joan took me on a tour of the house and offered to prepare a late breakfast for me, which I enjoyed while overlooking the water on our elevated hill-top villa. This isn’t just any villa. This is Villa #10 where John and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned and where Ralph Lauren stayed during his visits to Round Hill before he built his own place. The villa is complete with four bedrooms and four baths, a kitchen, a private pool and hot tub overlooking the ocean, lovely indoor and outdoor sitting areas and our own love birds (Lemon and Lime).
After changing into resort attire, I decided to explore the property. Round Hill originally opened in 1953 and was conceived by Jamaican-born entrepreneur, John Pringle, whose mother was a social fixture and owned the former Sunset Lodge Hotel in Montego Bay. The 100-acre peninsula was part of Lord Monson's huge Round Hill Estate which was first a sugar plantation and later grew coconuts and pimento.
Prominent American and European socialites, literati and artists were invited to build "cottages" (hardly cottages by normal standards) and to invest in the hotel. Shareholders then included Sir Noel Coward, Adele Astaire, Lord and Lady Ednam, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Hammerstein and Viscount and Viscountess Rothermere.
After some beach time, I made my way back to our pool where I fell asleep. When I woke up, I was thrilled to see that the other girls had arrived at the villa. Donna, Kirsten and Ariane would be my villa roomies for the next two nights. They got settled in and we all changed attire for a festive dinner as it was Jamaica Night at Round Hill, which includes talented artists performing tricks, stunts and dances while we dine. These performers are amazing! They ate fire, balanced lawn chairs on their forehead and lit a cigarette while they limboed blindfolded. Guests of all ages joined in the fun! The buffet was delicious and provided something for everyone to enjoy. Speaking of enjoyment, one of our group members enjoyed “The Big Bamboo,” which became a joke throughout the trip.