Jamaica: 6 Ways To Holiday Like A Royal
Swimming with dolphins, riding horses in the sea... brace yourselves - jealousy is coming...
It seems like the Royal family are on holiday every five minutes, jetting around the world living their best lives. But can normies like you and me do it too? I set myself the challenge of holidaying like an *actual* princess, stalking Queen Liz, Prince Charles and Harry ’til I found their favourite holiday spot in Jamaica. Here’s how to channel your inner K-Middy in a Caribbean island fit for a (future) King…
Sunbathe with celebs
I checked in at the Half Moon hotel, which gets booked out by the biggest superstars/richest people on the planet on the reg. Details are *mega* hush hush, but anyone who’s anyone stays here - other guests name-dropped Prince Harry, Mariah Carey, Eddie Murphy, Usain Bolt (he went to school up the road), Lionel Ritchie, David Bowie (sob), Stevie Wonder and Michael Jordan, to name a few. Phew.
Whizzing around on your own private golf buggy or bikes (stupidly fun), the resort feels like a mini village built just for you. One half of the half moon-shaped (get it now?) private beach is home to huge, glitzy private villas (word on the street is Mariah books hers out for a month), and the rest is your playground. Did we mention there are ~54~ pools?
Dining like a King is #important. The Half Moon Plan is all-inclusive, so you can literally eat your way around the resort at the four amazing restaurants. Don’t miss the Sugar Mill, officially the Best Restaurant In Jamaica, with a 17th Century water mill churning peacefully as you try flaming meat skewers, jerk dauphinoise potatoes and shrimp patties. *Drools*
Try food from around the world (hello, pancake and waffle breakfast buffet, goodbye diet) or hit the three bars with INSANE ocean views (one makes coffee creations ten times better than Starbucks). Try cocktails every colour of the rainbow (even the Jamaican flag, if you ask nicely), then drop by a proper beach BBQ with steel drums - nothing says ‘holiday’ like watching the sun go down with a cold beer (trust us, you’ll need it to cool down the spicy jerk EVERYTHING).
BFF dolphins and horses
I should probably mention your new best friends Oryan and Pepe. They’re dolphins, and they live at the resort in a giant ocean enclosure - so you can swing by and say hi any time you like. Pay extra and you can hitch a ride on their dorsal fins, dance with them, lie on their bellies as they take you for a spin, and give ‘em a big ol’ smooch - they’re all about sharing the love.
Oh, and ever fancied sliding down a horses back in the middle of the sea, then grabbing its tail and being pulled around in a swirling vortex? That’s an actual thing you can do here.
There are 28 gorgeous horses milling around a pony park, so you can book in for dressage lessons, a hack, or just stop by for a cuddle and a photo. If you love animals, prepare to send a *lot* of Snapchats - there are three adorable rescue dogs, kittens and rabbits lolloping around in the shade.
If you could ever get bored of swimming in the sparkling water, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, playing volleyball, tennis and squash, sunbathing or checking out the sea life from a glass bottom boat, there’s PLENTY more to do. Play foosball, air hockey, table tennis, pool and chess in the Games Room, or take a break from the sun in the Playazz video game area.
For health geeks, the Fern Tree spa has a relaxation lounge, yoga pavilion and two ‘bungalows’ on stilts (for yoga and massages looking out into the middle of the ocean: HELLO INSTAGRAM). We should probably mention the sauna, steam rooms, private pools, massive gym, spin classes and meditation labyrinth, too. If you do one thing, get a signature Fern Tree massage, during which your back and feet get splashed with locally made rum. Obviously.
Dance ’til you drop
You might be holidaying like a Royal family member, but remember, you’re in the homeland of reggae King Bob Marley. Check out Nine Mile, where he was born and laid to rest, or take the quick flight/three hour drive to the buzzy capital Kingston, where you can explore the Bob Marley museum. It’s actually Bob’s house, which has stayed exactly as it was when he died in 1981. Stick around for some of the biggest reggae, dancehall and R ’n’ B nights out on the planet - here, every night is like Notting Hill Carnival with sound systems battling on the street and rum-soaked dancing ’til sunrise.
Back in Montego Bay, you can take a day trip to Ocho Rios for some serious shopping, Dunn’s River Falls to go rafting or explore rastafarian artist Ras Natango’s magical garden in the mountains, complete with hummingbirds, turtles, hammocks and incredible views. Late afternoon, head to Rick’s Cafe in party spot Negril to watch (insane) people jump off stupidly high rocks into the water, while you dance to amazing music in front of the most epic sunset you’ve ever seen.
Jump on the bus back home and you can unwind with a glass of wine and some freshly-made pizza or pasta at the Half Moon’s posh Italian Il Giardino, or try just-caught fish on the magical Seagrape terrace, with fairy lights wrapped around the trees and a live band playing Rihanna and Justin Bieber. Still full of energy? Hop on the ‘boogie bus’ full of party people from nearby hotels heading to Margaritaville or Pier 1 clubs, to dance ’til dawn with a mixture of locals and tourists.
Catch those Zzzs
Exhausted, it’s time to head back to your suite, each with its own pool or stretch of white sand to call your own. The bathrooms are bigger than most people’s houses, the TVs are giant flatscreens, and the balconies offer the best view on the island. Maid service goes above and beyond, laying out your dressing gown and slippers, leaving chocolates on your pillow and tuning the radio to send you off to sleep (we switched it to James Blake’s new album, that totally works too).
Now, sink into your majestic four poster bed, like every true princess deserves. After the comfiest sleep of your life, you’ll wake up ready to do it all again tomorrow. And the next day, and the next, and the next, forever. Hey, you’re a real princess now, and they can do anything they want, right?
Prices at Half Moon start from $299 (approx. £227) per room per night based on two people sharing a deluxe room. For more information or to book please visit www.halfmoon.com. (Please note rates are subject to the current government tax of 10% and service charge of 15%).