Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Playboy's Guide To Jamaica

The Playboy's Guide To Jamaica

·         Better Man in brief ...
·         No playboy's visit would be complete without staying at the Goldeneye resort.
·         Blend your trip with some ecotourism to add a sense of adventure.
·         Jamaica's got its fair share of unique drinks that will round out your experience.

"Start at the White Witch, a perfect spot for a sunset cocktail, overlooking the Caribbean Sea."
Jamaica is home to the suavest British gentleman of all time -- even if he’s a fictional one. It was here that British spy-cum-spy novelist Ian Fleming wrote over a dozen books about Agent 007, using Jamaica both as a setting for the novels and as a getaway from the colder climes of Britain, where he could write in peace. Fleming was responsible for drawing attention to the island in its postcolonial life, attracting the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Errol Flynn to follow. As an international man of mystery, you can explore the island in true playboy style as well.

Sure, Jamaica is the place where high schoolers go to score pot and aging vacationers go to stay at all-inclusive resorts where even the beautiful Patois is adjusted for western consumption, but that doesn't mean you have to go the route of the sunburned tourists.

Where To Stay
Goldeneye Resort, to the east of Ocho Rios, is the site of the estate where Ian Fleming originally created James Bond and wrote several of the books. (Fleming named the estate after an operation he devised for the British Secret Service during World War II.) Its current incarnation, owned by music producer Chris Blackwell (Blackwell’s mother may or may not have been Fleming’s mistress, but she definitely gave Fleming a boat named Octopussy), takes the idea of a hotel to a new level.

It's not just the luxurious settings (you can get just a room, but why would you when you can get the Fleming villa, with three bedrooms, each with its own garden, and your own private beach in case Pussy Galore shows up?), but Blackwell's commitment to supporting the local economy, particularly eco- and cultural tourism. In addition to the tours straight out of the resort, Goldeneye is a perfect place to explore Jamaica the way James would -- away from the crowds, with just a dash of danger and a healthy pour of style.
Where To Eat
There are all-inclusives, and then there is the Ritz-Carlton all-inclusive (87-6-953-2800). East of Goldeneye, in Rose Hall, is this spa and golfing resort, where you don't have to be a guest to dine at the five separate restaurants, all with top-notch local and Jamaican cuisine. Start at the White Witch, a perfect spot for a sunset cocktail, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. James would approve. The White Witch is the perfect Bond villainess, if legend is true: Annie Palmer came here in the 1820s with her husband, murdered him, and took to voodoo and to taking male slaves to her bed, sometimes for their last nights alive.

If you want something more relaxed, continue west to Negril and stop at the local shacks to inquire politely but with determination about conch soup. Served in Styrofoam, there's no better treat in Jamaica. It's elusive, but out there, somewhere, by the side of the road. If all else fails, you'll find yourself in Negril.

If you need nourishment, try Lilly Bolt's yam dish that fed the world’s fastest man through his childhood.
Where To Drink… And Pick Up
Negril is Montego Bay's cousin from the other side of the tracks: there are few all-inclusive resorts, but the town is dotted with bars overlooking the cliffs, where local 007s and braver "white bwoys" dive off 33-foot cliffs to impress the girls sipping piña coladas (as a man of style, you should stick to the daiquiris). Try the dependable Rick's Cafe ( for a proper introduction, and then venture off east for some more seamy (really seamy) action at the discos. Don't say we didn't warn you.

If you decide, in 007 style, to penetrate the depths of the island for a proper cocktail, try Miss Lilly’s Bar and Shop in Coxheath, Cockpit Country (87-6-788-1022). Try the local moonshine-potency rum if you're brave. Neat, with water on the side or with Coke. If you need nourishment, try Lilly Bolt's yam dish that fed the world’s fastest man through his childhood.
 Usain Bolt, the world record holder in 100 and 200 meters as well as the 4 x 100 meters relay, is Lilly's nephew and prone to stop by in the kind of ride James would approve of -- a souped-up 7-Series BMW.

Where To Shop

Rose Hall is hard to beat for luxury shopping for the Bond girls in your life. It has its own center showcasing the island's most exclusive retailers, such as Bijoux, Casa de Oro, Chulani Jewelers, and the Rose Hall Cigar Club to take the edge off, all willing to part with their wares duty-free.

For some quality digs for yourself, head south to Kingston and find Spencer’s Tailoring (21A Central Plaza, Kingston, 87-6-929-6024), where you could buy off the rack, but why would you when you can have something made for you specifically?
Where To Flirt With Danger
Try taking your machete on the Original Trails of the Maroons(the first guys in the Caribbean to kick some European tush, who no doubt would help out 007 in a bind). The trails are a new ecotourism project that leads rugged hikes between two lodges in Cow’s Gate, about 1.3 miles from Accompong, and Quick Step. There are one- to three-day tours, which start at $50 per person depending on the number of people and include historical and cultural orientation, hiking, meals, and lodging. One of the founders is Robert Cawley, a descendant of one of Accompong’s colonels, who works closely with the town’s elders to promote responsible tourism.

End your machete-wielding with a martini (or a Lion Stout, a seldom-found dark Jamaican beer) at Tony Kuhn’s Baboo’s Garden (, 87-6-475-3046), situated on the highest hill in Accompong. It's a lovingly rendered ecocampground with a great bar area built straight into the rock (and hot showers!). Tony can also arrange transport back to Goldeneye, or maybe even drive you himself if he's got business there.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty good guide to Jamaica's top spots! Thanks for sharing!