Montego Bay's hotel scene gets a breath of fresh air with the new design-forward S Hotel Jamaica. This is the area's only true upscale, boutique property. And, unlike the strip of all-inclusive mega-resorts that sit upon their own stretch of land, this property is located closer to the heart of Montego Bay.
The property feels completely safe within its gated grounds, though the restaurant and shop-lined Jimmy Cliff Boulevard (better known as the Hip Strip), is easily accessible and pedestrian-friendly. On the hotel's water-facing side, Doctor's Cave Beach is open to the public and hotel guests. Here's what we did when we stayed.
Budget Level: Upscale ($199+ per night)
Lodging Type: Large hotel (120 rooms and suites)
What You Need to Know
Miami meets Montego Bay at S Hotel Jamaica. The cerulean blue main pool is reminiscent of South Beach with lush green potted palms, eye-popping red and white umbrellas, and a rustic seaside-themed wooden bar. Inside the towering lobby, vegetation drapes down from the main entryway ceiling. Handsome dark-wood flooring and hand-carved tables accent the cooling white stone walls and works from local artists are featured throughout the property. All rooms and suites are accented with Jamaican details, including a Red Stripe bottle filled with fresh flowers and a record player with Bob Marley's greatest hits on vinyl. The spacious suites give way to a private balcony with top-notch views of the beach.
Jamaicans and international travelers alike have flocked to the buzzing S Hotel Jamaica since its opening in early 2019. The main pool is the center of all the action, and it feels both relaxing and lively. In the afternoons, there's poolside live music that ranges from steel drum bands to Reggaeton DJs. During all other hours, couples and singles soak up the sun in the poolside loungers with a rum punch in hand. Just beyond the pool, Doctor's Cave Beach is frequented by local families and guests of the hotel. The main restaurant, Rocksteady, serves up high-end versions of regional specialties like Escovitch fish and jerk chicken with a romantic vibe and live music during evening hours. For cocktails, head to Sky Deck, the open-air rooftop bar that spans the fifth and sixth floors. It's also complete with a glass-enclosed pool.
Who Will Love It
Couples, friend groups, and solo travelers of any age seeking a solid beach getaway that's modern and cool will enjoy at S Hotel Jamaica.
Who Might Not
Families with kids may not appreciate a stay here. The hotel is not adults-only, but it does lack kid- and family-friendly activities and attractions.
It's a tie between the main pool and the soothing rainfall showers in the junior suites. The showers are equipped with three shower heads, as well as a tiled bench big enough to sleep on.
Accommodation, daily breakfast, internet, bottled water, and complimentary access to Doctor's Cave Beach are included in the nightly rate. All-inclusive rates are also available from $329 per night.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
A service charge, city tax, and occupancy tax are all added to the nightly rate at the time of booking. Lunch, dinner, beverages, and spa services all cost extra.
How to Get a Deal
The property offers direct-booking, non-all-inclusive rates from $199 per night, which includes daily breakfast and a $25 spa credit. You can upgrade to a junior suite (with a king bed and ocean views) starting at $60 more per night.
S Hotel Jamaica sits directly on Doctor's Cave Beach at the beginning of the Hip Strip. Many shops, restaurants, cafes, and a casino are all within walking distance. Next door, Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records restaurant serves up locally-inspired cuisine and cocktails in a sports bar setting. Further down the strip, you'll find seafood specialties at Marguerite's. Or, for an incredibly unique setting, take the 15-minute taxi ride to Houseboat Grill, a double-deck houseboat moored in Montego Bay Marine Park Fish Sanctuary.
Montego Bay's main airport, Sangster International Airport, is a quick 10-minute taxi ride from the hotel. Guest can contact the concierge ahead of time to arrange transfers.
The Bottom Line
If you're craving an idyllic beach getaway at a boutique, design-forward hotel with local flare, S Hotel Jamaica is the place to stay.