Montego Bay Hotels and Accommodation
(Montego Bay, St. James, Cornwall, Jamaica)
Montego Bay is the principle tourist entry point to Jamaica
, and though many head for the lovely long beach at Negril, the city of Montego Bay is a hotel destination in its own right with plenty of hotels. That said, lodging can be hard to find during the high season, which starts before Christmas and ends around Easter.
Hotel prices are high, but there is a sprinkling of hostels and budget motels to even things out. However, the speciality for Montego Bay accommodation is the all-inclusive resort. There are several of these in town, championing private beaches and every amenity a tourist could possibly want.
Where to Stay
Montego Bay's accommodation infrastructure hinges on the beach, where North American and European tourists spend most of their leisure time. Rack rates are relatively high and are typically quoted in US dollars. The high season lasts the entire winter, and hotels in Montego Bay are busiest during Christmas and Easter.
Most of the hotels in the city line Gloucester Avenue, which closely follows the coast. This area boasts a heady variety of budget accommodation and three-star hotels. Lodging here shares space with the busy commercial offerings of Gloucester Avenue, while the resorts that sprawl on Mahoe Bay and Ironshore have a more all-inclusive atmosphere and their own private beaches.
One of the most popular hotels in Montego Bay (as well as one of the most expensive) is the Half Moon Beach Resort. It has been a favourite honeymoon destination in Jamaica for a long time. Blessed with a sprawling and private white-sand beach, Half Moon also has a few over-the-top features, including a dolphin lagoon.
Another major player in the resort scene is Sandals, with two branches in Montego Bay. The franchise considers its Sandals Montego Bay branch to be its flagship hotel. This is the gold standard for the all-inclusive vacation, and some guests go through an entire holiday without setting foot off Sandals' grounds.
Generally, all-inclusive resort accommodation like this has been set up so that guests pay one bill without worrying about hidden charges and last-minute surprises. Meals are taken at the resort, though a few are offering 'meal plan' cards that afford reciprocal service with other resorts in the area.
It is important to note that there's nothing particularly romantic about downtown Montego Bay - a typical down-at-the-heel Caribbean third-world town - and the resorts are out of town along the beaches. From there you can arrange trips, but the prime tourist area of Negril is a 90-minute drive away.