Round Hill Hotel and Villas Resort Review
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Editor’s Review of Round Hill Hotel and Villas Resort
As our taxi turns into Round Hill's drive, we look beyond the casuarina trees to the green, round hill -- the resort's namesake -- laced by turquoise waters. We then pass a
series of villas, their white frames barely visible behind the tall palm and almond trees. When we reach the lobby, a smallish white building whose heart opens to an inviting view of the Caribbean Sea, the staff welcomes us with big smiles and our choice of rum or fruit punch.
Round Hill Hotel and Villas, in the Montego Bay area, debuted in 1953 as a series of cottages that were individually owned, typically by the wealthy and well-connected. The villas are still the property's gems. When the notables weren't in residence their equally ... more high-profile friends were. In the resort's heyday, you might find Adele Astair, Oscar Hammerstein, Cole Porter or Noel Coward in the lounge or Bill and Babe Paley sunning at their cottage's pool.
Alas, the first jet setters are gone and today's glitterati can reach a range of vacation properties all over the world. While Round Hill still attracts those accustomed to the spotlight as well as those with deep pockets -- ask which villa Paul McCartney prefers when vacationing with daughter Beatrice -- the resort's feel of "exclusivity" has mellowed. We think that's a good thing for families since the change makes Round Hill even friendlier.
Situated on a former pineapple plantation, Round Hill has 27 individually owned villas plus 36 hotel rooms in the Pineapple House that were renovated in 2006. The main property consists of 30 acres plus the spa sit on another 10 acres.
Round Hill offers the camaraderie of a boutique property along with the privacy of your own villa combined with the services of a resort. less
- Extra space and convenience of a villa
- Club-like camaraderie
- Complimentary children's programs
- All Inclusive
- Water Sports
- Children's Program
- DVD Player
- Family Room 5+
- Laundry Service
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Try the daily afternoon tea served on the patio outside of the lounge. Along with the tomato and cheese sandwiches, the resort ... Get more Planning and Tips
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Often the villas come with an indoor and an outdoor living area. Some villas offer great sea views. As a result of the outdoor/indoor arrangement, most of the villas have air-conditioning in the bedrooms only. The other rooms have ceiling fans.
Lush gardens surround most of the villas, creating a sense of privacy. Depending upon the villa, you can ... more sit on your deck, admire the splendid sea view and feel as if you are the only family at the resort.
Sir Paul McCartney has stayed a few times in villa #17, a four bedroom unit. In the kitchen, look for the photograph of him and his young daughter Beatrice surrounded by the cottage's staff. A bedroom with a private bath flanks either side of the living space that faces the pool. Each of the two downstairs bedrooms comes with private baths as well as portholes that look into the pool -- an interesting feature.
We're told that John F. Kennedy and his bride Jacqueline honeymooned in villa #10 and the future president practiced his inauguration speech in villa #25. Villa # 11 had a role in "How Stella Got her Groove Back." Some of the larger villas come with a housekeeper as well as a cook and a gardener.
Sometimes the resort splits a larger villa, renting a bedroom and bath on one side to one family and the bedroom and bath on the other side to another family. The guests share the common sitting area, the kitchen and the pool. This can be great if you know the other family, but an inconvenience if you don't. Be sure to ask if your rental is for the entire villa or for part of it.
Since the villas are individually owned, the decor varies. The units with the nicer furnishings typically rate higher. Most villas combine dark wood four-poster beds with rattan furnishings and comfortable couches. Superior or classic villas do not have pools. The pineapple suites have large bedrooms but just semi-private pools; master villa suites are larger, also with semi-private pools.
You can also opt to stay in one of the 36 rooms in Pineapple House. Although the upstairs rooms in the two-story building offer better views of the ocean, we like the downstairs rooms best because these come with balconies. The rooms were renovated in 2006 and decorated by Ralph Lauren, who also owns a villa at Round Hill. The hotel rooms feature an inviting blend of dark wood and dark bamboo furnishings paired with white daybeds, floors and chairs accented with spots of color. Two white swatches of fabric drape the four poster bed and a red throw makes reading in the chair feel even more cozy. A young child would find the daybed comfortable, but a teenager might grumble. Three is the maximum occupancy for each of these rooms.
Be aware that none of the lodgings has televisions. If you can't miss your favorite show, you can watch it at the television room near the lobby, provided the other guests agree. Most of the time we visited, the set was tuned to sports games. less