Feel-Good Travel

Giving back never felt better in Negril

By: By Claire Bidwell Smith


Chukka Caribbean Adventures
Tours range in price from $65 to $140 per person.

Grand Lido Negril and Hedonism II
Average room rates range from $164 to $310.

Negril Yoga Centre
Average room rates range from $34 (single occupancy) to $58 (double occupancy).

Rockhouse Hotel
Average room rates range from $125 to $425. 

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Jamaica Hotel Package Deals

60 Percent Sale at Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay
The 524-room, all-inclusive property is offering nightly room rates as low as $144 per night, double occupancy, as part of its new 60 Percent Sale. Savings are valid on new bookings for travel between Oct. 8 and Dec. 20 and apply to Standard, Superior and Deluxe room categories. Group bookings are not eligible. Promo code 760-P must be provided at time of booking. 

Fly Free Promotion at Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa
Clients who book a minimum six-night stay in a brand-new Plantation Suite at Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa will receive 30 percent off regular rack rates and an air credit of up to $350 per person if they book by Sept. 2. The new suites are part of a $2 million expansion effort and feature West Indian-style furnishings, butler service, whirlpool tubs, marble trimmings and plasma televisions. Couples pay only $338 per couple, per night.

Grand-Opening Savings at Rooms on the Beach, Negril 
The brand-new Rooms on the Beach, Negril, SuperClubs’ newest affiliated hotel, which opened on July 31 in Negril, is offering bonus savings on three-night minimum stays now through Dec. 22. Guests who book by Aug. 31 can save up to $100, while those who book by Oct. 31 will save up to $50. Nightly rates start at $100 and include continental breakfast.

Girlfriend Getaways at Beaches Negril
Beaches Negril in Jamaica will host a Beaches Friends Forever (BFF) weekend on Jan. 22-29, 2009, a unique female bonding experience also offered at Beaches Turks & Caicos. The BFF package includes a VIP welcome cocktail party; a sunset sail-away aboard a custom-made, luxury catamaran; a Caribbean cooking class; a food- and wine-tasting session; island dance classes; snorkeling pajama bonfire parties; and more. Clients attending the BFF getaway also receive a VIP welcome bag, a 10 percent discount at all resort specialty shops and a $200 voucher to Red Lane Spa. Cost is $1,149 per person, based on double occupancy. Promo code is MyBFF.

It’s all about feel-good travel these days and I don’t just mean massages and body scrubs. I’m talking about knowing that while you’re on vacation, you’re not harming the environment or the community you’re visiting. In fact, with the way trends are leaning, you can actually find yourself making a contribution to the world just by choosing the right hotel. Negril, Jamaica’s Capital of Casual, is just one such option these days.

Dogsledding is just one of many socially conscious activities on the island. // (c) Claire Bidwell Smith
Dogsledding is just one of many socially
conscious activities on the island.

Jamaica sometimes carries a reputation for being a spring break destination, with pricey resorts, reggae blasting from every speaker and the scent of rum in the air. And while you might not be able to avoid the reggae, if you do some legwork, you’ll find yourself in an island sanctuary of sustainable travel. From Jamaican dogsledding tours to socially conscious boutique hotels, it’s quite possible to go on vacation on this island paradise with more altruism than hedonism on your mind.

At the Rockhouse Hotel — a 34-room boutique hotel perched above a set of cliffs that hover just over the turquoise water of Negril’s west end — you can relax in more than one way, knowing that the Rockhouse’s owners are committed to enhancing the education of Negril’s children. The Rockhouse Foundation, created in 2003, serves to support the educational enrichment of the area’s local children by providing new buildings, classrooms and supplies to the Negril All Age School, as well as working toward the expansion of the Negril Community Library. One hundred percent of each donation to the foundation goes into these ventures and, although hotel guests are never solicited, information about the foundation is available through the Web site and staff.

Even the larger all-inclusives like SuperClubs’ Grand Lido Negril and Hedonism II have more than fine dining and nude volleyball to offer their guests. Both resorts are Green Globe-certified and have garnered environmental awards for their impressive greening efforts. From extensive recycling programs and regular ocean cleanups to water conservation, composting and community contributions, these are two resorts that include an incredible amount of social and environmental awareness on their amenities list.

Environmental manager Shauna Cameron claims that her "aim is for Lido and Hedo to be the most sustainable hotels in Jamaica" and, given the progress she’s made in just the last two years as manager, there is little doubt of her not reaching that goal.

At the Negril Yoga Centre, you’ll find the same initiatives in place, albeit a much calmer ambience. The center, which has been open for 25 years, offers daily yoga classes and modest rooms for a fraction of the cost of most hotels on the island.
Located on a quiet, wooded plot across from the ocean, the center houses an outdoor studio and serves delicious vegetarian food. In addition to offering free yoga classes to the locals, the Negril Yoga Centre donates money and goods (such as used mattresses) to local hospitals and schools, as well as spreading that feel-good yoga vibe to the community.

For those with a more adventurous conscience, there’s Chukka Caribbean Adventures, which offers tours that range from horseback riding and snorkeling to off-roading and air boating. Thanks to its strict preservation practices, Chukka is also Green Globe-certified and boasts a unique, new dogsledding adventure. For this program,
Chukka takes in local rescue dogs from the Jamaican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and develops them into well-trained and well-loved dogsled teams. The adventure gives visitors a chance to experience a day in the life of a musher with dogs that might otherwise be lost. Because Chukka is committed to bringing community awareness to tourists at every level, each Chukka adventure includes stops at local villages and knowledgeable guides make it a point to inform their guests about the land and people around them.

So, even if your clients are just looking for a little rest and relaxation on their vacation, they might be giving more — and receiving more — than they bargained for with a visit to Negril.