Surf and Turf

Jamaican resorts offer deals for die-hard enthusiasts

By: Barbara Correa

In an effort to speed up a sluggish tourism recovery, Jamaica’s resorts and tour operators are offering discount specials and new excursions aimed at the golf and ecotourism crowds.

Wyndham Rose Hall Resort & Country Club in Montego Bay is offering golfers unlimited play at the newly renovated Cinnamon Hill Ocean Course, an 18-hole course situated on a former sugar plantation, for $505 per night for double occupancy from Aug. 25 to Dec. 24. The package includes admission to the Sugar Mills water park, meal and beverage passes and all greens fees with preferred advanced tee times (a $35 per person, per round cart and caddy fee is not included).

The Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall Resort’s Witches Spell golf package includes daily play at the resort’s 18-hole, oceanview course, cart storage and cleaning, meals and room for two starting at $495 a night through Dec. 19. Commission for the Wyndham and Ritz-Carlton properties is 10 percent.

For putters seeking a bit more flexibility, Half Moon Club is letting resort guests choose their own course from four of Jamaica’s top golf resorts for an additional $125 per 18-hole round, including cart and shared caddy. The deal allows golfers to play at Half Moon’s own Trent Jones Sr. Championship Course, Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall’s White Witch, Wyndham’s Cinnamon Hill and the Tryall Club Course. (Tryall’s back nine holes are closed for renovation through October; the front nine are half-price.)

The special, good through Nov. 30, also gives four-night guests the fourth night free, week-long guests the seventh night free and $50 and $100 credits, respectively, on food and beverages. Half Moon Club commission is 12 percent. “We’re trying to push the golf packages. It’s an option we think is underutilized,’’ said Clive Hobson, director of marketing at JRS Tours, a Jamaica specialist in Miami.

Jamaica is not seen as a golfing destination, more as a honeymoon and wedding market. But there’s no wait on the tee and most hotels have special deals, he said.

For adventurers seeking experiences beyond the fairways, Unique Destinations is organizing tours that put visitors in direct contact with the nature and people of Jamaica.

On the tour “Maroons of the Rio Grande,” participants hike local farmers’ trails through the rainforest, passing crystal streams and banana trees on the way to historic Mooretown, a village founded in 1739 by Maroons, communities of runaway slaves that fought against the British to maintain their own settlements and culture. For guests who want to further explore the Maroon culture, operator MaryLou Callahan leads community nights where guests spend an evening getting to know Jamaican cuisine, traditional music, dance and drumming.

All packages include hotel, villa or guesthouse accommodations in Port Antonio, a small town set between the Blue Mountains and Caribbean Sea, several hours drive from Kingston. Prices start at $300 per person for a three-night stay, double occupancy. Community nights are an extra $100. Commission is 12 percent.