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Jamaica’s great houses (plantation houses) date to the island’s colonial era and offer a fascinating glimpse of the country’s past. They also offer a change of scenery and pace for clients, who might only know of beach experiences and the perks of an all-inclusive resort.
Here are six wonderful great houses to visit in St. Ann Parish and in Montego Bay.
St. Ann Parish’s Great HousesThe great houses in St. Ann Parish — which includes the towns of Runaway Bay, Ocho Rios and more — may not have the notoriety of the properties in Montego Bay, but they have much to offer travelers with an interest in Jamaica’s colonial history.
Liberty Hill Great House Resort & SpaThis historical house dates to 1786 as a producer of pimiento, bananas and coffee with labor provided by African slaves. One of the most interesting aspects of Liberty Hill is the on-site discovery of artifacts, primarily pottery, from the Taino people. The Taino were the indigenous inhabitants of the Caribbean encountered by Christopher Columbus during his first voyages to the Caribbean. Today, Liberty Hill has four rooms for overnight stays, and is available for functions including weddings and corporate retreats.
Seville Great HouseSeville Great House was gifted to an English army captain after the Spanish were routed from the island in the 17th century. Today, the house is open for tours and is notable for its structural details such as English tiles, mahogany doors and timber floors.
Seville Great House is also part of Seville Heritage Park, where travelers can take guided tours of the house, an antique water wheel and a display of historic artifacts associated with the site.
Bromley Great HouseBromley Great House is located in the Walkerswood area of Jamaica. The great house is built on the foundations of a 16th-century Spanish fort.
Bromley offers accommodations including two master suites, three rooms and a separate cottage. It also regularly offers retreats focused on writing, painting, music and yoga.
Montego Bay’s Great Houses Three of Jamaica’s most famous great houses are located in Montego Bay — making it very easy for your clients to visit if they’re staying in one of the area’s all-inclusive resorts.
Rose Hall Great HouseRose Hall Great House is the most infamous great house on the island. The Georgian mansion has a story that blends fact and fiction.
Some believe that Rose Hall was the home of Annie Palmer — the White Witch of Jamaica, who murdered three husbands and numerous slaves. The legend adds an element of melodrama to a tour of Rose Hall’s rooms, furnishings and dungeon. For an extra measure of drama, your clients can opt for a nighttime candlelit tour. There’s also the option of booking overnights in the neighboring Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, which is on the original estate grounds of Rose Hall.
Greenwood Great House This great house was originally owned by the famous and ultra-rich Barrett family of Wimpole Street in London. A tour of Greenwood, which was built in 1780, showcases the house’s mostly original furniture and antiques.
Highlights include several antique musical instruments, such as a piano with inlay designs, a barrel organ and a polyphone. The tour also includes chilling items from Jamaica’s heritage of slavery, including leg irons and a bullwhip.
Chukka Good Hope Adventure Park & FallsChukka Good Hope Adventure Park & Falls is a fantastic option for families who might worry that a great house tour would hold little interest for their kids.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kamani Brown (@kamz_travel_savings) on Nov 14, 2019 at 4:21am PST
A post shared by Kamani Brown (@kamz_travel_savings) on Nov 14, 2019 at 4:21am PST
An activity that could satisfy all ages is the four-hour experience at Chukka Good Hope Adventure Park & Falls, which combines a tour of a fascinating 18th-century great house with the option to enjoy an on-site zipline, bird aviary, river tubing, rum tasting, waterpark and all-terrain vehicle and dune buggy adventures.
Some great houses in Jamaica — such as Cardiff Hall Great House and Mount Plenty Great House — are private properties and are not open to tours.