Jamaica -- Royal Plantation is not a new hotel. It opened its doors
in 1957 as the Plantation Inn.
But behind Royal
Plantations latest reincarnation lies the handiwork and detail of
managing director Jaime Stewart, daughter of Gordon Butch Stewart,
chairman of Sandals and Beaches Resorts.
Royal Plantation, although related to the Sandals portfolio, is its
own separate brand and resort, and indeed, the first in a line of
exclusive, deluxe boutique retreats in the Caribbean.
Dragon Bay Resort
in Port Antonio, Jamaica, will be the second in the boutique resort
likened Royal Plantation to a grand and gracious lady, and its
storied past may be the thing that most attracted me to this
And its past is
indeed storied. The property, which was built by Cy and Gloria
Elkins, owners and operators of the well-known Jamaica Inn, also in
Ocho Rios, quickly attracted the celebrity A-list of that time,
including the British royal family, Winston Churchill, Eartha Kitt,
Ian Fleming, Grace Kelly and Noel Coward, among others.
Plantation to its former plantation-style elegance, coupled with
Jamaican service and modern luxuries and amenities, has been the
driving force behind Stewarts project.
She was hands-on
in the $10 million renovation program that rejuvenated the luxury
property when it opened in 2001 and has spearheaded Royal
Plantations current upgrades while directing the propertys branding
Its all in the
details, and they tell the story: Italian Mascioni bed linens;
private airport transfers; a new champagne and caviar bar aptly
named C Bar; an extensive pillow menu; and en suite butlers who not
only unpack guests luggage but also decant their wine, supply them
with a pager and handle all special requests.
also offers a Beach Butler service where no request is considered
either too small or too grand, Stewart said. Any chaise lounge
craving can be satisfied.
include seven categories of suites and the three-bedroom Villa
Plantana with a private pool, butler and chef.
All suites have ocean views overlooking two
beaches, custom mahogany furniture, king-size beds, data ports,
safes that will accom-
modate laptops, satellite TV, VCR and CD players.
passionate aspect of this restoration project for me has been the
return to the genuine Jamaican service that evokes the hotels
original roots and history, said Stewart, who was raised in
service includes an English tea party at Bayside Terrace at 4 p.m.
each day, complete with local storytellers, white-glove service in
Le Papillon seafood restaurant and outdoor dining at the new Flambe
on the Terrace.
Stewart said that
the Royal Cafe & Royal Grill on the Beach turns nocturnal this
season, using the name Royal Grill and offering surfside grilled
dinners four evenings a week.
Plantation is not an all-inclusive property (the traditional
European Plan includes accommodations with continental breakfast,
tennis, golf transfers, taxes and service charges), guests can opt
for the inclusive Royal Plan with accommodations, meals, a
selection of house wines and greens fees.
inclusions for all guests range from private transfers to the use
of nonmotorized water sports, the tennis courts and the fitness
center (services and treatments at the Royal Spa carry a charge); a
welcome champagne cocktail; hors doeuvres and 50% off all martinis
on Fridays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the lobby bar; and Caribbean
Every day is
interactive, Stewart said. We want our guests to soak up Jamaican
hospitality and history, not just sea and sun.
Golf is included
for Royal Plan guests; those on the room-only plan are offered a
reduced rate of $70 per 18 holes, including roundtrip transfers to
EP rates start at
$320 per room, per night, single/double through Dec. 18. Winter
rates through March 31, 2006, range from $450 in a deluxe
oceanfront suite to $840 in the Prime Minister oceanfront
one-bedroom suite. Royal Plan prices are an additional $160 per
person, per night.
has been named a member of the Leading Small Hotels of the World
and Leading Spas of the World. It is also a recipient of several
hospitality awards as well as being Green Globe
information, visit www.royalplantation.com.
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].