Sunday, December 16, 2018

Nestled in Jamaican Luxury

Wassup, fools.

I just came back from literal paradise on earth in the form of a little piece of land called Round Hill Hotel and Villas. This is not a sponsored post...I just really enjoyed my stay.

I flew in from NYC (JFK). The flight was direct and only a little more than 3 hours. I opted to stay at Round Hill because it received glowing reviews online and it was close to the Montego Bay airport. I also chose it because I could redeem Chase Sapphire Rewards points for my booking. I am super into collecting Chase points, which I was originally saving up for a week's stay at the Four Seasons Bora Bora. Realizing that at my current rate of spending, I'd only earn about a night's stay per year (and that I was in desperate need of a vacation), I decided to dip into my points stash. Hopefully, now that I've put it out into the Universe, a stay at the Four Seasons Bora Bora will still be in the cards for me the near future.

I used my points to book a suite. My two main requirements were a bathtub (because my studio in NYC doesn't have one, and I love baths) and an ocean view. When I arrived, the front of desk staff told me that I would be staying in one of their best suites in a premium luxury villa. I nodded and smiled, thinking that they were just trying to hype up the room. As a chauffeur drove me in a golf cart up to my room, I noticed we were going further and further up the hill. I figured that this was either a very good sign or a very bad one. It turns out that I had indeed been given a serious upgrade to a gorgeous, spacious suite in an amazing villa.

Ultimately, I am so glad that I took the time and the points to go. I pride myself on being relatively smart with my resources and thinking long-term, but I had gotten so deep into the habit of squirreling everything away that when a rainy day did actually come, it was difficult to convince myself to go, even though it turned out to be an amazing decision for my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

For additional videos and pics (think ackee and dumplings, glass bottom boat tour), check out my Instagram: @lazeez90 :)

Sick views while enjoying  complementary Appleton Rum on the first evening

Curated tropical luxury.

Ugh these fruits were so fresh and delicious.

I didn't do a ton in Jamaica, but that was kind of the point. Some of my happiest memories involved curling up in a fetal position on the lounge chairs after a swim or floating prone on my back in the pool at the villa. Definitely planning on going back with friends to do more funsy things, like the theme parks, waterfalls, nightlife, etc. I just soaked in the incredible atmosphere, the beautiful architecture, and the occasional brief, gentle rain shower.  I also had fun trying local dishes, such as Ackee (without the saltfish) and Callaloo.

If you look up Round Hill online, you will read about its storied past playing host to royalty, celebrities, and other members of the elite (I was told that Prince Harry and Megan Markle stayed in the same villa that I did during a friend's wedding in '17). What you may not read about was the fact that Round Hill used to be a pineapple and sugarcane plantation. I am immediately put off when I hear about people using American plantations for weddings and the like, so I felt somewhat conflicted about my stay. On the one hand, I wondered if I was dishonoring the suffering of the past and the continuing struggle of the children of the African Diaspora. On the other hand, I love the idea of reclaiming it by lounging around like the carefree black girl that I am. I like to think that the ancestors were sipping Pina Coladas on that beach with me.

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