We are all about villas in this department. The lovely thing about Caribbean villas is that you can experience true Caribbean living while vacationing and that’s our first and last name. The essence of a destination may get lost in a big resort setting but in a villa it is often inescapable. Don’t get me wrong, there are some that transport you to some otherworldly places, but we are talking about those that have a firm grasp on the luxurious side of a specific destination. For an immersive travel experience, you can’t beat staying in a luxury villa. We checked into Villa Bamidele on Jamaica’s southern coast near the quiet White House fishing village. I was going to say something clever to start this piece but it seems they beat me to it in their website’s opening paragraph. “Inhale salubrious sea breeze from your own personal beach bar while toasting flamboyant sunsets– each one, a resplendent celebration of nature’s glory.” These adjectives are far from flowery when it comes to describing this South Coast synthesis of sublime swank.
Just because it sleeps 20, extremely comfortably, doesn’t mean it is not intimate and trust me when I tell you that guests are well-served. The main villa hosts guests throughout its glorious six bedroom suites while the four one-bedroom cottages that surround the main sleep an additional eight lucky travelers. I went down with my fiancé and dreamed of hosting our wedding on one of the lawns, throwing the cocktail portion of the reception down by the bar & grill before hitting the dancefloor just past the Sea Grape tree. Having the place all to ourselves felt magnificent but imagining 18 of our family members and a few friends joining us in paradise was a very pleasing exercise in imagination. Come to think of it, once we let the villa manager know our preferences as far as food and beverage went, there was very little left to do when we arrived. Kelly was our butler who saw to more than our every need. He may be part mind-reader mixed with all of his other attributes because at every turn he took what we were doing to the very next level.
One morning, prior to coffee, we decided to pop into the pool just because we could. Within minutes, coffee was being served to us in our perfectly drenched and content state. Noting how satisfied we were in our current position, a full Jamaican breakfast was served to us by Kelly himself. The days were filled with moments like that where he anticipated our every move and catered to those. There were moments by the fire pit just before sunset when handcrafted sundowners appeared. David’s favorite cocktail with an elevated twist and my Amaretto infused beverage were, again, over the top delicious. Kelli never missed a beat when it came to service and the villa’s private chef outdid himself meal after meal. It was not just that the food was exemplary, but the presentation was mind-blowing. From the freshest salad bowled in a dried coconut to a seashell turned gravy boat for our surf and turf entrée. Want to chat about immersion? We ate curried goat with rice and peas and nothing says Jamaican more than that. Breadfruit, ackee, fresh fish caught just off the shores of the villa and served fresh for lunch…there was no denying where we were and how good life was at Villa Bamidele.
We didn’t leave the gorgeous grounds once we arrived via their BMW service right from the arrivals area of the Montego Bay airport to paradise. However, the entire island was at our disposal. All of the treasures on the South Coast were presented to us. As tempting as those were; Lovers Leap, YS Falls and Zipline, Black River Safari, Pelican Bar, Negril, and more, we needed nothing more than what lay before us. The sea lapping at our backyard, the watersports with our names all over them, a meandering garden filled with avocados, cherries, guavas, naseberry, coconuts and tons more fruit we could simply stroll and pick was enough for us. Besides, without the staff to anticipate our every need we would have probably found ourselves a bit lost at times. Who needs that sort of stress?