Business Destinations Magazine
A villa holiday to the relaxing Caribbean is ever-popular. Nearly every island has sun-kissed beaches, breathtaking views and friendly locals. But one island towers over all others in this respect: Jamaica.
The majority of Jamaica’s luxurious homes are located on private beaches and coves, championship golf courses or hill-facing with stunning views. Every villa employs at least four trained members of staff who will pamper you whilst never being intrusive. From the morning pot of Jamaican coffee to shut-eye after a day of surf and sun, the staff handles virtually everything.
What you see on Linda’s website is excelled by the reality. Linda fell in love with Jamaica when she lived there in the mid-1980s and built two villas of her own. Since then, she has renovated countless others and is an in-demand consultant to other homeowners. Linda realised there was a need for total provision rather than just a booking service. Today, hers is a bespoke company with 23 years’ experience in catering to the pleasures of discerning travelers who might choose any destination in the world.
Before adding a property to her portfolio of villas along Jamaica’s celebrated North Coast, Linda moves in. She stays in each home till she has critiqued everything from linens to lampshades, mattresses to menus, private pools to gardens. Her hard work has been recognized by Condé Nast Traveller, which awarded her Top Villa Specialist status in 2007 and 2008.
When a property has met Linda’s exacting standards it will be added to the deluxe portfolio. Then the booking agents step in. During a friendly chat with each client, Linda’s villa specialists create a profile: Do the employees you’re rewarding want golf and tennis? Are they sports minded, beach minded, or does someone simply want to finish a novel and take a nap in a hammock under a palm tree? If this is for your family, do your children need books and toys? Do the young adults want night life? How often do you want to play golf? Does Grandpa need handicap access? Do you like Corn Flakes and toast or Eggs Benedict and smoked salmon for breakfast? Kayaking, scuba, yoga, art, architecture, deep-sea fishing, duty free shopping? Or just more massages and spa treatments right there at your villa? Each villa specialist concludes by recommending the perfect home. She will then arrange your airport transfers, nannies, meals, excursions, family reunion celebrations, or catered and customized weddings, birthday or anniversary parties and even a photographer to capture memories of a lifetime.
Whether you’re rewarding deserving employees with a holiday perk, designing an unforgettable family vacation, or meeting up with long-lost friends, the villa vacation is a match for everyone of every age.
A typical day starts whenever you want it to. Coffee or tea is discretely placed at your bedroom door before you wake up. Breakfast is served at whatever time you wish. Thereafter, the day is yours to enjoy – whether you want to dive into the internet or the sea, work on your tan and read travel magazines, or take advantage of the activities this tropical island has to offer. Lunch or tea is served poolside or on a shaded verandah. Your home-cooked dinner may be served al fresco on white linen or simply on a tray in your room. The choice is yours.
Not only will your cook prepare tempting local dishes for you (Jamaican cooks’ soups are legendary) but Linda has also brought on board a gourmet cuisine cooking instructor. She’s a top English chef who now resides in Jamaica and has cooked for royalty and dignitaries in her former life in London.
No true holiday would be complete if you had to go anywhere near a kitchen or a supermarket or even mix your own drink. What makes staying here remarkable is its villa staff. Each dedicated staff member ensures that you don’t have to lift a finger. They truly see to virtually everything. Each butler, cook, housekeeper, gardener and personal laundress handles every detail with competence and grace. And furthermore, Linda ensures 24-hour concierge service on call throughout your stay. This collective knowledgeable team will tell you all about this country and give you a feeling of warmth and security.
Jamaica is experiencing a building boom that just won’t quit. Visitors find waterfalls to climb, mountain roads and villages to explore, beaches to walk, golf courses to conquer, reefs to discover, dolphins to swim with, music to move to, marvelous arts and crafts and perhaps most distinctive, world-class service.
If stars from Jamaica’s past – Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Ian Fleming or Noel Coward – were looking for privacy and luxury today, they’d be calling Linda.
Villa rentals are paid in US Dollars. Given the favourable exchange rate, the Jamaica villa vacation represents quite a bargain for Europeans.
Nigel Lord is a commercial photographer of yachts, exotic destinations and architectural interiors. He divides his time between Montego Bay and London.
Business Destinations, January 2009