Are you ready to rock? You will be at this unique Jamaican retreat…
Splash! A freshly-married couple, immaculately clad in their wedding-day best, shuffle nervously on a vertiginous ledge, before plunging 33ft into the deep turquoise sea below…
For a moment, you think it’s some tragic post-nuptial hara-kiri ritual. But, then, one head bobs up, followed by another, and you realise the pair are partaking in a ‘trash-the-dress’ ceremony. If you’re going to say toodle-oo to your bridal gown anywhere, you might as well do it somewhere as preposterously sublime as The Caves.
Suspended on honeycomb cliffs near Negril on Jamaica’s scenic west coast, The Caves is a unique hotel built around a rocky outcrop that drops dramatically into the Caribbean. Guests can either jump in (like the newlyweds above) or merely slide in like a swimming pool.
The Caves consists of 13 cliffside properties that décor-wise, look as if Salvador Dali has given Whitstable beach shacks a Changing Rooms makeover. There’s also a four-bedroom villa with private pool and butler. Which, thanks to the pan-global sway of this tribune, is where Stylist stayed.
Vacationing at The Caves won’t include much more than a gruelling triathlon of sunbathing, occasional ocean dips and larking around with fluorescent cocktails in the pool pretending you’re in a Wham! video circa 1983. However, it’s nigh on mandatory to take a snorkelling tour, where a guide takes you to a rockpool jacuzzi, bat cave and secret beach only reachable by swimming underwater, while lobsters, manta rays and chartreuse-coloured fish stream past. Then there’s the ‘Caves Massage’ offered by the Aveda Concept spa, whereby your tendons get kneaded inside a candle-lit grotto with the Caribbean gently lapping outside.
Why it’s Hot
The Caves is part of the Island Outpost portfolio, owned by Island Records boss Chris Blackwell (see also boho Jake’s and lush mountain retreat Strawberry Hill). And they’re every bit as cool as you’d expect from the chap responsible for Bob Marley and Grace Jones’ careers.
The Caves has seen its share of celebrities. Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Harrison Ford and Catherine Zeta Jones have all shown their famous faces, while one fellow guest couldn’t get over the fact Jennifer Aniston had signed her cottage guestbook.
It’s obvious why they like it: privacy. You can spend hours in the children-outlawing resort without glimpsing another soul – just simply find a lounger in your own sun-soaked nook or cranny. Or like some couples Stylist witnessed, elope to your own clandestine cave, gratis bottle of wine in hand, for a moonlit spot of erm… cave-noodling. Such is the romantic appeal of the place, there even appears to be a heart-shaped reef in the sea below.
All couples are booked into two events during their stay. First, the sunset hot tub: cut into a cliff-face overlooking the sea, you’re plied with champagne while the pair of you sit gawking at the yolk-like horizon gushing, “how beautiful is this?” every five seconds.
Then there’s ‘cave dining’, which takes place in your own private cave, reached by a craggy staircase. Surrounded by dozens of candles and strewn with bougainvillea petals, it’s all indecently romantic. Marriage proposals must hit the (leaky) roof.
Food and drink
The Caves boasts two dining gazebos, where staff ferry you delicious-but-healthy Jamaica fare including ackee and saltfish (breakfast dish with a fruit that looks and tastes like scrambled eggs), jerk lobster (no Reggae Reggae sauce here) and curried goat.
Unlike most all-inclusive resorts where the free alcohol is of the yukky-local-spirits variety, at The Caves it’s all premium, top-brand stuff. Furthermore, Jamaicans are officially the friendliest nation on earth, and at The Caves, the constantly “yeah-mon”-ing staff are always on hand to give a “Respect” handshake or tot your Dirty Banana cocktail up with more rum.
The daredevil cliff jumps. What else? Within days, the cyan sea will seem so alluring, you’ll be flinging yourself off the rocks like a kamikaze Tom Daley. Trust us.