• By: Dan Donovan

Do yu ting . . . at Meliá Braco Village in Jamaica

Photos by David Massy

If you are looking to escape the doldrums of winter and get rejuvenated, head to Jamaica.

A predominantly English-Caribbean speaking country with a strong multicultural influence — the Taíno Indians, the Spanish colonizers, the English evangelizers, the black Africans and some communities of Hindu — Jamaica is also a major regional tourist center with a rich culture, incredible food and exceptional music.

The country has a healthy sugar production and bauxite extraction businesses. Jamaica also attracts people the world over to get a taste of reggae — that was created in the image of Bob Marley who made the island famous worldwide with his Rasta culture and reggae sounds. 

Fly Air Transat to Montego Bay, then take the 45-minute ride to Meliá Braco Village.

Located at Trelawny, this is an all-inclusive and comfortable resort that offers the best Jamaican private beach experience imaginable.

You’ll enjoy luxury resort accommodations, perfect for couples and families who want to decompress on the beach or hang out at the pool. For the more adventurous, Braco Village has many recreational offerings including biking, hiking, water sports and fishing.

There is a kids club for fun and the YHI Spa and Wellness Center is worth at least two visits if you are there for a week.

The new on-site adventure club features zip-lining and an impressive 35-feet rock wall if you feel like climbing.

Guests can book off-resort half-day or full-day trips.

We headed to Dunn’s River Falls, one of Jamaica's national treasures and it was a hoot.

This popular spot is close to Ocho Rios, one of Jamaica’s fastest growing resort centres.

Dunn’s River Falls is unique because it continuously regenerates itself from deposits of travertine rock, the result of precipitation of calcium carbonate from the river, as it flows over the falls. The small dome-shaped cataracts are usually associated with thermal spring activity found in limestone caves. This, combined with its location near the sea, make it a one of a kind.  

The Spaniards called the area “Las Chorreras” and these waterfalls are worth visiting.

It is frequently featured in tourist advertisements that promote Jamaica. The most popular activity is climbing up the falls and then hanging out in one of the several lagoons or pools along the way.

We spent about three hours doing this and it was certainly a highlight of the entire trip.

James Bond movie fans will recognize Dunn’s River Falls from the movie Dr. No and the well-known scene of Ursula Andress walking out on Jamaica’s famous Dunn’s River beach.

Meliá Braco Village has five à la carte restaurants and an international buffet. The food is fabulous, featuring local cuisine and seafood, and I became a huge fan of the barbecued jerk-chicken and pork served up daily by a local Jamaican chef, along with a variety of fresh fruit and beverages.

A favourite discovery was Ackee, Jamaica's national fruit which looks and tastes a lot like scrambled eggs.

It’s a buttery, nutty, and delicious vegetable that goes well with salt fish or as a great replacement for eggs at breakfast.

Braco has a traditional and elegant steakhouse called 876 with a design that features crystal chandeliers and mirrored walls. It serves the finest certified Angus Beef, as well as a selection of classic steakhouse staples made with local ingredients.

For authentic Jamaican food, saunter into O’Grille, which prepares traditional Jamaican Caribbean grilled dishes during the day and à la carte Caribbean fine dining service in the evenings.

I enjoyed a fun evening at Rasta Pasta, a restaurant that features Italian cuisine splendidly mixed with a Jamaican twist.

Nikkei Restaurant serves a fusion of Peruvian and Asian cuisine with Teppanyaki, showing cooking tables and à la carte service.

Braco Village has several bars that serve fabulous cocktails including a swim-up pool bar.

The Shaker bar is really more of a dance club featuring selected music by a local Deejay.

The Jigger Bar serves cocktails and coffees until it morphs into a piano speakeasy at night.

During the day, it is a postcard-perfect setting with the beach and the glowing turquoise waters right in front of you. Sitting there, a cold beer seems so much colder and never tasted so good.

Meliá Braco Village has different room options available, depending on your party's size and expectations.

I stayed at a secluded area of the resort in a premium oceanfront room with a stunning picturesque view of the turquoise Caribbean waters. The Level Oceanfront category guests stay in a second or third-floor suite with preferential services, amenities and splendid views of the ocean.

These suites have separate living areas, a pull-out sofa to accommodate up to two additional guests and a dining or work space. There are also colonial style villas available featuring Jamaican-style exteriors with contemporary and modern interiors.

They include deluxe rooms with stunning views, magnificent wooden floors and beautiful gardens.

The Premium Garden-view rooms boast balconies with a great view of the beach.

All rooms are replenished each day with beer, soft drinks, water and juices. There is satellite television and Wi-Fi which helped me keep in touch with the outside world, when I felt the need.

Meliá Braco Village is a picturesque destination for weddings, parties or special events.

The resort offers a multitude of romance experiences for guests. Two gazebos — one overlooking the ocean and one in the property’s lush garden area — are the perfect setting for couples to exchange their vows, along with a variety of indoor options as well.

For the business traveler, Meliá Braco Village offers a business centre, Wi-Fi in public spaces, and two designated rooms for meetings and events with capacity for up to 100 people.

The hotel’s two intimate meeting venues are perfect for small to medium-size groups, and there is a variety of outdoor and indoor public spaces for all types of events and special occasions.

For more information about Melia Hotels & Resorts’ romance offerings, visit www.romancebymelia.com.