Jamaica: Round Hill Resort & Villas

Jamaica: Round Hill Resort & Villas

I think it’s pretty clear when talking to guests at Round Hill, many of which will most definitely return (including us), that it’s truly a gem of a place. Located on a little round hill on the edge of Montego Bay, you feel as if you are at the end of the world, in a secluded private little nook on the edge of the ocean. It’s magical. From the ocean front-everything, to the decor, the local organic food, and the beautiful botanicals surrounding you every where you look, it’s a truly special place.

With 36 ocean-front rooms and 27 villas, Round Hill isn’t your ordinary big grand hotel by any means. It’s smaller, private, and charming- which was one of my favorite parts about it after staying at large, less-personal hotels the past two years.

The Room & Hotel Amenities:

Ralph Lauren did a pretty amazing job designing this place! I loved the old-charm vibes of the original keys, the library and tv room (and lack of tv’s in the hotel rooms), and so much more. 

The hotel rooms called The Pineapple House, contains 36 oceanfront rooms. the top being just a window and the lower level having a porch with a breakfast table.  They have a grand bed, a nice (updated) bathroom, and a resting area. There is a large wardrobe and various baskets to unpack clothes into, though I found myself itching for a dresser with drawers at one point. I loved the decor, and loved waking up to the ocean breeze.

 

What We Ate:

breakfastBetween the smoothie bar, the egg station, the mini pastries, various fresh juices, and delicious Blue Mountain Coffee, I’d say breakfast was one of our favorites.

Food_Smoothiebar1Smoothie Station

The lunch menu was so great, and with enough variation that we never had to eat the same thing twice. Fresh local food & on occasion- cocktails! If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that we even got to meet and talk with the chef, who was so beyond sweet. 

Roundhill_lunch

Afternoon tea is on from 4:00-5:00pm and is complementary. You’ll find hot and iced tea, mini sandwiches, scones, rum balls, rock buns (my favorite), jerk popcorn, organic veggies with fresh organic hummus, and more!

For dinner there were two options, you could either order off the main menu- which changed nightly, or a buffet style (Wednesday night was curry night, and Friday night was Jerk night). We ordered off the menu every night except for Friday when we did the Jerk buffet. I think Mike and I agree that this was hands down our favorite meal of the trip!  Jerk chicken, jerk sausage, suckling pig, salads to start (mini lobster salad spoons… mmm…), and perfect desserts. We were so happily full!

 About The Food:

A huge part of why I was so excited to visit Round Hill was the food. They pride themselves in using local, organic, and fresh ingredients. Aside from the farm-to-table menus, they have their own organic garden where they have their own fresh herbs, limes, avocado trees, and more. In the past when we’ve traveled and stayed at hotels, the all-inclusive menu buffets were always glutenous and bothered my stomach (without fail). I was so happy to find a place that takes such pride into each dish, cares about where the food comes from, and offers variety.

farm

Day-To-Day:

day-to-day

Our day began by waking up to the ocean breeze coming through our window. We got ready for our day, either by heading out early to read & meditate outside, or heading straight to breakfast. 

days

After breakfast, we headed to the main beach to start off our day. We generally ended up over in the adults only tranquility area by the spa, where you could lounge on outdoor beds, lounge chairs, or a hammock, and order some drinks and a smaller menu of food. 

That side of the resort was by far our favorite. One of the days we got massages in the spa, other days we just lounged in the shade, hit up the gym, or went in the pool on that side. The gym was updated, spacious, and fantastic- with a view of the ocean looking out. I loved that this side of Round Hill was a grassy area right at the edge of the ocean. We ended up strolling back for lunch at some point, and then seeing where the day took us from there!

Day1-SPAThe spa!

Before each night began, we ended the day with a dip in the ocean or the infinity pool watching the sun setting in the background. I loved that the evenings started a bit later here. It really went with the whole laid back and relaxing vibe of the resort. Dinner first begins until 7:30, so you could easily be out on the beach or over in the adult’s only tranquility area until that time! I mean, how can you not stay out during this sunset? 

Sunset4

Sunset8

After getting ready, we made a quick stop at the Ralph Lauren bar where we had pre-dinner cocktails. From there, dinner and the nightly entertainment, except for the night we ventured out, were fun and relaxing. Most nights we ended up going to sleep fairly early, likely a combination of long days in the sun and not a crazy night scene (definitely different from past hotels we’ve stayed at). The entertainment and evening were based around your dinner, so I liked that it started a bit later into the evening.

What I read:

 I brought along two books: The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins & The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. Both are the perfect beach reads. Quick and has you hooked from the start! 

What We Did Outside The Resort:

When we had lunch with Linda, the Director of Sales and Marketing (love her), she told us about a concert in town with the legendary Freddy McGregor later in the week. We decided to venture out to dinner and the show. We headed to the Hip Strip for dinner (Marguerite’s seafood), then went a few doors down to the show. I think it’s safe to say we fell in love with the music and culture that night! We had the best time. It was small and the show was right on the beach with the ocean behind. Gorgeous and so much fun.

FreddieTickets2

We also took one more little trip; we went to the famous Scotchie’s for some authentic Jerk food that we heard so much about. Man it did not disappoint. I officially love all things jerk! That scotch bonnet pepper is just too good. Somehow I need to get some for my garden here so I can make a real deal jerk sauce!

Highlights:

1. The Food

2. The size of the resort compared to others we’ve stayed at

3. The people and friendly staff

4. The relaxing tranquility (adult-only) spa section

5. The Sunsets

6. The proximity to the airport

7. The private, intimate feel of the resort

8. The gym and hotel amenities 

9. The rooms being ocean front

And that’s just a start!

Sunset3

Will We Be Back?

Without a doubt. I am already looking forward to planning my next Round Hill getaway. The entire trip we kept describing the resort as ‘a little gem,’ and as ‘magical’. It truly is a special place.

Day-WATERRound Hill Resort from the tranquility center/spa/gym area. 

Stay tuned:

Over the next couple of days I will be sharing recipes inspired by our trip to Round Hill! I can’t wait to share some of our favorite eats with you!

Where is your favorite travel destination? What do you look for in a hotel/resort/getaway?

As a disclaimer, I received complimentary additions & some accommodations for our stay, but was not compensated or asked to write a review. All opinions are 100% my own. We simply really loved our stay at Round Hill and I wanted to share about the resort and our trip with all of you!

Pecan Pie Tarts

Thanksgiving week is upon us! I’ve spent my days the past two weeks perfecting a few recipes that are going to be essentials for our holidays this year and moving forward, and I’m so excited to bring them your way! 

In other event, I’ve decided, with my functional medicine doctor, to embark on a 28-day liver detox starting after Thanksgiving. I’ll elaborate more on the actual detox itself (I still eat on it, not to worry), and all of the details at a later time! What that has meant is that I’m getting all of my December baking recipes tested for you THIS week, aka I’m going to need this detox! So, if you have any requests for holiday items you’re looking for- now is the time to speak up 🙂

These pecan pie tarts have a flaky, buttery crust, and every bite has that sweet, warm and gooey, pecan pie taste you’ve always loved.

Trust me, and my taste testers!

Pecan Pie TartsPecan Pie Tarts

Pecan Pie TartsPecan Pie TartsWhat’s your favorite holiday dish?

Sweet Potato Salad and Frosted Pumpkin Cake

I am so excited that American Express has teamed up with Whole Foods and Paul Qui to bring you two ways to use one ingredient for the next few months. PLUS, American Express Blue Cash card holders (ahem… me) will get an additional 2% cash back on your purchases from Whole Foods for the duration of the program! Are you kidding me? That’s AMAZING. 

#2ways2percent: Sweet Potato Salad and Frosted Pumpkin Cake

This month we wanted to infuse raspberries into the oh-so-popular all things fall theme going on! I’m bringing you TWO recipes, one savory side dish, and one sweet dessert that are packed with those Fall flavors you love, plus your addition of RASPBERRIES. 

Up first… your new favorite Fall side dish.

Plus… BACON. So that just makes it even better!

Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato SaladYou have your side dish, and now you need your dessert! This frosted pumpkin cake is… spongy, nut-free, pumpkin-flavored, and sweetened just right! The perfect Fall nightcap.
Frosted Pumpkin Cake

Frosted Pumpkin Cake

I was selected by American Express to contribute to their Tumblr community. As such I was paid for my services, but all opinions in general and about American Express are my own. 

What is your go-to Fall side dish and/or your go-to Fall dessert?

What I Ate: Travel Edition + Farm to Table Trip

After sharing my first What I Ate Wednesday last week, so many of you said you’d like me to continue sharing these on the blog! So here I am, with week two. Only, this week’s a little different (again) since I’ve been in California on a Muir Glen Organics farm-to-table trip! I was torn whether or not to post a day of eating on my trip (which I was likely to do anyway all over social media), or do it a little different and share a day of eating while traveling. After a little Facebook/Instagram poll, the travel day won, but I decided to do BOTH anyway (since my travel food was far from excellent or eventful). So, a little bit of a long post, but lots of good eats on this amazing trip!

Let’s start with Tuesday, my travel day:

I woke up, took a shower and get ready for the trip. My flight was in the morning so we left the house for the airport but first I had my coffee with collagen (as talked about in last week’s WIAW), since I wasn’t ready for a meal just yet.

I arrived at Boston-Logan, got settled in, and sat down at Stephanie’s in the United Terminal for some breakfast. I ordered an omelet with bacon and avocado (um… YUM), to fill me up for as long as possible, since I knew the day would be a little hectic. I ate and relaxed, contemplated a mimosa but decided against it, and waited for my first flight with an almond milk iced latte from Peet’s. I love that they have almond milk there!

I arrived in Chicago with half an hour to kill so sat down to check my emails. I should have really planned this a little better and brought something for lunch (see, this is why meal prep is SO important). Anywho, I overlooked that lunch aspect and had to settle for a fruit and nut bar and some fruit on the plane to hold me over. Those bars aren’t awesome for my stomach but it was the best flight option they had, unfortunately. 

I arrived in Sacramento with a few hours to kill before dinner. I decided on a hotel workout (see below) and then was beyond starving and wanted some protein. Not wanting to totally kill dinner, and not knowing the area where I was, I went over to Starbucks and the nice guy hooked me up with two egg things (not sure what you call microwaved egg patties). You guys really haven’t been seeing a normal eating day for me yet- I rarely let myself get so hungry or go for the last option! In desperate times, you make do the best you can. I’m human, too!

hotelworkout

A bunch of us met for an amazing dinner at Grange (this made up for my not-so-great travel food), and then I hit the hay for a big following day. Here is my travel day eats:

wiawtravel

You guys are not going to believe the amount of food consumed next. Seriously.

I awoke the next morning in Sacramento to a perfect breakfast in my room. We then met downstairs to head to one of the Muir Glen organic farms. It was a great experience tasting tomatoes fresh off the vine, learning about organic farming, and the process.

From there we headed back to Mulvaney’s B&L for a tomato tasting led by Lynn of The Splendid Table, and then a HUGE lunch. Huge and delicious, and of course, farm-to-fork.

Following the lunch, a group of us opted for a walking food tour of Sacramento. Even MORE food. We stopped at Mayahuel Museo, Downtown & Vine, Mother, Ambrosia, then detoured to Ginger Elizabeth for some chocolates. Full yet?

Back to the hotel we went to freshen up for the big event of the trip: a dinner at Windmill Vinyard  (seriously, that place is beyond stunning) hosted by Lynn and Sally from The Splendid Table, who by the way are so so sweet. The dinner was amazing. The food, the scenery, the band, the wine pairing. A perfect evening.

wiaw_muirglen

It was a truly great trip and I am so glad I got to meet and spend time with some seriously awesome people (check some of them and their work out here: Sean from Punk Domestics, Robin from MNN, Emma from The Kitchn, Stephanie from Vibrantly, Jenny from Nourished Kitchen, Lynn & Sally from The Splendid Table, and so many more fantastic foodies).

And now I’m ready for a detox!

MGscenes

Do you know much about organic farming? How do you eat on travel days? And, what is one of your favorite places in the US to visit?

This was a sponsored trip from Muir Glen Organics, all opinions are always my own.

7 Layer Taco Dip

Tomorrow is the 4th of July! Aside from your festive desserts, grilling items, and summer-y side dishes, appetizers are a must. I LOVE dips. They are just my favorite. Roasted eggplant dip, spinach artichoke (it’s on my list), 7-layer… you name it. The problem is they are often loaded with cheese and dairy and other things I stay away from. So this year… bringing my own dip, baby! Seven layers of delicious.

7 Layer Taco Dip7 Layer Taco Dip

For my super strict paleo friends: sub out the refried black beans for another layer of guac!

7 Layer Taco DipLayers on layers of goodness. Get out those non-gmo tortilla chips and veggie platters, and go enjoy that 4th!

7 Layer Taco DipWhat is your favorite party dip?

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

I am super into chicken salad as of late. Cranberry Walnut, Pesto, Apple Dill… you name it. Now that I make my own mayo it’s great. I don’t need to worry about using ingredients I’m not thrilled about, and can get pretty creative! But, I don’t always have the mayo on hand and for those moments I go honey mustard. It is so good. I love the addition of roasted red peppers and cilantro in it, like really really love those flavors together.

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

Simple to throw together and packed with great flavor. Perfect meal prep food right there!

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

 

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

Honey Mustard Chicken SaladDo you love chicken salad? What is your favorite kind? What is the craziest chicken salad flavor combo you’ve tried  and loved?