I had the privilege of staying at Fortland’s Point, a 7-bedroom villa located on Jamaica’s northern Discovery Bay. We visited Fortland’s Point with our extended family, including four children ranging in ages from 9 months to 6 years. We found it to be an ideal villa for an intergenerational holiday. The house layout (bedrooms and living areas), grounds, activities, and staff combined to create a most relaxing experience for groups with small children. It was like having a small resort all to yourself. I can’t imagine a better property for enjoying a truly relaxing experience with small children.
Fortland’s Point stands on a truly exceptional property. It occupies three acres at the end of a peninsula. There are three small private beach areas, one of which is ideal for younger kids and swimming. The largest beach surrounds a cove, which is perfect for splashing or having cocktails from the floating bar. The sunsets from the property are gorgeous. Almost every evening we would retreat to the very tip of the property where there is a patio and lounge chairs to enjoy happy hour while watching the sun go down. For the kids there is a small swingset/slide, a huge grassy yard complete with football/soccer goals, cannons to climb, board games, and of course the pool and the beach.
I personally left Fortland’s Point only once to explore the nearby coastline. Despite 11 days on property there was always plenty to do… fantastic snorkeling with active reefs just off the beach, paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming in the pool. In a separate building there is a gym with an indoor racquetball court for those inclined to work out or for kids needing a more contained place to play. We hired an amazing yoga instructor, who was recommended by the property manager, to give us private yoga classes in the beach pavilion. Having everything right on site meant I enjoyed the activities while my small children napped.
For others that wanted to leave the property, hiring a driver for the week allowed people to go to nearby markets and activities in Ocho Rios. Golf is also available a short drive away at the nearby Sandals resort. However, there did not seem to be as many options for excursions as offered by other Jamaican resorts.
The staff was extremely accommodating and great with our kids. I would also consider the villa to be handicapped accessible, with one bedroom accessible by wheelchair (not sure about the bath). There are also ramps that would allow someone who had mobility issues to access the ground floor and pool. I am pretty sure that if you were in a wheelchair you could be wheeled out to the point where there is a terrace so that you could join in for cocktails and sunset views.
There is a house dog, which we hardly noticed at all. One kid accidentally stepped on it and the dog just moved further under the couch. While family-friendly was key for me, we also had young, childless couples as part of our group, who also had a wonderful time. The house and property are large enough to “escape” without actually leaving the grounds.
The interior is decorated in traditional tropical style – lots of palm prints and rattan. The master suite is spacious and is next to the TV room/den. We often put our toddler in that area to sleep. There is a big couch, flat screen TV, and board games. The lower, wheelchair-accessible bedroom is also quite large. There is one small room on the top floor with trundle beds and bunks that is designed for kids. All of the other bedrooms are adequately sized. The East Ocean View Room has its own private balcony as well.
Although the villa is not part of a resort complex, we felt secure. There are tall electronic gates surrounding the property and the staff is on site 24-hours a day. Additionally, there are safes in bedrooms and the bedroom areas are gated at night.
Features that really exceeded our expectations were the quality of the snorkeling, the quality of the private beach (small, but picturesque & lovely), and the amazing private yoga instructor. There are also a variety of places to dine on the property. We ate in five different locations… two indoors and three outdoors.
I would highly recommend this villa for parties that have children and would love to go back. I think that if the youngest in the group are older teens or it is all adults you may want more adventure and excursion options. But I believe the quality of the water sports and snorkeling could keep most teens as well as adults happy.
It is about a 3-hour drive from the Kingston airport and an 1-hour drive from Montego Bay. Rates for Fortland’s Point vary from $2,000 – $4,430/night depending upon the seasons and the number of bedrooms rented. The villa can accommodate up to 14, although I think you could probably add a couple more kids below 5 or 6 years old upon request.
Downsides to the villa were few. Some items featured in the pictures (hammocks, gym equipment) were not available. Additionally, while the meals were good, they were not gourmet, possibly because of the distance from quality markets (confession: my standards for gourmet are high). Finally, the pools/beaches are not closed off, so it is necessary to watch young children very carefully.
To summarize, I would highly recommend this villa for parties that have children. If your group consists of older teens or of all adults, you might want to consider a villa that offers more opportunities for adventure and excursions. Nevertheless, I believe that the quality of the water sports and snorkeling could keep most teens as well as adults happy.
You can inquire about the villa through their website, www.fortlandspointjamaicavilla.com . It is also available through Villas by Linda Smith (www.jamaicavillas.com), a villa agent I have used several times and recommend.