Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, often gets a mauling from the Western press. Violent and dangerous are just two of the epithets touted with abandon, often by people who have never visited the places ever. However, unlike the stereotypical image of ganja-smoking rastas and people apparently living amid a miasma of urban deprivation, the reality of Kingston is pleasantly and joyously different.
After a hearty breakfast in your Jamaica villas, you can head to National Heroes' Park to catch the Changing of the Guard (on the hour every hour).
Next, pay homage to Jamaica’s icons such as Sam Sharpe, Paul Bogle, Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley and then visit the Redemption Song statues in Emancipation Park (commemorating the end of slavery in 1838).
Also worth visiting is the National Gallery, situated by the waterfront. The gallery aptly reflects the exuberance and vitality of post-independence Jamaican art. The gallery was founded in 1972 and today its collection holds among other highlights The Conversation by Barrington Watson, a lyrical, evocative testament to the nobility of Jamaican women.
You can also appreciate arresting works by Albert Huie and sculptures by Edna Manley.
If the consumption of the high culture makes you hungry, head for lunch in the restaurants located at the foothills of the Blue Mountains, at about an half an hour’s drive from Kingston. Enjoy your meal while taking in the views of the undulating hills and the sea beyond.
On your way back to the town, you can stop to admire Devon House, a colonial mansion built in 1881 by George Stiebel, Jamaica's first black millionaire, The house is set in extensive grounds and is surrounded by manicured lawns. The priceless period décor reflects bygone grandeur and racial pride. Post-tour, enjoy a coconut ice cream in the gardens.
Next, make the pilgrimage of to the Bob Marley Museum at 56 Hope Road, the home the global reggae icon. Be it his spartan bedroom, the kitchen where his vegetarian meals were prepared, or the room, complete with bullet holes in the wall, where he survived an assassination attempt in 1976 — each sheds light on the man behind the myth.
Finally, visit Port Royal, described some 400 years ago as “the most sinful city in the world”. Today, it does not live up to its reputation for debauchery, however the new designers and their prodigious talent more than compensate.
There is no better way to rejuvenate than to return to your Jamaica villas, cottages and apartments and be treated to the most sumptuous local delights prepared by your chef.