Linda Smith has been building and renovating homes in Jamaica, consulting with homeowners and training staff for 27 years. In 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Condé Nast Traveler consistently named her Top Rental Specialist for Jamaica based on competency, business practices, honesty and product knowledge.
–“Martha Stewart eat your heart out!”, Caribbean Travel & Life magazine
Simply the Best!
There is nothing like it in the world - a private villa, private staff, gourmet food and stunning Caribbean views, and above all permission to do absolutely, completely and utterly nothing.
This is the dream that Villas By Linda Smith (VLS) has been making come true for 20 years for visitors to the north coast of Jamaica, the "Jamaican Riviera" as it has been dubbed.
Linda Smith started with just two properties, her own, in the Montego Bay area in 1985. Since then she has personally renovated eleven other properties on behalf of owners and consulted on renovations for countless others.
Today she looks after a portfolio of more than 60 [ed note: today 90+ villas] spectacular houses that define the idea of luxury. With a meticulous eye for detail, Linda has helped nearly all the owners of these fine villas and their staff create the perfect setting and the perfect style for clients who desire nothing but the best. If a villa has not received the Linda Smith treatment it is only because it already meets her exacting standards.
Looking at a map of Jamaica, most of the villas in the Villas by Linda Smith portfolio can be found in the Montego Bay or Discovery Bay areas, served by the Sangster International Airport at Montego Bay. "I promise my clients - at least those staying in the Montego Bay villas! - that they can have their feet in the pool and a cool drink in their hand 20 minutes after clearing Customs," Linda says. "Why subject them to anything longer than that?"
The Big Secret
The unabashed luxury of the properties and the total pampering delivered by their staff (Jamaica is the only Caribbean island where fully-staffed villas are the rule, not the exception) conjure up a vacation lifestyle affordable by only the wealthiest of clients. And indeed Villas By Linda Smith caters handsomely to that rarified end of the market. Show business stars like Harrison Ford and Paul McCartney have enjoyed these villas, but so too have families celebrating a major anniversary or birthday; couples seeking the ultimate in romantic settings for their wedding; companies rewarding hard-working teams with a "working week" in the sun; or families with children looking for a vacation to remember.
For there is a secret to the villa vacation that few have grasped: that it can actually be more affordable to rent a private, secluded, exclusive, fully-staffed villa than it is to stay in a splashy big hotel surrounded by the rest of humanity.
The mathematics are quite simple. When the cost of a weekly villa rental is divided among the number of individuals in a vacation party the per head accommodation cost becomes unbelievably low, under $55 per night in some cases. And the dining has always been a bargain, no matter what the demographics, at $50-$60 per adult per day and less for children. Our guests comment time and time again on the superlative dining and service. But then they also laud to the skies everything else they find on their villa vacations!
And so Linda Smith believes the company is ideally placed to fulfill the needs of travelers who are looking for more from their vacation dollars. With careful planning and the assistance of VLS's knowledgeable agents they can have it. (All the agents have stayed in the homes in Linda's portfolio, know the staff and understand the island inside out.) "One of our greatest pleasures is watching potential clients realize that these fabulous homes are affordable and can be theirs," Linda says.
Service Across The Board
Villas By Linda Smith takes pride in being able to tailor each individual villa vacation to a client's needs. Often this could simply be a question of catering to dietary likes and dislikes or arranging a full-time nanny or a masseuse. But there have been many occasions when guests have asked for particular services that are far beyond everyday vacation requirements. The list of special requests some routine, some extraordinary, includes: reinforced electricity supply for a major American rock band, a piano for a Broadway composer, 1000 white roses for a beach wedding, tennis pro's for private lessons, helicopters and private aircraft, reggae and calypso bands, pig roasts, security guards, nannies who swim, birthday cakes and parties and even special linens. In fact, anything a client might desire. Linda Smith created her business on the simple premise that nothing a guest asks for is too much to provide. As a result, Villas By Linda Smith has acquired a reputation second to none, and it is no surprise that travel and villa agents across the world prefer to send their clients through Linda, because they know how well cared for they will be.
Villas make wonderful family destinations. There is a host of activities in and around the villas and on the island at large. Our guests tell us that the most appealing aspect of all is the opportunity villa life offers parents to enjoy their own time together, secure in the knowledge that the children are safe and happy. This endorsement is typical.
"Our week at Summertime was absolutely our most wonderful family vacation ever. My parents, John and I spent relaxed days doing whatever we wanted to do while the kids were totally entertained with all the games and countless hours in that big pool. The staff treated our children with incredible loving care! The whole family is counting the days till we return to Jamaica."
Jamaica is the third-largest island in the Caribbean. The bays to the north of the island spread like a chain of sapphires along the coastline, and are home to the majority of the beautiful homes in the company's portfolio. Sweeping back from the shore rise the Blue Mountains and the legendary Cockpit Country, where one finds homes that trace their roots back to the island's colonial times.
Indeed history imbues every strand of Jamaica's fabric, as does the British virtue for understated elegance, and it all sits delightfully at ease with the modern accents brought to the villas by contemporary designers and artists. And that means Linda's clients can choose from a dazzling variety of styles and decors.
Noble House is a unique Caribbean treasure, a beachfront estate with Oriental accents and filled with antiques collected by one-time owner Broadway Billy Rose.
Good Hope is an 18th Century plantation great house perched high in Cockpit Country, offering breathtaking views and once described by Conde Nast Traveler as "the best place in the world to see the sun rise."
Silent Waters is a new property occupying 18 acres high above Montego Bay. Its setting and style evoke glamour, romance and a taste for fine living. The whole is so beautifully landscaped that a helicopter pad and tennis courts can sit comfortably next to hidden ponds and meditation areas.
Amanoka is a gorgeous property on Discovery Bay, to the east of Montego Bay. Built from materials imported from China and Indonesia, this splendid villa sweeps down to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean and its own white sand beach.
Coral Cove also sits on the waters of Discovery Bay, but is in marked contrast to the opulence of Amanoka. Two simple cottages on a 150 foot-white sandy beach offer a casual, relaxing holiday experience.
These are just a few highlights from an eclectic portfolio that contains something to suit every taste and aspiration.
Don’t Just Sit There - Do Nothing!
The art of providing a great vacation lies in taking care of every conceivable need a guest may have so that the only possible debate is between doing absolutely nothing and taking advantage of the wide range of activities Jamaica has to offer.
This might mean golf at some of the Caribbean's top courses, including Tryall; horseback riding in the mountains that soar above the sea; water sports galore; shopping; sightseeing, by land or by air; river rafting; sampling local rums and coffee; nature tours; beach parties... the list is seemingly endless.
But many guests prefer simply to stay in their villas. So exquisite are these properties that they are a destination in their own right, and some guests say they like nothing more than to luxuriate in the relaxing ambience and be looked after from dawn to dusk.
by Nick Peters