Jamaica Villas by Linda Smith

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who has all the answers?

When it comes to villa vacations in Jamaica, we stand apart from other agencies.

We have the answers.

For 28 years, Linda has been a consultant to homeowners, ensuring standards are met in the homes in this collection.  She has trained staff members in over 70 villas. Our agents are experienced in helping our clients choose the ideal villa from our select group of 80+ fine homes.

Call us at 301-229-4300
Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm
linda@jamaicavillas.com 

Our aim is to make the booking of your villa vacation as easy as possible for you.  On this page you will find answers to questions that we are typically asked by clients.

Rates

The rates we publish are for 7 days and 7 nights.

Where can I see a list of all villa rates?

See all High and Low Season Rates.
See all Christmas and New Years week Rates.

Low Season: from April 16 to December 14
High Season: from December 15 to April 15
Christmas and New Year weeks have their own rates.


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Budget

In addition to villa rental, your major costs will include the three G's -- groceries, ground transport (driver), and gratuities for staff.  More information is available on our budget page.

How much will groceries and dining cost?

A typical grocery budget is $55-$65 per adult per day and $20-25 per day for preteens.  This may vary up or down depending on market prices and menus.  See our budget page for a more detailed breakdown of grocery costs.

How does Ground Transportation work and how much does it cost?

We can arrange round-trip airport transfers or a fulltime driver.  Cost depends on number of guests and size of vehicle needed.  See our ground transportation page for full details.  For instance, if you are staying in Montego Bay for 4 or more days and want to have an active vacation that includes exploring Ocho Rios or Negril or beyond, a fulltime driver will be the more convenient and economical alternative.  But if you plan a more sedentary vacation enjoying the sun, pool, massages and home-cooked meals at your own villa, then you’ll probably need only round trip transfers. If you change your mind mid-week, your staff will be happy to handle whatever arrangements you need and your driver will simply run a tab for you to pay at week’s end.  In any case, cost is based on number of passengers, size of van and destination.

The minimum period for fulltime driver is 4 consecutive days, which includes a complimentary half tank of gas. For 6 days or more, this will include a complimentary full tank of gas.  Subsequent fill-ups are at guests’ expense.

How do I handle tipping the villa staff?

Recommended staff gratuity at the end of your stay is 10% of the villa rental in High Season, 15% in Low Season, divided among your staff members in accordance with the Gratuity Guide you'll find in your Welcome Book at the villa.  Plan to pay your grocery and gratuity monies in cash: US dollars or Jamaican dollars.

Does my villa rental rate include tax?

Yes, except for the following villas: Calypso Shores, Elsewhere by the Sea and Out of the Blue and all villas located in the Tryall Club.  Please see those pages for additional information.


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Jamaica Basics

What travel documents do I need for Jamaica?

A valid passport is required for all passengers including infants.  This must be presented at the airline check-in counter to ensure you will be permitted to board a flight to Jamaica. All US citizens are required to carry a valid US passport to travel outside the country. 

If you have questions about this requirement or are a citizen of another country, call 1-800-233-4582 (Jamaica Tourist Board).  In the US, you can also check with the Embassy of Jamaica: 1520 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036 | tel (202) 452-0660. Elsewhere, contact your local embassy.

What currency does Jamaica use?

US dollars are accepted island wide.  Exchange rates vary if you choose to purchase Jamaican dollars.  You can see the latest Jamaican-USD conversion rate for reference. 

Most commercial establishments, including grocery and liquor stores, accept credit cards.  For credit card purchases, you may be asked to show identification such as your driver’s license or passport.

Staff and driver gratuities, however, must be paid in cash locally unless you have prepaid for these items.  (Remember that most villas will accept prepayment through your agent for groceries and gratuities if you prefer so that you may deal with less cash during your trip.)

Where can I book flights to Jamaica?

Your time is valuable! We can connect you to the Travel 100 Group who, with one call, will find the lowest air fares available for your dates of travel when you identify yourself as a Villas by Linda Smith client.  Simply call (847) 897-7061 or e-mail linda@t100g.com to receive an instant quote. Be prepared to provide your date of birth and your name as it appears on your passport. Travel 100 Group will advise our office of your itinerary so we can schedule your transfers without bothering you.

Tourism is Jamaica's leading industry, so reserve flights early. Your destination is Montego Bay (MBJ). For information about travel documents and other helpful advice regarding your villa vacation in Jamaica please click here.

Please note that check-in time is 1:00 p.m. on arrival day and check-out time is 11:00 a.m. on departure day.

Exceptions:  in Tryall Club and Discovery Bay villas, check-in time is 3:00 p.m. and check-out time is 12:00 noon.

Air Canada, Air Tran, American, British Air, Caribbean Air, Delta, Jet Blue, Spirit, United, USAir, Virgin Atlantic and West Jet are major carriers.  Several charters operate from the East Coast, the Midwest and Europe.  A private plane terminal enables expedited Immigration and Customs clearance for our private plane passengers.

What is Jamaica's weather like?

Jamaica enjoys typical Caribbean weather: 80's and 90's by day and 70's at night.  Winter to summer variance is only 10 degrees.  It is more likely to rain in May or June and September or October than in other months.  The island is rarely affected by hurricanes.  Dress is casual.  Coats, ties and expensive jewelry are not appropriate.  In winter months, you may need a cotton sweater after sunset.  Do take mosquito repellent!

If you are travelling in September or October, we suggest that you purchase travel protection.  In the past 61 years, Jamaica has experienced only 4 hurricanes in September or October.  Likelihood of another when you are there is minimal. This is merely a suggestion and the choice is yours.

What do we do in case of a hurricane?

In the past 61 years, only 7 hurricanes have hit Jamaica:

1951 Charlie, August 17
1963 Flora, October 5-7
1980 Allen, August 4-7
1988 Gilbert, September 12
2004 Ivan, September 10-11
2007 Dean, August 19
2012 Sandy, October 24

If Jamaica's North Coast is under a hurricane watch or warning which closes the Montego Bay airport and prevents your arrival, we will offer you a rain check which you may use for the same villa any time in the next 12 months.  (If you choose High Season dates, you may simply pay the difference.)

If a hurricane affects Jamaica while you're already there, closing the Montego Bay airport and preventing your departure, we will make every effort to accommodate you in the most comfortable way possible.  Remaining in your own villa may be the best option.

However, if you are travelling in August, September or October -- or if you have health concerns for yourself or anyone else in your group -- we recommend travel protection.  Be advised that Villas by Linda Smith makes no claim regarding any insurer's service or coverage.  Your choice of insurers is at your own discretion; however, we do encourage you to consider our partner LeisureCare.

Will my cell phone work in Jamaica?

Take your US cell phone. It will probably work. To be sure, call your provider to ask whether your cell will work in Jamaica. If not, we recommend the local Digicel phone service and minutes. It’s reasonably priced, including the international calling plan. Many of our villas already offer a complimentary Digicel for guest use during their stay.

Safety for Tourists Islandwide in Jamaica

To see the most current safety statistics for tourists in Jamaica, view this PDF.


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Terms and Conditions

Minimum Stay Requirements

Typical minimum stay requirements are 7 nights in High Season and 5 nights in Low Season. However, we are happy to make exceptions in some cases.

Damage Deposits

Damage Deposits in most of our villas are US$500 per week.  (see exceptions)  These will not be assessed if no damage occurs during your stay.  If partial damage does occur (a broken lamp, a remote control tossed in the pool, etc.), we will assess an appropriate amount.  If no damage occurs, your Damage Deposit will be refunded immediately after you return home.  If you have paid by credit card, we will charge damage against your credit card only if necessary and we will advise you in advance.

Payment and Cancellation Policy

A 25% deposit confirms a reservation. Balance is due 60 days before travel. No refunds for cancellations are made within 60 days prior to scheduled occupancy. For cancellations made 61 or more days prior to scheduled occupancy, we will refund all deposits less a 20% cancellation fee. (Deposits for Roaring Pavilion, Sundown and Rio Chico are non-refundable.)

Policies for Christmas and New Year's weeks differ. A 50% deposit confirms a reservation. Balance is due 120 days before travel. No refunds for cancellations are made within 120 days prior to scheduled occupancy. For cancellations made more than 120 days prior to scheduled occupancy, we will refund all deposits less a 20% cancellation fee. 

You may wish to purchase TRAVEL PROTECTION.

ALL RATES SUBJECT TO CHANGE. PLEASE CONFIRM BEFORE BOOKING.

Extra Guests

Extra guests in any room attract a surcharge of $30 each per night.  The following villas are exceptions.


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Villa Basics

What does a standard villa include?

All of our villas are fully staffed.  A full-time dedicated chef, butler, housekeeper and personal laundress attend exclusively to your villa.

Other basics include a pool, television, internet, and an air-conditioned house.  And there's more. Every villa offers a varied set of additional amenities.  You can explore the list of features on our search page.

What does the villa staff do for us?

Your cook will handle grocery shopping and meal preparation.  She will pre-purchase your first few meals plus pantry staples, then finish the week's shopping after meeting with you.  At week's end, she will present receipts for all food and beverage and reconcile your account.

Your cook will also pre-purchase a small starter bar (a few bottles of Red Stripe, moderately-priced wine and rum).  Additional alcohol requests will increase your budget.  If you wish to go to the various markets with her, you are welcome.  Otherwise, simply review with her your tastes and distastes and she'll handle it all while you stay at the villa and relax.

The day starts while guests are still asleep.  The cook quietly places pots of steaming Jamaican coffee on the verandah.  Full breakfast is served when all guests are ready.  A typical breakfast may include fresh-squeezed orange juice and fresh fruits, banana fritters or plantain, eggs, bacon, pancakes or cereal ~ or Jamaican ackee and salt fish.  For lunches and dinners, your cook will prepare her own mix of Jamaican specialties ~ including delicious homemade soups and desserts, lobster, curried goat, jerk pork or chicken, pasta, lamb, beef, fresh fish ~ or serve traditional American fare as you request.  Warning: Jamaican cooks are excellent and portions are generous!

Your chambermaid and laundress will care for every detail of your bedroom and bath ~ providing fresh linens and flowers, returning your neatly-folded laundry, and turning down your bed each evening.  The gardener will maintain the pool and grounds immaculately each day.  Most villas are staffed by a butler as well who serves, tends bar and generally facilitates.

Where are your villas located in Jamaica?

Most of our villas are located within 10 miles of Montego Bay on the North shore of Jamaica.  Montego Bay has an international airport where tourist flights come in, enabling guests to reach "home" 20 minutes after clearing Customs.  Eleven of our villas are on beautiful Discovery Bay, one is on the beach in Runaway Bay and seven are oceanfront in Ocho Rios.

What time is check-in / check-out?

Check-in time is 1:00 p.m. in most villas, 3:00 p.m. in others.  Check-out time is 11:00 a.m. in most, 12 noon in others.  Ask us when you have selected your villa what times apply to you.  If no other guests are scheduled to occupy your villa on arrival and departure days, you are welcome to check in early and check out as late as you wish.  Ask any agent in our office to advise you of the occupancy schedule of your villa.  Remember that the schedule may change prior to your travel date, so you may wish to check with us again the week prior to your trip.


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Choosing a Villa

How do I choose the right villa?

The single best way to find the right villa is to give us a call.
301 - 229 - 4300.  We are open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.  Our booking agents know the villas, and our expertise lies in finding the best villa for your vacation. 

The second best way to find a villa that suits you is to start with our Search Page.  Whether you're interested in on-site tennis, a heated pool, a helicopter pad, handicap access or beach club membership, you will be able to choose the options that interest you.

Which villas are best for families?

Some of our villas are particularly well suited for children.  Factors we consider when recommending specific homes as child-friendly include:

  • grassy lawn and outdoor play area
  • safe distance between house and swimming pool
  • membership in beach clubs, kids' clubs
  • children's videos
  • adjoining bedrooms for parents and children.

Please take a look at our full list of Family-Friendly Villas.

Which villas are best for golf and tennis?

Golf

We offer 33 golf villas on or very near Jamaica's top golf courses on the North Coast -- the Tryall Club, Half Moon, Cinnamon Hill and the Ritz Carlton White Witch.  See our list of golf courses and greens fees, as well as a description of Jamaica's golf courses. You can also browse our full list of golf villas.

Tennis

Many of our villas include a private tennis court on their grounds.  See our list of villas with tennis courts.

Which villas have a private gym?

Many of our villas include a private air conditioned gym.  See our list of Private air conditioned gyms. See our list of Villas with fitness equipment on site. Guests at villas with Round Hill membership may use the fitness room there for a fee of $25 per person per day.

Where can I find villas on the beach?

We offer many villas situated directly on oceanfront beaches.  However, many of our higher end villas are not on the beach.  They are located 5 to 10 minutes from the beach.  This leaves you within an easy walk or golf cart ride from the sand, but affords a quieter locale for relaxing poolside.

See our list of public and beach clubs.
Also see our full list of beachfront villas.

Which villas have heated pools?

Which villas have a private putting green?

Which villas have playgrounds for children?

Which Villas have Pool Tables?

Which Villas have Ping Pong Tables?

Which villas have pianos?

Which villas does Linda Smith give the highest rating of Premier?


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Attractions and Activities

What is there to do in Montego Bay?

The outfitters in Montego Bay provide opportunity for jungle canopy tours, horseback riding, swimming with dolphins, sport fishing and more.  In town you will find restaurants, bars and night life.  Take a look at our full page of Montego Bay Activities.

What is there to do in Ocho Rios?

Ocho Rios offers great opportunity for water sports, museums and historical sight-seeing.  Take a look at our full page of Ocho Rios Activities.

Where can I scuba dive in Jamaica?

Scuba is available in Montego Bay, including a DC-3 airplane wreck and several ecosystems in the Montego Bay Marine Park, opened in 1992. However, more of the dive activity happens in Negril, on the west end of Jamaica, where conditions are calm year round.

If my villa does not have beach club membership, what beaches can I use?

Many of our villas include membership in two excellent nearby beach resorts. Our Tryall Club, Half Moon and Round Hill memberships allow our member guests access to beaches, kids clubs, bars and restaurants, entertainment several nights each week … as well as fitness rooms, Internet rooms and tennis facilities. The Tryall Club is renowned for its world-class 18-hole golf course. 

In addition, the northern Jamaica shore offers some outstanding public beaches.


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Trip Planning

How do I organize a vacation for a large group?

Our family of villas can accommodate large family reunions, corporate retreats or other meetings.  We offer a full list of villas suitable for large events and gatherings.

Would you like professional photos taken of your villa vacation in Jamaica?

Villas by Linda Smith highly recommends photographer Suki MacDonald Kapahi for a portrait of any group you wish to capture and preserve from your vacation. You’ll receive consultation on wardrobe and Suki will even bring a makeup stylist if you wish. Simply email us for rate and reservation information. Our concierge team will help you set up the details.

How do I arrange a wedding in Jamaica?

We offer extensive wedding guidance for planning your big day.  A Jamaican villa makes the perfect location for a gracious tropical wedding.  Take a look at our full list of wedding friendly villas.

The villa where the wedding takes place requires a minimum one-week rental at full house rate. 

Where can I find gourmet food and fine wine?

For guests who would like to pre-order specialty food and wine, we offer the Indulge pre-stocking service.


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Villa Memberships

Villas in the Tryall Golf, Tennis & Beach Club

Additional villas with access to the Tryall Club through Linda Smith

Villas with Round Hill Membership

Please note that we cannot guarantee that Round Hill beach membership will be available after October 30, 2014. Exceptions: Hillside, Janus, Knockando, Longview and Summerland will continue to have membership through 2015. Almond Hill will always have membership.

Note re Noble House: As of November 1, 2014 and all dates forward, Noble House will not have Round Hill Membership.

Villas with Half Moon Membership

Villas with Half Moon Golf, Tennis, Beach & Gym Membership

unlimited free greens fees, unlimited use of practice facilities and range balls, 25% discount on optional cart rental, 25% discount on goods at Half Moon golf pro shop, 25% discount on instructional services at Half Moon Golf Academy, 25% discount at 19th Hole Bar

Villa with Half Moon Beach, Tennis & Gym Membership

beach, pools, Jacuzzi, tennis center, gym, croquet, putting green

What is the age requirement for our teenager to drive a cart in the resort?

Driving age in Jamaica is 18.  However, if your teenager holds a valid US driver’s license and is younger than 18, he/she may legally drive a golf cart or transportation cart within the resort. Parents are asked to sign a waiver that explains the driving age rules, and to monitor their teenager’s caution and respect for the homeowner’s cart.  Accidents caused by teens who are reckless can be devastating.

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Linda Smith’s Best Advice

Talk to your staff! They speak English, you speak English, so communicate! Your villa is your home this week. You are the boss and more than anything, your staff wants to please you. So speak up and ask for what you want. You’ll probably get it.

Jamaica

Villas by Linda Smith 100 Fordham Road, Bldg. C Wilmington, MA, 01887 Tel 301.229.4300 Email linda@jamaicavillas.com
© 2014 Villas by Linda Smith All Rights Reserved