Villa | 4 bedrooms | sleeps 10
Sheer Folly is a fully staffed family owned luxury villa sitting an acre of lush coastal gardens on the north coast between St Ann's Bay and Ocho Rios.
The villa is 'C' shaped with a rectangular pool in the open section. It is a 2-3 minutes' walk to a private beach which hosts a fantastic beach bar restaurant with variety of activities water sports, fishing boat rides around the bay and out to the main reef. The villa is just five minute drive to the famous Duns River Falls, Mystic Mountains and Dolphin Cove. Ocho Rios town is an additional 3 mins further where you will find all the tourist attractions, restaurants, craft markets, discos, beaches and much more.
What's it like? The villa itself is surrounded by a large tropical garden with towering Royal Palm trees and a selection of fruit and flowering trees. and has its own swimming pool. The garden area that has a variety of fruit trees and shady spots where you can relax and sip cool tropical drinks for hours. There is also a shaded dining area outside the main living room for those who enjoy outdoor meals. The new roof top terrace is a large balconied area to view the Caribbean Sea, watch the sunset or just take in the cool breeze and crashing waves set under the beautiful night sky.
The villa has four / five bedrooms with the potential to sleep up to 12 people. Three bedrooms have queen size beds with the other offering two double beds. All main bedrooms have on suite shower rooms with hot and cold running water and are fully air conditioned.
The kitchen is fully fitted with all modern appliances, but more importantly the villa is fully staffed with a full time housekeeper, a cook and a gardener. The main living room is on two levels with an open plan dinning at the rear and the main area with sofas, 50 inch flat screen cable TV, WiFi, DVD player and music centre.
This villa is ideal for large families or groups of friends, wanting a relaxing vacation with beach access and short drives to town and a variety of tourist venues. Access to a car will give maximum freedom.
The staff are the true joy of a Jamaican villa experience. They are wonderfully accommodating and will try to do anything you want. Just ask. Some staff live off the property or in separate accommodations on the villa grounds. Your cook will consistently delight you with wonderful Jamaican meals, special cakes for birthday or anniversary events. Staff members may bring unusual fruits or vegetables that they have grown in their own gardens to the villa for you to sample. It is best to tip the staff at the end of your stay, see tipping advice below. The permanent Sheer Folly staff are:
House Manager/Cook, Hareen (she lives 3mins away)
Gardener/Pool, Mr Singh
Ask any repeat traveler to Jamaica about where the best restaurant is and most will tell you "the villas". Villa cooks are fantastic. They can whip up a wonderful western omelet or prepare a superb Jamaican specialty such as ackee and saltfish. It's your choice. You can ask that the cook to "surprise" you with her Jamaican cooking skills, or work with her to plan out your meals. Our experience is that the food is so good you don't even want to think about going out to a restaurant! You should arrange the details of meals with the cook, dinner hours etc.
The staff like to have some set hours that they can then work around. Some staff live on the property so can easily provide later dinner service. Other villa staff go home at night and need to use public transportation. They typically work 8-10 hour days. Almost all the villas will stagger some of the staff hours so that you can have dinner served later in the evening if you prefer. We suggest working out a dining schedule and menu for the week with your cook on the day of your arrival. Here is what is typical for villa dining.
Breakfast: 8-10 am
• 1st course: Fresh juice, Blue Mountain Coffee, and fresh fruit.
• 2nd course: Main entree - eggs or omelets, etc. Main entrees are generally served with toast and a breakfast meat of your choice, or try a real Jamaican breakfast of ackee, Calaloo, and Johnny cakes with guava jelly.
Lunch: 12-1 pm
Some visitors like a hearty lunch and others prefer a light lunch after a large breakfast. Typical lunch menu - salads, sandwiches, Jamaican beef/ vegetable patties, or Jerk Chicken and Festival.
Dinner: 5:30-7:00 pm
You can choose inside or out.
As mentioned an initial supply of food and liquor is purchased in advance and is normally sufficient for two days. Guests are responsible for reimbursing the store which provides the supplies. Your cook will work with you on menus for all the meals and will do the shopping. You will need to provide her with money for these purchases. Some guests prefer to shop for the food themselves, and some go with the cook when she shops for fresh food in the Ocho Rios or St Ann's Bay Market.
If you want the staff to food shop you will need to pay for a cab or provide the transportation. Food costs average $35 - $45 per adult per day and $20/day for pre-teens. The size of the group, menu selection and liquor choices will affect the cost, so please remember that this is just an estimate. Also please note that household supplies (such as paper towels, soap, Kleenex) will be included in the grocery costs.
Remember that your meal choices will affect the grocery bill and items such as lobster (typically $10 USD/pound) and conch can have a major effect on your meal budget. Each group of people will have different appetite requirements, so the villa staff will need some guidance as to the quantities of food to be purchased. You only need to purchase food for your group and not the villas staff. The staff will do its best to accommodate your needs, but the final decision on menus and shopping are yours as you are the person paying the grocery bills.
We know that local lobster and conch are favorites with many guests; however, we request that you refrain from purchasing both these delicacies out of season. They need a chance to breed and replenish the supply, plus it is illegal to purchase live lobsters and conch "out of season". The Lobster season is CLOSED April 1 through June 30; and the Conch season is CLOSED July 1 through October 30.
You can purchase imported lobster and conch, which may be available frozen in the grocery stores.
We have found that the best grocery shopping in Ocho Rios is General Foods. It is a large air-conditioned store, with a good liquor section and does accept credit cards. It is near the straw market in Ocean Village Shopping Center. There is also an excellent meat market on Main Street, Moneysworth. They will have both Jamaican and imported meats, along with seafood.
Last Day Tipping:
It is customary to tip your staff at the conclusion of your stay. An appropriate gratuity is 10% This would be divided among the staff members according to their seniority and service provided. It is also appropriate to tip your van driver approximately 10% after they drop you off at the airport on your return home. Typically the largest tip percentage would go to the cook, with the remained divided up among the other staff members.
We typically place the tip in individual envelopes for each staff member. We give it to them when the van picks us up for the airport. Here is a table showing suggested tip percentages for each staff member at Sheer Folly. These numbers are suggestions and you can certainly vary them depending on your experience with each staff member.
House Manager/Cook 50%
|Size||Sleeps up to 10, 4 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Mammee Bay Beach Club 100 m|
|Will consider||Corporate bookings, House swap, Long term lets (over 1 month), Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Access||Car advised, Wheelchair users|
|Nearest Amenities||2 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Montego Bay 104 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages, Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Luxuries||Internet access, DVD player, Staffed property, Sea view|
|General||Air conditioning, TV, Video player, CD player, Telephone, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||4 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms of which 4 Family bathrooms, 1 En suites and 1 Shower rooms, Solarium or roof terrace|
|Furniture||Single beds (2), Double beds (4), Dining seats for 10, Lounge seats for 6|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace, Private garden, BBQ|
|Access||Wheelchair users, Secure parking|
The North Jamaica Coast region
With a car you can explore numerous beaches along the north coast. There is a lot of information on what to do just check the web.
The North Coast starting from Montego Bay
You can use the following itinerary to make the most out of a week in Jamaica, but feel free to drop a place or two to save a day to relax on the beach. One week provides just enough time, although barely, to introduce yourself to some of the best of the grand resorts on the island, especially Montego Bay and Port Antonio.
Days 1 & 2: Arrival in Montego Bay
Fly to Jamaica and use Montego Bay as your gateway. It is Jamaica's premier resort with good airline connections from North America. You can pick up your rental car (advance arrangements are best) at the airport. Arm yourself with a good map and drive to Sheer Folly. We don't suggest you launch the driving tour on your first day in Jamaica. A driver will meet you with your hire car at the airport and the drive to the villa will give you a good preview of driving conditions on the island. Perhaps after getting to Sheer Folly, you can relax and recuperate around the pool, sipping a rum punch. And then during your first evening you can enjoy some live reggae music and a bountiful buffet of Jamaican specialties at the villa or on the beach before turning in early after an exhausting day of departure and arrival hassles.
On the morning of Day 2, begin your road adventure of the island setting out for Rose Hall Great House, formal locale of the "White Witch," which lies 15km (9 1/4 miles) east of the center of Montego Bay. Take the A1 highway east until you see the signposted turnoff near the community of Little River. After a 2-hour visit, get back on the A1 and continue east until you see the turnoff from A1 leading to Greenwood Great House, former residence of the literary Barrett family. After a visit, you still have time to drive to Falmouth for lunch. The port town of Falmouth lies 37km (23 miles) east of Montego Bay. Before setting out to explore the town, stop first at the Glistening Waters Restaurant and Marina for a seafood lunch on the veranda overlooking the lagoon. After lunch, continue to Falmouth and take our walking tour of this historic seaport.
After a day spent exploring the eastern coastline of Montego Bay, drive back to the villa for the night.
Days 3, 4 & 5: Exploring East & West of Ocho Rios
Being centrally located Mammee Bay is a perfect base location to tour eastern and western attractions of this coastal region.
Head along A1 in the direction of Falmouth . Beyond Falmouth, the A1 dips inland away from the sea until it reaches the little hamlet of Duncans, about 11km (7 miles) east of Falmouth and huddled under the hills of the Cockpit Country.
You'll find little here to detain you, except for a few local food joints and bars touting rum drinks. No one remembers when the clock tower last worked. Calypso fans know that the great singer, Harry Belafonte, once lived here in relative poverty. If you want to get out and stretch your legs, seek out the Kettering Baptist Church if it's open. Constructed in 1893, it honors William Knibb, a Baptist missionary. He is fabled in Jamaican history as an abolitionist. In 1840 he founded an emancipation village where runaway slaves enjoyed freedom.
Continue east beyond Duncans along the A1 to the little town of Rio Bueno, 51km (32 miles) east of Montego Bay. Rio Bueno is a fishing community that was the setting for the 1964 movie A High Wind in Jamaica (a classic you may find on the late show).
Rio Bueno was the place where Columbus first set foot in Jamaica on May 4, 1494 (or so it is believed). Offshore were anchored his caravels, the Cardera, Nina, and San Juan.
If you'd like a break, take time out to look at the 18th-century ruins of Fort Dundas behind the local school. It was named for Henry Dundas, the British secretary of war in the late 1700s. You can also walk over to St. Mark's Anglican Church, constructed on the water by the British in 1833. It has known greater days.
After Rio Bueno, the A1 runs along the sea until it reaches Columbus Park, which is a good place to stop for a picnic. You can secure the makings for a noon-day respite at Montego Bay or at little joints in Rio Bueno. If you didn't prepare and bring along a picnic, you'll find a snack bar and a little tavern serving hot food. There's also a craft shop if you want a souvenir. Check out the museum here before continuing on your way.
Immediately to the east, reached along the A1, Discovery Bay comes into view. Opening onto a wide flask-shaped bay, Discovery Bay lies 8km (5 miles) east of Rio Bueno and 8km (5 miles) west of our next stopover at Runaway Bay. Locals make the claim that it was here that Columbus first landed in 1494, although some historians believe that Rio Bueno, as mentioned above, has a better claim.
You needn't spend a lot of time at Discovery Bay. The town is dominated by the Kaiser Jamaica Bauxite Company, and you can see large freighters loaded with the bauxite at the pier on the west side of the bay. Most of these freighters are headed for Russia. This so-called "red gold" is also shipped to refineries in the United States.
If you'd like an hour or so on the beach, take your trunks and head for Puerto Seco Beach, the best in the area. Its name, meaning "dry harbor," is said to have come from the reluctance of Columbus to land on a bay with no fresh water. There are full facilities and a snack bar here.
Continue east to Runaway Bay, which makes a more tranquil before you arrive at St Ann's Bay. Passing Mammee Bay then on to Ocho Rios is larger and more bustling, however, with more activities going on.
Runaway Bay is for the escapist vacationers who want to flee the cruise-ship passengers arriving constantly at Ocho Rios, however fewer ships dock at Ocho Rios since the port opened in Falmouth. There's not a lot here. It's virtually a one-street village stretching for 3km (2 miles) along the A1. The name Runaway comes from the legend that the Spaniards fled from Jamaica to this point in 1655. Another legend suggests that the name comes from African slaves making a getaway from Cuba by canoe.
At this point in the tour you can dip south along the B3, following the signs past the little hamlet of Orange Valley to Brown's Town, a large, bustling market town lying 11km (7 miles) south of Runaway Bay. For some motorists, this will be their first look at the "real Jamaica." Hopefully you'll arrive on one of the market days: Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Stroll through the tin-roofed, cast-iron Victorian market and be prepared for some powerful hawkers peddling their wares.
The views from this town are panoramic, a real taste of Jamaica's best scenery. Little food joints and tacky bars line the main street, and loud blasts of reggae music pierce the air.
Bob Marley fans will want to continue along the B3 south to Alexandria, a little hamlet of no importance, but a point from where you head east following the signs to Nine Mile and the Bob Marley Centre & Mausoleum.
After paying your respects to the king of reggae, you can continue east from Nine Mile passing through the hamlet of Albion as you make your way to the town of Claremont, following the road signs. Once at Claremont you can hook up with the A1 north, leading to St. Ann's Bay. At this point you're back on the coast road, which is the A3 at this point. Follow it east into Ocho Rios.
Going east from Mammee Bay you can set out to explore its immediate attractions, including Dunn's River Falls and the Coyaba Gardens and Museum and Mahoe Falls, which are located 2km (1 1/4 miles) south of the town center. You can also fit in Prospect Plantation, 5km (3 miles) east of Ocho Rios, returning to Ocho Rios in time to wander through the Island Village and the Island Village Shopping Centre. Overnight once again in Ocho Rios.
Set out to drive to the attractions east of Ocho Rios. But start by taking in one of the most scenic drives in Jamaica, heading south along the A3 to Fern Gully, a lush gorge. After this detour and a stopover here and there, return to Ocho Rios for the continuation of the tour.
Drive east 26km (16 miles) on the A3 in the direction of Oracabessa. A one-street town centered around a fruit and vegetable market, Oracabessa is best viewed on a Friday or Saturday. Gone are the notorious rum bars and gambling houses that flourished here at the turn of the 20th century when this was a major port for sending bananas to the United States. Ian Fleming wrote many of his James Bond stories at the property he purchased at Goldeneye, now a hotel. You cou can visit the James Bond Beach Club Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 6pm, just off Main Street along Old Wharf Road.
The A3 continues southwest until you reach Port Maria, which is 34km (21 miles) east of Ocho Rios and is one of the North Coast's most colorful towns, opening onto a crescent-shaped bay. Most visitors come here to see Firefly, just west of Port Maria. This was the Jamaican retreat of the playwright and actor, Nöel Coward. The world came to his doorstep, including celebrants of the Golden Age of Hollywood and even the Queen Mother of England.
While at Port Maria, you can also take a tour of the Brimmer Hall Estate, which resides in the hills 3km (1 3/4 miles) from Port Maria. You can also swim in the pool of this 1817 estate.
On the way back to Mammee Bay for the night, we suggest a stopover at Harmony Hall on the A3, 6 km (3 1/4 miles) east of Ocho Rios. Once the main house for a sugar plantation, the hall today is one of the best shopping possibilities in the area, selling quality items, unlike the junk hawked on the streets. Return to Ocho villa for the night.
Days 6 & 7: East to Port Antonio
For a final look at Jamaica, we head east once again, taking in our favorite destination on the island, historic Port Antonio, which is far removed from the hustle and bustle of either Montego Bay or Ocho Rios.
Leave early on the morning of Day 6, heading east along the A3, bypassing Oracabessa and Port Maria this time. Here, lush hills roll down to a coastline of white sandy beaches and the fabulous Blue Lagoon aquamarine pool. The A3 becomes the A4 at Annotto Bay, a battered old town, a one-street wonder, that is named after the red annatto dye once produced here. It's best to arrive at the main square on the market days of Friday and Saturday. Once it was a great banana shipping port in the 19th century, today seedy shanties line the waterfront. The place is like a time capsule of long ago, but it has its memories.
Sixteen kilometers (10 miles) to the east along the A4, Buff Bay comes into view. Farmers from the Blue Mountains come to market to sell their wares, often luscious fresh fruits and vegetables. The oldest building in town is the St. George Anglican Church, dating mostly from 1814, although some of the church has stood here since the late 17th century.
The other sights of interest, still to the east of Port Antonio, include Hope Bay, a 20-minute drive east of Buff Bay. Hope Bay is a fishing town filled with jerk stands, which is good to know if you're here at lunchtime.
Somerset Falls to the immediate east of Hope Bay. Waters of the Daniels River pour down a deep gorge into a rainforest studded with waterfalls. This is one of the great beauty spots along the North Coast.
On Day 7, go rafting on the Rio Grande before setting out on a drive. Rafting is experienced by nearly every visitor to Port Antonio. After that, head east along the A4, stopping first to look at the ruins of the Folly Great House on Folly Peninsula at East Harbour. Later, pass by the lavishly ornate Trident Castle at Turtle Crawle Bay.
The A4 continues down the coastline in eastern Jamaica to the town of Manchioneal, 11km (6 3/4 miles) from Long Bay. The small fishing village is one of the most typical in Jamaica, and little jerk shacks line the shoreline if you're hungry.
After Manchioneal, continue south along the A4 until you see the turnoff to Bath, an evocative old spa town that seems to exist in a time capsule. If you're here for lunch, visit the Bath Fountain Hotel and Spa.
At this point because of the bad roads the north coast ends.
Ocho Rios (Spanish for "Eight Rivers") is a town in the parish of Saint Ann on the north coast of Jamaica. Although he landed in many spots along the Jamaican coast, many believe that Christopher Columbus first set foot on land in Ocho Rios. Just outside the city, travelers and residents can visit Columbus Park, where Columbus supposedly first came on land, and see maritime artifacts and Spanish colonial buildings.
It was once a fishing village but now caters to tourists. It is a port of call for cruise ships as well as for cargo ships loading sugar, limestone, and in the past, bauxite. Scuba diving and other water sports are offered in the town's vicinity.
The name "Ocho Rios" is a misnomer because there are not eight rivers in the area. It is most likely a British corruption of the original Spanish name "Las Chorreras" ("the waterfalls"), a name given to the village because of the nearby Dunn's River Falls.
The north coast highway from the international airport at Montego Bay to Ocho Rios has been improved since 2000 and the journey is now an hour and forty five minutes drive. On 26 August 2011, the Jamaican government announced a $21 million revitalization plan for the resort area.
The town has restaurants, night clubs the local fisherman's village and Dolphin Cove, where tourists swim and interact with dolphins.
It is perhaps most notable for its use in Dr. No, the very first James Bond film, which was released in 1962. It was the home of Miss Taro, played by Zena Marshall, who was an adversary of Bond (Sean Connery) and in alliance with the main villain Dr Julius No (Joseph Wiseman). It also appears as the primary location for the horror sequel Piranha II: The Spawning, many of the scenes being photographed at the Mallards Beach-Hyatt, now the Sunset Jamaica Grande.
Ocho Rios is the name of the sixth track on the album Sounding out the City by El Michels Affair.
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