Whistling Villa is located in Runaway Bay, a small town about 20 minutes from Ocho Rios, along the north coast of the island. Kate and I stayed here for 8 days/7nights in September, 2011, and loved it! Admittedly, we were the only guests at the time, so we had the entire villa to ourselves … perhaps that added a bit of extra charm to our visit.
We booked our trip through a website called dojamaicayourway.com, which helps you plan your trip to Jamaica … the local way. Its a great website, if you’re planning your trip online be sure to check out the site! All that to say, we never dealt with the owner of the villa, but dojamaicayourway was super speedy getting us the information regarding the villa and making our reservations. We paid $75/night per room, so for two rooms for 7 nights it was $1050. We were there during the low season so I’m sure the price differs depending on the time of year. (September turned out to be an AMAZING time to visit. No lines at the airport and we still had great weather!!) This price included two rooms with ensuite bathrooms and full access to the villa – kitchen, pool, living area, dining room, outdoor patio, and housekeeping and maintenance. It was also supposed to include internet, but the internet didn’t work at all while we were there (although, after a couple of days the internet provider did show up to try and fix it, but it never did work).
For those of you who know the Runaway Bay area, the villa is located straight up the road (less than a five minute drive) from Flavours Beach … up the hill past the Heart Hotel and Training Institute. It isn’t hard to find at all. The villa is beautiful. When we were there, a young man named Chris was taking care of the yard, pool and maintenance around the villa. The grounds were immaculately kept and the pool was always very clean. Chris gets up around 6 am to clean the pool and yard, so by the time we dragged ourselves out of bed in the morning the pool was always ready to go!
The outside area consists of two separate patio areas, and the pool area … we were the only ones there so we had the whole place to ourselves, but I don’t imagine it would have been hard to share that much space if there had been other guests. There is also a rooftop deck area that’s awesome and gives you a view of the Runaway Bay Golf Course. We didn’t hang out up there too much just because it’s really hot! (lol) But I imagine it would be a great place to work on your tan! On the inside there are four separate rooms (each with their own bathroom). There is the kitchen, as well as the dining room area. The gathering area has many different sets of couches/chairs and is very large, so you can easily find a place to relax by yourself or with others.
Our housekeeper and cook was Elva (she did mention that when the villa is busy there is actually a chef there too). Elva is the most wonderful and sweetest lady I think I have ever met. She was very shy at first, but after a couple of days I would sit with her for hours chatting about just about anything and everything! Elva is definitely worth getting to know … she now refers to us as her daughters. It was so interesting to talk with her about her life and what its like to be a Jamaican. She kept the inside very clean and was always there to cook us something if we wanted her to … we tried to make pancakes one morning with not much success …. so every morning after that, as soon as Elva saw us moving around she get those pancakes ready for us! LOL. You are free to use the kitchen as you please, to cook whatever you want, whenever you want. I think we only had Elva cook one other meal for us, our dinner the day we arrived at the villa … it was delicious, no complaints! Elva will also do laundry for you, it was about $5.00 USD per load.
When you book at the villa, you’ll get an email with meal/food choices. Be aware (as with most villas) the cost of food is your responsibility … it’s not included in the cost of the villa. We sent ours in, but a couple of days before we left Canada they called from the villa to let us know that they wouldn’t have the specialty items (such as seafood), and that we would have to go into Ocho Rios to pick them up once we arrived. I believe they would go for you to get it as well, but you’d have to cover their costs to get there and back and then some … (not sure how much it would be). It wasn’t a big deal to us anyways since we had rented a car for the week and could easily pick up our own groceries, but probably something that’s good to be aware of!
They work with someone who you can hire to pick you up and return you to the airport and I believe he can also be hired to take you pretty much anywhere, but as we mentioned before, we rented a car and had friends do the driving for us! Definitely the way to go if you ask me. But transportation is easily arranged if you don’t want to rent a car. (We will talk about car rentals some other time, but we don’t rent through a rental company, we have friends who “know people”..if you have questions though, let us know!)
The rooms were VERY spacious. Each room can be accommodated as a king size bed or two twin beds. There were also two night stands with lamps, a dresser and bench, tv and chair. There were walk in closets and the ensuite bathroom had a sink with large counter, toilet and shower/bath (with hot water!!). There were clean towels supplied every day. We don’t have many pictures of the inside of the villa, but you can check on their website for pictures: www.whistlingvilla.com
Another great thing about staying at Whistling Villa (or any villa really, as opposed to staying at a resort) is that you can have people over! Resorts have strict policies about visitors (and passes usually cost anywhere between $60-100, and that’s only for daytime OR evening), but at the villas you can have people over. We had friends come over to chill, swim in the pool, and they even used the kitchen to cook us our dinners almost the whole week! The staff were all very friendly with any visitors that came by.
Although its definitely not the least expensive villa in the Runaway Bay area, our stay was definitely worth what we paid. It is so relaxing and felt like home! We have even been back just to say hi and they definitely remembered us! 🙂 We loved our stay at Whistling Villa and would recommend it to anyone looking for a villa in Jamaica!
If you’ve stayed at Whistling Villa before and would like to leave your comments, please feel free to do so below!