We’re only three months into the year, but it’s likely you’re in need of a getaway. We understand. If you’re searching for something new and different, consider booking a stay at the all-new, all-inclusive Meliá Braco Village. The 15-month-old property, formerly known as Braco Village Hotel & Spa, offers plenty of sunshine and a street festival worth kicking off your shoes to party the night away with the locals. Intrigued? Here are a few more reasons to check out this charming 232-room paradise in the seaside village of Rio Bueno, Jamaica.
After a multimillion-dollar renovation, Meliá Braco Village offers a VIP option to its guests. It’s called The Level. Stay in one of 52 of The Level’s beachfront or oceanfront rooms, or go all out with the Romance or Royal Suites. Booking a room here gives you access to an exclusive lounge and check-in area with private mini-bar, buffet station, business center and more. You’ll be given a mobile phone to communicate with your personal concierge, and you’ll receive access to Golden Sands, a casual beachfront buffet-style eatery that serves international fare and is only available to guests at The Level. What makes this area so special is that vacationers staying here can enjoy a quieter setting at The Level’s private pool with its own lifeguard and dedicated beach area with Balinese beds.
You will fall in love with the gorgeous Caribbean Ocean and its turquoise and deep blue hues … just looking at the water will leave you speechless. Don your bikini to sit beachside with a book and a rum punch. Beach attendants will check on you should you need a refill, and when you’re ready to hit the water for kayaking or standup paddleboarding, just check in with the activities desk to grab equipment and go. If you’d prefer to listen to the waves crashing while sitting on your balcony, that works too, but putting your toes in the sand and soaking up the sun is every vacationer’s utopia.
An Authentic Jamaican Experience
Don’t be the person who visits a resort and doesn’t try to assimilate with the locals. Trust us, you do not want to miss out on chatting it up with the resident islanders like Marlon, who is the mastermind behind the popular fresh fruit mobile cart that can be seen making its way around the village. He’ll slice a coconut with a machete right in front of your eyes and then stick a straw in it as he hands it to you to savor. You’ll also want to get to know Travis. He’s funny, and he’ll teach you some Jamaican history, like what the three colors on the Jamaican flag represent (gold: sunshine, green: land, and black: hardships/strength of the people). He will also make sure you get an extra tasting of snapper during the weekly cooking class that’s offered to guests.
The On-Property Obstacle Course
Get competitive with your friends at Meliá Braco Village’s three-level obstacle course. About a 10-minute walk from your colonial-style digs, you can climb a wall, bike across a rope and zipline across the length of the course to finish the challenge. Should you want to up the action with your pals, take an off-site excursion to Chukka Caribbean Adventures at Good Hope Estate (about 45 minutes from the hotel), where you can zipline on five different trails, go tubing with a tour guide and partake in an Appleton rum tasting. After sampling three different blends, our favorite is the brand’s sweet Estate Rare Blend, which has been aged for 12 years in oak casks. If there’s enough time, end the outing with a thrilling ATV joyride. Whirl around a sizable open space in a single seater before heading back to the hotel after a fun and exhausting day!
The property does a nice job of providing several dining options for guests. Choose from The Marketplace for an international spread, or stroll over to O’Grille for Jamaican food straight from the grill (Jerk chicken or a beef patty, anyone?!). If you’re in the mood for Asian and Peruvian fare, visit Nikkei, with its three teppanyaki tables (be sure to make a reservation if you want to sit at one of these interactive spots), or go to Rasta Pasta for a selection of Italian specialties with a Jamaican twist, like the Jamaican Caesar Salad with romaine hearts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, jerk chicken and crispy onions, or the Jammin Farfalle, with diced tomatoes, pineapple, onions, fresh seafood, ackee, creamy tomato sauce and a hint of jerk spice. The crown jewel of the property is 876 Prime, where you can order a steak and asparagus topped with shaved truffles. You’ll love everything from the ambiance with its all-white furnishings and mirrors to discovering tiny tidbits, like what the 876 in the restaurant’s name means. (For the record, it’s one of the area codes in Jamaica.)
On Friday nights, all of the restaurant’s close down and set up stations in the village (near the main hotel check-in area) for a street party. It’s a combination of dance party meets community tables meets festive fare and market square. Guests can purchase authentic crafts made by locals, dine on curry goat and rice, grab a bottle of Red Stripe, and wine it up all night to tunes performed by a live steel band.
Other evenings, you’ll want to stop by Jigger Bar for the Blended Bob Marley. This signature drink comes with Appleton rum, strawberry and mango daiquiris, and blue curaçao. Fun times are had at this hotspot thanks to Joshua, who plays the piano and trumpet with one hand. Expect the crowd to sing along to tunes like Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” as Joshua keeps guests entertained. And ask hotel representatives when Shyam, an extremely talented self-taught guitarist and singer, will be on property. Listening to him croon songs like “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias while beachside will take your breath away.
To learn more about Meliá Braco Village, visit melia.com.
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