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Romantic getaways: Negril
On the western tip of Jamaica, mellow sunsets and a lush rainforest.
February 4, 2004: 12:57 PM EST

Negril at a glance
  
Where to stay Idle Awhile or The Caves 
Where to eat The Caves
Don't miss Rick's Cafe on the West End 

NEW YORK (Money magazine) - Even the name Jamaica itself sounds sensual.

It takes a hopeless romantic, however, to feel the love in the beachfront towers and all-inclusive hotels that scar the north coast of the island. Instead, head to Negril, which, though growing popular, still feels less bustling than the other big resorts.

Here, on the island's western tip, seven miles of bleached-white sand share the shoreline with ragged cliffs hiding intimate and inviting coves. A local ordinance limits buildings to the height of the tallest palm tree, and most hotels have fewer than 40 rooms. And the nearby attractions feel less like tourist traps.

Follow the coast south 90 minutes, and you'll discover the Y.S. Falls, a series of pools cascading out of the rain forest, with vines overhead seemingly made for swinging.

SUNSET SITING A late afternoon stop at Rick's Cafe on the West End is almost an obligation. Guests from the big all-inclusives come by the busload to drink Red Stripe and jump from the cliffs to the water below. For a more mellow sunset, head up the coast to Pirate's Cave, another cove-side bar.

SLEEP, EAT Right on the beach, Idle Awhile promises tranquility in 13 colorful, Deco- and minimalist-inspired rooms, many looking out on sapphire waters (doubles, $170 to $275; 877-243-5352; idleawhile .com).

Up in the cliffs, The Caves is a hotel designed to make you think you're a hermit. Ensconced in one of 10 suites and cottages, with all the extras you would expect at a high-end place, you'll hardly notice the other guests, except perhaps on the way to the saltwater swimming pool or at mealtime. But ask to have dinner in a private cave, lit by candles, the sea lapping at the entrance (doubles, food and drinks included, $575; 800-688-7678; thecavesresort.com).

San Francisco Tuscon Galena Quebec City Savannah Negril, Jamaica

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