Here are some of the more frequently asked questions. Select one, and view the answer!
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Why a Villa?
A private villa is a unique vacation experience!
Many travellers return to the same villa year after year and come to think of the property as their Jamaican “home away from home”. This is because villa vacations are all about personalized attention and service. Do you prefer breakfast at noon? No problem. Would you like having a pool all to yourself? Lounging in a hammock in your own private tropical garden? This is what a private villa vacation can provide. Privacy, the ability to set your own schedule, genuine relaxation, and the opportunity to experience true Jamaican hospitality and service.
What is the difference between a villa, apartment/condo and cottage resort?
A villa is a free-standing private home that is made available for rent to vacation travellers. Private villas range from 1-8 bedrooms in size and offer additional living space such as living rooms, dining areas, patios or verandahs. Some also have dens or recreation rooms. Almost all private villas have their own private pool and full staff.
Apartments and condos range from studios to 3 bedroom units and are generally found within small complexes with shared pool facilities. Most apartments and condos offer fully equipped kitchen facilities or kitchenettes for guests to do their own cooking. All apartment/condo units offer daily maid service and some offer additional cook service.
Cottage resorts vary in style – some offer free-standing individual cottages, while others offer different accommodation-types housed within one building. Whatever your preference, JAVA has the style of accommodation you need!
What is the maximum occupancy of a villa?
As a general rule, villas have a maximum occupancy of 2 guests per bedroom. Therefore if you are a party of six, we suggest a three-bedroom villa. If you are a party of eight, a four-bedroom villa is most suitable, etc. Since villas are wonderful accommodation choices for families, additional children may be accommodated beyond the maximum occupancy if enough bedding is in place at the particular villa chosen. In some cases, additional adults can be accommodated, however additonal person charges or cot fees may apply.
What is the minimum night-stay?
Most villas have a 7-night minimum, shorter stays are available on a request basis. Stays of less or more than one week are pro-rated. Over the Christmas/New Years holiday, many villas have a 10 or 14 night minimum stay.
Are the rates per person/per night?
Rates posted on this site are NOT per person or per night! Rates shown are weekly (7 nights), per villa, and based on two people per bedroom. For example the rate shown for a studio or a one-bedroom would be the total for one week for up to 2 guests, the rate for a two-bedroom would be the total for one week for up to 4 guests, etc.
Unless otherwise noted, all rates are in US dollars.
What are the dates for high & low season?
Most properties have two rates – one for high season and one for low season. High season runs from December 16 – April 15 and low season from April 16 – December 15.
Are there any periods with surcharges or discounts?
A majority of properties have a surcharge for the Christmas/New Years period and a few also have a surcharge for Thanksgiving. In some cases, select properties also feature “shoulder” rates in which rates are lowered! In general, “shoulder” or discounted rates fall in May/June or September/October.
Are damage deposits required at all villas?
Most villas require a prepaid damage deposit. The amount varies depending on the particular home, however the average deposit is US $500. This deposit is refunded to you after departure as long as no damage has occurred to the house and its contents.
Is tax and gratuity included?
Most private villas include tax in their rates. Staff gratuity however, is not included and we suggest a minimum of 10-15% gratuity for staff services. Gratuity is based on the total villa cost and should be paid to the staff directly at the end of your stay. Additionally, we suggest you divy up the tip among the staff instead of leaving one lump sum. Using your own discretion, you may choose to give a larger portion of the tip to the staff member who provided the majority of the services or who provided services above and beyond the call of duty. At apartments/condos and cottage resorts, Jamaican room tax and service charges may not be included in the price of your rental and would be collected locally. We will always advise you of the percentages collected for local tax and service before you confirm your reservation.
Do all the properties listed have full staff?
In general, all private villas provide a full staff. Most villas come with a staff of three including a cook, housekeeper and gardener/houseman. Some villas have additional staff members including butlers, nannies, laundresses, and villa managers/concierges. At apartments/condos and cottage resorts, staff is generally limited to daily maid service.
What services do the staff provide?
The staff is responsible for all aspects of meal preparation as well as keeping the property and grounds clean and maintained. The staff can also do grocery shopping for you if you like. Household laundry is done by the staff, however personal laundry may be at an additional cost, depending on the villa selected. You will also find the staff to be an invaluable source of information on the area. They can tell you about local restaurants, attractions and entertainment. If you need a nanny or a taxi, they can also assist in setting up these types of services.
How is meal preparation and grocery shopping handled?
We will send you a preliminary grocery/menu planner with your final documents. A few weeks prior to arrival, we ask that you use this list as a guide and choose what you would like the staff to prestock at your villa as well as what you’d like them to prepare for your first night’s dinner and first morning’s breakfast. If any member of your group has food allergies or special dietary needs, we ask that you let us know this as well so the staff can be forewarned. You will be presented with a bill from the grocery store for the items that have been pre-purchased. After that, you simply communicate with the staff as to what you’d like for the balance of your stay.
Generally the cooks excel at caribbean-style meals, but are also very adept at American and continental cuisine. Please remember that villas are not run like restaurants in which each person orders a different meal. Plan for “family style” meals with one or two main entrees. The cook will always do his or her best to accommodate for individual tastes. For example, you may opt to order Jerk Chicken for dinner, but ask for some to be “mild” and some to be “spicy”. Shopping for groceries can be accomplished in several ways. You may do your own shopping, you may ask the staff to shop for you, and some grocery stores may deliver. Many guests opt to ask the cook to join them on a shopping excursion – this is an excellent way to get a good sense of the products available in Jamaica as well as where to go to get the best fresh produce, fresh fish, fruit, etc.
What additional costs should we plan for?
Food, transportation, tours & excursions, and incidentals (e.g. phone calls) are not included in the cost of your rental. Food costs can vary greatly depending on your tastes and needs. Simple meals like a traditional Jamaican chicken fricasee with rice and salad can be quite affordable. If you prefer multi-course meals or entrees requiring imported ingredients, then the food cost can rise significantly. An estimated average would be about USD $200-$225 per person for a week for meals. Costs for tours and excursions can be obtained by contacting local tour operators – inquire with your staff upon arrival for recommendations. Local phone calls from your villa are generally complimentary, however keep in mind that calling from town to town in Jamaica is considered long distance. Outbound international calls are usually not feasible from private villas (unless you call collect) as international calling codes are necessary, however phone cards can be purchased for this purpose and you can also leave the number to your villa with friends and family so they can call you instead.
Can I use my cell phone in Jamaica?
Jamaica’s cellular system operates on the TDMA and/or GSM network. If your cell phone is TDMA or GSM compatible and your provider has a roaming agreement with Jamaica’s Cable & Wireless Mobile or Digicel Jamaica, you may use your cell phone in Jamaica. Be warned however that the roaming charges can be very expensive. We recommend you check with your cellular service provider in advance to make sure of compatibility. Alternatively, you may also rent a cell phone in Jamaica and set up a temporary account with Jamaica’s cellular provider.
Can I access the internet in Jamaica?
If you choose to bring your laptop and would like to access the internet while in Jamaica, you may set up a temporary account with Jamaica’s Internet Service Provider – Infochannel – located in Kingston. You will need to call them and provide the villa telephone number as well as a credit card number for billing purposes. To protect your computer, we highly suggest taking a surge protector along. Alternatively, you may also visit a cyber center in any of the major resort areas in order to access the internet.
What is the electrical system in Jamaica?
Jamaica’s electrical system is the same as the U.S. – 110 volts / 50 cycles – so you will not need an adapter if you opt to bring items requiring electricity such as hairdryers or portable stereos
What is the currency in Jamaica?
The official currency in Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar. Currently the exchange rate is approximately US $1.00 = JA $67.00. You may exchange money into Jamaican Dollars at banks or licensed exchange bureaus in the airport or in resort towns. Most establishments also accept US dollars, traveller’s checks, and credit cards.
What options do we have for ground transportation and/or car rentals?
JAVA offers several options for transportation while in Jamaica. You can choose from private car transfers, bus transfers, car rentals, or van and driver services. Transfers vary in price depending on how many people require the service and to which area in Jamaica. Car and van rentals range between $245 to $650 per week, depending on seasonal factors and type vehicle. All rentals rates are subject to GCT tax, insurance, and liability deposits. Please remember that in Jamaica you must drive on the left! For larger groups or if you prefer to have a driver, a 12-passenger van & driver service is wonderful option starting at around $800 per week. (10 -15% gratuity should be paid to the driver at the end of your week for their excellent service)
What should we bring with us?
Jamaica is a tropical climate and day-time temperatures are usually in the 80’s or 90’s, so light summer clothing is recommended. You may wish to bring a light sweater for winter evenings when the temperature can get into the 70’s or for air-conditioned restaurants. In general, Jamaica is casual in style and we therefore recommend you not bring expensive jewelry along. Please do bring personal toiletries such as toothpaste and shampoo. Sun block and mosquito repellant are also good items to have handy. Villas provide bed linens and bath towels, however you may wish to carry your own beach towel. You may also reduce your grocery budget by bringing NON-perishable food items like canned tuna fish, peanut butter, cereal, etc. Items such as these are not locally produced and can therefore be fairly expensive.
When is hurricane season and what are the chances a hurricane will hit Jamaica?
Hurricane season begins June 1st and ends November 1st. No one can predict if or when a hurricane or tropical storm will hit Jamaica with 100% accuracy. However, with today’s technology, these storms can be discovered well in advance and their paths can be fairly accurately projected.
Do the properties have security?
All properties represented by JAVA are licensed by the Jamaica Tourist Board and like hotels, provide security. At private villas, this usually means that in addition to the houseman, a licensed security guard comes on duty around sunset and patrols the grounds throughout the night.
What are JAVA’s payment requirements?
Once you have selected your property and are ready to confirm, a one-third deposit is required within 7 days. The balance of payment is due 60 days prior to your arrival at the villa.
For Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years reservations, the deposit amount is 50% with final payments due 90 days prior. Some owners will allow 60 days prior for final payment for Thanksgiving, so this will depend on the villa that you choose.
Payments should be by personal check, cashiers check or official bank check (sorry no credit cards or money orders please!).
What are JAVA’s cancellation policies?
In general, private villas and apartments are nonrefundable items. We therefore highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance is available and can be added to your booking up until the final payment due date (but not there after). Should you need to cancel your reservation and have not taken travel insurance, we will always do our best to negotiate a refund for you with the property owner, however success cannot be guaranteed. If we are able to negotiate a refund for you, a cancellation fee will be assessed at the time of negotiation. Changes and/or revisions are subject to a $100.00 fee.