I led my family of 14 (5 adults, 9 teenagers) on what turned out to be the vacation of a lifetime at Joyce and Henri Verne's magnificent Castles on the Sea. I barely have the words to describe how perfect this "double" villa is for a relaxing vacation.
First of all, the gorgeous pictures on the internet are all true, but of course, what makes this place better than the internet is the incredible, doting, lovely staff: Warren--a world class chef, Sylvan--the hardworking houseman who keeps the grounds perfect and Curlene and Beverly who keep the villas spotless and do your clothes as well!
The nice thing about the grounds is that there are so many places to gather to be together--and to be alone if you wish to quietly read or nap. My teenagers took to croquet as if they had played their entire lives and by the end of the week as if their lives depended on it. We had a serious croquet tournament! Being able to swim in the gorgeous water right off the villa was heavenly and actually, far better than going in off a beach where you ended up full of sand. Waking up each morning, we would swim, eat a fabulous breakfast and then lounge. We never had to worry about getting a chair, or crowds or lines. "No worries, mon"--it is true.
The owners, Henri and Joyce are lovely, so pleasant to deal with and are happy to answer any questions and make suggestions about things to do. It is also very nice to have 2 villas--versus one big house, because our group sort of split up into the early to bed crowd and those who stay up until 2 am. We could have killer scrabble games going on and not disturb the others in the other villa. The villa is comfortable, not so fancy that you feel like you're afraid to relax and put your feet up.
The food was spectacular and we all enjoyed gathering every night to whatever Warren made--lobster, fresh fish, chicken and oh, those desserts. Yes, as others have indicated, the key lime pie is the best and this from a lifelong pie baker.
The home is always kept immaculate by Beverly and Curlene--they are like church mice, you don't see them--they just stealthily kept our messes under control. Your privacy is never compromised by the large staff that maintains this home.
I saw a case of Red Stripe on sale today in the grocery store and my heart went pitter-pat--not for my love of beer, which I don't even drink, but for my fond memories of Jamaica and Castles on the Sea.
I feel lucky to have stayed there.