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New Oasis in Jamaica’s Bustling City

KINGSTON, JAMAICA — White-sand beaches on the north coast or lush, green countryside of Jamaica come to mind when thinking of a winter respite–not its capital city, Kingston.

With news of high crime rate spilling out of garrisons, Kingston does not exactly beckon a jaded traveler who craves authenticity and relaxation. But while there in the Caribbean’s largest cosmopolitan center, I visit one of its newest hotels: the 109-room Spanish Court Hotel.

Inside the imposing, Spanish-influenced building, the elegant lobby is paneled with black, teak and jatobá woods. Bright, red walls accented with strategically placed garden flowers, local paintings and photographs evoke classic  SoHo chic—tinged with Jamaican aesthetics.

A weary traveler is soon ushered into a standard room, which is like an oasis in an Arabian desert. My experience defies expectations of sterile, overpriced, name-brand hotels that are culturally detached from the rhythms of exotic places far from their home base.

This is clearly not the case at the Spanish Court Hotel.

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Posted on 31 January 2010 by The Hartford Guardian, by Ann Marie Adams, Staff Writer.