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River's Edge

Lazy days in a funky Jamaican hideout

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You'll be drifting on a bamboo raft as a barefoot guide points out nesting egrets and orange-flowering fire bushes along Jamaica's Great River. And that's just the ride from the airport. Getting there is half the fun at Lethe Estate, a secluded boutique hotel tucked halfway between Montego Bay and Negril. Unlike the big, impersonal all-inclusives, this 200-acre plantation is run in the tradition of an old-fashioned great house: no phones, no HBO, no crowded hot tubs -- just lush gardens, scenic hiking trails, and four-poster beds. Lie by the freshwater pool or simply watch the river roll by from the porch. It's a quick shuttle ride to the beach, golfing, or an afternoon of shopping in Lethe Village. Darting hummingbirds join guests for meals under a ceiling of flowering thumbergia vines on the veranda. Count on home-style Jamaican cuisine (jerk chicken, ackee, and callaloo).

Details Lethe Estate, 876-956-4920 (winter room rates start at $140).


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