Our entire team received the royal treatment at Round Hill Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Thank you Round Hill for hosting us in your beautiful establishment and allowing us to experience a true taste of Paradise!
We were greeted with a warm welcome to Round Hill resort. The staff met us with smiles, took our bags, and brought us a refreshing beverage. We were all immediately taken with the beauty and charm that surrounded us. While sipping our drinks we were introduced to Mr. Kingsley, he explained that he has been working with Round Hill for over 40 years and has in turn brought his grandson under his wing. Mr. Kingsley led us to our private villa and kindly explained everything we’d need to know for our time at Round Hill. We did a short Essentrics class beside our secluded pool and took a quick dip before getting ready for a tour of the grounds. Nikeisha, our guide and helper met us and showed us the entire resort– she was extremely friendly, warm, and well spoken. Our initial tour left us all speechless. There was no question that Round Hill was one of the most luxurious and scenic locations we had ever laid eyes on. We knew we would have no trouble finding picturesque locations to film Classical Stretch Season 12.
The sun is hot and rises early in Jamaica; we learned quickly that we’d need to start very early in the morning in order to beat the heat. As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm - and we got to watch the beautiful sun rise over the Caribbean Sea each morning. This particular day we stood on the patio at Villa 11 and watched over the ocean as the sky turned from grey to pink to blue. We were told that Villa 11 has been used as the set for many movies, shows, and other productions – one of which being “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”. In fact, the entire movie was shot at Round Hill. There was no question as to why they had chosen this location – it was absolutely breath taking! We walked up a set of clean, white steps to an infinity pool looking out over the beautiful greenery and turquoise ocean. The pink, red, and orange gardens at this villa contrasted beautifully with the blue sky, turquoise water and crisp, clean architecture. The living room to this villa is neither indoor nor outdoor; a small roof protects the beautiful furniture from potential rainfall, however the walls are comprised of the scenic rainforest and surrounding villas. Day 1 was a success. We took full advantage of this beautiful location and managed to shoot 4 workouts here.
We were fortunate enough to have been put up in our own private villa. This meant that we spent every night taking a dip in our pool and watching the sun set over the sea. It also meant that we had a beautiful location to film at right outside of our bedroom door! We were so happy to adopt Villa 22 as our temporary new office. This particular villa was simple and luxurious; with stunning views and a skip, hop and a jump away from the beach (with tropical water as warm as a bathtub). This morning was easy – we rolled out of bed and right on to set. We were able to get a few episodes in beside our pool before the sun got too hot. And of course, once it did and we wrapped up shooting – we all dove right into the pool to cool down!
The entire crew had to pick our jaws up off the floor after being toured through this villa. We were warned that this was one of the most stunning villas on the property – but words could not describe the level of luxury that we witnessed. This villa was situated on the edge of the rainforest. The villa itself was considerable not to mention the private treehouse with its own balcony pool (in addition to the multiple other pools around the property). This villa took island living to the next level. The living area was neither indoor nor outdoor which allowed us to take in the beautiful views of the rainforest no matter where we were. The attention to detail at this villa was unbelievable; each plant and garden was perfectly manicured; the décor was perfect – without an blemish to be found. We were able to capture some of this beauty in 3 workouts this morning.
Montego Bay traces the stunning Caribbean Sea – filled with coral, tropical aquatic life, and turquoise water – the wharf was the perfect location to film on Day 3. This morning we filmed on the water, with a beautiful background of the Jamaican hillside along with the turquoise sea. We were also able to film in front of the quaint “Water Sports Centre” which looks out on to the wharf. After the shoot was finished we rented some snorkeling gear from the Water Sports Centre and dove into the water to check out the Coral reef and all of its inhabitants. Round Hill resorts are currently taking part in a Coral Reef initiative to revitalize Coral Reef in the Bay. Local scientists are breeding the reef in laboratories and transplanting it into the harbour, the goal is to improve the health of the aquatic life and the entire ecosystem in this region. Of course, the result is a beautiful Coral Reef that the visitors also get to enjoy!
On days 5 and 6 we captured some beautiful views with the ocean backdrop and expansive greenery. On Day 5 we were lucky enough to shoot at another Premium Luxury Villa. Villa 16 was rumoured to have once been owned by Oscar Hammerstein; the theatrical producer and creator of The Sound of Music. It was actually rumoured that he and Maria Von Trap, the leading lady in The Sound of Music, may have met on the Round Hill property. The rich historic context only acted to embellish the beauty of this villa and its sprawling views. The main infinity pool at Round Hill is a treat that every guest can enjoy. The pool looks out on to the sea through a wall of beautiful Royal Palm Trees which frame the gorgeous turquoise water. On day 6 we filmed by the pool and were able to enjoy a coffee and the stunning view as guests began showing up to take their morning swim. This was certainly one of the most picturesque and breathtaking views we’ve shot an episode at!
Throughout the decades Round Hill resort has been a tropical getaway for the likes of many rich, famous, and iconic figures. John F Kennedy himself used to vacation at Round Hill, it was a favourite getaway for himself and Jackie Onassis. On day 7 we hiked up the hill to the breathtaking resort that JFK once stayed at. This particular resort was tucked away for ultimate privacy, but still offered unbelievable views of the bay and rainforest. The views at this particular villa are as rich as the history – JFK actually practiced his inaugural speech on the pool deck that we filmed on! It was exhilarating just to step foot and enjoy the scenery where JFK had prepared and been inspired for such a pivotal moment in history.
On days 8 & 9 we moved on to Villa 10, another favourite of JFK and Jackie O. This 3-story, expansive villa exuded timeless elegancy. With a tucked away private pool, multiple balconies, and a variety of views, it was no surprise to find out that the lovebirds spent their honeymoon right here. The décor in the living areas maintained a modern luxury with traces of 1950’s charm when JFK and Jackie O spent time here. An entire suite within this villa has been dedicated to the couple; it was easy to imagine the two lounging and relaxing in this beautiful space. We spent two days filming here so that we were able to truly capture the multitude of stunning views available from this villa. We all felt extremely lucky just to lay eyes on such an amazing part of history.