By Roger Cox, Editor
Located 10 miles west of Montego Bay, this former plantation sprawls over 2,200 lush, hilly acres. Its focal point is an 18th-century Georgian Great House, whose ridgetop perch affords a sweeping panorama of the island’s north coast and Tryall’s 18-hole golf course. Thirteen one- and two-bedroom Great House villas, each optionally staffed with a house-keeper/cook, cling to the top of that same ridge, while another 73 larger villas—some with as many as eight bedrooms, most with swimming poolsÂ and all fully staffed with housekeeper, butler and cook—dot the hillsides or hunker together along the coast.
I arrived at my Great House villa to find Patricia waiting to greet me. After introducing herself, she said, "I’m here from 8 o’clock in the morning until 5 p.m. unless you need me to stay later, Mr. Cox. I’ll do your laundry and prepare any meals you’d like me to." She then handed me the keys to a golf cart so I’d have the means to get around.
That villa was just steps from a viewful restaurant in the historic Great House and 100 yards from a ridgetop complex of nine courts, four of them an artificial soft surface called Classic Clay and brick-red in color. Tennis director Richard Ferdinand, a former junior champion in his native Trinidad, had set up some doubles with Pierre Lapeyre, whose wife's family owns one of the villas, and a staff pro. We also had a ball boy to clear balls in the net and chase down strays—though it took some time before I remembered to let him rather than trying to do it myself.
In season, there are weekly clinics and social round robins, but given that so many of the players are villa owners and members, who prefer to take private or hitting lessons and, I suspected, play among themselves, I worried that the average vacationer might feel like an outsider. Lapeyre, who invited me back to his villa for dinner on the terrace with him and his wife Laurie, assured me that that was not the case. "Anyone who spends much time at the courts soon meets many of the players," he told me."And when we’re here, we get calls all the time about guests looking for games."
So many players know each other and the staff that Tryall feels more like a private club than a resort, a sense enhanced by the requirement to wear predominantly white. Yet it isn’t stuffy. A little bar and covered terrace on the 10th hole of the golf course is just steps from the courts and thus provides a convenient gathering place for tennis players as well. It’s all very low key.
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There are two categories of villas: Estate Villas, which range in size from 2 to 8 bedrooms; and Great House Villas, which have 1 or 2 bedrooms. Rates vary with size and time of year. See their website for details.
Visit the website for current rates
General Tourist Information. For general information about Jamaica travel, check out the Jamaica Tourism website.
©2019 Roger Cox