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Jamaica - The Rich and Famous
Firefly - Noel Cowards hideout. These are some of the spectacular views from firefly hill and gardens. No wonder Noel Cowards did not lack any inspiration
Jamaica has always been popular with the rich and famous. In fact it’s the stars the first put Jamaica on the tourist board’s map. Swashbuckler Aaron Flynn was a huge fan of the island and once said that it’s more beautiful than any woman I have ever seen.
Noel Coward in Jamaica
One of Jamaica’s more famous residents was academy award winner Noel Coward. The multi talented British playwright, actor and songwriter, Coward fell in love with the island when he first visited in 1944- 6 years later he had his first home here. He spent most of his time here entertaining the literary and film world but after years of playing host, Coward eventually saw to retreat away from his retreat. In 1956 he built firefly – named after the flashing insects that lit up the sky. This became his personal sanctuary and an escape from a hectic social life until his death in 1973.
Firefly a Jamaican heritage
Firefly is now a museum which is open to public. If you’re a fan of the man a tour of his home is an essential excursion. The house is full of old photographs and many of his paintings. In fact it was here at firefly that Coward was taught to paint by none other than Winston Churchill. Even if you’re not in this kind of nostalgia, its still worth visiting the firefly for the view. It’s one of the best in Jamaica and was a favorite of Coward’s. he is buried in the garden overlooking it.
Jamaica's Golden Eye built by Ian Fleming
Further down the road is golden eye built by the legendary 007 author Ian Fleming. It’s here the Fleming conceived his world famous super spy James bond and penned 14 of his thrillers and it’s not hard to see where he got his inspiration from. The house is tucked away in the 15 acres of lush tropical gardens and overlooks a dramatic coastline of secret coves and private beaches. Today Golden Eye is an exclusive boutique resort owned by Chris Blackwell a man who discovered Bob Marley. If you have deep pockets then this is certainly the place to stay. Regulars include Kate Moss and Johnny Depp and Naomi Campbell has bought a private Villa here.
JFK and Jacquelyn at Round Hill Resort
At the round hill resort in Montego Bay celebrities have been escaping the limelight since it opened back in 1953. Once an old sugar plantation a glorious 18th century house was transformed into luxurious 5 star retreat and has been attracting the stars since John F and Jacquelyn Kennedy were regular visitors.
Plantation Houses in North Jamaica
On Jamaica’s north coast you will find a raft of old plantation houses that have been home to famous residents at one time or another. Today many of these great houses have been restored to their former glory and are open to the public.
Annie Palmer - The Jamaican white witch of the Rose Hall
One of the more popular is the Rose Hall. It used to be owned by a Voodoo practicing woman called Annie Palmer who is widely known across the hall as the white which of the Rose Hall. According to the tour guides she murdered 3 of her husbands and countless slaves here. A maid was allegedly pushed to her death.
In 1931 Annie was found murdered in her bed and her ghost is said to haunt the house to this very day.
Elisabeth Barrett Browning's Greenwood Great House
Not all the plantation houses have such gruesome history. Greenwood Great house was built by the relatives of the English poet Elisabeth Barrett Browning. It houses one of the greatest collections of antiques in the Caribbean including the owner’s original library and an eclectic collection of musical instruments, furniture and china.
Historical houses aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the celebrity angle gives Jamaica an added value as a tourist destination for the rich and famous and that's certainly a good excuse for getting up off the beach.