1. Why stay in a Villa?
PRIVACY is yours at a villa!!! Staying in a hotel means that you are sharing your vacation often with a few hundred other people. You are often met with crowds in the pool, on the beach, in the dining areas and all hotel rooms can be compact and they look basically the same.
PERSONAL ATTENTION: Our villa is fully staffed with a cook, housekeeper and gardener. The staff is honest and loyal, and have worked at the villa for many years. They are a large and enjoyable part of the villa experience. Many of our villa guests return year after year because of their attachment to the staff they have grown attached to and the personal attention they receive. Privacy and relaxation is the ultimate vacation reward found in our villa. Yet, you have the services of a cook, house cleaner and private driver upon request. A more personalized service is available to you and you will feel like you own a home and know what it is like to actually live on this beautiful and unique island of Jamaica!
FOOD: You are in for a treat! Most of our guests will tell you that they so enjoyed the cooking and personal meal preference at Whistling Villa! They are diversified in their cooking and they are flexible, from cooking western, Indian, vegetarian dishes, fresh seafood dishes to the most delicious Jamaican meals.
2. How affordable is a villa?
It is $2,100 per week to rent Whistling Villa for 8 people .This means each person costs $262.50 a week. Per day, per person, that works out to $37.50 a day. For luxurious living, personal attention from your own staff, fantastic cook who you can explore the markets with if you wish….it is the best way to experience Jamaica.
3. Does the property come with staff?
Yes, Whistling Villa includes the staff. Generally, this includes a cook, housemaid, and gardener . The head of household lives in a separate accommodation on the property and will come into the villa and open it up at around 7am and leave at about 8pm. The villa staff gives the most personal attention if you need it, but can also be discreet if you need the necessary privacy.
4. What will the staff provide?
The staff knows the villa intimately. The staff is responsible for the preparation of all meals, keeping the villa and the grounds properly maintained and cleaned. They will provide you with all household services and also take care of maintenance and security of the property. Domestic duties include cleaning, laundry, shopping, food preparation, cooking, meal service, ironing, bed making and general tidying-up. Your personal laundry may be done at an extra charge. They can also be the best source of local information on attractions, entertainment, local restaurant and teaching you how to speak Jamaican! If you need taxi service, they may also assist in getting one for you. Upon request, you may also ask for a chauffeur, or nanny to look after the kids.
5. What is the minimum stay .
Most of the time it’s a minimum stay requirement of 7 nights during the high season and 5 nights during low season. An exception to this is during the Christmas and New Year season where the minimum stay may be higher and prices on the villa may be higher than the posted rate. Villa rates are listed as weekly and can start on any day of the week.
6. Do you have to rent the whole villa?
You can rent fewer bedrooms than the villa offers. If not all bedrooms are rented, they will be locked. The unused bedrooms will not be rented out to anyone else. The whole villa is there for your private and full use.
7. How is the meal preparation and grocery shopping handled?
When you book the villa, we will send you a menu to choose what you would like for the first dinner and first breakfast. You can also choose anything that’s not on the menu. These groceries will be pre-purchased and brought to the villa before you arrive. Once you have settled in, you may discuss with the cook/manager what types of food you like or dislike, if there are any allergies or special dietary needs. You may reimburse her at this time for the pre-purchased groceries, and fund her for the groceries needed for the meals you require for the balance of your stay in the villa. You are most welcome to go with her to the markets if you wish, or leave it up to her to get what you have requested. She will bring you the receipts and the change from the day’s shopping. For 3 meals a day and drinks, a typical cost for groceries for an adult per day may be about $30-$45 a day depending on whether you are a heavy or light eater. If you add alcoholic drinks, the cost will be more. If you would like to cook, you may use the kitchen. Please ask the staff to help you if you want. There is, however, no rate reduction if you want to do your own cooking.
8. What about Gratuity/Tips and Taxes?
All villa rentals include taxes in the villa rates. We recommend a gratuity of 10% during the high season and 15% of the low season total villa rental. You may give this directly to the staff on the day of your departure. We usually leave this to your discretion but may we suggest that, instead of leaving one lump sum, you divide up the gratuity among the staff. Tips are generally pooled and shared equally amongst the staff. An acceptable way to handle the tip is to present them with individual envelopes upon departure.
9. Are there any additional costs that we should consider?
In additional to the villa rental, the other additional costs may include food costs, excursions or tours, rental of a car, security damage deposit (refundable if no damage to villa), gratuity to staff and any other costs you personally incur at the villa. International phone calls are also extra so you may want to buy a phone card or give the villa phone number to your relatives and friends so that they may call you. Calling from town to town is considered long distance in Jamaica.
10. When is the Check-in and Check-out times?
Check in time is 12pm on the arrival day.
Check out time is 11am on the departure day.
We will do our best to accommodate your arrival and departure with your travel itinerary. If no other guests are scheduled to enter the villa on arrival and departure days, you are welcome to check in early and check out later. Please inquire and we will check the schedules.
11. Can I use my cell phone in Jamaica?
Jamaica’s cellular system operates on the TDMA network so it is not compatable with CDMA, GSM or 3G networks. Cable & Wireless and Digicell are the Jamaican providers and do have roaming agreements with AT&T, Sprint, Cingular Wireless, Rogers Wireless and Cayman Cable and Wireless. Please check with your service provider if they are compatible with the Jamaican providers, Cable and Wireless and Digicel. Be warned however that the roaming charges can be very expensive. We recommend you check with your cellular service provider in advance to make sure of compatibility. Alternatively, you may also rent a cell phone in Jamaica or purchase a SIM card from a local cellular provider at a minimal cost.
12. Can we purchase Phone Cards while in Jamaica?
We recommend that you purchase a Jamaican prepaid calling card to use for all international long distance calls. We recommend that you purchase a World Talk Calling Card locally to expedite overseas calls. The staff at the villa can buy this for you in various denominations.
13. What if I need a wireless service?
Rental phones are available from the following providers. Please check their website and contact them before you reach Jamaica.
DigiCel Jamaica: www.digiceljamaica.com
C&W Jamaica: http://www.digiceljamaica.com
14. Can I access the Internet while in Jamaica?
If you bring your laptop you have access to free WIFI at Whistling Villa.
15. What is the electrical system in Jamaica?
110 volts / 50 cycles
We do not recommend you bringing items requiring electricity if you are coming from Australia or England. If you do intend to bring electrical items, you will need the appropriate transformers and adapters. Telephones are standard RJ-11 plugs
16. What is the currency in Jamaica?
The official currency in Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar.
US dollars, and travellers cheques are widely accepted.
Commercial establishments will accept credit cards.
We suggest that you pay for groceries in local currency.
You may exchange foreign currency at local Cambios. There is a Scotia Bank ATM machine beside L& M Meats Supermarket in Runaway Bay. The ATM will dispense Jamaican dollars.
17. What documents do I need to enter Jamaica?
Citizens of the US and Canada do not require a visa to go to Jamaica as tourists and are permitted to visit the island for a period not exceeding six months. WE STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU HAVE A VALID PASSPORT TO ENTER JAMAICA.
U.S.A. Citizens: http://www.passportexpress.com/default.aspx?page=news
Additionally, all visitors are required to travel with a round-trip or onward airline ticket for entry into Jamaica.
UK: Commonwealth citizens need passport (no visa required).
All other countries, please contact the JTB office near you for requirements.
Japan: passport required. (Visa required for stay of over 30 days).
Commonwealth citizens need a passport, no visa is required (except for citizens of Pakistan and Sri Lanka).
18. What is the weather like in Jamaica?
Jamaica is located in the Caribbean and enjoys typical tropical weather. The rainy season is more likely to be in May/June and September/October.
19. What should we bring with us?
You may want to bring personal toiletries such as toothpaste and shampoo. Sun block and mosquito repellent, favourite foods, cameras, baby food. Bed linens, bath and beach towels are supplied. You may also reduce your grocery budget by bringing non-perishable food items like canned tinned goods, jams, peanut butter, cereal, etc. Imported items can be fairly expensive.
20. Does the property have security?
The rental of Whistling Villa includes a gardener who lives in separate quarters on the property and acts as a security look out. The Villa is located in a very safe and quiet area away from the main road,and amongst other rental villas. We have not experienced any security problems at our villa. However, it is always recommended that you need to take the same degree of care with security that you would in your own home. Each of the four bedrooms can be locked with a key, and all rooms have a heavy duty bolt from inside the rooms.
21. Is Jamaica safe?
Crime in Jamaica is centered in a few neighbourhoods in the city sections of Kingston, which is located on the Southern part of Jamaica. The villas are located on the Northern part of Jamaica, usually about 125 miles and a whole mountain range away. Only a tiny percentage of visitors to the north coast experience any crime-usually theft of belongings left on a public beach. Our private villa have no history of crime.
22. Should I get Travel Insurance?
Circumstances, which are unpredictable, may force you to change your villa vacation travel plans. For this reason, we highly recommend trip cancellation insurance .We would also recommend personal and medical insurance especially if you intend to do high-risk activities.
23. Can you tell me about Transportation while in Jamaica?
Option #1: Car packages with private driver.
Through our experience, we have found that the mini bus,or car packages with private driver provide the easiest and convenient way. Your driver will personally meet you at the Montego Bay Airport. No need to wait in lines for rental cars. Your party will be comfortably transported, using a private mini bus service, direct to the villa. For large groups, it is economical and less hassles .We can arrange the driver for airport transfers, and for all your trips and errands.The mini bus is suitable for groups of 5-10 people,and the car is suitable for up to 4 people.The drivers work independently and you would pay them separately.
Option #2: Rent a Car and you drive.
You may collect your car at the airport. No need for separate airport transfers in this case.
If you wish to self-drive, you can also choose your car and prepay. This will also assure availability of the vehicle you want and avoid the long lines and paperwork. Excellent private drives are also available on a part-time or full-time basis. You may also prepay for this to assure availability and avoid the long lines to complete paperwork.
24. Can you explain the Payment requirements?
BOOKING The VILLA
If the property is available and your decision is to rent, we can email an invoice for 25% of the booking . You may also call or email your Visa/Master Card number with authorization to process the card for the 25% deposit.When providing the card number ,please include the expiary date, and the 3 digit security code on back of the card. You will receive immediate confirmation once deposit is paid. You can pay the balance of the rental to the manager on arrival at the villa, or you can pay prior to arrival by credit card .
DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT
All dollar amounts are US dollars and should be paid in US dollars.
A deposit of 25% of the total rental fee is payable to confirm and guarantee your reservation. The availability is always subject to change until deposit is received, and failure to make this payment subjects your reservation to cancellation unless alternate arrangements have been made in advance. For holiday periods (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Easter) we may require final payment 90 days prior to commencement of the rental period.
METHOD OF PAYMENT
Visa, Master Card , American Express ,Bank Wire Transfer, Money Order ,PayPal.
If for any reason we decline to accept your booking, the deposit or full payment will be returned.
25. Can you explain the Cancellation requirements?
Whistling Villa must receive notice of any cancellation by email. A sixty (60) day notice is required for cancellation. Deposit less $100US handling charge will be refunded for cancellations that are made at least sixty (60) days prior to arrival. Cancellations or changes that result in a shortened stay, that are made less than 60 days of the arrival date, forfeit the full advance payment and damage/reservation deposit. Cancellation or early departure does not warrant any refund. You may choose to purchase travel insurance separately. There will be no refunds granted for no shows, late arrivals or premature departures, reduction in number of persons in your group. Subletting to another party is not permitted No refunds will be made due to inclement weather or road conditions.
·. For holiday periods (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Easter) if cancellation occurs less than 90 days prior to scheduled arrival, all deposits will be forfeited subject to Note 1 below.
Only under the following circumstances will a refund be made less than 60 days prior to stay or during holiday periods:
1) Villa becomes unfit for habitation due to natural calamity.
26. Are damage deposits required ?
· A credit card authorization will be required from you to be used to pay for any damage caused by you and your party’s negligence. This payment is also used to pay for any unpaid bills incurred by you and members of your party, during your stay at the villa.
· If all or part of the security deposit is utilized, you will be provided with the breakdown of the costs and we will only charge your credit card with the necessary amount to cover the claim.
· If no security deposit charges are necessary, your credit card authorization will be destroyed.
27. What documents do we need to get married in Jamaica?
Visitors can be married just 24 hours after arriving in Jamaica, providing prior application has been made for marriage license.
- Proof of citizenship - certified copy of birth certificate, which includes father's name.
- Parent's written consent, if under 21.
- Proof of divorce (if applicable) - original certificate of divorce.
- Certified copy of death certificate for widow or widower.
- Italian nationals celebrating their marriage in Jamaica must notify their embassy and a certified copy of their marriage certificate must be forwarded to their embassy to be legalized and translated.
- French Canadians need a notarized translated English copy of all documents and a photocopy of the original French documents.
- No blood test is required.
28. What is the departure tax at the airport?
Jamaica’s departure tax is payable in cash only at the airport upon your departure. Currently, the tax is JA$1000 (equivalent to US$20)
29. Can I invite guests to the villa?
There is a maximum of five(5) visitors per day, and there is an extra charge for additional guests who stays over night.
30. What if I need medical attention?
St Anns Bay, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay area have very good doctors.The villa staff will know how to reach a doctor. Before your visit, please check with your insurance company so you know what procedure to follow just in case you do develop a medical emergency.
31. How do I handle Jamaican Salesmanship?
If you are walking in the streets and are approached to buy something that you do not want, politely say “No thank you”. Also, remember that marijuana (ganja in Jamaica) is illegal and should not be purchased if offered.
32. IMPORTANT FOR ALL PASSENGERS ENTERING JAMAICA:
Please see new http://www.passportexpress.com/default.aspx?page=news These changes effective Dec 31, 2005.
WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND A U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT ISSUED PASSPORT TO ENSURE YOU WILL BE PERMITTED TO BOARD YOUR FLIGHT.