Bobbing up and down on the stern of an anchored luxury catamaran, the sun beating down, I glance slowly around the wide blue bay and golden sandy beach.
Celebrity houses dot the horizon and, nearby, the famous Dunn’s River Falls rush through lush, green vegetation into the crystal-clear sea.
The waterfalls are one of Jamaica’s main tourist attractions, and one of just a handful in the world which flow straight into the ocean.
I’m in the bay for a spot of snorkelling. Curling round the slide at the back of the boat and splashing into the bath-warm water, I realise I don’t even know the time – and that’s not just because I’ve forgotten my watch!
It’s because I’m well and truly on what the locals cheerfully call ‘Jamaican time’.
I’ve not even been in Ocho Rios, on the north coast of Jamaica, for two days and already it seems I’m light years away from the bustle of busy London – not the nine-and-a-half hours it actually took.
I’m staying at the Beaches Boscobel Resort and Golf Club. The Beaches chain is the family-friendly arm of the famous adults-only Sandals hotels. Beaches offers the same beachfront luxury, but children are welcome – and very well catered for, with clubs for tots and teens and a long list of activities to choose from.
Dunns River Falls is about a 20-minute drive from the hotel, but you can reach the area by boat, like me.
I may not be an A-lister, but since arriving, the resort’s friendly staff have gone out of their way to make me feel like a star.
In fact, the celeb-style pampering actually began before I’d even left Gatwick at the Dermologica Spa at the airport.
By the time I landed at Montego Bay, I felt ready to face the paps. Sadly, the only attention I received was from the men on the customs desk.
But that didn’t matter – two hours later I was at the resort, already ordering my first cocktail and eyeing up the pools.
Dinner on the first night is blackened tuna steak, succulent barbecue ribs and tequila shrimp in tex-mex themed Arizona’s, one of five on-site restaurants.
For those of you unsure about all-inclusive resorts, there’s nothing quite like ordering champagne cocktails and not handing over any money to make you feel like a pampered VIP.
Careful though – with cocktails on tap, it’s easy to get carried away.
The next morning, feeling a little delicate, I head to the the resort spa, Red Lane. Well, if it’s good enough for the celebs...
Stepping into the steam room, my hangover soon starts to ease. Afterwards, I feel completely rejuvenated and ready for the part of Jamaica I was most looking forward to – bobsled time!
Inspired by the famous Jamaica Olympic team, the bobsled ride at Mystic Mountain, part of the Rainforest Adventures park, is another huge tourist draw.
After a quick dip in the infinity pool at the peak, I rocket around the mountain in the bobsled.
The ride finishes back at the top, and getting down again is another adventure – via six 100-metre zip lines.
To finish off the trip, back at the resort I don my best dress for Caribbean cuisine at Eleanor’s, the fine-dining restaurant. Following a feast of jerk chicken wings, escoveitched red snapper and lamb braised in coconut curry broth, I head to the piano bar for a cocktail, then move on to the rum bar, where a steel drum band are playing Bob Marley tunes.
Rachel Williams was a guest of The Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club and flew to Jamaica with Virgin Atlantic ex-Gatwick.
Virgin Holidays offers seven nights all-inclusive at the Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club from £1,595, with transfers, based on two sharing a St Mary’s deluxe family room, and departures on November 28. A family of four, with two under-12s, pays from £5,499 for seven nights all-inclusive.
Virgin reservations: 0844 557 3859 and virginholidays.co.uk
OCHO RIOS FACTS
BEST FOR: Friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
TIME TO GO: Summer months, or swap British frost for Jamaican sun in January.
DON’T MISS: Bobsledding at Mystic Mountain and the famous jerk chicken.