If you’ve made a commitment to buy Black or otherwise support the Black community, you may want to combine that effort with your vacation planning. While the travel industry is still expanding to allow for and embrace Black travelers and Black travel entrepreneurs, there are still plenty of choices for your resort season jaunt in a Black-owned resort. If you’ve ever forgone traveling and taken a real holiday, then you may already be familiar with the benefits of a resort. If not, don’t be too quick to discount them completely — when done right they can be great, particularly if you are looking to unplug, rejuvenate, and practice some quality regenerative rest and relaxation. Here are some of the best Black-owned resorts around the world to give you a little inspiration.
1. Negril Treehouse Resort — Negril, Jamaica
Located on the gorgeous, white-sand shores of Negril, Jamaica, Negril Treehouse Resort is dedicated to one thing: keeping guests comfortable in a lush setting. Though rustic and informal, The Negril Treehouse Resort has everything you could possibly want for a great vacation. There’s an ample private beach on silken, groomed sand; an onsite restaurant serving fresh seafood and other Jamaican classics; and plenty of Red Stripe on hand.
The 70 air-conditioned guest rooms range from standard to suites, many of which have a small patio or hammock right outside your door, and all are steps from the beach. But the thing that keeps folks returning year after year to this quiet resort seems to be the people who work there. Of the thousands of reviews you can find scattered across several sites for the property, guests simply rave about the helpful, friendly staff members who many note are always willing to go above and beyond to keep guests happy.
2. Jnane Tamsna — Marrakesh, Morocco
Blending traditional and contemporary Moroccan design is the cornerstone of Jnane Tamsna in Marrakesh, owned by hotelier titan Meryanne Loum-Martin. Everything on the grounds — the several houses, infrastructure, and all of the interior design — was built from scratch to Loum-Martin’s exact specifications. Even the extensive gardens and palm groves are maintained by her ethnobotanist husband, Dr. Gary Martin.
Jnane Tamsna welcomes anyone who cares to visit, though they seem to attract a bohemian, counterculturist clientele, maybe to match the eclectic styling; every single object in the resort — from the rugs to the flatware to the books — was curated carefully by Loum-Martin. As she told Maison Flâneur, “Recently, we’ve also seen the return of the Diaspora: A younger, creative generation, enriched by their foreign experience, is coming back [to Morocco] and it’s terrific.” Her intent with her palatial estate runs far deeper than simply hosting guests; she intends to build a legacy of hospitality and design that extends far beyond the borders of Morocco.
3. Half Moon — Montego Bay, Jamaica
This massive resort on Jamaica’s Montego Bay has everything you could possibly want in a vacation. This beachside paradise is all about variety; here you can go horseback riding, parasailing, scuba diving, and more, possibly all on the same day if you’re up for it. But if getting the adrenaline pumping isn’t quite your idea of the perfect vacay diversion, you can always hit up the luxury spa where you can relax in one of the aromatherapy steam rooms or have a go in the yoga pavilion. But if a little privacy is more your style, you can book one of a number of treatments in one of their 12 treatment rooms, some of which are housed in overwater bungalows.
With many unique concepts to accommodate you — from standard rooms all the way up to seven-bedroom villas — there’s bound to be one of them that fits your vision and group size. And though it’s just 10 minutes from the airport, Half Moon has its very own welcome lounge right outside of the customs hall. There you will be welcomed to Jamaica and transferred to the resort without you having to lift a finger.
4. Spice Island Beach Resort — Grand Anse Beach, Grenada
Founded by the late Sir Royston Hopkin, the only Caribbean hotelier to ever be knighted by Queen Elizabeth, this exquisite resort is perfect for those with finer tastes. Originally built in 1961, it was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, but Hopkins was barely perturbed. “What are you all crying for?” he noted, “I’m fully insured. We’ll build better than ever.” Rebuild they did.
The hurricane actually gave Hopkins a chance to reevaluate his offerings to his guests. His determination to not simply replace what had been lost but rather elevate the property to new heights of luxury was so successful that suites at the resort now typically have to be booked a year in advance. Privacy might just be the major draw of the property, with many suites boasting private dining areas, patios, beachfront, and even pools.
5. Zaina Lodge — Mole National Park, Ghana
Billing itself as West Africa’s first luxury safari lodge, Zaina Lodge nestled within the Mole forest prioritizes sustainability, ethical practices, and of course, your comfort. “We are inspired by our environment and the culture of Northern Ghana, our home,” and their aim with their glamping-style resort is to make you feel as at home as they do.
Each of the tented chalets on the property has WiFi, is air-conditioned, and is covered with a thatched teak roof, so while it appears to have a rustic beauty, you won’t be missing out on the comforts of home. And while your chalet will certainly be gorgeous, the real attraction here is the wildlife. Safaris can be booked in a package right along with your stay, all of which are led by experienced drivers and guides. These tours are meant to educate as much as delight, so be prepared to learn as much about the flora and fauna as you are delighted by them.
6. Blue Apple Beach Club — Cartagena, Colombia
Nearly completely isolated on the south shore of the Terra Bomba beach about 30 minutes from Cartagena, the unpretentious Blue Apple Beach Club is a favorite among millennial travelers and counterculturists of all stripes. Bucking many of the staples of a traditional beach resort is exactly how they’ve garnered such a dedicated following, though being located on a pristine South American beach certainly doesn’t hurt.
The vibe here is very “come as you are,” so rather than be saddled with the pressure of toting an Instagram-worthy wardrobe or gear you can settle into a simple routine of fun and sun. Each of the 10 rooms is completely unique, and five of them are private, standalone cabins that you can rent by the night — or the month if the island life sways you so.
If Colombian beach life sounds inspiring, maybe you’d like to lend your talents. Part of their commitment to supporting the arts is hosting an Artists in Residence program. If you’re a writer, painter, photographer, or some other type of creative, you may want to apply for one of the one-week to one-month residencies.
7. Primate Lodge — Kibale National Park, Uganda
Uganda’s national parks are world-renowned for homing a huge diversity of primates, and in particular, people flock to see the chimpanzees. Long been the victim of pollution, deforestation, and other manmade harms, the influx of tourists can serve to be one more stressor on an extremely fragile ecosystem that’s home to more than one vulnerable species. This is the exact scenario that the Primate Lodge strives to combat by offering comfortable, sustainable accommodations to limit the impact on the surrounding flora and fauna.
With a choice between staying in one of the well-appointed, solar-powered cottages or the bring-your-own-tent campground with shared bathroom facilities, there’s something available here for every price point. No matter where you sleep, all guests are invited to dine at the onsite restaurant, where you can enjoy international and traditional African dishes.
8. The Mansion at Noble Lane — The Poconos, Pennsylvania
Founded by former Essence editor, author, and star of the OWN network’s Checked Inn, Monique Greenwood’s The Mansion at Noble Lane is just one property in the larger Akwaaba Bed and Breakfast Inns group.
The historic mansion was originally built in 1903 and, after several iterations, was purchased and expertly restored into the iconic resort it is today. The property features an Olympic-sized heated swimming pool, a 10,000-square-foot recreational facility, conference rooms, a game room, a movie room, and a ballroom for special events and weddings. The grounds feature several sports courts, a formal English garden, and even a fireside lounge. One of the main draws for visitors to the resort is the YOUtopia Spa, where you can schedule a massage, a facial, a cheeky mani-pedi, or all three if you’re feeling like a little extra self-care.
9. Roberts Riverwalk Hotel — Detroit, Michigan
Marketed as an upscale urban resort, The Roberts Riverwalk Hotel is in the heart of Detroit and ready to host you for a perfect city break. Opened in 2011 in a historic building that once housed the Parke-Davis Research Laboratory, this hotel and residence is the epitome of Motor City style.
A St. Louis native, owner Michael V. Roberts is a longtime entrepreneur, civil rights activist, and even served as campaign manager for the St. Louis chapter of the Jimmy Carter campaign. Having earned a law degree law from St. Louis University, he opened the firm Roberts & Roberts in 1974, which he mainly used as a conduit to ensure that Black entrepreneurs were able to secure the same government contracts as their white counterparts. Ensuring that minority Americans get to participate and thrive in business is a legacy that he continues as a hotelier, embodied in this stately resort.