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"If you're looking for a world-class luxury property, something really special - beautiful, exotic and romantic, with all the infrastructural and social amenities - but at a price substantially lower than similar properties command in Florida, the Bahamas or Barbados, you should look at Jamaica," says Nigel Pemberton, the leading broker of luxury villa estates in the Montego Bay area. Pemberton has worked in Jamaican property for over forty years and exclusively deals with the resort communities at Tryall, Round Hill, Tamarind Hill, Great River and Rose Hall.
"Jamaica is the closest point to the United States where you can not only rely on the weather during the winter months but also experience the attraction of being in a foreign country without it being a plastic imitation of the American resort scene. My friends in Florida do not appreciate it when I tell them that anyone who has a house in Florida needs a winter home in Jamaica," says Pemberton, "but it is true, just look at a temperature chart!
Jamaica's greatest assets go beyond its location and weather, and the true beauty of the island is its people and natural beauty. Jamaica offers a unique combination of outstanding scenery that ranges from stretches of sandy beaches to the majestic peaks of the Blue Mountains that rise up 7400 feet – higher than the St. Moritz ski resort in Switzerland. On Jamaica, you'll also find an inexhaustible supply of highly qualified and cheerful domestic helpers, superb cooks and some of the best laundresses in the world.
"I have even sold houses to people who have brought their Porthault tablecloths down to Jamaica just to be laundered properly for a dinner party back in New York," says Pemberton.
One of Jamaica's key selling points to Pemberton is the country's informality. As an Englishman who divides his time between Jamaica, New York and London, he claims that the first thing that sold him on the island was the relaxed attitude on the island. When he first visited back in 1958, he decided to build a house near Montego Bay, and the best thing was that he didn't have to wear a tie and a jacket to do business on the island.
"I make one exception a year," he says, "When I attend a ball for a local charity at Round Hill Hotel, which insists on black tie."
Even though Pemberton wears black tie to these events, he still insists he wears sneakers as his formal dress footwear.
Pemberton specializes in selling lots and villas at the exclusive Tryall Club, with its 2000 acres of golf course, tennis courts and sloping hills with its very own beach and historic Great House, now used as the clubhouse, it's easy to see the attraction for owning properties in this region. He also sells houses at the famous and in-demand Round Hill, which has a guest list that reads like the "Who's who" of American business and theatre, plus he sells properties at Tamarind Hill, Great River and east of Montego Bay around Rose Hall, one of the island's most famous plantations. Today, Rose Hall is the brainchild of the late and dynamic John Rollins, the former Lieutenant Governor of Delaware.
Pemberton values discretion, respects the confidentially of his clients from the past forty-three years.
"They are here to escape the limelight for a few moments of relaxation and need no publicity from me," he says.