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“Quiet and Amazing” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Jakes Hotel, Villas & Spa

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Jakes Hotel, Villas & Spa
3.0 of 5 Resort   |   Calabash Bay, Treasure Beach, Jamaica   |  
Hotel website
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Treasure Beach
West Michigan
1 review
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Quiet and Amazing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2006

Being able to spend 4 nights together with my husband soaking up the sun, unwinding, and gazing at the ocean was just what we needed to forget our hectic lives in the snow.

We stayed in Octopussy 3 and it was the most unique room with the most amazing view we've ever had. The ocean is about 5 feet from the edge of your patio! It We spent 4 days and nights at Jakes with almost no people and nothing but the sound of the ocean at our feet. Much different than the crowded pools and beaches and clanging dishes of the kitchens at a mega hotel. Well, the ceiling fan was a little noisy at first, but it quieted down after a few minutes and we slept comfortably with it on all night. The mattresses are never comfortable in Jamaica, but we each found our dip and slept just fine. The lounge chairs on the patio were the most comfortable we've ever been in. The outdoor shower had an open view to the ocean so you might want to turn if a boat comes by, but I'm pretty sure no one really cares. It was THE coolest outdoor shower anywhere!! There's even a tub out there if you're so inclined. The floors are cement, but cool and very clean. The upper balcony was ultra cool and extrememly hot. It made for great pictures of sunset and the property. It was difficult to spend any time up there during the heat of the day. The room itself was a little warm, but we made sure the louvers were wide open at night with the ceiling fan on and we were cool enough. We never turned on the air conditioning. The mosquitos didn't bother us much, but we made sure the doors were closed before sundown each day and did not sleep with them open.

The pool was in fact saltwater, but plenty good for a refreshing dip after frying in the sun. We didn't spend a ton of time around the pool as it didn't seem you could get much sun there. We soaked up the sun on our patio and cooled off in our outdoor shower. When we needed a change of scenery and couldn't take anymore sun we headed down to the pool to stare at the water there and check out what Dougie was up to.

Yes, we did get to meet Dougie. He's very nice and makes some killer drinks. (Even the virgin kind as I was 4 months pregnant.) Just sit at the bar and talk to him a little. I've found that -Newsflash- when you're nice to people, they're usually pretty nice back. Ask him about the Absolut Jakes picture hanging in the bar.

We've spent lots of time in the caribbean vacationing 1-2 times per year for the 13 years of our marriage to either the caribbean (Turks & Caicos, St. John, 8 trips to Key West, 5 trips to Jamaica and 2 cruises) or the pacific coast of Mexico (Puerto Vallarta and 3 trips to Cabo). We do love Jamaica, the beautiful land and the friendly people. If you've never been before, do not expect "Fantasy Island." These are 3rd world countries and very poor. Do your research. Know what to expect coming in. If you expect marble bathrooms, Frette towels and linens, everything in perfect repair all the time, high end amenities and amazingly fast service, then stay in the US and pay $1000 per night - and even then there're no guarantees. If you're vacationing in the Caribbean, understand you're going to get a taste of their world on their time. Everything is usually a little 'off' and the mini fridges are usually rusty, but relax, and enjoy the experience of a different culture.

You will be offered various types of merchandise for sale. Just chat with the people, ask their name, tell them you're "good" but you think their merchandise is beautiful, ask them how long they've been in the carving/boat making/jewelry making/drug pushing business, and to have a great day. They're just regular folks tring to make a living. Heck, it's too hot for them to be too pushy. :)

The cd player in our room didn't work, just the radio portion and the stations aren't that great unless you like rap. I apologize to whomever had the room after us because we didn't say anything. Sorry. Bring your ipod with you and an fm transmitter to avoid any inconvenience.

I agree with one reviewer who thought more than 3-4 nights may get a little boring considering there's not much to do. The food at Jakes and Jack Sprat was good to very good, yes, even the pizza. I wish we would have ventured into town to check out one or two other places. It was just too hot to do much of anything. Service is slow by US standards, but just right for island time. Try not to kick over the mosquito coils on the floors.

You do have to check out the Pelican Bar and get lunch while you're out there. The food is delicious!! You have the choice of curried Lobster or garlic lobster or grilled fish. You probably should order before you go out, but some people did place orders after they arrived and they were served at the same time as we were. It takes about 30-45 minutes by boat to get there and back and the water taxi drivers are very nice and will tell you about the coastline on the way there and back. Everyone there thought their driver was the best. We had Peck and he was very nice, even let us reel in a fish on the trip out.

We saw a good size sting ray while we were sitting in the bar and met a nice family from Pennsylvania and another nice couple from Santa Monica. Locals and the water taxi drivers all hang out here and it lends to the ambiance. The water is very shallow around the bar so you can swim or snorkel if you like. Bring your own snorkle gear and a towel if you're going to swim. If you're not going to swim, you don't need to wear a swim suit. The boat can drop you off right by the stairs which look more rickety than they were, although not for everyone. I wouldn't put my older old out of shape mom/dad/aunt on them. The rungs are kinda far apart, only about 3" in diameter and on the way up, I had to climb through a smallish opening between a bench and rail. There were a one or two well behaved dogs in the bar and they helped clean up after lunch. Bring some cash. The method of payment is very strange. There are no posted prices for drinks or lunch and definitely no menu of any kind. We didn't really understand what to do, but we brought plenty of cash and when we were ready to leave the bartender told us how much we owed. We're not sure if we paid for lunch at the hotel when we booked the trip or if we paid while we were at the bar. It didn't cause us any concern, I just mention it because some people might freak out if they think they're being jipped out of a few $$. Just ask when you book the trip to Pelican Bar for details about when and how much you pay for food, transportation and drinks.

We left after our 4th night to spend 4 nights at Rockhouse in Negril. (Also highly recommended.) It was another perfect vacation.

OH! And I would be remiss if I didn't tell you, when you're in Jamaica, call CLIVE'S TRANSPORT SERVICE. He has a website and is very good about responding quickly. He's the best!!! Clive's will do transfers to and from the airport as well as tours during your stay. They really understands customer service, are always prompt, and the cars are clean. We've used them the last 3 times we were in Jamaica and all of the drivers are great. We've been lucky enough to get a car or mini bus to ourselves almost every time, but then we never travel on Saturdays or Sundays. Too many crazy tourists!! :)

  • Stayed December 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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445 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (99)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Denver, CO
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2005

We went to jakes at the end of November. First, the ride from the airport wasn't nearly as "harrowing" as some have suggested. Yes, you drive across the mountians. But it was great to see the real jamaica...even if it was from a car window. We were greeted warmly by the staff at Jakes. We initially stayed in Tiki Tiki. It was a pretty standard room. There is a fridge and a CD player. The hot water buttons took a bit of figuring out. A few ants here and there but nothing digusting. The view was incredible and we were a 1 minute walk to the beach. The beaches are NOT Negril beaches. They are pretty much open to anyone and there are lots of locals. But we didn't want to be enclosed in a barbed wire hotel so it was nice to be able to talk to people. There are some hawkers on the beach, but after a day or two you kind of get to know them. Stanley, for one, was a very nice guy. I went fishing with Joseph and he was fantastic. He also took me to Pelican bar and that is a "must do".

A word to women: Jamaican men can come on a bit strong at times. If you are with your husband or boyfriend the men tend to be gracious, but if you are alone or only with other women they can be a little "icky".

Jakes food was very good, but a bit pricey. Venture into town and try the food at some of the small restaurants...local and delicious and much less taxing on the wallet. Try the Fisherman's Bar at night for a Red Stripe. Vickers, the owner, is an incredible man. Jack Sprats is owned by Jakes and is just off the hotel property. Really good food and, yes, they do have great pizza. I was just as happy riding my bike to the market to get Meat Patties.

We upgraded to Abalone later in the week. The room was small, and because of some rain, the mosquiotos came out in full force. It made for an uncomfortable night. Jakes sprayed and that helped and we made good use of the mosquito netting and burned lots of insect coils.

We rented bikes from Viking Tours for the week as well as snorkeling equipment (There is great snorkeling right of the beach at Jack Sprats.)

Douggie, the fixture at the bar, was very nice...but that is Douggie's turf...and you need to respect that. The hotel staff goes out of its way to be helpful with tours. We did the YS Falls/Appleton tour but felt closed in by all the obnoxious cruise ship people who were trying to cram in the entire island in 4 hours.

Had the great pleasure of meeting the designer/founder of Jakes, Sally Henzel. She is wonderful and asked lots of questions about our stay.

The only reason I didn't give this 5 stars was because of the mosquitos...and the rooms could have been a little nicer...they didn't really cool down at night.

Jakes...and all of St. Elizabeth pretty much shut down by 11PM. This is NOT a party place at all. So get a good book, some sunscreen, and lay back...because at Jake's...that's what you do.

  • Stayed November 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2005

Seriously if you are not used to "roughing it" don't go to jake's. It takes 2 and a half hours to get there driving on the worst roads ever, i felt like someone beat me up by the time I got there. My room had no A/C and full of bugs. There is no real beach just a bunch of jagged coral and a dirty salt water pool. I am still looking for the treasure in treasure beach...there is a hotel down the road called Mar blue that is way nicer and cleaner and has a real pool...

  • Stayed November 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2005

We just returned from Jakes. We went for one week and could have stayed longer. The staff made us feel very special. The food was incredible. It was true Jamican food unlike Negril. The rooms were funky and comfortable. This was very romantic for us. It is impossible not to feel peaceful with the constant sound of waves crashing, the beautiful scenery, bright sun, and lovely people. The price is right for the rooms. Although the food is not cheap it is very high quality and delicious. We will definetly return. If you are looking for a true Jamiacan experience go to Jakes. Skip all the other touristy places.

Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2005

I had dreamed of staying at Jakes since I saw a press article about it a full year before our visit. It is the only place ever to exceed every photograph I've seen of it and, believe me, I looked for plenty.

We stayed in Sweetlips which is a two bedroomed cottage with air conditioning in the bedrooms. Myself and my husband were there with our two teenage daughters. For us oldies it was our retreat from the busy all inclusive we had chosen for the rest of our vacation for the sake of our daughters' social lives! Within minutes of being there both girls said, quite independently, that they loved it and were fully intending to spend their honeymoon at Jakes (not bad when you think that the younger one is 14 and has - I hope! - no plans to marry for quite some time yet).

We were only there for two nights. I would recommend you spend a little longer. There is as much to do in the area as you want to do though some of it is a little expensive.

The food in the restaurant was uniformly good and reasonably priced. The service (in the restaurant and elsewere) was the most friendly I have ever experienced. For those people who don't like to go to places alone I have one message - on our first morning there I woke up long before the rest of the family and really wanted to enjoy the view from our cottage with a juice and a coffee. I'm always wary of going to unfamiliar places on my own but felt safe enough to try going to the restaurant and asking to take the drinks to our room. I was greeted immediately with "Hello [my first name] and how are you this morning". I couldn't have felt more at home if I was sitting in front of my grandmother's fire.

The pizzas at Jack Sprats were great and cheap and there was a great atmosphere about the place. The bar at Jakes was great. There have been comments posted about Dougie being a little grumpy but the only evidence I saw of that was when he was being treated with disrespect and he simply stood up for what was right. We thought he was wonderful as, apparently, did many of the (very friendly and welcoming) locals who popped in for a Red Stripe or two.

I cannot recommend this place highly enough for people who don't want absolute luxury but do want somewhere very comfortable that you can get a taste of the real country and real people. Oh, and about the insects. There are mosquitoes in this part of Jamaica. They do bite (surprise, surprise!) but with the appropriate antihistamines the bites stop itching within 24 hours and disappear completely within 48 hours. So even the insects are more friendly here than elsewhere!

Was this review helpful? Yes 21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2005

My trip to Jake's this past weekend was like coming home. I never fully unpack on vacation, but this time, though it was for only two nights, I did.

The property was even more beautiful and romantic than pictured on the internet. The sheer beauty was the highlight for me and my fiance.

On a less pleasant note: after the initial thrill of arriving and falling asleep to the the sounds of the ocean, I woke with multiple mosquito bites. Neither the net nor the electronic device helped. For the second night I purchased 'no mosquito' a spray which worked fine, though I had to reapply it during the night. The bed and pillow were also uncomfortable.

I would have been more relaxed on leaving but the stay was so short. The property does take some getting used to. It has a very well earned reputation of being eclectic.

Some advice, take your own cd's with you. Their cd library needs serious updating. There are games that you can borrow but you might want to take along something to keep you occupied, outside of likely in-room adventures that is.

All in all - a good place to relax and unwind. Make it a minimum of 3 nights and go heavy on the insect repellant.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2005

We went in late March 2005, and were not thrilled with Jake's. Our first accommodation was in Jellyfish, a tiny room with a ceiling fan that wobbled and shook so dangerously above the bed that I was afraid it was going to fall on us in the middle of the night. The room was hardly bigger than a closet, not even enough room to unpack our bags and no storage for clothing to speak of if there had been. The tiny bathroom smelled awful (barely enough room for a toilet and sink and infested with ants that got into our toiletries). Before we left we did get one night in Abalone Down which was much nicer (and air conditioned!). But the beach was non existent and the pool quite dirty. Not enough lounge chairs either, particularly in the sun if you wanted to work on your tan. I don't know what the hype about Dougie the bartender is all about, we found him quite unfriendly.

  • Stayed March 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jakes Hotel, Villas & Spa

Address: Calabash Bay, Treasure Beach, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Elizabeth Parish > Treasure Beach
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Treasure Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Jakes Hotel, Villas & Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 49
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
"Chicest shack in the Caribbean" – Vogue Magazine. --- "Welcome to one of Caribbean's funkiest resorts, where reggae and rock stars, doctors and lawyers, writers and artists come to taste the real Jamaica." - Island Magazine. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jake`s Hotel, Villa Hotel Treasure Beach
Jake`s Hotel, Villa And Spa
Jakes St Elizabeth
Jakes Hotel St Elizabeth
Jakes Jamaica
Jakes Hotel, Villas & Spa Jamaica/Treasure Beach

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