We had never been to Jamaica due to the concern that the only option was to stay in a large, impersonal resort where you get no feel for the people or culture of the country. But when we decided to run away and get married in secret, we found that Jamaica was the most convenient place for such a plan. So began the research on how to make this trip one that would suit our style... and wow, did we ever find it in Kanopi House!
First off, my initial call resulted in an hour's discussion with Jackie in the office about the hotel and its history, the activities in the area, and even suggestions about the rest of the country. When I mentioned that we wanted to get married while we were there, I think Jackie was even more enthusiastic than I was about it! Over the next weeks he put everything together as though he were a professional wedding planner, and we knew that we were in good hands. Despite our high expectations, upon arrival we were surprised to find that the place and its staff exceeded them all, and that it only got better over the next 4 days we were there.
It is hard to describe this as a hotel- the use of "House" in the name seems to sum it up more accurately. When we arrived we were met at the car (driven by an awesome Kingston local named Mickey, arranged by Jackie. We highly recommend that you request him to drive you around!) and escorted to the "Living Room" by Carla, the best host you could ever ask for. This is the common area of the grounds, and like all of the rooms, it is all wood with high beams and completely open and surrounded by the jungle. Best of all, it has a spectacular view of the sea and the sunset. We relaxed there with another couple and enjoyed the view and the conversation until we were escorted to our gorgeous "tree house", Spanish Elm.
Spanish Elm is one of the "rooms" offered at Kanopi. I write the word room with quotation marks because it is more like a large studio apartment than a room. The first half of it consists of a large sitting area with day bed, lounge chair and a small dining table, and just off of this area is a small kitchen stocked with snacks, teas and coffees. The rest of the room is devoted to the gorgeous, hand-carved, raised 4-poster king bed, as well as a seating area with Bose IPod dock. The bathroom is beautiful as well, with a huge shower and shower head and plenty of hot water with good pressure. Everything in the room is classy, well-made, comfortable and perfectly suited to each other as well as to the jungle environment.
Which takes me to the surroundings. Jackie once described the place to me as "jungle chic", which is exactly what it is! The rooms are built into the trees (apparently no trees on the property were cut down in the construction of the place), and their design involves wrap-around open windows that make you feel like you are sleeping right in the middle of the jungle (in the most comfortable bed ever!). While you can close the shutters and turn on the AC, we chose to leave everything wide open and instead utilize the ceiling fans and the mosquito coil and really experience nature. All night you can hear the chirping of insects, frogs and other creatures, as well as the rustling of the trees and lush foliage. Each night we were there included a gorgeous tropical thunderstorm that whipped around us as we were snuggled comfortably in bed, watching the fire flies blinking like little stars high in the rafters above us. Again, you have the option of closing up the room to avoid all this nature, but we found this to be one of the best aspects of staying at Kanopi!
The grounds of Kanopi are built onto a hill that leads down to the Blue Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. Winding little cement paths take you all over the property, where bananas grow, the trees are huge and lush with green leaves and flowers, and thick vines hang everywhere. There is no sandy beach, but instead a rocky area with chairs and kayaks that you can paddle around to explore the lagoon, San San beach, and Monkey Island. Because the area is protected by a reef it is very easy to kayak, even if you have no experience. There is a path along the water with several different options for entering the water for a swim, and there are local guys with canoes and boats who are eager to take you to other beaches in the area. The Blue Lagoon is very special- with its mix of fresh and salt water it is extremely refreshing and always changing colors. Watch how the mix of waters has a psychedelic effect when you move your arms and legs through it. There is a little platform in the lagoon where you can "dock" your kayak and lay in the sun or swim. We highly recommend that you get Carla's beautiful little boys to show you how to jump out of the almond tree there.
While the setting and the design of Kanopi are absolutely stunning, the place would not be as special as it is without the incredible staff. From Jackie to Carla to Elaine and Otis, everyone treated us like family and went out of their way to make sure that we not only enjoyed our stay at Kanopi, but that we also got to see and understand Jamaica on a level that you could never experience at a large resort or hotel. They will cook you incredible local meals, recommend places to eat and things to do, and they will do their best to take care of anything you need. We could not have had a more perfect wedding, and vacation, without them!
I would not recommend Kanopi for those who are looking for the experience of the typical Jamaican beach resort. It is a small, intimate and unique place, perfect for those who want quality accommodations that incorporate the culture and nature of Jamaica. You can be completely isolated from everyone and hide away the entire time you are there, or you can interact with the staff and (few) other guests and explore the amazing parish of Portland. It is entirely up to you, but rest assured that whatever you want, the staff at Kanopi will make sure it happens!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tucked away in the folds of the eco-friendly zone of Portland, where the shoreline hugs the sea and the nights glow as much as the days, stands the emblem of respite, relaxation and all things in between. It sits snugly among the trees, embraces the ideally cool temperatures and complements the natural habitat. It offers a peacefully endowed atmosphere, not uncommon to truly tranquil scenes and all those who enter therein can claim its soothing and rejuvenating powers. Kanopi House was created as the ideal getaway location and is unique since it offers no disturbance of its natural environments. Its structure also adds to its modern day charm and it is one with nature. Kanopi House features a certain inexplicable charisma which is further intensified by a secluded cove, blue lagoon, coral reef, surrounding rainforest and its one of a kind 'tree houses'. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Kanopi House Hotel Port Antonio
- Kanopi House Jamaica/Port Antonio