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“A Pampered Vacation in Jamaica” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Resort at Wilks Bay

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The Resort at Wilks Bay
Ranked #2 of 16 Hotels in Port Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
gainesville
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A Pampered Vacation in Jamaica”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2013

Jim and Mary Lowe’s Wilks Bay Resort is quite a vacationer’s “pampered paradise”. From the moment my wife and I stepped out of the Kingston Airport our pre-arranged driver was waiting with a sign and a greeting to take us to the Resort. When we arrived at the property, both Jim and Mary were waiting for us as we stepped out of the van. It was immediately evident that these two people were meant to be vacation hosts with their open, friendly and casual personalities. They guided us across the grounds of the property with a smaller shaped pool set near the ocean bay beach and into our accommodations which was on the lower level of a rather new 2 story villa where we met our appointed maid for the week, Tatlyn. The appointed maid not only does the regular housekeeping chores for you, but also runs to the market with your food requests/purchases and cooks your meals. At the end of your stay, you take care of their talents with an appropriate tip. We took some time to freshen up from the day’s travels and were then presented a very nice first evening dinner on our outside porch that we were asked to specify in advance. Quite frankly, I had forgotten what I had ordered from a month earlier when we booked the reservation, but when the moderately spiced Red Snapper was set down before me at the table I quickly recalled. It was delicious. After the meal, we rested outside on our villa’s porch gathering in the sights and sounds of the Jamaican atmosphere before retiring for the first night.

Prior to the trip I was a little concerned that the Jamaican heat would cause difficulty with my sleeping because I like it rather cool at night. But the room came equipped with a very good a/c unit with remote control and I used it throughout the first night. The 2nd night I only used it for a few hours and by the rest of the week I really didn’t use it much at all. I simply opened up the louvers on each side of our bedroom door and enjoyed the clean air with the slight sound of the gentle ocean surf in the background. In fact as a side note, by the end of the week my breathing and sinus’s were as clear as they have been in quite a few years. Apparently, I was able to escape whatever allergies I have back in the U.S. for my week in Jamaica. That was an unexpected bonus.

About 6:30 the next morning I slid open the curtains, jumped back in bed and spent about an hour just looking out at the various shades of turquoise across the Caribbean waters. After months of not seeing the Caribbean waters, it was all so refreshing again. Our maid Tatlyn prepared the pre-ordered breakfast of ackee and saltfish with fresh pineapple, papaya, watermelon, and a Jamaican food staple I was not aware of called breadfruit. Jim was there to meet with us and describe some of the day trips we could take and further help plan our stay for the week. We started the week out slowly by staying at the resort the first day and sitting in the sun, relaxing in the pool and wandering next door to the Frenchman’s Cove beach. By the middle of the week we had taken a trip to the Rio Grande for a very relaxing and enjoyable 3 hour river raft which has a few vendors every couple of miles downstream selling beverages to keep cool with; a trip to Boston beach to visit the chicken and pork jerk stands (where Jim will recommend the best stand to visit and those stands to avoid); and a trip to Reach Falls which will put you smack dab in the middle of a tropical paradise with incredible rainforest flora, crystal clear water and a nifty little hike and/or swim up from the falls a short ways.

Wednesday evening we ventured out on our own and picked up some cash at an ATM near the center of town and strolled back along the main road toward Anna Bananas Restaurant. Before we got there we passed a little bar where the locals waved the two of us in to have a few drinks. We were already sipping on some bottles of zing (essentially a grapefruit soda) when they convinced us to spice things up a bit and pour some of their rum into our bottles. That got us talking and telling a few jokes which later led to my wife playing plenty of rounds of bingo where she ended up mostly donating to the table. I had an inkling that was going to happen, but it was all in good fun and the local patrons at that little bar were interesting to talk with.

By Thursday it was Valentine’s Day and our table on the front porch was decorated with little red flowers and strips of green leaves that Tatlyn had cut fresh from the gardens in the back of our villa. The groundskeeper Chow took down some fresh coconuts for us and chopped them up in a presentable fashion for us to sip from straws. Jim was making reservations for us that evening for a dinner in town at Anna Bananas where live reggae music entertained us till nearly midnight. Jim warned us that the restaurant was running short of a few items that week, but we found two dinners on the menu that were delicious. Again, Jim insisted he would pick us up late that evening so there was no need to find a taxi.

Friday evening Jim and Mary and the group of us staying at the resort went out for dinner and spirits, however, it was Saturday evening that put our stay “over the top”. That evening my wife and I had an incredible and intimate lobster dinner on the beach. Mary and Tatlyn decorated our table with little seashells and red flower petals all over the tablecloth and a large conch shell centerpiece stuffed with vines and clusters of freshly cut red flowers. The grounds crew put tiki torches mounded into the sand along with freshly cut (and quite tall) banana palms around our table. The setting and ambience was simply unequaled compared to any romantic dinner we’ve ever had…and we’ve had quite a few. It started with a soup that had a very unique hint of sweetness followed by a tomato lettuce salad with bread and then a potato salad made by Tatlyn that would be the envy of most restaurants here in America. The main course of fresh lobster that Jim gets from a special supplier was finished with a sweet fruit dessert and of course our glasses of white wine were kept full throughout. Later that evening the grounds crew made a bamboo bonfire on the beach where we all sipped some punch (either straight punch or one with a slight hint of rum) and listened to some Jamaican Cd’s on the beach for a couple of hours before retiring for the night.

By Sunday Tatlyn knew what my favorite new food was as she set down the Ackee and Saltfish for me at the breakfast table. It was just one more reason I was not looking forward to returning to the airport at Kingston and I think everyone could tell as Jim and Mary and Tatlyn greeted my wife and I goodbye as we jumped in the van. And wouldn’t you know it? Jim asked one of the staff to run and grab the 2 pillows off of our bed to comfort our backs on the drive back to the airport. He and Mary always seem to be thinking how to pamper their guests at every turn.

Jeff and Lana H. (Feb 9 to Feb 17 2013)

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Jeff H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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260 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (84)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2013

wilks bay is a beautiful property in a great location
we had the bungalow and loved it
privacy, tasteful decor, excellent and very personalized service
the environment is very peaceful and chilled, you can really do as much or as little as you want

lorna, brenda & chow (and the rest of the lovely team! Sharice, Franklin, Clayton) made us feel like family, from preparing delicious meals to sharing local insight and info, they really are what made our stay so perfect
lorna's cooking was simply delicious, from akee & saltfish to a fish rundown to lobster...yummmmm... and she indulged my obsession with callaloo for which i am ever so grateful

the property is beautiful and tranquil, we especially loved the dock.
we really enjoying laying out, stargazing at night and doing morning yoga out there

i requested to do a bit of my own food shopping and cooking since i rather enjoy it and found every utensil and pot/pan i needed in the kitchen, its perfectly appointed with coffeemaker, fridge etc
we took route taxis everywhere and found them very convenient, easy and affordable
everything you need is in right in town- from a great fruit vendor to pharmacy to supermarket , even a health food store
we also went on a 6 mile run with Chow (killer personal training session!) to the amazing Winnifred Beach, went surfing twice at Boston beach (rented boards from Rich), and kayaking at Monkey Island

port antonio and everything we saw of portland parish was gorgeous- lush, natural and laid back
we cant wait to come back to PA and Wilks Bay!

Room Tip: we really enjoyed the space & privacy of the bungalow, as well as the "front yard" you...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank beafoulger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2013

The atmosphere at Wilks Bay is very cozy and private. If you are looking to get away, this is the resort for you. My boyfriend and I stayed at Wilks Bay in December 2012 for Christmas break. This was the first stop on my trip to Jamaica and it left me absolutely speechless. The property is beautiful, the staff is super friendly and accommodating, and the view is breathtaking.

We stayed in the one bedroom villa for one night. It was very clean and decorated in a rustic manner. I loved that we could open the doors and gaze into the ocean and hear the melodic sound of waves crashing outside.

I also enjoyed that we could pick out what meals we wanted for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food was cooked by the staff in our villa's kitchen and it was absolutely delicious! We enjoyed a romantic dinner on the front patio of our villa at night.

On our second day,we visited nearby Monkey Island, Frenchman's Cove, and Blue Lagoon. Everything in Port Antonio is absolutely gorgeous. My only regret is that we didn't spend more time at Wilks Bay. I look forward to returning here the next time I am in Jamaica.

Do yourself a favor and stay here. If you are looking to impress a significant other, trust me, they will not be disappointed : )

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Aybaybay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2012

My husband and I visited Wilks Bay in July 2012 with another couple. Though this review is a bit late I wanted to make sure to share what an incredible experience we had. Jim, Mary, and the entire staff at Wilks Bay are absolutely amazing! Top notch service! The food was so delicious we rarely left the property for meals. The best was the fresh lobster we were able to choose that morning and enjoy that day for dinner! I have to mention the incredible meal on the beach complete with bonfire and tiki torches to surprise my husband for his birthday too.

We stayed in the three bedroom villa which was incredibly comfortable and spacious. The views were beautiful from every room as well. You really can't go wrong with any of the villa options though. Our days included pool time and beach time on the property as well as trips to Frenchman's Cove next door, Geejam for music and happy hour, Goblin Hill for the sunset party, Boston Beach for surfing, and Reach Falls (amazing!). Jim was such a huge help in guiding us on what to do to get the most out of our time in Portland. He was always more than willing to organize the excursions for us as well. The couple we traveled with actually had plans to leave a few days before us to spend a few days in Montego Bay. Wilks Bay was such a hit they cancelled their Montgeo Bay time and stayed their entire trip with us!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Brown424
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 14, 2012

Wilkes Bay is very special. It's location in a beautiful secluded bay between San-San beach and Frenchman's Cove is ideal for a relaxing stay with the sound of the waves lulling you to sleep every night. We stayed in the 3-bedroom villa and were looked after by Angela, Franklin, Chow and Lorna, cooking and serving us delicious Jamaican soul food. We really enjoyed the relaxed but professional set-up and found that the flexibility of being able to arrange what we'd like to eat and at what time suited us well (we did our shopping in Port Antonio because we loved going to the market but the staff will do all this for you if you wish).

This place is the antithesis of the all-inclusive hotel experience and owner/managers James and Mary Lowe are always available to advise on things to do and see, James shuttled us about on various errands into town and really went out of his way to help us get the most out of our stay. We also went to the fantastic Soldiers restaurant for Crayfish, and various other bars with them - there's nothing quite like 'local knowledge' and the Lowes know most people in the area. Equally, if you just want to sit quietly under an almond tree with a drink and good book then you'll be left to it!

Portland is a beautiful parish and Wilkes bay is a great base to enjoy it from: comfortable, well-organised and friendly. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Families should book early for the main villa with three double rooms.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jonny C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 30, 2012

We spent two weeks at Wilks Bay last November and I can't imagine a better way to visit Jamaica.

Firstly the area... the area is absolutely jaw dropping. The resort is set in a beautiful and secluded bay that is yours to enjoy with beautiful blue sea and no disruption. There are lots of beautiful beaches nearby (Frenchman's cove and San San beach) to give you a bit of variety but you are absolutely spoiled at Wilks Bay which is picture perfect. Not to mention the wildlife - I'd never seen humming birds before!

Further away from the resort I found Port Antonio to be a fun and friendly place, but the highlight for me was the scenery that we got to enjoy. In particular trips to Reich falls (swimming under waterfalls) and kayaking in Blue Lagoon were amazing. A massive thanks to Jim and Mary from Wilks Bay for organising these trips for us - they made it very easy.

As for Wilks Bay itself - the facilities there were very very good. The appartments are very comfortable and well decorated; the setting is spectacular; and the staff were really friendly and helped you make the most of your time there. There were snorkels and kayaks to borrow - I absolutely loved taking a morning snorkel in the clear blue water, see all kinds of tropical fish and then be served a breakfast of ackee and saltfish and tropical fruit. The snorkeling was great, starting from the end of the jetty and particularly good around the prominent rocks which stand out in the middle of the bay.

The cooks at the resort were really good and would happily take requests but to be honest I was keen to be surprised by as many local dishes as possible. We did eat out a couple of times as well; I strongly recommend the Crayfish at Soldier's Camp - amazing! But when I wanted a snack I just helped myself to some fresh bananas (so much better than back home!) or got treated to some coconut water, or even better some Rum and Ting :-)

All in all a wonderful holiday in a wonderful setting. Thanks to everyone at Wilks Bay!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Al P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 9, 2012

Let me first say that I have been an avid user of Tripadvisor for several years, been to several resorts in different countries, been to several places throughout Jamaica, but my stay during August 2012 has driven me to write my first Tripadvisor review. We traveled with my family of 4 and my sister and her husband. We had both a 2/2 and a 1/1. The rooms were very clean, comfortable, brand new and very quaint. Both chefs Angela and Brenda did a great job preparing our meals everyday. We swam and snorkeled at the beach on premis, however, the bonus was access included at Frenchman's cove. The hospitlity of owners Mary and James was outstanding. They made us feel right at home. Anything we needed was provided. Every recommendation they made was on point including the suggestion to visit Reach Falls, which totally outshines Dunn's River. More than one month later, we are still talking about the wonderful vacation we had. We will definitely be back.

Room Tip: Every room is great. If you have a larger group/family, the 3/3 is the way to go but book it early...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Larry K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Resort at Wilks Bay

Property: The Resort at Wilks Bay
Address: Drapers P A, Port Antonio, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Portland Parish > Port Antonio
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Port Antonio
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Port Antonio
#3 Romantic Hotel in Port Antonio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 10
Also Known As:
The Resort At Wilks Bay Jamaica/Port Antonio

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