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)
- Also Known As:
- The Resort At Wilks Bay Jamaica/Port Antonio