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“Idyllic setting and the coolest of hosts”

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The Resort at Wilks Bay
Ranked #2 of 16 Hotels in Port Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Idyllic setting and the coolest of hosts”
Reviewed April 19, 2013

The most perfect holiday ever with my beloved and our three boisterous boys. We wanted a peaceful few days of rest and recreation and to explore the North East part of the island. Wilks Bay and this area of Jamaica is idyllic. We had come from cold and rainy England and we all adored the sunshine, the beautiful pool, the sandy beach, which was strewn with coral and driftwood, the clear, blue of the sea, the new, stylish, spotless, apartment with big beds and air conditioning and our lovely housekeeper Angela, who looked after us and cooked fantastic meals. The boys loved her food, especially the breakfasts and her lobster, roast potatoes and pineapple tart.They loved foraging for fruit and learning about the flora and auna with Franklin who has tended the gardens at Wilks Bay for 15 years. They loved toasting marshmallows on the bonfire at the beach party with Chow and drinking his fruit punch while they danced to Bob Marley. James and Mary were the perfect hosts who love the place and have created a very special resort rooted in the local community. We have travelled extensively around Jamaica in the past. It is a beautiful island with beautiful, kind and courteous people. There are some fantastic resorts like Strawberry Hill and Jake's Place, but for me, Wilks Bay and the Port Antonio area are the best. 11 out of 10. We will return....

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Linda F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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267 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (88)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Barcelona, Spain
1 review
Reviewed April 18, 2013

My family and me spend the most fabulous holyday in our life in this wonderful place. It is really a paradise. The house is like luxury five star hotel: Amazing views, private swimming pool, charming rooms with king size beds, precious gardens. The staff is so nice always there to help you, cocking your choices of menus, preparing picnics. Cocktails were always ready and snacks anytime. The children were pampered as they always have suits or tricks for lunch and dinner. I cannot describe the beauty of the surroundings, beaches as you cannot imagine with crystal water. The experience of swimming, scuba or diving is awesome. We made excursions walking thorough rivers, horseback riding; river rafting with Jamaican drivers is really an experience. On our last day we made a party with friends in the garden and it was like magic. The food was so beautiful placed and so very well cocked, massages were available for all our guests and nail and hand spa as well. We are still dreaming on this place and hoping some day we will be able to come back.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Raquel R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakville, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2013

Choose Wilk's Bay if you are looking for a quiet, relaxing holiday with first class service and very friendly owners who do everything and more to make sure your holiday is perfect. Mac and Jane Ellen

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank JaneEllenBB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 31, 2013

We stayed at Wilks Bay Resort & the location was amazing! Mary & James, the owners, made it all the more special with their friendliness & attention. We snorkeled, swam & had a lovely cook & we would definitely go back!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Annelchristensen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, Virginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 11, 2013

Wilks Bay Villas is a special find for all the right reasons. I had been to Port Antonio before and selected this area again for it's charm and low level tourism. Wilks Bay matches this style of resort perfectly. it sits in it's own private cove, has a beach, nice swimming pool, and beautifully maintained grounds. Each villa is staffed with it's own cook and housekeeper who add so much to your stay. The meals are authentic Jamaican cooked to your own taste. You won't shop, cook, do dishes, laundry or much else except be on vacation.
Each villa is beautifully maintained as are the lush grounds. There is security though that was never an issue. And the location couldn't be any better. Close to Frenchman's Cove, the Blue Lagoon and Port Antonio Town. The owner's Mary and James were about the best hosts ( no, they were the best hosts ) we've ever experienced ! They know so much of the area and nothing seems to be too much trouble for them.
If you are looking at another resort for a little less money, do yourself a favor and pay the extra. You won't regret it. And if you were looking at something more expensive, also do yourself a favor and stay here. We saw most of the higher end Port Antonio resorts. I'd take Wilks Bay over any of them for the resort itself and for the attention to services.
When we go back to Jamaica, we'd go to Port Antonio again and wouldn't even consider another resort !

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank JerryS1947
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2013

We are not new to Trip Advisor but this is the first review we have ever written so it has taken a lot for us to bother. This place is Special.
Wilkes Bay is a beautiful location.
Mary and Jim really take care of their guests we felt like they were 'really good neighbours'. Jim can run you into San Antonio if you need and will give you a mini-tour of the town. Mary will help organise your day, booking drivers, organising suggested venues/visits. You really feel that you are getting a bespoke personal holiday.
The other staff are fantastic too. Yes, they are laid back in that special Jamaican way but they really offer that extra mile with a smile whilst looking after your every whim, whether its moving sun beds,parasols, to setting out a romantic meal for two on a moonlit beach(which we experienced on Valentines night... wonderful]
Brenda was our housekeeper she quietly made our villa clean & comfortable, making beds with cool cotton sheets, providing clean fluffy towels daily,laundry if you wish, drinks by the pool as well as shopping & cooking wonderful food,fresh fruit[ amazing freshly squeezed orange juice & eggs,bacon or pancakes for breakfast on the terrace where we also experienced delicious home cooked suppers. She will serve excellent traditional Jamaican fare which is very authentic. If you have special dietary requirements or like particular cuisines make sure you liaise with Mary in advance so you can bring any foodstuffs with you which might be difficult to get in San Antonio.
The beach at Frenchman's Cove next door is worth a visit. One of the best beaches in the world I am sure and the scene of many movie sets. Geejam Hotel is worth a visit for drinks or dinner out but otherwise we would recommend you stay at Wilkes Bay and let your cook take care of you.
The Portland area of Jamaica is unspoilt compared to the rest of Jamaica so don't come here if you want a standard formula chain hotel or take away pizza.
Try a boat trip of the Blue Lagoon, a raft down the Rio Grande river [recommended]waterfall tekking or just try the snorkelling. The Wilkes Bay beach is fantastic but swimming straight from the beach is almost impossible because of the coral so take some rubber beach shoes. Go to Frenchman's Cove San San Bay both walkable in a few minutes or use the pool.
Book straight away if you can get in.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Carole B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
gainesville
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Jeff H
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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