We spent 6 nights at Jakes in March, and feel like we experienced Jamaica for the first time despite prior visits. This hotel isn’t segregated from the countryside. Treasure Beach is a rural fishing village, and you are visiting a neighborhood. We stayed in Calabash Cottage with our 2 kids, 10 and 8. Our front door opened onto a spacious porch, beyond that a garden, beach and the sea. The cottage is off property, and each morning we would trek the 10 minutes to Jakes or Pardy’s for a delicious breakfast.
If you love fresh homemade food, with ingredients that never saw the inside of a freezer, this is the spot. In the morning, men on motorbikes would sell fresh-picked callaloo door to door. The menus changed every night, or you could arrange with a local eatery like Smurfs or Strikeys to prepare what you like. At the restaurant on-site, there were excellent vegetarian dishes and the jerk shrimp at Jack Sprats was amazing.
Jakes is unique, and each room is different. Some, like Cowrie, are filled with charming touches like stained glass and an open-room kitchen. Conch and Coral is another, but it is right off the pool, as is Sweet Lip, another 2 bedroom cottage. Our Cottage had a fairly private outdoor shower with funky tiling.
The best: We met locals, took a visit to a waterfall you can swim in, and found five dolphins with Captain Joseph. We made friends among other guests. This seems a place where friendly and like-minded people congregate. Nothing was rushed. Jakes is totally integrated into the community, and owner Jason Henzell is working on a Sports Park up the road that is a mecca for local soccer and cricket players. The staff was amazing, particularly Grace in the restaurant, Samantha who babysat, Rhonda the resident artist and Damian who maintained the Calabash properties. (There is also a pool in the Villa next door to our cottage). Also, a Rock N Roll Hall of Famer came by for dinner our first night.
Also notable: The Driftwood Spa had an amazing view and the scented oils were top notch. Even the library was well-stocked with books on everything from Jamaican birds to the The Help.
The not-so-great: The mosquitoes will find you, but the bites weren’t as itchy as those in the states. But the bigger issue was the expense. We weren’t expecting an all-inclusive, but breakfast was usually $50. The transport to the falls was $90. Our daily expenses in addition to the room were $200-$300 a day. We felt better knowing the money was going into the local economy rather than a multinational chain. I would advise you to keep track of your receipts if you are staying a while. Or, make better use of your kitchen than we did or off property restaurants that don’t add the 10% tax and 10% gratuity into the bill. (We always tipped more.)
The upshot: We met people who return year after year despite the 2+ hour drive through the mountains to get there. I will recommend it to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen. We will likely return again, but not before investigating ways to make it less of a strain on our finances.
- 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 And Spa
- Jake`s Hotel, Villa Hotel Treasure Beach
- Jakes St Elizabeth
- Jakes Hotel St Elizabeth
- Jakes Jamaica
- Jakes Hotel, Villas & Spa Jamaica/Treasure Beach