|Jellyfish veranda & outdoor shower|
I spent 5 nights at this funky, shabby chic, boutique hotel for a friend’s destination wedding this past week. Suffice it to say that this is not your typical all-inclusive Caribbean resort. If you want fine white sand and blue beaches this is not for you. If you rather not share your space with God’s other creatures of the biting or croaking variety, this is not for you. If you like brightly lit hotel rooms with flat screen TVs and air-conditioning, this is not for you. If you want to “do something” this is probably not for you either.
Jakes is a true rustic experience. They call it eco-friendly. This meant low water pressure for the family staying in Mussels, dim lighting for myself in Jellyfish, and little to no lighting outside at nighttime. It’s beachfront all right, but it has a rocky shoreline with harsh waves. Next door at Jack Sprats, there is a “beach” but you might as well be at your local makeshift lakefront beach. Owned by the Henzell family, of “The Harder They Come” fame, a film I hadn’t even heard of let alone watched, Jakes is heavily advertised.
There are several vividly coloured and uniquely designed cottages along the winding unevenly paved pathway within the property. In the center is a mosaic tiled sea-water swimming pool adjacent to Dougie’s Bar manned by Dougie himself, a grouchy old man – I’m sure that is what contributes to his charm. I was told that the rum punch was an institution on its own and after my recent foray into rum punches in Barbados this past February, I opted for one I believe the very first night I was there. Let’s just say that I didn’t order any more, I didn’t even finish the glass. However, the mango daiquiri was delicious and this became my alcoholic beverage of choice morning, day, and night! Uh-huh!
In between the cottages are several trees – almond, coconut, mango, guinep as well as cactuses, and desert flowers. I actually got some almond fruit and that first bite into the warm sweet flesh followed by the pungent ting of the inner fibers was just heaven. However, banging away at the shell to get to the almond was a feat in itself. I ended up destroying the almond due to my loss of skill, yet gathered the almond pieces that I could for another trip down a taste-bud nirvana.
At the time of my arrival, I was offered a fruit juice. Literally. I had them put it away in the fridge so I could at least take a breath and gather my thoughts. I had booked a standard oceanview room (the second least expensive at $115 per night – summer rate) and ended up in Jellyfish. You don’t actually get to choose your rooms, but I used the room descriptions at this website as a guide in addition to Jake’s own website. Jellyfish is advertised as accommodating two persons, but I would modify that to “two intimate persons”. It’s so tiny! But it was lovely really. There is a sitting area out by the rocky seafront, a hammock there as well, a covered verandah with more sitting area, an outdoor shower with a door that doesn’t really protect you from passerby eyes, one queen-size bed that takes up most of the room with a mosquito net overhead and an overhead fan. The beautiful blue door with Moroccan inspired details is padlocked! That was an interesting touch. Yes, it was hot as hell inside, but I rarely stayed inside. At night, I turned on the fan and each morning I would wake up under the covers sufficiently cooled. The mosquito netting did its job and I had no bites…during my sleep.
Due to a booking mishap (mine), I had to find alternate accommodations for my final night in Jamaica. I was therefore transferred to Coral (Brown Room). This was definitely shabby (not shabby chic) at $95 USD nightly rate. I didn’t take a shower because running the water at the sink brought out stenches of mildew and mustiness. However, this room was much larger and I could have comfortably shared it with another person though it too had just a queen-size bed. It had an air-conditioning unit which I didn’t need and much brighter indoor lights. It is advertised as a garden view room and indeed all you see are the bushes around.
I loved being scorched by the sun, drenched by the rain, misted by the soft drizzle the night of the wedding whilst dancing away barefoot on the beach, watching the stars shine above including TWO shooting stars, gorging on mangoes each sweeter than the last, falling asleep to the sound of the waves rushing against the rocks and the frogs croaking nearby, waking up to the birds singing, and best of all doing NOTHING.Oh yeah, the wedding ceremony was beautiful as well.
In addition to the property’s dog and cats that wander around, you are likely to come across several toads of varying sizes especially at night, especially after the rain, and especially on the pavement you are trying to walk upon in the dark. Expect lizards (?geckos) to run all over the place, including inside your room, stopping occasionally for their “push-ups”. Expect crabs to scuttle in front of you as you lay out by the rocky beach. I even saw a hermit crab scuttle down a hole by Driftwood Spa. And don’t forget the colourful butterflies flittering from one flower to another and the hummingbirds buzzing around.
The food is decent though it can become monotonous even with the variety offered by Jack Sprat. But personally I hardly ate any food what with the mangos in my belly and food available at the wedding functions. There is free WiFi in the dining area – both indoors and out and if you happen to be in a room close-by such as Coral, the WiFi is picked up here as well. You can charge everything to your room, or pay with Jamaican dollars, or American dollars though you are at the mercy of their conversion rate if you do so.
I did have a manicure at Driftwood Spa and while I found the experience good it was a poor manicure. Same for all the other ladies in the bridal party. I think it’s best to do your manicures (maybe gel so that its longer lasting) and pedicures at home prior to coming. I did enjoy a free welcome foot massage and wished that I could have experienced some of their massage packages. None of the other guests had the free foot massage or maybe none of them saw the card in their rooms. Either way it felt really good.
In short I would say Jakes is not for every traveler. It’s not a bargain at any rate though I could easily stay in Jellyfish again. I did spend time in the honeymoon suites (Octopuss) but I don’t think I would spend the $300-400 nightly rate to be there. But if you are going to go, don’t forget your insect repellant and a little torch to find your way around in the dark.