Before my husband and I tied the knot, we threw a joint destination bachelor/bachelorette party for ourselves on the south coast of Jamaica in a remote little town known as Treasure Beach.
We reserved almost half of the individual fairytale-style cottages scattered along the ocean front property at Jake’s Hotel — including their fabulous 6-person villa, Mussels — to bring sixteen of our closest friends and family together for a weekend-long celebration.
Our pre-arranged party-bus zigzagged across the Jamaican countryside for nearly 2 hours to reach the resort — luckily on arrival, our travel-weary guests instantly warmed up to this eccentric and beautiful place. Our rooms were equipped with outdoor rain-showers, ceiling fans and brightly-colored glass bottles re-purposed as peek-a-boo windows – no phones, no TVs, just the sound of waves crashing outside of your door. It’s not surprising to hear that the meticulously detailed grounds were styled by a former set designer. Flowers and aloe plants wind around paths that lead to both discreet accommodations and open-air dining areas. A sea-water pool is situated just steps away from the infamous Dougie’s Bar, which serves a potent rum punch by day and stays open until the last guest is ready to call it a night. The on-site Driftwood Spa offers tempting treatments like Coco-Mango Body Buff and Irish Moss and Aloe wrap.
Laughing at sea on a speedboat headed towards a bar in the middle of the ocean is one of my favorite memories from this trip. Every time we’d hit a wave, our over-loaded vessel jumped out of the water and crashed back down with a thud – certainly not helping our sea-sick friend in the back with his head down. Twenty minutes later, a tiny speck came into view (could that be it?) and soon enough we had arrived at Pelican Bar. Floyd, the owner and operator, built his establishment from scratch with just planks of wood on a sandbar. And then built it once again after Hurricane Ivan blew through in 2004 and knocked it down. With windblown hair and plates full of jerk lobster, we lounged on the sun deck and carved our names into the wood —- a truly special way to spend an afternoon.
Jack Sprat/ Jake’s Restaurant
A few fine lunches were taken at Jack Sprat, which is at the western end of the resort, just before the buttonwood tree. Pizza, ice-cream and the catch of the day are all available under this one roof. Weekly beach bonfires and occasional live music brighten the atmosphere here. Jake’s main restaurant just outside reception is a slightly more upscale operation with a changing menu that varies according to what produce comes in from local farmers. Seasonal fish, crab and lobster are particularly tasty.
If you’ve always wanted to jump off a cliff and swing from a rope into a cascading waterfall, this is your chance.
A ten minute tractor ride leads through the fields to eight tiers of spectacular waterfalls and swimming pools filled with fresh spring water. River-tubing and zip-lining through the jungle is also available.
Our weekend abruptly came to an end; instead of dancing with the locals at a nightclub down the road as we had done the night before, we packed our bags and took it easy, toasting one last time with some Red Stripe and rum punch and stargazing under the Mussels veranda.
In the morning we sleepily hopped in the car – wishing that instead there was a helicopter waiting for us at the private helipad in the resort’s backyard. But then, we thought, we would have missed out on the last 2 hours of our adventure, weaving back through the dizzying roads past stray cows and chickens. And making all sorts of plans to return as soon as possible.
Jakes Hotel, Villas & Spa
Calabash Bay, Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth
20 minutes out to sea from Frenchman’s Bay
on the western end of Jake’s property
2 Market St. | South Coast, St Elizabeth