A Local’s Guide to Jamaica: Great Huts Resort | Boston Bay, Portland

A Local’s Guide to Jamaica: Great Huts Resort | Boston Bay, Portland

A Local’s Guide to Jamaica: Great Huts Resort | Boston Bay, Portland

3000 1651 Toni-Ann | The Swiss Freis

Great Huts Tips & Recommendations

Great Huts Image Gallery

Escape to Nature

Great Huts Resort, located in the most beautiful parish in Jamaica, Portland, is a secret waiting to be revealed to the world!

Perched on a cliff which overlooks the beautifully blue Caribbean Sea, Great Huts is surely a nature lover’s paradise! The resort takes a unique perspective on contemporary Jamaican luxury resort by including a mostly natural-rustic theme with luxury chic.

With Jerry and I both being nature lovers this was the absolute PERFECT resort for us to continue our birthday celebrations.

Travel to the beautiful Caribbean island of Jamaica and experience Great Huts Resort. A Jamaican vacation destination hidden in beautiful nature! via www.theswissfreis.com

 

Off the Beaten Path

Although Great Huts isn’t on the radar for many Jamaicans, the few friends I knew who had already been gave it two thumbs up. I was curious to see the resort for myself so it was without hesitation that I placed it on Jerry and I’s birthday week celebration plans.

It was a cool two hour drive from Kingston to Portland, one that was not without beautiful scenery to see!

Cliffs in Portland

Cliffs in Portland

Fisherman and his Boat

Fisherman and his Boat

Jerry and I enjoying a Coconut by a Roadside Vendor

Jerry and I enjoying a Coconut by a Roadside Vendor

We had a bit of trouble finding the exact location  since there were few visible signs to guide us. However, as it turned out, this Jamaican gem was surprisingly tucked behind the hustle and bustle of the popular Boston Jerk Centre.

Boston Jerk Centre, Portland

Boston Jerk Centre, Portland

West African Influence

Upon entering the property it was immediately clear to us that this resort was unique and everything we were hoping it would be and more. One of the major reasons for choosing Great Huts was its unconventional African/Tribal theme.

Taking inspiration from Jamaica’s rich West African heritage, Great Huts styled its resort in that of an African village which helps in creating a sense of community. Throughout the village beautiful African huts and tree-houses (toting African names) dot the landscape which can be likened to that of the African jungle. Each dwelling is one of a kind, furnished and decorated with craftsmanship and artwork inspired by the African roots of the Jamaican people.

Cozy Camping Hut

Cozy Camping Hut

Almond Tree Hut

Almond Tree Hut

African Village: The Akan Hut

These unique dwellings come in different scales of grandeur from which guests have an array of choices. The simplest huts (but by no means of a lower standard) are the Cozy Camping huts. These huts typically feature bamboo framework with thatched roofs and shared outdoor bathrooms.

Jerry and I, out of desire to spend moderately, chose the “Akan Tower”. The Akan Tower, though a bit dark because of insufficient interior lighting, was a cozy space fitting for two. Unlike the other Cozy Camping huts, the Akan Tower has it’s own private outdoor shower. However, to use the bathroom we had to walk about 10 m to the shared facilities which was quite uncomfortable, especially at nighttime. My favorite features of this hut were the sand floor (it felt like being at the beach) and the African themed murals painted on the interior walls.

Akan Tower's Outdoor Shower

Akan Tower’s Outdoor Shower

Akan Tower Hut

Akan Tower Hut

Increasing in grandeur are the Safari Chic huts/tree-houses. My personal favorite  was one called the African Sunrise  (I’ll be booking this one next visit!). In true tree-house style this hut is elevated above the ground and features a stunning 360 panoramic view (the hut is circular). From this breathtaking view not only can you see the lush gardens on property but also the Caribbean Sea and majestic Jamaican mountains. Ascending the ladder up to the room (yes, this is how you actually enter) the hut features truly touching African artwork. The art highlights the anguish of Jamaica’s African ancestors being taken from their motherland onto large slave ships. The artwork and decor of the resort include paintings of African tribal significance/symbolism and African sculptures.

African Sunrise Hut

African Sunrise Hut

African Decor

African Decor

Great Huts’ entire property can be traversed on dirt/pebbled walkways that lead you to the various huts and tree-houses as well as the private beach and pool on property.

Pathway

Pathway

Signs along the Pathway

Signs along the Pathway

 

Eco-Friendly and Socially Conscious

By ensuring the resort’s structures are made from natural materials, Great Huts pays great homage to its surrounding natural environment. The dwellings blend in perfectly with the undisturbed trees and foliage and subsequently seem to be “one with nature” as opposed to being obnoxiously conspicuous. As a graduate of architecture school I certainly appreciated  the humble approach to nature the designers opted to incorporate.

Great Huts also plays a positive social role to its fellow Jamaicans. The resort funds and volunteers for social projects such as the Portland Rehabilitation Center and the Port Antonio Infirmary.

On sale in the souvenir store are natural African and Jamaican themed art pieces, jewelry and souvenirs. I observed many handmade pieces made by volunteers of the Portland Rehabilitation Center project. Partial proceeds of these sales go directly toward funding these projects. This is an amazing way to give back to  Jamaican citizens in need and made me appreciate Great Huts even more! I definitely had to purchase a few of these pieces to show my own support.

Surfing the Cool Waves of Boston Bay 

It was good fun exploring the property as there was much to see. Two fun activities to do are exploring the guided paths and taking a dip in the pool overlooking the sea.

Jerry and I by the Pool

Jerry and I by the Pool

While spending time exploring the resort Jerry and I made our way to the private beach. Here guests are able to relax in beach chairs and hammocks and enjoy small ocean pools. One of the more outgoing activities is climbing the cliff that overlooks the sea and diving into the waves below. I was a bit too afraid to try this daredevil move but Jerry surely wasn’t!

Jerry by Cliff

Jerry by the Cliff

Beside Great Huts is the Boston Bay beach, a popular spot for locals and also quite popular for surfers. The beach is quite well-known for its choppy waves which are absolutely perfect for surfing! However, these rough waves can be quite dangerous for weak swimmers.

While enjoying the Great Huts beach you are sure to glimpse a few surfers swimming out to catch some waves. It was quite fascinating to watch these surfers  as they bobbed along with the ebb and flow of the waves before choosing the perfect one.

Surfers at the Boston Bay

Surfers at the Boston Bay

If surfing interests you there’s no reason to be left out of the fun! Great Huts collaborates with these surfers to provide lessons for its guests as a fun water-sport activity.

I’d Do it All Again

Truly, in the sense of Jamaican tourism Great Huts Resort is one of a kind. Where else can you find a roots nature resort that takes you straight into African tribal life? I must say that my time at Great Huts Resort far surpassed my already high expectations. Sun, sea and nature all packaged into one. Great Huts is sure to become one of your favorite Jamaican getaways after you’ve visited. It certainly made it on my list!

Jerry and I by the Beach

Jerry and I by the Beach

Great Huts Image Gallery

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Pathway

Pathway

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Final Tips & Recommendations:

 

1.) Landmarks to look out for when trying to find Great Huts are the Boston Bay Beach and Boston Jerk Centre

2.) Enjoy some jerk at the nearby Boston Jerk Centre while enjoying the unpolished Jamaican culture you’ll see there

3.) Carry a pocket flashlight as the rooms and property can get quite dark at nighttime

4.) Explore the nature paths found on property as you’ll see many breathtaking scenes

5.) Enjoy some of the activities on property (cliff jumping, yoga, spa etc)

6.) Buy a few of the art pieces from the souvenir store to help support Jamaican social projects

7.) If you aren’t a strong swimmer enjoy the waves from afar as the current of the sea can be quite strong, however take a dip in the pool

8.) Take surfing lessons with the Boston Bay surfers (that is, of course, if you’re into water sports)

9.) Explore local tourist attractions nearby (French Man’s Cove, Blue Lagoon Winnifred Beach etc)

10.) Explore the nearby busy town of Port Antonio to experience authentic Jamaica culture.

 

 

 

4 comments
  • I was looking into visiting here last year for my birthday, but then I saw on the website a note about being okay with lizards and frogs roaming around lol, that kinda removed the consideration for that particular weekend. Would still like to go though, now this recommendation has helped its chances haha.

    • The Swiss Freis
      The Swiss Freis May 11, 2017 at 11:11 pm

      Haha! Yes, certainly there are lizards and frogs BUT I hadn’t encountered any (Thank god!). I’m sure you’ll enjoy it nevertheless. So much to do you won’t even realize the lizards 😀 Can’t wait to see your post about the resort when you do get to visit 🙂 Glad that my post has encouraged you now, lol.

  • I got to spend near 4.5 months at Great Huts in 2012/13 .. while volunteering at PRM (the shelter you mentioned). I stayed a good part of that time in Akon Tower .. many special memories! I watched hurricane Sandy from inside Bamboo Hut (most exciting experience of my life .. next to parachuting in Hawaii). During clean up and restoration I got to stay in almost all the huts (I was very lucky!). Bugs & creepy crawly things were an almost everyday occurance for me .. I loved it! Except the soldier crab up at Sea Grape kinda freaked me out one night. I go back to Jamaica at least twice a year since then .. only once got to stay back at great huts though. Can’t seem to afford it anymore .. but I do usually try to go to the saturday night dance show. A truly magical place with so many beautiful memories for me. Still on my wish list to stay in the African Sunrise .. maybe next trip 🙂
    Thank you for your lovely article .. brought me “home”

    • The Swiss Freis
      The Swiss Freis May 24, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      WOW! An entire hurricane at Great Huts?! You certainly now share quite a bond with Great Huts! I don’t know how I’d fear out under those conditions! Haha. Which huts would you say are your favorites? I’d love to hear your suggestions! (I loved the African Sunrise treehouse too but maybe there are also other nice huts you can suggest).

      I’m not quite sure what a soldier crab is so you’ve got me consulting Dr. Google, lol! The creepy crawlies don’t scare me as much since I’m a nature loving gal 😀

      I’m super happy that you enjoyed the post and I loved that you shared your special moments with me. Now I’m wishing I could be back too (maybe I’ll head back in summer/winter).

      Thanks Diane! (P.S. I’ve sent you a very special email with a small token of my appreciation! I hope you enjoy it!)

      xoxo
      Toni

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