There’s a reason Jakes Resort is in the town of Treasure Beach, for it’s certainly a local gem. It had been on my bucket list of Jamaican resorts to visit for quite some time so it was great to finally plan a girl’s trip to the resort.
A part of Jakes’ allure is its funky bohemian vibe (they have a cool old Ford at the front!). Even better is that it’s in St. Elizabeth, a mostly unexplored and far less touristy parish in Jamaica. Located in a sleepy farming and fishing village on the south coast, Jakes was quite unassuming (pleasantly so).
Unlike the typical branding of Jamaica with its all-inclusive hotels and perfect white sand beaches, Jakes offers an authentic glimpse of Jamaica, which from a local’s perspective, is absolutely wonderful!
There are a few ways to get to Jakes. A comfortable option is the Knutsford Express, a local luxury bus transportation company. The Knutsford offers drop-off points in the towns of Luana and Gutters, both of which are an hour away from Jake’s. From both these towns Jake’s can provide transportation directly to the resort. From Luana (the closer of the two towns), the resort charges $55 USD while Gutters attracts a cost of $65 USD for a one-way trip.
TIP: Jakes states their prices in U.S Dollars (USD) but also accepts local currency (Jamaican dollars, JMD). Currently the exchange rate is $1 USD= $130 JMD
The most convenient mode of transport is renting a vehicle. My friend and I decided on this option and set off from Kingston with the help of Google Maps.
TIP: Two reliable car rental agencies in Jamaica are AVIS and Island Car Rentals. Hertz Jamaica is known for poor customer care service.
TIP: Google Maps offers an offline feature that allows you to download a portion of the map so you can still navigate even if you don’t have internet connection.
The trip would have been a two-and-a-half-hour journey had we not experienced a fair share of misdirection. As it turned out Google’s GPS had lead us astray on paths that were no longer accessible. Eventually friendly towns people had given us directions to help us find our destination.
Tip: Google’s GPS tends to suggest shortcuts that lead to inaccessible roads. Try to keep on main roads and follow signs which read “Treasure Beach”. Once in Treasure Beach follow signs that lead to “Jack Sprat”.
Walking into Jake’s is like walking into a secluded jungle paradise. The lush green gardens are home to insects and birds who sing beautifully in the mornings.
The staff is also quite friendly and have a pleasant demeanour. A special touch which was a great welcome to the resort was a handwritten card from the staff.
Stay: The Jellyfish
Jake’s has an array of rooms and villas all tucked neatly into the lush landscape along the sea’s rocky coastline. Whether traveling solo, with a significant other or with a family or group of friends, Jake’s has an option that suits most.
The Jellyfish, as our room is affectionately named, is a double occupancy room overlooking the ocean’s coast. It was perfect for two girls escaping the Kingston heat. One unique feature of the Jellyfish is its outdoor shower. However, although it was wondrous to shower in the outdoors, it certainly wasn’t as glorious to shower in the rain while thunder rolled. But hey, how often can you say you’ve been one with nature (literally)?
TIP: Be prepared to make small reptilian friends aka lizards
TIP: Check out their packages page to find discounted rates on room packages which often include activities on and off the property.
The best part about staying in the Jellyfish was waking up to the sounds of the crashing waves. It’s easy to feel relaxed after brewing a cup of Jamaican coffee (complimentary each morning to each room) and laying on the sunbeds observing the waves. Enjoying a relaxing spa session at the spa on property is also something I’d suggest for any stay at Jakes.
Take a Dip
One of the highlights of being at Jake’s is enjoying the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Although there is no natural sand shore (the terrain is rocky) the resort has done a wonderful job in creating a faux sand shore where guests can lay out on sunbeds.
To take a dip simply walk out onto the pier and descend the ladder. Did I mention that the pier is a great spot to watch the sunset? Jake’s also features a salt water pool (the water is channeled and filtered from the sea).
Have a Drink at Dougie’s Bar
Lounging in the sun surely works up a sweat so the perfect way to cool down is by enjoying a cocktail or ice-cold beer from Dougie’s Bar.
Work Up a Sweat + Explore Your Creativity
Although I didn’t get to experience any of these fun activities I was quite impressed with the range of activities the resort offered for both adults and children. Activities such as cycling through the town, watercolour painting sessions, bird watching, fishing, art and craft sessions (mosaics) and Jamaican cooking lessons are but a few of the activities you can partake in. You can even rent scuba and kayaking gear.
The beauty of a non-all-inclusive resort is the freedom to explore the real aspects of the Jamaican culture. No sweats if you’re less adventurous because Jake’s still offers trips to local attractions that are certainly worth a visit. A few of my favourite choices are: Floyd’s Pelican Bar, YS Fall, Lover’s Leap and the Appleton Rum Estate.
Cuisine: Grown Locally, Eat Locally
Jake’s welcomes both locals and guests alike to enjoy the delectable food offered on the menu. They pride themselves in cooking meals whose ingredients are provided by local farmers and fishers.
The menu was an even balance with Jamaican dishes as well as international meal options. You’d be able to find Jamaica’s traditional breakfast, ackee and salt fish, or eggs and bacon.
For dinner, my friend and I splurged on seafood meals at the nearby Jack Sprat Restaurant. The restaurant’s décor was Jamaican vintage, thus very colourful. Especially appealing to me were the old signs and posters celebrating Jamaican music icons and films. Reggae music floated through the air which was very befitting of the relaxed environment.
TIP: Buy grocery items (fruits, snacks, alcohol) at a local supermarket if you’re interested in saving a few dollars.
Support a Cause: Pack for a Purpose
Enjoying a vacation at a beautiful resort is surely at the top of all our lists but what’s even better is being able to enjoy this holiday while also supporting a great cause. Jakes stands out even more because of its commitment to supporting the Treasure Beach community through its “Breds” and “Pack for a Purpose” charity program. Jakes guests can contribute to ongoing community projects by dedicating but a small portion of our luggage to bring an item of need.
A Local’s Perspective:
Jake’s Resort strikes a great balance between an authentic Jamaican experience and a comfortable international standard. If you, like me, enjoy exploring culture without the confinement of an all-inclusive, Jake’s is the perfect choice. Enjoy a genuine Jamaican experience, away from the tourist centres in a town that’s packed with things to do and filled with friendly staff and locals.