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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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 Jamaican culture.
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