My sister Emily just got back from a stay at Jake’s and hasn’t stopped gushing about how it’s the perfect blend of laid-back Jamaican style and authentic local experience–“the opposite of a mega-resort that takes over the land and creates a false idea of what vacationers want.” Once we saw her photos, we were hooked, too. The collection of cottages was started by Sally Henzell (remember this place?), who opened a small restaurant on the island almost 20 years ago. Since then, her little venture has grown into 31 cottages/villas that dot the otherwise quiet, undeveloped craggy Jamaican coast. Designed by Sally, each cottage is distinctly different, but there’s definitely aesthetic crossover in the form of weathered colonial antiques, African textiles and eclectic Jamaican details like colorful glass mosaics laced with seashells. And then there are those big only-in-Jamaica gestures that make Jake’s the stuff of such passionate proselytizing–salt water pools, beach hammocks, a plein air clawfoot bathtub and an outdoor wrought iron bed on the porch. One of the most popular activities (if you can call it that): Guests can catch a boat to Pelican Bar, a thatched-roof, stilted bar opened by a local fisherman, Floyd, after he discovered a sandbar two miles from the shore. It seems like a lot of effort for a Red Stripe, but this place is legend.
Rooms start at $95 per night for a two-person room to $850 for a villa sleeping eight. The restaurant menu changes daily and features the daily catch from the sea and fresh produce gathered from local farms. The entire Jake’s village can be booked. Book it at jakeshotel.com.