Located on the South Coast of Jamaica in St. Elizabeth Parish, you will find a community of farmers and fishermen. This is Treasure Beach. Known as the bread basket of Jamaica, the climate is different here – drier and flatter, and there is something else that is different…it’s hard to put a name to it, but a village is the closest I can come. Not a village so much in the sense of a group of buildings or businesses, but a village in the sense that it takes a village to raise a child. This is a community committed to sustainable growth, to supporting each other, to industries from farming and fishing to tourism and sport, and to working together for the good of all. It’s friendly and warm; it feels safe. This is no glitzy tourist trap. This is a village where folks wave to each other as they head out to their fishing boats, as well as to the return tourist out for their morning stroll. You feel like if you stay for any length of time, they will know your name and call out good morning or good evening to you too.
In the middle of all of this is a charming boutique hotel known simply as Jake’s, which has been discovered by only a lucky few. Designed by owner Sally Henzell (poet, painter, photographer, art director and adventurer) and named after the family parrot, each building has its very own flavour and personality. They are also each situated to allow you to soak in the sun, listen to the surf crash or have the scent of flowers from the garden waft into your room as you awaken to birds calling. Jake’s offers cottages and villas in the area for those looking for more space. This is a place of art and love and romance and history. Alec Haley wrote his masterpiece Roots while ensconced in Treasure Cot, Sally’s parents’ original cottage. A stunning yoga studio with quite frankly the most breathtaking view of any I have ever been to; a blissful spa; and the lively, friendly bar and restaurant, Jack Spratt’s, all on location make this spot the perfect haven for a getaway. This is a family affair, started by Sally’s parents’ love for Treasure Beach, the creation of Jake’s by Sally and now Jason Henzell, Sally’s son who has visions for a thriving and growing community.
The food is delicious and fresh – after all, Jake’s is surrounded by agriculture and ocean. Jake’s keeps the community lively, hosting Calabash, an amazing literary event every two years, as well as sumptuous farm-to-table dinners, triathlons and beach soccer tournaments. Personal trainers and yoga instructors from around the world have taken to hosting their boot camps and retreats at Jake’s. A world class sport park and challenge course are just around the corner from Jake’s as well as amazing mountain bike trails. All the while Jason ensures that funds and support go towards an organization called Breds because giving back is just part of the love story. From quaint rooms to luxury villas, Treasure Beach and Jake’s is a must-visit spot. And when you want some off-site activity, the Black River is nearby as is YS Falls where Chukka has an amazing Zip Line .
This is another Jamaica – one you may not have seen yet – and it is worth the trip.