Geejam

Port Antonio, Jamaica Book from

Reviewed by Cat Martin
One for the rockstars: a secluded recording studio, with seven immaculate bedrooms attached
Located on the North East corner of Jamaica (the quiet end of the island), Geejam is so secluded you’ll probably drive straight past. Hidden in six acres of hillside forest, the Jack-and-the-Beanstalk vines reaching skywards will surround you, but through the dense greenery you just about get a glimpse of the sea.

With only 1 villa, 1 suite, and 3 cabins deposited across the property, you really can’t feel cramped here even when it’s full. The sound of reggae may filter through your day, but you can’t be sure if it’s nearby local musicians or other guests in the recording studio. All sleekly tropical accommodations have ocean views from their outdoor verandas - some have Jacuzzis, others feature a hammock to complete the delightful lounging experience. There’s not much to do here other than practise your cool skills in the Bushbar - or to be a little bemused by the in-room technology: home theatre, digital surround sound, multiple dimmers, hidden speakers, iTV, 10,000 songs, 170 movies. As one guest said, it's "Robinson Crusoe goes to the Apple store". And whilst the hotel has a private beach at Macks Bay, Portland also offers several unspoilt areas for you to explore…if you can be bothered to break the spell.

Highs

  • Extremely pampered privacy, incredibly exclusive, faultless service
  • With the highest rainfall on the island (short bursts only 5-7am) you really get a fix of green lush foliage
  • High quality amenities (500 thread-count sheets, uber-luxurious bathrooms) and state-of-the-art technology in all rooms
  • Even when full it feels empty, and if you take on all the rooms you can have the run of the place and your own private hotel
  • A pretty, secluded cove and beach that extends your luxury lounging right to the waters edge

Lows

  • The 3 cottages are circular and on the small side (rectangular furniture always looks a little awkward against curved walls) but it’s a case of small bedrooms, big views
  • The pool is in Sanwood Villa, and if other guests book it you will be locked out
  • The property straddles the coast road, you need to cross it to get to the beach, and there can be intermittent traffic noise, but it’s hardly a rush hour, and you don’t notice if the music is on

Best time to go

Open all year, but best to avoid hurricane season (officially 1 June - 30 Nov, but August and September are its peak months). Four nights should be enough to get into your rock-star stride, but it’s so private that going back into the real world is rather a shock.

Our top tips

Take goggles and a waterproof camera for awesome swimming in the Blue Lagoon or Frenchman’s Cove, and get to nearby Boston Bay for the original jerk seasoning. An uber cool wardrobe and a good singing voice would be a bonus, but not essential. Expect your fellow guests to be 20 / 30 somethings from New York and London who are au fait with the Soho House brand or funky older European couples in their 60s.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 1 Suite, 1 Villa, 3 Cabins
  • Restaurant + bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Pool Table
Room: Rocksteady

Rooms

Each of the rooms are bright white and super-slick: white walls, white cabinets and white leather bed heads, dark hardwood Jamaican floors. Grey tiled bathrooms have a shower only, and some double as steam rooms (Mento and Rock Steady) and all look out onto lush green foliage and the sea. Blackout blinds ensure you won’t be woken by the dawn. At Geejam luxury is techno heavy: flat screen TV, Apple music, 10,000 songs. There is no room phone, but you are given a mobile on arrival which connects you to the Bar, Chef, and other rooms if required. No in-room coffee and tea making facilities but these are available on request. Whichever room you choose, all have lovely dark timber decks, with cane furniture and plenty of cushions to help you break your stride.

Families are encouraged to stay in Sanwood, the main 2-storey villa, which is the original building on the property - designed by British architect, Anthony Wade, in the 1960s. The villa has 3 bedrooms all with ensuite shower bathrooms, 2 terraces, a snazzy media lounge and home theatre, private pool, and, original Banksy artwork plus Juergen Teller photographs - both are former guests. Do note that the Geejam kitchen is located adjacent on the ground floor, so you will see the chef coming and going.

The 3 timber cottages are tucked away in the grounds. Our room, Rock Steady, is the smallest - definitely no room for extra beds here - but it does have a double steam room. Mento has high ceilings and the benefit of an additional hammock on its wraparound veranda as well as its own Jacuzzi. While Ska's double glass doors open onto not one but 2 decks, 1 of which also has a Jacuzzi with a view of the sea.

The signature 1 bedroom suite Drum & Bass is below the recording studio, and has extensive views from its capacious deck.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Slippers
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Food is served in the extensive open-air Bushbar, with its welcoming supersized sofas, ambient sound system, views towards the ocean, and more tables than are really required. The menu is Asian/Jamaican/Caribbean fusion. A set choice covers breakfast and lunch, but the dinner menu is changed weekly. The kitchen wasn’t firing on all cylinders on our visit as they had a tiny turnaround window between mega-stars, but what the chef rustled up for us in Sanwood was delicious. As were the mojitos and rum punches...

Breakfast is either Continental with fresh baked pastries, or Jamaican breakfast of the day - steamed dumplings, ackee and salt fish, plantains or banana pancakes. Lunch is a choice of three salads to start, and seven mains including Geejam spicy lobster, red stripe beer batter fish and chips, followed by three puddings that included cheesecake, and ice cream. Dinner offers four starters and five mains; enjoy the chef salad, followed by escovietch fish, curry shrimp, and the Geejam brownie and ice cream to finish.

Sanwood has its own dining options - you can order from an a la carte menu - the fully equipped kitchen adjacent prepares food for all guests, which is taken over to the restaurant for final cooking and assembly. Bespoke menus and room service are available on request. Guests staying in Sanwood would not cook there as all meals are prepared by staff. Welcome baskets are not a standard service but can be requested at an extra cost. Guests renting Sanwood with specific food requirements can be accommodated.

As an alternative you should head over to Boston Bay - the birthplace of jerk seasoning - at some stage for the original jerk pork or chicken, and a catch-of-the-day dinner can also be arranged at one of nearby Port Antonio restaurants. Geejam also recommends Italian owned San San Tropez or contemporary Jamaican Norma’s at the marina.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating: Bushbar
Activity:

Activities

  • Stroll down (for 3 minutes) to the recently created private beach area at Macks Bay, to swim, snorkel (the hotel has gear you can borrow), or take out a special glass bottomed kayak

  • Check out the beautiful local beaches: bright white Frenchman’s Cove (10 min walk), incredible, San San Beach, Boston Bay, Long Bay (stunning beach but strong swimmers only)

  • Head over to the Blue Lagoon, a few mins drive or 20 min walk, and experience where warm ocean water meets cold spring water

  • Raft on Rio Grande - a very popular trip, and have a home cooked lunch on the riverside

  • Fulfill that music fantasy with the Recording Studio Experience, details on request

  • Check out Port Antonio - the nearby historic coastal town, to see the Errol Flynn Marina and heritage buildings; at night check out its reggae sound systems and ska bars

  • While there arrange to have some scuba diving tuition

  • Chill on the Day Dream Canopy Deck and gaze at the waterfall

  • Have a Spa treatment on the veranda above the recording studio or in your room - choose from a wide choice of massages (Swedish, lymphatic drainage, pre-natal, deep tissue, and Geejam's own tropical touch), or have a facial, mani and pedi

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Music
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Pool table
  • Rafting
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Well being

Kids

Children are welcome and accommodation is free for children under 12 who share a room with an adult. Babysitting / nanny service can be arranged on request.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The 3 cottages are too small for extra beds, and families are encouraged to stay in 3-bedroom villa Sanwood, where you get the bonus of the pool. Drum & Bass can take a rollaway bed.

Families Should Know:

Kids would have great fun playing in the grounds, but you need to cross to main road to get to the man-made beach: sandcastles are possible, but if you want to play in the sea you need to go down the road to Frenchman’s Cove.

Kid Friendly:

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