“Eclectic, shabby-chic cottages and a friendly mellow mood on Jamaica's undeveloped southern coast”
The villas, cottages and rooms are all named after sea creatures and designed in a carefree, eccentric style. You get thatched roofs, a garden or sea view, colourful walls, collages of glass bottles and sea-shells, lovely beds with mosquito nets, antique Jamaican furniture, local art and an abundance of striped cotton cushions.
All have fridges and ceiling fans, complimentary toiletries, flickering candles and a CD player with a very hip playlist; most have A/C, some have TVs and DVD players, but none have phones. Bathroooms are a mixture - some showers, some tubs, either indoor or out. Be aware that water is heated by solar panels, so on overcast days it can be tepid.
There are 20 rooms at Jakes. The budget-friendly options are the Standard Ocean View Rooms (Abalone 2, Jellyfish and Starfish) and the Standard Garden View Rooms (Conch and Coral); we'd say the sea view is worth the upgrade. There are also deluxe options: Deluxe Garden View Rooms (Sea Horse 1 and 2, Cowrie 1, 2 and Down), Deluxe Ocean View Rooms (Abalone 1 and 2, Cockles Up and Cockles Down) and Deluxe Oceanfront Rooms (Sea Puss 1, 2 and 3), which give additional perks like hammocks, verandas or four-poster beds. We particularly liked Starfish and the 3 Sea Horse rooms. Romantics will love the Honeymoon Suites: Octopussy 3 (which we stayed in) has a wonderful uninterrupted view of the sea, plus an outdoor bathroom with a shower and tub. Our all-round favourite was Sea Puss 1 (a Deluxe Oceanfront Room), which has an outdoor shower and a lovely terrace tucked out of view.
Groups of friends and families will like the cottages and villas, all of which have self-catering facilities. The Standard Garden View Cottage (Tiki Tiki 1) and the Standard Two Bedroom Cottages (Tiki Tiki 2 and Jack Sprat) are great value, with a double and a twin bedroom, an outdoor shower and a full kitchen. The Deluxe Two Bedroom Cottage (Sweet Lip), is a bit more swish with indoor and outdoor dining, and a large wooden deck. While the Three Bedroom Cottage (Mussels) has the bonus of a rooftop terrace.
There are also several larger villas and cottages located a short walk from the main site, in Old Wharf on the sands of Treasure Bay. Four Bedroom Villa (Hope House) features a star gazing deck, a Jacuzzi and an infinity pool while the Luxury Four Bedroom Villa (Calabash Bay Villa) has private beach access, a fresh water pool and 3 dedicated staff and a daily chef. The Two Bedroom Cottages (Calabash Bay Cottage and Treasure), though smaller, also have a full kitchen and a housekeeper and butler. Largest is the Seaweed Luxury Villa sleeping up to 12! It has a games room, a private gym, a hot tub, a split level infinity pool and an outdoor bar and grill. We didn’t see these villas, but reports suggest they share the fun eclectic look of Jakes' hotel rooms.
There is one main on-site eateries - Jake's Restaurant (the original restaurant) as well as Jack Sprat (a cool cafe/bar) a minute down the road, adjoining Jake's at the beach end. Both serve a la carte menus; no meals are included in the room rate.
At The Restaurant, you can sit ocean-side or undercover in a cheery, colourful setting, and the imaginative seasonal menu is sourced from local fishermen and farmers. It changes daily and is simply chalked up on a board with several starters, mains and puddings. For lunch, try the smoked marlin dip and crackers, or delicious jerk pork. Dinner may include fresh kingfish (sold directly from the boat) or curry crab with grilled plantain and mango chutney, and homemade ice creams. Breakfast is a selection of continental and traditional Jamaican dishes such as papaya pancakes and peanut porridge, plus an array of fresh fruit.
Expect to find loads of people taking advantage of the beachside WiFi at Jack Sprat, with a seaside setting that's hard to beat: plenty of laptops alongside the legendary seafood and pizza. It also serves local Caribbean food, and has weekly BBQs with bonfires and local musicians playing.
Room service is only available to the Octopussy Honeymoon suites. Picnics can be made for excursions with a little advance notice. Inspired by the food? The chefs offer Jamaican cooking lessons for up to 4 people - learn how to prepare traditional dishes, and work with local seasoning and spices. Drinkswise, Dougie’s Bar overlooking the pool, terrace and sea will quench your thirst; the rum punch is knockout, and the bar closes when the last guest leaves.
If your cottage has a kitchen, the hotel can shop for you, so that fresh produce is waiting on arrival, and for other meals local grocery stores are a short stroll away. You'll have a stove, toaster, blender and fridge-freezer; the larger villas also have a microwave.
If you fancy exploring the friendly little town of Treasure Beach (everyone will soon know your name), check out the small country eateries Diner's Delight, Pardy's Coffee House, Smurf Cafe and Wild Onion for a taste of authentic Jamaica with food sourced from local farmers. For something more quirky, Little Ochie is a short boat ride away. Here you'll find vintage fishing boats with thatched roofs, set on stilts at the sea's edge. Choose your sea catch from an icebox, and tell the kitchen how you'd like it cooked.
Jakes is fun, bohemian and just the right side of shabby-chic: your children's messiness won't stand out like a sore thumb, but it still feels like a treat to be here. Children are welcome and there are plenty of excursions for older children as well as a kids club and large range of activities on and off site. While it is suitable for all ages, the hotel suggests that it's particularly good for teenagers.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Most of the cottages or villas are ideal for families. The Three Bedroom Cottage, Deluxe Two Bedroom Cottage, and the Standard Two Bedroom Cottage have full kitchens or kitchenettes and are set a bit further back from the sea. Those closer to the ocean or with direct beach access are better for those with teenagers, as the current and rip tides are very strong.
Babysitting is available and is an extra charge, see rates).
Baby monitors are available to borrow and have a 400ft range.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The hotel's kids club is headed by a former Montessori teacher. Daily activities include trips to the park, arts and crafts, environmental beach walks to collect driftwood and seashells and board games. Hair braiding and mini mani-pedis are available for a small fee.
Food is available all day; the restaurant has special mealtimes for kids, kids menus, half portions and high chairs. The menu includes grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, fish fillets, spaghetti, ice cream and smoothies. There are also child-friendly restaurants nearby.
Some of the rooms that are close to the sea aren’t really suitable for inquisitive kids who may wander off on their own. The sea has a powerful rip tide children and adults of all ages need to be aware of.
Special attention should be paid to children in the area of beach below Dougie's Bar and in front of the Three Bedroom Cottage, Mussels.