Inns & Lodges: Jake's Village

Destinations, June 1997

Inns & Lodges: Jake's Village

Treasure Beach, Jamaica
By John Robson

Despite its reputation as a celebrity magnet, Jake's Village, on the south coast of Jamaica, sports no line of limos, no velvet ropes, and no VIP room. Yes, a U2 band member or two has been known to hide himself here, but compared with the hermetically sealed resorts spreading like fungi through Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Negril, Jake's is downright egalitarian — that is, if you call far enough in advance to secure a reservation. June may be your best bet for a vacancy.

Right Out the Door
Jamaica's south coast is craggy and rugged, bracketed by the Santa Cruz Mountains in the background and the Caribbean to the fore. Coral reefs start here in knee-deep water, inviting barefoot wading with their thick carpet of sea grasses.

Farther Afield
For $10 a day, you can rent a mountain bike at Jake's. Among the favorite trips: a nine-mile uphill grind to the 1,700- foot precipice of Lover's Leap. If you prefer more easily accessible scenic overlooks, hotel co-owner Jason Henzell will drive you to the top and let you coast back down. After your ride — which likely will be steamy — negotiate with one of the small-boat captains on Jake's beach for a trip to the Black River (approximately $60). You'll likely be accompanied by languorously floating crocodiles.

At the Lodge
With its casual Mexican and Moorish decor, Jake's has the nuances of ramshackle chic down pat, especially in its haute disdain of such amenities as air conditioning and reliable hot water. Each room does come equipped, however, with a boom box — choose your cds from an eclectic collection in the office — thanks to Jake's association with the Island Outpost hotel chain, owned by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, champion of the career of Bob Marley, among others. Rates for the hotel's seven rooms range from $75 to $250 per night. Call 809-965-0552 for reservations.

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