Inspiring Colour in the Caribbean - Jake's Hotel at Treasure Beach, Jamaica

One day I want to live in Jamaica. I want a little house that I can paint in lots of bold Caribbean colours and watch the sun slowly bleach them out.

But in the meantime…

I have started painting the inside of our house in colours inspired from our recent vacation in Jamaica. Unfortunately, my husband keeps reminding me that we don’t live in Jamaica; we live in Vancouver (well actually, Surrey), and we don’t live in a Caribbean cottage and the sun is not going to bleach out the colours of our living room walls. He might have a small point, but I have made a conscious decision to start incorporating more colour into our home.

So where does this colour love-in come from?

We were at Jake’s Hotel, our very favourite family get away. So much so, it was our third trip in as many years to this magical spot. If I wasn’t so inspired by the colours of Jake’s, I would keep this place a secret.

Jake’s Hotel is located on the Southwestern end of Jamaica in the parish of St. Elizabeth in a quiet little fishing town, aptly called Treasure Beach. Anyone that has ever been to Treasure Beach will tell you the same thing. It is unlike any other part of Jamaica.

And Jake’s is unlike any other hotel. It is owned and operated by the Henzell family and is a collection of 30 rooms, cottages and villas scattered along the beach and seaside of Treasure Beach. Jake’s is the creation of Sally Henzell. Growing up, her family had a small beach side cottage in Treasure Beach where they vacationed, fished, laughed and loved. Over the years, Sally bought more land in Treasure Beach, built a restaurant, then a bar, pool and places to sleep.

Jake’s has grown slowly and organically and has the feeling of being part of the landscape. It is the most un-hotel like place you could imagine and that is part of why it is so special. The architect and colour of the cottages and villas add to the beauty and uniqueness of the property.

Sally’s eye for colour and beautiful combinations comes from her varied background as a set designer, artist, and self-trained architect. She personally oversaw and directed the building of each one of the cottages on the property. They range from two story cottages, nestled back in amongst trees and shade, to one-bedroom cottages jutting out over the jagged shore, outfitted with roof top lounges and outdoor showers and bathtubs. The perfect spot for honeymooners and lovers.

One of the very unique details of Jake’s is Sally’s incorporation of glass, wine bottles, seashells, stones, tiles and even driftwood in the building of the cottages. Inset wine bottles in the the concrete walls create beautiful designs on the walls but also dramatic lighting effects inside the rooms. Outdoor showers are often made from a combination of wine bottles, driftwood, seashells and cement. I promise there is nothing like standing in one of these amazing outdoor showers while watching the sunset over the Caribbean Sea.

I always wander the property when I am Jake’s. I love following the tile and stone paths just to see what new little treasures have been planted and placed along the way and what little creatures might scurry across my feet. This time, I took my camera so I could share with my readers examples of how unexpected colour combinations are often the ones that have the most wonderful results

When friends ask me why I love Jake’s so much, I often get a little tied up in answering because it is hard to explain the feeling you get being at Jake’s.  It is easier to describe what Jake’s isn’t. It’s not big. It’s not pretentious. It’s not commercial. It’s not all inclusive. It’s not a cruise ship.

There is sand on the floor of your cottage, that you have brought in from walking barefoot along the beach. There is an air conditioner you won’t turn on because the breeze comes right off the water through your room. There is locally grown and farmed food on the menu that is prepared to perfection, in true Jamaican style cuisine. There is the best pizza at Jack Sprat’s along with endless ice cream and red stripe beer.

And most of all there is family. Jake’s becomes part of your family. The staff, the entire Henzell family and the residents of Treasure Beach are what make Jake’s so special. I think the name Treasure Beach is perfect for the area because the people that live there, truly treasure their beach.

So, if you are looking for somewhere truly unique to relax and unwind or looking for inspiration in the perfect setting, Jake’s Hotel is your place. Once you experience Jake’s you will understand why those who already know Jake’s want to keep it a secret.

I am not sure my home in Canada will ever be as bold in colour as those at Jake’s, but it reminds me that unexpected colour combinations can be daring but can also create the most perfect results. Most of all Jake’s reminds me that colour can create happiness.

One love.



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