Words by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Wah Gwaan! Welcome back to the land of pristine Caribbean waters, roots rock Reggae, and jerk recipes that satisfy the soul. Whether your travel is romantic, entertainment, or spiritually based, Jamaica will always provide that cerebral experience required for a heavenly getaway.
I typically jet set to the island of “natural mystic” a few times annually to release old, negative energy and inhale positive vibrations with family and friends. Plus, it’s a must that my belly maintains satiation from Rastafarian iTal or spiced vegan grub to enhance bodily function. And no matter where I venture to my spiritual leader, Robert Nesta Marley, is always by my side, such as at the S Hotel Jamaica where I settled in for a few fantastic evenings during a short excursion.
Life is about connecting, listening, integrating, and learning from one another’s cultural perspectives. From Buddhist monks in Vietnam to Rastas from Kingston, my ears are open to the words of understanding. Subsequently, I typically chose Jamaica for my beach vacation since my good friend, and local singer Chokey Taylor dwells on The Rock. For this current journey, I was equally honored to be a guest of his daughter Salema Taylor’s wedding. With the majority of the festivities — a boat ride from Margaritaville, for example — taking place near or on Jimmy Cliff Boulevard, aka Hip Strip, securing a luxury beach property in the same area was my goal. After a quick search, I came across the newfangled S Hotel Jamaica, which opened this past January, and overlooks the vibrant waters of Doctor’s Cave Beach. It is a sister property to the Spanish Court Kingston, where I had previously stayed; therefore, I knew it had to be a winner.
To my knowledge, I cannot recall any luxury properties situated on Hip Strip and is why I seemingly chose the all-inclusive resorts in Rose Hall Rd in the past. Never again, as I now have the perfect harmonic convergence in the artfully scripted, 120-room S Hotel Jamaica. As you approach the white, art-deco, Miami styled building, both an original Land Rover Defender and a pristine classic car greet you at the entrance. The nostalgic vehicle is a replica of Katharine Hepburn’s (aka Caribbean Kate) green 1953 Singer SM 1500 Roadster that she had shipped over to tour Jamrock in during an extended Jamaican vacation. Captivating automobiles are a passion of mine, so logically the display was awe-inspiring.
The Grand Lobby intimates a clash of new and old Jamaica with urbane furniture, historic literature atop the wooden-sculpted tables, vintage Jamaican prints and artwork from Michael Thompson, Tamara Harding, Ras Dizzy, and Fiona Godfrey (also hung throughout the building), and other hallmarks reminiscent of the Caribbean vibe. Both boutique and business-focused, the beachfront S Hotel Jamaica quenches needs from wireless Internet and conference rooms to rum punch and herb baths depending on guest expectations. After passing through the lobby leading to the expansive 90-foot pool, vacationers vicariously begin to immerse themselves into the easy-going resort lifestyle. The first thing I did was fetch a book, Turn Right at Machu Picchu, from the hotel’s mini library, select a lounger, order a cup of java, and chill. This impromptu omen is the reason why I’m now adventuring to the lost city for a holiday hike over Christmas. Accordingly, thank you S Hotel Jamaica!
Amenities at the S Hotel Jamaica include a full complimentary breakfast (fruits, oats, callaloo, cereals, and traditionally cooked foods); a 24-hour gym, which I took advantage of daily; and a stimulating spa offering subterranean plunge pools, manicures, pedicures, and body scrubs. Other conveniences include free access to Doctor’s Cave Beach, a poolside grill, an all-day cafe, and the Sky Deck with a rooftop bar, a lounge full of cabanas, and an inviting glass-enclosed pool that overlooks the Caribbean Sea. Additionally, at your disposal is Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records sports bar featuring authentic Jamaican cuisine, omnipresent TVs broadcasting soccer, basketball, and football games, and a lesson in Jamaican history through the life-size sculptures and bios of Robert Nesta Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Marcus Garvey, Samuel Sharpe, and Nanny of the Maroons who is the only female National heroine in Jamaica.
I was also elated over the all-vegetarian menu for dinner at The Rock Steady restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner while listening to the melodies of a local pianist and singer. The coconut bean stew, jerk vegetable spring rolls, and pumpkin and black olive samosas were simultaneously gratifying and nutritive.
Saving the best for last is where you will lay your head. The S Hotel Jamaica offers a variety of room packages including smaller, single-person dwellings, enchanting two-story suites, and everything in-between. For example, guests can choose the 567 sq ft Sky Club Ocean View Spa Suite or the enriching 1,000 – 2,000 sq ft Signature Sky Suite with one or two bedrooms, an enormous living room, a fully equipped kitchen, 55″ TV, a freestanding oversized tub, and a walk-in closet. Again, the Caribbean Sea advertises as your postcard panorama while you mingle with the spouse and kids. Albeit, the most poignant decorative touch was the mock Bob Marley record player and album cover on display. Of course, I was jamming to Tuff Gong, Dennis Brown, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Sugar Minott, King Tubby, and The Mighty Diamonds during my entire stay.
For those with nomadic alter egos like myself, then please discover the multitude of activities Jamaica has to offer. Initially, you must take a morning run down Jimmy Cliff Blvd into downtown Mo Bay to energize the physical, stimulate the mind, and recharge life-force. There is nothing like witnessing the hustle and bustle of local life. Afterward, choose a day trip to Negril for a stroll down its white, sandy beaches or head to Kingston to visit the Bob Marley Museum on Hope Road where the reggae legend spent many of his years. Or stay put and enjoy a few hours on a boat of choice. No worries, Jamaica is easy!
So, next time you’re planning a getaway to Jamaica make sure to enlist the S Hotel Jamaica as a first or second choice. And please continue to “live the life you love and love the life you live.” Visit www.SHotelJamaica.com to learn all about your next vacation stay in Montego Bay. One Love!