6 Historic Houses in Jamaica to Sleep In!
Flying on the coat-tails of a fantastic fortnight, action packed, Jamaica History and Architectural Tour, designed for the London based, Friends of Georgian Society of Jamaica, I thought it would be fun to highlight the Historic Buildings of Jamaica, where you can sleep!
One of the things the FGSJ kept exclaiming over, was the abundance the history, architecture enthusiast might enjoy in Jamaica – how much you can pack into a day, in any location across the island. For 15 days the FGSJ were on the move, and I won’t say, they didn’t scratch the surface of what Jamaica offers, but they can easily return and spend another fortnight, without exhausting the island’s historic and architectural resources – a fact the Jamaica Tourist Board might make note of!
Here are 6 unique Jamaica houses where one can indulge the pleasures of historical references, architectural craftsmanship, find a bed, excellent meals, and outstanding island hospitality.
1.) GOOD HOPE – Top of the list. Nowhere in the Caribbean, is there a more complete inventory of 18 & 19th colonial architecture. Here is the Great House, Counting House, Sugar Factory ruins, the Busha’s house, Dr’s House, Storehouses, Shoppes, and Slave Hospital. A miles long hand-built cut-stone Aqueduct (which you can hike) harnessed the power of the Martha Brae River (where you can swim) implementing the imported iron Waterwheel – still there. The dynamic organization, Falmouth Heritage Renewal (www.falmouthjamaica.org) is currently facilitating an archeological dig to uncover the Slave Village behind the Great House. Good Hope’s riches are simply extraordinary.
And soon – by August 2016, you will be able to rent, to sleep in, the Good Hope Carriage House, which sits just below the 1755 Great House – with the pleasure of watching a sunrise or sunset from the vantage point of the Great House lawn – across the Queen of Spain Valley, into the Cockpit mountain range, one of the most spectacular views you can witness in Jamaica.
2.) BROMLEY (www.bromleyjamaica.com) has been a family home for 5 generations. Built on the stone foundations of a Spanish Fort dating from the 16th century. Its hilltop position with sweeping views of the trail used to link the north and south coasts, made it a natural choice for the Spanish settlers. In the 18th century Bromley was developed as a ‘Pen’ for cattle breeding along with horse and mule stock to support the sugar plantations. Pimento and coffee were also grown on the property. Bromley became one of the many sugar estates and pens of Sir John Pringle, a Scots doctor who came to Jamaica in the 1850’s. It was Sir Pringle who gave the house its extensive balconies and porticos.
3, 4, 5 ) The Wharf Houses
Sugar Great Houses were of course never built beside the sea – they were located high in the countryside on the Plantation with often a magnificent view of the coast. Most of the established, prosperous estates had their own seaside Wharfs and Warehouses for storing and shipping sugar and rum. Some of those historic buildings still exist and have been restored as wonderful places to stay.
3.) THE WHARF HOUSE, Montego Bay (www.facebook.com/The-Wharf-House-Jamaica) Bed & Breakfast, a mere 20 min. from the Montego Bay Airport, The Wharf House is a welcoming refuge and entryway to Jamaica and you will not find warmer hosts than Nicola DeLisser and Stephan Prohaska. 5 Bedrooms are built inside ruins with the resounding patina of history and story.
4.) UNITY, Runaway Bay - Think traditional Scottish shooting lodge, or English country house, transplanted to an idyllic Jamaica seaside setting at the end of the lovely Runaway Bay beach. The house and 7 bedrooms, feature a stunning collection of antique furnishings, the architectural features of the rum house restoration exquisite.
5.) RUM JETTY, Silver Sands, Duncans - Perhaps the best location one can rent, at Silver Sands – a popular, reasonably priced, gated community on arguably Jamaica’s most pristine north coast beach. Rum Jetty is a perfect family styled Villa.
6. ITOPIA, Runaway Bay – is a treasure. This perfect jewel box building was the Busha’s (overseers) house at Cardiff Hall, an 18th century estate famous for the breeding of cattle and horses. Today - both historic house and artist studio, Itopia, is owned by the Henzell family, who founded Jakes at Treasure Beach. This is where Perry Henzell wrote the iconic film ‘The Harder They Come’ and he and wife Sally raised their children, Jason and Justine. The master bedroom (one of 5) features a mural by Joni Mitchell and the décor throughout it full of Sally’ most magical work.
Call me if you are a History & or Architectural afficinado and want to visit Jamaica to indulge these passions! We are happy to help you!