While many traveler’s often debate between a getaway to Montego Bay or Negril, insider’s know the real magic is in Port Antonio, Jamaica. Located on the northeast coast of Jamaica — just 60 miles, or a two-hour drive from Kingston — the region is known for its quiet mystique, lush greenery, unspoiled beaches, excellent food and outstanding, independent hotels. Not to mention, the region is one of the rainiest in Jamaica, and thus one of the greenest and most vibrant.
One hotel in particular however, is considered to be one of Jamaica’s most hidden gems. And that’s how they prefer to keep it. Over the years, the iconic Geejam Hotel and Recording Studio, which is run by former record executives Jon Baker and Steve Beaver, has attracted many of the biggest stars in the music industry, including Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Drake, Grace Jones, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran and Rihanna. But of course, with a clientele such as this, the property is off the traditional tourist radar. A key trading port during the late-19th-century banana boom, Port Antonio became a travel destination for Rat Pack stars, musicians, and socialites after the chance arrival of Errol Flynn in 1946. The rest, as we say, is history.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a superstar or musician to stay at Geejam— regular, shmegular tourists are welcome, too, and enjoy the same private-luxe experience as the A-Listers, which is part of what makes the hotel special. Geejam, which started out solely as a music studio, has developed into a small hotel with recording facilities, featuring three luxury villas (Panorama, for example, features a four bedroom home away from home complete with a private swimming pool, butler service, and a private chef) and four cabins nestled in the Eden-like rainforest of Port Antonio. The hotel is simply idyllic, and also very exclusive, considering that few people get the chance to enjoy its services, since it’s much smaller in comparison to the all-inclusive hotel circuit that makes up other popular destinations in Jamaica.
The hotel recently entered a new chapter in its storied history with the debut of 12 new Rumba Rooms boasting spectacular views, a glittering new infinity pool, and a revamp of the Bushbar which sits among the jungle canopy, furthering its commitment to the Port Antonio renaissance. And the owners? You can catch them around property greeting guests, and sparking up conversation, making it truly a home-away-from-home.
Geejam combines luxury with privacy and security, with each room named after a Jamaican music legend — from King Tubby to Augustus Pablo and Geejam’s very own Jolly Boys — and features a collection of Jamaica-centric artwork including vintage 1970’s Tourist Board posters, prints and contemporary art pieces by David Calderley of Graphic Therapy.
The expanded open-air Bushbar had a complete restoration with the addition of an impressive infinity pool perched in the rainforest canopy. The expansion includes a new venue stage to host vibrant live music events and world-renowned acts and guests who frequent Geejam Studios.
In addition, Geejam has also created a new Beach Bar & Grill, Bentley’s Yaad, located on the resort’s private beach. The revamped Geejam Studios will also create a stylish equilibrium between ultra-modern technology and the natural vibes of the surrounding island landscape, and have already enlisted resident musicians to come in and collaborate such as Leon Grey.
If you’re in Jamaica to relax all day long at the beach, you’ll be happy to know that Frenchman’s Cove, one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, is just a couple of minutes away from the Geejam hotel.
Prices start at $360 per night; geejamhotel.com.