Most green hotel initiatives relate to things they do, such as the use of non-toxic cleaning products and the installation of energy-efficient lighting. But from time to time, we encounter a hotel that is not necessarily green because of what it does, but because of what it is – a hotel specially designed to minimize its ecological footprint. Jamaica is plagued by such eco-conscious places, from a property dug into a cliff to a trip to Bali Beach. Take a look at the best eco hotels on the island.
With its spectacular cliffs and relaxed bohemian atmosphere, The Caves is rightly considered one of Jamaica’s most romantic getaways. Picturesque and colourful cottages with names like “Sun Dancer” and “Moon Shadow” are connected by garden paths cut off from limestone cliffs with panoramic views of the sea and sunsets. Each element of the hotel seems to be in harmony with the surrounding nature, from the youthful landscape enveloping cottages to limestone tables and chairs carved in private caves below, to the local ingredients used in the owner’s high-end kitchen. It is a commitment to preserving the natural habitats of all its properties.
Hermosa Cove – Jamaica Villa Hotel
Hermosa Cove is a nine-room resort with a natural atmosphere on the beach of Ocho Rios. The hotel’s ecological spirit can be seen in thatched bungalows and meals prepared to order with local ingredients (some of which are grown in the resort’s gardens). The terraced paths with stone walls wind through the patterns, which are characterized by multiple terraces, gazebos, and shaded palm groves.
Rockhouse Hotel seems to have grown organically from cliffs of volcanic rock. The private villas with thatched roofs are scattered along winding paths and surrounded by palm trees and exotic flora. On the edge of the cliff, isolated deckchairs rest on levelled platforms as high as 40 feet of water, overlooking the most beautiful sunsets in the country. Since the hotel’s inception, it has been designed to limit its impact on the surrounding jungle. The hotel operates as environmentally friendly as possible: solar heated hot water, local wooden furniture and local bath products. The private owners have also created the Rockhouse Foundation, a registered non-profit organization that donates to Negril schools in need.
Geejam is an isolated seaside resort located in the remote foothills of Port Antonio, Jamaica’s most lush and rainy region. The dense vegetation seems to engulf the property of five bungalows, but the hotel’s architects built each cabin to accommodate existing plant life, rather than on top. Bonus: Confidentiality is paramount here. It is not uncommon to spend days at the resort without meeting other guests.
Jakes Hotel, Villas & Spa
After a long journey of an hour and a half in the remote Treasure Beach, Jakes quickly reveals itself as a rustic, colourful and unique jewel that is worth a visit. Property is like entering the utopia of a hippie artist straight out of the late 1960s. Colourful and funky cottages stretch along a rocky coast, connected by meanders of stone and mosaic. These 84 hippy-chic chalets, rooms and villas are deliberately low-tech, with no telephone, television or Wi-Fi. The salt water in the pool is pumped to and from the sea and the restaurant serves a rotating menu of Jamaican dishes with an emphasis on locally grown produce.
Sunset at the Palms
This relaxed seaside resort reserved for an adult is located in front of a beautiful natural beach, with its trees, roots and intact rocks. The hotel’s lush tropical gardens are filled with beautiful flowers and native plants and a discreet and intimate atmosphere permeates all along. Most of the 85 spacious rooms are tree-style rooms with large bathrooms and quiet balconies. In 1998, Sunset at the Palms became the first hotel in the world to receive the Green Globe certification for sustainable ecological tourism. Sunset at the Palms is technically “all-inclusive”, but it simply means that customers do not need to stress about drinks, meals or water sports. Like all the properties on this list, the atmosphere here is wonderfully free of techno music by the pool, crazy evening entertainment, and the unique industrial service mentality, typical of many all-inclusive Jamaican complexes.