Green Hotels: Eco-conscious design in Jamaica

by Kelsey Blodget on May 5, 2010

Geejam was designed to maintain harmony with the surrounding lush vegetation.

The Geejam boutique hotel in Port Antonio, Jamaica was designed to meld with its natural surroundings.

Most hotels’ eco initiatives relate to things they do, like using chemical-free cleaning products, low-flow toilets, or energy-efficient lighting. But occasionally, we encounter that special breed of hotel that is green not necessarily because of what it does, but because of what it is — a hotel specifically designed to minimize its impact on the environment. Below, check out our favorite hotels with eco-conscious design in Jamaica.

For more green hotels, check out our previous post on LEED-certified hotels.

Private, thatched-roof villas seem to have grown naturally from the cliffs.

The Rockhouse Hotel's private, thatched-roof villas seem to have grown straight out of the ground.

The Rockhouse

  • Average Price: $130/night
  • Rating: 4.0 Pearls
  • Location: Negril, Jamaica

Designed by Jean-Henri Morin, the Rockhouse seems to have grown organically from the volcanic rock cliffs. Molding natural stone with concrete, the entire property settles snugly into the preexisting cove formations. Private, thatch-roofed Premium Villas are scattered along winding paths, enclosed by palms and exotic flora. On the cliff’s edge, isolated duets of loungers rest on leveled platforms as high as 40 feet from the water, overlooking the most beautiful sunsets in the country. Solar-heated water, furniture crafted from local timber, local Starfish Oil bath products, and a hotel-sponsored not-for-profit that has donated $1 million to rebuild suffering schools in Negril make this an especially socially conscious choice.

Guests feel like they're a part of the surrounding nature on Geejam's phenomenal terraces.

Guests feel like they're a part of the surrounding nature on Geejam's phenomenal terraces.

Geejam

The Geejam’s five modern, private cabins are set in the remote foothills of Port Antonio, Jamaica’s lushest, rainiest region. Dense vegetation seems to engulf the property, but the hotel’s architects built each cabin to fit around the existing plant life, rather than on top of it. An added bonus: Each cabin is incredibly private.

The Caves was founded by two Rastafarian artists who incorporated authentic Jamaican design elements into the property.

The Caves was founded by two Rastafarian artists, who incorporated authentic Jamaican decor into the cottages.

The Caves

  • Average Price: $744/night
  • Rating: 5.0 Pearls
  • Location: Negril, Jamaica

Arguably Jamaica’s most romantic escape (for adults only), the Caves’ 11 unique, private cottages and suites are tucked along lush garden paths and dramatic seaside cliffs (there’s no beach). High-quality, locally focused cuisine, a top-shelf bar, and intimate, incredibly attentive service make it Jamaica’s best all-inclusive. The Rastafarian artist couple who founded the hotel filled cottage interiors with batik prints, Jamaican crafts, and locally hand-carved furniture, and the small hotel group that purchased The Caves, Island Outpost, is committed to preserving natural habitats of all of its properties.

The charming saltwater pool at Jake's, a member of the eco-conscious Island Outpost Hotel group

Jake's features a charming saltwater pool.

Jake’s

With just 30 hippy-chic cottages in secluded Treasure Beach, Jake’s is also a member of the eco-conscious Island Outpost hotel group (along with The Caves and the Geejam). Guests come to unplug — there’s no phone, Internet, or TV in the cottages. The black-sand beaches aren’t conventionally beautiful, but the Driftwood Spa, on-site painting and yoga classes, and excellent food make this a particular favorite.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara Walker May 6, 2010 at 9:59 am

But what is the point of having ”eco design’ if the the “do”things are not there, in other words along with the design must me serious efforts to minimise waste, conserve and save water, use a wastewater treatment plant, there must be a solid waste programme in place. the design is just one part of the story and only those hotels that take a holistic view are the ones that are truly environmentally friendly and sustainable. We suggest you take another, deeper look at the issue of green hotels rather than just scratch the surface. Your article is a slap in the face to all the hotels all over the world that are REALLY trying to make a difference.

Kelsey May 6, 2010 at 10:46 am

Hi Barbara,

You’re right. Some hotels are absolutely “greener” than others, and in the first post of this series we highlighted some of the greenest — those that have been certified by LEED (http://blog.oyster.com/green-not-green-washed-oysters-leed-certified-hotels-9500/ ). We also outlined the goal of this series: to educate readers about the various eco initiatives that hotels take, and to highlight a few hotels that really go the extra mile in each category (the category for this post being eco design). We further explained: “Of course, succeeding at one initiative does not a green hotel make, and at the end of the day, a hotel is sometimes more part of the problem than the solution. But we think it’s worth pointing out which hotels are making good-faith efforts to change that, one step at a time.”

That being said, most of the hotels we feature are sustainable in more ways than the one we choose to highlight. The Rockhouse, for example, not only has an eco-conscious design, but solar-heated water, furniture crafted from local timber, local Starfish Oil bath products, and a hotel-sponsored not-for-profit that has donated $1 million to rebuild suffering schools in Negril.

Barbara Walker May 6, 2010 at 11:25 am

Many of us are making more than ‘good-faith’ efforts, but rather the environmental ethos is an integral part of our operating philosophy, it is something that we believe in. We work on improving our environmental performance everyday as well as looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint as well as engaging in activities that benefit our social environment.

villa ibiza May 15, 2010 at 6:40 am

Whole these Resorts are really Great and unique…….I think Really gives you unique experience when you stay there…!!!!

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