Read up on the characters, setting and plot that make Jakes singular, lyrical and altogether memorable. From us to all, one love.
The Legend: The late Perry Henzell co-wrote and directed Jamaica’s first major motion picture
that burst reggae into new international consciousness. According to Rolling Stone, The Harder
They Come has the best movie soundtrack of all time. The legacy endures, all over, just right.
The Architect: The wondrously inventive Sally Henzell is a set-designer, poet and artist to the
core. With nary a lick of architectural education, she’s built up the island’s most iconic
properties. Each comes to her in a dream, of the earth and undulating with fearless color.
The Activator: After his mother opened Jakes, Jason saw in her audacious idea a business
opportunity. He proved the untouristed south coast could indeed become a true destination.
Then came his own big vision… building the region’s preeminent Sports Park across the street.
The Educator: Jason’s wife Laura imagined a driftwood-enclosed yoga deck above the sea and
a world-class spa with island aromas below-and made it all happen. She recruits top yogis to
Jakes and teaches herself. Plus, she opened a brilliant primary school for area youth.
The Enricher: Jason’s sister Justine works to sustain and protect her father’s artistic legacy.
And along the way, she enhances the world with her own films and ideas. She is a producer
behind Calabash, the powerhouse literary festival that’s rendered Jake’s an artistic pilgrimage.
1660’S SHIPWRECK SWEETSPOT: When a Scottish ship sank close to Treasure Beach, its
sailors swam up and stayed. They married beautiful Jamaican women, originating a
concentrated genetic jackpot of gorgeous Jamaicans with Scottish surnames, light eyes,
reddish hair and remarkable skin. Locally, we call dem “Reds’.
“IN THIS PARISH WE WORK, NOT SHIRK.”: The slogan on an old sign welcoming people to St.
Elizabeth promises both the best of St. Bess and a population set apart by steadfast ethics and
efforts. Able farmers and fishermen instilled the reputation, and we make it stay.
ARID PARADISE: The Santa Cruz Mountains naturally shelter Treasure Beach from the reams
of rainfall that soak the north, so our tropical sanctuary grows both cacti and broad acacia.
BIG FISHING: The fishermen here fish like they have for centuries: with nets, traps, pots and
dugout canoes. And 60 miles off the coast is a fertile bank called the Pedro Cays, where the
trade’s most diehard make their home and sail in the sea’s bounty daily.
FARM FRESH: Our parish is the island’s supplier for fruits and vegetables, growing everything
from sweet melons to scotch bonnet in abundance. Farmers cover their rich red soil with
blankets of guinea grass to keep the minimal moisture-and then tenderly tend the rows.
- Approximate Population: 3500
- Clotheslines: 3500 / Dryers: 0
- Community Organizations: 8
- Temperature: 85°, every day
- Rum bars in the middle of the ocean: 1
- All-Inclusive Chain Hotels: 0
Sally Henzell contains multitudes. She’s a bona fide set designer, window dresser, poet, muse,
painter, planter, builder, stylist and most recently, architect.
In 1991, she bought a little mud and wattle house in Treasure Beach, just down the road from
where she spent her childhood summers.
Sally says, “Now this little parcel of land was well known to me. It was where we ended up
having walked down the reef with Daddy so that he could shoot our breakfast in Barracuda
Hole and where on the tiny beach we could meet up with the neighbouring kids and play.”
She soon turned her little house into a restaurant and people started coming. Sally had a lot of
friends who wanted to stay over. So she built some groovy rooms, which then attracted
Sally reminisces: “My son Jason, who had a perfectly good job at a bank in Mobay came to see
what ole flipperty-jibbet Mummy was about and saw a potential that was a far larger ambition
Jason bought more land. Sally began to build one bespoke cottage after another. Then she
visited Barcelona to see Gaudi’s work: “Everything he did mattered, when he built a house he
also built the furniture, put on the doorknobs and possibly the street lamp opposite with the
ornate bench underneath it.”
Sally returned and built more, differently and beautifully, above and beyond. And Jakes
became everything it is. Community maker. Love cultivator. Here is where the heart is.