As a long time north coast dweller I have always wanted to visit the south coast of Jamaica, or more specifically the area around Treasure Beach and Black River. So I recently took the opportunity to drive down to the parish of St. Elizabeth, fondly known St. Bess, the ‘Bread Basket of Jamaica’, to explore the area and celebrate a special occasion in the progress. Follow me on this adventure in the next few posts as we start to explore Saint Elizabeth!
The austere front aspect of Match Resort in Port Antonio belies the welcoming interior and friendly staff tucked away inside. After thumping our small wheely suitcases up the steps from the parking lot we were greeted by a cheery reception area with a leather settee and bar stools up by the counter. After settling into the settee I noticed there was a locked fridge stocked with soda, water and beer and a few snacks for sale, along side a small selection of souvenirs.
After a short wait a member of staff briskly appeared from the stairwell at the other end of the room and warmly greeted us. We were asked if we had a reservation and after going through the formalities we were handed a form to fill in with our details. The receptionist asked if we needed any help with anything and recommended the on-site bar and Scotch Bonnet Restaurant if we wanted a bite to eat. We agreed that we would drop off our bags in the room and then come back down for a swim and to order food.
Second Floor Room with a View at Match Resort
Once we had been given our keys we were warned with a smile that whilst the room was on the second floor and there wasn’t a lift (elevator), it would be worth the climb as it was a nice room with an ocean view from the balcony.
We left the reception area and walked up the first flight of stairs which gave access to bar and restaurant which overlooked the outdoor patio area and swimming pool. Continuing up the stairs we noted that the building was actually an L-shape and had a lot more rooms than we anticipated.
When we finally reached our room we unlocked the door into a freshly renovated room with twin beds, an en-suite bathroom, and a balcony with the most beautiful view of the ocean in the distance. There was also a small fridge, TV and cable, free Wi-Fi, built-in wardrobe, chest of drawers and a mirror. The en-suite bathroom had a bathtub and overhead shower, with complimentary mini bars of soap and a shampoo dispenser over the bathtub. The balcony had a table and 2 chairs and directly overlooked the terrace area and swimming pool area.
Overall my review of Match Resort accommodation is that the room was very clean and pleasantly decorated throughout. The A.C. and Cable worked and the beds were comfortable. There were complimentary toiletries and fluffy towels.
Match Resort Swimming Pool Terrace
After refreshing ourselves we changed and went down to the terrace area and ordered our meal before heading to the pool area. The pool was on a lower terrace to the restaurant and bar area and was reached by walking down a stone clad walkway flanked with beautiful flowers.
There were a few sun loungers and the area was pleasant enough, but the pool had leaves floating on the top and my friend complained that it the water looked a bit murky. But we had the pool to ourselves so we made use of this by doing laps up and down until our legs and arms turned to jelly, whilst chatting and keeping our heads well above the water!
One other person came down to the pool whilst we were there. After we had swam and chilled out around the pool for around 45 minutes we decided to go back to the room and bathe as the food wasn’t ready.
When we passed the bar we told the barman that we were going upstairs and pointing to our balcony overlooking the terrace we thanked him when he said he would call us when the food was ready.
We went back upstairs to the room with quivering legs and showered and got dressed. After about 40 minutes we were ready and hungry, so we decided to go back downstairs and sit on the terrace as we hadn’t been called for our meal. The barman hurried over and apologised for the wait and took our order for drinks. The terrace was pretty in the evening festooned with lights and well stocked bar area. Our food arrived after about 15 minutes of sitting downstairs on the terrace.
Scotch Bonnet Restaurant
So after a long drive, a pre-meal swim and about a 1 hour and 45 minutes wait, I was ravenous when the plate was placed in front of me…. But what a plate of food! It was presented with spiralized raw cucumber, carrot and beetroot on the side, with the fish and garlic potatoes elegantly stacked and centered in the middle of the plate with a salsa style topping.
I have to say that after quickly snapping the photograph I dove into the food, I ate literally everything on the plate. The potatoes were just the right texture with a delicious and full garlic flavour which complimented the fish and garnish perfectly, the spiralized vegetables were fresh and light and put the crunch on the plate.
Overall I would highly recommend the food. I don’t know whether it was because the food was so good, or that I was so hungry coupled with the cordon bleu sized proportions, but I could have eaten this twice over! Needless to say, I sent my compliments to the Chef and gave them top marks for this unexpected meal.
After dinner we sat and enjoyed a drink on the terrace before returning to our room to relax, ready for the next day’s events. A short while later we heard a knock at the door and my friend returned smiling with two plates of cheesecake that the management had thoughtfully sent up, as a gesture for waiting so patiently for our meal.
We gratefully ate the cheesecake and after flicking through the cable and mainly chatting we settled down to rest.
Match Resort – Breakfast Included
When we arrived at the Hotel we were informed that breakfast was included and we had a choice of a traditional Jamaican, English or American style breakfast which would need to be pre-ordered. I went for the Jamaican breakfast that came with Ackee and Saltfish and boiled hard food, whilst my friend went for bacon and eggs.
The next morning we went down for breakfast and sat inside the restaurant where you could help yourself to tea and coffee. When our plates were served they were huge portions and my plate was far too much for me to consume in one early morning sitting! I love Jamaican breakfast, but cannot manage the standard (fill you up until lunch) portion size you get served! Non-withstanding my food was good (the hard food was a tad salty) and my friend cleared her plate of eggs and bacon.
Match Resort Amenities
TV and Cable
En-suite bathrooms with hot water shower
Outdoor pool and terrace
On-site Scotch Bonnet Restaurant
Bar with Terrace
Ocean and Mountain Views
5 Minutes from Port Antonio Town Centre and San San Beach
Toiletries, soap, shampoo, towels, linens
Closets and Room Safe
Transportation, tours and airport shuttle can be arranged
Conclusion – Match Resort
I would recommend the Match Resort if you are looking for budget priced accommodation in Port Antonio.
The twin room cost in the region of US$80.00 for bed and breakfast, which is very reasonable for the overall experience. The room was clean and comfortable and the staff were really friendly and very accommodating.
The Scotch Bonnet Restaurant was a hidden gem and the terrace was inviting and would be ideal for an intimate setting in the evening. The menu has a selection of fine Jamaican, International and fusion dishes; average price of JA$1,200 – $1,500 per main meal. Rum and Coke was around JA$600.00 per glass.
Match Resort is located in Port Antonio, Portland, on Jamaica’s north-east coast. Past its heyday as a hedonistic celebrity haunt in the 60’s, Port Antonio has a much more low-key air about it today. Affectionately known to the locals as ‘Portie’, there isn’t much in the way of bond shopping and purpose-built attractions. But the area is beautiful and there are a couple of nightspots and some out-of-town natural attractions to explore.
The town is bustling with throngs of vendors setting up camp underneath the shade of the plazas, sometimes taking over so much of the pavement (sidewalk) it is hard to walk in more than single file. The once grand architecture and churches are somewhat faded and not what they once were, but it worth a visit.
For all the ebbs and flows that Port Antonio has been through, it still has its charm. The slower pace of life provides a welcome relief from the hectic north coast tourist hot spots and allows you to take in the stunning scenery of Jamaica in peace.
After falling in love with Janz Creations images on Instagram, I tracked down the brains behind the brand to get the inside scoop about Jamaica’s most talked about travel accessories. Where I was excited to learn that Janz Creations is a thoroughly modern, Jamaican family affair.
Join me as I catch up with the trailblazing trio to find out what they are up to this year, plus I have gleaned some of their ‘in the know’ insider tips for the best that Jamaica has to offer.
Flying the Flag for Jamaican Made Products
Janz Creations is one of the new breed of fearless Jamaican creative companies that has been launched to much acclaim. Filling a niche in the market with a product line that wouldn’t look out of place on the pages of a glossy magazine. Janz Creations are putting the stylish edge into ‘Jamaican Made’ with their line of Travel and Tea Accessories.
Following a hectic couple of months being featured at the most stylish events on the Kingston shopping scene on the run up to Christmas, Janz Designs have hit the ground running in 2017, with new fabric designs being launched, along with a limited edition romantic Valentines Day campaign.
Coveted by all the most stylish people in Jamaica, those in the know are stocking up on pieces from Janz Creations to carry back overseas, smug in the knowledge that they have brought back something from their vacation that everyone else wishes they thought of.
If you are visiting Jamaica and are looking for an authentic memento that you will still love and use when you reach back home, seek out a stockist of Janz Creations. You heard it here first…
No stranger to business, Janet Ferguson had designed and created products long before Janz Creations was formally launched. As Janet’s artistic background and passion for practical designs meant that every time she created something for herself, her friends and family would insist that she made another to sell to them. This support and encouragement spurned Janet on to team up with her daughters, Kerri-Ann and Keisha to launch their family owned business in September 2015…
“I was motivated to make products that are useful and necessary, but often forgotten or unavailable. High end shoes come in bags, but the majority of people cannot afford such shoes, but the bags are so useful for travel and everyday use. Who wants to have their underwear on display when their bags are being checked at customs? The lingerie bags provide privacy for these personal items.”
Priding themselves on creating high quality tea and travel collection products, their company philosophy is to provide ‘products that are useful and which offer good value for the price charged’. This vision is effortlessly executed with the beautifully shot marketing images shot by, Toni-Ann Photography.
Hand-Made Products Hitting the Fabric Trends
Scouring through the images on Janz Creations Instagram feed, there is no denying that Janz Creations is on the pulse of the latest colour and fabric trends. Taking inspiration from nature, culture and magazines, the Team selects fabrics and prints based on current trends in the fashion industry.
These fabrics are then hand-cut and meticulously sewn by Janz Creations Founder, Janet Ferguson, assisted by a local seamstress in her atelier. The choice of fabrics cover the full spectrum, so you can find modern heritage floral patterns, colour blocking, polka dots, denim, prints and stripes. There is literally something for everyone, including men and children.
The pieces are priced in the range of $600 – $4,500 JMD, which is super affordable if you want to start collecting their range.
I will be stocking up on the products with the the iKat, batik, geometric and blue anchor fabrics, which I absolutely LOVE!
Why it is a Good Idea to Invest in Travel Accessories
Whether you are zipping around town or visiting an overseas destination, travelling can be stressful. One of the best ways to make travelling less stressful is to be organised. It’s the little things that help, like having a place for everything and putting everything back in its place. By investing in some travel accessories you can make sure that you stay on top of your game, whilst dazzling everyone you meet with your practical and stylish hero products.
Purposefully designed travel accessories can also help protect the lining of your favorite bag, whilst fun prints make things easier to find when scrabbling in the depths of your handbag for something small. And who doesn’t want a pretty little teabag wallet to toss into their handbag for Green Tea on the go?
Janz Creations Product Line
Janz Creations currently carry two products lines, Travel and Tea Collections.
Cell Phone Charging Pockets
Luggage Handle Covers
Swimsuit (wet) Bags
Children’s wet bags and lunch bags
What’s next from Janz Designs…
You heard it here first!
“In the next 3 -5 years we would have added more products to our collection and a few more vendors, some of whom would be in other Caribbean islands. We continue to listen to our customers as we have gotten very good product ideas from them. We will also be exploring the bridal market through partners, where we will offer our products as customizable bridal party gifts”.
Janz Creations Insider Guide to Jamaica
If you are looking to visit Jamaica like a local, there is more than one way of doing it. So in the interest of public service I have quizzed the stylish trio for their insider knowledge on ‘how to do Jamaica like a Kingstonian PRO’!
Janet Ferguson raised her daughters in her childhood stomping ground of St. Andrew, where they all have fond memories of the area…
“We all grew up in St. Andrew. Our favourite memories were playing with friends in the stream at the front of our house and mini adventures into the hills. Road trips to the rural areas, picnics at Hollywell and attending Easter morning performances by NDTC (National Dance Theatre Company) are some of our family faves”.
Janz Creations on Why Jamaica is an Ideal Vacation Destination
“Jamaica would appeal to a visitor that is looking for a change in pace, with friendly and welcoming people, fantastic food, beaches, rich history and vibrant art scape. Many people would be enlightened by a visit to the Synagogue which is one of the oldest in this hemisphere”.
What Janz Creations love about Living in Jamaica
“We love the lifestyle, weather and overall energy of the country, having all lived at some time in the United States and the Jamaican example of ‘Out or Many, One People’”
Places Fixed on Janz Creations Jamaican Speed Dial
Retail Shops: Kerry Man Woman Home, Kutriments, Tea Pot, Taylor’d 4 Babies, Courtney Washington
Restaurants: Triple Tz on Annette Crescent has the best Sunday Morning breakfast.
Hang Outs: There are so many, but San San beach in Portland is a must. Can’t forget Devon House Ice Cream…ooh that rum and raisin.
Janz Creations Favourite Island Hide-aways for a Weekend in Jamaica
“We love to stay in Ocho Rios (Old Forte Bay). Ochi is now very close with the new high way and we loved the staff at Old Forte Bay. It is very relaxing and great spot for a small group or family get away.
We also enjoy Ibero Star in Montego Bay. This has been one of the best hotels we have stayed at, from the staff to the food and accommodations”.
Janz Creations Highlights about Living in Jamaica
“Living in Jamaica is truly a wonderful experience. Nothing beats living in a warm climate on an island year round. When we have free time we enjoy trips to Hellshire Beach to eat fish and festival, the taste cannot be replicated anywhere else we have visited so it is a must go for all visitors. Also the simple things: the ability to laugh at ourselves, relax and the congeniality of our people. With all its problems there is no place like Jamaica”.
Janz Creations Top 5 Spots to Visit in Jamaica
1. Devon House – ice cream
2. Hellshire Beach
3. Triple Tz
4. San San Beach
5. Tastee Patties
Janz Creations Favourite Authenic Jamaican Foods and Pastimes
Jamaican Food: “Ackee & Saltfish, Patties, Fried dumplings, Escoviche Fish and Festival”
Jamaican Pastimes: “Carnival, Track Meets, NDTC Performances, Live Concerts, especially Sumfest & Rebel Salute”
Every country has a different way of doing things and what some consider to be normal everyday behaviour is perceived as disrespectful or distasteful to someone from another country. When travelling it helps massively if you get at least a little introduction to the country you are visiting prior to your arrival, so you are aware of the culture, customs and traditions. It isn’t nice to be scorned for your bad or socially inept behaviour, so I always take time out to look and learn (or read a good article on it) before I talk and walk into trouble!
When in Jamaica, do as the Jamaicans do…
When in Jamaica DO…
Chill Out and Relax. You are working on Jamaican time from now on. When a Jamaican replies ‘soon come’ they do not mean it in the literal sense, it invariably means it will happen, when it happens. So be patient, it is usually work the wait, especially if it is for fooood!
When addressing a stranger it is always best to be formal, especially to those that are mature, or of child-bearing age. Using Sir, Mr, Miss or Mam when referring to someone is considered to be a polite way of conversing when you do not know them. It is also used alongside the more informal aunty and uncle and is good to use before the first name of anyone who is older or wiser, but more familiar to you (probably not advised in a formal environment though!)
The same goes if you are being served by someone at a store or restaurant, it doesn’t hurt to be polite and cordially greet people
When addressing a Police Officer, I highly recommend flagrant use of Sir, Mam, or Officer when conversing with them. It shows them respect and that you do not consider them to be inferior to you, which often means they give you less hassle
Try Jamaican food. It is delicious and there are dishes to suit every type of palate, including amazing Ital Vegan and Vegetarian foods
Treat Jamaican people with respect, remember you are not better than them just because you have a foreign passport, or because you are visiting where they are working
Be sensitive to the plight of the working class Jamaicans and do not try to take advantage of them. Many of the people seen vending in public places are just trying to make a living for basic necessities and to make money to send their children to school
Be firm and direct as most Jamaicans are. You will probably only confuse, or get taken advantage of by beating around the bush
Trust your instincts. If you don’t have a good feeling about a situation – remove yourself from it. Better to seem abrupt or rude than to regret staying around longer to see how it pans out
Conserve energy as it is expensive and water because it is scarce. Do not leave the water, AC, TV and so on running for inordinate periods of time especially when you have left your room…
Consider the environment, don’t haul off bundles of coral and shells, remove wildlife or ‘dutty up Jamaica’ by leaving your garbage lying around
Expect the unexpected! You will find more churches per square mile in Jamaica than anywhere else in the world (except the Vatican City itself), but they have a thriving music scene where they love to dance provocatively and wear very scanty clothing. Jamaica is a country of extremes!
Support Jamaica and Buy Jamaican! There are many ways you can do this on your trip, such as purchasing products that are MADE in Jamaica, patronising locally owned accommodation, attractions, tours, stores and eateries and supporting the street and beach vendors
Forget that whilst it is nice to be important, it is more IMPORTANT to be NICE – smile!
Stereotype Jamaicans because of what the media portrays, or because of one rude person you come across
Take photographs of people, or other people’s property without their permission, as they may not always be happy about it. Use common sense and Respect The Privacy of Others. Many Jamaicans love to pose for a picture and will be more than happy to do so if asked, whilst some may ask for a small fee if in a tourist area.
Refer to Jamaicans as ‘natives’. It has too many racial connotations that could be considered as a derogatory slur. Calling a black person ‘coloured’ is also laughable and ironic, when you consider that a white person goes blue in the cold and red in the sun! Using the terminology ‘Jamaican’ is the most appropriate way of addressing the wonderful people of Jamaica
Get drunk and run around half naked, or put yourself in other types of risky circumstances. Drink is not your friend, when you get into a tricky or dangerous situation
Forget that controlled drugs are illegal in Jamaica. Weed, Ganga, marijuana, green, grass, hash, gum, or whatever else you want to call it has been decriminalised (as of February 2015), if you are found to have less than 2oz in your possession, so is now a ticketable offence rather than a prisonable offence. See Below for more information
Flaunt flashy jewellery, expensive mobile phones, i-pods and so on. If you feel the need to show off, do it in the hotel or back at home where they are more readily available
Rent a car and leave it parked on a beach or near a water course where the tide may rise and take it away
Leave your car keys or valuables with a random person because you want to go swimming, or some other task that will remove you from the eye sight of the items
Get a false sense of security because you are on holiday / vacation. If you wouldn’t walk around alone late at night, or visit the local shops in beach attire when at home then don’t do it when you are in Jamaica. Use your Common Sense, or ‘screw your loaf’ as my Dad would say!