Serene, colourful and inspirational – that’s how I’d describe the three days leading up to our wedding in Jamaica – thanks to us finding Somewhere West.
We’d ummed and ahhed about where to stay in the lead up to our destination wedding. We wanted somewhere in Negril where we could completely relax after months of wedding planning. But we needed a place that was close enough to our families’ villas and hotels, yet wasn’t going to cost the earth.
Our communication with Angi, the owner, in the lead up to us flying over there was great. She was friendly, welcoming and the vibrant pictures of Indigo Sky – the first floor apartment we stayed in – just screamed yes, book me.
It was bright, spacious and had a simple but spacious kitchen for us to cook in as and when we wanted.
It had its own private pool and gardens, just steps away from the sea. Plus it was detached from the tourist heavy Downtown Negril. I was in.
We were a bit unsure whether we’d made the right decision to start with. Because as we took the drive from the airport to Somewhere West, it felt like we were pretty much heading to the middle of nowhere. We soon learned, this was the part of Negril known as the Deep West End. But by the time we’d trundled for several miles along potholed filled roads, we realised that we were driving to one of the most serene places in the whole town.
The next day we walked eight whole miles to Seven Mile Beach (which despite its name is actually around 5 miles long) yet the distance all seemed worth it. We visited local restaurants and explored where the locals lived. We were seeing a more real side of Negril.
Listening to the taxi drivers moan about driving the extra distance didn’t matter. It felt like an adventure and in between meeting our wedding planner and catching up with family, we had our own little piece of paradise to enjoy.
I’m not exaggerating when I say this place is colourful. Angi, a New Yorker, has transformed the buildings and gardens here from an abandoned site inhabited by squatters to a vibrant Caribbean retreat. There are five or six different apartments that are all decked out in mood-lifting décor and even the garden walls have Red Stripe bottles etched into them.
I loved every bit of our apartment, Indigo Sky. The floor to ceiling windows wrapped around the room and the sea breeze constantly floated through the pink and blue drapes.
The wooden furnishings, coloured tiles and shabby chic furniture gave it a seaside vibe….
…and we had an iPod docking station, board games and books (if you want to really switch off, you’ll be delighted to know there’s no TV).
We even had our own hammock.
All guests have a directory in their room of the best local restaurants, emergency phone numbers and advice on the local area. You can book tours through Angi’s company JuJu Tours which aims to offer a more authentic experience of Jamaica than larger tour companies do. And whether it’s a ride into town, breakfast on the balcony or jerk chicken take-away brought to your door, Angi is just an email away to help out her guests.
Speaking of breakfasts, they’re pretty amazing here. On our first morning, we had banana pancakes, scrambled egg and mugs of freshly brewed Mountain Coffee which set us up nicely for that epic eight mile walk.
When we weren’t popping into restaurants like Jus Natural and Ahhh Bees and exploring sights like the Negril Lighthouse, we were playing darts and lolling about by the pool, which for much of the time, we had all to ourselves. I was also being leapt on by ‘Skinny’ and the rest of the pups who were our guard dogs while we were here.
When I spoke to Angie about why she left New York for Negril, she told me about her first holiday here and how the experience had stayed with her:
‘I was fourteen years old and had never experienced a feeling quite like the one Jamaica had given me,’ she said. ‘I dreamed about running away and living under a zinc-roofed board house with a single bed, just like the one Bob Marley sang about in his song ‘Is this Love’. When I returned to Jamaica on a vacation in my early twenties, my freezer-burned New York heart began to melt. The meaning of ‘island vibes’ translated so quickly as it does with most visitors. Jamaica stole my heart.’
Which is why I find the story behind Somewhere West so inspirational. To get up and start a completely new life somewhere like Jamaica takes courage and a leap of faith. For Angi, her labour of love has completely paid off.
As we left Somewhere West I felt like we’d been here for weeks rather than days. If you want to see Jamaica through a local’s eyes, you’ll get that here, as well as delicious food, a refreshingly rustic vibe and a chance to completely recharge.
Until next time x
For more information about staying at Indigo Sky and Somewhere West, visit Airbnb.co.uk & follow Somewhere on instagram and Facebook. For more information about travelling to Jamaica, go to VisitJamaica.com & follow them on Facebook, instagram and twitter.