Whilst on my #JewelsOfJamaica trip, I wanted to experience as many facets of the gorgeous island as possible. Not just in terms of places to go and things to see, but I also looked for diversity in where we slept. We had stayed at a local AirBnB in Ocho Rios, an all-inclusive in Falmouth and a boutique eco-hotel in Port Antonio. I wanted to find something a little different, somewhere with a story to tell, somewhere with a family atmosphere. That’s when I stumbled upon the Draper San Guest House. Two small, white cottages perched above the sea. Surrounded by a garden engineered for relaxation and getting in touch with nature. Perfect.
There is a small space for a couple of cars inside the gated area. Lando – short for Orlando – met us at the gate and helped us to our room with our luggage.
It was a simple, homely and brightly decorated room with lots of space for luggage. The fan was a lifesaver – I just wish we’d have had two – as we are really un-acclimatised to the heat coming from rainy England. It was the first time that I’d slept inside a mosquito net, so after tucking it in, it would have been amusing watching us trying to get inside the net.
The bathroom was clean and brightly decorated too, with everything you would need. The only down point was that the shower was not on a hook so you had to hold it up when showering.
The garden had a washing line to dry your towels after a day spent in and out of the enchanting rivers and surrounding sea. There are lots of little secluded areas perfect to sit in and relax or enjoy the outdoors.
It was quite hard to find, as there aren’t any house numbers along the main road through Draper San. They do have a clear sign, but it can come up fast if you aren’t ready for it. If you are travelling from Frenchman’s Cove, it is a 3 minute drive on the main road towards Port Antonio. Look for the wooden wall (fence) and it is the first house on the right.
Draper San is a small, relaxed village close to Port Antonio. Just a short walk away, you could walk down to Sanku Bay. Still suffering with my jet lag, I wandered down just after sunrise. It was deserted apart from a couple of locals who were indulging in the cool sea before the heat of the day. This is where local fishermen set off for their day at sea too.
The Draper San Guest House is a three minute drive to the paradise of Frenchman’s Cove (which I have written about here) and is well worth a trip. The famed Blue Lagoon, the location of the 1980’s film ‘The Blue Lagoon’ is also just a short car ride away. Here the cool water from the river floats on top of the warm water of the sea. This creates a very odd sensation when swimming. There are boat tours available here too.
This is where Draper San Guest House really came into its own. After settling into our room, Lando offered to make us dinner of spicy chicken. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity for an authentic meal.
Congregating in the intimate dining area, we met the other couple who were staying at the guest house. It was lovely to share stories, ask advice and talk deep into the night like long lost friends. Lando really outdid himself, serving spicy chicken, jerk chicken, bread fruit, coleslaw, callalloo, potatoes and bowls of steaming rice. This was a real feast for the four of us. Everything was delicious, very tasty and all freshly made. This intimate banquet was rounded off with a selection of fresh fruit including rum soaked papaya. I am not usually a fan of papaya, but this was delicious.
Halfway through the owner, Maria Carla Gullotta joined us as she returned from a trip to Kingston. She was so knowledgeable about the area and passionate about introducing us to the ‘Real Jamaica.’ She also educated us on some of the human rights issues she had been involved with as she founded “Stand Up For Jamaica” a non-profit organisation that promotes humanitarian projects in Jamaica. She was really captivating, almost oracle like, giving us advice about how to travel to places and how to avoid the tourist traps.
What made our stay special?
From the start we were treated like family, greeted at the entrance, helped with our luggage, shown around our room and cooked a generous meal. Lando, Carla and the other guests really made us feel welcome.
Best extras included?
Dinner – I am not sure you could top the evening in terms of a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, the wonderful food and of course the conversations. Carla also gave us some great advice to ensure we had a great rest of our stay.
As I mentioned before, the shower could have done with a hook to stop your arms getting tired whilst showering and it would have been lovely to have had a second fan.
I would highly recommend bringing strong insect repellent and a plug in vaporiser. The windows are shutters, so wildlife can still get in when they are closed. We used a lot of spray and the mosquito net and still ended up being bitten a lot.
Our stay at Draper San Guest House was a lovely peek into the relaxed, local nature and lifestyle in Jamaica. The booking process was very easy via email and it was a privilege to meet and talk with Carla. If you ever have any questions about your trip she is more than willing to help. The location is perfect to use a base to explore the nearby beaches and service was outstanding. There is a lot of information about the guest house and surrounding areas on their website http://www.draperssan.com and if you’d like to find out more or book your stay you can email Carla directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to Carla and Draper San Guest House for hosting our stay, however as always our opinions are honest and our own.
Last modified: 7th August 2016