Mel’s Botanical Retreat3 beautiful and peaceful jungle eco-cabins in the mountains of western Jamaica
A budget eco retreat in the mountains
Mel’s Botanical Retreat is in the mountains of western Jamaica in the small farming community of Kentucky, 2,500 ft above sea level, about an hour from Negril as well as the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. It is also a 100% owned woman-owned business. Nestled among terraced gardens and surrounded by jungle with magnificent views over the mountains and the sea, the property also features a coffee and banana farm as well as an organic farm to table restaurant and bar. It’s a perfect venue for budget minded eco tourists, birders and nature lovers. And, if you get bored of the mountains, you can easily travel down to beautiful Bluefields beach or enjoy shopping and sightseeing in nearby Savanna-la-Mar, the parish capital.
Beautiful and peaceful jungle cabins
Mel’s three cabins are built from Blue Mahoe (Jamaica’s national tree) and include verandas, hammocks, two bedrooms, kitchens, living room areas, full bathrooms and an outdoor shower. Among other things, guests love to climb the spiral staircase to their private veranda overlooking the lush garden and dine on the patio for stunning views at sunrise and sunset.
Ganja is a family business
Guests are allowed to smoke anywhere – except in the cabins. And, a herb house visit can be arranged after airport pick up. There are lots of small ganja farmers in the area some of whom visit the Retreat from time to time so you will not have any difficulty finding a few local strains to enhance your vacation experience. Additionally, Mel’s father is a Rasta man, has been a ganja farmer his entire adult life and offers tours from the perspective of a man with a lifetime of knowledge and history of Jamaican ganja. Mel’s brother and sisters are also either growers or trimmers and they all work in ganja as a family business.
No better place to relax and decompress
If you are looking for a serene and peaceful getaway from the bustle and bustle of daily life, there is no better place than Mel’s Botanical Retreat to decompress, relax and rejuvenate. You can start the day sipping fresh pressed juices in a hammock as hummingbirds flutter magically overhead. Dine luxuriously on Mel’s delicious Jamaican fare prepared from produce sourced from her own or her neighbors’ garden. Go for long leisurely walks up or down the mountain and stop in at one of the small local shops or bars along the winding road for a drink and a chat with a few locals.
You can dine like royalty at Mel’s
Mel is an excellent host and a fantastic chef and will treat you to some of the best food found on the island – including her homemade coffee and chocolate, fruits from the hills surrounding the Retreat as well as fresh fish and lobster from her fisherman friends. Whatever your dietary preferences (organic, carnivorous, vegan, vegetarian, keto or gluten free) she will wow you with delicious meals from breakfast to dinner starting each day with fresh fruit smoothies and organic coffee – all grown on the land surrounding the Retreat.
- Property Type:B&B
- Airport Transportation:Yes
- Free Parking:Yes
- Cannabis Provided:Yes
- Location Type:Remote hilltop village
But only minutes from the beach
Away From It All
This is one of the most unique places I’ve ever been to in Jamaica or almost anywhere in the world. It’s not obvious when you first show up, but you soon realize that Ganja (Herb as the locals call it) is all around the beautiful mountains surrounding the retreat. I truly enjoyed meeting the local Herb farmers and trying a variety of strains. Highlights were also walking through some of the growing fields (the smells are so nice) as well as getting to sit down and help trim. The people in the community of Kentucky are friendly and inviting. In addition, Mel and her team of women made me feel welcomed and cared for. Lots of attention has gone into making the cabins comfortable and charming. Lots of nature and birds and garden are amazing.
The Farm-to-Table dining experience was a pleasant surprise. Everything is super-local, super-healthy, and ethically sourced. Mel is a great chef who fuses traditional Jamaican dishes passed on from her grandmother with her own creations inspired from all over the world. The food is worth the stay in itself; she offers an affordable daily meal plan. I was so inspired Mel’s cooking that I signed up and took her Culinary Arts Class as well. There is great community gatherings most evenings around Mel’s Kitchen and full bar.
The retreat is located on a banana and coffee planation. The views from the top were not only a nice place to smoke, but literally some of the best sunsets I’ve seen in my life (and I’ve been to 45 countries).
This place will change you; it changed me!