Search Me Heart is in the quiet, beautiful and less touristy area of Jamaica called Portland. It is about 10 minutes outside of Port Antonio in an area called Drapers Bay. The B&B itself is situated in the village, just off the main road.
Rosanna and Yellow Culture are very sweet and helpful and they tried to make our stay there as homely and comfortable as possible. Culture took us on a tour of the garden, picking and showing us different herbs and spices like pimento used in jerk and lemongrass. And he also prepared a variety of bits for breakfast including fried plantain, eggs, toast, fruit, juice, ginger/ lemongrass tea & coffee & even sugar cane from the garden! Rosanna helped to organise trips or any later accommodation if necessary and was always on-hand to answer any questions.
There are three rooms and bathrooms (either next to or en suite) and we stayed in the largest one. It was very simply furnished but had everything we needed including a mosquito net (there aren't loads of mosquitoes, but there are a few ensuring a few bites!). Our bathroom was just outside our room with a basin, toilet and shower/bath. The hot water was a bit sporadic, but that was because the boiler was broken, and it was fixed soon after. We also had a chair and hammock outside of our room on the veranda, which was perfect for relaxing and reading in. There was a nice breeze though the room and a fan if you wanted a bit more, but no air conditioning.
Search me heart is a little isolated, and although there are a couple of local shops/restaurants nearby, you need to go to Port Antonio if you want a bit more variety. For lunch, we often ate at the beaches or picked up some tinned tuna & bread from the local store. For dinner, you can either eat in and Culture will cook some local dishes for you (about $10 per person) or the following are some possibilities - San San Tropez B&B for Italian food (20 minute walk), Geejam hotel (who only accept bookings if they aren't full) and is close by, and finally Woodys - the closest place - for hamburgers or jerk (only pre-ordered). Otherwise there are a variety of places in Port Antonio or Boston Bay (home of Jamaican jerk).
The beaches are a small walk or drive away. Frenchmans Cove, which is absolutely stunning, is about a 15 minute walk and is $5 per person. San San beach is probably about a 20 minute walk and it also costs $5 per person. There is also a free beach in Drapers bay, but it didn't look great to swim from.
The local route taxis are cheap, but normally squashed and mildly terrifying!!! The return route taxi to Port Antonio (about 15 minutes away) is about $4 whereas if you use a booked taxi it can be as much as $25. A single trip to the airport in the booked taxi is $125.
There were, however, a couple of downsides which made our stay slightly less enjoyable, only the first particular to Search me heart. When it was quiet, you could hear the birds in the garden and the crickets at night. However, often in the day and at night there was music from the bar across the road and sometimes from one of the neighbours too. Though it would finish by around 10pm, there were times when I would have appreciated more quiet. Rosanna and Culture did go to complain, and they did turn it down a bit, but it was still unfortunate. And lastly, while we found the Jamaicans friendly and we had no problems crime-wise or of feeling vulnerable, we found that they often had an angle and whilst they'd strike up a general conversation, it would quite often lead to offers of trips, taxi rides or ganja or sometimes flat out requests for money. While they were never aggressive and happily accepted it if you said no, the frequency of the requests sometimes was a little wearing.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Search-Me-Heart is a great value accommodation located in Port Antonio, Jamaica,in an area of uncontaminated beauty. In April 2016 we have completed a total renovations of the building and everything is brand new. This charming guesthouse is surrounded by a beautiful tropical garden. It's situated within walking distance to beaches like Frenchman's Cove, San San and the Blue Lagoon. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Search-Me-Heart Jamaica/Port Antonio