Sat | Aug 8, 2020

Dream House | Breathtaking views all around

Published:Sunday | September 15, 2019 | 12:00 AM
A crisp, clean kitchen in white.
An intoxicating view of the Port Antonio seascape. It doesn’t get any better.
A cozy living room where simplicity reigns supreme.
Balcony overlooking mountain and sea vistas
Warm inviting bedroom (with mosquito-netting) opening to balcony
This mountain house soars 1,300 feet above sea level
Awesome views of the Blue Mountains through huge windows

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when a place known as Bonnie View Hotel commanded the most staggering views that Portland paraded.

But, alas! This former grande dame of hospitality has been alarmingly unsightly for some years now, in her broken, dishevelled, shuttered state. Literally next door to her is a one-and-a-quarter-acre parcel of real estate that shares the identical intoxicating views of Port Antonio, the Blue Mountains, and the East Harbour to the former hotel. But, thankfully, that’s where the similarity ends!

Perched 1,300 feet above sea level in the verdant slopes of the awesome Blue Mountains, this skyward dream house, built in the mid-1940s, soars above the hustle and bustle of the town below, in its consummate, private, hilltop sanctuary.

Let’s greet the fortuitous owner, Fred Schwartz from Chicago, United States, who has been part of Jamaica’s tourism for many years, managing 300 properties throughout Jamaica. He and his dear wife purchased this house in the mid 1980s, gutted it down to frame and remodelled it. A small, charming split-level structure, it envelopes and cuddles you with two air-conditioned, ceiling fan-cooled, queen-size bedrooms and one bathroom. A brick-floored outdoor balcony, allows access from the bedrooms facing the mountains, while the cut-stone retained covered patio off the living room, reveals the sea in the distance. Oh, what a sight to behold! The kitchen is fed with white, raised-panel cabinets, touching the ceiling.

The endearing interiors of this alpine environment fuses with polished wood floors, timber ceilings and a colour scheme of warm natural wood and pure white. Exotic furnishings are from Bali and Jamaica, consuming you with tropical overtones. Elegance in its true simplicity!

Outdoors with its wooded backdrop, shows no signs of relenting with its assault on your psyche, where all things mystic and beautiful massage your very being. The semi-curved crystal-clear swimming pool, surrounded by its own sun-lounge deck, floats above the serene scenery. A picnic area encourages laid-back dining in a flowery, garden setting. Accessed by the very steep, quarter-mile adventurous climb of Richmond Hill Road, in Port Antonio, the property is reached by a long, private driveway. Palm trees make their presence known.

Music to your ears comes not only from the sound system playing in the bedrooms and living room capturing the beat of Reggae, R&B etc., but also from the toads, crickets, and chirping birds – a production of musical symphony.

It has been asked, could the secret to less stress, improved health, and a better night’s sleep be found in a dream setting fashioned by man and nature, such as this one? The answer is a resounding yes! This home is an elixir for great living and we are reminded by these words, “Health is a state of complete mental, physical and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” – World Health Organization.

- Barry Rattray is a dream house designer and Builder. Email: