Sat | Dec 5, 2020

Kareem’s Quest | Kareem’s Quest: Sea Cliff Resort

Published:Friday | November 20, 2020 | 12:08 AMKareem LaTouche/Gleaner Writer
All 15 rooms are angled towards the sea.
All 15 rooms are angled towards the sea.
sea cliff - Map. ??
sea cliff - Map. ??
Each room has a hammock on the balcony to ensure that guests can enjoy the sounds coming from the Caribbean Sea.
Each room has a hammock on the balcony to ensure that guests can enjoy the sounds coming from the Caribbean Sea.
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Located along the coastal road of Portland, several minutes after exiting St Thomas, is Sea Cliff Resort, which is owned and operated by Errol Hanna. Its unique entrance, built from bamboo, is hard to miss whichever direction you are coming from.

Nonetheless, the journey to this point was a very slow and challenging one for the Kingston College old boy. “After I graduated from high school in 1966, I migrated to the States, where I had to ‘buss’ my chops doing different jobs to support myself while going to college part-time. I tell people all the time, you can accomplish a lot in the States, but it is not a bed of roses,” revealed Hanna.

Consequently, it took him seven years to finish his degree programme instead of four; however, he was not deterred as it set the foundation he needed to survive. “After my degree, I did several jobs, including working with American Express, and then my final job was working with a law firm as a paralegal,” stated Hanna.

After spending over a decade in the States, Hanna was itching to return to his homeland and utilise many of the skills he learnt while living abroad. “I returned to Jamaica in 1981 and started working with a company that distributed machinery that made chlorine from salt, which could be used in private swimming pools. You must remember, during these times many things were restricted for importation, so we had to be innovative when finding solutions,” said Hanna.

After accomplishing much success in this business, Hanna shifted his concentration to construction. One of his major projects was constructing the Unit Operations Laboratory at the University Hospital of the West Indies in 1999, something that he is very proud to put on his résumé.

Sadly, this experience came at a price, as Hanna revealed, “Unfortunately, while on the site, I was shot by a gunman at point-blank range from behind. The bullet went through my neck and I was left to die. A taxi man nearby heard the explosion and took me to the Tony Thwaites Wing.”

While in the operating theatre it was discovered that the bullet missed his spine and exited through the side of his neck, causing no major injury. Despite the horrific experience, Hanna was not deterred and went right back to work after a short recovery period.

“You can’t allow adversities to stop you from pursuing your dreams, and I wanted to plant my seed in Jamaica. So I used this second opportunity to start accomplishing this,” stated Hanna.

This time, he started focusing on this personal project in his home town of Portland.

“The first thing I built on this property was Cliff Hanger restaurant several years ago, because I wanted to go somewhere to find good food and it was proving to be quite challenging,” stated Hanna. With his cemented foundation in the construction business, he started to think of what next he wanted to do on his property.

“At first, I wanted to make vacation homes from log structures; however, it was impeded by the recession in 2007, where very little investment was taking place,” stated Hanna.

However, after a feasibility study of this initial plan, Hanna decided to building the Sea Cliff Resort instead, which was opened in October last year.

A RESORT WITH A DIFFERENCE

It boasts 15 rooms, which are all angled towards the Caribbean Sea for guest to enjoy the picturesque view while relaxing. As for the 500-square-foot rooms, they have a rustic feel sprinkled with a contemporary edge.

While free Wi-Fi is available in every room, there are no TVs as Hanna explained, “When persons come to this hotel, it’s about relaxation and tranquillity with as little distractions as possible.”

The hotel functions much similar to an European style, where breakfast is complimentary; however, guests are required to purchase lunch and dinner. “Usually, when some persons come, they enjoy the night, have breakfast in the morning, then head out to explore Portland in the day,” said Hanna.

For this reason, the hotel offers excursions to some of the more popular spots in and around Portland, such as Frenchmen Cove, Boston Jerk Centre, Blue Lagoon and Reach Falls.

Even though the property has been receiving much acclamation since its opening, Hanna is still looking at ways to improve his vision for his resort. “We are actively looking into a vacation club which involves timeshares,” disclosed Hanna.

Fact Box

Who is it for: Couples who love nature and observing the ecosystem.

Tip: There are no TVs in the rooms, so ensure that you are with good company.

What stands out: The panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea from the balcony.

What to carry: Snacks and fruits, as the closest shop is about 20 minutes away.

Must try activity: Watching the sun rise at the look-out post adjacent to the restaurant.

Contact: 876-435-9739, seacliff2000@gmail.com

Social media: @Portland.seacliff

Location: Kensington, Portland.

Vehicle needed to access property: A SUV or vehicle with good ground clearance, if you are driving through St Thomas to access the property.

For comments and feedback, email: kareemsquest@gmail.com, or visit www.kareemsquest.com.