Skylark, Negril’s Newest Eco-Friendly Hotel
It was Horace Andy’s reggae song Skylarking, from his Studio One album of the same name, which influenced the name of Negril’s newest ecologically friendly hotel, Skylark, and fittingly so.
Nestled on the Capital of Casuals’ legendary white sand beach, Skylark, which is sister property to the award-winning Rockhouse hotel on Negril’s West End, is, without question, a reggae hotel, where the musical sounds and feel of Jamaican music reign supreme.
Skylark, like Rockhouse, is the picture of perfection. Its rooms, grounds and accompanying restaurant, Miss Lily’s, are replete with reggae influences, with authentic Jamaican music of all genres providing background sounds throughout the day and into the night. Jamaica’s sound system culture is celebrated in the artwork and murals at the restaurant.
The property had a soft opening in May last year and officially opened last Christmas with 90 per cent occupancy.
Reggae stars, including Grammy-nominated Koffee and Protoje, as well as Lila Ike and Kranium, are among the stars who have graced the property and even given short performances, which owner Paul Salmon, an ardent reggae lover, describes as “a small thing on the microphone; informal off-the-moment”.
“We just loved the word Skylark in a Jamaican context – lazing about, tomfoolery, which seems right for a resort hotel like this. It’s the kind of thing you want to do when you’re on vacation, like laze about and do all the stuff that you do when you take some time off,” Salmon told Hospitality Jamaica.
It is said that the three keys to happiness are good music, good food and good friends, and in its one year of operation Skylark has provided all that, attracting younger guests, groups of friends and families to its location, where its amiable staff ensures they have had a grand time. Likewise, Miss Lily’s restaurant takes Jamaican cuisine several notches upwards, serving up Jamaican delights ranging from ackee and salt fish, to callaloo, plantain, jerked chicken and banana bread, among others. Vegans are highly catered to, as wellness is the essence of the property.
The raving reviews about Skylark on TripAdvisor is testament to its awesomeness, with 108 of 109 visitors on the travel site rating it as either excellent or good. Some guests have referred to the property as an “amazing place to take Instagram photos”.
The 28-room property was redesigned with a modern-retro feel, with decorative blocks, and some ceilings accentuated with bamboo. It will see another 17 rooms being added in the fall of 2020 to make a third floor. Spanning two acres, Skylark offers 210 feet of beach frontage and an expansive length spanning 150 feet, as well as a spa and a boutique.
For Salmon, one of the focuses of the resort is to promote social interaction between the guests and the Jamaican community to further engender the authentic Jamaican experience Skylark offers, as well as to boost wellness programmes. As a consequence, guests are encouraged to go off property as well as make purchases from local vendors who sell within the area.
“For this season, we are working on this passport which provides a bunch of different activities you can do that can link you beyond just sitting on the beach … it might be yoga, a tour of the Rockhouse organic garden, visit to one of the schools, cooking class every week with the chef to learn about the cooking; local remedies, herbal and natural foods…,” he explained.