J’can culture comes to life at S Hotel
The S Hotel is big on showcasing the richness of the Jamaican culture. From Jamaica’s first Prime Minister Sir Alexander Bustamante to cultural icon Louise Bennett-Coverley, juxtaposed by an S90 motorcycle hugging a contemporary ABM (Automated Bank Machine), the all-inclusive resort operated by the Crissa Group carries some of the most endearing conversation pieces this side of the western hemisphere.
“You will never find a more authentic Jamaican experience at any other hotel in Jamaica,” Linda Lawrence, marketing consultant at the S Hotel Montego Bay, told Living.
Bob Marley’s Legend album and a vinyl record player, a Red Stripe bottle as a vase, dominoes, are incorporated in the décor of the boutique hotel rooms, depicting that the S is more than just a hotel.
“It’s an experience, it’s a museum. When our guests get here, they are not just on vacation, but [learning] about the destination,” stated Lawrence who has had a long history in the hospitality sector.
For her, Jamaica has had such a big impact on the rest of the world, and people want to know why Jamaicans are who they are and where they are coming from, “And know why we’re such a great nation. And once they come to S Hotel, we have escorted tours or tours on their own. They can go around and see the different cultural artefacts or sculptures that we have on our national heroes, some on our other cultural icons, each with a storyboard”, said Lawrence.
In fact, Jamaica’s seven national heroes have been allocated preferred positions at the resort, while the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, and the indomitable son of St James, Jimmy Cliff, have ownership of a floor each.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey stands in an area with his book of teachings in hand, communicating years later what many guests who visit Jamaica are usually not aware of.
“Many Americans are not aware that his teachings actually inspired the civil rights movement in America, and also it was from his teachings that the rest of our movement started in Jamaica,” asserted Lawrence, adding that Jamaicans have had such a positive impact on the rest of the world.
The country’s heroes, Garvey, Nanny of the Maroons, Paul Bogle, George William Gordon, Norman Manley, Sir Alexander Bustamante and Sam Sharpe boast life-size sculptures throughout the property.
In addition, the S has artwork from Jamaican artists throughout the resort, while some of the furniture is made by local artisans. Everything is inspired by Jamaica.
“That’s what makes us authentic,” declared Lawrence, who says guests are enthralled when they hear the story of the Jamaican people.
“When we talk to them about Nanny and the Maroons, about how jerk came about, how the Maroons had to hide when they’re cooking and put the pig you know on the ground and marinate it and slowly cook it over, they are excited,” Lawrence said.
She says even more exciting is when members of the diaspora check into the resort and experience what the tourists have come to love.
Not only is there a handcrafted box with dominoes, but each week during the scheduled activities, there is a domino tournament.
Pride in the culture bursting at the sides, the resort has named every restaurant in honour of a genre of Jamaican music. There is Rock Steady on the 5th floor, Roots Rock on the 6th floor, and the faces of Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Chronixx depicted on the vibrant zinc fence-looking wall of the Roots, where the tables are designed in various colours, some with lignum vitae and the hummingbird.