If you’ve ever swayed to a Bob Marley tune or fantasized about a Jamaica journey, there is no time like the present, mon. Long considered the godfather of the “JA” music scene, Chris Blackwell is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his legendary Island Records label by packaging the ultimate reggae experiences at his other venture, Island Outpost. A collection of a handful of boutique hotels, including three located in some of Jamaica’s most desirable locations, Island Outpost’s “Roots, Rock & Reggae” tours allows guests the chance to dive deep into Jamaica’s musical culture. Book six nights or more at any one property or combination of hotels: Strawberry Hill, Geejam, and Jake’s, any time before December 14 (in certain room categories) and you’ll be invited to complimentary experiences ranging from tours of the Bob Marley Museum and Chris Blackwell’s Wall of Fame, to a three-hour recording session where everyone from Sly & Robbie to Bjork have laid down tracks. Dreadlocks not included.
Location: Strawberry Hill, Blue Mountains
Room: Studio Suite. Situated on a mountaintop, Gong, Tree, Cedar and 59 Steps make up the property’s four studios suites. Amenities include palatial four-poster beds, all-purpose kitchenettes and balconies. Each studio offers a deeply chilled environment with uninterrupted views of Kingston’s city lights.
Room Rate per Night: $595
Roots, Rock & Reggae Extra: Strawberry Hill’s Musical History.
In addition to touring Chris Blackwell’s Wall of Fame at Strawberry Hill, you have a chance to dive into the roots of reggae. Tour the Bob Marley Museum, experiencing artifacts, memorabilia, writings, photographs, and other mementos. The museum is Bob Marley’s former place of residence and was home to the Tuff Gong record label.
Footnote: Strawberry Hill inspired Bob Marley to write “Natural Mystic.”
Location: Geejam, Port Antonio
Room: Ska. A unique cabin named in homage to the Jamaican musical genre, Ska is an airy, octangular space with glass doors opening onto a spectacular elevated view. Amenities include a balcony and private hot tub.
Room Rate per Night: $595
Roots, Rock & Reggae Extra: Geejam’s Studio Experience
A recently refurbished state-of-the-art recording studio is one of Geejam’s most prized features. An A-list of international music talent, including Gwen Stefani and No Doubt, Common, Björk, and Sly and Robbie have all written and recorded here. No worries if you’re not a professional — guests can book time on the mic to fulfill that lifelong fantasy with a three-hour complimentary session. The three-hour studio experience includes an introductory session in the control room and a demo session on the mic in the live room. Learn how a recording is assembled from tracking to mixing then make like a mini-Marley.
Location: Jake’s, Treasure Beach
Room: Deluxe One Bedroom Oceanfront. The ocean spray can be felt from the veranda of Seapuss, the deluxe oceanfront room. An aquatic theme is enhanced by warm Moroccan accents, making for a cool island chic. Other amenities include a private outdoor shower.
Room Rate per Night: $295
Roots, Rock & Reggae Extra: Henzell’s Drive
The bohemian “Jamdown” atmosphere is no surprise here: Jake’s is run by the Henzell family, responsible for Jimmy Cliff’s The Harder They Come, the hippest reggae film of all time. You receive a Harder They Come DVD, CD and a poster, and take a beautiful drive down Jamaica’s southwestern coast from Sav-La-Mar to Belmont’s fishing village, the birthplace and resting place of one of the Wailers’ founding members, Peter Tosh.
For booking, check website or call: 1-800-OUTPOST.