When is a hotelier more than a hotelier?
When the hotelier is Chris Blackwell, the owner of Island Outpost, the collection of distinctive Jamaican hotels and villas, each with its own interesting character.
Goldeneye, in Oracabessa, is where author Ian Fleming wrote all 14 James Bond novels; Strawberry Hill in Irish Town is set 3,000 feet above the Caribbean Sea in the Blue Mountains; The Caves, a 10-acre all-inclusive resort with 12 cliffside accommodations, includes one- and two-bedroom cottages and a three-bedroom villa; and the secluded Fleming Villa near Goldeneye has its own beach, pool and gardens.
Now Blackwell, who also introduced the world to Bob Marley and the Wailers with the album "Catch a Fire" and went on to forge the careers of other high-profile acts from Grace Jones to U2 through Island Records, has launched Inside Outpost, which he described as a new “experience service that allows guests to enjoy privileged access, one-off experiences and exclusive overnight offerings.”
Inside Outpost pairs guests with Ambassadors (tour guides with special expertise and talent) and Icons (notable Jamaican personalities, including figures from Island Records history) who will lead and join excursions.
“As a team we have garnered so much knowledge of this island and the places, experiences and people that make it so special, we were keen to share that with every Island Outpost guest and enable them to discover the vibrant heart of this country in a way that no one else can match,” Blackwell said.
Guests can take part in a tour of Pantrepant, Island Outpost’s farm retreat in the heart of Cockpit Country, a rugged inland area.
Activities include a river swim, a tour of the farm that provides produce for the Island Outpost properties, a dinner of authentic Jamaican food, overnight in the lodge at the farm and a sunrise horseback ride ($375 per person).
Other options include Goldeneye Bond Day, billed as a license to thrill with a jet ski ride to Laughing Waters; an afternoon of snorkeling and kayaking before dinner at Firefly, playwright Noel Coward’s hilltop retreat; and a bonfire on the beach at the Fleming Villa, topped off by a late-night showing of “Dr. No” ($895 per person).
A half-day Kingston city tour includes a studio track mixing session with Jamaican actor Carl Bradshaw from the movie “The Harder They Come” ($345).
All tours are commissionable at 5%, on top of the 10% room commission.