Somerset Falls back on stream

Business reporter

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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A group of doctors operating under a lease-to-buy agreement with Somerset Falls owner, Andrew Azar, plans on transforming a section of the Portland-based tourist attraction into a wellness resort and spa.

Construction of the wellness retreat has already commenced by Delta Wellness Spa Limited. The Jamaica Observer understands that the lessee hopes to build out 50 rooms in the hills of Somerset Falls as part of the redevelopment and will also rebrand the tourist hot spot to reflect its new line of services.

The attraction was closed for renovation, but is now open and accepting visitors for use of its pool, water slide and a boat tour to the hidden falls following discussions with the National Environment and Planning Agency.

Somerset Falls runs through an old sugar plantation filled with gardens that extend to the sea. It's a nature attraction, but not as high profile as Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios or YS Falls in St Elizabeth. In fact, Portland's slow development in comparison to the western end of the island is one of the reasons management wants to incorporate the services of a wellness spa at the attraction.

Expectations are that the introduction of a service that helps individuals to regain and retain optimum health using alternative medicine will boost the number of visitors to the destination.

The owners may also want to tap into the underserved area of ecotourism in Jamaica, which is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas intended as a low-impact and often small-scale alternative to standard commercial mass tourism.

Two years ago, Azar advertised the 112-acre property as up for sale after having possession of the attraction for five years.

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