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A Designed Life

by Cecile Levee

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The enchantment and mystique of Hedonism II are two of many folklores. A concept started in 1976 as Negril Beach Village by legendary hotelier John Issa, the hotel changed its name to Hedonism II in 1981.


It is affectionately called Hedo, The Legend by the repeat guests who account for as much as 75 per cent of total business (unheard of anywhere). And as with any well-run machine or valued gem, there comes a time when engines have to be oiled and gems polished.

The aforementioned magic is what lured multiple repeat guest Harry Lange in 2013 to take the plunge as the new owner. Along with Managing Director Kevin Levee, he embarked on an oil and polish mission.

Brought in as designer I was given somewhat of a free hand. The mission started in the shared spaces which includes the lobby and reception area that was expanded to absorb a former small, uncovered garden. The space is now used as a lounge, a reception/meeting space for tour operators and as an excursion area. Using a harmonious mix of colours — orange, various shades of blues and white furniture — we achieved a fresh, modern and inviting space. The floor-to-ceiling “bubbles” behind the reception desk conjures up feelings of bubbles and circles which were used throughout the different spaces to connote movement and continuity. I refer to them as “the circles of life”.

Flowing from the lobby and into the energy of Hedonism is the dining/entertaining area created to encourage gathering and conversations with old friends or making acquaintance with new — there are no two-seaters only four tops or larger tables. To break up the large space different styles and colour chairs and table sizes were used, and also to give the look and feel of a restaurant versus an open-style college cafeteria. The space is used for three different experiences: an espresso bar, a Japanese restaurant and buffet dining.

Open wood partitions, low chairs and the tapennakie tables clearly define the Japanese restaurant. The espresso bar, with deep reddish-brown armchairs and cocktail tables, flows seamlessly into the dining space with high-back upholstered chairs in textured blue, combined with white love seat sofas and a series of arm and armless woven-back wooden chairs, to create a truly refreshing Caribbean space.

The two most photographed spaces since the oil and polish have been the ladies' bathroom in floor-to-ceiling white and mirrored, save for a single wall which is covered in a full-length floral mural made from mosaic tiles. There is, too, an oversized white tufted ottoman to rest those weary feet. And the pinkish, salmon glitzy men's bathroom, which is the envy of women who are constantly dragged in by their husbands who want to have it replicated at home, is at the centre of constant debate as to which of the bathrooms is prettier. So don't be surprised when you see the opposite sex coming out of either space — believe me, it's ostensibly to look and to cast their vote.

The new glamorous wine bar, with its two lipstick-red Arne Jacobsen ante chairs at the centre, now occupies what used to be the duty free shop. The lawned courtyard, which is a popular hangout for playing lawn chess, catching up with friends, sharing a bottle of wine or for watching the games, is also part of the oiling and polishing.

As all designers know, there is nothing more subject to opinions than design, with everyone having a personal opinion, solicited or not! For me the designer, my favourite space is the over-the-top glittery ladies' bathroom off the courtyard. I, if invited, could reside there, especially if there is room service, wine service, turn down service with dark chocolate left on the pillow — note to self — I need a pillow! Maybe I can convert one of the toilet stalls into a walk-in closet, the next into a wine cellar or the next into a …

That's the beauty of design, anything is possible with vision!


The furniture and light fixtures with the exception of a few were designed by Cecile Levee.


All tiles, fixtures and hardware supplies were purchased in Jamaica from our design partners

Active Home Centre

Exotic Stones

Creative Building Finishes

Tile City

Unique Living


Mullings Electricals

Speedway Hardware


Dolci Jamaica

Gree Electrical Appliances