Geejam's Rumba VibesSunday, March 28, 2021
Lots have been happening at Geejam. For starters, the new buzz word at the luxury resort and recording studio located in San San, Portland, is Rumba!
COVID-19 might have pressed pause on gatherings, but not on vibes. Never one to rest on his laurels Geejam co-owner Jon Baker has not only amped up the vibes but has created an entire studio vibe in the midst of the parish's lush rainforests and abutting pristine blue sea.
“The design of our Rumba Rooms is set out over two levels,” shares Baker with the Style Observer (SO). “Entering the room,” he continues, “you descend downstairs into the bedroom with 15-ft ceilings with huge picture French windows leading to the spacious verandah giving the room a similar feeling to that of a penthouse with nature and privacy at its forefront. The vast space of these rooms not only gives luxury but also creates natural ventilation so that the use of AC is not essential. Our landscape designer, Dean Tapper, then regenerated the surrounding natural dense rainforests after the initial construction was completed by replanting the original flora and fauna around the building.”
The existing cabins and villas are positioned in this environment for privacy, space and the natural surroundings. Indeed, Baker's brief to architect Vidal Dowding was to design a block of rooms without losing the all-important unique Geejam vibe. Dowding, whose talents Baker showcased when he commissioned him to resurrect Trident, has delivered the necessary 'wow' without losing the laid-back unpretentious appeal peculiar to the property that's a magnet for A-listers.
The opulence of high ceilings aside, it is the impressive artwork that boggles the mind. Baker tapped his super-talented daughter Savannah, and film producer, art consultant and long-time Portie fan Holly Cushing. Cushing, who is the Oscar-nominated producer of the 2010 British documentary film Exit Through the Gift Shop, shared the following exclusively with SO: “When curating the artwork for Geejam's new Rumba Rooms, I wanted to ensure the artwork was Jamaican-centric, celebrating the rich culture and beauty of the island alongside the incredible talent of Jamaicans. I began gathering the collection from the National Library of Jamaica's incredible archive, scouring eBay for vintage treasures and even sourcing a selection of photographs from an antique dealer in Kingston (apparently Jamaica's only antique dealer). This initial selection provided a wide mixture of artwork from pre-1998 that showcased the island's exotic beaches, vibrant scenery and Jamaican musicians, artists, sports personalities and beauty queens. I wanted to mix these archive shots with some contemporary photographs of modern Jamaica, so I reached out to Jon Baker's daughter Savannah and worked with her to choose a selection of imagery from her extensive library to finish the project. All of the chosen artwork was then framed locally in Kingston before being placed in each Rumba Room like a jigsaw puzzle, working together to bring each picture, colour and frame together to give the Rumba Rooms a truly homely vibe that oozes Jamaica from every aspect.”
SO affords Baker's daughter Savannah the last words:
These images are a collection of work from an ongoing life series “My Jamaica”.
The curation of photographs were selected by both myself and an amazing curator, Holly Cushing. It was a hard task as I have images from 10+ years. We chose a balance/mix of documentary lifestyle shots to more stylised shoots... most of which were shot in Port Antonio using talent from the communities I jam in.
It was an exciting project collaborating with printers Geoff Lewis and framer Simon Fredericks”.
Check into one of the 12 Rumba (rooms): Portland Block, dedicated to the Jolly Boys (Albert, Powda, Johnny and Junior Murvin. The Ladies Block: Althea & Donna, Sister Nancy, Millie Small, Marcia Griffiths. The Legends Block: King Tubby, Toots Hibbert, Peter Tosh, Augustus Pablo. It's difficult not to be consumed by the vibe and musical legacy as you turn the key; but, you'd agree, we reckon, that lusty applause for the art installation would be in order.
Equally appealing at Geejam is the three-bedroom Sanwood Villa
3 Uber Deluxe Cabins
1 Studio Producer's Suite
Cocosan 6 bedrooms
Panaroma 4 bedrooms
Special local rates are available:
1-876-322-7000 (whatsapp text only)
1-888-443-3526 (toll free (US & Canada)
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