Wed | Jan 23, 2019

Takuma Boutique Hotel in Mt Zion - Where history meets pleasure

Published:Monday | December 10, 2018 | 12:32 AMCecelia Campbell -Livingston/Gleaner Writer

On Christmas day this year, former elite Jamaican tennis player turn hotelier Delroy Allen will have the perfect ‘gift’ for those looking to relax and enjoy a nice escape in luxury and style in Western Jamaica.

Dubbed a hidden gem, the Takuma Boutique Hotel will open its doors to the public for the first time on December 25.

The family-owned hideaway is nestled in the quiet, cool hills of Mt Zion, a close-knit community in Montego Bay that has a rich history rooted in Jamaica’s colonial past. The hotel is minutes away from The Rosehall Great House and is adjacent to the historic Mount Zion Presbyterian Church that was built in 1838 by Allen's great great grandfather and other slaves.

“It has always been a dream of mine to build a hotel in the community where I grew up," Allen said of the long, determined road to seeing his dream realised.

"It's my way of giving back to the community and the country that gave me all that I have acquired today. It took 10 years to complete but I was focused on the big picture from day one. That has never shifted. I overcame many challenges and different obstacles along the way, but thank God I can now see the light," he said.  

Guests who opt to stay at his hotel will enjoy a panoramic view of the lush mountainside, the famous Rosehall Golf Course and a breathtaking view of the Caribbean Sea. They will also learn about the rich history of the Mt Zion community where Allen's ancestors grew up and which reggae greats like Coco Tea, Garnet Silk and the Robert Nesta Marley have sang about in their songs.

“Takuma is more than just a hotel for me. It is part of the dynamic culture of the people of Mt Zion. It is our history, it is the place reggae superstars sing about. It's all that and so much more rolled into one package,” he shared.  

Allen, who grew up in Mount Zion, is the great great grand son of Takuma, a prominent and feared spiritual healer who allegedly led the demise of 18th-Century plantation owner Annie Palmer, the White Witch of Rosehall.

He told The Gleaner that at age of six, he received an enlightening dream that led him to research the rich history of his ancestors. The findings, which are deeply intertwined with the renowned history of Rosehall and the Mt Zion community, saw the birthing of Takuma Boutique Hotel -his ancestral dream.

"I saw Mt Zion in a vision which is being revealed in this hotel. The manifestation of that dream will be realised on Christmas Day this year when we open our doors to the public for the first time," he said.

Phase one of Takuma Hotel comprises a penthouse, 15 rooms and five beautifully decorated suites that showcase aspects of Jamaica’s vibrant culture in a modern-day setting. Phase two of the project will be launched in the near future.

According to Allen, guests staying at the property will be having fun selecting from a fully equipped suite (state-of-the-art appliances, cooking/eating utensils) that is uniquely decorated and bears the name of a historic landmark in Mount Zion. Guests can use the facilities for weddings and others milestone celebrations.

“Our suites are airy and offer the best of modern-day comfort. Culturally inspired furnishings feature tasteful drapes, crisp clean linen, natural fibre wicker made in Mount Zion and dark wood furniture. The sleek, modern bathrooms feature splendid ceramic tiles and chrome fixtures. Guests can relax on the balconies and take in the splendid views. They can stay connected with complimentary Wi-Fi in your guestrooms,” he beamed with a note of pride in his voice.

The Jamaican-born entrepreneur who has lived abroad for more than two decades, shuttles between his home in the USA and Mt Zion, his home away from home in Jamaica. He is still very active in sports, running a tennis academy in Boston, where he tutors future tennis stars in the finesse of the game.

"I was fortunate to learn this beautiful game at Half Moon Hotel while I was a youngster in Mt Zion. I hope one day to build a few tennis courts there where I can pass on the knowledge I have acquired over the years to youths in the community. There is so much work to be done in Mt Zion. Thank God I am ready for the challenge." he said.