17 Jan Galina Breeze Hotel, Jamaica
When we lived in Jamaica as Peace Corps Volunteers, it was nice to have a place where we could relax and recharge. Though clear across the island from where we lived, Galina Breeze Hotel became our oasis. If you’re traveling in northern Jamaica and looking to get a little off the beaten path, we hope to show you why this boutique hotel is close to our hearts.
The non-profit, American Caribbean Experience (also known as ACE), bought and restored the hotel about a decade ago. ACE serves the nearby communities through education, healthcare, enterprise, and discipleship programs. Galina Breeze Hotel provides jobs for the community, develops partnerships with local enterprises, and regularly hosts short-term mission teams from the States.
Our Most Recent Visit
This past December, Galina Breeze hosted us again for part of our return visit to Jamaica. It was a pleasure to see all of our friends there and also accomplish some business-related goals. ACE is actually one of our clients so we worked on gathering more content for the ACE and Galina Breeze Facebook pages. Additionally, ACE’s Founder, Marla, is generously helping us get a travel coordination business off the ground (more on that in the future).
We also brought two photographer friends with us, Ben and Connie, a married couple we are working with on a budding non-profit that will connect creative professionals with community development projects around the globe. They did such an amazing job photographing the hotel, I thought it was about time to share a hotel review and show off their work.
Bedrooms in the main hotel building are colorful and clean. An original, hand-painted picture by a local artisan adorns each room. Amenities include flatscreen TV with cable, air conditioning, ceiling fan, telephone, and shower with hot/cold water. Upper level rooms have balconies with a shared outdoor hallway that overlooks the island’s northeastern shoreline. Any combination of bed configuration can be had, including bunk beds (typically for mission teams or families). At $110 per night (for two people, including breakfast), these ocean view rooms are a great value for chronically-over-priced Jamaica.
Because of its cliff-side location, you won’t find the typical sandy beach on property. But Galina Breeze makes up for it with spectacular views, a refreshing pool, and an ocean-side sun deck with bonfire pit.
Breakfast and morning coffee/tea service is included in the room cost. Just call up to the kitchen in the morning to let them know what time you’d like to eat and if you have any food preferences. They can do an American- or Jamaican-style meal. If you have dietary needs or have something very specific in mind, let them know a couple days in advance so they can make sure to have what you need in stock. The same goes if you want to have lunch or dinner at the hotel. They can accommodate most requests but not always at the last minute. Once, when we had to catch an early bus back home, we just let the front desk know the night before and the kitchen had a take-out breakfast ready to go for us the next morning.
In addition to the standard rooms, there is also a newly remodeled one-bedroom Villa available for $190 per night. This beautifully appointed space comes with a kitchenette and relaxing private balcony.
Another favorite aspect of Galina Breeze is the jerk center on property. Located next to the front gate, this authentic Jamaican eatery draws both locals and visitors. They typically have chicken, pork, and sometimes fish on the grill as well as a small selection of Jamaican sides and your choice of beverage. (One thing you’ll learn if you go to many shops in Jamaica is the menu availability is often inconsistent.)
I absolutely love the portraits our friends took of the hotel staff in action- below are some of my favorites. The highlight of our 2+ years in Jamaica was definitely the people, so if you have a chance to visit, make sure to get to know the Jamaicans! I asked many of the Galina Breeze staff what they like best about working at the hotel and many of them talked about the community outreach. They like being a part of a place that is making a difference. In fact, the hotel staff does a weekly visit to serve a meal at their local infirmary together.
If you want to experience the real Jamaica, if you want to support an establishment that has a long-term commitment to serving the community, if you want to experience Jamaica’s simple-rustic beauty, if you want an affordable place to stay with the basic amenities, then Galina Breeze Hotel in St. Mary is the place for you.
Photo credit for all images in this post: Dreamspace Collective
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