TAKUMA BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN THE NEWS
Takuma Boutique Hotel—A Hidden Gem: Phase 1
Scheduled for December 25, 2018
The Community of Mt Zion is about to undergo a major socio-economic shift as Delroy Allen, one of Jamaica’s former elite tennis professionals and businessman returns home with a master plan to revitalize the community, with the opening of Takuma Boutique Hotel—the first in Mt Zion.
Delroy Allen is a member of the Mount Zion community and he believes, based on his ancestral history, that Takuma, a prominent and feared spiritual healer alleged to have led to the demise of Annie Palmer, is his great-great grandfather. At the 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 to the birthing of Takuma Boutique Hotel—his ancestral dream.
Nestled amongst lush vegetation in historic Mt Zion, just minutes away from The Rosehall Great House and adjacent to the historic Mount Zion Presbyterian Church built in 1838, this unique gem is perfect for travelers who seek adventure, and yearn to experience island living from the vantage point of the locals.
Takuma Boutique Hotel boasts a penthouse and five beautifully decorated suites that showcase aspects of Jamaica’s vibrant culture in a modern-day setting. Guests will have fun choosing a fully equipped suite (with state-of-the-art appliances) or guestroom that is uniquely decorated and bears the name of a historic landmark in Mount Zion. The suites are airy and offer the best of modern-day comfort. Culturally inspired furnishings feature tasteful drapes, crisp clean linen, natural fiber wicker made in Mount Zion and dark wood furniture. The sleek, modern bathrooms feature splendid ceramic tiles and chrome fixtures.
Guests will rise and shine each morning to the sounds and scents of nature, relax in comfy armchairs on the balconies and take in breathtaking views of the mountains and Caribbean Sea or stay connected with complimentary Wi-Fi in their rooms at this charming hideaway.
Suites can be rented with a personal chef and butler or guests may tantalize their taste buds with authentic dishes prepared in Takoo’s Kitchen—an open-air a la carte restaurant offering lunch and dinner, featuring first-rate Caribbean cuisine prepared over traditional wood-fire, or at The View Restaurant – an open air/balcony a la carte restaurant offering an eclectic fusion menu with a Caribbean flair— with nature as its backdrop. And if guests are not yet ready to dine, they may order cocktails from The Cool Breeze Sports Bar, while they catch up on the latest in sports and entertainment.
Sha’Carri Offered Free Jamaican Vacation to Slow Down
Gleaner News Paper August 24, 2021
American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson.
After sputtering to last place behind a trio of Jamaican sprinters in a hyped clash in Eugene, Oregon, on Saturday, Sha’Carri Richardson has been offered a complimentary vacation to the island as an olive branch.
Richardson engaged in a post-race tirade to journalists after being whipped in the 100m by eventual winner Elaine Thompson Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson. Delroy Allen, owner and managing director of Takuma Boutique Hotel in Montego Bay, extended a complimentary one-week, all-inclusive vacation stay for the American sprinter, whose 30-day suspension excluded her from participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after testing positive for marijuana.
Allen, who is based in Boston in the United States but hails from Mount Zion, views Richardson “as a talented but troubled athlete in deep pain” desperately in need of spiritual and emotional renewal. He said that the vacation offer was the Christian thing to do. “I know of the challenges that athletes sometimes face, and it is in the spirit of goodwill for her healing and restoration that I am making this offer,” Allen told The Gleaner.
“We’re a forgiving people, and the right and human thing to do is to push the unfortunate comments aside and help this young lady find her feet.” The boutique hotel is named after Allen’s great-great-grandfather.
– Dave Rodney
Takuma Boutique Hotel and Tours takes guests on wild, Historical ride - Gleaner News Paper October 31, 2021
There is treasure waiting to be discovered in Mount Zion, St James, said Delroy Allen, managing director of Takuma Boutique Hotel and Tours. Allen is also the great-great-grandson of Takuma, the White Witch of Rose Hall, Annie Palmer’s last lover, who was believed to have orchestrated her death and freed slaves on the plantations.
“Here in the biblical hills of holy Mount Zion, which has been around for over 200 years, since the days of slavery, there is actual treasure, silver and gold, hidden. This treasure is that of Takuma, also referred to as Takoo,” Allen told The Sunday Gleaner.
“When I was six years old, my ancestor dreamt to me to educate people about the
history of the land, find the treasure and to build a legacy in his name,” he continued.
A five-story hotel now sits on the property, replacing the two-bedroom, two-window, wooden house where Allen, his four siblings and mother lived. On the heels of introducing the hotel to the public, the Allen family planned a special ‘treasure hunt’ tour for representatives of the media, which included veteran radio and television broadcaster Fae Ellington as well as Miss Jamaica World 1978, Joan McDonald.
Armed with a metal detector, Allen wasted no time and shouted “Day oh!”, signaling that the tour was about to begin. And like all great stories about mystery, history, adventure, and modern romance, it began with a tour of the ancient church at the center of the community. The Mount Zion United Church, which was founded in 1838, still stands firm and neighbors the Mount Zion Primary School. It was built by slaves, and one of the church’s prominent parishioners was, reputedly, Annie Palmer.
“Our guests have the opportunity to go to church as we believe it’s important to call
on the spirits for our protection,” Delroy said.
The trek is approximately two and three-quarter miles from the church, starting out on foot through backyards then on to the ranch nestled in a patchwork of hedgerows and luminous grassland. Takoo’s treasure, he claims, is further in the hills. Guests were provided with three options; to do the tour by foot, horseback, or off-road vehicles. It was definitely one wild ride, going uphill on horseback proving much more difficult than the walk downhill at the end of the journey. No silver or gold was found. Though the treasure hunt was unsuccessful, there were sentimental rewards from gaining new knowledge of the community’s history and interacting with the residents, and last, but certainly not least, the tranquil view of the lush countryside and the shimmering azure of the Caribbean Sea from the top of the hill.
“The tour is just getting started, but we want when more of our local fruits like naseberry, sweet sop, guinep, papaya, and mangoes are in season, for guests to be able to pick and sample them as part of the educational aspect of the tour. They can also arrange to visit local farms. I recommend doing the tour on foot as one of our core values is to encourage healthy living and staying fit,” Allen said.
Coleen Allen, his wife and the interior designer responsible for the layout of each suite at the hotel, explained that as a family, they agreed that guests should be exposed to the historical background of Mount Zion and experience local culture and tradition, but that “it is also important that they do so in comfort”.
“Our goal was to create a decor that is warm, vibrant, and cheerful and showcases aspects of Jamaican culture. It was also important that each suite be unique as we want new and repeat guests to have a different experience regarding their accommodations. Most of the furniture was made, and or, purchased in Jamaica, including Mount Zion as we believe in supporting our local craftsmen and businesses,” she added.
The Takuma Boutique Hotel reveals rooms with unique layouts yet still maintaining a sense of harmony with the overall feel and style. There are four two-bedroom suites, and each bears the name of a historical landmark or figure in the community:
Mango Bush, Short Cut, Banana Spring, and Jabula Hill. The two one-bedrooms are named Waterfall and Exchange.
“We wanted to set ourselves apart from the ‘big box hotels’ by offering guests an up-close and personal experience of local living and lifestyle, so we opted for a modern feel where each room is different but still included aspects of the culture such as furnishings made from wicker and wood,” Coleen Allen said.
“Mount Zion is a close-knit community that has a rich history rooted in Jamaica’s colonial past where Delroy’s ancestors grew up and which reggae greats like Coco Tea, Garnet Silk, and the great Robert Nesta Marley have revered in their songs. Our hotel is the perfect place to offer visitors a taste of community tourism and local living, and it was only fitting that the hotel be named after Takuma,” she continued
Takoo’s Calabash Kitchen – A taste of authentic Jamaican fare - Gleaner News Paper November 4, 2021
Restaurants promising an appetizing Jamaican menu are a dime a dozen, but the most memorable ones are those that are able to provide that authentic, cultural, and comfortable dining experience. It was refreshing to discover a charming café like Takoo’s Calabash Kitchen nestled at the centre of Mount Zion, St James, after veering off A1 on the North Coast Highway on to a rough road which led into a forested area.
The eatery is located on the grounds of the well-kept Takuma Boutique Hotel and is visible from the entrance. The cool country air flows freely through its bamboo and thatch structure, adding that welcoming touch, and somewhat gastronomical sensation, as the flavours of foods being cooked over an open fire gets blended in.
Surrounded by fertile earth and lush greenery, the establishment offers seating close to the culinary activities, allowing guests to observe the preparation or under one of its many ackee and breadfruit trees where food may be enjoyed communally.
Chefs Rall Thompson and Gary Patterson offer their expert services to the restaurant and hotel, never giving up an opportunity to share stories of how they started and the strangest requests they have received.
The appetizers prepared were the traditional bammy, salt fish fritters and plantains, but the signature dip was like none other, a balance between tangy, spicy and sweet and combined with each ‘fried treat’ differently.
The culinary journey is just as exciting as the tour through the hills of Mount Zion that the hotel owners offer. And the chef was not to be left out of it. He prepared a special soup du jour he dubbed ‘Power Wata’, instead of its usual culinary label of mannish water served once the guests reached a certain point in the natural forest of pimento and bamboo trees.
“It’s for stan-ima,” joked Chef Thompson as he shared the hearty mixture into the cups. “Goat head soup is the best choice for a trip or any activity that takes a lot of our energy, especially the men.”
Most of the ingredients used to create the dishes are either grown on the grounds or lands encircling the property without harmful pesticides. “The meals served at Takuma Boutique Hotel and Takoo’s Calabash Kitchen are, if not all, mostly organic, prepared from fresh produce harvested from the gardens of local farmers, and residents with small enterprises walked to our kitchen and crafted into traditional mouth-watering dishes by our first-rate local culinary staff,” said Coleen Campbell-Allen, a manager at the establishment.
Some of the flavoursome foods plated throughout the day included curried goat (the same goat whose head was used to make the potent ‘Powa Wata’), jerked chicken and escoveitch fried fish, with rice and peas, roasted breadfruit and salad.
Guests can also purchase the farm-fresh food items to prepare their own meals or request the services of any of the chefs, Campbell-Allen said. She promised that all guests or customers passing through leave with a full stomach and a wealth of knowledge by the end of any day. And that was true! The chefs also made themselves available to give a quick, hands-on lesson on the steps to take when roasting breadfruits.
– Stephanie Lyew