23.3 GEEJAM HOTEL BY CORNERSTONE DESIGN
Geejam is a small and very private boutique hotel located on the lush tropical 6-acre San San Estate close to Port Antonio on the north coast of Jamaica. The Geejam website claims that the Jamaican press as one of the “top ten most fascinating places to hang out”. On the property are a handful of deluxe cabins and villas, recording studio, healing spa, swimming pool, gym and Bushbar.
Geejam strives to achieve a balance between modern conveniences and technology and the natural beauty within a tropical rainforest setting. Cornerstone designed a few of the feature elements, some new and others renovated while the remaining buildings were part of the existing estate.
The entrance gate is designed to underscore that Geejam is a ‘private’ hotel. The gate is a solid timber ensuring complete privacy and entrance is by appointment. Once you get through the main gate and drive along the driveway you arrive at a small car park because he site is quite hilly so there is limited parking for visitors.
Bushbar is a timber bar and restaurant pavilion perched on the hillside overlooking the Caribbean within a lush tropical landscape. The setting vreated by Cornerstone is quite contemporary but appropriately designed to fit within its densely forested setting with views overlooking the coastline below. Bright red cushions are the only colorful elements used aside from the darkly stained hardwood floors and timber siding. Dining is limited less than a dozen timber slatted tables. The pavilion is completely open for the birds to fly through except when the blinds are dropped during inclement weather
Sanwood is a split-level 3-bedroom cottage with a private pool and patio, designed in a tropical Hacienda style with contemporary interiors. The bedroom suites on the upper level enjoy private patios that have views overlooking the Caribbean.
There were three challenges that had to be overcome in photographing the Bushbar. First there was a poorly designed roof [by others] over the restaurant terrace and this significantly reduced the number of compositions to capture. To resolve this challenge the compositions were tightly controlled so as to avoid the unwanted interventions and images of the overall bar area. Secondly, the weather that day was quite inclement and at one point the blinds had to be dropped to keep out the driving torrential rains. During this period it was necessary to shift our focus from Bushbar to the interiors of Sanwood. Finally photographing dark wood against a bright backgrounds introduced flare and contrast that meant bracketing exposures was essential – fortunately the Hasselblad H4D – 50 MP has a 12-stop dynamic range to play with.
Meals and drinks were pretty good too!