Spot Cool Stuff has not seen the movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back. But we’ve seen where Stella got her groove back — at My Time ‘N’ Place, a wonderful little cottage bed and breakfast-y type of place on the northern coast of Jamaica.
My Time ‘N’ Place owes its existence to the movie industry. And to its gregarious and entrepreneurial owner, Tony.
It all began when Tony built a cabin to rent out to the crew of Passion and Paradise, which was being filmed on the parcel of beach next door to his. After the movie crew left, Tony rented out his single cabin to tourists. And so it was until the location scouts for How Stella Got Her Groove Back came calling. Tony’s property was perfect for Stella, they said. Perfect in every way . . . except for the fact that the script required for a resort with four cabins. And so Tony built three more. (A fifth cabin will be completed by the time you read this.)
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In the years since Stella was filmed, the beach east of My Time ‘N’ Place has seen significant development. An FDR Pebbles Resort opened next door and a new Breezes Resort is a 10 minute beach walk from that. Breezes has a little islandet (photo, below) that you can walk out to and kick back with a Red Stripe (even if you aren’t a guest). Otherwise, neither resort has much to recommended it. (One guest described the rooms at the Breezes as “grim and moldy.”)
My Time ‘N’ Place is the antithesis of those — and most any — high end resort. The accommodations here are all built from wood and mostly constructed by Tony himself. Cabins are clean and practical, though hardly luxurious. The doors and windows aren’t flush when closed. The supposed hot water isn’t. Your bed might or might not come with a top sheet.
Breakfast, included in the price, consists of Tony inviting you to his ramshackled sand-floor home. There he has a pot of coffee, a toaster, a gas stove and a refrigerator full of eggs, milk and cheese. There are makings for pancakes. There’s fruit on the table and cooked porridge. Whatever you want to eat you prepare yourself. Make yourself at home. Shirts and shoes are strictly optional.
As for dinner, it is served outside on the beach by a bond fire. When the cook is working, that is. Optionally, a My Time ‘N’ Place staff member will drive you to a beach-front joint frequented almost exclusively by Jamaicans. It is a sort of place where the whole community gathers — kids playing football/soccer in the parking lot, old men hovering over backgammon in the corner, young couples flirting at the tables. A meal of “fish tea” (a sort of soup with conch and other seafood) and an entire freshly caught fish stuffed with spices will set you back a whole US$3.50.
If you come expecting western standards you’ll be disappointed. But stay here with the intention of kicking back, going with the flow and getting sand between your toes and you’ll find that My Time ‘N’ Place is indeed that sort of special place where you can get your groove back too.
Planning your stay
Getting there: My Time ‘N’ Place is about a 30 minute taxi ride from the Montego Bay International airport — transport booked through Tony costs US$50. For a more local (and much less expensive) experience take a shared taxi to Falmouth and then another to any point east on the A1/A3 (eg. Ocho Rios) and tell the driver to drop you at My Time ‘N’ Place.
Cabin options: Absolutely stay in the “Bird’s Nest,” a treehouse-esque cabin above the beach if it is available. The beach-front cabin #4 is your second best option, and then the garden-surrounded cabin #2. Nightly rates start around $80 in the high season, $60 in the low.
Area activities: Sit back and enjoy. The beach directly in front of My Time ‘N’ Place is a bit seaweed-y. Walk west along the shore for 90 seconds and you’ll likely find an idyllic stretch of sand to have all to yourself. Tony will help you arrange local excursions including a cave walk and a night time boat trip over glowing waters of the Luminous Lagoon (see below).