Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel, Jamaica, is a popular Kingston based hotel. Just like Pegasus and AC Marriott, it is popular for the staging of events and its night life. One significant difference is that this one is entertainment geared. For example, it has a casino. Most hotels in Kingston, you cannot just pop up saying you’re there for entertainment. It is also reasonable, and based at a central and convenient location, so it is also a good option for an extended city stay. Terra Nova is located on Waterloo Road, Kingston, which is in close proximity to Half Way Tree, which is the capital of St. Andrew – Kingston’s twin parish. This is what contributes to it’s geo-convenience. With this, the hotel is surrounded by a great deal of social and business amenities.
One of it’s closest attractions is Devon House. Of course we couldn’t have visited Terra Nova without buying ice-cream at Devon House. It is the best ice-cream brand in Jamaica, and one of the best flavors in the world!
The good news is, it is in walking distance. If you’re not used to the streets of Kingston or Jamaica, we wouldn’t recommend you walking until you read this: how to stay safe while visiting Jamaica.
History of Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel
Based on the architecture and artefacts at Terra Nova, you can easily tell that it is a very old building. It is perhaps the oldest hotel in Jamaica. Or one of. We did our research, and learnt that it was once a colonial mansion for one of Jamaica’s wealthiest families, built in 1924. The great house was a wedding gift from Harold Alexander to his wife. They lived there for a period of time, until it was sold…twice. In 1959, it was officially opened as a hotel and restaurant.
Extended Stay at Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel
Just like other hotels in Kingston. They are either opened up to the general public due to their features, or persons, especially those on business trips can stay overnight or for an extended duration. If you’re booking for overnight, complementary breakfast and unlimited internet are included in the package. It is telling that this is primarily a business hotel however. Upon entering, there is a staircase that leads to the upper floor. Located on the second floor are:
- Terra Nova Suite
- Directors Suite
- Executive Suite
- Blue Room
- Club Room
- Board Room
- Starlight Roof Terrace
These facilities are more exclusive. It is however telling that the rooms on the second floor were once the living territories for the original owners. The first thing I said when I entered the lobby area is that the lobby feels like a living room, and the staircase that winds upward gives royalty/British vibes. It somewhat felt like a palace. Funny enough, I’ve never been in one, but I just know. When I went upstairs, it felt a bit spooky. It gives this old house, with a lot of historical story vibes, like the Rose Hall Great House.
Strict Security Policies
Unfortunately, we couldn’t take photos of the suites. In fact, we couldn’t take any photos of some sections of the facility. The property is under high surveillance. This is stringent to the point where, even while walking with cameras, they told us that we cannot enter some facilities with them. Every inch of the property has a conspicuous surveillance camera. They didn’t even care to make them less obvious. Additionally, they put up signs everywhere, warning that you are being watched. It’s a wonder there weren’t any in the bedrooms, but who knows? I wouldn’t be surprised. The feeling of being watched was creepier than the building being potentially haunted.
Thankfully, the sections on the ground floor where the bedrooms are don’t feels as spooky, as the apparent older ones. The winged facilities such as the bedrooms and gaming lounge seemed newer, though obviously still old. The room was spacious and somewhat regal, with a bit of modern touch, i.e the lighting and fixtures. Interestingly, I didn’t realize there was a hidden closet behind the mirror. I think that was pretty cool. A part from that, everything else was just the same. The fridge however was old fashioned. It seemed like the one with the iron at the back, because we felt heat whenever we opened the fridge door. I was even wondering if the heat was coming from the freezer. Honorable mention, there was a Samsung Smart TV. We don’t see that often at hotels and resorts. The bathroom was similar to some of the other hotels/resorts we’ve visited. However, a difference is that this one had a weighing scale, but it didn’t work for me. Last but not least, the complementary water. It was such a nice gesture, but sadly, it tasted like tap water.
Upon entering the property, you can see that it was a colonial house – from the flags present, to the sculptures. There is this sculpture of a horse with an Englishman infront it at the entrance. There is also a big yard space. The property is said to be approximately 2.5 acres. Inside, the regal theme continues – old floor and carpets, old looking furniture and fixtures, old winding staircase, and old bells. I won’t assume the significance the bells hold, but they were creepy too.
Being the observant person I am, I keenly studied the fixtures and their symbolism. In the lobby, there is a fixture with two black maid sculpted, and yes, painted in black, holding a duster, and holding up a countertop on their heads. There are also uncanny wooden sculptures in the passage leading to the bedrooms, and uncanny paper mache and wall art throughout the building.
Besides, there are other facilities/attractions on the property such as a makeshift stream with koi fish, a pool and a gym.
Terra Nova is very popular and highly marketed when it comes on to the staging of events. They do not directly market themselves, but when event organizers market their events, some of which host reputable events, Terra Nova receives the traction for it. This is how I knew where it was located, even before visiting there, I as well knew about some of the features that they have – e.g. Regency Bar and Lounge. I’ve heard so much about there!
In addition to that I’ve been there twice, not as a visitor, but an event patron. The events I’ve been to priorly were held in a tent by the pool side. Don’t underestimate it being a tent however. Inside is well air conditioned and decorated. If you should just land inside the venue without travelling from outside, there is no way you could tell that it’s a tent.
When we were there a wedding was being held, so for the first evening, we couldn’t access that area. That’s one of the cons. The area where those large scale events are held is the area where the pool and gym are, which is not very keen. This is because people who book the area for closed off events don’t necessarily book the additional facilities, but those who book the actual facilities may not be able to use them, due to the area being marked off for a closed external event.
Terra Nova has a gaming lounge called Monte Carlo Gaming Lounge. It is one of the largest and most popular amongst those in the upper and middle class. It is a Vegas-styled casino for the betting and gaming enthusiasts. You can enjoy off-track horse betting and casino games – the most popular ones worldwide. Winnings are in USD too, but seems like a challenge. Who knows? You just might be one of the lucky ones.
Inside the gaming lounge is a bar and lounge. Those who don’t wish to gamble can hang out there. They have TVs and very comfortable seating. It is a bar where you can order snacks such as sandwiches, burgers, wings and sides dishes.
That is one night-out option. Outside that, you can chill or party at the infamous Regency Bar and Lounge. The architecture and fixtures are so beautiful. It adds to the regal look. Personally, I love regal and traditional designs. Unfortunately, this is one of the areas where photos couldn’t be taken, but you can have a look on their page here. Thankfully, we’ve managed to take photos of the meal and drink. The chicken and cheese sandwich they served was sooo delicious and filling!
There are a variety of dining options to choose from at Terra Nova. There is The Terrace, which is the main dining location on the front balcony, Regency Bar and Lounge, Regency Restaurant, and the Gaming Lounge Bar. In addition, they offer a service where you can order take out, with it being delivered to your home or office. The Regency Restaurant has a regal vibe to it, and seems to have been the official dining room for the first mansion owners. Based on the timeframe we were staying, and the dining options to choose from, we didn’t try out the Regency Restaurant, however, we did dine at the Gaming Lounge.
Overall, I think Terra Nova does well with snacks. Exhibit A, the chicken and cheese sandwich at Regency, and their sandwich at the gaming lounge bar. Though the one at Regency tasted better, the one at the gaming lounge bar was still good.
We also realize that many people, especially older people randomly meet or hangout at Terra Nova, even if it’s not a business or special occasion, or they come there to have breakfast, then leave. So people aren’t only eating out for dinner, they also visit solely to have breakfast.
I’m glad to have finally experienced Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel outside of attending events within the tent. I’ve always seen the other facilities, and wondered what was inside. I previously didn’t know the history behind the property, so since I’ve visited, I had gotten to see how everything came into play. Terra Nova has a lot to offer and surely has it’s audiences, however, within that short time, and based on the purpose of our visit, we wouldn’t have experienced everything, but we are sure you will. Please let us know about your stay. Leave a comment below, and follow us on Instagram.