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Lakes at Moneague, Jamaica

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Daily Gleaner 1917

Daily Gleaner 1917 Jan 20



Beautiful Expanse of Crystal Clear Water Some 4 Miles Long


Moneague Hotel has Been Modernised by Mr. Ben Oliphant


Jamaica, the land of perpetual sunshine, has now got in her midst another phenomenon.  It is a beautiful fresh water lake extending fully four miles in length with an expanse of about half a mile.  It is the most marvellous thing I have ever seen; and no words of mine can accurately describe this wonder!  I had heard vague reports of the existence of the lake, but I was of the opinion that this broad expanse of water was mainly the overflow of some gully or stream due to the recent heavy rains.  I had conversed with several people about the lake and I was still sceptical about the whole matter until I met Mr. Ben Oliphant one day last week.  He assured me that I would be surprised -- would be delighted -- to behold a picture the like of which I had never seen before.  I told him of my tour on the Gatun Lakes on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal and it was with the assurance that I would see something equally good, if not better, that I accepted his invitation to spend a week at the Moneague hotel.


I detrained at Ewarton and was conversing about the beauty spots of Jamaica with a gentleman who was travelling with me to Moneague, when the chauffeur of the motor car in which I was travelling called our attention to the lakes.  We were then about two miles from the town of Moneague and outstretched and extending up the valley was


surrounded by lovely hills and palm trees with ferns and wild flowers along the edges of the banks.  Then I realized the Moneague Lake was a reality -- a thing of joy; and I came out and watched the rippling waters for fully half an hour; I was fascinated!


I had not been to Moneague for close upon seven years and to the entire atmosphere to me seemed somewhat changed.  St. Ann, the garden parish, has always had an attraction for me.  As a youngster I can recall spending some of the happiest days of my life in the parish, sporting in child-like fashion up hill and down dale; but as I drove along this particular afternoon the climate seemed ever so much more bracing and I wonder how those who toil amidst the dust and heat  of a city like Kingston -- those who have to endure the eternal grind -- do not go thither to be refreshed and revived.


Moneague hotel of today is different to what it was seven or eight years ago.  It is still perched on a hill; fanned on all sides by balmy breezes and affording the visitor some of the finest sceneries that one could wish to behold.  But when I went over the building I could scarcely realize the marvellous improvements which had taken place.  The hotel is still owned by the Government, but the ruling authorities can claim no credit for the change that has taken place.  Full credit is due only to that energetic and popular young man, Mr. Ben Oliphant, who has put his money and brain into this hotel enterprise and has thus made it a success.  What was a white elephant has to-day been converted into a valuable asset and now the Moneague hotel is voted one of the best equipped hotels in the island and by far the most picturesquely situated.


A tour through the hotel convinced me that there has been a large capital outlay in carrying out the improvements I saw.  The old kerosine lamps have been replaced by acetyline gas, the bed rooms are comfortably furnished and the general appearance of the whole place at once told of the comfort which awaits the visitor.  Careful study of the hotel business has convinced Mr. Oliphant that he has only to


and at the same time happy and his success is assured.  And of a truth  he has commanded success.  There is no conventionality at Moneague -- no fringes or make-up in the management.  You get a "square deal" and once you go there it is your desire to return again.  The climate is alluring, the arrangements for your comfort are unsurpassed and the rates which you pay are very reasonable.  One can therefore readily understand why this health resort is so popular not only amongst winter tourists but to the best Jamaica families who periodically spend week ends and summer holidays at the hotel and cottages.

I was agreeably surprised to find on my arrival at the hotel last Saturday fully 62 guests registered there including some of our best known business and professional gentlemen, their wives and daughters.  And what a glorious week end it was.  Some of them had journeyed over to Moneague early on Saturday morning by motor car, and just here I should like to point out that the uncertainty of motor traffic getting across the Bridge at Bog Walk and "hold ups" at the Flat Bridge after heavy rains have tended somewhat to impede the business of Mr. Oliphant.  He has succeeded; he is still succeeding, but his success would be greater if these drawbacks could be removed.  As it was, on Saturday last it was most irritating to motorists to find that they could not get across the Bog Walk Bridge although they were assured by officials of the Public Works Department that they could.  Definite intimation has since been given, however, that the bridge is closed to traffic, and those who do not care to journeyed by train to Ewarton -- where motor cars and reliable buggies meet each train -- can still go to Moneague hotel, journeying via the St. John's Road.

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