Jade Seahorse is the result of one couples purposeful direction to create a totally unique resort.

Some say that a directionless man on a summer break; a wandering art instructor, more interested in love than real estate was the founder, but others say that Julia was the rock on which this unique resort arose. Soon after meeting Julia their efforts became combined and focused to include property and the artists returned in them both. Over many moons, in their quest to satisfy his their respect for increasing practical challenges, such as purchasing the house,

Julia says “ we’ve shared, for what seems now over a hundred years, and enjoy constantly evolving and expanding our dream”. Jade Seahorse grew into their vision, for without that, and some gentle combined efforts, it would never have arrived.

Neil and Julia Keller, owners of the Jade Seahorse, have spent over twenty years expanding their business from the original Fruit Shake Village and Treetanic Bar to include a gourmet restaurant and private cabin for overnight accommodations.  Originally, Neil split his time between Los Angeles, where he taught school, and Utila.  Upon his return to the island every spring, he would immediately dive into the construction and landscaping of the property.  By the fall of 2000, things had developed to the point that Neil and Julia needed to work on this project fulltime and when Neil gave up his teaching they grew from strength to strength..

Neil obsessed about decorating the Jade Seahorse.  He spent hours at yard sales in Los Angeles collecting materials with which to work.  When he and Julia traveled Central America, particularly Guatemala and Honduras, he always had any eye out for objects to use.  What has revolved is an almost psychedelic array of meticulous designs utilizing everything in the garden both natural and manmade.

Broken bits of ceramics and marbles form intricate mosaics on walls,, up trees and around cement foundations randomly constructed in the yard.  Whole plates and bottles stack one upon the other to create the illusion of rather inebriated gingerbread Christmas trees.  Conch and other seashells accent the eclectic shapes that colorfully spill out from everywhere.  In the center of all this mad creation sits a huge arch, so elaborately decorated, it has the aura of being in a cavern with jeweled stalactites hanging from above.  Even spiders seem inspired to create more formidable webs.  As Neil explains, “The architecture and landscaping reflects a history of experiments whose purpose seems to add up to nor more or less than to call attention to itself.”

According to their website, the “Jade” of Jade Seahorse refers to the fabulous Mayan stone so deeply revered by ancient and modern native peoples of Central America.  The “Seahorse,” equally intriguing and unique, was Neil’s fascination for years.  “The marriage of the two distinctly independent yet alluring forms of nature reflect the union of Neil and Julia themselves, attractive opposites whose bond remains as firm as their original vision of Jade Seahorse.”

Like a child changing daily, the Jade Seahorse begs to be revisited because it is always evolving and something will always be a little different, a little novel, and a little extra.  Neil readily admits that “this project will never be finished as it is an ongoing project of work that constantly provides the reward of attracting tourists to their amazing little island of Utila.”

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