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“Terrific place to stay in Montserrat!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Gingerbread Hill

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Gingerbread Hill
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Virgin Island Road | P.O. Box 246, Montserrat   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Montserrat
Ottawa, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Terrific place to stay in Montserrat!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2008

My wife and I visited Montserrat during the New Year’s holiday. We found the island and its people to be very welcoming, and this friendliness was reflected in our stay at Gingerbread Hill and its hosts, David and Clover Lea.

Montserrat as a destination is an adventure and not for those who simply wish to sit around and be catered to. However, if you are looking for a fantastically unique experience of a culture which likely will over time become more like other developed islands in the Caribbean, Montserrat is the destination of choice.

Montserrat is still a British Colony, or to use the current terminology, a British Overseas Territory. Having lived in England for seven years, there were hints of this in signage and driving habits, but otherwise the pace of life here appears to be quite relaxed and therefore relaxing to visitors.

Getting to the island is an adventure in of itself – navigating the airport in Antigua and the flight on an island-hopper twin prop plane was part of the experience! Be sure to pack some extra clothes and toiletries in a carry on as we did not receive our luggage at the same time we arrived to Montserrat. Thankfully the Leas were gracious and kind enough to help get our luggage to us within 2 days. The currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar and our Canadian bank card worked fine in the only international instant teller / cashpoint machine on the island – at the local branch of the Royal Bank of Canada.

We chose to stay at Gingerbread Hill after doing our due diligence on Tripadvisor and chose the “Heavenly Suite.” We were charmed by the layout of this one-bedroom apartment with its large kitchen and panoramic views over the island and the Caribbean waters. We thought that the apartment was much larger and nicer than it appears on their website and the view more spectacular. David Lea met us at the airport and gave us a briefing of what we needed to know to enjoy our stay on the island, even stopping at a grocery store on the way in from the airport so we could pick up some essentials. Gingerbread Hill offers to arrange a rental car and we would strongly recommend this. Although Montserrat is a small island, its hills make it very difficult to cover without wheels – unless of course you are a triathelete!

We also took advantage of purchasing the island tour (by car) offered by Sonny Lea. This was one of the best experiences of our visit as Sonny is a terrific guide and has a wealth of information about his home island. He spent several hours covering the accessible areas of Montserrat and bringing us to several vantage points where we could see the volcano (still steaming away), the buried capital of Plymouth, the former airport, now deserted, the MVO, and other parts of the island affected by the volcano’s eruption over ten years ago. We also took up the opportunity to share a meal with the Lea family which was both reasonably priced and fun. There was no shortage of interesting and stimulating conversation. It was also very convenient to have access to laundry facilities right where we were staying.

One slight drawback of our visit was that because we visited over the New Year holiday, many of the restaurants on the island were closed. Nevertheless, grocery stores were open and close by and the fully furnished kitchen made it easy to cook our meals. One restaurant where we ate and would highly recommend for a treat (as it was a bit pricy) was the Royal Palm Club – we enjoyed an excellent meal and terrific conversations with the owner and our waiter.

All in all it was a terrific experience!

Patrick & Julia

  • Liked — Friendliness of the hosts David and Clover Lea and the view and the size of the accomodation!
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Guildford
Top Contributor
158 reviews 158 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 82 cities Reviews in 82 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2007

We have visited Montserrat twice before on day trips from Antigua, but wanted to stay overnight. David Lea took us on an island tour once before, so knowing he and his family ran Gingerbread Hill, it was a natural choice for us.
We were absolutely delighted by this charming place. We had the villa accommodation with views over St Peters and a 270 degree panorama of the Caribbean. The accommodation was extremely comfortable, with plenty of facilities for those who want to self-cater. We chose to eat with the family, and enjoyed excellent food and great company. It was also excellent value for money. Perhaps the highlight was the veranda with humming birds and a nesting turtle dove. We slept with the doors and windows open to the soft tropical breezes.
Clover took us on a comprehensive tour of the island including volcano views, a trip to the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (a must for all amateur volcanologists), the new cultural centre, a preserved sugar mill and the commercial facilities relocated from the devastated town of Plymouth.
If you want a break away from it all and off the beaten track, this one is for you. David, Clover and their family are charming hosts, and as residents can explain how the island's population are coping with leaving in just one third of their beautiful island which is playing host to one of nature's most impressive phenomena.

  • Liked — Location and people
  • Disliked — not applicable
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2007

We were looking for a place that was a true get away from the rat race,the busy-ness and the distractions that our lives are so filled with these days that we don't have time to just be. Montserrat, and more importantly, Gingerbread Hill was just that place!

First of all, our reception by the Leas at the airport could not have been more relaxed, warm and welcoming. We felt right at home before we even got to Gingerbread Hill. And winding uphill along their tropical driveway, past rope swings and banana trees, to what would be our home for a week, we knew that we were in for a great time.

Gingerbread Hill was such a peaceful and charming place, flourishing with so much creativity that I felt I almost Had to write or paint or sing, or.....SOMEthing! From the distant morning music of neighbors' roosters and baby lambs down below, to the seranade of treefrogs that began at dusk each evening, to the thrum of hummingbirds which surround the place, we came to feel like we were back in touch with nature and real life again. And what an accommodating villa! The Leas have thought of everything, from artisitc colours to artwork, full kitchen, porch swing on the verenada which affords killer views of the sun setting over the sea. Comfy king size bed with its own veranda and hummingbirds.

The volcano, with all of its attitudes, commands one's attention and respect. Such beauty and yet such unspeakable power. Montserrat and its people have been through a lot, and we were so happy and almost honored to be able to see, first hand, the many things about this little island that make it so special. It has become a place of striking contrast, between the lush northern part of the island, (where everyone who has remained is now rebuilding their lives and living in safety,) to that dynamic volcano and its now desolate, moonscape-like surroundings. Really something to see. Bring your paints and paper!

The Montserrat people are friendly in that disarmingly refreshing, small town way, devoid of the paranoia one meets up with so often these days in other bigger places. No need to lock doors. No need to worry that you're being taken advantage of. Hitch hiking is not only legal, but one of the best ways to get around in a way that opens the door to some fun and funny people adventures you wouldn't get otherwise. The people encounters will be some you'll never forget...in a good way.

In short (or long....See, I guess i DID do some writing after all !) if you want a really cool place to stay, with the right combination of at home-ness and adventure, go to Gingerbread Hill in Montserrat.The Lea family will welcome you as their own. We came back home truly refreshed, with our faith in the good stuff renewed.

  • Liked — So beautiful and natural/ Great host family/ High speed wireless internet/ Good free dvd movies
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockville, MD
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2007

Wife and I stayed in the "Heavenly suite" on upper level of the 3 story unit. Climbing to the roof of the building a 360 degree view of the area can be had. King size bed is extra, extra, extra firm and higher than usual off the ground. Motion activated lights on stairs only works for going down the stairs. So leave the porch light on if you will be out after dark.

2 others in our party stayed in the "Villa" on the middle level. This level is wheelchair accessible. The front stairs to this unit does not have a hand rail.

The "Tree House" is no longer there.

David left for the USA the morning after we arrived. Clover and Noah left for the USA a few days into our visit.

Sonny took us for a day trip that included the volcano from two different vantage points.

The point of service hotwater devices in all the showers took a while to figure out. Christine explained that you turned them on by adjusting the water flow so that the lights in the room dimmed. This ment that the electric was being used by the heater.

The next door neighbor at the adjoining property is usually up by 6a.m. This woman shouted and used a loud voice non stop for at least an hour every morning and it continued throughout the day and evening too. Sonny and Clover explained that this has always been the case and that's just how it has been for over 20 years. So how come no one wrote about this before?? Am I the only person that has ever asked them to call Child Services to ensure the safety of the children in that home? Even after Sonny went down and asked her to lower her voice - that lasted all of 10 minutes that day.

I guess with the folks having to relocate to other areas, GingerBread is no longer an isolated property. Folks have brought livestock to this street. Roosters start at 4a.m. or earlier with goats and sheep adding to the noise level by day break. Why has no one mentioned the bottle of ear plugs next to the bed?

DVD movie collection had a nice variety.
Internet at the main house at no charge.
No swimming pool on the property.

We asked to rent a vehicle. Clover offered one of their vehicles at $35US. It was known to stall out and was taken to a service person just before we got it. The vehicle stalled several times in one day. Clover called around and got us a vehicle to use for the balance of our stay $45US.

  • Liked — Views from the roof
  • Disliked — noise level
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
switzerland
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2007

from the island of Guadeloupe, you could already see the ash-fountain of Montserrat's volcano. i admit, we were a bit scared; but after the warm welcome of Clover Lea and her son Noah at the small airport, all doubts were gone. the Lea family is very warm, extremely helpful, interested and social. Guests have the opportunity to get to know them and their many animals over a meal that Clover prepares for them.
The guesthouse is a 3 story-building.

the "Heavenly suite" on top with a 360 degree view of the rain forest, mountains and sea.

the "Villa" on the 2nd floor is a lovely Caribbean home with wrap-around veranda and a stunning view! It is wheelchair accessible.

The "Backpacker's Special" is a comfortable, small, one-room apartment next to our digital media studio. It has its own entrance and private bathroom with hot water shower. Not fancy, but clean, nice and inexpensive.

The "Tree House" room is connected to our house by a little footbridge over the banana and papaya trees. It has its own little veranda with private entrance.

David Lea has been documenting the volcanic events that have been taking place since day one, and can "show and tell" you the whole story. He takes very interesting, informative tours, knows all these details and all the secret places.

Creativity, generosity, good humor, kindness, and love float around this place- we would return without hesitation.

  • Liked — the gardens, the view, the animals, the hosts
  • Disliked — the volcanic ash everywhere
  • Tips/Secrets — hire your own car
  • Stayed May 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
little rock, ar
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2004

The place is a miniature Spanish villa with open terraces built in a lush canopy high above the sea. Soft breezes from every direction disperse mosquitos &c and assure much needed sleep--for us a welcome respite after 2 weeks sailing in cramped quarters--though Montserrat's anchorages are poor to nil now (we left our boat at English Bay in Antigua, ferrying over on the twice-daily catamaran from St. Johns). Gingerbread's owners, US expats, are thoroughly familiar with this island's people, culture and volcanic misfortunes. Mr. Lee took time to escourt us about, including a visit to the Volcano Observatory, from which we hitch-hiked back slowly over an afternoon. Hours of video shot by him (much of it shown recently on MSNBC) was viewable on the living room VCR. There is also a multi-channeled satellite hookup for news junkies, but this intruder is best left mute. Full cooking faciliites enabled us to enjoy fresh local fruit, fish and produce. This is a rare find for a family of naturalists or those simply inclined to be quiet amid greenness for as long as it takes. My 12-year-old, a budding herpetologist, tracked frogs & iguanas forever and forever whilst I slept. 5 Stars, this one, which should remain a best-kept secret. I almost wish I hadn't written this, but the Lees are such splendid hosts. And this is after all their livelihood. Gentle travelers only, please.

Was this review helpful? Yes 25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pembroke, NH
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2004

This was our first time to the Caribbean and I am so glad we chose Gingerbread Hill to stay at. We rented the Villa for 8 days. It has the most gorgeous views of both the ocean and the hills. Because it is elevated, there is a constant breeze that is warm but refreshing. David and Clover Lea, the owners, are so welcoming! Our last night there we had dinner with them and it was such a rewarding experience. A wonderful way to end a relaxing and glorious week! It was more than we ever could have expected or dreamed! Thank you, David and Clover. We are already planning our next trip...this time with the kids! =)

  • Stayed May 2004
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gingerbread Hill

Address: Virgin Island Road | P.O. Box 246, Montserrat
Location: Caribbean > Montserrat
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Montserrat
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
Gingerbread Hill Montserrat, Caribbean
Gingerbread Hill Hotel Montserrat

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