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“The Jewel of Port Antonio”

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Hotel Mocking Bird Hill
Ranked #4 of 16 Hotels in Port Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed January 24, 2008

This was our first trip to Jamaica, and our stay at the Mocking Bird Hill made it completely worthwhile. The quite ambiance and lush vegetation surrounding the hotel created a relaxing, serene environment. If you’re seeking a hotel that is warm, friendly, luxurious, personal, and comfortable, then Hotel Mocking Bird Hill is the place for you.

The drive from the Kingston Airport was quite long, so expect a good 3-4 hour drive on very bad roads. We arrived at the hotel very late at night, and were immediately greeted by hotel staff, and Shireen, one of the owners. She accompanied us to our room and served us with fish soup and fresh fruit, the perfect snack before a good nights sleep. The next morning, after soaking in the view and the natural beauty around us, the long drive was forgotten.

The hotel is very sophisticated and has a very romantic, detailed, and charming feeling. The rooms are very spacious and breezy, and lounging outside on the porch hammock forces you to be in a very relaxed and positive state of mind. The hotel staff was extremely friendly, professional, and very accommodating, and the owners, Shireen and Barbara, make it very easy for their guests to feel at home. The fact that the hotel is eco-friendly really makes it easier for the guests to enjoy their surroundings and appreciate this earth for all its natural beauty.

The food at the Mille Fleurs restaurant was excellent. Everything was made with high quality, local fresh food(even the fruit punch!), and the menu was very versatile. The dishes were delicious; some of the best meals I’ve ever had. There is nothing like having a delicious meal while enjoying the quiet and peaceful views of Port Antonio.

The hotel has many activities to offer, raft rides down the Rio Grande, hiking up the Blue Mountains, bird watching, horse-back riding, but for us, the most relaxing place to be was a day at the Frenchman’s Cove private beach. It is a 30 minute walk from the hotel, or a 5 minute car ride away. Walking on the roads in Port Antonio was very nice. The locals are very friendly and eager to talk to you. I recommend taking a trip to Boston, the local Jerk center, to try all the food.

I recommend this hotel to anyone who is seeking a quiet and peaceful hotel with a luxurious local charm to it. Coming from a big bustling city, this was the perfect getaway. We had an amazing 5 day stay, and look forward to visiting again next year.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank dsgnr33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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307 - 313 of 399 reviews

Reviewed January 13, 2008

I loved my stay at Mocking Bird Hill. This small, elegant hotel has well thought out guest rooms, perfectly maintained and beautifully decorated. From the hammock on my porch to the comfortable mattress, interesting in-room reading materials, upscale bathroom and crisp, pretty linens, I could not have been more pleased. The view off my porch was beautiful -- but the views off the restuarant and bar are truly amazing. The hotel is filled with art, has a good small library and is surronded by the prettiest gardens I saw in Port Antonio. The pool area is pleasant and I feel asleep during my deep tissue massage in the open air "spa hut". Service at the hotel was uniformly friendly and only ocassionally slightly slow -- I did not experience anything remotely approaching a service problem, as described in earlier reviews and I was there over New Year's when the property was busy. I have to especially recommend the hotel's kitchen -- the food was simply amazing. I ate all my meals at the hotel and did not have a single dish that was less than about a 7 on a 10 point scale. Great breads and desserts, perfectly cooked snapper in various sauces, fresh creative salads and interesting starters. I used to live on a remote island in the Caribbean and come from a family involved in fine dining, so have a true appreciation for what's involved in running a restaurant in a place like Port Antonio. Kudos to Mockingbird Hil's kitchen -- what they create each day is really about as good as it gets. All in all, a top quality, sophisticated inn that manages to be low key and relaxing at the same time.

Stayed: December 2007
2  Thank WHorn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2007

Hotel Mocking Bird Hill exceeded all our expectations. Not only is it the best eco-friendly hotel we have ever stayed at but you never feel for a moment like you are slumming it because of this.

The accomodation is of a very high standard and has real romantic charm to it. All the staff go out of their way to make sure you enjoy your stay with them, showing real friendliness and attention to detail.

The Mille Fleurs restaurant will easily rival top restaurants you may find anywhere in the world and the impressive menu seems to change completely on a daily basis meaning you never have to have the same thing twice.

The two areas for which this place really stood out was in its gay friendliness and ability to cater for a vegetarian guests, both unfortunately very uncommon in Jamaica.

I would highly recommend this hotel and restaurant to anyone visiting Jamaica, especially if you are travelling with your partner.

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank mercutio58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2007

Originally, I was looking for a friendly, low-key place to holiday with my grandmother. In the end she was unable to accompany me, but the room we booked would have been suitable for her needs: accessible bathroom, no stairs, helpful staff and the like.
It worked well for my needs also.

As it turned out, this was one of my most relaxing home-away- from-home experiences. It is necessary to leave the hustle and bustle of Kingston every now and then and to get to know a different part of the island. Getting to the hotel was a mixed bag. The sights along the way got me in the mood for the beautiful experience that awaited me, but the terrible road conditions reminded me that efforts to boost tourism notwithstanding, I live in a poor country.

At Hotel Mockingbird Hill I did absolutely nothing each day except read, write, nap and eat wonderfully delicious meals. My laundry was done for me at no extra charge and my room was always clean and my requests fulfilled. I had access to the internet and the chance to feel at home by engaging with the dogs that lived on property. However, The best part of my stay was the meals.

In the mornings I had a Jamaican breakfast and in the evenings I had internationally inspired meals made with fresh, local ingredients and the imagination of Elmar, a very creative chef. Seafood predominated at dinner and each night the menu changed. I had delicious local goat cheese, fresh salads with dressings that were new to my tastebuds and side dishes I would have never dreamed of preparing myself. My most memorable meal was a breakfast of cassava pancakes served with a mango compote. I had never had pancakes like that before! Most Jamaicans use cassava to make bammy which usually accompanies escoveitched fish. Meals were served on a terrace with good views of the Caribbean Sea and the nearby mountains. Beautiful flowers and birds were welcome distractions wlhile I ate. Afternoon tea offerings varied but Opal, a very cheerful, caring waitress, always reminded me that it was tea time.

Service was fair to good. The innkeepers are not only environmentally conscious, but they are committed to help raise the standard of living in the surrounding area, so they have some staff who are interns from the national training institution. Occasionally, I had to remind the morning waitress of something I had asked her to get. Fortunately, the staff's friendliness made it easy to forgive these sorts of shortcomings.

Day trips to sights in the region and to have a variety of experiences were possible by arrangement with the innkeepers, but I only took advantage of the trip to the nearby Frenchman's Cove. I wasn't here to run around. I was here to rest and relax which I did. The property bhas a pool and each of the ten rooms has a verandah with a hammock.

Certainly, I would return to visit and in fact I have noted Hotel Mockingbird Hill as one of the places to visit when I want to get away without feeling as if I am on vacation.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled solo
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Thank Rubrum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2007

We stayed at the Mocking Bird for a few nights in July and loved every minute of our stay there. The rooms and grounds are beautiful and the staff is extremely friendly and helpful. We took a great Jamaican cooking class with chef Anthony. His food was fantastic.
Port Antonio is one of the most beautiful places in Jamaica.
Best place to stay in Jamaica if you want to avoid the resorts.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank northwitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2007

We loved this hotel. It's beautifully located, high on a hill above the sea. The grounds are lush, there are wonderful birds to see, and the whole ambiance is one of peace and tranquility. The staff was unfailingly friendly and helpful. Being foodies, we were particularly thrilled with the restaurant, also open to non-guests. The sophisticated continental presentations spoke with a Caribbean accent. Real fusion cuisine. We feasted on such goodies as tomato mousse, salad with feta cheese marinated in scotch bonnet pepper and olive oil, snapper with coconut and tamarind sauce, spicy jerk pork fillet in cassava crepes, goat cheese bruschetta, and of course the wonderful desserts - a classic tiramisu made with mascarpone cheese, intensely flavored mango ice cream, creme caramel, a rich dark chocolate mousse. If your idea of a vacation involves, among other things, being surrounded by beauty and eating the most wonderful food, this is the place for you.

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank Schnookieshin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2007

Hotel Mocking Bird Hill is a gem. If your Jamaican travel plans include Port Antonio, a stay at Mocking Bird Hill can be a highlight of your trip. And if your plans do not yet include Port Antonio, Mocking Bird Hill is reason enough to change your plans. We had read good things about this boutique hotel, but what we experienced exceeded even our expectations. And with the brilliant young German chef, Elmar Rensch, in the kitchen, its restaurant is first rate.

We arrived late in the afternoon after a long drive from our stop in the Blue Mountains. Here it is worth noting that we nearly skipped Port Antonio because we were driving a rental car and had read tales of the poor roads leading there. True, the roads are badly potholed, and the driving along the south and east coasts was tedious, but this 67 year old driver found both this route and the much prettier return route that we took to Kingston via Annatto Bay and the mountains to be quite doable.

We found Shireen Aga, one of the owners, in the balcony bar area, and we were immediately offered cold towels and fresh squeezed juice to revive us as we marveled at the view of the mountains and of Port Antonio’s harbor in the distance. When we mentioned that we had not had lunch, menus appeared, and we were soon enjoying very tasty open-faced sandwiches. No mention had been made of checking in. This was more like arriving at the home of friends, and very considerate friends at that, than at a hotel.

This consideration was further evidenced when Elmar sought us out to discuss the menu for dinner. When we had ordered our lunch, we had mentioned that we wanted to avoid salt in our foods as much as possible. Elmar suggested how he might adapt the selections that he had planned and also offered to make any other dishes that we wanted. Each evening he checked with us to assure that we would have meals that were both delicious and in keeping with our dietary peculiarities.

Of course, one does not live by dinner alone – breakfasts are, to me, even more important. And the breakfast chef dazzled us with delights like banana pancakes (actually crepe-like creations) in a very light sauce made from an excellent locally produced honey and dabbled with cinnamon and crème fraiche.

Mocking Bird Hill is a beautiful place. The gardens are lush, and the feeling of the gardens is drawn into the interior spaces though artful design and the extensive use of plants and flowers. Co-owner Barbara Walker’s artistic talent is much in evidence.

Our room was lovely as well with good beds and a ceiling fan that made for very comfortable sleeping during our stay in June. We were lulled to sleep by the songs of crickets and tree frogs.

It might be tempting to never leave this hilltop enclave with its large, attractive pool. And you certainly want to be there for the complimentary afternoon tea and sundowner cocktails. But the beach at Frenchman’s Bay is well worth visiting. Transportation is provided because although the beach is not very far along the main road from the hotel, the road up the hill to the hotel is quite long. The bay sits within attractive landscaped gardens. A narrow river runs through the gardens and empties into the ocean at one end of the picturesque, sandy beach. The beach bar serves an excellent jerk chicken lunch.

We spent the better part of a day on an excursion that included a leisurely raft ride down the Rio Grande River and a hike through the hillside with a local farmer. Like all of the Jamaicans that we had met during our first week (and those that we were to encounter during the rest of our 17 day trip), this gentleman was warm and welcoming (a most pleasant experience considering how many guidebooks temper their praise for the island’s natural beauty with warnings about harassment by vendors and threats to one’s safety – we experienced none of that). At the end of our hike we were welcomed for drinks at the home of a couple who had “retired” to the Port Antonio area and now operate a farm that provides Mockingbird Hill with a variety of goat cheeses as well as the previously mentioned honey.

So if you have ever wondered what would happen if an artist and a resort consultant were to open a hotel on a beautiful hilltop on a Caribbean island and were to staff their restaurant with talented chefs, go to Mockingbird Hill. You will find the best that can happen.

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank caribmike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Mocking Bird Hill

Address: Mockingbird Hill | P.O. Box 254, Port Antonio JM, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Portland Parish > Port Antonio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Port Antonio
#3 Family Hotel in Port Antonio
#4 Romantic Hotel in Port Antonio
Price Range: $210 - $612 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Mocking Bird Hill 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Best eco boutique hotel in Port Antonio, Jamaica. Set on a hilltop on Jamaica's northeast coast between the majestic Blue Mountains and the Caribbean Sea, Hotel Mockingbird Hill is Jamaica's foremost 'green' hotel minutes from the most romantic Frenchman's Cove Beach. A tranquil, serene, sanctuary with breathtaking vistas, laid back luxury and world class cuisine, Hotel Mockingbird Hill is the ultimate, authentic Jamaican experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mocking Bird Hill Hotel
Mocking Bird Hill Port Antonio
Hotel Mocking Bird Hill Jamaica/Port Antonio

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