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“Mockingbird is a Gem”

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Hotel Mocking Bird Hill
Ranked #4 of 16 Hotels in Port Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
47 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Mockingbird is a Gem”
Reviewed March 25, 2008

We have just returned from a trip that included Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos and Nassau and we can say that our stay at the Hotel Mockingbird Hill in Jamaica was a major highlight of the whole trip. Getting there is a bit of a challenge - we rented a car in Montego Bay and ended up driving after dark on roads that were either full of potholes or full of detours because of road construction. NOTE to other travellers -time your drive so you can make it to the Hotel in the daylight - AND don't be fooled by the good road between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios - it gets a lot worse after that! It might be better to fly into Kingston than Montego Bay - it's a shorter drive from Kingston.

Enough about the roads - getting to Mockingbird Hill makes it all worthwhile. What a wonderful place! We were greeted by a smiling lady with lovely cool damp towels to wipe off the travel grime and were immediately offered a complimentary beverage. Our bags were whisked to our room - a very nicely decorated and airy room with a king size bed, balcony, full bathroom, fresh flowers and even a CD player with a CD of Jamaican music. We arrived just before 9 pm and the restaurant normally closes at 9, but we were told that there would be no problem to get a late supper. We had a delicious light supper and fell into our comfortable bed. Mosquito nets are provided in all rooms - a good thing because although there weren't that many mosquitoes when we were there, the occasional one wanders into the room. We woke and wandered out to our balcony and what a sight! - We overlooked the gardens of the hotel which sloped down to forested hillsides and then to Port Antonio and its harbour with the sea gleaming in the distance. The Blue Mountains formed the backdrop. We sat and had our breakfast on the outdoor patio while watching hummingbirds dart about. We decided that we had come to the right place!

The hotel staff were very informed about the various outings that can be taken in the area and helped us book a guided hike through the forest and a rafting trip on the Rio Grande River. We spent the next 3 days happily exploring the Port Antonio area - which offers lots of opportunities for people interested in pretty beaches, waterfalls, rainforest, rafting down a river that still feels like the wilderness, and interesting little towns perched along the coastline. Port Antonio itself is fun to walk around and explore and its market is a bustling and lively place - check out the wood carvings offered by a man who calls himself "Rock Bottom" (because his prices are rock bottom apparently). There are not that many tourists in the Port Antonio area, so be prepared to feel a tad obvious as you wander into the Boston Beach jerk stand centre or browse through the market. Vendors will approach you, but will also take No for an answer and are always courteous. Our favourite vendor experience was at a public beach called Winnifred Beach (recommended by the hotel staff) where we met two really interesting ladies and had a great chat as we looked at the crafts they had for sale and enjoyed the delicious soup prepared right there in a little stall on the beach.

Although there are opportunities to eat dinner elsewhere, the food is so good at the Mille Fleurs restaurant at Mockingbird Hill that you will be tempted to eat there every night. The hotel offers a package that includes breakfast and dinner - we didn't take it but in retrospect we should have. Nothing else in the local area comes close. The menu features local produce as much as possible and the tood is prepared with skill and style. There is also a good wine list.

Hotel Mockingbird Hill places great emphasis on being as environmentally sustainable as possible. Water is carefully managed - rainwater is collected and supplemented by water hauled up the hill by truck - so guests are reminded to be water-wise. The hotel has good air flow and ceiling fans - we didn't miss A/C and it is much nicer to sleep with the fresh breezes wafting over you than the stale air of an air conditioner unit. Dinner is by candlelight on the deck overlooking Port Antonio. All electrical light fixtures are fluorescent. The owners are currently asking guests to contribute to carbon offsets for their air travel by contributing towards the planting of trees in the area. All of these measures (and more that we have not listed) are commendable - we just wish the other places we stayed on our trip came even close to Mockingbird Hill's environmental performance!

In summary, if you are looking for a superb location a bit off the beaten track where you can experience the true Jamaica and be treated royally, choose Mockingbird Hill.

  • Liked — Service, Food and Lovely location
  • Disliked — The road getting there
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank OffTrackCalgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (75)
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English first
washington, dc
Level Contributor
20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2008

My wife and I stayed there for three nights in early January, and they advertise that you will have a very serene experience, and I must say, the beauty of the place was diminished by the obvious problems the staff and management were in the middle of...

First, we were handed a list of things to expect when we arrived. This included complimentary morning coffee and an afternoon drink. The staff seemed totally unaware that this was the case when we went looking for their supposed complimentary Blue Mountain Jamaican morning coffee. Same case with the afternoon drink. Also, there were two charges on the bill for morning coffee when we checked out (which they did remove after a not-so-friendly confrontation with a staff member (that is not too harsh a word).

Also, and perhaps most disturbing, we heard the management arguing with (or yelling at) the staff a few times as we approached the main building and this certainly disrupted the serene environment.

One of the staff members did confide in us that there had been a major staff turnover the 1st of the year and that this could possibly be a cause of our problems.

Finally, there was an extra charge on our bill for a fee that had been added after we made our reservation, and the staff member we dealt with had a hard time believing that we should not be charged for it.

Call me crazy, but I believe that in the service/hotel industry, the customer is always right, and a customer should not be treated with a snooty attitude.

All in all, the place was indeed beautiful (but you definitely need a rental car if you want to explore the surrounding area), the views are top-notch, but with all of these problems that made us increasingly uncomfortable, unless they do a major staff training and learn to hide moments that break the serenity of the environment, we will not be going back to a place that was quite expensive.

  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank sinkor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
mbhpot, Owner at Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, responded to this review, March 8, 2008
We find it interesting that this past guest has waited two months to post a review. We are aware of his complaint and would just like to point out that the complimentary services are provided during specific times and outside of these times items consumed are charged normally. The client was charged because the service, according to our team member, was provided outside of the times listed. The charge was removed. We do note where issues lie and appreciate positive guest feedback in order to fine tune and improve our services. The feedback from this guest, while not entirely positive has in fact inspired us to put up notices at reception and in our bar listing the complimentary meals and beverages and the exact times during which they are offered. These notices will prevent any such misunderstandings in the future. We would also like to mention that we did not have a large staff turnover on January 1, but we did have some employees who were ill and we were working with temps and trainees. This can happen in any business. As in all businesses, at times it is very necessary to be very firm with employees. None of us can recall yelling at staff during this person's stay, in fact we make it a point NOT to yell at staff and we do endeavour to have very good relationships with our team. It is for this reason that staff who have left us in the past come back to us seeking re-employment. We were however quite loud with a taxi driver who was very late to pick up other guests. It is important to check facts before making claims. We must disagree with the idea that the customer is always right. Customers are right within reason, and therefore, as a little gesture, and to say sorry for the misunderstanding we had flowers sent to this guest after his return home. We note that this is not mentioned in the review.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
georgia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2008

One should take the negative reviews seriously. I had a hotel voucher for a four night stay at Mockingbird Hill. With the full agreement of the hotel owner, I submitted the voucher to the hotel in advance of my planned vacation with the understanding, verified by numerous e mails, that I or a friend could use the voucher on a later date based on availability. Mockingbird Hill acknowleged the receipt of the voucher and thanked me via e mail. I first booked an early December date but cancelled due to the heavy rains and mosquito problem at the time. This was done with the approval of Mockingbird Hill. In late February 2008, I attempted to have a friend s name substituted on the voucher as had been agreeded upon. I asked a staff member if there were available dates in April 2008 and was told that there were dates available. I then asked if my friend could call to confirm the dates-my friend was very open as to the dates. The hotel would not agree nor refuse to make a reservation. They would claim that the responsible person was in a staff meeting all day or some other excuse. My e mails, faxes and telephone calls were ignored. I filed a complaint with the Jamaican Tourist Board.The owners of Mockingbird Hill sent the Tourist Board fabricated e mails that they said were from me. The emails, it seems ,had no date or time of delivery. I was eventually refunded the cost of the voucher minus a service charge.As I received the voucher though a travel auction site, I could not replace the vacation at another resort-I had wanted friends to celebrate their anniversary at the hotel. I found the owners of Mockingbird Hill to be very deceptive to say the least.

Stayed February 2008
Helpful?
6 Thank jetburd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
mbhpot, Owner at Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, responded to this review, February 22, 2008
This person says that his date of stay was in February 2008. This person has NEVER stayed at Hotel Mocking Bird Hill. Last year he booked the hotel with Skyauctions. Skyauctions bookings are non-refundable, non-transferable and non-changeable. For whatever reason this person needed to change his dates and despite Skyauction's terms and conditions, and trying to be helpful, we said yes. He then changed his mind and decided that he would not come, but asked if we would accept someone else. Again, in order to be helpful we said yes. He then asked if we had availability in February and we said yes. He then asked to confirm so we asked him for the dates. None was forthcoming so we told him we could not confirm without specific dates. He then asked if he could send someone else in April, and again trying to be helpful we said yes. He asked us to confirm, so we asked for the dates in order to confirm. None was forthcoming so we told him we could not confirm without specific dates. These responses made him very irate. We then had serious discussions with Skyauctions and together we decided that the best option was for Skyauctions to make an exception and refund him his money as they too wanted nothing more to do this person. This comment is full of inaccuracies and twisted truths by a person who has never stayed here and who seems to be intent on fulfilling his threat to maligning the integrity of the management of Hotel Mocking Bird Hill and damage the reputation of the hotel. We are now requesting the Jamaica Tourist Board to deal with this matter.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wales
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2008

We spent 13 blissful days at the Mockingbird Hill Hotel. The ambience is tranquil but far from stuffy, the staff friendly and helpful, and the rooms bright, airy and cool. The owners were extremely knowlegable and helpful in arranging excurtions, as well as being a mine of information on the locality.
The Restaurant is one of the best I've had the pleasure of eating in-the menu changed daily, and none of the choices was repeated during our 13 day stay.
Highly recommended!

Stayed February 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank cymro1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
Level Contributor
17 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
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.

  • Liked — the overall natural and peaceful experience
  • Disliked — the long drive to the hotel, but you easily forget about it!!
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank dsgnr33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
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
Helpful?
2 Thank WHorn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
edinburgh, scotland
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
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.

  • Liked — gay friendliness
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank mercutio58
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

Property: Hotel Mocking Bird Hill
Address: Mockingbird Hill | P.O. Box 254, Port Antonio JM, Jamaica
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 (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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