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“Paradise on the edge…”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Great Huts

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Great Huts
Ranked #1 of 26 Port Antonio B&B and Inns
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Paradise on the edge…”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2013

For me, Great Huts and the surrounding Portland parish really are paradise. I stayed here briefly for a weekend in summer 2011 and knew I had to find my way back some day. My dreams came true when I returned in December of 2012.
From the outset, the staff was warm and welcoming. I received excellent service from everyone during my stay. Kitchen staff is attentive and all my meals were delicious. Breakfast was fresh and fast every morning… I would barely sit down and my cup of coffee would be ready in front of me.
The accommodations are unique in the best possible way. I slept well every night and woke up refreshed for another day in paradise. The views from the cliff-side huts are amazing, as are the open-air, yet still private, showers in them.
The great huts beach, and the attached Boston Beach, are both great places to lounge. You definitely should bring water shoes for parts of the beach there, but the swimming is still excellent. The vendors and surf instructors along the beach are friendly and not at all pushy.
My favorite spot at Great Huts is the seat carved into the stone at the sea pool among the cliffs. It's the perfect spot to lounge and watch the waves crashing in. The view is also pretty wonderful from the cliff side pool above, looking out over the mouth of the bay.
I have recommended Great Huts to many of my friends and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a little bit of adventure, and a small slice of paradise.

  • Stayed December 2012
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Helpful?
1 Thank paulad563
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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758 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Baltimore, Maryland
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2013

By starting with the choice of the perfect site - a location that brings joy to the senses - and ever so skillfully blending into it African-inspired "bush" architecture Great Huts' designer displays a stroke of genius. This is a nature lovers dream ... the ideal spot to de-stress and reconnect with simple and profound truths. Enjoy the smiles, service, good food, and wonderful art ( I especially liked the Dogon peoples' grainery door from Mali as access to the large bird cage and the marvelous terra cotta masks by one of Jamaica's world class artists, Nakazzi Hutchinson ). Have fun at the weekend cultural dance program. Look for fossils, check out the teaming tidal pools. Just go !

Room Tip: If you're travelling solo and don't mind climbing two short ladders African Sunrise hut offe...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank jim c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
86 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 142 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 29, 2013

I had been wanting to stay at the Great Huts for years, indeed it was the main drive behind visiting Jamaica. I reserved the African Sunrise tower. Upon arrival we thought everything looked great, paradise, just like the website. However for our first night there was quite a storm and many of the wooden boards/shutters blew about like crazy getting our luggage and ourselves wet. There are bolts that are intended to hold down the boards but the problem was many of these bolts were broken/missing. We went in the pouring rain to the office and immediatley one of the staff did come and have a look. He explained that since the summer's hurricane, several of the bolts had come off. Some of the boards that had lost their bolts had been nailed shut altogether. Considering that we visited in January, months and months after the last hurricane, this seemed a little lazy to us on the part of maintenance. I also think that for the rates, these kind of functional details should be quickly attended to.

However when we spoke to the manager about our problem, he did promptly offer us another hut for the night and to refund the difference in cost (downgrading form the African Sunrise Tower to the Almond Tree House). This ended up being fine as we enjoyed staying in the Almond Tree House as well (just too bad we had to transfer in the rain, with our stuff already damp).

Overall the African Sunrise Tower was our favourite--the views are breathtaking! The Almond Tree House was very nice, easier to navigate around in and very privately nestled in the vegetation. Would be great for a family as there is a second bed too.

The breakfasts are very good and there's a large birdcage with friendly birds who enjoy watching you eat (and a couple of them like to be petted too!) We did miss the other eating areas that no longer seem to exist (like the pizza oven and bar area). We found that the jerk food at the stands leading up to the Huts are not really any better than in other areas of Jamaica--but they are a lot more expensive. We ate at a couple of local style places in Port Antonio instead.

On a related note, we found that a lot of places in Port Antonio and area (restaurants, bars, etc.) seemed to be closed or scaled back. It was quite common to go into a restaurant and see all the pictures of former glory days on the walls but hardly a current patron in sight. In addition, menu items had been scaled back and original prices crossed out with new, much higher prices.

We stayed in 6 different areas of Jamaica and we found Portland parish to be the most pricey. We also found ourselves accosted to no end in town by beggars, etc. While there are genuine local arts and souvenir sellers all over Jamaica, just trying to make a living, and who I believe in supporting--what we found in Port Antonio was strickly begging--and the type of begging that follows you around for 20 minutes. This is odd as we had not found the same thing in the more high profile tourist towns like Negril where vendors are business people and respect a 'No thank you'.

On the positive side, the scenery on this side of Jamaica is verdent and lush. Pocket size beach coves line the coast and the snorkelling is great. We enjoyed Winnifred beach the most but also had a relaxing day at Frenchman's Cove (swimming in the cool river that leads into the sea was particularly refreshing!

Room Tip: They all look fabulous, but if i go back I'm trying the Fig Tree House!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Simone01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GreatHuts P, General Manager at Great Huts, responded to this review, May 13, 2013
It is our policy that we respond to each guest that writes a review on TripAdvisor. This is vital because sometimes this type of constructive criticism is what we need to move the quality of our product forward.
We appreciate the fact that our guest was candid in her comments especially about the African Sunrise and the fact that enough time had lapsed for the resort to be brought back to normalcy after the wrath of Hurricane Sandy on October 24th 2012. Although a decision was made to fully restore Great Huts within six weeks, I recall the long delay in repairing the roof of the Solomon Tower and repairing the shutters of the African Sunrise as we were without electricity for almost one month. Unfortunately, the later lead to the discomfort and criticisms of the reviewer. This teaches us that we cannot always look at the big picture - that we are up and running; but that we must pay attention to details because this is what our guests will appreciate.
I was working on the evening of the guest’s arrival, and even though the African Sunrise is the unit that was paid for; at check-in I did recommend that the guest in question occupy a different unit as the evening was quite windy due to the on-set of a stormy night. I should have insisted on hosting our guest in a fully restored unit because of the questionable weather conditions at the time. This was an oversight on my part and for this I apologize.

The African Sunrise has since been refurbished which includes being totally sealed to keep out strong rains. The shutters have been upgraded to wooden latches to prevent rapid decay from the salt air and completed with fresh canvas work and tapestry for beautification. The Rocks Café which was also damaged by Hurricane Sandy has also been restored and reopened. Great Huts has also implemented free cellphones usage for our guests’ conveniences that are staying in the farther units so they can communicate with the office. Umbrellas are also provided for the premium units to aid with dealing with the unpredictable personality of our Portland weather.

Regarding the “beggars and hustlers” as is the case throughout the Jamaica as well as anywhere in the developing world, we will find that poverty and the prevailing economic conditions will force some individuals to a “life on the streets.” These individuals will always approach our tourists with the hope of receiving some sort of aid. We always recommend arranging a guide for our guests which will keep the unwanted attention at bay. Failing this, a firm “NO THANKS” will generally stop the hustlers from making any further advances.
As for the ‘closed businesses’ our critic’s comment is likely referring to the closure over the past few years of the Trident Hotel which did have an unsightly aluminum sheets barricade. The elegant and pricey Trident has now re-opened.
Also, even though Port Antonio was THE Jamaican tourist destination of the first half of the 20th century with its heyday in the 50s and early 60s, it is less popular now than Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios; BUT... is thought of by most travel writers to be the most beautiful part of the Island. Despite its fall from popularity Port Antonio boasts the new magnificent Errol Flynn Marina, many new boutique hotels and of course the eco-touristic and Afro-centric mom and pop Great Huts.

I, along with the Great Huts staff have realized that progress demands a constant improvement to quality…… and we make a solemn promise to improve on our product; and to improve on the service to all guests.

Lydney Gordon
Assistant General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 28, 2013

If you are after a relaxing break close to the nature - this is ideal place for you. Self-sustaining little paradise where you can forget about civilisation, busy life and stress. Starting from yummy breakfast with friendly parrots around, finishing on admiring sea view sipping a drink in the pool on the cliffs - perfect day!
Every hut is unique, and we even got free upgrade to a tree house as it was quiet season - thank you so much!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Joanna_Skowronek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston, Jamaica
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 26, 2013

So serene and the view is amazing! The food was good and so was the hospitality, but the accommodations were not up to par with the price. There are many other inns in Portland that cost half the price with similar condition, and while there i was pleased but had I done more research I probably could have had just a nice experience for less money.

Room Tip: Sea Grape Hut is probably the best for views
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Aver N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Juliet M, Owner at Great Huts, responded to this review, April 30, 2013
Owner's response -
I am sorry that our guests felt that our prices were high. Pricing of course reflects the cost of doing business. Our huts range in price from only US$50 to US$250. Several of our huts cost US$70 per couple including breakfast, making for a very economical vacation or weekend getaway.

Staffing, electricity, maintenance, supplies and insurance are such that we spend about US$1000 per day to remain open, a monthly operating cost of nearly US$30,000.
I know that it may be hard to see this looking at our rustic resort, but repairs and restoration of buildings, plumbing and electrical systems in a seafront, hurricane struck environment like ours is substantial. In one sense, a thatch and bamboo hut is a luxury.

Pricing is also affected, by taxes. We are required by law to charge a 17.5 percent sales tax, GCT, which must be added to the base price of a hut, which we pass along to the government. On average only about five or six of our total of 11 huts are rented on a given day. Our only busy season is Jan-March.

Great Huts has been a passion for me and I love nurturing and supporting Great Huts but, admittedly it has not been a financially successful business. While one day, I would like for it to become a profitable business, earning a 5 percent return on my one million dollars investment to date, the truth is that in ten years I have not received a profit or dividend from Great Huts. Nor have I ever paid myself a salary for my directorship of the resort.
Many resorts in the under-visited north east have closed down or gone bankrupt. Great Huts will not.

We do offer discounts to Jamaicans and to overseas guests doing volunteer work. We do negotiate special prices with groups of returning guests. We would be happy to share the details of our budget with guests who feel that our pricing is too high. I maintain that our prices are fair for the unique vacation experience we provide.

Dr. Paul Rhodes
Designer/Owner Great Huts Resort
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bronx, New York, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 23, 2013

Beautiful vacation. The rooms are excellent very comfortable and clean. The staff was very welcoming and very professional. The food was delicous, especially breakfast. I enjoyed every morning the sliced of papaya and watermelon. This was the best vacation ever !!!! Thanks to Ms. Llyoda.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Angella B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
89 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2013

I stayed here at this hotel in April 2013 for 4 days. I was traveling alone. I had just arrived from Costa Rica. It was an amazing experience. From the very moment I walked inside, they treated me like family. I was absolutely blown away by the level of detail they have placed in each room (public and private) and was completely in awe over my room: the African Sunrise Hut. Truly something out of this world. I have traveled across the world and stayed at many hotels. This is by far one of the best I have ever stayed at. The food was delicious, the drinks were delicious, even the lice cream (grape nut) was delicious. Everything was fresh and cooked right in front of you. Prices are VERY reasonable for this kind of amazing experience. I highly highly HIGHLY recommend you stay here. You will not regret it!!

Room Tip: Choose the African Sunrise Hut. Best room in the entire world. You go to a hyatt or marriott or hilt...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Paymon B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Great Huts

Property: Great Huts
Address: 8-10 Boston Bay Road, Port Antonio, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Portland Parish > Port Antonio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 26 B&Bs / Inns in Port Antonio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Great Huts 3*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Great Huts: Paradise on the Edge is an oceanfront resort on the lush northeastern tip of Jamaica. Modeled after a traditional West African coastal village, at once both rough-hewn and modern, it is a convergence of nature, heritage, spirituality and technology. Off the beaten path, but not far from the bustle and night life of Boston Bay and Port Antonio, Great Huts' jungle-cliff-beach habitat is a distinctive ecological and cultural experience. The African hut, brand new 4-bedroom private villa, and Amerindian tree-house dwellings studded throughout the meandering, five-acre compound are comfortably furnished and decorated with uncommon African and Jamaican artifacts. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Great Huts Hotel Port Antonio
Great Huts Jamaica/Port Antonio

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