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“Just perfect” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Strawberry Hill

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Strawberry Hill
Ranked #5 of 25 Hotels in Kingston
Certificate of Excellence
JHP_Zuidervliet
Level Contributor
58 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Just perfect”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 August 2009

We stayed in 6 hotels during our trip in Jamaica and this for sure was the best.

For starters it does take a while to get all the way up there from Kingston though the 45 minutes drive for sure is worth it. After checking in we were guided to our room which was located on a hillside facing Kingston. The view was just breath taking not just at day but also at night when the city lighted up. The staff was very friendly and very talkative especially the manager (I cant remember his name though) talked for a while and introduced us how the hotel was founded.
Then for me, food is rather important as I like to eat good food. I felt a bit sorry for not being able to get in the city for dinner (45 minutes to and 45 minutes back wont work for me) though we were pleased to find out the dinner at the hotel was very good. Same goes for the breakfast and if you have a chance in the weekend they serve a brunch which is pretty interesting so you can take a bit of everything.
The only downside maybe is the staircase towards the hotel room. It went downhill and was made from wood, I would prefer to see this in steel. For the rest its highly advisable to visit this hotel when you pass by Jamaica.
And while you are there don't forget to visit the Blue Mountain coffee estate (called UCC I believe). It's only a 15 minutes walk from the hotel.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JHP_Zuidervliet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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312 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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  • English first
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English first
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
69 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 May 2009

Strawberry Hill is in a beautiful mountain setting about an hour up the road from the Kingston Airport. Arrange a ride from the resort, which runs about $80 for 2 people to $130 for 4. It is likely that MacGyver will pick you up---I suggest about a $10 tip no matter how many of you there are. You will be delivered to the front office where you will sign in and hand over your bags to be brought to your room---I tipped about $1-$2 per bag to the bellman. All of the rooms are really nice and comfortable (not the beds though----they are hard but not completely uncomfortable). A nice feature is that as part of the turn down service, the housekeeper will turn on your bed heater that we appreciated in the rather cold evenings. My heater never worked (no big deal), but my son's and sister's did. If you do not choose the all-inclusive rates, take time to check your bill carefully; they seem to be a little challenged keeping track of your charges (again, no big deal as they are very easy to deal with). If you do not go with the all-inclusive, meals without alcohol will run you about $75-$100+/- per day for each person if you take advantage of the free continental breakfast. Finally, you may have to adjust your concept of privacy as everyone can hear everyone everywhere as the accommodations are all open to take advantage of the mountain air and the landscape of the hills carries sound. Leave your inhibitions at home. The resort is best suited for a romantic getaway or a “short” family trip if your kids are older (teenagers and older).

Helpful?
4 Thank santabarbaraserenity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2009

Strawberry Hill Jamaica

PLUS: Stunning property – shabby chic elegance, beautifully located, immaculate formal gardens and natural environment around the rooms, fantastic views, tranquil cool breezes and very accommodating staff and the biggest plus for me - zilch mosquitos!!

MINUS: Plumbing, fixtures & fittings, the difficulty in traversing the steps to and from the room.

Accommodation

No one seemed to have mentioned in the hotel 'blurb' that there would be either the number of steps, or in fact that Strawberry Hill had steps at all. Given the fact that the hotel sits perched on top of a mountain several thousand feet above sea level I guess we could have worked it out, but I had wrongly assumed that as it wasn’t mentioned we would be accessing our cottage via sloping paths or ramps – not 44 or 59 irregular rising steps to reach the apartment. This proved to be good for aerobic exercise during the day but a test of guile during the night as the lights were rarely on and the steps very slippery in the rain. We managed with only a couple of scratches and a few slithery moments, but we would request another room nearer the top level on another occasion.

The apartments

The apartments are attractive, traditional wooden buildings with shutters & fretwork on the doors, walls and windows, however they offered little or no privacy from our close neighbours in terms of sound insulation. The furniture is all dark mahogany and has a magnificent king size four poster bed complete with mosquito nets – which we didn’t use and an electric blanket thoughtfully available for the cooler night air - which we used on several nights. If you like a hard bed they are perfect, but for those of us with aching bones they proved to be a little too hard.

The bathroom and kitchen have definitely seen better days. The paintwork is very slapdash and the ceramics old and tired, including the washbasin, bath and loo. The water was always hot, but the shower was in the bath with just a plastic curtain to avoid spray and difficult to access if you’re not too agile. We had a problem with the toilet not flushing properly culminating in it overflowing all over the bathroom floor. The staff’s response was immediate and we were all back to normal within half an hour, but the experience wasn’t ‘lovely’.

Service

No one goes to the Caribbean and expects to have the same attentive, speedy service as accepted in five star hotel in London or Paris, so weighed against similar standard properties elsewhere it held its own. The staff were helpful, professional and very good at suggestions to suit individual tastes; housekeeping was excellent and the maintenance staff kept all areas running as smoothly as they could – given the necessary work required on both the internal and external fabric to keep it in good condition.



Dining

Probably one of the most idyllic spots to eat anywhere on the globe, however the menus were a little repetitive (we were on an all inclusive package) and on several occasions they were out of specific items on the fairly limited list. That said, the food we ate was first class with an equal choice of traditional Jamaican dishes (delicious) to those with a more European flavour. The waiting staff were attentive and precise and the bar staff very accommodating - a speedy lunch takes approximately one hour.

General wellbeing.

During our stay the entire hotel was taken over by a wedding party - except for our room – not really our idea of a quiet holiday and not too good for the people who wanted to enjoy the wedding either, having two grumpy people desperate for the music to be turned down, so we decided to escape for the weekend to Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios. However in the interest of good PR, the hotel should really have informed us prior to our arrival then we could have made our arrangements accordingly instead of being given a fete accompli two days beforehand. No recompense was mentioned, even though the wedding party was short of rooms – and we had to find another US $1000 to move to Jamaica Inn.

All in all though, the pluses far out weigh the minuses and we would stay there again just for the view alone. Instead of packing dresses, skirts and shorts - it is a dressed down environment during the day - I’d advise, cotton casuals and warm cardigans or jumpers for the evening. There is little necessity for a gym as the daily exercise just navigating the passage from room to restaurant must burn up several hundred calories, and our fitness levels rose dramatically by the day of our departure and we almost ran up the steps without fear of misjudging the non standard risers at various stages!

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ibexpower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
106 reviews
92 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2009

Stayed here with a friend to round off a great Christmas/New Year break in Jamaica and Cuba. The location and ambience of the place are fabulous, the views inspiring and the gardens, flora and fauna fascinating. I thought the rooms charming (but they could have warned about all the steps - some visitors would find them a challenge). The bathrooms a bit simpler than I expected. The verandah was small but perfect other than that.

What disappointed me was the service, it was patchy and not very attentive. We arrived just after they'd finished serving brunch because of a delayed flight, and were made to feel lucky to be allowed a cheese sandwich. We sat outside by the pool, with all the other tables covered in dirty crockery. Despite coming out to us 3 or 4 times to drop off drinks, ashtrays etc, they never once thought to clear any of the tables on their way back. Eventually my friend couldn't stand it and cleared one herself. We couldn't have bloody marys as they were out of tom juice. And the G&Ts that we had instead came with the meanest slice of lime. When we asked for more they brought an equally mean slice. We drank them up and watched the great sunset, and if they'd bothered to come out and ask we'd have probably had 1 or 2 more, but they didn't. We went in and ordered red stripe instead.

Later on, when we tried again on the G&Ts, and asked for them "with lots of lime" they poured them out and then told us they were out of lime completely. They didn't look happy when we changed our order to a bottle of wine.

We placed our order early for dinner at 9. They brought it up at 8.30, and knowing this was early offered to keep it under hot lamps for half an hour! The food was ok, but not up to standards I've had in much simpler venues in Jamaica. We were both having fish but there was no lemon or lime to be had for that either of course.

When I checked out they just gave me a total without a breakdown. I knew I should check, and it turned out there were at least 5 drinks on there which weren't ours.

All in all, I would stay there again because the location is so fantastic, but they will lose their reputation if they don't pull their socks up on the service front. Places like this attract punters who expect the details to be right and the service to be strong.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — service
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Fikoukla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, UK
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 December 2008

4 of us were looking forward to a luxurious break at this hotel. We were in for a major disappointment. From the time we arrived, we were ignored by the restaurant staff and had to find someone to serve us with morning coffee. Thereafter, the service was slow (at least one hour's wait for each course) and the staff were sullen. One meal had to be returned as the meat was so tough, it could not be cut with a knife. The replacement course arrived 45 minutes later by which time the rest of the group had finished their meal. The bedrooms were cold and damp, and the bathrooms tired and tatty. The manager made no eye or verbal contact with any of the hotel clientele (we observed him with interest) so presumably we were all invisible. The chefs were not top class but merely average. Some dishes had ingredients missing (olives from the mixed green salad, thyme jus from a chicken dish (I ended up with sweet chilli sauce instead)). This hotel is living on a past reputation. Don't waste your precious time and money on this below average hotel.

  • Liked — View, gardens
  • Disliked — Restaurant service, below average food, dirty tables
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Missbigworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
18 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2008

Strawberry Hill

If I could sum up my stay at Strawberry Hill with one word, it would be Heavenly… I didn’t expect perfection, just for it to be perfect for me, which it was… so without further adieu, here’s the LOOONG review :)


Booking…

Significant other is a Jamaican…I was supposed to pick the spot and make it a surprise… I did… when booking I requested and got the resident rate… booked a studio, as expected I was told we would be in 59 steps so I was prepared for the long trek and for it to be noisy. They didn’t ask for a deposit or the like, which surprised me a little, but it was all good…

Arriving

Flew into Kingston, this is my preferred destination if possible, small and chaotic airport but smooth and painless immigration… he wasn’t late (or at least THAT late), and we started up the hill at around 5 after a quick stop at the Scotia ATM on Mona campus..

The Drive

Leaving the city from Papine (far from my favourite part of the Kingston) was phenomenal… absolutely beautiful watching the city shrink as you climb this steep, winding road… the valleys and hills are breathtaking… but the drive might phase some, it’s winding, steep, roads are narrow and the drop-offs are dooseys… the beauty really makes you forget this (or at least distracts you!)… this road continues on, far and beyond in the same fashion, but Strawberry Hill guests will have to jump of about 20 minutes from Papine… there’s a big green wall indicating the start of the grounds I guess, it became our place marker because if you pass things up here it may be a bit of a ways to find a safe place to turn around. This drive (and continuing on to Newcastle and beyond) is by far my favourite one on the island… it’s breathtaking and under ideal circumstances, it can be taken all the way across to Portland… however it is very prone to landslides and at time of my journey (and present writing time) many sections are out, from April landslides and more recently from Gustav passing…

Check In…

First you come in the main gates (they were open this time but this was very inconsistent, some days they were open and we drove thru, some days they were closed and they called and checked we were on the guest list, some days they opened when they saw us coming and waved us thru… twas interesting and typically the same guy (you’d think we would stand out and he could remember us?!?))

you head directly to the check in, off to the right in the first building… there’s offices and a quant little seating area where they receive you and provide you with the key and room details… I had to explain that my partner was not my driver, but ah well, part of the situation, and not the first time… a lady showed us to our room.. Stairs to 59 steps are almost overgrown with banana plants, the steps have textured paint on them that would probably reduce slipping (never found them slippery, but I wasn’t out after a rain because it didn’t really rain all that much during my stay..) there are 59 steps… I counted every time I went up :) from the entrance path/road, the steps to the studios and timbuk rooms look similar, but there is a tiny sign on the fence at the top… if in doubt, 59 steps has the noticeable banana leaves :)

The Room..

WOW.. I loved it instantly, kinda knew I would, it’s just my style.. the huge four poster bed with the flowing canopy/netting, dark wood floors, wonderful detail in the wood fretting… wall to wall shuttered windows, it’s really an colonial/plantation style elegance that they’ve mastered here…. The website shows gorgeous rooms and well they’re pretty accurate IMO… the bathrooms did have cracks in the porcelain.. if you’re looking for perfect and pristine, this isn’t the place… it exists to prove that luxury need not be pristine and sterile… this place fits in it’s environment and I didn’t find anything really out of place… there was a fresh fruit plate waiting for us (and again on our third day), some lovely exotic flowers in an arrangement on the dark wood antique desk…

The room is cozy without feeling small… in main room there’s the bed (VERY comfy), a desk/chair, night tables, a buffet table under the mirror beside the bed, a lounge chair under the entertainment shelves (TV, DVD and CD player) and a small but eclectic selection of books and cds (most with an island theme of sorts)…. A closet (warming bar to keep mildew and odor inside was a nice touch), very ancient ironing board and modern iron, and high quality thick bath robes and slippers waiting :) nice … there’s also a fan (no a/c, not really needed) and controls for what seemed like an archaic bed warmer, but we didn’t need this the down comforter on the bed was just fine… all under a vaulted exposed ceiling…

Off to the side there was the bathroom (with shelving unit for clothes etc, bathroom was deep old fashion tub (on feet) and mirror/toilet… the standard offerings…. Also off of the bathroom was the small kitchenette… two burner stove unit (propane I believe) mini fridge and a full supply of most dishes needed… some canisters with sugar, coffee (claim to be blue mountain, I don’t drink the stuff at all so I couldn’t tell you) and small fridge… there are peanuts, cookies, chips and some other snacks and beverages on the counter/in the fridge… there’s a crazy price list associated with that too… not sure if it was because we weren’t part of the AI plan that we had the price list included or if they charge for regular Ai guests too… I had some cookies and a soda when we arrived (the next morning my partner headed down to Papine to pick up snacks and such and I didn’t touch it again)…noticed I never was charged for this tho…

As described the shuttered/fretted windows are everywhere allowing you control the light that comes in during the day… (all are screened)… lovely touch

Finally off the main room is the balcony.. fair sized, small table and two chairs and plenty of room to move around, the balcony is one of my favourite parts… the view was breathtaking .. Immediate beauty of the mountains with the sprawling mass of city beneath… the lights at night were just beautiful… in the day time the birds and flora were in abundance and just as lovely… the banana tress seem to over grow the balcony and provide a little more privacy… 59 steps seems to be the one that has this bit of vegetation, with proper contortion, I could see that the other balconies that I could see were not as “sheltered” and private seeming… some could likely see right in to others… I loved 59 steps because of this…

The Grounds/Property

Beyond Beautiful, the place is immaculately kept and so lush and natural… there’s a lot of little nooks and crannies to discover… I wandered thru the main buildings and they’re all very interesting with Bransen’s records covering the walls in one room, a fireplace in the lounge area with the bar (it’s well used, gets chilly at night up here!)… cannot say anything bad about this property other than when I asked to tour some of the villas I was told they were all full which seemed odd to me, but I guess I could just be skeptical.. .would have loved to see them!

The dining area was mostly a large veranda to the main house and attached structure, with one small indoor area… off this “veranda” was a library area with a little selection of books, some games and some current news papers/periodicals, a sofa, few chairs, and a computer (internet access a nice touch, another computer might have been a nicer touch did have to wait on a couple occasions to check email and the like)… we didn’t get any real rain during my say (I think it might have rained really early one morning, but it passed and cleared fast) , but I imagine this library area might see a lot of activity if there were a few days of straight rain (which probably happens up in the hills from time to time)..

There is a conference room of sorts with a huge panel tv and a/v equipment that would make this place an interesting destination to rent out for a few days of work-retreat… this is where bransen’s records line the walls…

The gardens… they have some phenomenally beautiful and exotic flowers up here, some are identified, some are not… had I been a bit more on the ball I would have printed out the garden map so I could better know what was where… they do offer complementary grounds tours, I wish I had asked for one, probably would have been interesting, for sure…

Above/behind the check in/office area and behind it is the spa and gift shop… I wandered in each but didn’t spend too long… there’s also a private residence type deal on the property that had “do not enter” signs around it…

The Pool
the pool is awesome (negative edge infinity pool gives for some really really cool pictures), and of course the views are incredible… surrounding the pool is a wooden deck and benches…. Here they have a few loungers that have towels already laid out early in the morning, some umbrellas and tables… it’s the perfect place to take in some rays when available (can be somewhat hazy/foggy or misty up here) … a couple caveats about the pool that didn’t take away too much from my experience, but might bother others are this… On weekends the restaurant gets quite busy and the dining areas overlook the pool, so you end up feeling a bit on display… it’s a very much surrounded by nature, which blows into the pool… I think skimming the pool would be a full time job, but there isn’t a full time pool attendant, they did clean it a couple times a day, but inevitably there was usually something floating in it…oh, and because this area doesn’t see near the sun that beach area resorts do, and the pool is not heated, the water is COLD… sunset dips weren’t really an option… there also didn’t appear to be any sort of pool side drink ordering.. the great house and bar is right there, so it’s a 20s walk at most not a huge issue, but having someone take bar orders would def be a plus… or a poolside bar as mentioned below….

Copters!
Guess this can get it’s own section because it’s kinda cool… I had read that there were copter transfers available between island outpost properties, but while I was laying by the pool this lawn mower noise starts getting louder and louder… I’m thinking it’s coming straight for me, but there’s no grass around the pool deck so I open my eyes to see this copter hovering no more than a few hundred metres from me… very close to the property, it starts to descend into an area just beyond the spa and shortly after went quiet…. (walked around later trying to find the helipad to no avail)… this wasn’t disturbing or anything, as it only happened the once (if//when the copter actually left I didn’t hear or wasn’t around), it was really really cool actually, to see it so close by AND in the air…


The Bar…

They have a good sized, well stocked one… didn’t use it but for fresh squeezed tropical fruit juice and a couple rum punches… both were very very good (and come to think of it I was never charged for them although I told them I was in 59 steps, so they were also free) the bartenders were friendly and smiling, but didn’t inspire me to hang out inside with them and sacrifice that wonderful view.. I think, if I was having my wedding outside or for times when it got busy, a poolside or outdoor bar might be a nice touch. Maybe they offer this for weddings? Dunno


The Food

We did the resident rate plan (Breakfast only included), so our experience with the food was primarily with the included breakfasts… Our first night we did go to the dining room… not much really jumped out to me on the menu and I ordered the plantain crusted snapper, and baby crab backs for appetizer.. crab backs were awesome, main dish I wasn’t as excited about, it arrived after a good wait bordering on warm and cooled off way too quickly, taste was okay but the fish was slightly dried… took off a little early from the restaurant b/c I was cold and then saw a couple large, palmetto-y type bugs…. It’s completely open air dining experience, so not only was it on the chilly side, but the bugs are unavoidable, but I didn’t’ want to share my meal with them! (they were on the floor, I’m just being silly)…I was slightly glad to not be on the AI package, the dinner menu seemed limited… lunch seemed to have a few more appealing options tho… after the first night we only had breakfasts from the restaurant and only room service to our room.. the staff were great and did a great job to accommodate our requests for more of this or replacing this with that ect.. however like before, it was typically well, while minor, somewhat inconsistent, some mornings we got full platter of baked goods with our breakfast, some mornings only toast… some mornings they sent salt and pepper down, some they didn’t some mornings we had jam, others peanut butter… nothing worth complaining about or loosing sleep over, but we did play the “what will our breakfast come with today” game by the end :) breakfasts were great tho. I got the Jamaican one every day… very tasty and filling and the banana bread (when it came) was awesome too…

Our stay had us there over Mother’s Day and I would have liked to check out the Sunday Brunch Buffet but 1) I imagine it would have been a zoo and 2) we were off to Clarendon to visit family (his not mine) , so I can’t speak to brunch, I’ve heard mixed things… next time…

After the first night, we ate our other meals in Papine or New Kingston (spent mothers day in rural rural Claredon).. Papine has a really good Jamaican/Chinese food place.. it’s in the plaza on the far left side if you are going in and it’s the one closest to the road… hope that makes sense, it’s from memory.. . the partner did cook back in our room for me our last day there, which wasn’t my favourite meal but we won’t tell him that :)


Service…

Room service for breakfast was great… totally respect them for climbing all those steps with a smile on their face… tipped well for them… the one day we ate up in the dining room the service was like the other fairy minor nitpickity details, inconsistent… it was a Friday night… date night I guess… restaurant was packed with couples (most not staying on the property… I tried to stress that we were but it didn’t help us get seated at any of the few available tables unless we wanted to sit inside (as chilly as it was, I didn’t want to take my eyes off the view))… it was about a 20 min wait to get seated…. …we used that time to walk around the great house (main bar area) and pool and soak in the environment so it was no real issue (they may have even come to check for us while we were exploring)…. Once seated our appetizer came quick and then our meal seemed to take forever, and when it did come, the fish was warm and cooled fast… nothing was deal breaking or unexpected, just a little less than what I’d expect from a true 5* dining experience…

Maids kept the room clean and neat…. I do feel for them having to lug all their gear up and down those stairs… there are other people who collect and bring down the linen, along with the dishes, they will wait for the fairy that does, which means sometimes we had our dishes from breakfast still sitting outside long after the maid had left… was always cleared before the next morning tho… we got fresh flowers and a new fruit plate on the third day… was nice and not expected…. The towels were changed every day and linens every other day, including the robes… the robes we got first change were not as heavy as the ones on arrival, the next replacement brought back heavy ones again :)

The Area…
While located in what must surely be a piece of heaven, Strawberry Hill is fairly remote and not really good for ppl who aren’t to comfortable being isolated (only a few rooms are suitable for anyone with mobility problems too…. Lots of steps and thing to get around this property)… The hotel offers a number of excursions, most obviously being variations of mountain hikes to area points of interest (coffee plantations, historical buildings, and floura/fauna observations (bird/flower hikes))… They do offer some longer trips to Kingston area attractions (Bob Marley Museum, Lime Cay),and to Portland I believe… I’ve done variations of most of these in past island visits so we didn’t partake in excursions…. They are there and all listed in the guide in the room if you are interested (along with some interesting facts including the staggering number of birds and flowers that are native to and virtually only found in the blue mountain region (some 33 species of bird and 100 some odd sub species), kinda cool when you think about it, we did have some of those species visiting our space more than once! (i.e birds in our room.. I thought it was cool, but I helped the visitors leave fairly quickly as they do get a little perturbed when inside! :)

While this is an natural, beautiful mountain getaway, it is an oasis from the city and you can’t really avoid it unless you copter in… the ride from KIN is not at all life threatening or dangerous (well the drop offs on the Newcastle road are unnerving at times :) ) but you are just over the city… it’s there if you want to experience it, if you don’t well it’s still there… while I thought the views were phenomenal, especially those of the city some looking for true mountain retreat might not see it the same way…


The Spa

Didn’t use it, but it is an aveda concept salon (I’ve visited aveda salons in Toronto before and am a fan of their products)…. It’s there, the prices are comparable to any major salon, I think they use bird hill villa for spa retreats (there is no longer a Jacuzzi with this room anymore, the area that it was has been replaced by a spa table and a small table with aveda oils on it…. we spoke to the ppl staying in bird hill and asked them if we could look around back, I wanted to see if the Jacuzzi was there or not as I was unclear, the website shoes it, but the site does not speak to it)….)… I was somewhat disappointed (and I knew this before hand but had hoped it was a mistake) that they did not use the spa products in the rooms… wasn’t overly impressed with the room products either… hopefully this will change but it didn’t break my vacation…. I also didn’t get the “free spa analysis” or whatever they call it, I didn’t request this, but I suspect it has to do with closing your eyes and choosing between different scents to determine a “profile” for your spa treatments, as this is common aveda practice… the spa has it’s own menu for spa guests only, from my understanding and a small pool/sauna that is open for non-spa guests… saw but didn’t’ use either of these…spa pool didn’t seem to get cleaned as much as the main one.

Other Details

This past May there was a bit of a May Bug issue… these hard shelled, small, brownish beetles seem to have no other purpose than to die in as many possible places as possible.. having them crunch under your feet is pretty gross.. they loved lights and our sink and well I’d never leave food uncovered for more than 10s or so…. apparently for my visiting pleasure, they only arrive for a few weeks in/around early May and I actually noticed the difference in their prevalence from the beginning to the end of my 5 day stay…

I brought copious amounts of bug spray to combat other bug issues but was not troubled all that much at all…. I think I got all of the three mosquito bites I received in Clarendon….

TV reception was poor… as was cell phone reception… no doubt related to the hills/valleys of the mountains…

I’d read reviews that had ppl complaining about the noise from the city, which is a bit funny to me… I didn’t really hear noise from the surrounding areas unless the wind blew properly, however if noise is heard, it’s no doubt from a much more local sound system deal than anything in Kingston… in more rural areas, they have round robins or street parties, held a few times a month at various spots in the small towns… they set up large sound systems and play dj music until wee hours of the morning… I didn’t hear anything loud at all during my stay, but if someone was to set up a system in Irish town (which would likely be by the café at the bottom of the hill where the main road is) you’d def hear it and it could be quite loud... Just a side note, since April there has been a call to better adhere to the island-wide noise pollution acts which prohibit excessive noise in and around residential areas after 2am… the enforcement of this has been highly unpredictable but seems to have been happening most in and around the Kingston area. I’m not sure if I just didn’t hear anything because my timing was off… or if it they took the local round robins to other, maybe less bothersome locations in response to that… either way noise was not at all an issue to me unless you count the birds doing all that chirping in the morning :)

I’d personally not recommend Strawberry Hill for families… it has a pool, it has a lot of room to run and play and some interesting flowers, birds, lizards, and lots of nature around, but it is has an intimate, private nature that I personally find appeals much more to couples (and as such will attract couples and couple behaviours, on regular occasion we could hear the honeymooners in one of the timbuks, ummmm well honeymooning)… it’s a smallish, romantic property that even the best self-entertaining children would likely tire of unless they were very much nature freaks….. My personal advise is, unless you have a strong desire to be close to Kingston, to save Strawberry Hill for the romantic getaways and head over to Portland to get the same mountain beauty with much more family friendly excursions and options…

Back to the lizards for a second, I saw the coolest one ever on one of our 59 steps, he was a normal looking lizard, but multicolor (blue, red, green, purple etc) like a rainbow… was just freaky! got a good picture of him too!!!

That’s that… I could go on for much longer about how beautiful and phenomenal this place was… I’ve given it 5* because it was perfect to me, however Strawberry Hill isn’t perfect, there are some small details, and minor inconsistencies that highly discerning guests may let ruin their experience in expecting something true to a 5* luxury experience…

most places in Jamaica that I’ve loved and rated 5* have been totally about the people which make the locations unforgettable for me… Strawberry Hill to me was all about the property itself…. the people were nice and helpful, and provided good to great service (despite the inconsistencies), but were not the reason my heart was captured by the place… they more just blended into the background to make sure I could enjoy the experience peacefully… there were minor issues that didn’t at all take away from my stay, but I hope that I’ve pointed out the good and the not so good to help anyone looking into Strawberry Hill best understand what to expect, make the right choice for your dollar and get the most for that dollar spent… the prices are high and rising for this property and if you are, like me, lacking in the bottomless pocket book department, it might be nice to have a good idea if the location will be everything you dreamed it is… to me it was… I found my paradise (and thrill :) ) on Strawberry Hill :)

  • Liked — The blue mountains are phenomenal and strawberry hill just fits "right in"
  • Disliked — if i was picky i'd say the small inconstiencies but they didn't bother me
  • Stayed May 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank Chell00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NY
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 August 2008

On our way to Montego, we spent a few days with the children in this beautiful hilltop hotel. We had a lovely cottage down a 60 foot stairway below the main buildings. This is a place to do nothing, read, write, hike or just chill... great place to shed stress but not for te hyperactive or for someone looking for traditional large resort activities.

  • Stayed January 2003, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank student_driver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Strawberry Hill

Property: Strawberry Hill
Address: New Castle Road, Kingston, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Kingston Parish > Kingston
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Kingston
#4 Luxury Hotel in Kingston
#4 Business Hotel in Kingston
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Strawberry Hill 4.5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Strawberry Hill Hotel, Spa & Gardens, a 26-acre mountain top resort, is located in the heart of one of the world's most famous coffee-producing mountain ranges, Jamaica's Blue Mountains. Listed in the New York Times #1 bestselling book, 1,000 Places To See Before You Die, Strawberry Hill is 3100 feet above sea level and features one of the most awe-inspiring views of the Blue Mountains in one direction as well as the city of Kingston in the other. On a clear day, one can see up to 100 miles from the property's infinity-edge pool, and at night the city far below becomes a twinkling mirror of the night sky. The property's 12 Georgian-style cottages, spa, exotic gardens and restaurant offerings underwent an extensive refurbishment in October 2011. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Strawberry Hill Irish Town
Strawberry Hill Jamaica/Kingston

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