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“Good but could be so much better”
Review of Strawberry Hill

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Strawberry Hill
Ranked #5 of 25 Hotels in Kingston
Certificate of Excellence
Worcs
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Good but could be so much better”
Reviewed 11 October 2009

Our one night stay at Strawberry Hill was a surprise birthday present; we have learnt since our return home that the booking process was a nightmare to arrange in advance, inefficient and disinterested would sum it up. The setting is incomparable, the garden, pool and main buildings stunning but basic things are being missed. The room was fine, rustic but very clean, overlooking Kingston, 70 steps or so down from the main path, with a lovely terrace from which we could almost touch the hummingbirds. The bathroom was in need of an upgrade though, with a cracked sink, discoloured mirror and rusty shower rail. There was no information about the hotel at all in the room, or things to do in the area, which was irritating. There was tea and coffee but no milk and only sugar in the fridge; cd player and cds, and dvd player but no dvds. The staff were very friendly but service was a bit slow, and disinterested, and a couple of requests for pool towels and dvds were ignored. The food was adequate but nothing special for the price.The bill on checking out was not itemised which seems very odd, listing invoices one, two and three is not sufficient, and is open to error. It is a lovely relaxing place but the flaws need to be fixed for it to be value for money.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank lizzieWorcs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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337 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
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Jamaica
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 October 2009

This is supposed to be one of the most prestigious hotels in the Caribbean. The rooms are lovely as are the views, but the staff is lacadasical at best. I was there visiting a beautiful wedding this weekend only to be greeted by dog droppings on the lawn early in the morning, bombarded by flies throughout the dinner service, rarely to never offered a drink by the unenthusiastic wait staff. The decorator (an outside contractor) and the outside wedding planner did a fabulous job of making the reception area beautiful. At the end of the evening, we asked the Strawberry Hills wedding planner, Stacey, to help us find some workmen to move the beautiful wedding cake back down to the bride's room for preservation. We were told that we would have to beg them ourselves. She was done and wouldn't help us.

These are the things that have the potential to spoil an otherwise perfect event. i've seen quite a few service complaints on this site. Strawberry Hillsmanagement should probably take a look. i won't deter anyone from going up there for a weekend escape if they don't need great service, but I'll never recommend anyone to go up there to work with their event planning services. Horrible!

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Ebilact
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JHP_Zuidervliet
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JHP_Zuidervliet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Barbara, California
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
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
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ibexpower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shanghai, China
Level 6 Contributor
108 reviews
94 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Fikoukla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, UK
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • 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
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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 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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