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“What a gem!”

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Hotel Mocking Bird Hill
Ranked #4 of 16 Hotels in Port Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“What a gem!”
Reviewed 13 January 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
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (75)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
edinburgh, scotland
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 October 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, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank mercutio58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jamaica
1 review
Reviewed 16 August 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Liked — Peace and Quiet
  • Disliked — Inability to go walking for long distances
  • Stayed August 2007, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Rubrum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Halifax, Canada
1 review
Reviewed 15 August 2007

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

  • Stayed July 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank northwitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, NY
2 reviews
Reviewed 1 July 2007

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

  • Liked — Location, ambiance, friendliness, the food
  • Disliked — I really had no complaints
  • Stayed June 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Schnookieshin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia
Level Contributor
24 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 June 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Liked — Beautiful decor, ceiling fan, excellent bed, quiet
  • Stayed June 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
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    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank caribmike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jamaica
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 June 2007

My husband and I spent two nights at Mocking Bird Hill, last weekend, just to get away from Kingston and re-charge our batteries. It was lovely. Old Jamaica ambience, beautiful views and food to die for. Elmar, their young German Chef is amazing and each meal that he gives you, seems to surpass the last.... That along with his engaging smile, cheerful sense of humour and desire to constantly learn make him a delight to be around. The staff were all cheerful and smiling and willing to help, to say nothing of being unobtrusive. Shireen and Barbara, the "working" owners of the hotel are equally delightful, Barbara makes great Martini's and Shireen was helpful, informative and very sweet whilst serving our gourmet meals. I would highly recommend this Hotel and particularly for its incredible food. We will definately be go back there.

  • Liked — The cuisine was spectacular
  • Disliked — Lack of air conditioning
  • Stayed June 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank jamenglishJamaica
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
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Portland Parish > Port Antonio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre 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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