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“Close to nature,”

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Hotel Mocking Bird Hill
Ranked #4 of 16 Hotels in Port Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 12 May 2008

Garden is absolutely wondeful. If you love nature, it is a place for you. It is easy to get to lots of beaches. Winnifred Beach is really natural and most beautiful place.

Staff is really polite, but always something is inscrutable. I always felt a bit bemused, aspecially in first days.

They use to upsell all services, as taxi, trips, or so.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled with family
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Thank Wojtek K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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299 - 305 of 399 reviews

Reviewed 29 April 2008

Hotel Mocking Bird Hill is an exceptional oasis with 10 beautiful rooms looking down to the sea, great food and service.

We arrived with our 3 year-old daughter and could not have been made more welcome by both staff and guests. We stayed for two weeks and the longer we stayed the more we liked it. The local beach Frenchman's Cove (a five minute drive) was perfect and very safe for small children as it has a freshwater river at the back, away from the waves.

At night time, returning to the hotel was a treat - a swing in the hammock on our private deck, a hot shower, cocktails on the rooftop terrace where there was easy conversation with other guests if you felt like it and then delicious dinner with an excellent range of different dishes.

It was the best, most chilled out holiday we have had for many years.

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Thank walter1965
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2008

We stayed for one week. Like other reviews, the views are beautiful, food quite good, hotel lovely. However, it is not serene and quiet! It's on 6 acres with lovely gardens but the hotel area itself is small. We aren't used to barking dogs at night! It wasn't particularly relaxing to have a massage with hotel staff talking on the room balconies, or hear the owners interviewing for new hires. And like another review, we heard the owners bickering when we got there. After talking to many staff, we, learned, unfortunately, that one of the owners is not nice to staff, who make less than $60/week. There have been staff problems due to her difficult nature. That doesn't seem very eco-friendly to us. The staff are nice and ready to assist, but candidly, always around doing chores, so getting a private moment, sometimes even in one's room is not a guarantee. We used the car service for day trips to Blue Mountain, Reich Falls, Winifred Beach, and Rio Grande rafting. Those costs were about $700 just for travel. The roads are awful so be prepared to spend time in the car! The trips are great, and we really had an 'experience' of Jamaica, not available in the more tourists parts of the country. Each one was special.Make sure to go to Boston Jerk for lunch! We had a great cultural experience!
We wouldn't go back...with so much of the world to see...but for safety and comfort with an expensive pricetag, the Mocking Bird Hill is very nice.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Eyestotheworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mbhpot, Owner at Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, responded to this reviewResponded 3 May 2008

It is not possible for these guests to have heard the managers bickering on their arrival as the managers were not there . It is interesting that judgments about labour relations are made after conversations with trainees. Are guests aware that:
We provide opportunities to persons with minimal skills and little education.
US$ 60 per week is the legal minimum wage as stipulated by the Government of Jamaica?
All staff who complete one year are given health insurance paid for by the company?
we employ persons who are physically challenged?
Are they aware of what senior staff earn and how many staff who have left and have asked to be re-employed
Have they spoken to staff who have been a part of our team for 10 and more years?
The cost of transport reflects what it takes for a transportation provider to be fully licensed, approved by the tourism authorities, insured and keep a vehicle in good running order, particularly in the face of the bad road conditions. This information is on our website and in the information folder placed in all guest rooms.We have no control over these factors just as we have no control over noises coming from the neighbouring village (home to some of our staff). It is not reasonable to expect us to stop operations while guests are in house. Major refurbishing is done in September when the hotel is closed for vacation. The staff do need to converse, they are after all, human and most guests enjoy the lively chit-chat and pleasant atmosphere. We are happy to address all these issues and more with our guests and are available on almost all evenings to sit and chat over a drink and share all the information we have about Jamaica including issues pertaining to cost of living, education, etc. If we notice or sense that our guests would like to enjoy their privacy we do not however impose ourselves on them as this would be incorrect. We feel that whatever country one visits, one should check the facts, find out all the information before making public statements that hold inconsistencies and which are at times incorrect.

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Reviewed 10 April 2008

My wife and myself moved to Kingston in November 2006 and casually discovered Mocking Bird Hill few weeks after arriving in Kingston. Since then it became "our" place in Port Antonio and are going there whenever we can. The atmosphere is extremely relaxing and the view is spectacular; service is friendly and efficient and after all this time we do not have a single complaint (and we can be very fussy). Furthermore, thanks to Shireen and Barbara we were able to discover aspects of Portland ignored by the guides.
Mocking bird is the place where we take our friends when they come to the Island and it is a great experience for all of them.
What to add? Kudos for the eco-friendly steps taken and for the link with the local communities (an example for other hotel in Jamaica and elsewhere).


PS The food! I almost forgot the food: delicious and worth the trip.

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank CosimoandKata
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank OffTrackCalgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank sinkor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mbhpot, Owner at Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, responded to this reviewResponded 8 March 2008

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

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Reviewed 20 February 2008

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

Stayed: February 2008
6  Thank jetburd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mbhpot, Owner at Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, responded to this reviewResponded 22 February 2008

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

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Additional Information about 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: £155 - £464 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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