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Review of Great Huts

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Great Huts
Ranked #1 of 29 Port Antonio B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 October 2008

My BF and I visited Great Huts last month and had an amazing time. Some of the things I loved best include the amazing view, the staff who made us feel like family, the cooking (both the included breakfasts - with GREAT homemade bread for toast - and Carl's dinners), and the animals (they have 3 dogs there, plus a variety of wild lizards, hermit crabs, birds, etc.). I loved going to sleep and waking up to the sound of the waves and the creatures - it was truly relaxing. It's also helpful that they have internet access (if you really want to check email while you're on vacation).

The ONLY thing I didn't like was the bugs. We had to use a lot of bug spray at night and went through a lot of hydrocortisone for the bites we did get.

As for Port Antonio, we loved exploring there (we rented a car for our trip - be forewarned that driving is tricky there b/c of potholes).

And, I learned to surf while I was there (couldn't move my arms the next day b/c of all the paddling). Got a great massage the next day (they have a woman who either comes to your hut or you can walk to her house just down the road).

All in all, great trip! Would highly recommend it if you want a taste of non-commercial, non-touristy Jamaica.

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank AandKTravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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705 - 711 of 805 reviews

Reviewed 2 October 2008

Great Huts was an awesome experience for my girlfriend and I. Never having previously been to Jamaica, we opted on the "real Jamaica" and not just some spot on the island made of concrete and tourist bargains. Billing itself as an "eco-friendly" resort, Great Huts is one of those places that you just do not want to leave.
Our five day adventure here was not only relaxing, but fun as well. Though it is quite a drive from Kingston or Ocho Rios (approximately 2 1/2 hours), I assure you that it is well worth the effort and time. The drive there from the Western end of the island itself is filled with gorgeous views of the coast, but the reward itself is the stay there.
Great Huts has a great variety of rooms at very resaonable rates, unlike the all-inclusive resorts on the Western coast. We decided upon the Bamboo Tree House, which is a two-story "Hut" that borders the very edge of the property along a well-defined cliff into the sea. The first floor consisted of a single wall of bamboo, separating the rest of the "resort" from our private little sanctuary. With the second wall of the "hut" facing the slope of the cliff, the final two walls were simply left upon to the wild with wonderful views of the cove and beach that lead out onto the sea.
The bottom floor was furnished with a huge whirlpool tub against the far "window," looking out onto the water. There was also a balcony with seating on the other cliff-side view. The bottom floor was also intricately covered in sea-worn stones and coral. Also, we had a small refrigerator and microwave at our disposal as well as an "open air" sink and toilet.
The second floor was furnished with plentful shelving and drawers for our belongings, as well as a huge bed in the center of the room. Due to the warm weather conditions of Jamaica, a fan was necessary since there is no air-conditiong at all. Still, the upper floor of the bamboo hut had two walls with wide-opening fixtures to allow a tremendous view of the cove below. There was also a mosquito net provided around the bed as well as an outdoors porch on the second level with a chaise and hammock.
Speaking more of this wonderful room, I can lastly say that there is something about sleeping close to nature. Many peeople dont' care for camping in the wild, but this comes pretty close to it. Laying in bed, listening to the crashing waves of the surf and the nightly noises of the rainforest, falling asleep could never have been easier. We would find from time geckos running through our room, more afraid of us then us of them, and somehow hermit crabs managd to make the second story climb into our room. None of these "little" creature ever bothered us.
As for the staff, all of them were absolutely fantastic and for the myriad of places that I have traveled to and places that I have rested my head in, it was there at Great Huts that I can say I felt like part f a huge family. While there are too many people too list here in a review, I can say that each and every one of them went above and beyond their normal duties as hosts and made us both feel welcome and safe within their home. And I am not just talking about the staff feeling as if they had to do it as part of their job. No, it was much more than this. Not only did they incorporate the well-known spirit of Jamaican hospitality and happiness, but they instilled upon us a sense of the real Jamaica.
The managing director, Garfiled, deserves special mention. He went out of his way to accommodate our every need, making sure that we were comfortable and adding his wealth of knowledge when we asked for suggestions for dinner spots or touring sights. Always available and always to solve any dilemma, Garfield made sure that he was always available to master any situation or to resolve any matter ( as well as adding to the jovial atmosphere).
Carl also deserves special mention as well. The "in-house" cook makes some wonderful dishes. Since this is not an "all-inclusive" resort, guests are free to eat out or in. Carl makes a mean pizza, masters the use of hcicken for a variety of dishes and his festivals are simply divine. Of course, I have to also mention Anthony, Margaret, Leslie, Fabian and Tonika, too. We never went without during our stay there.
So, one might ask what there is to do there? Relax and enjy their stretch of beach. Though somehwat rocky, Great Huts has several hammocks down below and as we were leaving were attempting to obtain some kayaks as well for guest use. The water was great, though you do have to take some caution due to the presence of sea urchins. I urge water footwear, though you should not allow this to hamper you as I encountered none. The beach also has a concrete diving platform about 7 meters above the sea, just perfect for a hot day. Less than one kilometer from the beach, you can rent a surfboard or even get a reasonably priced surfing lesson. And, to top it off, one of the best masseuse I have ever encountered lives but the same distance down the street.
I encourage you to try it out, to get away from the "hustle and bustle" of the resorts and to get into the country where you'll find a more serene, comfortable and wallet friendly environment. I guarantee that the wonderful staff and the resort's ambience will live up to its standards of "Paradise on the Edge."

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank GlobalConqueror
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2008

We truly enjoyed our stay at Great Huts. It was fun to "rough it" out in nature and we haven't seen so many stars in the night sky since we were kids. We enjoyed being away from all of the hustle and bustle of the tourist scene. The beach is small but the water is warm and inviting. The staff were friendly and professional. We recommend Great Huts for a truly Jamaican experience!

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Thank CanadaKaren45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2008

Date of stay late July, Early August of 2007, sorry for the late posting... Just getting around to writing some old reviews...

Great Huts was part of a grand tour I had of the island that took me from Kingston to Negril to Treasure Beach and back to Kingston again...

Getting to the Great Huts...
An adventure last summer, probably somewhat improved now, although no difference if you are coming from Kingston via St Thomas...

I was carried by a friend from Spanish Town, I headed out around 2pm.... we came in from Kingston via Stony Hill (via Castleton, few people called it junction, I called it heaven!) Absolutely one of the most scenic drives I’ve ever been on in my life... hills and valleys more lush than one could ever imagine, gradually ascending and descending the blue mountains... words can’t really describe how beautiful the mountains in Jamaica really are... there is one route which is more beautiful but sadly it's often cloesd due to landslides and is not recommended...

As you emerge from Kingston on this route, you come out thru a massive banana plantation in St Mary’s... if this hasn’t been wiped out by a recent storm it’s quite the site to behold... for miles on either side of the road are banana plants (always fascinates me for some reason how bananas grow “up”... never how i picture it!).. This route will take you out to the main road at Annotto Bay (there is an even more scenic way that brings you out buff bay, but this route is frequently closed due to landslides and not recommended)...

The main coast road from Annotto bay was bad from the get go and seemed to get worse as things went on... a few patches were set up for the road rework that is now completed in some spots and well underway in others... the conditions i experienced are slowly being taken care of and all indications are that this road will be finished by next summer (09) they claim January 08 but I’m skeptical....

Finally just slightly past sunset we reached Great Huts... easy to find because just as advertised, it’s directly behind the Boston Jerk Centre... just head back on the little path from there and it’s one of a couple properties on past the houses that some of the jerk vendors live in...


The Property
Insanely lush, almost jungley, rocky paths (flashlight is a must for after dark navigation, if you don’t bring your own, they supply them but the good ones go quickly)... the “decor” around the place is, as on the website, very African-centric... the common structure feels almost “cave-ish” made of natural rock/clay.. open air... this houses the kitchen, common dining area, tv lounge and computers (yup they have online access for guests here)... completely open air, like all the rooms but cozy still... there is a path down to the “beach” which is very rocky, but has tons of little nooks and crannies to discover (this is a theme of this place, you can wander around and find something new each time).. small details like sunbathing loungers carved into rocks, small wading pools with more traditional loungers, a diving area up in the cliffs, other loungers up top the cliffs in a private location that over looks boston beach... an old fashion cook stove complete.... and so on.. so much to discover, they’ve worked so well with the natural environment and paid such close attention to detail that it seems like this place just belongs here....

The Rooms
I was booked in Bamboo Tree House, but because of a mixup ended up splitting between Gate House and Bamboo Tree House...

Gate House – steep steep stairs/ladder to get up to this room... fair-sized room (seemed to only have benches for luggage), huge queen bed in the middle with a full mosquito net over the bed (NEEDED), the mattress is absolutely heavenly!, a fan for those warmer nights (never really needed a/c here).. smallish, standard bathroom with small tub with Jacuzzi jets, cute little mini-balcony that is very much in the tops of a very jungle-esque patch of fruit trees and vegetation...

Bamboo Treehouse - much different, entering into this room you are basically in the bathroom.. it’s bizarre, but it works... bathroom is essentially the entire space (there is an extra bed here, but i’m not too sure i’d want to be sleeping in the bathroom, lol)... the floor is larger sized pebbles, you need shoes here... off to one side is the HUGE two-person Jacuzzi (open air to the sea (yet sheltered by trees, still made those late night showers a little unnerving! :) ))... shower is up above your head worked into the natural decor (hard to tell, but it’s there), up a little step is a sink and mirror (another sink over by the toilet which is on the far wall)... there’s also a mini fridge here... up a small ladder/stairs (no where near as high as the gatehouse), is the main room... a huge bed (same heavenly mattress here)... a wardrobe type set of shelves, a fan, a patio area with a hammock (and a great view...) ...

The Other Huts
Was around watching another hut being built (couldn’t tell you which one, but it was one of the dome ones)... was pretty cool... also checked out the dorm style rooms which were basically the same awesome mattresses (only smaller double or twin versions) separated by canvas walls in a tent formation... shared bathroom facilities (also true of some of the lower priced huts), and very little privacy... i think it used to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-30 a week to camp out here when I first started looking at the huts and now they charge this per day... not sure why the jump, but i did notice that the camper-rooms had jumped in price... as with gatehouse and Bamboo tree house, the huts were all in line with the African theme (there was a guest who grew up in Africa (Ghana) and said the style of design is actually very authentic and reminded him very much of the rural parts of his homeland)... there was one hut that was interesting to me, doesn’t seem to be on the website yet, but it would eventually sleep 8 (two floors) and was already given the name queen of sheeba... all that was there at the time of my visit was a bit off the outer wall and some inner rock work including a platform with a working toilet ... it really looked like an old relic save the toilet :) was funny to me

The Food...
Only had breakfast here... simple, eggs and a carb (potatoes or beans or something) was the typical, fresh fruit and toast and fresh juice... was always good.... I ate up top at the Boston Jerk Centre a few times, and i must stay, I had better jerk in Kingston (feel free to ask where, i can tell you :) ), the food was quite good, but I did expect better... I ate at Anna Bananas and was pleasantly surprised by both the food and atmosphere... very nice little place... Chill out was a good stop too for some cook food at good prices...


Setbacks...
As I said, there was a mix up with the room... IMO it was the hotel’s error, but I guess I also should have followed up... that said, they accommodated me in Gatehouse (bamboo tree house was unavailable for the first 3 nights i was there)... it was a tad disappointing, but gate house ended up being a nice room still, and they ended up compensating me with one night complementary for the mix up, which i felt was fair... the manager was a just a smigeon, ummm... uppity at times, but was very good at making sure the guests were well taken care of...

Oh and roof of Bamboo Tree house leaked during one very heavy nighttime shower... right over the bed... it was a big enough bed that i just moved myself, somehow this didn’t bother me at all and I almost forgot to mention it... weird... guess I just got used to being in the elements....

i was also told a couple times that the hotel would secure a reasonable transport to Negril for me... the morning of they ended up doing a last minute non-negotiable juta transfer that cost me nearly 100 more than i had been quoted... i really didn't have a choice but to take it, didn't want to be scrambling...

Good to Knows...
Great Huts is VERY much in the elements... Learned a few things – Mosquito nets work on lizards too... crabs will wash down sinks... you must run the shower for about 5 minutes to debug your tub... do NOT forget your mosquito repellant at all costs in Portland!!! You will be sorry! I’m a little leery of bugs of the larger more ummm... palmetto-y variety... and did see a few here... had a bit of a hard time dealing with that, but I managed... my biggest fear was and still is centipedes and I did not see any of those!

Guides for Around the Area..
I had the private guide, Warren Mackenzie show me around a couple days... He was absolutely fantastic... we went to blue lagoon, Reich falls, Sommerset (but it closed early for election stuff), Long Bay, Winnifred Beach, Port Antonio proper, and a ton of other little stops along the way... I’ve since recommended Warren to quite a few people who have used him and been just as pleased.. he’s a wonderful guy and a good friend...


Last thoughts
Portland is beyond beautiful... chances are you already know this... I think i took over a 1000 pictures here, it is just that incredible... Great Huts was a unique property that gave me a great base to see this fabulous Parrish.... Loved it there... cannot say it’s for everyone... you cannot be uncomfortable with bugs/lizards, cannot stress this enough... it is a very much in nature experience, while a luxurious one, still a very natural one...

also there is little street thing that happens a couple times a week (Tuesday for sure) at the top of the road in Boston... the sound systems can be quite loud and run quite late/early... and can be heard from within the huts... i went out and joined them... although they did last longer than I did, i didn’t mind the noise tho... some might find this quite annoying...

Great Huts seemed to attract some of the most interesting people i’ve ever met.... from all over the island and all over the world... i think there wasn’t a person staying on that property that i didn’t have at least an hours conversation with... i think the people who find it and enjoy it are all a bit of kindred type souls and just get along... it’s pretty cool in that way...

If you are a surfer, they do offer surfing lessons in these parts...

All and all it was a great experience... i loved Portland and really enjoyed great huts... I didn’t have the same affinity/attachment to the staff as I’ve found in other places, they were friendly and nice, but seemed to be a bit more behind the scenes than in a traditional hotel, just letting you soak in the experience i guess...

i'd def return to great huts again and would love to meet up with the owner Paul Rhodes next time... I'm sure he's a fascinating man and hearing him talk about the property would probably be very very interesting...

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled solo
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2  Thank Chell00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 August 2008

My husband and I stayed in the Bamboo Tree House for 4 nights in mid July. The location is perfect, situated on a cliff overlooking the blue waters of the ocean. Being that we went in July and there is no A/C, our main concerns were of mosquetos and not being able to sleep due to the heat. I am pleased to say that I only got bit about 5 times and the fan in combination with the soothing breeze off of the ocean was as good if not better than the A/C at home. The bed was fantastic and the netting over the bed was very effective. We ate a wonderful breakfast every morning (eggs, fresh fruit, toast, juice/Blue Mnt. Coffee) made by the staff who will quickly become your new Jamaican family. Dinner was amazing at the resort and the stands right outside the gate were very convinent. We loved the private beach area and the spectacular lounging areas tucked away in the most creative and artistic ways. Being that the huts are open air and the facilities are so exposed to the elements, we were expecting campground conditions with regard to cleanliness. We are still amazed at how well groomed the grounds were kept from staff picking leaves out of the gravel areas to our bed being made daily. Great Huts puts on a African Drumming show on Saturday evenings that you won't want to miss! While the ride to Port Antonio is quite long due to the road conditions, it was a beautiful, educational and exciting ride with our driver Yvonne. She knows the roads like the back of her hand and our comfort and safety was her top priority. Port Antonio is the perfect place to be if you don't want to be smothered by the tourist traps. We felt safe enough to walk to a nearby market and had no issues of feeling threatened in any way throughout our stay. Nearby attractions within about 10 - 20 min. drive are downtown Port Antonio, Frenchmans Cove, Blue Lagoon, Long Bay Beach, Winnefred Beach and of course your private section of Boston Bay Beach. While this was our dream location it was not and we hope never becomes a polished resort. There are lizards, dogs, crabs, mosquetos and weather to factor in as well as some rocky paths to walk. All of which we found to be a little slice of heaven, but won't be for everyone. All in all, we hope to return to Great Huts and pray it changes very little before we return.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank YOUNGTHUNDERINGHERD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2008

My wife and I found this place on the internet. We just returned from our one week stay and we didn't want to leave. The staff were all very friendly and helpful. If you can get the Sea Grape Hut, I would totally recommend it. It is perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean and the sounds of the waves are completely relaxing while the views are amazing. The other huts on the property are spaced out nicely so you feel like you have the place all to yourself. There is a really nice beach on the property with a cliff to jump from and hammocks to lounge in while you watch great surfing. Locals will most definitely approach you on the beach (just like everywhere else in Jamaica) to try and sell you stuff or offer surf lessons, but if you tell them you're not interested they leave you alone and usually go back to the main part of Boston Beach (the Great Huts beach is right next to it). In our case, we were interested and actually had a pretty good time interacting with them. Just outside the property gate is the famous Boston Jerk Centre. Wander out there and sample some of the spicy food. Take a taxi to nearby attractions, Port Antonio, etc. We liked Frenchman's Cove a lot. We didn't care for the Blue Lagoon... a total letdown. We took a raft down the Rio Grande and it was probably the most memorable part of our trip to Jamaica. The staff at Great Huts can help you decide where to go and will help you get there... they will even go with you if you'd like the company or someone you can trust to be with you on your adventures. They have a bunch of computers with a fast internet connection. They cook you a complimentary breakfast every morning and you can order other meals as well for like $5 to $20 per plate. This is not a place for people who want ALL the amenities of a luxury hotel or resort, but if you enjoy nature and want a romantic getaway in Jamaica, I'd recommend it.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank justindoan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2008

An awesome place. Definitely must love being close to nature to appreciate this place. Quiet, good food cooked especially for you. Must be willing to get out on the economy. Blue Lagoon close by a must for a swim and/or water tour of the coast line.

1  Thank Titch66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Great Huts

Address: 8-10 Boston Bay Road, Port Antonio, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Portland Parish > Port Antonio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 29 B&Bs / Inns in Port Antonio
Price Range: £61 - £138 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Great Huts 3*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Great Huts: Paradise on the Edge is an oceanfront resort on the lush northeastern tip of Jamaica. Modeled after a traditional West African coastal village, at once both rough-hewn and modern, it is a convergence of nature, heritage, spirituality and technology. Off the beaten path, but not far from the bustle and night life of Boston Bay and Port Antonio, Great Huts' jungle-cliff-beach habitat is a distinctive ecological and cultural experience. The Africana House, a Rastafari Mansion by the Sea with high ceilings and Ethiopian-inspired decor throughout, has a spacious communal room, four regal bedrooms, a 5,000-square-foot rooftop deck and a lotus-shaped deep water pool, resting atop five acres braided with intriguing caves and hiking trails. Great Huts is perfect for the adventurer in all of us, an intimate yet communal getaway or a secluded corporate retreat. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Great Huts Hotel Port Antonio
Great Huts Jamaica/Port Antonio

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