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“Jamaica's Best Kept Secret”

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Starlight Chalet & Health Spa
Crawfordville, Florida
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Jamaica's Best Kept Secret”
Reviewed 6 March 2007

First of all, it is a scary ride to reach 5000 feet above sea level on Jamaica's roads. It is a long and nervous ride but ithe beauty of the scenery is worth it. I was so glad I made it. The landscape around the inn is the handiwork of God. It is a beautiful place. I will admit that the actual buildings need some care. A good cleaning for starters, touch ups on the worn areas of the building, some fresh paint, shampooing the carpets, etc. would make it a lot nicer. Nice linens on the beds, refrigerators in the rooms with water and juice, and a library to pick a good read would be an added benefit to the guests. It is the place to be for rest and relaxation. It is the place to be to be surrounded by nature birds, butterflies, fruit trees, coffee plants and good jamaican hospitality. Serenity and Peace is found here at Starlight Chalet. The one thing I really disliked about my stay however is that food pricing was not displayed or revealed. And at the end they laid a whopping bill on me. This is a tactic that sets you up to be ripped off royally. Forget about other options, there aren't any. I asked before hand should I bring food and was told not to they had a restaurant. The food is ridiculously expensive. For example, my husband and I had 2 small pieces of fried chicken each, cabbage/carrots steamed and rice it was $10. The next night, A Small fried snapper and leftover cabbage/carrots and rice was $18 per plate. I was furious. Even at breakfast they charged if my husband drank more that one cup of coffee and I didn't drink one cup while I was there. I thought that would have been taken into consideration but it wasn't. Milk the Cow, Milk the Cow, Milk the Cow! The juices however are freshly made which I thoroughly enjoyed at $3 a glass. But after awhile I noticed they became more and more watery. Milk the Cow , Milk the Cow, Milk the Cow! There is supposed to be a breakfast included but the gimmick is...it is a slice of toast , juice and a one cup of coffee. I felt that we became an automatic cash machine which made me angry. I love this place but as stated there is room for improvement starting with FAIR prices for meals and letting the guest know what is charged for meals. I guess it bothered me so much because I have been to Jamaica several times and I know that food is not expensive. For $20 they could have purchased all the food needed to serve us for the 2 days we were there. We came out of there with an $80+ bill for a couple of basic, small meals. That being said visit the Starlight Chalet but remember to ask about food pricing. It would be a great idea to bring your own fruit, snacks and drinks. You will save a lot of money and you will have a great vacation.

Stayed January 2007
Helpful?
5 Thank ETJAJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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59 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Florida
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 December 2006

We just returned from our second visit to Starlight Chalet this year, and again, had a wonderful time. This time, we stayed for four nights.

This hotel offers a true Jamaican country experience. It is kind of like "over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house", if your grandma was a Jamaican lady. They have about a dozen rooms, on the small side, very clean, with chintz bedspreads and 4 poster beds, and private baths. This time, we picked room 6, which had a private balcony looking over a deep valley, and a small refrigerator. Since we had stopped at a grocery store on the way up for rum, juice and Red Stripes, the fridge came in handy.

As on our last visit, we were the only guests, so it felt very much
like our own place, with a staff of three to take very good care of
us.

The off site owners are very accommodating. They even supplied a turkey for us for our Thanksgiving dinner, although turkey is not a typical Jamaican menu item. For our 4 dinners, we had 1-escovich snapper, 2-brown stew chicken, 3-lobster curry, 4-turkey. All were delicious, served with fresh vegetables, many of which were grown on site. For breakfast, 3 of the 4 mornings, we had salt fish and ackees, by special request, since we can't get that at home. The other breakfast we asked for eggs and pancakes, which were great, but now I wish I'd had one more meal of ackees!

Once again, the weather did not cooperate. It was rainy, windy, and chilly the whole time we were there, which discouraged any hiking around the mountains. We did have a late afternoon that cleared a bit, so we were able to walk one of the roads for about a mile, enjoying beautiful views of the mountains wreathed in clouds. It would be a pleasant walk (about 2 miles each way, fairly flat ground) to Section in nicer weather. I really wanted to do this, because the wild flowers along the road were spectacular; little impatiens in various colors, wild orchids and bromeliads, and other green, green tropical plants which I would have liked to have examined more closely. The air is wonderfully scented with growing things, it just smells so fresh and clean up there! Below the yard and garden, there is a path (which I did not take, it being slippery) down to the Yallahs River, where I understand is a pool deep enough for soaking.

There is a different atmosphere at this place. It does not operate
much like a hotel, it really is more like a remote lodge. Housekeeping was good; all of our bed linens and towels were fresh and clean, and changed daily. And I thought all the food was great, but it is a little unusual to order food without looking at a menu, which is non-existent here.

Some day, I will be back again. I hope the place stays as charming as it is today.

  • Liked — The location and the views
  • Disliked — The rain. There was just too much of it.
  • Tips/Secrets — Take a sweat shirt and pants. It gets cold up there.
  • Stayed November 2006, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank BYOFT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TheHague
Level Contributor
159 reviews
140 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 287 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 November 2006

The hotel is a bit run-down, the rooms are basic to say the least. Breakfast and dinner are also not going to be the highlight of the trip. The cook offers chicken or fish (with lots of bones) or nothing for evening meal. You don't fancy that? Tough, there isn't anything else for miles. Luckily I dared to ask for a vegetarian option and got a much better deal than the other guests. And why oh why don't they buy a refrigerator, its a great place to enjoy a beer, but the only beers on sale were hot ones. Yuk ! Service could be better, I paid for clothes to be washed and they came back looking like they hadn't been near water, never mind soap.

On the plus side the setting is fabulous, on the top of a mountain pass surrounded by rainforest and mountains. At night the noise of the frogs and insects is otherworldly, then in the morning there's the amazing rainforest bird chorus. The cloud, when it finally lifted, was mystical. And the highlight were the many hummingbirds encouraged to feed in the gardens, the only place in Jamaica I saw the famous doctor bird, as featured on the local banknotes. The many fireflies at night were also a delight. The owner has wildlife books available and the verandah is a great place to sit and unwind with a (hot) beer while watching the rainforest fly by.

The drive up is a drag too, slow progress on slow roads.

The place just needs a little extra effort (food, cold beers) to be a delightful hotel.

  • Liked — Hummingbirds
  • Disliked — Hot beer
  • Stayed October 2006
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Casualist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
atlanta
Level Contributor
70 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 147 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 June 2006

Leads to a little bit of heaven!!! And lest you ever doubted it, God is a woman and her name is Miss Amy. Starlight Chalet is Amy's domain and she is determined you will have every need catered for. Now you should believe all the other reviews about the road..and then some. Jamaican road crews (three men, two shovels and a wheelbarrow) are still rebuilding major slippages and only hardy drivers should attempt the climb. Press on, it will be worth it. Lunch at the Gap Cafe is a must. The worst is behind you. And then there is Amy...you want food?? When?? What you want? Chicken, beef, pork, fish...how do you want it cooked? Are you kidding?? This woman offers totally personal service like no luxury hotel in the world does. And it's cheap, cool and sssooooooooooooo restful up here when the clouds come down and shut the place in from the rest of the world. Now there was no hot water for a while and the rooms are at best functional. There's no entertainment and two nights kind of maxes you out. Only the young and fit can sightsee from here and the road back down haunts you. But for a truly unique experience you can't beat this place. Tell Amy we said "hi". It was wonderful up there amongst the world famous coffee plants. If you are driving...pick up a local hitchiker and the road won't seem so bad, mon.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank larach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Granby, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2006

One of the most restful, peaceful spots on the island. Don't go there if you're looking for island shows, cable TV, or sandy beaches. Go there to see wonderful people and scenery. Go there to enjoy the rpeacefulness of the evenings or early mofrnings.
Starlight Chalet has been a stop-over on three separate occasions. Each time we've enjoyed the site and the service (we are not very demanding). As others have said getting there is an adventure. Currently, the road from Buff Bay is GONE. The locals did dig a bypass after the first landslide, but the second landslide took away all chances of driving...you can still walk.
Our trips have always been by rented car (we drive---love it!). We've driven to Clydesdale and walked to Cinchona. Both lovely, but long gone from days of glory. Clydesdale is basically a ruin. Cinchona is a great hike (be ready for a good climb) and vry rewarding at the top.
Nearby town of Section is probably the closest to "city life" up here. The large wooden house opposite the signpost has great coffee. See Hopeton Parnell (Hopey) for coffee and as a guide to the locale.
On your way from Kingston, stop at the newly built cafe (don't remember the name, but it is on the right side going to New Castle is colored an orangey wash and is one-quyarter mile before Strawberry Fields.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank bakra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
, Sales/marketing rep at Starlight Chalet & Health Spa, responded to this review, 22 May 2006
This is to the person that submitted the Give peace a chance story on May 1, 2006. We at Starlight Chalet would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your kind words and for those beautiful photos. Also thank each and every one who has placed an opinion on tripadvisor about Starlight Chalet. Thank you.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 23 November 2005

You will not believe this is Jamaica! A peaceful, quiet but elegant place at about 5000 feet in the Blue Mountains, where you are surrounded by steep hillsides and seemingly lost in the clouds. There is nothing else here but small farmers. Definitely a get-away-from-it-all experience. A good place to hike and explore the Blue Mountains, the heart of coffee country. Only $61 US per night for two. There is a bar and a dining area and they will cook most anything for you. Chances are, you will have the place to yourself too.

We hired a guide and hiked to Cinchona Gardens. Not far, we were told. Turned out to be the hike from hell. Along roads, but very steep. Four miles up and four back again. At a fast march.

Getting to Starlight is an adventure. From Kingston, take the windy, precipitous but incredible road to the military base at Newcastle, stop at the Gap Cafe, then proceed over the pass at Hollywell to the small village of Section, turn right on to a horrible dirt road for two miles.

Or have them pick you up in Kingston-and take a tranquilizer.

From Buff Bay on the North Coast, drive due south, climbing more gently through a gorgeous valley, with little or no traffic, to Section, then turn left onto the same horrible road.

It's an awesome drive either way, the most beautiful drive in Jamaica, coast to coast. Except that part of the road just below Section on the way to Buff Bay slid off the cliff in Fall 2004, rendering it technically impassable. Who knows when the government will get around to fixing it, as it will be quite difficult. The local residents have, however, carved a make-shift section of road out of the cliff side, and if you are insane you might try it. I wouldn't. (I actually paid a local to drive it for me, and they also charged a small toll.). However, if you must, be sure you have a small car like an Echo/Yaris. I think it's easier going north to south than reverse, partly because the driver isn't on the edge to nowhere but also because the grade is easier to maneuver on that side.

  • Stayed June 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 20 July 2004

We spent the night of Thursday, July 8, 2004 at the Starlight. The only negative was getting there. We left Ocho Rios and drove the coast turning inland at Buff Bay. The Starlight is on reached via a very poor road and you should go by 4 wheel drive vehicle if you drive it yourself. It took approximately 4 hours from Ochi to travel this 60 or so miles including a stop for lunch. The drive up from Buff Bay(not factoring the road itself) is beautiful. It basically follows the river up into the Blue Mountains through banana trees, and up into the coffee growing areas. Upon reaching the turn off at Section you turn onto a worse road than the main road from Buff Bay but that is only for about 1-2 miles. All along the way up from Buff Bay you are amidst the beauty of wild growing hibiscus, gingers, ferns, impatiens and many other beautiful plants. Also, there are several waterfalls along the way with different flow rates depending upon the amount of recent rainfall. Upon reaching the Chalet we were greeted by Miss Amy who took care of us and even cooked for us. We were the only overnight guests on this night and when she asked us what we wanted her to cook for us we just told her whatever she felt like cooking. She said that she would cook fish and chicken. The meal was outstanding as was breakfast the next morning. The sunset and watching yourself be engulfed by clouds coming over the mountain cannot be fairly described. The view over the valley as the sunrise tops the mountain is equally beautiful. A great side trip is the 15 minute ride to the Rockwell National Park with an incredible view of Kingston 17 miles away. At the intersection of the main road and the turn off to Starlight are several people selling Blue Mountain coffee ($7/pound) plus "other agricultural products". Ask for Otis. He is a very entertaining guy and would be a great guide for the area. Its worth the effort to get there but do yourself a favor and stay for at least two nights. The views and Miss Amy make it worthwhile.

Helpful?
7 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Starlight Chalet & Health Spa

Property: Starlight Chalet & Health Spa
Address: Silver Hill Gap, Blue Mountains | (25 miles from Kingston), Blue Mountains National Park, Jamaica
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Blue Mountains National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Blue Mountains National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Starlight Chalet & Health Spa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the lush bossom of the Blue Mountains, simple country elegance,and comfort is Starlight Chalet & health Spa. Spacious, warm and cozy suites, snug apartments on a backdrop of beautiful gardens, cool mountain breeze and surrounded by seemingly endless mountain ranges. Starlight Chalet & Health Spa is famous for its endemic birds, mountains, gardens and for absolute relaxation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Starlight Chalet & Health Hotel Blue Mountains National Park
Starlight Chalet And Health Spa
Starlight Chalet & Health Spa Jamaica/Blue Mountains National Park

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