The sky was aflame over Alligator Head in the distance in Port Antonio, as the sun’s blaze descended slowly towards the earth. The breeze was ruffling through our hair and the chirruping of the animals concealed in the jungle grew louder. After a tiring day exploring the north east of the island, we had settled, cocktail in hand on “The Perch” at our hotel to watch the magnificent sunset. Arguably the best view we had had over the bay, it was the perfect way to wind down and finish our day.
We stayed at the Hotel Mocking Bird Hill for three nights. We embarked on our stay a little later than planned but were taken great care of right from the start. The security guard met us at our car and walked us to the lobby, bags in hand.
Hotel Mocking Bird Hill is an award winning eco-chic boutique hotel, founded by two lifelong friends Barbara and Shireen in 1992. They planned everything to assimilate with nature and their local community, such as using only solar power to heat the water and all guest toiletries are made locally. Through their holistic approach and philosophy of providing “responsible comfort, not luxury at any cost,” Barbara and Shireen aim to give ‘soul’ to their business. And soul it has.
The white muslin mosquito nets were draped like a fairytale wedding cake adding to the magic of our room. It was however very hot and humid with the large white louvered windows were open. Since it was an eco-hotel they rely on breeze cooling and do not have air conditioning. As a very mosquito conscious person I was a little nervous, but the two insect repellent plug-ins were quickly turned on, as were the fans.
Our room was scattered with little welcoming treats: delicious smelling toiletries in the bathroom (including heavenly scented massage oil) and an orange liquor. There was a large walk in wardrobe with crisp white robes hanging ready for us. On the desk was a computer and screen with speakers (although we didn’t have a chance to use them) and in the corner by the shutters was a large relaxing chair with a footstool which was perfect for some early morning reading.
The shower was fantastic and just what we needed after travelling all day. As an eco-shower, you couldn’t tell that it was using less water, but just in case you decided you needed it, there were instructions on how to make the water warmer or increase the water pressure.
The mosquito nets were very large and easily covered the whole bed without feeling claustrophobic. It was nice to be able to have room to move around the bed and not feel penned in. There were also lots of wall sockets around the room, which was handy. Being in the middle of the jungle there was a lot of wildlife around which sometimes ventured into our room. But that is to be expected. The shutters did close but the jungle is quite a loud place at night, they didn’t shut out the noise. As heavy sleepers this didn’t affect us at all.
As soon as I opened the shutters in the morning, it was clear to see what a beautiful place Hotel Mockingbird Hill was. A peaceful sanctuary nestled between the magnificent Blue Mountains and the glittering Caribbean Sea. Our room was surrounded by colourful flowers and overlooked the pool area.
The Dining Experience
We had the opportunity to dine at Hotel Mocking Bird Hill’s Mille Fleurs Restaurant for breakfast and dinner. Both were events in themselves.
Our first breakfast was spent on the terrace overlooking the pool, jungle and ocean in the distance. There was a lot of choice and everything was cooked freshly for us, including the artisan breads. The fruit plates were very fresh and juicy offering a variety of different fruits and the traditional Jamaican breakfast of callalloo, plantain and fried dumplings was very aromatic and delicious. The only way to top this experience? On our last day our breakfast was laid out on The Perch (see top image) allowing the us to take in the beautiful views as the world work from its slumber.
I know that I keep mentioning The Perch, but it is seriously something special. This small, intimate deck above the hotel has unrivaled views of the surrounding area and down to the sea.
For dinner one night we climbed the staircase to be greeted by a beautifully decorated table and candles all around us. The whole ambiance was very romantic. We chose our meals from the menu written on a blackboard on the terrace. The food was beautiful, very flavorsome and hearty portions. We opted not to have a starter so that we would have room for the very enticing deserts. Their menu changes each day and on Mondays they have “Meatfree Mondays.”
Set on the side of a hill overlooking the nearby towns, Hotel Mocking Bird Hill sits within 7½ acres of sumptuous tropical gardens.
After playing around in rivers and waterfalls during the days we stayed, the hotel pool seemed very calm and very warm which was a nice change.
The surrounding gardens were lovely to walk around and lose yourself in. Flowing from the secluded pool area down through layered terraces, you could spend a whole day exploring and getting lost in these secret gardens. With 40 species of birds nesting in the area, it is the perfect place to bird watch. At the very bottom is a beautiful pond filled with purple flowering lilies. But just a warning, there are lots of insects enjoying life there so make sure you use bug spray.
The owners were very helpful when suggesting things to do, and the information booklet we were given had lots of options in too. We discussed where we wanted to go and see and they even supplied us with hand drawn maps to help us get there. They also arranged for us to go with a local tour guide to visit Reach Falls to do the River Walk and not just the Falls.
We couldn’t have asked anything more of the service we received. Everyone was very attentive and the security guard even helped get a small frog out of our room. The owners do have two very large, but friendly dogs who spend their days chilling out in the reception area. They don’t really pay much attention to you unless you are willing to pet them. They might not be to everyone’s taste but since I love dogs it was nice to make some extra canine friends.
Overall we had a fantastic stay, the hotel was perfectly positioned to feel “off the beaten track” yet close enough to all the beaches and main towns. We rented a car and would definitely recommend this to see more of the island in your own time. The grounds and atmosphere here are very relaxing and peaceful, which was very welcome after hectic days exploring.
We thouroughly enjoyed our stay at the Mockingbird Hill Hotel, especially our breakfasts and dinners on the perch, and would warmly recommend it to anyone traveling to Port Antonio or North East Jamaica
We would like to thank Barbara and Shireen for their generosity in hosting us at the beautiful Hotel Mocking Bird Hill. However, this was an amazing experience and all opinions in this article are honest and our own.
Last modified: 11th December 2016