“A peaceful and stylish mountainside retreat, more like a generous family home, but one with world famous music legends in the family photos”
The 13 rooms, studios, villas and cottages are dotted about the immaculate grounds. The aptly named Mountain View 1 & 2 (a Deluxe Room and 2-Bedroom Villa respectively) turn their back on Kingston, so it’s worth deciding if you want the distant city view or not when you book.
Furnishings may look a little tired, but it’s part of the comfortable charm, and the sense of simplicity is very restful: you get white painted timber walls and shutters, exposed beams, linen sofas, and 4-poster beds with immaculate sheets (so flat they look like they are sprayed on) and plump pillows.
Bathrooms are stocked with Strawberry Hill products and have a handmade feel, with simple tubs and clay tiles. There’s lots of white paint, but the polished hardwood floors, mahogany and cane furniture, local artwork and bright cotton printed lampshades add some colour.
All Studio Suites have lovely private terraces and simple kitchenettes. Birdshill (the only 1-Bedroom Villa) is popular with Honeymooners thanks to its roll-top bath and private gazebo with a daybed and views of the mountains. Ours was the 2 storey, 2-Bedroom Villa Highgate; it's ideal if travelling with older kids as it has a separate bedroom. We love that both bedrooms have terraces, one of which offers stunning views over Kingston.
Food is a modern twist on local Jamaican cuisine and you won't want to rush. There are several choices of dining room, but our favourite is the open air Jade Vine Terrace with its mesmerizing views beyond the pool to Kingston far below. The smaller Library Verandah and Bamboo Room are recommended for residents and smaller parties.
Enjoy a lazy breakfast on the spacious terrace and let the gentle sound of Jimmy Cliff ease you into the day. There's a choice of continental (included) or cooked (extra charge).
For lunch you could try the bizarrely named Fat burger, Rasta Pasta, or Strawberry Hill Farm Salad. For dinner we enjoyed crab cakes and fruit salsa, followed by baked snapper with lemon butter sauce. After dinner you can retire to the cosy bar with wood-burning fireplace and sample the signature Blackwell Rum.
The menu is rotated every few days, and vegetarian and children’s menu are available. Birdshill, Highgate, Mountain View 2 and Bamboo all have full kitchens while the Studio Cottages have kitchenettes.
If you want to eat out, Eits Cafe comes highly recommended thanks to its warm service, delicious Jamaican cuisine and stunning views; it's also very popular with locals.
Kids of any age are welcome, that said, it’s very quiet so they may get bored.
The 2-Bedroom Villas and 2-Bedroom Cottage are the best option for families as they have a second double or twin bedroom plus a full kitchen; the Studio Cottages are the only ones which can take a rollaway bed. All rooms can accommodate a baby cot.
Babysitting is available on request.
The pool is unfenced, there are terraces with low walls, and some windows open out onto precarious hillside drops - so not really suitable for inquisitive toddlers.