At Strawberry Hill Jamaica – just relaxing !

Enjoying a rum punch with Clemens and Nancy

So here we are having a wonderful long weekend at Strawberry Hill in Jamaica – just relaxing ….

Early morning view from our cottage
Early morning view from our cottage

Our dear friends Clemens and Nancy von Merveldt have been seduced back to Chris Blackwell’s Island Outpost Hotel group to manage the amazing Strawberry Hill Hotel in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.

Enjoying a rum punch with Clemens and Nancy
Enjoying a rum punch with Clemens and Nancy

The setting is so spectacular it is hard to describe – set on a hilltop overlooking Kingston to the west and more of the Blue Mountains to the north it is one of those landscapes that makes you smile wherever you look. The landscaping and planting are mature and so beautiful that you cannot resist just one more photo of a blossom or palm….

Have you ever seen this jade vine ? - looks like it has been dyed this color ......
Have you ever seen this jade vine ? – looks like it has been dyed this color

The hotel – like the other Island Outpost hotels has a casual and laid back vibe – which is very difficult to achieve given the demands and expectations these days of many hotel guests. There are, thankfully no TV’s in the cottages – there are a total of 13 cottages set in the 26 acre site. It has been a hotel since 1994 – but Blackwell has owned it since 1972 and throughout the 70’s and 80’s it was a famous meeting place for both Jamaican and international musicians including of course Bob Marley who was bought to prominence by Blackwell and Island records.

Kingston in the distance
Kingston in the distance

Throughout the cottages and public spaces there are a superb range of photos of the great and the good – and bad ! – of the music world along with some covetable pictures of local Jamaican residents.

All the cottages are built in a beautiful Caribbean colonial style with dark wood floors and furniture and white or off white walls. There is stunning fretwork in each cottage – all done by local artisan craftsmen….

Fantastic fretwork in one of the dining areas
Fantastic fretwork in one of the dining areas

The beds are high off the ground – almost at window level so that the breezes can reach you as you lay in bed. The linens are fabulous ! – as many of you will know I have a bit of a thing about laundry – given the amount I do for Governors Estate – so it was a real treat  (sad I know ! ) to be able to visit the laundry and see their set up !! Most impressive for me was the huge industrial linen press for ironing all the sheets and duvet covers along with what seems like hundred of white dinner napkins.

Lovely beds at Strawberry Hill...
Lovely beds at Strawberry Hill…

While we were there I took a yoga class at 9am one morning – great teacher – Sienna – who works for the Island Outpost group along with 4 other ladies – check out the picture of the yoga pavilion and the view…..

9am yoga class
9am yoga class
After the yoga with the Blue Mountains in the background
After the yoga with the Blue Mountains in the background

Other activities we managed to fit in between eating 3 meals a day and reading were a trip to a local coffee plantation called Clifton Mount – up another 2000 feet to an altitude of 5000 feet above sea level – very interesting and we managed to bump into the owners Richard and Jason Sharp.

 

Leaving the Redlight area !!
Leaving the Redlight area !!

Sunday morning we took a downhill hike from Redlight – great name !! – to Gordon Town – it took us about 2.5 hours and thank goodness we had a taxi waiting to take us the winding road back up to Strawberry Hill and a delicious Jamaican brunch…..

View across the croquet lawn to the dining pavilion and bar
View across the croquet lawn to the dining pavilion and bar

There is a French chef at Strawberry Hill – and he produced a fish soup one night which was second to none – along with some delicious lobster salad – oh my goodness and the rum punch !! Blackwell Rum along with several secret ingredients shaken to perfection by Orville the barman …… The staff are helpful, happy and always smiling – ‘no problem mon !!’

Orville the barman making another rum cocktail !
Orville the barman making another rum cocktail !

There is something very special about this place – we relaxed as soon as we arrived – and stayed that way until we arrived back at Nassau airport. If you are taking a trip there here is my top tip ! – try to manage with just carry on bags – we didn’t and waited an hour and fifteen minutes for the bags to come through to the luggage claim. Apparently all flights from Jamaica are subject to stringent checks by the sniffer dogs – understandable but very frustrating if you have to make a connecting flight……

No problem mon !!

 

The reception area and spa at Strawberry Hill
The reception area and spa at Strawberry Hill

5 thoughts on “At Strawberry Hill Jamaica – just relaxing !

  1. What a vicarious vacation I just enjoyed through your visit to Strawberry Hill!
    Thanks for sharing…
    The fretwork is beautiful, as is the hotel.
    You both look marvelously happy!
    Care to have some western Massachusetts chill? LOL

    1. off to London on friday so I will be getting enough chill there I think !! keep warm….. We had a lot of fun at Strawberry Hill…

  2. Your visit to Strawberry Hill brought back fond memories of a bygone year.
    We stayed there on our honeymoon during 1968.
    Nice pictures we recognized but why not the one of Fort Newcastle with all the fruit trees in front and the mountains behind? The night time view of the Kingston skyline has not changed.
    We drove up and over the mountain crossing the Fort Newcastle Parade ground to reach Buff Bay on the north coast before continuing on to Port Antonio.
    The Moffetts were the long time owners when we stayed there.
    The visitors book – 21st January 1968 would include our name and that of the Diefenbaker’s ( very well known Canadian politician) on the following day.
    Very happy to see the home has been rebuilt after it was devastated by a hurricane.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Long time Resident of the Bahamas – Nassau and Eleuthera

    1. What a lovely personal story….. Funnily enough we had the current managers of Strawberry Hill here in Governors Harbour for a week and I told them about your comment. Unfortunately the guest book that your names would have been in has long been lost in the mists of time. Sounds like we need to go back and get some more photos !! Thanks for sharing your story…..

    2. Well, young man read your comments, wasn’t aware that’s where you enjoyed your honeymoon. Long time visitor to Eleuthera and the other beautiful out I’land of the Abaco’s

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