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Thread: Trip Report: Blue Mountains, Boston Bay, Kingston

  1. #101
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    Re: Trip Report: Blue Mountains, Boston Bay, Kingston

    my thoughts on strawberry hill:

    i love it there. it's expensive and the lack of food options can be annoying, but it's incredibly beautiful up there, the accommodations are comfortable, the cocktails are top notch (the best i've ever had at any hotel, bar or restaurant in jamaica) and the staff is there to make sure you are happy and comfortable and doing what you want to be doing. also, during the week it seems very quiet and peaceful even when it's pretty full up.

    on our first full day there, we went to the pool with a small cooler bag full of beers and sodas and a bottle of hennessey that we brought with us and they gave us glasses and told us to enjoy ourselves. we asked them if it was okay for us to rearrange the furniture so we could play dominoes comfortably and they said yes, of course and that they'd do it for us. "all you need to do is relax and enjoy yourselves." we told them not to bother and we moved it ourselves, but i'm sure they would've completely rearranged everything to our specifications had we let them.

    our cottage was definitely on the much higher end of our normal hotel room budget, but it was totally worth it. we spent a lot of time hanging out there- it was designed for relaxation, and with so many open windows and porches and whatnot, we never really felt like we were locked up inside.

    on the negative side, our cottage was located right next to one of the studio rooms, gong, and privacy could've been an issue.

    studio rooms are the second tier of room, basically a slightly larger single unit (we stayed in the entry level room for our honeymoon and the studio rooms are really not much bigger).

    the day we got there there was a couple with a baby- the baby whined and cried nonstop and the couple talked really loudly. i mentioned it to one of the security guards and he told me i should talk to the front desk, but i didn't feel like being a dick the second i got onto the property. they checked out the next afternoon, thankfully. the baby started screaming at 4am, so i think i would've had to say something if they hadn't left. also, the porch at gong is so close to the bedroom porch of bamboo cottage. it would've been weird if there was someone there and we all were just sitting on our porches watching each other. but if you're traveling with a larger group, it would be cool to rent bamboo and gong and have all that space for your people. the two units share a really nice, large poured concrete patio that could be used as a place to have a nice outdoor dinner.

    another negative is that the hotel gets a LOT of daytrippers and all of them are obsessed with taking a million and one photos at the pool. it's kind of funny, but can be jarring. both times i've stayed there (that's a 7 year gap between visits), a crew of asian camera people with professional equipment descended on the pool area and did what looked to be an almost formal photo shoot. i say almost formal because they didn't bring any lighting or a make-up artist with them, but aside from that, they looked like they were doing something for a legit media outlet.





    taken during our 2012 honeymoon





    and i also haven't been there for sunday brunch, but i can imagine that's another time it can get busy with non-guests.

    an unavoidable big negative during our stay was that the internet was COMPLETELY out of commission all 3 days that we were there. we were told there was a fire that knocked out all service in the area. i had a lot of work to do and i had no choice but to burn through my data, using my cellphone's hotspot to connect my laptop to the internet. i wound up having to use an additional $30 of data on top of the $10 a day for my at&t caribbean package.

    husband really likes strawberry hill too, for all the same reasons as me. it's just a great place to be for a few days- just go there to do nothing but relax, recharge, unwind, regroup and all those other "mindful" things you head up to the mountains to do.

    ti boss, our 12 year old son, who has the fortune/misfortune of being an only child, told me he LOVED strawberry hill. 3 days there was "perfection!" i was surprised that he felt that way, since he spent 3 days without any interaction with people his age, there was no tv and no internet. still and all, he loved it.

    here are the things i would do i were to do this trip again...

    strawberry hill's rates decrease significantly during the low season, plus they run "pay for 2/stay for 3" or "pay for 3/stay for 4" specials all the time.

    i would plan our next visit for some time after may, when the rates go down.

    i'd want to stay in bamboo cottage again. they have a 2-bedroom villa (which is bigger and obvs. more expensive than bamboo cottage) called highgate- it's really pretty, but it's located at the back of the property and really only has views of the mountains. we don't need anything so grand, and it's really the view of kingston that does it for me.

    i'd aim for the free night's stay special- if we could get the 3 for 2 i'd book for 3 days but if we could get the 4 for 3, i'd probably book for 4 days.

    if we stayed 4 days, i'd call someone and arrange a full day trip to holywell park.

    i'd also like to spend 2 days at the coffee farm that we bought coffee beans from. the guy's name is duggy. he said rooms start at around $25 a night. we could hang out there for 2 days and swim in the river. they have a restaurant, so we could get decent, inexpensive food.

    so, if we ever take another trip to jamaica i'd like to start out with 2 to 4 days at strawberry hill, followed by 2 days in the blue mountains at duggy's coffee farm. a total of 4 to 6 days in the mountains.
    Last edited by mwenvlay; 03-04-2019 at 03:44 PM.

  2. #102
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    Re: Trip Report: Blue Mountains, Boston Bay, Kingston

    bathroom signs at woody's lowbridge restaurant in port antonio.





















    i'm trying to get ti boss to develop his eye, so i asked him to take a photo of the ladies' sign (my sister's name is eve and i wanted to send it to her). he was astute enough to grab a snap of the mens' one, as well.
    Last edited by mwenvlay; 03-04-2019 at 07:22 PM.

  3. #103
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    Re: Trip Report: Blue Mountains, Boston Bay, Kingston

    random observation: i see such sad parallels between the latest wave of gentrification of brooklyn and the state of tourism marketing in jamaica. to me, what's going on in bed stuy and negril is the exact same thing. i should probably elaborate on it, but no one wants to hear a bitter new yorker's railing against getting pushed out of her long-time neighborhood and i KNOW no one wants to hear why i'm finding it harder and harder to seek out the things i once found so easily in jamaica/how intolerable i find a lot of my fellow tourists to be (but if you're interested, i could tell you the story about the german lady who was pissed off that she was a- unable to get a steamed milk latte at great huts and b- unable to make the poor, overworked waitress understand wtf she was asking for, and how wack it was that the fancy jamaican dread who was traveling with her and her friends didn't bother to step in/step up and tell the german lady she was SOL and to stop giving the waitress a hard time).

    a corollary (sort of): i barely heard any new/current music being played anywhere. it was ALL old school stuff. i heard that song "toast" by koffee 3x in 10 days (that song sounds like a tropical dancehall combo of "bam bam" and "workworkworkworkwork," so i'm not really a fan) and maybe a konshens song or two, but other than that it was stuff from my now-dinosauric era (mid 80s to late 90s).

    it made me kinda sad- i mean, i love gregory issacs and an always happy to hear supercat but is that really what the kidz today want to hear? i want ja to step up its tourism plan and find a way to keep things current for the youth them. i don't want an entire country to be a nostalgia trip for old hippies or an all-inclusive paradise for the medicore.
    Last edited by mwenvlay; 03-04-2019 at 07:42 PM.

  4. #104
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    Re: Trip Report: Blue Mountains, Boston Bay, Kingston

    here's the mortar and pestle (pilon) i bought from rock bottom to replace the cracked, soft wood one my husband bought in port au prince several years ago.















    i placed it next to the salt container to show scale- it looked so miniature in the first photo.

  5. #105
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    Re: Trip Report: Blue Mountains, Boston Bay, Kingston

    Yay!!! I was so happy to see your wonderful report, photos and videos after I returned home to -24F in Bumb@clot Wisconsin! This a great trip report! Thanks for writing

    I am so jealous you were in the Portland/Kingston/Blue Mountain area while I was in Negril. Not to complain about Negril, but I really want to get back to the eastern part of Jamaica again! We meet our east coast friends in Negril every year now, so it's tough to go to Jamaica and skip Negril.

  6. #106
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    Re: Trip Report: Blue Mountains, Boston Bay, Kingston

    Quote Originally Posted by agregory View Post
    Yay!!! I was so happy to see your wonderful report, photos and videos after I returned home to -24F in Bumb@clot Wisconsin! This a great trip report! Thanks for writing

    I am so jealous you were in the Portland/Kingston/Blue Mountain area while I was in Negril. Not to complain about Negril, but I really want to get back to the eastern part of Jamaica again! We meet our east coast friends in Negril every year now, so it's tough to go to Jamaica and skip Negril.
    a) -24 degrees??????????? holy crap, that is cold!!!!!!!!!

    b) couldn't you convince your east coast friends to switch it up? my brother in law is obsessed with going to negril because he likes the easiness of vacationing there, but my sister (who first went to negril in 1990) is bored. she showed him my trip report and now he wants me to sit them down and give them a walk-through of my entire trip so he can decide if maybe he wants to switch it up and do something similar.

    and i'm glad you liked my long-azz trip report. i've never done one before!

    i think we're going back to haiti in july (trying to wait out the political unrest)- i really wish there was a similar website/messageboard that i could post a trip report to.

  7. #107
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    Re: Trip Report: Blue Mountains, Boston Bay, Kingston

    Great trip report, thanks! Did you happen to meet a nice French Canadian couple at Great Huts? Good friends, paranoid about their first trip to JA. Based on their personalities I suggested Port Antonio and Great Huts - they may have been checking in around when you were checking out...



    Quote Originally Posted by mwenvlay View Post
    a) -24 degrees??????????? holy crap, that is cold!!!!!!!!!

    b) couldn't you convince your east coast friends to switch it up? my brother in law is obsessed with going to negril because he likes the easiness of vacationing there, but my sister (who first went to negril in 1990) is bored. she showed him my trip report and now he wants me to sit them down and give them a walk-through of my entire trip so he can decide if maybe he wants to switch it up and do something similar.

    and i'm glad you liked my long-azz trip report. i've never done one before!

    i think we're going back to haiti in july (trying to wait out the political unrest)- i really wish there was a similar website/messageboard that i could post a trip report to.

  8. #108
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    Re: Trip Report: Blue Mountains, Boston Bay, Kingston

    Quote Originally Posted by mwenvlay View Post
    a) -24 degrees??????????? holy crap, that is cold!!!!!!!!!

    b) couldn't you convince your east coast friends to switch it up? my brother in law is obsessed with going to negril because he likes the easiness of vacationing there, but my sister (who first went to negril in 1990) is bored. she showed him my trip report and now he wants me to sit them down and give them a walk-through of my entire trip so he can decide if maybe he wants to switch it up and do something similar.
    Yes! This weather is ridiculous! We could have added 3 days onto our trip by paying $0.63 each to change our flights and avoid this awful weather. But husband said "no, too much work to do at home" Obviously we would have had to pay to stay for those 3 days, but changing the flight for that little seemed like a no brainer to me. We were in Little Bay for our last few nights at a lovely villa with an awesome pool and no other guests on the property. I def could have stayed for 3 more days! Boo hoo. I joked with him that I could easily find a Jamaican to shack up with so he could go home alone to his work

    Our east coast friends will not switch it up They have a great spot they go back to each year and aren't as interested in the exploring as I am. They're more into the "party" aspect of Negril, which I love too but I like to change it up. We have never stayed at the same hotel or rental more than once and we always change locations at least once. Husband likes the ease of Negril too, but he is always happy with other areas. I get bored going to the same place each year. We do travel to new places throughout the year too, but Jamaica is our winter getaway we just can't quit.

    I hope you make it to Haiti and things settle down there. You should start a blog with your trip reports and send me the link! I'd love to read about your experiences in Haiti

  9. #109
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    Re: Trip Report: Blue Mountains, Boston Bay, Kingston

    B I just finished reading your trip report. AMAZING JOB! I'm gonna read it again and watch all the videos sometime soon from home. Thank you for making my coffee a priority in your trip! I can't wait to taste it! I have been dissatisfied with the JBM we've brought home the past few trips. The one you got me looks legit! Well you certainly have inspired me to consider dragging V outta Negril next time we wanna go to Jamaica! And like you, I have already decided I want to travel only in LOW season from now on. It's just too crowded in High season and you know how we feel about that Love ya!

  10. #110
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    Re: Trip Report: Blue Mountains, Boston Bay, Kingston

    Quote Originally Posted by agregory View Post
    Yes! This weather is ridiculous! We could have added 3 days onto our trip by paying $0.63 each to change our flights and avoid this awful weather. But husband said "no, too much work to do at home" Obviously we would have had to pay to stay for those 3 days, but changing the flight for that little seemed like a no brainer to me. We were in Little Bay for our last few nights at a lovely villa with an awesome pool and no other guests on the property. I def could have stayed for 3 more days! Boo hoo. I joked with him that I could easily find a Jamaican to shack up with so he could go home alone to his work

    Our east coast friends will not switch it up They have a great spot they go back to each year and aren't as interested in the exploring as I am. They're more into the "party" aspect of Negril, which I love too but I like to change it up. We have never stayed at the same hotel or rental more than once and we always change locations at least once. Husband likes the ease of Negril too, but he is always happy with other areas. I get bored going to the same place each year. We do travel to new places throughout the year too, but Jamaica is our winter getaway we just can't quit.

    I hope you make it to Haiti and things settle down there. You should start a blog with your trip reports and send me the link! I'd love to read about your experiences in Haiti
    oooh, how was whistling bird?????????????

    and how was little bay?????????????

    please give me details!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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