Moon Author's Review
Strawberry Hill (US$400+ d.) is an exclusive hotel operated by legendary record producer Chris Blackwell's Island Outpost group with 13 guest cottages, most double occupancy, three holding up to four guests, spread over 26 acres hugging steep hillsides covered in bamboo.
Inside the wooden cottages, named with clever double entendres like Tims (River Thames), Gong (from Bob Marley's nickname Tuff Gong), Bamboo (a common Jamaican phallic reference), High Gate (a village in St. Mary Parish), louvered windows open to panoramic views of lush hillsides and Kingston below, its buzz silent from such an elevation, its lights twinkling at night, adding to the timeless romance captured by renowned Jamaican architect Ann Hodges in her minimalist, functional design. Canopy king beds are shrouded in mosquito nets, but you'll hardly need them as the windows are well screened.
In the bathrooms, sinks and showers are lined with limestone tiles, the water's piping hot, the shampoo and body wash scented with essential oils, the hand milled soap infused with aloe. Sheets are soft, towels and bathrobes plush. The purposeful absence of television is a welcome escape from screen life for those able to put down their phones and tablets to enjoy the scenery and focus on the more important things in life. If you need to stay connected, the Wifi works like a charm and a lounge by the restaurant has a big flat screen if you must tune in to the news or football match. Kitchenettes come with a mini fridge and fixings for tea, coffee and snacks.
The restaurant and bar are located next to a sprawling lawn fit for weddings. A yoga pavillion faces northward towards the southern slopes of the Blue Mountain range and a reflective infinity pool faces south over Kingston. Below the restaurant a community room is adorned with the golden discs reflecting the success of Blackwell's career.
The hotel's Spa and Wellness Centre pushes Island Outpost's holistic approach to rejuvenation, dubbed Strawberry Hill Living.The property welcomes nonguests (admission US$15) to enjoy the view, food and drinks, spa treatments and visit the gift shop. Make a lunch or dinner reservation to avoid the fee - it’s well worth a visit for a luxurious afternoon or evening.