Tucked into the forests and organic gardens above the town of Port Antonio is Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, an eco-boutique hotel that’s the epitome of Jamaica’s natural side.
Though not on the beach, the socially- and environmentally-conscious hotel overlooks the aquamarine water not far away. Though not in the mountains, you can watch the sun set behind the Blue Mountains from the hotel’s restaurant and rooftop observatory.
In short, Hotel Mocking Bird Hill is connected to the land, the sea, the sky and the community in a way that few places do.
The Luxury of Nature
“What is luxury? The definition has changed. It’s not just opulence; it’s having space and quiet.” –innkeeper Shireen Aga
Hotel Mocking Bird Hill does indeed provide the most beautiful of places to relax and forget the cares of the world. Curl up on a deck chair, a pool chair or a day bed hidden in the verdant gardens for some R&R.
Indoors or out, I feel nature’s pulse from the moment I wake until I fall asleep—which is perhaps when I enjoy the earthiness the most.
After a satisfying, sustainable meal in the candlelit Mille Fleurs Restaurant (see a future post for details about the wonderful cuisine), a hush settles over the hotel and the tree frogs sing their moonlight sonata. Fireflies (bigger than any I’ve seen before!) sparkle like fairies in the forest.
While getting ready for bed each night, I kept all but one light off so as not to attract insects (there are no screens in the louvered windows so that nothing mars the view or separates you from the gardens and jungle surrounding the hotel.)
Then I would climb beneath the mosquito netting, which is rarely necessary if you turn on the ceiling fan above the bed; mosquitoes avoid the breeze.
Mosquito netting is one of my personal favorite luxuries: a diaphanous tent over my bed that assures that my sleep will be undisturbed by winged insects or the geckos who hunt for them.
To me, it’s a treat to sleep in a room open to nature, and mosquito netting over a comfy bed feels like a magic castle. On my first night at Mocking Bird Hill, I awoke to fireflies in my room. One settled on the canopy above me and winked me back to sleep.
There are many other luxuries at this 10-room inn:
- sipping a Red Stripe and jerk-spiced nuts at sundown
- meeting charming guests from England, Germany and the United States
- taking trips to the beach
- excursions for a raft ride or to Reach Falls
- strolling through the gardens and watching the humming-birds
- lounging in the hammock in my room (and drinking in yet again that view!)
- and last, but certainly not least, enjoying a cool dip in the chlorine-free pool.
—Laurel Kallenbach, freelance writer and editor
Originally posted on May 5, 2010
Read more about my travels in Jamaica:
- A Cup of Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee
- Creativity Blooms at a Writing/Yoga Retreat in Jamaica
- Rafting on Jamaica’s Rio Grande
- Reach Falls: Freshwater Fun in Jamaica
- Jamaica’s Colorful Roadside Attractions
- Winnifred Beach: Where Jamaica’s Locals Go
- What Makes Hotel Mocking Bird Hill So Green?
- Tropical Dining with a Jamaican Twist
- Artist Laura Facey’s Spiritual Voyage