Hotel Mockingbird Hill – your Home in Jamaica http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com Sustainable Excellence from Port Antonio, Jamaica Thu, 28 Apr 2016 16:50:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sustainability Makes for a Beautiful Planet http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/sustainability-makes-for-a-beautiful-planet/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/sustainability-makes-for-a-beautiful-planet/#respond Fri, 22 Apr 2016 13:39:33 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12382

Today we are toasting the signing of the Paris Climate Treaty by 155 countries, keeping everything crossed that each country keeps to the accord!

Protecting our environment with sustainable practices needn’t be difficult, look ugly or require long-term expense but it does require careful planning. For any environmental minister looking for a few ideas how sustainable tourism could be better practiced in their country we invite you to look at our own interactive map.

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The Cleanest Water in Jamaica http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/the-cleanest-water-in-jamaica/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/the-cleanest-water-in-jamaica/#respond Fri, 22 Apr 2016 11:15:24 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12340 Pool Reich Falls

Jamaica’s first inhabitants, the Arawaks named Jamaica, ‘Xaymaca’ – The Land of Wood and Water“.  Today local communities face the challenge of food and water security, the result of deforestation and global warming which over the last 3 decades has meant that areas of the island suffer mild to severe drought.

In our quest for sustainability, to enhance our guests stay and lessen the effect of drought on the hotel, we removed the impact of our business footprint from our struggling national water provider. 70% of national water is lost in leaky pipes and a staggering 69% of Jamaican households receive untreated water.

On a rainy day we have the capacity to harvest a staggering 85,000 gallons of the softest rainwater which we treat, store, heat and pump into our hotel to reduce each of our guest’s carbon footprint and the strain on national water provision.  The water is treated by UV and reverse omosis and not only tastes much better than chemically treated water but stops any reliance on imported bottled water. Each of our guests and staff are guaranteed a powerful, stable water supply no matter what the climatic conditions are and which is environmentally clean as it uses only the energy from our solar panels during the day to produce it.

harvesting

In December 2015 we were awarded a grant by CHENACT that will allow us to store the energy from our solar panels by the end of the summer of 2016 in an aqueous hybrid ion battery.  Our guests will then have access to a water supply that is completely carbon free, removing the need to use the JPS national grid for electricity at night that is generated by burning imported oil.

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The Chic Escape: Jamaica & Spring Water Rum http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/the-chic-escape-jamaica-spring-water-rum/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/the-chic-escape-jamaica-spring-water-rum/#respond Fri, 22 Apr 2016 10:18:23 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12344 1

We recently hosted Net-a-Porter’s team The Edit  for the 5 days they whilst were on location in Port Antonio for their summer shoot, and were overjoyed to read  our inclusion as the place to stay in their latest online magazine The Chic Escape: JAMAICA.  Do check it out for the latest trends and stunning photographs taken in Port Antonio.


“Book into tranquil Mockingbird Hill, an eco-friendly hotel with uninterrupted ocean vistas. For pure relaxation, have a unique Tao massage in the lush garden spa.”
4 9

The team adored our Mojitos, perhaps it’s because we use a boutique Jamaican rum that is ‘northern’ in production and conforms to our own policy of sourcing local to reduce our food and drink miles.  Its unique, smooth taste comes from its ingredients, spring mineral water which has filtered through the volcanic and limestone rocks of the Blue Mountains down into the foothills of a spring near Mcleish Town, and sugar cane sourced  from family estates in Port Maria, the former spanish capital of Jamaica.

Smatts Mojito
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A mojito with a difference using Smatt's Gold - sun-bronzed in colour with notes of Demerara sugar and molasses and strong hints of coconut and apricot. It has an aroma of dried petals and wood spice and contains a creamy, yet spicy texture.
Author:
Recipe type: Cocktail
Cuisine: Jamaican
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 60 ml Smatt’s Gold Rum
  • 1 Whole Lime
  • 3 Stems Organic Mint
  • 1 tblsp. Simple Syrup
  • Soda Water
Instructions
  1. Squeeze the lime juice into a tall glass. Add the simple syrup, rum and most of the mint, keeping a small sprig for the garnish.
  2. Crush the ingredients together to release the mint flavour.
  3. Fill the glass with ice and top up with soda water.
  4. Stir and garnish.

 

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1 Night FREE & Complimentary Continental Breakfast Summer Offer http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/1-night-free-complimentary-continental-breakfast-summer-offer/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/1-night-free-complimentary-continental-breakfast-summer-offer/#respond Mon, 18 Apr 2016 10:29:29 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12304 Winnifred Beach

Book now for the summer and enjoy not just our low season rates but take advantage of our irresistible summer offer:

    • Complimentary luxury home-baked continental breakfast
    • 1 bottle of  red or white wine or Red Stripe served with a plate of our organic Jamaican Tapas
    • Artisan Food Basket
    • 1-night FREE, a saving of 14% IF you book for 7 nights or more

Available Dates – 18 April – 18 December 2016 – BOOK NOW

 Complimentary Continental Breakfast

Our continental breakfasts receive so much praise, freshly brewed Blue Moutain or Italian style coffee, freshly squeezed organic fruit, a range of our own home backed pastries and speciality breads, home made preserves and a platter of organic seasonal Jamaican fresh fruits.

Complimentary Jamaican Tapas  & Bottle of Wine on Arrival

We are big fans of Spanish tapas, the little dishes and snacks served alongside your welcome aperitivo and we have created our own with a Jamaican fusion twist that could include 

  • Tuna Ceviche with Scotch Bonnet Papaya Salsa
  • Goat Chops with Guava and Tamarind sauce
  • Green Banana Mussa (cooked mashed Bananas with Coconut Milk and Baccalà)
  • Hemp crust pizza with Ackee & Baccalà or Callaloo & Cheese

Complimentary Artisan Food Basket

In between a cooling swim in the Caribbean Sea and kiting, enjoy dipping into our coconut and wicker basket gift for a handful of irresistible roasted Blue Mountain coffee beans that have been richly coated in chocolate which is also grown up high on our UNESCO mountains’ misty slopes. A pack of Jamaica’s finest Blue Mountain coffee beans, the most expensive in the world will be included in your basket, for you to take home and have your most indulgent cup of coffee that will rekindle memories of simple pleasures whilst on holiday in Jamaica. Chef Barbara’s aromatic Pimento Liqueur is fabled throughout Port Antonio and this delicious rum-based dram will be part of our basket.  Whether it makes it back home with you or you’ll indulge yourself in exotic allspice Jamaica’s nightcap on your room terrace we wouldn’t like to predict!  If it doesn’t there is the  bottle of her homemade organic Jerk Sauce to help re-capture your Jamaican holiday mood!

Save 14% off your Room Price

If you book one of our comfortable airy rooms for 7 nights you will only pay for  6 nights, a saving of 14% allowing you to explore Portland enjoy an extra special treat on your last day

PLEASE NOTE

Between 1-29 May 2016 the Mille Fleurs kitchen will be open to non-resident guests for breakfast and lunch only.  Following on from Chef Barbara’s presentation to the Terroir conference in Toronto on Food, Art and Passion she will be travelling to Europe on a study trip to explore ‘local’ and ‘heritage’ ready to bring back new skills and tastes into the Mille Fleurs kitchen.

Guests are most welcome to come and enjoy the sunset from our bar terrace and sample some of our tropical cocktails and the Jamaican Tapas Platter.  We will be serving soups, salads and light options for dinner. Reservations MUST be made the day before the date of dining to allow our team to plan. To make your reservation  talk to any member of staff or email – reservations@hotelmockingbirdhill.com or telephone +1 876 993 ext. 7134 or 7267.

CHECK AVAILABILITY

 

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Jamaican Coconut Bread for a Low Sugar Treat http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/coconut-bread-for-a-low-sugar-treat/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/coconut-bread-for-a-low-sugar-treat/#comments Thu, 14 Apr 2016 18:51:29 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/more-than-the-beach/?p=1429 Coconut Bread
One recipe that we get asked for again and again by our guests is for our moreish Jamaican Coconut Bread recipe that we serve as part of our home-baked breakfast breads in the Mille Fleurs Restaurant.  Ask any Jamaican what their favourite sweet bread is and coconut bread will be at the top of the list.  Everyone has their own favourite family recipe with an assortment of flours used including breadfruit for those following a gluten free diet and often chickpea flour by Jamaica’s rastafrians.

Coconut Bread is relatively healthy; the sweetness of the coconut decreases the amount of refined sugar that baking a cake normally requires and there is no butter, shortening or fats  required. Interestingly, coconuts are rich in medium chain triglycerides that have actually been shown to reduce appetite and therefore help to eliminate abdominal obesity.

COCONUT BREAD

4-Cups/480 g Plain Flour
2 tsps  Baking Powder
½ tsp  Salt
3-Cups/360 g Grated Coconut
¾ Cup/150 g  Caster Sugar
1 tsp  Vanilla Extract
1  Egg (beaten)
1-Cup/240 ml Milk

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add coconut, sugar, vanilla and beaten eggs. Pour in a little milk each time until dough is firm but not sticky.

Bake in greased loaf tins, for about 1 hour or until golden brown.

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Tipping in Jamaica http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/tipping-in-jamaica/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/tipping-in-jamaica/#comments Mon, 11 Apr 2016 08:04:59 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12281 Mockingbirdee TreasuresWithout our wonderful staff we would not have our much loved hotel and restaurant in Port Antonio Jamaica. It is for that reason we believe in paying a monthly living wage to each and every member of our team including all our trainees which is neither dependent on age or gender. Tips for our staff are shared equally amongst the whole team and because we do not use tips to make our team members wage liveable, tips can be saved or used towards a well earnt treat for themselves and their families.

Tips – A Reward not a Top Up to Get By

Jamaica is one of the most expensive islands to live in the Caribbean due to the amount that the island needs to import which is why the monthly minimum wage in Jamaica is high J$22,400, US $1,800 gross.  Our trainees start at J$ 30,000 and the average minimum wage amongst our team is J$ 45,000.

During the low season in Jamaica as occupancy levels drop so do tips which is why we recommend booking a sustainable hotel who believes in fair pay and assuring their team members that their living needs will be met irrespective of occupancy levels.

If you feel that the service in a sustainable Jamaican hotel or restaurant has been outstanding we recommend leaving a 10-15% tip.

Sustainable Hotels Create a Viable Economic Future for Jamaica

Sustainable hotels like Hotel Mockingbird Hill do not employ staff on a casual contract, which is the norm within much of the tourism sector in Jamaica, particularly at the all-inclusive resorts in the west of the island. Casual contracts allow the larger hotels to increase their profit margins by avoiding paying the obligatory statutory deductions and contributions required by the Jamaican government for their full-time employees.

These contributions are vital for Jamaica’s long-term economic development and include pension payments, a necessity for an aging population and additionally to the very important National Housing Trust which enables Jamaicans to borrow money to purchase land or build/buy a house at low interest rates.

Healthcare for the Mockingbird Team

Although health care is free in Jamaica the waiting time to see a doctor is extensive. Each of Hotel Mockingbird Hill’s long standing employees enjoy the benefit of our private group health insurance policy which guarantees decent health care for them and their family and immediately covers them in the event of major crises.

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Eat Your Greens, They’re Clean! http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/eat-your-greens-theyre-clean/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/eat-your-greens-theyre-clean/#respond Mon, 04 Apr 2016 11:07:08 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12245 dashi radishes redrussian goldentomatoes nas collard-greens

Mockingbird Hill’s organic vegetables and herbs are supplied by Mt Plenty Farm Fresh, an old plantation that is bordered by a pristine spring-fed river nestled in the foothills of Walkerswood and who have been certified organic growers for two and a half years.

Radiant Earth

mt-plenty-organics

The farm believes that the food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison. Instead of growing crops using pesticides and chemical fertilisers that have a long-term negative affect on nature and the soil, it enriches soil fertility with its own homemade compost made from seaweed, manure and green grass.  This is not always the easiest way to do things, in a world of profit-first and nature-last; it certainly isn’t the way most crops are grown, but it’s the way it should be done. It is sustainabile, and cares for the land without contaminating the water table, the crops and the staff ensuring the earth is a better place for our children and grandchildren.

This Month’s Tasty Ingredients Supplied to the Mille Fleurs Kitchen

Tatsoi, Baby Lettuce, Mizuna, Arugula, Chives, Spinach, Oregano, Dinosaur Kale (Cavelo Nero), Red Russian Greens, Collard Greens, Golden Tomatoes, Baby Kale, Purple Top Turnips, Parsley, Tatsoi, Chinese Cabbage, Diakon Radishes,  Lemon Blam, Siberian Kale, Nasturtium Flowers.

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Mosquito & Bug Protection in Jamaica http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/mosquito-bug-protection-in-jamaica/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/mosquito-bug-protection-in-jamaica/#respond Fri, 18 Mar 2016 19:59:03 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12202 On Pellew Island

The one downside to holidaying on a sunny tropical island like Jamaica are mosquitoes.  To date Jamaica is thankfully not listed by the World Health Organisation as having had an outbreak of Zika so no travel regulations are in place, but here are our local tips to counter the pesky day and night biting mosquitos that live on the island.

Stay at a Hotel Who Plant Intelligently

We do all we can at Mockingbird Hill to control mosquitoes by intelligent planting close to rooms. Neem Trees, Garlic, French Thyme, Rosemary and Marigolds all repel our least favourite insect. Our gardens are bio-dynamic which means that we do not use insecticides in turn encouraging natural predators such as dragonflies, lizards, spiders, water striders, frogs and snails that eat the mosquitoes and their larvae.

How to Sleep

Whilst in Jamaica we recommend that you sleep under a mosquito net, keep your hotel room fans on as mosquitoes hate draughts and air movement and use an electric plugin repellent that will be provided by all good hotels that works against ‘local’ mosquitoes.

In & Out the Shower

You can reduce your personal interest to mosquitos by showering frequently and not using highly perfumed soaps, shampoos and body lotions and alternately using those that contain essential oils that naturally repel mosquitoes such as Lemongrass, Citronella, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Vetivier or Pimento (All Spice).

The Order of Repellant and Suntan Cream

ALWAYS apply mosquito repellant before layering on sun tan lotion.  Both should be applied one hour before going out. Top up your mosquito repellant each time that you apply your suntan cream as sweat diminishes the effectiveness of both and straight after you have been swimming.

We suggest using Picaridin which has an edge over DEET in that it discourages mosquitoes from landing on you in the first place. If you do want to go down DEET route, and hikers up in the Blue Mountains may feel happier spraying this on as it is what many are used to, we recommend using one that contains 20% DEET.

At Hotel Mockingbird Hill we supply a local insect repellent that contains a base of OLE/PMD, the oil extracted from the lemon scented gum eucalyptus plant blended with Lemongrass, Citronella. Lavender, Vetivier and Pimento essential oils.  In local tests it proved not only better smelling but was long lasting and effective as imported products containing DEET.

What to Wear

Wherever possible, wear light coloured long sleeved shirts, baggy trousers and sock and shoes to minimize exposed skin and sensitive bite spots like ankles and arms. Mosquitoes long for visitors to Jamaica to pack their spandex, but leave it at home as there is nothing easier for a mosquito to bite through!

Consider using one of the mosquito repellent bracelets which carry essential oils to help repel mosquitos when combined with your repellent spray.

 

Eating out

Across Jamaica most of the larger restaurants will use an electric plugin to repel unwanted mosquitoes, for your own personal comfort do check before you sit down that the restaurant has something in place and consider an alternative if you suffer a bad reaction to mosquito bites.

Back Home

The standard practice of always visiting a doctor if you feel ill on your return from any country applies when back from a holiday to Jamaica.  Chikungunya Fever can be carried by mosquitoes on the island and although serious complications are uncommon and the illness should only take a few days to resolve it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Listen to

Local GP, Dr Michael Abrahams rap about how Jamaica can continue to avoid the Zika virus.

 

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Feel the Breeze Offer http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/feel-breeze-kite-treat-feast-offer/ Mon, 07 Mar 2016 13:19:10 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12185 Kiting

FEEL THE BREEZE OFFER = book now for April and receive our low season summer rates. All guests will receive our springtime artisan foodie basket and kite for the beach if you book before 30 April 2016.

Take advantage of April’s gentle warm breezes and Jamaica’s expansive blue skies and fly a brightly coloured kite on the island’s most romantic private beach, Frenchman’s Cove.

spring-basket

In between a cooling swim in the Caribbean Sea and kiting, enjoy dipping into our coconut and wicker basket gift for a handful of irresistible roasted Blue Mountain coffee beans that have been richly coated in chocolate which is also grown up high on our UNESCO mountains’ misty slopes.

A pack of Jamaica’s finest Blue Mountain coffee beans, the most expensive in the world will be included in your April basket, for you to take home and have your most indulgent cup of coffee that will rekindle memories of simple pleasures whilst on holiday in Jamaica.

Chef Barbara’s aromatic Pimento Liqueur is fabled throughout Port Antonio and this delicious rum-based dram will be part of our April basket.  Whether it makes it back home with you or you’ll indulge yourself in exotic allspice Jamaica’s nightcap on your room terrace we wouldn’t like to predict!  If it doesn’t there is the  bottle of her homemade organic Jerk Sauce to help recapture your Jamaican holiday mood!

Kiting Jamaica

Free to Soar and Dream

Kite flying at Easter has become a Jamaican tradition, and each of the beautiful kites that we will be gifting our guests has been handmade by the Lifeyard art community project in Kingston which you can visit as part of our Pressing Tunes Music Tour.

Book Early & Receive our low season rates our Artisan Foodie Basket & Kite
CHECK AVAILABILITY

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The Myths and Reality of Safe Jamaica http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/the-myths-and-reality-of-safe-jamaica/ Tue, 16 Feb 2016 11:22:54 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12115 safety

 

Jamaica, beautiful land of wood and water, where “out of many comes one”, has a reputation for being the Caribbean’s richest island culturally, with a heritage that makes a holiday here more than just one of endless sun and rum, but what about safety? There is plenty is to be found in the media about safety in Jamica written about its domestic crime rates, but here’s the reality of a safe Jamaica for holidaymakers.

Low Level Threat of Terrorism

The threat of terrorism from extremists is low compared to Northern Africa and Europe, but even so the Jamaican government has ramped up immigration controls and deepened its surveillance activities to ensure that foreign embassies do not become a soft target.

Domestic Housing Development Turf Wars

Like any country developing or developed its crime rate is linked to the local and global economy and spikes in recession. Kingston much like Mexico’s inner cities, London, Paris or New York suffers from disadvantaged youths joining local gangs as the result of Jamaica’s polarised local economy which is beginning to even off.  The domestic crimes associated with these young people are drug and gang related and take place in small pockets within their housing developments.  These urban housing areas are not featured in guidebooks nor do they appear in the lists of Top 10 places to visit in Jamaica, hence tourists are highly unlikely to be affected and enjoy a trouble free holiday.

Pack Common Sense

That is not to say that you should holiday in Jamaica without packing into your suitcase a good measure of common sense and awareness of potential situations.  Jamaicans are incredibly warm, cheeky, cheerful and fun-loving so it is easy to build relationships and mistakenly think you have a new best friend.  Tourism through the ages has always attracted petty theft such as pickpocketing and more recently credit card scamming has been reported in the built up in the resort areas of Montego Bay and Ochos Rios.  Thankfully when these crimes have arisen there has been few incidents of them evolving into a violent episode.    Our better to be safe than sorry advice is to be alert at ATMs, wear a moneybag but don’t carry lots of cash, when exploring don’t wear expensive jewellery rather leave valuables in your hotel safe and always use JTB  licensed taxis or minibuses.

Holiday in Portland

The parish of Portland which includes Port Antonio and Hotel Mockingbird Hill enjoys being at the foot of Jamaica’s crime table, lower even than the neighbouring island of Dominica.  Our lush rural parish thrives on a large network of tight connections exist amongst its communities.  There is little tourist related crime from local service providers such as guides, unlicensed taxi drivers etc as more often than not they are connected to a hotel through their partners that work there.  Everyone’s well being is at stake and guests can enjoy being taken care of by the large network of people whose over-riding interest is for them to have a fun and safe holiday in Jamaica.

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