Design Delicious Boutique Hotels

 When travel meets transcendent design, magic happens. Step into the sumptuous world of boutique hotels as we explore a new design series aimed at bringing you the best and most design delicious hotels throughout the Caribbean, where every corner is an Instagram-worthy vignette, and each space tells a vibrant story of elegance and exclusivity. Some of these I have been to, most I haven't, but who doesn't love a good nosy around some of the most exquisite hotels the Caribbean has to offer? From eco-friendly havens to colonial grandeur and everything in between, you'll find it all here. Stay tuned for our next installment as we discover more of the best boutique hotels the Caribbean has to offer. Until then, happy travels and design dreaming!

Exploring a Jewel in Jamaica's Crown: Strawberry Hill Hotel

Today, we're jet-setting to the Caribbean gem of the Strawberry Hill Hotel in Jamaica, a place that captivated me from the second we drove through the gates. For those who are unfamiliar with Strawberry Hill, I suggest you head to the link below to explore more, because this hotel is an absolute must on your travel list!.

With its fusion of colonial charm and Caribbean vibrancy, Strawberry Hill beckons not only the travellers who yearn for luxury but also those who appreciate old world, simple, yet beautiful interior design and architecture. From the lush surroundings that gave Bob Marley his refuge to the painstakingly hand-carved fretwork transoms in every room, Strawberry Hill is a design lovers haven waiting to be explored.


Where Heritage Meets the Horizon: Strawberry Hill's Storied Past

A veritable historic gem, Strawberry Hill sits on the site of a former 18th-century coffee plantation; its fertile fields once pulsed with the rhythm of life in colonial Jamaica. Today, this site is an emblem of the island's transformation, reflecting the harmony between the traditional and the contemporary.

A Tapestry of Styles and Stories

The architecture of this hotel, with its fusion of Georgian and Jamaican Vernacular, is a testament to its colonial days but now, it’s laced with a modern Caribbean heartbeat. The hotel was once the private sanctuary of music mogul Chris Blackwell (Island Records and the man who discovered Bob Marley!), a man who understood the harmony between nature, culture, and design. This ethos is palpable in every corner, and the plantation is a living testament to the art and craft that have evolved in Jamaica over the centuries. Every aspect of the hotel is meticulously curated to pay homage to its history, positioning it not just as a cosmopolitan retreat, but a destination deeply rooted in the island's essence.

The Poetry of Caribbean Design

The interior design is a masterpiece of harmony, orchestrating the vividness of Caribbean life with the refinement of the old world. Each of the 14 standalone cottages, adorned with Jamaican themes, are an invitation to immerse oneself in a bygone era. The off-white, warm palette of the walls allow the vibrant tropical fabrics to dance against them, while dark, rich wood floors ground the space, a perfect reflection of the surrounding mountains. Each room has a mahogany four-poster bed complete with mosquito net, heated mattresses for those cool mountain nights, and carefully curated antique colonial furnishings that fuse the scheme together. This is no ordinary hotel, it's a masterpiece in rustic elegance. Delicate and often hedonistic fretwork can be seen over doorways throughout the villas, a nod to the Jamaican "One Love" culture. The bathrooms are basic and look as though they have been crafted from whatever materials where easily available to hand, but they are character filled and showcase the genius creativity behind the brand.

While you do have neighbours, privacy is key. Each cottage is orientated to overlook the landscape, cleverly hiding said neighbours and creating a sense of exclusivity.

Local artwork by some of Jamaica's leading Folk artists is scattered across the planation which further creates a sense of familiarity, like you're staying at someones house, living temporarily among their prised possessions. The spa is a particular delight. It's basic and yet utterly charming with its cute fret work, lattice details and art filled walls.

A Symphony of Nature's Splendor

The unedited beauty of mother nature is on full display at Strawberry Hill and it is everywhere. You are incased in greenery, tropical scents & wildlife, a horticulturists dream. There was a moment when I was sat on my balcony, over looking the mountains that towered in front of me, enveloped in the cool air, lush greenery and that tropical haze that you can literally watch roll over the mountain tops in the late afternoon, and I felt my body relax. Like, actually relax. Anyone who works for themself or runs a business knows how hard it is to relax and just. do. nothing. Much of my time was spent here, reading, playing board games, drinking tea, watching the hummingbirds artfully dart from flower to flower. Truthfully, this is what I came for, everything else was just a bonus. To find somewhere that can truly make me disconnect from the daily circus is rare, but then so is Strawberry Hill.....

Where to eat and what to do?

The restaurant at Strawberry Hill is equally as charming and overlooks Kingston in the distance, which is particularly stunning at night time!. The food is an eclectic fusion of Caribbean and intercontinental flavours and the famous bar pours generous lashing of Blackwells own rum. For a more casual experience, the Blue Café is a short stroll down the hill from the hotel. We spent breakfast here every day before continuing on our daily activities, which included a local coffee plantation tour (Craighton Estate) or hiking with a private guide. Back at the hotel, explore the "Golden Room", a room full of Island Records accolades as well as literal gold and platinum records that line the walls, or sit on the grassy terrace and watch mountain life go by. Here, the art of doing nothing is celebrated, which makes it the perfect place for those seeking to unwind and reclaim some much needed "me" time.

Beyond the Pillows

A stay at Strawberry Hill is an emotional experience. This is the art of boutique hotel design at its finest, where every design element is unapologetically genuine. Its easy to see why guests from across the world and the local Jamaican community find a common love for Strawberry Hill.

The Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Strawberry Hill is between December and April, during Jamaica's dry season. This period promises sunny days and cool evenings, perfect for enjoying all that the estate and its surroundings have to offer.

For those seduced by the allure of Strawberry Hill and eager to explore more, visit their official website which often has special deals by clicking here.

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