10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"We stayed at Goblin Hill for 2 nights in early September, 2008. I chose Goblin Hill based on reviews from this site, and was quite pleased with our choice.
We stayed with a friend in Kingston while awating our delayed baggage, but gave up on the bags and made a reservation for two nights at Goblin Hill. I drove over Junction from Kingston, a breathtaking and, for my wife, nerve wracking drive through the Wagwater River Gorge, past the Oriental Fried Chicken landmark, Castleton Gardens, and a huge banana plantation before meeting the North Coast highway just outside of Anotto Bay.
The highway has been completely repaved! No more potholes! It was smooth sailing all the way to Black Hill where the road is being worked on. We got caught in a massive delay at Black Hill and trafffic was slow due to road construction all the way to Passley Gardens on the oustskirts of Port Antonio. The good news is that Highway 2000 has probably reached Portie by the time you read this!
East of Port Antonio, just past San San beach, we turned right off the highway and drove not far uphill on a decent road, reaching Goblin Hill Villas just about dusk after what passes for a long, arduous journey in these days of air conditioned 4 wheel drive travel. I was certainly happy to get from behind the wheel. We found out that due to the passage of Tropical Storm Gustav a week before, we had the entire resort to ourselves!
A porter grabbed our bags and led us down the hill to our room. The hotel is made up of two-story condos (villas). Simply, but comfortably furnished, the units are designed for open-air living. Opening the sliding glass door to the patio and the bedroom window allows a delightful fresh cooling breeze to blow through the unit, and every man-eating mosquito in San San to dine on your hide. Speaking of dining, we'd stopped at the supermarket in Port Antonio, and our cook/housekeeper Andrea whipped up an amazing dinner out of our limited provisions.
The view from our patio was an entrancing fantasy. The white sands of San San beach flowed into the agressive greenery of Alligator Head, and the fairy tale sized Pelu/Princess Island with its beach built for two were spread along the multi-hued blues of San San cove visible from our balcony. It was impossibly, achingly beautiful.
I could spend all day lost in reverie, listening to bird song, watching the colors of sea, sky, and land flow through all the hues of blue and green and enjoying the soft kiss of the sweet tropical breeze upon my cheek.
We arrived just a week after a tropical storm, yet all the blow downs had been cleared and the grounds were impeccably elegant. They are a picture of West Indian planter fantasy.
From the Great Lawn, down to the Lookout, and across to the swing, we had the whole place to ourselves. Strategically placed chairs delight upon their discovery. What a place.
There is free Wi-Fi on the patio next to the lobby, and the hummingbird feeders that line its borders attract a constant stream of visitors.
That afternoon, we took the free pass to Frenchman's Cove and drove down to the most beautiful beach I've ever been to. A fresh water spring feeds a small creek that runs a few hundred feet to the sea. The creek forms a pool that's perfect for fresh water swimming. There was only one other couple at the beach when we arrived, and we rented a couple of chairs and spread out on the beach. Suddenly, it started to sprinkle. Within a minute, it became a deluge. For an hour, it rained as hard as it did during the 24 hours following Gustav as we retreated under the shelter provided by the chair storage building.
And just as suddenly, it was over.
We spent the rest of day sunning on the beach, and frolicking in the sea.
We left the beach and drove down to Boston for jerk, but I was a little short and had to promise Shabba that I would pay what I owed him the next day. The next morning we drove down to the ATM (or ABM as they are called in Jamaica) in Port Antonio (PLUS system is more prevalent than STAR system) to get some cash. Portie is always jammed with people, and I love to just stand upon the street and watch the crowds go by. We drove down the Titchfield peninsula, and up by St. George's church before heading back toward Boston. We stopped by a friend's office in Fairy Hill, and marveled at the monstrous houses being built by ex-pats. After paying off Shabba with a Cuban Churchill, it was down to Long Bay to picnic on our jerk lunch. Plenty damage was evident in Long Bay from Gustav and previous storms. We drove our friend down near Passley Gardens, and dropped her off before returning to Goblin Hill to retrieve our luggage.
Our luggage loaded, we wistfully departed for the drive back to Kingston. We were headed home the next day. Our delayed baggage was waiting for us at the airport, arriving ten days late, just in time for our flight home."
- Travel date: Sun 21st of September 2008
A quiet, beautiful villa in Port Antonio!
"Goblin Hill Villas are older, yet clean, open villas. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with many different nut and fruit trees. Our villa overlooked San San Beach and Alligator Island. They are very open villas but have an air-conditioning unit in the bedrooms which you will want to turn on for sleeping. Make sure you use the mosquito netting around your bed at night as you will get bitten. Bug spray is also a must!!!! There is a large pool with an awesome hammock (my husband and I spent many afternoons in the hammock), a swing, a lookout over San San Beach and Peelu/Monkey Island, a reading area and a tree bar. There are hillside steps which lead down to the road and one can walk to San San beach within 5 minutes. The Blue Lagoon is about 8 minutes the other direction. If you want to see any of the other attractions (like Frenchman's Cove) reception can arrange for a taxi to pick you up. Be prepared to pay for any taxi rides (Frenchman's Cove taxi was free through the villas). Cynthia was our housekeeper/cook and was wonderful. We went into PA with her to the local market to get food for our meals. That in and of itself is quite an adventure. She made 3-4 course meals at first, which were tasty yet overwhelming. We asked her to cook less since we aren't big eaters and she complied. PA is a very laid-back, quiet area and we went in the off-season (June) and had San San Beach all to ourselves the first day we went. There were only a few other people at Frenchman's Cove. We hired a boat to take us out to Peelu/Monkey Island for snorkeling and we were the only ones on the island. If you want to feel like you are on your own private island, PA is the place to go in the slow season. If you want to go somewhere that is fast paced and will have entertainment for you then PA is not the place for you."
- Travel date: Sat 19th of July 2008
"Goblin Hill Villas are situated in beautiful well maintained grounds. The views of San San beach and bay are stunning. Some seriously rich people live nearby and you will see why. The villaâs themselves are perfectly comfortable but need updating, especially the bathrooms and kitchens. Donât let this put you off though, the maid makes breakfast and dinner so you donât spend much time in the kitchen. The bedrooms have a good air con system and the lounge and bedroom have ceiling fans. Cable tv is available but picture quality is variable. As everyone else comments, take plenty of insect repellent, we went in April and it wasnât too bad but you will need to use the net over the bed. The pool is adequate to cool down but keep an eye on your non swimming kids because the bottom is eccentric and they can suddenly go out of their depth. No pool side service is available unfortunately. If youâre staying longer than a few days a jeep hire is a must. I suggest a Susuki Jimney from Island cars. If you book through Goblin Hill you get a complementary driver from Kingston Airport and frankly I wouldnât advise driving yourself after a long plane journey. Youâll be taken in a taxi and be followed by someone driving your hire car. A Jeep (or other SUV) is vital for driving on the sometimes non existent roads; driving is not for the faint hearted but because of the poor roads no-one gets upto a high speed- watch out for overtaking taxis, best to indicate, slow down and let them pass. Explore the mountains towards Moore Town, absolutely stunning. Closer to home is the beach at Frenchmanâs Cove- ask for a free pass at reception, San San is shallow and good for snorkelling (although not many colourfull fish on our trip.) Frenchmanâs cove is stunning and looks like a pop video location although a bit touristy, a much more authentic experience can be had a Winifred Beach just along the coast. The blue lagoon is a big disappointment. Youâll be hassled to take a boat from a local to Monkey Island and finish with a dip in the lagoon- we paid $20US which was just about worth it but no more than that. On the whole Iâd definitely recommend Goblin Hill and absolutely recommend Portland in general. It not touristy, looks like paradise and the people are generally beautiful- on the down side, like anywhere else tourists are harassed by locals out to make a buck (canât blame them, theyâre very poor) a firm NO is the minimum requirement but donât be rude, Jamaicans are donât appreciate anyone lording it over them. There are always people walking to and from destinations and always school kids everywhere, we gave a lift to a lady and school girl which they appreciated as taxiâs are the only transport for non car owners and can be rare, Itâs a good way to meet and get an insight into their lives and helps them out too, obviously use your judgement on who to give a lift to. I could go on a lot more about the beautiful Island and people of Jamaica so if you want to know more please email me, Iâd be glad to share my experience."
- Travel date: Mon 28th of April 2008
Quiet and Relaxed in Jamaica
"We returned from a 2 week stay on March 2,2008. We had decided to go to Port Antonio to visit a town I had worked in 34 years prior. After reviewing the net we decided on Goblin Hill Villas. A good choice. We flew into Kingston and rented a car from Island Car rentals. This included a driver to Goblin Hill. A good idea. It took 31/2 hours at an average speed of 30kph to get there. The highway follows the coast and has been ruined by hurricanes. Our first adventure and we just arrived. We checked in to room 17 , a 1 bedroom condo to find our preordered dinner waiting on the stove along with my ordered bottle of rum. The next morning we were awakened by someone pounding at the door-our maid and cook extraordinaire Shirley Brown. For the next 2 weeks we had breakfast and supper personally prepared for us-a joy. Shirley asked us what we liked and catered to our desires plus our requests for Jamaican specialities. Lunches we did on our own so we could explore the area. The condo was on the second floor so we we could look down on San San beach, something you will not tire of. Room very comfortable with air conditioner in bedroom and the very needed mosquito net over the bed. Tuck it in at night. Two weeks of hearty meals cost $160.00 The hotel makes recommendations for tipping for staff, which was gladly given. Jamaican currency is a bit confusing when my first beer cost $150 dollars but became inexpensive when I divided by 65. You get free access to Frenchman cove Beach but we preferred San San and for the $20.00 admission got a kilometer private beach with bar/restaurant and lawn chairs mostly to ourselves only 500 meters from our condo. Safe snorkelling. Beautiful setting. I also did 4 scuba dives with Lady G'Diver in Port Antonio. A safe friendly business. We also did the rafting down the Rio Grande with Price as our guide. A soothing ride in the country away from roads Even had a swim in the river. A car is very useful and every short drive is an adventure in itself (and I thought roads in Costa Rica were rugged!) We felt safe and everyone was friendly. This was a great holiday to read, swim play some Scrabble and unwind."
- Travel date: Mon 24th of March 2008
The Serenity of Goblin Hill Villas
"Goblin Hill Villas was an amazing surprise! My family and I were treated like royalty. Our stay was so memorable that my children talk about the place continuously. The surrounding lush greenery is captivating along with the breathtaking views. Our housekeeper/Cook was wonderful and the food was delicious. We will be making plans to go back yearly. We had such a wonderful experience that we have told families throughout to check this place out and experience the serenity of the place. The staff were very helpful and knowledgeable of the area. For lunch we went to the town of PA and ate at Kuya's on the suggestion of one of the staff and let me tell you it was WONDERFULL!!"
- Travel date: Tue 11th of March 2008
Peaceful & beautiful
"Goblin Hill is true to the photos that have been posted here by others. The grounds are beautiful. Located on a hill overlooking San San beach and cove, and monkey island with turquoise waters. From our villa we could hear the waves crashing in the distance, when not drowned out by the many birds singing.
The villa itself was clean and had great views. Our bed was actually two singles put together. One of which sagged in the middle. The A/C unit looked aged but worked great (even though we didn't really need it). The bathroom needed some updating (and repairs were done in the more professional manner).
The mosquitoes were definitely more prominent around dusk and dawn, although you could see them anytime of the day. The villas are open air (i.e. no screens), but you are provided with a net above your bed (bring bug spray). This worked well.
Our housekeeper, was shy and seemed to have a limited cooking repertoire. There was a miscommunication our first night, so we had to have the front desk order and deliver a dinner. Except for that, our meals were prepared when we requested. Make sure you are specific in what you want your housekeeper to cook (select from there suggested menu or request your own). We would suggest curry chicken, and fruit (papaya was especially good). You can also try the many types of mangoes or avocados if they are in season. We were surprised at how much the groceries cost ($120/3.5 days), although compared to US restaurants it is inexpensive. Be sure to ask for receipts, or buy your own groceries (in Port Antonio). You can pay for the initial grocery shopping at the end of your stay, but will have to pay cash for additional shopping. If you charge it at the front desk, they will charge a 10% charge.
The front desk staff will arrange a taxi to take you to Frenchman's cove beach (& will give you a free pass) at a time you request (they ask for 1 hour notice)."
- Travel date: Wed 5th of March 2008
I'm still dreaming about Goblin Hill
"We returned from our honeymoon over a year ago, but of all the hotels we stayed at (about five, over three weeks) Goblin Hill is the one I remember with the most fondness and longing to go back. I would go to Jamaica just to stay at this place, that's how much I loved it, and my spouse agrees.
Part of what makes this hotel so lovely is not only the beautiful villas (white everywhere, studded with fresh color of real hyacinths everywhere, gorgeous balcony), or the stunning views (think manicured European grounds with an ocean view with bluffs in the background), but the amazing service provided with the housekeeper / personal chef who makes two meals for you every day. And these are amazing, three course meals of authentic Jamaican food. Sheila, our housekeeper, was like our Jamaican momma -- she was kind, accommodating, and simply divine. I wanted to take her home with me.
All of this, coupled with their proximity to Frenchman's Cove beach (simply the most incredible beach ever, with protected coves, a freshwater cool stream and a warm saltwater ocean mixing together), the incredible Tree Bar (a bar built around a huge wicker tree!) and the amazing service made us want to come back for more. And it was one of the most reasonable places we stayed price-wise, especially when you consider how much you are saving on food.
If you are wise, you will go out of your way to stay at Goblin Hill when you are in Jamaica. Skip the hectic, frat-boy nature of the west side of the island and go for the divine, peaceful east side of Port Antonio and Goblin Hill. You won't regret it!"
- Travel date: Thu 1st of November 2007
Definitely Going Back!
"My husband and I stayed here for our honeymoon... we absolutely LOVED it! Beautiful scenery, wonderful pool (which we swam in every night), super friendly staff, and best of all our awesome maid/cook! We simply gave her the money she needed to pick up the food items and told her to make whatever she felt we would enjoy, and we did! I, for one, fell in love with the food, especially the soups and fruit :).
I must warn people though, about the mosquitos! There are thousands of them, and yet you never see them! Take LOTS of repellent, candles, etc. Although you never see them, they some how get ahold of you anyway, haha. That for me was the only "downfall" of our stay. We are DEFINITELY going back... possibly for our 2nd anniversary :). Thanks for a wonderful stay!!!"
- Travel date: Thu 25th of October 2007
Initially we called several hotels in Negril. We had not visited Negril as of yet and figured that would be our next vacation destination. The reservation agents we spoke to in quite s few hotels from Negril were in no way shape or form as kind, nice, helpful and inviting, as those we spoke with at Goblin Hill. As a matter of fact, by the time we hung up with the Goblin Hills reservations agent, we were so relaxed that we were ready to get over there already!!! Unfortunately we had to wait about 3 weeks as we had planned.
We made the mistake of flying into Montego Bay, we should have flown into Kingston, hence, we had to endure a 6 hour drive of which 4.5 hours were absolutely beautiful and scenic, but also quite bumpy. Then again, that's how most Caribbean islands are! Thank goodness we rented an SUV. So, make sure you fly into Kingston, the drive to Goblin Hill is only 2 hours away!
Upon arrival, everything reassured me and my husband that we had made the right choice. We felt as if we had gone back in time, to a place where vacations are truly about relaxation and getting away from it all, when you were free to play tennis, or sit by the lookout and work on a water color, or go bird sighting, or sit by the bar and while enjoying a beverage, partake in conversation with the extremely friendly staff or any of the guests. Goblin Hill is situated on a mountain with rolling hills of grass, overlooking the seaâ¦.just breathtaking!
Our bell man walked us to our 1 bedroom villa, which was perfectly situatued on a second floor with views from every single window of the ocean, and the grounds. Sunrises from there, were like those weâve only seen on Discovery HD!
We had arrived at about 5:00 PM and Patricia, our room attendant was waiting for us with dinner ready! Goblin Hill includes your own personal room attendant/cook, for the duration of your stay. My husband, a native of Jamaica, faxed in our meal preferences a few days before. Pat as we called her, may as well be a gourmet chef!! She made the most decadent callaloo cream soup, and esaviche fishâ¦..I donât want to give it away but I swear this woman should open a restaurant herself! She was extremely friendly, she even brought in bread fruit picked from her own tree in her backyard for breakfast one morning! She truly catered to our every need and made us feel like royalty!
Our villa was just lovely! A spacious bedroom with a very, very comfortable king sized bed, it even had a white net, just what you would expect when going to Jamaica! There is an AC unit and fan in the master bedroom, and the most beautiful view of the ocean and the rolling green hills on the grounds. Birds chirped it almost felt as if they sang for us in welcoming.
The living room had cozy furnishings, a large couch, and two chairs with a foot stool, as well as a dining area duplicated by another dining area on the terrace overlooking the blue waters of San San beach and the ocean. Amazingly relaxing indeed! Patricia served all of our meal on the terrace.
If you want to stay connected to the fast paced world you come from, no worries, the tv has cable and there is also internet access in the clubhouseâ¦but with paradise surrounding you who cares about the real worldâ¦..we didnât want to leave! It rained for a few minutes everyday which only added to the tranquil elementâ¦picture a bit of rain followed by rainbows and sunshineâ¦.wow!!!
We were aware of the tennis courts on the grounds and partook of a game or two, and afterwards jumped into the refreshing pool. Just perfect!
We drove down to Frenchmanâs cove, Goblin Hill provides complimentary passes, and enjoyed the day there, and the following day we spent at San San Beach. Imagine thisâ¦you and your spouse have the entire beach to yourselves! Junior and Bunny, two local fisherman, offered to take us fishing in the ocean, and for a ride to the Blue Lagoon, a 200 foot deep crystal clear waterhole. While we were there, they also showed us a mineral bath, sparkling clear and clean mineral bath fed by an underwater spring. We bathed in it, it was freezing, but they said itâs good for the body! They also showed us the most beautiful villas, Dragon Bay, and a few others, which have unfortunately shut down due to the lack of tourism in the area. Such a shame. It is also unfortunate that such a beautiful, quiet and friendly town doesnât have that many visitorsâ¦probably due to the roads which the Jamaican government is working on repairing as we speak, thank goodness.
We left early at about 5:30 AM (had to drive back to Mo-Bay) the front desk closes at about 11: PM but no need to worry there are security guards there to watch over the facilities. The sweetest and most unexpected thing occurred when the security guard thanked us for coming to Goblin Hill and hoped to see us again soon. Iâve never seen such sincere hospitality.
At Goblin Hill, you wonât feel pressured to âdoâ anything, even though thereâs plenty to do! Itâs such a relaxing place, itâs truly paradise! We are making it a point to tell all of our friends and family about it."
- Travel date: Thu 31st of May 2007
Villas in excellent condition. staff are lovely and set up is just beautiful.
"I'm sitting here in Goblin right this minute because i dont want to forget anything to tell you. I can hear the staff having some sort of weekly meeting to discuss how they can do their jobs better which just gives you an idea of the sort of attention to detail that is provided in the place. Fresh flowers everyday, your meals cooked if you want them and exactly the right amount of leisure needed and proximity to beaches.
- Travel date: Wed 14th of March 2007