More about Great Huts
Great Huts a Unique Place to Stay!
Great Huts is a unique place to stay at in Portland. The place is located on Boston Beach, which offers surfing. When you stay at Great Huts you can pick a tent or tree house to stay in that is furnished like a rustic hotel room. The rooms were really fun to stay in. Breakfast is available and all other meals are available by request. The food was very good and can be made to order. The staff was friendly and helpful. There are computers availabe for you to use and there is a private beach area.
Not so great huts
We booked the Seagrape Hut on the basis of great reviews on this site. This is just to give another perspective on Great Huts - which wasn't the right place for us. This is not to say it wouldn't suit some people, but we felt it wasn't value for money and there are much nicer places to stay. We booked to stay 5 nights, but left after 2.
The great stuff:
- Really friendly, helpful manager - even after we decided to leave
- Free internet access
- Pretty location - even though we travelled just after Hurricane Dean you could see the natural beauty of the site
- Wonderful wildlife, right outside (and inside) your hut
- The sound of the sea when you are falling asleep at night
- There is nothing to do - so it's very restful
The not so great stuff:
- We didn't get the Seagrape Hut - we were told it was fine after the hurricane, but actually it had been damaged too badly to stay there. We felt a little deceived by the hotel owner who had emailed us to say it was ok - as we wouldn't have travelled to the Great Huts if we'd had an honest view of the damage to the site. We stayed in the Gatehouse which wasn't anywhere near as nice - away from the sea with the noise of the reception area and the road outside. We also didn't have water for a shower for 24 hours after arriving.
- It is a 3 to 3.5 hour transfer in each direction. This wasn't due to the hurricane - the roads were clear, but they are in terrible condition generally. A taxi costs $120 each way from Kingston airport. Neither of us are prone to car sickness, but we both felt queasy. We thought it would only take 2 hours - but there is no way you could make the journey in this time, even with the best conditions. Again, this would have put us off booking.
- The 'beach' was ruined by the hurricane - but we could see it would be nice enough normally if the hammocks etc were up. But to put it in perspective, it's really just a small rocky outcrop below the resort. The actual beach is small, public, without much sand and no shade, good for surfing, but a bit rough for swimming - nice but by no means close to the beaches we have been to in the past.
- There is obviously no A/C - just be prepared for it to be hot, without any escape. The ceiling fan in the gatehouse was broken, but we did get a standing fan on the second day.
- Mosquitos - everywhere and vicious! We both used repellent with DEET, and burned the mosquito coil that they provide, and slept under the net - but both got covered in bites regardless, which were very large and itchy and took a week to subside. We've travelled many times to places with mossies, but never found them this much of a problem.
- Our sheets / towels etc. were not 100% clean. There wasn't any room service.
- There are only 2 options for evening meals - eat at Great Huts (around $15 a meal - this is supposed to be fanastic - unfortunately the chef had flu when we were there) OR eat at the jerk stalls outside. We did this and it was delicious - but I wouldn't want to eat this way for more than a day or two - no veggies etc. There is literally no other options - all other restaurants are a taxi ride away. The route taxis (shared with locals) were cheap however and easy enough to flag down.
Breakfast was a bit disappointing - the ladies cooking barely gave us or the other guests the time of day - not exactly welcoming. We got a bowl of fruit - a small piece of banana, one slice of pineapple, and two pieces of papaya. Then you got one fried egg, and one piece of white toast. And a cup of tea / coffee.
There is a grocery store about a 5 minute walk, but options are very limited and we questioned the freshness of the food - the bread was mouldy etc.
We could have taken all of this as part of the 'rustic' experience - *IF* we weren't paying hotel prices. With tax, our hut was nearly $150 a night - for this, I expected a lot more.
Great Huts may be right for you - but we were very glad to leave and wouldn't recommend it for the price charged.
My stay at Great Huts was like stepping through a door into a beautiful dream. The setting is exquisite - the beach is the perfect combination of deliciously comfortable and wild. The easy to attain cliffs overlooking the beach provide a place to see and feel an expansive overview.
I stayed in a tent which was so comfortable and soothing. LIstening to the sounds of the treefrogs, sea, rain, breeze, birds.....made me wonder why I live in a house....
I was so warmed by the very fine people working at Great Huts - the authenticity and gentle, unobtrusive way of helping create such a nourishing place to stay.
The food was perfect! Nice, well-balanced breakfasts of fresh fruit, eggs, toast, or vegetables.
Skanka, who prepares dinner, is an extraordinary person and chef. We had dinner prepared by Skanka every night and each meal was exquisite - the kind of food that makes you wonder, "How does someone do that?"....
The creation of Great Huts is an act of generosity, it's a gift.
You'll know exactly what I mean when you get there....
Secret little getaway to real island life...
We had a marvelous experience at Great Huts!! My daughter and I enjoyed exploring the secluded beach as well as the natural and wonderful landscaping they have built throughout the facility. Set high on a cliff near Boston Beach, the views are amazing, and the immense planning that went into this african designed getaway are phenomenal!
We stayed in an African Hut that had it's own fans to keep us cool at night and we fell asleep to the sounds of birds and crickets chirping. My daughter spent quite a bit of time in the aviary with the birds trying to teach them to say, "W'ar G'wan." :) If you hear them say it- you can thank her later!
I must commend the staff in particular for showing us the most hospitality I have yet to experience on the island. Peter, the manager, is truely a fantastic host that helped us feel at home and never hesitated to answer any of our numerous questions. His gentle sincerity and accessibility really help to make Great Huts a welcoming and comfortable place. Cynthia, our cook and morning greeter, was always warm and happy to greet us and offered some delicious Blue Mountain Coffee and fresh fruit along with our breaksfast each day. Nigel, the groundsman, always had a minute to say Hello while he was working and even gave my daughter a parrot feather after it was shed. Even the night watchman spent a moment or two with us each evening to talk about the random things a child might want to know about staying at Great Huts at night. :)
From the wonderfully empty beach to the fact that Port Antonio is just a short and cheap ride away by taxi, Great Huts offers up a dose of real Jamaican life! The infamous jerk center around the corner was the birth place for the Boston Bay Jerk Festival still happening every July.
Being a seasoned traveller to Jamaica I am always pleased to see sides of the island away from tourist traps that offer nothing back to the island's economy or people. This wonderful secret is perfect for experiencing a more down to earth side of Jamaica!!
I look forward to next year- where another adventure at Great Huts possibly awaits!!
a very special place
My wife and I stayed in the Bamboo Tree House and had an amazing time. The property is very natural and very beautiful. The staff made us feel right at home and the the experience was unforgetable. The hut we stayed in had great views of Boston Bay and the surrounding jungle. The beach was uncrowded and the locals were very friendly. The famous Boston Jerk Center is right outside the front great and the jerk chicken, pork and fish were the real thing. If you're looking for a truly Jamaican experience, don't miss Great Huts.
OMG, I found "paradise on the edge". That is the motto at Great Huts and they could not have said it better. Let my list begin with: the most warm, friendly and gorgeous owners (Dr. Paul and Nikki), a super polite and charming hotel manager, very friendly/thoughtful staff, a calm, soothing atmosphere, perfect breakfasts by the lovely Cynthia and dinner by Skanka is not to be missed, a superb unique private beach (a must see), AMAZING "rooms" (also only to be experienced, not verbally described), you also have the beauty of the jungle right at your toe tips, sounds that take you away, fruit trees and all kinds of wonderful birds, AND that "to die for" turquoise beach. Just walking around the private grounds is like taking a hike through a dense jungle and no matter where your walk ends up, you find yourself with a stunning view of the very blue Boston Bay cove. I also must mention the locals don't hassle you like they do in Negril and Mobay (they are really very friendly). Of course they inevitably want to sell you what they have, but not in that over pushy way. The jerk food at the center by Great Huts entrance is gourmet delicious, filling and great prices. The common room at the entrance to Great Huts has African art abound, a fascinating library, a TV, DVD, music playing and warm and inviting sitting areas, oh yes, and internet access. Nothing missing at all, except maybe a contract to sign a year’s lease at the Bamboo Tree House, oh and a job. Peter?? LOL. Thanks to everyone in Portland Jamaica for making my week there the most relaxing week of the year. You did better than I ever expected. Don’t miss out guys, this is the REAL Jamaica!! You won’t regret it.
Gorgeous and unique
On my recent trip to Portland, I toured the Great Huts property after asking the manager if I could do so.
I took many photos and the place truely is a hideaway;
It evene had an internet/computer area in the main community kitchen.
One thing I liked, in addition to the stunningly beautiful surroundings, was that there were so many "secret little spots" around the porperty to get lost in. Whether on the private beach or at the top of one of their look out points, it was amazing.
The only caution would be to those who would have trouble navigating the very rocky paths throughout. Air conditioning is courtesy of Mother Nature herself, as this is an eco-friendly place.
I have even more photos, some were taken of the Bamboo tree House. Let me know if you would like top see them.
Living out of the world with beautiful beings like paul, Niki and Peter
The Great Huts - Paradise on the Edge, Port Antonio, Boston Bay, Jamaica.
I travelled a lot but it was my first time to be in Jamaica. We were, actually, a group of friends who were there for a research project. Our first week was a work - filled week and we were looking forward to a relax and fun - filled weekend. Our group leader had, already, reserved us a place called ' Great Huts' and we had no idea about it at all. It was about 3-hour drive from Kingston, Jamaica. We were tired and needed some respite but, hey, we just forgot our tiredness upon reaching that beautiful place called ' Paradise on the Edge'. It was really like a paradise on the edge of a beautiful ocean - peaceful and serene.
It was like living in old times but with all amenities available of modren time. Living in huts but very luxurious, taking bath in a bamboo - made wash room but nice showers attached with trees, all kinds of birds etc. Very natural environ but all the facilities of present time. Internet, satellite TV, great variety of food, beautiful beach and, above all, the resort management made of great human beings like Paul, Nikisha, Peter and team.
I, just, wanted to share my experience with fellow travellers that it was such an amazing experience that I am already planning to go back and stay there for as much as I can and I will, definitely, go back.
...it just does not get any better
I am a Jamaican who has stayed in hotels of all categories all around Jamaica and across the world. Great Huts stands out as most significant as it has no contest in all its possible categories (natural, small, rustic, eco, romantic, charming). Great Huts has an excellent website however because of the nature of the place its so natural feel simply cannot be translated to any electronic medium.
It is extremely rustic however it does have electricity in the rooms, running water and wireless internet, basically all the NEEDS of today’s world. You however feel like you are in Shangri-la or the Garden of Eden. There are no locks on the doors as crime is not associated with Portland, the parish in Jamaica which is by far the most untouched and beautiful.
I stayed for 4 nights, one in a treehouse and 3 in a hut. All of the “rooms” are different and posses their own charm.
Their beach is simply too romantic and unique to describe. You’ve just got to do it.
The staff and service is second to none. They don’t even seem like staff, its more like family.
Some huts have their own bathroom and shower facilities, for others its communal so make sure you are aware of which one you are getting if this really matters.
Stay for at least a week, preferably 2 and couple this with some scuba diving (also the best in the island), a rafting trip on the Rio Grande and a trip to Reach Falls and Long Bay. If you don’t feel 10 years younger you need to see your doctor.
My husband and I spent our honeymoon at Great huts this past July. It is truly a spectacular place and really, can only be understood how beautiful it really is by seeing it yourself. I am still showing people pictures from our trip--as they flip through the responses are consistently... "Oh my god--look at that water--was it really that blue??" and "Is that your... was that the bathroom? It was OUTSIDE!" (next response being either "how cool" or "you had to pee outside when it rained?" or "were there a lot of bugs"), and almost always we get the response "wow... I want to go there".
It was, in complete honesty, the perfect place for our honeymoon. We spent 7 days there and did a lot of nothing (i.e. hammock sitting, book reading, wave listening... ). I have never felt so relaxed in my entire life.
We spent our first 4 nights at the Sea Grape. The view from this hut is absolutely unbeatable. We spent many hours sitting in our private pool staring out into the ocean. It also provided the best spot to stargaze--unblocked view of the sky paired with the sound of waves crashing against the cliffs--amazing. Do keep in mind, however, that this hut is truly that--a hut. It is a bit more rustic than the tree houses. There is a bit of a hike to get to it (no more than 5 min. from the main area, but a bit rocky and very dark at night--get a flashlight from Peter) and yes, the bathroom is outside. I actually loved the outdoor bathroom- it is completely private and really it only rained our last night. Don't leave anything in the bathroom though that can't get wet (toilet paper). Also important to know about the sea grape is that there is no hot water. This worried me at first, but really wasn't an issue considering it was in the high 80's low 90's the entire time we were there.
We spent our last 3 nights in the Bamboo tree house. At first I thought I liked the sea grape better, but the bamboo tree house has its perks. The sea grape has it's view, but the bamboo has a jacuzzi tub, a nicer bed, and hot water. I thought I didn't miss the hot water at Sea Grape, but a nice hot soak in the jacuzzi felt sooo nice at the end of a day. There were also candles provided for you that you could place around the tub at night. Unbelievably romantic. The fridge was also a nice perk, as there were many nights in the sea grape we would have liked to have had a cold drink--but lacked the motivation to walk all the way down to the kitchen.
The whole time we were there we only ventured out a few times. The beach at great huts was wonderful (plenty of hammocks, private, wonderful views). My husband loved to "snorkel" in the wading pools. But on the days we did go out we went to reich falls (something you MUST do if you go to jamaica). Peter (manager) was kind enough to let us tag along with him when he went one day. We just took a route taxi there (asked the driver to take us to the top for an extra few dollars and got his phone number to call to get a ride back). When you go to reich falls, ask one of the lifeguards to take you on a guided tour. Our guide (Ken) took us up the falls for a completely private tour (try and do that at dunn's river). It is amazing.
We also went to Frenchman's cove for our last day. It's a really nice beach close by, also accessible by the route taxis. It's a nice change from great hut's beach and will give you your fill of white sand beaches.
Overall--spectacular honeymoon. Would not have wanted to go anywhere else in the world.
We are visiting Jamaica with our 16 year old son at the end of March 2011. We stayed two weeks in Negril in the early 90's and want to visit Porland Parish this time. We are working with a tight budget and would like some suggestions on where to stay.
Re: Budget Accomodations
I was in Portland this june and will be returnin in march 2011 as well :).
I would suggest you a hotel in Port antonio on titchfield hill, they are quite cheap up there. You could try the sunny side guest house which is ridiculously cheap- 1400 for a double room with own bathroom, but they dont have a website. u just go there and ask and then)but there are other places as well. just try and google it. but the most beautiful and still affordable place to stay in portland is Great Huts. U are directly at boston bay which is incrediubly beautuiful. i didnt want to leave..oh and you can go surfing there as well.just drop me a pm if you need more info :) I have fallen in love with Jamaica and try to promote it as well as i can :)