Designer destination: Strawberry Hill, Kingston, Jamaica

Jamaica's Blue Mountains are renowned for world-class coffee but the steep, winding roads lead to all sorts of hidden secrets, from charming waterfalls to tasty chicken shacks.

After 50 minutes of driving up the mountainside, perhaps the best discovery of all is the secluded, luxurious Strawberry Hill resort.

The hotel's collection of 13 Georgian-style timber guest cottages on 26 acres of land sits 3,100 feet above sea level and offers a 360-degree view of Kingston, Newcastle, the Yallahs Valley and Bull Bay. That view alone would be worth the visit. 

But it is the understated elegance of the cottages - owned by famous record producer Chris Blackwell and built in line with 19th-century Jamaican aesthetic - that attracted the likes of the Rolling Stones, Grace Jones and Bob Marley in the Seventies and Eighties and keeps today’s young movie-makers, musicians and celebrities, including supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, coming back.   

 

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Timeless colonial appeal: white walls with beautifully handcrafted, dark mahogany furniture 

 

Signature style
Following their destruction by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, the cottages were restored by architect Ann Hodges - a specialist in traditional Jamaican building techniques - and won the Governor General’s Award for the Use of Wood in Architecture. 

Bright and spacious, each villa features hand-carved fretwork and four-poster beds that are draped in muslin. French doors lead to large, private verandas that overlook the lush green mountainsides, nestled between clouds on overcast days. 

 

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The Great House: a homage to 19th-century Caribbean design and home to a bar and three dining rooms

 

Hidden design gem
Look out for photographs of Marianne Faithfull, Grace Jones and Mick Jagger with Bob Marley in the bar of the Great House, that give a small insight into Strawberry Hill’s music industry heritage.

But ask to see inside the Gold Room and you will discover walls lined with the gold records and awards given to Blackwell for his work with music legends, including Bob Marley, U2 and Bob Dylan.

 

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Bob Marley sheltered at Strawberry Hill after he was shot in an unsuccessful assassination attempt in 1976. Right: discover a rich music heritage in the Gold Room

 

Steal the style
Now is a good time to purchase dark wood furniture. “It’s a buyers' market, buy now, prices for this quality are amazing,” says Paul van den Biesen, head of sale and assocate specialist, European furniture and decorative arts with Christie's London. Try the antiques shops in King's Road and auction houses such as Christie'sSotheby's and Lot's Road.

Insider tip
The Gordon Town Trail is the route that even the most lethargic holidaymakers can follow downhill to explore the wildlife and waterfalls of the Blue Mountains. Ask reception for details of the route.

Contact: Strawberry Hill, New Castle Road, B1 St Andrew, Jamaica; 
+1 800 232 4972; www.strawberryhillhotel.com


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