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“Memorable 50th Birthday at NC's Blue Harbour”

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Noel Coward's Blue Harbour
Ranked #17 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed 17 March 2014

My Partner and I had the pleasure of a week at NC's Blue Harbour. We stayed in Villa Chica where Dietrich and Hepburn would live when visiting the Master. The entire property is well maintained and we spent each morning lounging and reading at the pool. As it is far from the tourist places, you can expect to truly relax and breathe in the spectacular view from any point on the property. Candy made us 3 delicious meals a day. Roy looked after us and even brought us for a hike to visit NC's resting place. The staff was attentive when needed, but respected the quiet and privacy we enjoyed while visiting. You can feel the energy of NC and his celebrated guests as you walk around the property, too. Books, paintings, furniture -- even the cutlery -- all reflect the glam of a different era. Looking forward to our return next March! Many thanks to Michele, the lovely Owner, who made booking everything so easy! It was a wonderful and memorable Birthday!

Room Tip: Michele suggested Villa Chica and we loved it! It is the bungalow closest to the pool (40 steps...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank HIGGINS2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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11 - 15 of 24 reviews

Reviewed 2 March 2014

I recently spent an idyllic week here; I rented the Casa Grande, where I slept in Noel Coward's bedroom complete with his carved wooden pineapple-topped four poster, with stunning views right along Jamaica's north coast. Downstairs in the dining/sitting room the walls are covered with photos of Noel & his many illustrious guests, many of his books are still present and most of his original furniture. The house is surrounded on two levels with wide verandahs offering incredible views. The three properties are set in beautiful & well kept gardens which slope down to the small beach & saltwater swimming pool. Five-star accommodation this is not, but the place is very ably maintained by Leroy and Roy, two of the nicest chaps I've ever met, Pedro who helps out with everything & Candy the brilliant cook prepares the most excellent & varied breakfast's, lunches & dinners. I shall always remember with great fondness both Blue Harbour itself & also the wonderful time I spent passing the hours with these people plus friends who dropped by from time to time to share chilled out afternoons & evenings. I'll never forget their friendliness & their willingness to do anything for me to make my stay perfect. Although Blue Harbour is set in a quiet location (wonderful!) the nearest town, Port Maria, is a couple of miles up the coast & contains plenty of shops, banks, a Post Office & market & I found the people here very friendly too. Firefly, Coward's final retreat & his resting place is just up the hill from here & I would highly recommend a visit, as indeed I would without reservation for Blue Harbour itself.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled solo
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1  Thank Paul H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2014

If you love the beauty of the Caribbean ocean surrounded by mountain landscape, a salt water pool and breathe taking villas this is your spot.
Being a person who loves history and the arts I found the perfect place to stay " Blue Harbour" - it was like living in a museum - surrounded by Noel Cowards furniture, photos and library.
The manager Leroy and chief Rasta Roy made our trip even better by providing hospitality, music and some of the best curried goat and chicken we had on our vacation.
I have traveled around the world many times and found Blue Harbour one of the most beautiful and rich histories you could ever find.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Johnwattup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2014

Like James on holiday, I'm a little ambivalent about writing this review. I love Blue Harbour, but as James points out, the management has really let things go. Noel Coward would certainly not approve. My wife and I have stayed at Blue Harbour five time. The first was in 2000, when we were married there. (It was really a spur of the moment thing. Our first time in Jamaica. The management handled everything: called the parson from Port Maria, the guys gathered flowers and strung them around the balcony, our driver took us into Ochi to buy a ring and a wedding cake (pineapple). They cooked grilled food, and we drank Appleton and Red Stripe and danced to Toots and the Maytalls all night. We stayed in the Villa Chica, and had a fantastic time.

Blue Harbour was Noel Coward's first house in Jamaica, built in the Fifties, between Oracabasa and Port Maria. There's a great house with kitchen and dining room, two big bedrooms (with some of Coward's own furniture) and a wrap around balcony with wonderful views. There are two guest houses, the cozy Villa Chica and the larger Villa Rosa (big enough for a family of six).
All have great views of the harbour, and the island that sits right in the middle. Sunrises are sensational. And then there's the pool. Filled with fresh salt water and overlooking the Caribbean. Noel insisted that all his guests swim nude, but we broke that rule (sometimes).

There's really no place like it. Sitting on Noel's balcony, reading Noel's collected letters (there's a good library), check out the photos on the wall-- Katherine Hepburn and Alec Guinness, Olivier and Vivien Leigh, cavorting around that same pool. You are completely swept away. There were so many great points to this place: Roy (the yard man) would took us on a hike up the hill to Coward's final place Firefly. (Coward was so inundated with guests, that he built his one man house up the hill, and that's where he is buried. The view there is unbeatable.) Candy (the real cook) gave us spectacular meals. We'd hang out at the bar, drink Red Stripe and play dominoes and ping pong with some of the guys from Castle Gordon (there were rarely other guests) or sit on our own private balcony and enjoy the solitude.

Unfortunately, the last couple of times we stayed at Blue Harbour were disappointing. It's still the same wonderful place, but the management has become lax. A shame, since the new highway makes the trip a lot easier. If you go (and I encourage you to go), get your rates in writing. Stop at the grocery in Ochito pick up your own liquor and lunch fixings. And insist that they change out the water in the pool (it comes straight out of the ocean). And tell Roy and Candy that Royce and Dama send their love.

Room Tip: Villa Chica is nice for a couple. Villa Rosa is good for a family. The great house is the best.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Spyboy1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2013

I had a hard time rating this place. It still is one of the prettiest remnants of Jamaica's hollywood post-WWII glitz, with a great history and unbeatable location and view, but it is such a shame the current owners don't seem to care about the property at all. The place oozes potential and the fact it is so neglected kind of made me feel really sad.

The attitude that defines the management already became clear at the time of booking. We called in advance to book a room and asked for dinner but upon arrival we were told there was no dinner, so we were sent into town to get some food. We were also told there would not be any breakfast and that we should get some stuff at the supermarket. We weren't too happy about this, definitely not when we realized that actually a 'cook' was still there and that the fridge was oozing with food, fruits, etc... It looked more like the staff was just not feeling like cooking for us rather than a real inability to prepare a meal (and at that time it was only 5pm).

The staff itself seems to be your typical rasta yard. Leroy's the headman and about 10 others hang around all the time, smoke pot and play dominos. Many of them run around half naked and I even walked into some of them full monty on their small beach. Service seems to be reduced to the bare minimum. The fact that it seemed like some of the staff/people in the yard with kids lived in the guest rooms really made me wonder what kind of place this is. We have visited about a year ago and back then, the guest rooms were still guest rooms and the staff that was there was wearing at least some kind of uniform. So, over the past year every form of structure seems to have disappeared.

The property itself then. As I said, it still is stunning and I had the impression that Leroy and his people at least try to make sure the plays doesn't completely fall apart. But that seems to be it... The glory and charm that it once had has completely vanished. Their was some trash on the beach, and in general the place is looking 'rusty' rather than rustic.

Still, when I said I had a hard time rating this place it is because I actually had a good time there. Living part time in Jamaica, we know this kind of 'yard'-situation, and we were able to cope with it. Also, we had a nice large room with a fabulous balcony (although no toilet paper in the bathroom). No luxury whatsoever, but if peace is what your are looking for, you don't really need much more than a decent bed, a beautiful shaded view over the coastline and a basic swimmingpool or beach...

So if you are okay with no service or 'luxury', you might actually be happy at this place, as the natural beauty is there and no bad service can take that away. Still, please make sure you don't book through the website as the rates there seem to be way more expensive than when you just show up or call Leroy. We paid $60 a night and thought that was an okay deal. More would be a ripoff though. At the other hand, we also stayed at a similar historic property a little further towards Ocho Rios (Glory Be) that offered much better value and service in an environment and setting that is truely mesmerizing.

Room Tip: We had the upper floor in the main house which gave us the much needed privacy. The Villa Rosa seem...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank jamesonholiday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Noel Coward's B, Owner at Noel Coward's Blue Harbour, responded to this reviewResponded 4 August 2013

Mr. James
I am horrified by your review . Reading about your experience is not a typical experience of our guests . Most of our clientel book in advance and if they would like meals prepared and served the staff is prepared. I do not remember your prior visit but you must have had a good enough time to return. You arrived off the road without a reservation. You asked for a meal at a time when the kitchen was closed. The staff have their own living quarters on the property and the nightman stays in the main house for security . I am not sure what you mean by your denigrating remark about "a rasta yard". Blue Harbour is a unique holiday destination.

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Additional Information about Noel Coward's Blue Harbour

Address: North Coast Highway | Castle Gardens, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Overlooking Jamaica's scenic north coast, Blue Harbour a lush seven acre estate built in the fifties by Noel Coward the prolific British playwright, songwriter and entertainer;offers the ideal setting for relaxation and recreation. The saltwater swimming pool, gardens and seaside cottages complete this haven where the guestbook included such luminaries as Winston Churchill, Errol Flynn, Marlene Dietrich, Sean Connery, Alec Guinness, Katherine Hepburn, Patricia Neil Noel Cowards friends were drawn to what their host so fondly dubbed "Doctor Jamaica" the creative and restorative island where many completed their painting, musical and literary endeavors. Blue Harbour accommodations are fully staffed and offer lodging so you can come alone or with up to 12 guest. For larger informal groups accommodations can be provided on request. Each room opens to one of the large verandas with sweeping views of the coast and cooling air of the trade winds. Come vacation with us. Swim, explore and delight in native Jamaican cooking. Blue Harbour has preserved the spirit and style of the real Jamaica. Blue Harbour is a safe ,secure, eco-friendly and private holiday destination. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Noel Coward`s Blue Harbour Hotel Ocho Rios
Noel Coward's Blue Harbour Jamaica/Ocho Rios

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