I’ve been driven up to Strawberry Hill in the Parish of St. Andrew, Jamaica many times but the drive to find this Garden of Eden was on a different plain literally.
From the peak, the unpaved rocky road treacherously meandered down. The recent rains in Jamaica didn’t help.
The driver kept listening for the rush of the river to determine whether were close to our destination. Many times I wanted to tell him to abort the mission and that we should soldier on by foot, but after one too many thoughts like , ha – the SERENDIPITY sign! Albeit it not quite there yet. At this point we gathered my accoutrements and walked a bit further downhill.
SERENDIPITY was still not seen, as the property hid behind a big wooden rolling gate. We rang the bell and the gate to paradise was opened, so we proceeded to the reception area which was basically a little hut guarded by the face of a Buddha statue.
We were invited to help ourselves to otaheite infused water. I later discovered that otaheite trees abounded on the property and ’twas the season.
My purpose was reconnaissance in nature, (excuse the pun) to determine whether it would be worth my money and time to spend a weekend there in the future. Absolutely from first brush!
I inquired the room rate and was told I can get a day pass for a cabin at half the night rate hmmm – sounded appealing but still I managed to negotiate a lower price.
I was assigned the River Stone cabin. The cabins are built into the mountain and where possible there are mountain walls instead of brick or wooden walls. The bathrooms are similarly constructed.
Another admirable aspect of this retreat “hotel” is that lot of natural resources are used for the decor e.g. calabash/gourds are made into lanterns, with the live plants and flowers you don’t need much more.
After settling I went to the on site restaurant for lunch. I had vegetable balls over basmati rice with a medium spicy pineapple sauce. To accompany that meal, I ordered watermelon mint juice which was spoilt by the addition of syrup. Why?
Sated nonetheless, I retreated to the hammock outside my cabin.
An hour later I went for my facial, the cheapest on the spa menu offering, but I was received a complimentary upgraded service. Perhaps the therapist felt I was in dire need of that anti aging deep cleanse.
Well there are spas and there are spas by a gushing in river. Total immersion in nature.
SERENDIPITY – the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.