We (two couples), stayed at the two cottages for a week in March. All in all we were very happy with our choice. We were looking for a private place where we could hang out, cook our meals and wouldn't see the usual hoards of resort and cruise ship tourists. With the exception of the occasional Jet Ski and the Sandals party boat (about 4 times a day); we had our peace and quiet.
We ended up spending most of our time on the porch of the sea side cottage with perfect views of the Caribbean. If you are renting the garden cottage, you do have access to the sea, but you would be limited to hanging out at the small deck at the sea, which is fine for a couple but would be really crowded if you had to share it with anybody you do not know. In the sea you can swim, snorkel or Kayak (snorkeling gear and Kayak equipment are provided by the owners). It is recommended to wear aqua socks while doing so, since the corals can be quite sharp. The access to the sea is quite a luxury in this part of Jamaica since beaches are either private or require you to pay a fee between 5 and 10 USD per person.
The amenities were as advertised. Both cottages had their own kitchen stocked with dishes, pots and pants. The housekeeper will wash your laundry on site if there is a need for it. Also for those who need to be connected with the rest of the world, there is free wireless Internet and satellite television broadcasting all the major US stations.
You do not necessarily need a car if you are staying at Te Moana. The town center with the local market and the restaurants is about a mile away, but there are small convenience stores local food shacks within 10 minutes walking distance from the cottages. If you want to venture further, there are cabs and hired drivers available.
One of the best parts of staying at Te Moana are the owners Annabelle and Peter. Transplants from the UK, they have been living in Jamaica for over 30 years. They are deeply entrenched in the local community and gladly provide any information you might need. I would recommend contacting them via www.harmonyhall.com to help you make arrangements such as bus transfer from the airport or buying groceries when you are planning your trip.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ocho Rios is the perfect place from which to explore Jamaica, being almost equidistant from Montego Bay, Kingston and Port Antonio. The cottage, located 1 mile from the centre of the popular resort town, is next to Peter and Annabella Proudlock's home, yet is completely self-contained, with separate entrance and small garden. Steps to the grotto give private access to the sea via steps, with interesting snorkelling on the adjacent reef. Downstairs, the fully equipped kitchen adjoins the comfortable living/dining area, with i-pod dock, a bathroom with outdoor shower, and single-bedded alcove. The veranda features two hammocks, and a dining table. An external staircase leads to the large bedroom, with sitting area, king-size bed, cable TV, shower room and ceiling fan. The view over the Caribbean Sea is stunning. Peter and Annabella will happily give advice on the many nearby attractions, which include their own Harmony Hall art & craft gallery and restaurant, the world famous Dunn's River Falls, golf, swimming with dolphins, riding, plantation tours, Noel Coward's Firefly, duty-free shopping and more. For those who have to stay in touch, there is complimentary high-speed internet access. ... more less