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“Unique Caribbean Experience”
Review of Gingerbread Hill

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Gingerbread Hill
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Montserrat
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 19 February 2010

My wife and I usually take a trip to the Caribbean for our anniversary. This year, we split a week between Antigua and Montserrat. The contrast was remarkable, and our stay at Gingerbread Hill was a big part of that.

We arrived by taking Montserrat's new airline, Fly Montserrat. As it happens, the Lea's son Jesse is the pilot! From there David picked us up and after a brief tour, we arrived at our accommodation, the Heavenly Suite. It lives up to its name, a spacious suite with a bedroom, living room, kitchen, veranda and perch upstairs with stunning views. Everything was in working order and the suite was comfortable. The dryer climate and steady winds also have the added benefit of keeping mosquitos away (a remarkable contrast from Antigua, where we got viciously bitten up!).

Gingerbread Hill is in the St. Peter's district. You are within walking distance from a newly opened grocery, Kings. There's also a nearby "rum shop" run by the Lea's neighbor, as well as a good small restaurant, People's Place. As we were there three days and like to go hiking, we managed to do without a car. You would probably want one, however, if you were staying much longer or don't like walking.

We did spend one day taking a tour around the island with Sunny, another son of the Lea's. He showed us just about everything and is a very informative guide. As part of the tour we went to the Volcano Observatory. I would highly recommend this site whether or not you go on Sunny's tour. Also, David has made a documentary about the Volcano and a copy of the DVD is in the suite for your viewing - very informative.

This is very different from any other Caribbean island we have been to. You wont find too much in terms of gourmet dining or night life. The beaches are small and, with one exception, black sand beaches. What you will find is quiet and a chance to see how the island has been affected by an active volcano. You will also meet very friendly people. Even after 1 day, we bumped into people we saw in other places the first day. When the island only has about 7000 people, that's what will happen!

Montserrat as a whole is a great place to visit if you want to try something a little different. And Gingerbread Hill is a great place to stay to enjoy the experience.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank JPhurst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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69 - 75 of 89 reviews

Reviewed 27 December 2009

We stayed in the heavenly suite for a little over a week. It was better than we expected, and we expected it to be great. Clover and family are delightful. Listening to the roosters crowing and the bleat of the lambs was a welcome relief from the sounds of the city. The rental car they provided us was necessary. You need it to see the sights. A bicycle would be for the very fit - the island is mountainous. The beaches are small but lovely and many are empty. The volcano can cover the island with ash from time to time - just part of the charm of being so close to an active volcano! Sunny's tour is great, the restaurants on the island will feed you too much food, and there is an air of friendliness all over the island. People will stop and offer you a ride if you are walking. This is not for people who want a resort experience. Have you ever seen a mountain glowing at night?

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank DonDodge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 December 2009

Stayed on the third floor of Gingerbread Hill for a week. Wonderful place - on top of the hill, amazing view, hummingbirds visiting the bird feeder. The best equipped kitchen I've ever seen in a self-catering apartment. (Grateful for the blender in particular - very useful in making daiquiris.)

You cannot pick fruit or get the eggs from chickens, as advertised on the website, but it did not really matter – it is still a great place.

Any minor troubles (the gas cooker was playing up a bit) sorted out in less than a quarter of an hour. If you are not tempted yet, look at their website with 360 degrees views of all rooms.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank xme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2009

Perched high on a hill, with magnificent views to the North and South, and, of course, Westward over the water, Gingerbread Hill has the absolute best location on the island. We arrived in the evening at sunset and when we opened the door to the Heavenly Suite what I saw before me took my breath away! You feel as though you are truly in the heavens looking down on the tropical paradise that Montserrat truly is. Clover, David, Sunny, Noah, and Pepper gave us a warm "Southern Style" welcome and we felt as though we were reuniting with old friends. During our stay they were always very helpful when we wanted anything, yet respectful of our privacy, striking the perfect balance of gracious hosts.
Gingerbread Hill is definitly a place we will return to in the future. And Montserrat, the beautiful emerald isle, we will return to in our mind and heart whenever we seek tranquility.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank iopshellseeker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2009

We stayed in the Heavenly Suite and it was just that. The suite is clean, beautifully decorated and has a fabulous view....We ate dinner on the veranda each night, just to enjoy the sunset over the ocean. The People's Place (good food!) is walking distance from Gingerbread Hill and has terrific food. We ate lunch there on two occasions and enjoyed chatting with the owner. While on the island, we hiked (there is a nice trail that begins just up the road from the People's Place), snorkeled (it's not the greatest snorkeling, but it's not bad!), and generally took it easy. We also purchased an island tour with Sunny. He was great - very knowledgeable and friendly - and he took us to places that we would have never discovered on our own. We rented a car from the Leas - not fancy, but just fine for getting around the island (and you definitely need a car here). We had a great time and can't wait to go back.

The Lea's were helpful - they picked us up and dropped us off at the airport, took us to the grocery store, and gave us some helpful tips about what to see and do. They were cordial, but not overly friendly or familiar. I wouldn't have thought twice about this, had I not read reviews on this site that nearly gush about the hospitality of the Leas. My take on it is this - they are just like anyone else - they have good days and bad days and they are going to hit it off with some visitors more than others. We (my husband and I) were there to enjoy some time to ourselves, so all we wanted were helpful hosts...and that is what we had.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank ucla94
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 February 2009

I have strong mixed feelings about this place. The structure is lovely and I enjoyed the indoor/outdoor main room and found the bedrooms to be comfortable (although the carpet is in serious need of removal). The hot water, however, is at best just warm, making for a less than relaxing shower. The views are spectacular and one can truly feel in touch with nature and be serene here. This is also a great spot for bird watching. We did get early morning serenades from roosters and sheep but it was not bothersome to me. What I found really annoying was the incredably loud music blaring until 2:00am on Friday night. The location is not near much so a car is highly helpful - although the roads are a bit tricky.

What makes me reserved about this place is our experience with the Leas. There was always a bit of underlying tension and something was just off. I felt a sense of misrepresentation in their advertising (no ripe fruit to pluck from trees, no eggs to be gathered from hens - in fact David bought some eggs at the market on the way in from picking us up from the airport). There was always an edge to David (to put it nicely) and something unsettling beneath Clover's hippie exterior although she was at times quite generous. There was a reluctance on their part the two times we called their house/office for some information and we somehow ended up feeling as though we were imposing on them by being there. Their son Sunny gave us a nice island tour and seemed genuinely nice.

I see many excellent reviews posted for Gingerbread Hill. Perhaps we just happened to be there at a bad time for them. We were, however, paying guests at their establishment so I feel we should have been shielded from whatever was wrong on their end. I want to like this place and indeed, there are many elements that are wonderful. Unfortunately though, we left with a sort of bitter taste in our mouths.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled with friends
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8  Thank CHMA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clover L, Owner at Gingerbread Hill, responded to this reviewResponded 24 February 2016

So very sorry you did not have the experience that we always hope for! The carpet has been replaced, the neighbor's bar which was one ridge north of us, with the loud music, has closed, the showers work great, and I am unsure about the underlying tension you observed. I suppose,being human, anything's possible, but I certainly apologise for making you feel anything but welcome and very comfortable!

I recently realized that I could write responses to these reviews, so here I am writing many years after this one! (We did not set up a Trip Advisor account. We discovered that we had a presence here long after we actually did!)

Leaving with a bitter taste in the mouth is definitely NOT what we want our guests to do.So please accept my sincere apologies for any neglect that you felt or off-putting behaviour that you observed. I do not recall what allwas happening back then, but you are certainly correct that no matter what we might be experiencing as your hosts, it should not show in any way that would cause you to feel less than welcome and appreciated. (Actually, I just now realized the timing of your visit and what our particular problem was. It was a real crisis that shook us to the core. We were just doing our best to carry on with life as usual. Now we can look back on it and see that it ended up, as many unexpected troubles do, being a blessing in disguise, but it sure didn't feel that way back then. Sorry again that you felt our discomfort. We tried to do our best.

Blessings,

Clover

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Reviewed 19 January 2009

This is truly something remarkable. The rooms are tastefully designed, neat, and clean. You couldn't ask for better hosts. David and Clover Lea will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and possess a wealth of experience about Montserrat. If you are looking for something off-the-beaten path that soothes and relaxes, this is the place. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled solo
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2  Thank groovemon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Gingerbread Hill

Address: Virgin Island Road | P.O. Box 246, MSR1330, Montserrat
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Montserrat
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Montserrat
Price Range: C$82 - C$158 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gingerbread Hill is a breezy 900 feet above sea level: 3+ tropical acres with a lovely swimming pool, gardens, and spectacular views of both the Caribbean Sea and the lush mountain rain forests! It is owned and operated by the Lea family (aka The FamiLea) with four self-catering guest lodgings, ranging from simple to sublime - something for everyone! Rates range from $us50 to $us175 per night plus 7% gov tax. The Heavenly Suite and the Two Bedroom Villa are complete apartments with all the comforts of home. Airport and ferry transfers are complimentary (except earliest AM ones.) We personally meet you upon arrival and help you with everything you'll need, including obtaining local driver's license, rental vehicle, and even a grocery and cooked food stop on the way home. We're happy to help you arrange island tours, diving, hiking, and any other activity you'd like to do. We live on the property too, just up the driveway, so we're available to assist you as needed. There are several small restaurants, within easy walking distance,including our own non-profit Hilltop Coffee House,which is also a museum, gallery and visitor's centre - just up the hill. It is the place we use for meetings or small conferences, off-hours (afternoons and evenings.) Webinar capable. WiFi hot spot. We have our own free range (in their designated space) laying hens who give us lovely brown eggs, and we have homegrown fruits,herbs & veggies available according to season. The Two Bedroom Villa and the Heavenly Suite have been recently renovated with new furniture, and much more. Our very newest addition is a lovely swimming pool,completed July 2017! We (David, Clover and Sunny) came to Montserrat in 1980, fell in love with it, and have called it home ever since. The number of Leas presently living on island is 8, including Sun's wife and three children, with more Leas scattered abroad. David has produced, among other things, the comprehensive DVD documentary series, "The Price of Paradise," which covers, in real time, the eruption of Montserrat's Soufriere Hills volcano, and he's written a book about it. Clover is also a writer, musician and artist. These items and many others are available at their non-profit centre, the Hilltop Coffee House, just a short walk up the ridge from Gingerbread Hill. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Gingerbread Hill Montserrat, Caribbean
Gingerbread Hill Hotel Montserrat

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