Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Moxons is a relatively small hotel built like a honeycomb with rooms stacked on top of one another, all the way down to the ocean. A series of terraces are joined by breezeways and staircases that run down to the water. The resort has a bar, a restaurant and -- that's about it.
I saw a few husky 30-plus men who confessed to escaping the wife and kids to go zip-lining in the forest. But other than those guys, most of whom had been to Moxons several times, the hotel was deserted. This was a welcome change from loud chain hotels like the Beaches and Breezes. But it was also a little creepy.
Service is bare bones, but the staff is kind and helpful (if slow). An upgrade is a possibility if the resort isn't full.
Rebuilt in 2002, Moxons is a young hotel with only a handful of staff. The building is pretty grand, but the service has yet to catch up. A resort it is not.
I wasn't greeted with the officious bowing (as is done at more established hotels), but the front desk manager didn't even blink when I walked into the lobby. No moist toilettes or cocktails, but he gave me a tour of the hotel unprovoked and also gave me my choice of rooms. I chose an ocean view double overlooking the beach and didn't pay extra for the sizeable upgrade!
The rest of the staff was very attentive. The bellboy frequently offered to take me on excursions to see "pretty houses nearby." Waiters recommended their favorite dishes and gave me a rundown on what to visit--and what to avoid -- in Ocho Rios. Now if only it didn't take them forever to serve me!
Although Ocho Rios is 25 minutes away and a giant resort is nearby, Moxons' guests may feel like they've landed in the middle of nowhere.
On a particularly desolate strip of Main Street, Moxons is surrounded by lush, green forest--but nothing else. It takes about 25 minutes to get to Ocho Rios by car and although the giant Beaches Boscobel is around the corner, you'll have to pay $85 to step inside.
The college-size twin beds were narrow and a little lumpy, but not uncomfortable. The linens had a meager thread count, but they were clean.
The room was clean and simple, but it definitely wasn't ready for the digital age. The hotel does not offer in-room internet connections; free WiFi is available in the lobby and throughout much of the property, but can be picked up in only some of the rooms. There was no phone, and the dinky 20-inch Panasonic TV only showed one grainy channel that disappeared the second time I turned it on. There were only enough outlets for one appliance at a time. I had to move furniture around and unplug lamps to plug in my laptop.
On the plus side, there was plenty of space for storage in the drawers under the sofa and in the closet. And the air conditioner cooled the hot, muggy room instantly.
My bathroom was dimly lit but very large, with a toilet at one end, a shower stall at the other, and a long expanse of countertop in between. The water pressure was strong, but it spurted out of the faucet at a 45-degree angle that made washing up a mess.
Though there is no spa, in-room spa treatments, like massage and facials, are available.
There isn't much of a beach, which is probably why the hotel made two piers shaped like lobster claws, stretching out into the crystal-clear water (seriously, it looks like a sheet of glass). Guests can swim a few meters out to a distant sandbar with more chairs for lounging, or take a boat for a spin.
The staff thoroughly mops the hotel day and night, which means that guests must watch their step.
There was a buildup of trash right by the piers, though. I know that careless tourists throw bottles in the ocean, but when it's right on Moxons doorstep, you'd expect someone to pick it up!
The front desk manager told us that until 2002, Moxons was a ramshackle guesthouse that was known only for its excellent restaurant. In fact, the food was so good, it was enough to convince a Canadian investor to buy the property and build a hotel around the restaurant.
The food really is superb. My salt fish on bammy -- Jamaica's national dish -- was perfectly cooked. The menu is filled with local specialties, which was a welcome change from other hotels that just offer burgers and fries.
The mixed-drinks--the Jamaican Delight in particular--go down perfectly. The only downside to the restaurant was that it took forever to get my meal. That, and the Chris Isaak and Mariah Carey tunes on repeat all day long. Then again, that might be a good thing.
Authentic Jamaican food, great cocktails, a friendly staff, and a beautiful, intimate setting bring guests back to the remote, beachfront Moxons year after year. But it is definitely no-frills -- threadbare rooms, a small pool, a tiny beach, slow service, and no in-room phones.