Appearing at first glance to be carved from the stones embedded on the hillside, Mynt Retreat makes a bold and beautiful statement with its seemingly unending flight of wooden stairs leading to, yes, Utopia.
Born out of a chance encounter with an abandoned property, a decorating challenge and an irresistible opportunity for a new exciting venture, Mynt brought together the skills of a realtor Krystina, an interior designer and spa owner, Valerie, the marketing expertise of Valarie's daughter Ravn, and at the helm, the family matriarch, Gloria, with her years of hospitality and retail experience.
One might think that with four strong women in the kitchen it might get quite heated, but not so. These enterprising women are quite focussed on their vision and expectations for Mynt. There is no need for anyone to get out of the kitchen, as all bring different and needed skills to the well-laid table.
An intimate boutique hotel, Mynt is customised for the individual guest. "We are not about a one-size-fits-all property," says Ravn, who is responsible for the name. When asked why the change of spelling, Ravn added she wanted the association with relaxation, calm, peacefulness and not the mint that spoke to money. "Not that we are in any way adverse to making money; we intend to."
The seven bedrooms, with monikers influenced by Valerie's trip to Morocco, speak to her wanting to recreate her own Rai experience. Melilla, Tangier, Zagora, Marrakech, Fez, Safi and, of course, who can forget Casablanca, with or without Humphrey and Ingrid.
These considerable-sized rooms each sport en-suite bathrooms, 32-inch flat-screen televisions, air conditioners, fans, sun decks, cable, and the now necessary Wi-Fi.
Small in stature, but substantial in attitude, Mynt offers a selection of signature libations -- mint julep, mojito, iced mint tea or a soothing cup of hot mint tea -- on arrival. The bathrooms are stocked with amenities infused with mint and the theme continues in the spa.
The colours of the bedroom walls and furnishings were all chosen by Valerie to elicit quiet comfort -- shades of mocha, blue jewel, grassland, field oak and paradise bird. "We wanted our guests to leave the noise of their life outside, and to totally relax when they are here."
Breakfast is included at Mynt with lunch and dinner provided at the request and preference of the guest. Services varying from butler, private chef to a fully stocked picnic basket for a day of sightseeing can be arranged in-house.
Although new on the market, their guest book reads like a chapter from any notable five-star industry veteran's with comments like, "I enjoyed my stay. The only regret is that it was so short but, I shall return." Spoken like a politician.
"I absolutely loved the retreat, the staff is friendly, the rooms and atmosphere are tranquil. I have planned for my next stay." PS The food is excellent."
Speaking to the food, I, too, had one of the best tuna sandwiches of my life for lunch (#yumalicious) at Mynt.
Nestled in a quiet cul-de-sac, Mynt is a stone's throw or, as we say locally, just around the corner from the airport -- all the convenience without the noise or the urban bustle.
My visit to Mynt coincided with a day of tea-leaf reading and massage therapy. Other planned and previous activities include yoga retreats, Sunday brunch and jazz. Perfect for events, birthdays, weddings or family gatherings, Mynt is poised to make a mint.
Mynt Retreat: 9 Ramparts Close, Montego Bay, 876 622 5530, www.myntretreat.com, www.facebook.com/myntretreat.