Aqua Negril Resort

Dec 29th, 2010, 12:24 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 510
Aqua Negril Resort

Hi there,

Has anyone stayed here? Trip advisor reviews look very promising, and I can get a direct flight to Montego Bay for pretty cheap.

http://www.aquanegril.com/

I have been searching and searching for an affordable but unique beach trip in late March, with easy travel from Dallas, and this is the option I'm most excited about right now. I just can't justify paying the high season rates at most places when I know we could go in May-June for half the price. (Except this year since I'll be in 3rd trimester and can't travel).

Would love to hear any input about this hotel or Negril in general.

Thanks!
beckytx is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 12:39 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,389
Check on Trip Advisor's Negril forum (the actual discussion forum, in addition to the hotel reviews section). Lots of active knowledgeable posters there. I have never heard of the resort you mention, and I did a lot of research recently for a 10 day trip to Negril this past July.
suze is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 12:40 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,389
Oops, as far as "Negril in general" ... what would you like to know? Happy to help if you have some specific questions.
suze is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 01:00 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,389
oh my gosh, i just looked at the website. those are hardly considered "reasonable" rates for Negril at $300-425/night!
suze is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 01:01 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 510
Well my hub is concerned about safety in Jamaica, but most everything I've read just says to avoid Kingston. Is Negril the type of place you can walk down a main strip to find a restaurant, or do you always need a set plan and organized transportation? Is there an authentic/local feel, or super touristy? The other Caribbean islands I've been to are Anguilla, Barbados & Puerto Rico, plus I've had many trips to the Riviera Maya. Does the overall feel compare to any of those? The beaches look incredible, I've never been, plus its a direct flight, so I am almost sold, but need to work on the spouse.
beckytx is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 01:01 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 510
Well my hub is concerned about safety in Jamaica, but most everything I've read just says to avoid Kingston. Is Negril the type of place you can walk down a main strip to find a restaurant, or do you always need a set plan and organized transportation? Is there an authentic/local feel, or super touristy? The other Caribbean islands I've been to are Anguilla, Barbados & Puerto Rico, plus I've had many trips to the Riviera Maya. Does the overall feel compare to any of those? The beaches look incredible, I've never been, plus its a direct flight, so I am almost sold, but need to work on the spouse.
beckytx is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 01:03 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 510
oops sorry about double post! That might not be reasonable for Negril, but compared to other places I've been researching (Parrot Cay, Caneel Bay, Little Dix), its much more do-able in my budget.
beckytx is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 01:11 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,389
Honestly I don't think Negril is what you are looking for.

There is no "main strip" to go to. Negril is one long road that stretches from the gorgeous 7-mile beach, up to the hotels on "the Cliffs". It is most definitely NOT "super tourists"... more laid back and casual. Yes I would say it's "authentic/local" perhaps a bit overly so (to a fault) for some people's taste. I don't think it is anything like the other islands you mention. It's very rustic, generally speaking. There is a lot of poverty in Jamaica, so you get a resulting amount of 'hussle' from the locals. If your husband is already worried about "safety" I'm not sure this is going to work out for you.

I haven't been to any of your other destinations to make the comparison, but I have been to Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz in Mexico; Maui and Oahu in Hawaii; Domnican Republic, USVI, and Jamaica in the Caribbean. I think Negril is the most rustic and rough and wooly of any of them.
suze is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 01:24 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,389
I think maybe I thought of a better way to say it. I would not send someone asking for a "luxury" priced vacation to Negril. That's just not what it's all about in my experience there (I've been 3x, years apart).

Negril is rugged, funky, laid back, rustic, rough. It's also simply too poor of an area I would never be comfortable staying in such a high end place, it will be gated, likely with guards on property. The gap from rich tourist to poor locals is just too large for me to be comfortable in the situation.

Certainly you could do it by staying "on property", hiring a private driver, etc. My friends who are regulars in Negril go for the rustic lodging choices, inexpensive food, laying around in hammocks drinking Red Stripe, hanging on the beach, more like camping out, than the 4Seasons.

One example, some of the local 'restaurants' still cook on open camp fires or using the halved metal oil drums as stoves.
suze is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 01:28 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 510
Oh it might be for me. I was just trying to understand what its like, not necessarily saying I want something with a "main strip" etc. If its necessary to always have hired car/taxi and not walk, that is fine too, just trying to get a feel. The beaches just look so gorgeous and I want to do something different. Thanks for your input. To be continued!
beckytx is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 01:30 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 510
Just read your last post...that makes sense - thank you!
beckytx is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 02:39 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,389
As far as not walking, that's not about personal safety. It's the layout of the road thru Negril. The road is a long one (7+ miles along the beach, then the round-about in town, then 7+ miles out to and past the Cliffs) and much of it without sidewalks or adequate places to walk on the side in many places and a ton of traffic. So it's not that it's too far to walk, but sometimes is difficult.

I was there solo and went out and about on my own for 5 days, before my group of friend arrived and we were together for 5 more days. Take a look at www.tensingpen.com. That's more the style of Negril that I know about. I was comfortable eating in restaurants and walking around by myself, but it is a bit wild feeling there imho.

I knew about in advance, and was comfortable taking the 'route taxis' (a system of communal cabs where you can flag them and get in for 100jmd/approx $1usd, it takes the place of a local bus system). I shopped at the grocery store, went to the post office, visited the internet cafe. Hung out on the cliffs and at the beach by myself, without incident.

I love Negril and did feel relatively safe there. I did not go out at night alone. And I am aware there are many tourists who feel it is "not safe to leave your resort property without a driver or guide".

Do stop in to the Trip Advisor forums. There's so many more posters you can get a better idea of people's experiences and perceptions. There's only a few of us Negril-lovers here at Fodor's.

hope that helped suze
suze is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 07:15 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,336
I've been going to Negril for over 25 years. I love it, although it's definitely gotten more built-up and touristy than I would like. I've never felt unsafe during our visits, but there are neighborhoods where you might not feel welcome and where I would not wander alone, especially at dark. This is more common sense than anything else, and is true of any other island/destination that I've visited.

I have also been to the islands you mention: Anguilla, Barbados, Puerto Rico, which I consider more upscale destinations than most of Jamaica. Part of the beauty of Negril is that despite all the development, it maintains its rustic charm and cultural identity. Some friends who traveled with us weren't all that comfortable with it because they were expecting a more Americanized experience. We enjoy it because it gets us away from all that for a week or two. If you're looking for a more "standard" vacation, you probably won't enjoy it, unless you opt for one of the AI's, which takes away, I think, from the whole point of being there.
Weadles is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 10:44 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,389
That's a great description Weadles. Thanks for the good post. I'm having trouble putting into words how I feel about Negril. I love it, but I know lots of people who do not.
suze is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 02:16 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 100
Negril is great. I have walked past Aqua many a time and stopped in for a beverage at the bar a couple of times. The bartender there was extremely friendly as is generally the case in Negril. The property looks extremely nice, definitely upscale for Negril. Safety on the beach is not a concern and if you post looking for a driver you will receive many recomondations from people on this forum. The resort is close to the middle of the 7 mile beach perhaps closer to town than the middle. As Weadles explained those seeking a generic white milk experience might not care for Negril but to each his/her own. A warm beach vacation in winter is super no matter how you choose to do it.
spook is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 02:37 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,066
Our first trip to Negril was last month. We spent a few nights at a small hotel on the beach, then a few more nights in a small hotel on the Cliffs.

We enjoyed our stay, always felt safe. Enjoyed eating at all the little jerk shacks and local places. We also enjoyed a couple of more upscale places.

I'm one of the few people that posts here that is pretty neutral about Negril. We enjoyed our stay, but doubt we will return any time soon. We always felt safe, the beach and water were lovely. The place just didn't 'grab' us.

If you're looking for something different, by all means, give it a shot. Wonderful people, but, do realize the place is a bit rough around the edges.
JeanH is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 09:04 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 510
Hi Suze, if you are around I have a follow up question for you. I just checked out Tensing Pens' website, and it looks like a great place, but the rates are comparable to the Aqua Negril place that you thought looked so pricey for Negril. Tensing Pens April 2011 rates are 195-680ish (most rooms around 350), while Aqua is 300-425.

I don't understand this comment, since most rates at Tensing are greater than rates at Aqua. " It's also simply too poor of an area I would never be comfortable staying in such a high end place, it will be gated, likely with guards on property. The gap from rich tourist to poor locals is just too large for me to be comfortable in the situation."

I'm not trying to be argumentative, just confused and still hoping I can make Caribbean March trip work!
beckytx is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 10:22 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,389
The rooms I considered for myself at Tensing Pen this past July were $140/night.

But even with the rates you are mentioning, yes I do consider that a huge difference... between the $195/night starting (Tensing Pen) and $300/night starting (Aqua), not really what I'd call "comparable" at all.
suze is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 10:28 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,389
I stayed next door (to TP) at the Mirage Resort which was a very nice hotel for $80/night. I felt there, per my comments you were questioning about the rich tourist/poor local dicotomy in negril.
suze is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 02:46 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,224
i think the rockhouse villas are really cute but it's a bit overpriced. Their restaurant is quite good, great setting and the resort itself is pretty centrally located within the cliffs. It doesn't look like gated resorts in the Riviera Maya where they look like guarded compounds.

http://www.rockhousehotel.com/escape.php

The cabs were consistently driving up and down the main street although we often walked. If your husband doesn't feel comfortable with friendly banter with locals, i think you can just cab from place to place.

I would definitely NOT recommend Jamaica for queer friends -- two women friends felt quite a bit of hostility in response to their PDA. But that's the only context I know where friends didn't feel safe. I wouldn't walk late at night down the winding street.

I'd totally recommend a private bungalow on the cliffs like tensing pen, catcha falling star, or rockhouse instead of connected rooms in a larger building.

Aquanegril is on the beach and when I've been in Jamaica in March, there were quite a few springbreak college kids in that area. They seem to avoid the cliffs and stay at the beach and larger bars, instead.
fishee is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:50 PM.