Question for sneep

Feb 5th, 2007, 12:29 PM
  #1  
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Question for sneep

Hi Sneep, I see you have posted again. I had posted a question for you a few weeks ago about Rockhouse vs Tensing Pen under the jamaica post. Which is better? We are staying at the caves for a few nights too. Is it worth the extra cost over Rock or TP? Should we request an upstairs villa or downstairs with AC at the caves? Any advice you can give me on these 3 resorts would be fantastic as you seem to have experienced them all. (It's my 40 yr old husband and I for 4 nights away from our 3 small children...we like great service, but also like a little bar scene to people watch or find conversation with others in the evenings) I'd love any insight!
beachbum2 is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 01:20 PM
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Afternoon beachbum2 (who is #1 I wonder

The Caves, in my opinion, is worth the extra cost over Rockhouse and Tensing Pen.

Here is the breakdown as to why because my reasons may not be reasons that you not find important.

Rockhouse is a great stylized resort. They have a clean, interestiog layout and the atmosphere is hip and laid back. There is a nice mix of young, pseudo hippie, professional, middle aged and some children. That having been said, it is just not as secluded, romantic or service oriented as The Caves. To begin with management at Rockhouse is catering to a much larger group, they have a wide range of rooms from motel blocks in the back of the property up to their superior villas that have been refurbished and sit atop the front cliffs. When it is at full capacity, you feel it, and there are people there who are absolutely ready to whoop it up and party.
The Caves however is a completely different experience, with solidly quiet vibe. At full capacity there are not more than 20 people, most of them couples. The staff therefore finds it easier to cater to everything and anticipate needs rather than just give you lunch when you need lunch. You will never stand in line for a drink or wait for room service, you will feel the resort is yours and yours alone and you will rarely if ever find it noisy after 11pm.
The physcial architecture is something thaty suits me far better than Rockhouse. Unlike the rockhouse where all villas are the same, each Caves villa has its own unique decor and character. I have stayed on the ground floor on more than one occasion, but this is because I prefer to have a ground level porch rather than a terrace, but the upper level suites have an incredible view so really that is up to you. I did not see any real difference in quality in either up or down. I will say that the free standing honeymoon cottage is not my cup of tea despite being an independent villa because its position is behind the bar, close to reception and without a view.

Now for Tensing Pen, a property which in my opinion is much improved over the last five years. What was once a burgeoning bohemian enclave is morphing into quite a lush and sexy resort. I like the asia twist on the atmospeher, I love that the villas are indepdently decorated, all within the same theme but with unique touches. My only reservation is with the dining situation which to me seems not to ruin but inconvenience the experience. It is not seemless because you are somtimes left hungry and with dinner plans to make elsewhere or, food to buy and cook in the communal kitchen. This may be something you enjoy if you want to strike up conversations and be a bit more social, but for me it is a bit of a 'downer'.

Once they fix this sporadic dining issue, which they may not want to change at all, it could certainly be in the running with the caves in terms of how attractive it is, transporting in fact. but again, the service, depicted in the odd dining situation, is not up to the level of what you will find at The Caves.

I love both all of these resorts but if a comparison is asked to be made I have to side with Caves.

As for AC, this is a new development, these were not a part of the downstairs rooms during my first two trips. My husband loved it but I never felt it was necessary. I say pick a room you like the look of - they won't guarantee it for you but you can try - and see what you come up with.

One question: If you are only going to be in jamaica for 4 days why not spend it all at one resort? granted the trip from one to the other along the west end cliffs is just a trot away, but all that moving?
sneep is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 05:59 PM
  #3  
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Thanks for all the input. We thought we were only going to have 3 nights in Jamaica, so I had decided on the Caves based on the amazing write ups. We ended up with 4 nights because of airline issues (I obviously don't mind...it just adds more challenge to the childcare situation) Anyhoo, A friend suggested I may want to try another resort for the last night as no one ever seems to want to leave the Caves. It's our 1st trip to Jamaica and I usually love to try a few local places to eat, etc... when we visit islands. I had also heard a few reviewers say that after a few days of the Caves, they wanted something different, so I figured we would try Rockhouse or Tensing since it was close and would give us different food options, bars, restaurants, etc. Am I crazy for thinking this? We love to do bareboat trips, but I particularly love the BVI's because you spend your time going to different restaurants and bars and are always in different neat spots, but I also found that I could go a little stir crazy in the Grenadines where the places you stopped were more remote with nothing to do, but read, swim or enjoy each others company and cook for yourself ugh!!! hense the thought of going stir crazy at the Caves after too long. What was your favorite room at the Caves and why? We could request up or down. Any other suggestions for what to do/ try at the caves? The Rockhouse has a villa (not a new one) available for the 1 night. TP had the pillars and cove cottage, but I was concerned about the lack of food and bar at TP. We are not big partiers, but do like a few drinks with others in the evenings, then to bed by 10-11. Thanks Again!
beachbum2 is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 07:10 PM
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If you want a change in Negril for your extra night, consider the beach.

Idle Awhile or Country country are well regarded small boutique hotels.
liza is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 01:59 AM
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If I were you beachbum, and I do get antsy fairly quickly at a resort, I would not move from the Caves to another resort down the road. Stay put, and spend that 4th night at the Caves.

If you really want a different restaurant, the Rockhouse is open to the public - unlike the Caves restaurant area - you can sample the food there and it is within walking distance. You can check with Tensing Pen as to their dining policy as well.

The Caves has passes to Idle Awhile (on the beach) so that you can gain entrance to the beach and spend the day there if you wish to see a different angle of Negril, but trust me, you will want to get back to the sancturary of the Caves.

To be honest, I woud not want to forgo another night at the caves for one of the Rockhouse villas that have not been redone. They will be a tremendous let down from whicever room you do end up with at Caves. An inconvenient price to pay to sample a different view of the same scenery from a different restaurant.

Tensing Pens villas are lovely, but again, not worth the mpve for me for a single day especially when there is no clear dining situation.

My favorite room at the Caves? hmm..this is hard because it is so subjective. What I might like you might find boring or not so attractive. Let me see: Blue Doplhin which I have stayed in twice I like because it is downstairs, has a view of the water (but behind rather thick foliage so you feel shielded from people walking by) and the little porch is arger than most. I spent every morning at sunrise and evening evening at sundown on that porch reading or playing scrabble.
Sea Turtle is a lovely lovely room, the colors are very calming and the bathtub is huge! great for romantic bubble baths. There is no porch really, or not one I would feel comfortable loungin around on because it is front and center along the walkway without any foliage cover. But that is just me.
Blue Hole also has a little porch but is set back a bit further from the water, near a large jumping off point - a hallowed out bit of rock leading to a cave beneath that you can jump into - so the view of the sea is not great. But what it does have is that gorgeous sound of crashing water and it ebbs and flows inside the cave.
One Drop, the freestanding villa that many book for honeymoon IS really cute inside and has an outdoor shower which I think only the douplex family villas have. Most people lreally like this villa because it is so private, but I am strange because I am a location person and I don't love that it is behind the bar and restaurant area.

Hope this helps somewhat!
sneep is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 02:01 AM
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and please forgive my many, horrible spelling errors...I promise you, english really is my first language..it is just rather early
sneep is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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Thanks for all your help! I didn't realize we had access to Idle Awhile beach. We have a beach house in DE, so we are always on the beach...it's the blue carribean water that we don't get....part of our choosing the Caves. I'm also afraid the beach may be crazy in late march (spring break...it's been way to long to join in with that crowd) You have some great points being that we could do a day trip to the beach or walk over to Rockhouse for a drink or late night snack. I didn't realize it was that close. I read your review from your recent trip. Goldeneye sounds great too except for the ride. I saw the one drop and it is available, but I really love waking up to the view and sounds of the sea and there is no porch for one drop...am I right? It sounds like you can't go wrong in most rooms. I do want a porch or patio (or at least think I do). Do all upstairs villa have that? We plan to have a cave dinner as we will be there for my DH bday. Any other things not to be missed while at the Caves? Should we venture out anywhere?
Thanks so much!
beachbum2 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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One more question. If we decide to change hotels, would you consider the Ritz. It's close to the airport which would give us more time on our last day with a change. Just a thought.
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Feb 6th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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I believe all the upstairs portions o the villas have views and/or terraces overlooking the water. Remember sea turte does not have that large of a porch I would request blue hole or blue dophin downstairs for that. If you email the desk they will be very helpful. Tell them you prefer to have a terrace or porch that you can sit on and they will do their best to accomodate you.

Look at the map that is provided on their website, you can see where one drop is relative to the rest of the property. It is a conical shaped structure that sits midway bewteen reception and the behind the breakfast and dinner bar. Cute inside, with an outdoor shower, but no porch or real view.

The cave dinner as well as a special jacuzzi tub at sunset is included in the price you pay but book both before you arrive as they can fill up easily especially in march. If you are not aware of the jacuzzi tub it is a separate tub room that has been carved into the rock of one of the cliffs just a few steps from Blue Dolphin. It has a very large picture window at horizon level which allows you to watch a beautiful sunset. It is avaialable for you to book once during your stay and they will fill the tub, with bubbles if you like, surround it with candles and leave abottle of whatever you like in theree for you to share. From what I remember there is no 'time limit' on it and you can watch the sun set while sitting privately in this jacuzzi room sipping champagne. Very romantic.

They have also just built an adjacent bar/restaurant called The Sands which is open from 4pm to 7pm daily for guests for sunset drinks, also very pleasant.

You can arrange for anything you liek while you stay at the caves, outside trips if you like, tours, water rafting, but I would not be surprised at all if you decided not to leave. 4 nights fly by there and you will not want to leave.

You can get a pass for a number of beach resorts through the caves, Idle Awhule was one that we chose. We turned up (my review is somewhere on here) stayed for an hour or two and then hightailed it back to the Caves. Yes, the beach is hectic and crowded, there will be people who will approach you and want to talk or to show you their wares - hey, its the caribbean, and that can also be pleasant, but we were not in the mood that day.

I liked the Ritz, the beach is very poor, but a Ritza is a Ritz wherever you go. But I cannot stress enough to you how leaving to spent a single night anywhere else will be more of a let down and a pain than it is worth. This is coming from someone who several times on this board has had to be talked down from my grand ideas of two nights here three nigths here, another two nights over there. The caves is a very special place, not like many resorts you willl find, certainly not like a Ritz. You will not be disppointed and if you end up leaving to go elsewhere you will kick yourself.

Goldeneye is well worth the drive, truly one of the best hotel experiences of my life, but far. Definitely worth a look for a future trip!
sneep is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 09:56 AM
  #10  
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Thanks for all the great tips. Being that you seem to be someone who hops from place to place and recommend staying put at the Caves, I will take your advice and book the extra night if available. Thanks for everything. If you think of anything else just put it on this post. I'll check back. Thanks!
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Feb 6th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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From the Caves you will probably want a taxi to Rockhouse (it's about 2.5km on a pretty busy, windy road with no sidewalks and little shoulder). Tensing Pen is walkable but I don't think their restaurant is open to the public.

Here is a map of Negril hotels and other businesses that shows kilometer marks and all the hotels in question:

http://www.alink.com/personal/liz/ne...l_11_15_06.pdf
liza is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 10:03 AM
  #12  
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Fantastic liza! You seem to be a seasoned traveler in Jamaica too, so any tips are welcome! Thanks!
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Feb 6th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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For what it's worth, I agree with sneep about staying put, it's only 4 days.

I have no direct experience with the Caves though, we tend to choose hotels in the $50-100 a night range when we are in Negril, or villas if traveling in a group
liza is offline  
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