Where to stay in Jamaica

Jan 24th, 2011, 06:27 AM
  #1  
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Where to stay in Jamaica

Hello,

My boyfriend and I are planning on going to Jamaica for a long weekend in March. We want to stay at a hotel that is on the beach, has snorkeling, kayaks that we can rent and that is quiet. IHe is a light sleeper and really needs this time to relax and enjoy the warm weather. He has been to Jamaica before but it was an all inclusive resort. I have never been so I need some help!

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks!
Haruko
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Jan 24th, 2011, 11:38 AM
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Negril
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Jan 24th, 2011, 11:55 AM
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Thank you for your tip! What hotel in Negril do you recommend?
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Jan 24th, 2011, 12:46 PM
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Negril is dividied into two parts, there's a beautiful "7-mile beach" and then there's another stretch called "the Cliffs".

I stayed on the Cliffs. Charela Inn is the only beach hotel I visited, as it was sister property to Mirage where I was staying on the Cliffs.

http://www.charela.com/

But there are all kinds of other options, I'm just no expert on the beach hotels. Hopefully others will post here with some more recommendations. Or go to the Negril forum at Trip Advisor. They are very helpful there with loads of information.

If you're interested in the Cliffs there are places like this:
www.tensingpen.com. It's WAY more quiet out that way than on the beach, generally speaking.

p.s. I didn't see anyone kayaking.
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Jan 24th, 2011, 01:51 PM
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Hotels on the beach:

COCO LA PALM- we have often stayed here. The jr. suites on the upper floors are the best rooms in the house. But if interested, ask for one not over the bar. Standard rooms on the ground floor are OK, but very basic. Superior rooms are a step up from those. COCO is in the middle of 7-mile beach, which I think is the best part of the beach. Has two medium sized pools on site and a hot tub. The beach is very well-kept and absolutely gorgeous. Good breakfasts and OK lunch at the beachside grill, but SKIP dinner and go somewhere on the cliffs. More on that later...

IDLE AWHILE- next door to COCO and slightly more upscale in terms of amenities ( beds are better) but not room size.

CHARELA INN- a few blocks away from IDLE AWHILE ( toward town). Very nice hotel. Seems to attract a large European clientele. Haven't stayed there, but did have dinner there, which was fine, but nothing special.

RONDEL VILLAGE- highly recommended by friends of mine. Have not stayed there.

In many trips to Negril, I have never seen anyone kayaking. There is fishing on the river that runs in back of town, and snorkel trips can be arranged through many of the operators on the beach. The front desk at any of these hotels should be able to help you with these, and/or would be knowledgeable about kayaking, if it exists.

Hmmm... just read your post again. Long weekend? Does that include your travel day? Negril is about an 1.20 drive from Montego Bay, so doesn't really give you that much time.
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Jan 24th, 2011, 01:56 PM
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Good point about the "long weekend" being a very short time. Personally I would still make the 90 mins. drive out to Negril, instead of staying in either Kingston or Montego Bay (where international airports are located).
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Jan 24th, 2011, 05:47 PM
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We went in 2009 and stayed at the Grand Palladium, Lady Hamilton. We reserved a gorgeous beach front villa and loved everything about it. The veranda was huge and we started and ended every day on that veranda. The room was huge with a jetted tub large enough for 4 and separate vanities on either side of the room. Private water closet and outdoor shower which was the absolute best! Day or night, wonderful hardly describes this.
We love to snorkle and off Sunset Beach we saw a range of sea life from turtles, to eels. We encountered a lion fish which you leave alone, as well as gorgeous golden cuttle fish. Everything in between. We spent every day all day on that beach and easily swam out to a reef to see fish and more. Then a quick outdoor shower, a drink and off to dinner. For an AI it was more than passible and I am picky! The jerk chicken on sunset beach is especially good. Didn't spend much time in the pools, but it has the largest pool in Jamaica.
Service is good, not great, but always friendly. Loved it and will go back!
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Jan 25th, 2011, 05:42 AM
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Wow thank you all for your replies. I was talking to my boyfriend and Negril is quite a trek from the airport for a short trip. But it does sound worth it.

Are there any great beach front hotels with snorkeling in Montego Bay? A lot of the places were all inclusive. We were not really looking for that.

Grand Palladium looks fun but I think we want something a little more lowkey. However, it does have snorkeling from the beach and that is awesome that you saw turtles!!
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Jan 25th, 2011, 06:13 AM
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While Negril is a distance, it's really not a "trek". I used Clive's, a local transportation company. It cost $20 per person for the 90 mins ride in a new airconditioned van. It was very easy. It was time well spent for the Negril experience. I am not a fan of Montego Bay.
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Jan 25th, 2011, 06:22 AM
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Okay great! Thank you for the tip.

We are flying in on Friday and leaving on Monday. SO I think it is worth the drive. It looks beautiful.
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Jan 25th, 2011, 06:38 AM
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I'm not a fan of Montego Bay, either. The drive to Negril really isn't that bad. Once you get out of Montego Bay, you'll see some interesting towns ( Lucea during market day?) and beautiful coastline.

Although you didn't ask, I'll make two restaurant recommendations: Our all-time favorite is a very low-key place that's been in Negril forever, called CHICKEN LAVISH. It's on the cliff road, opposite side from the beach, and it has some of the tastiest fried chicken, conch soup, and fresh mixed fruit drinks that we've ever tasted. The owner's name is DOC. If you go, say hello from Wendy and Ken in New York.

We also really like the jerk chicken stand right across the street from COCO and IDLE AWHILE. It's called, BEST OF THE WEST.

Oh, and THREE DIVES on the ocean side of the cliff road is pretty good, too for a complete and cheap lobster or fish dinner.
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Jan 25th, 2011, 08:20 AM
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I love Negril too -- keep in mind that March is Spring Break for most U.S. colleges/univ (ours is March 19-27). The beach area is busier for Spring Breakers than the Cliffs area and most of the kids don't come up to the cliffs at all. Do you have a non/stop flight?

There was great snorkeling around the Cliffs area right off Xtabi's hotel bar one year which you can access if you buy a drink. Tons of fish but nothing like turtles and eels so close to shore. I love the cliffs area, the bungalows at catcha fallin star are really nice and usually a little cheaper than tensing pen (which is beautiful). My friends went last year and I think they said the snorkeling was better off a diff spot, I'll ask if you end up staying in that area.
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Jan 25th, 2011, 10:36 AM
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fishee-

Xtabi is the hotel/restaurant with a bar designed like a boat? And a cave that you go through to swim right into the water?
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Jan 25th, 2011, 03:13 PM
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It's not shaped like a boat but it does have a cave where you can easily enter the water. Here's a pic of the Xtabi coves -- you can see the reef structure that usually attracts fish and sealife.... Is the restaurant designed like a boat? (didn't think so but could be mis-remembering). I've never stayed here but they've been happy to give us access to the coves if we bought a drink.

http://www.xtabi-negril.com/welcome.htm
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Jan 25th, 2011, 03:22 PM
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Thanks, fishee. I'm obviously confusing Xtabi with another restaurant/bar we used to go to long ago on the cliffs. And that bar was boat-shaped!
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Jan 25th, 2011, 04:21 PM
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Weadles- thank you for the tips on the food. My boyfriend and I are both foodies and are so excited for some local cuisine!!
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Jan 25th, 2011, 05:03 PM
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Foodies, huh? Good!! Although it's not the best, and a bit pricey, I'll recommend ROCKHOUSE, too. It's such a beautiful setting- a small cliffside hotel/restaurant designed by ( as I remember) by an Australian architect with lots of local wood, high ceilings, and candlelit tables on a terrace overlooking the water. Go there at sunset, and have one of their fresh fruit mixed drinks like GRANNY POLITE, if they still make it. OR their lemonade or their chicken curry or their....

Nearly forgot to mention that you can stay there in a freestanding cliffside hut with a ladder down to the sea. The only reason we never have is that they don't have AC in their accommodations, or didn't when we last visited, and it's a good hike from the beach. But wow, those sunsets are some of the best in all of Negril!!
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Jan 25th, 2011, 05:04 PM
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BTW, if you stay on the beach, ROCKHOUSE used to offer free roundtrip transfers to its restaurant. You just need to tip the driver.
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Jan 25th, 2011, 07:20 PM
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For local dishes, keep an eye out for Saltfish and Ackee or Mackerel and Ackee on breakfast menus. Sips and Bites in the cliffs area does a great version!
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Jan 26th, 2011, 03:36 AM
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Also rice and peas, curried chicken, callaloo ( similar to spinach but I think better), sour sop (fruit) juice,pumpkin soup, conch soup.
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