As I mentioned in my intro, the first decision when booking accommodation here is whether to stay by the beach or in the West End. The advantages of the former are obvious – many of the hotels are right on the beach so you can walk from your room onto the sand in a matter of minutes. If you plan to spend most of your days sunbathing and swimming in the sea, you’ll probably want to stay here – and most of the all-inclusive resorts are here. The downsides are that the resorts look as if they could be on any decent beach anywhere in the world, and that the dining options are more spread out along the bay (although this won’t bother you if you’re on an all-inclusive deal).
But if like us you’re not going to be on the beach a lot, and you’re looking for somewhere with a bit of character that you might not find elsewhere, I’d recommend the West End. There’s a good range of accommodation options here too, from very exclusive and expensive to simple guest-houses, and plenty of places to eat and drink too. You’ll be in the best spot to enjoy Negril’s renowned sunsets, and you can still sunbathe and swim from the rocks (although the sea was a bit choppy when we were here for me to fancy going in, so I stuck to the hotel pool).
The other decision, as elsewhere in Jamaica, is whether to opt for all-inclusive or not. For us that was no decision at all – one of the joys of a holiday for me is sampling local cuisine and trying all sorts of eating places from humble to posh, so we wanted a room only or bed and breakfast deal. There are plenty of these to be had, and although it may work out a little dearer than all-inclusive options if you eat and drink at smart places all the time, it gives you much more flexibility and ensures that you’re more likely to get out and meet the locals rather than staying in one place all the time. I know which I prefer – but the decision is yours!
This was our second time staying at this resort, the 1st time it was Grand Lido Negril, a high end property, for our 2nd stay it was Breezes. Mid April 2013 it changes hands again and will rebrand as Memories, owned by a Canadian company called Sun Wing. Most of my review will likely be irrelevant after June 1st when the changes all take place. Currently it is adults only with a clothing optional section at the end of the resort, the format is slated to change to a family resort which honestly it's not really set up for. There's a small pool by the clothing optional beach, a slightly larger pool in the middle of the resort.
The hotel is located at the end of Bloody Bay, a 25-30 minute walk would get you to the other end of the bay, there is no connection with 7 mile beach. Along the bay was Couples Negril which looked pretty run down, two Riu resorts which looked well maintained, a craft market with dope dealers roving about in the middle.
The couple of things I really liked about the resort are likely going to vanish, the amazing lamb chops served by the clothing optional pool and the snorkeling trip which is included in the price of the resort. The sunset cruise I remembered from our 1st trip had already been eliminated.
The rooms are comfortable enough, we had an ocean view with a tiny balcony, the lower level could open their doors and use lounge chairs. Our bathroom was a bit worn and had a problem with flooding the floor, this became a problem when we had to mop the floor with our bath towels and then had trouble getting replacements.
I have travelled to Negril almost every year since 1973 and usually stay on the ocean side of West End Road, lately at Seagrape Villas, next door to what used to be Mariners Resort (now Negril Escape). Seagrape has 2 very nice houses (cottages) right on the water, one of which is more open to the cliff area and larger, and the other is more secluded in the trees and flowers. I have stayed in both and love them equally! Bob Marley actually stayed in the smaller one and Juicy, the site manager, will tell you stories if you ask. This is a very private place---noone allowed unless a guest or their friends. Both are 2-bedroom villas with A/C in the bedrooms and fans in the rest of the house. Both have kitchens and both have inside and out showers. You can buy groceries across the street at the small market or have Juicy cook for you---he is an excellent cook! There are also plenty of restaurants around, and you can be sure that real Jamaicans are benefitting from your visit, as opposed to the large All-Inclusive resorts at the beach. Try Ras Rody for organic soups and stews(Samantha Brown just featured him in one of her Travel Channel shows)---also try the jerk chicken from my old friend Leroy who has one of those oil drum grills on the road up the cliff a bit. Very Tasty!
Get in touch with Seagrape's owner, Margo at Seagrapevillas.com and enjoy the laidback cliff living in Negril!
updated April 2011
Still the same wonderful place it has always been to me---we had wonderful sun most of the week and the sea was warm and calm (at least in the morning and early afternoons) great for skinny dipping!. Juicy, Bentley and Christine are all still there and the plants have all grown back since last year's storms. Rustic charm at it's Jamaican best.
updated june 2012---guess you can tell I like the place? Stayed in the larger Wild Grape cottage and loved it again! It is not always available when I want it, so good to get it this time!
Pros--PRIVACY! We love to skinny dip and lay in the sun naked, and SGV is perfect, and fairly unique in allowing this. The staff is lovely and understanding, lots of birds and butterflies to see amongst the flowers, and a good cliff location near food and drinks.
Cons--can get a little hot, the AC's work but could be stronger, not much hot water for showering, and this time there were tons of little mosquitos---OFF works fine but you have to keep spraying---we ran out but got more at the mini mart across the street.
Margo has given the business to her daughter and son-in-law, and Marc handled all my questions with ease. I will definitely be back next year!
Incredible sunsets at night, cliff sea access with ladders and concrete sunning areas, swimming naked!
Good cooking from Juicy!
Secrets is technically a hostel, but located in the same place as Firefly Cottages and Carib Apts--right on the beach for a fraction of the price! For very simple wooden cabins, find them at jamaicalink.com. The staff is really nice, the facilities are clean, and they are centrally located. From our driver to the bar staff, everyone was very helpful. Two people for 7 nights was only $322!!! If you are used to being spoiled at the high dollar resorts, stay somewhere else. Myself, I plan to stay there again! :-)
on site jaccuzi, motorized water sports right next door, and a clothes line for wet clothes!!! I wouldnt normally consider a clothes line a "unique" thing, but we spent a lot of time in the water and I used the heck out it. The omlets are delicious, the Pina Colodas with fresh fruit even better! And the sunsets were spectacular!
Took a trip alone as a single woman, loved the place and I don't have anything bad to say about Negril beach nor the cliffs. Of course your going walk around and people are going to try to sell you stuff...that's what they do for a living. You can say no thank you and walk away or stop and talk to them, they are the nicest and most interesting people and after a few days you have new friends. I was alone and never felt that I was in danger at any giving time, granted I did watch my back which I do anyways anywhere I go, I had the best time of my life and can't wait to do it again. I even met some people and went off the beaten path into their world and had the time of my life. Regardless of what anyone says I think it's an awesome place...Much Love and Respect!
Dreamscape Villas has been "For Sale" for as long as I can remember, and I have been going to Negril for over 35 years! I got inside not too long ago and interviewed the owner, who said he wanted 2 mil $$$ for the property, which granted is huge by cliff standards, but most of the rooms do not face the ocean as other cliffside resorts do. They have a huge cliffside pool, which is nice. The property is right past Rock House Resort going up the cliff road.
updated Oct/2010-----well the for sale sign has been taken down but nobody around to see if it sold or what!
Great place to stay. There is always something to do if you want, and if not you can find a secluded area on the very large beach. The people are terrific, and the food was good. You usually have one or the other with all inclusive packages. Riu, had everything! The bartenders were lively and the "fire breathing" entertainment was spectacular! Simply one of the best places to stay in Negril, especially for the money, just Amazing!
Lively people. seemed happy to be at work. Poolside bar, morning area, lunch facilities, dinner entertainment, Clean beaches, with plenty of room!
The caves have alwats been nice but there are so many smaller ma & pa places to stay at......with a very negociable rate plan. Try looking on google for negril & check out every little place, I was ther last winter for 3 1/2 months & probably have pics that u may want too see. Every place either on the cliffs or beach seem to be really putting the red carpets out. People of negril should and are proud of their evolution because this was the greatest year ever for kindness & friendly service.
We stayed at Oasis Resort on the West End of Negril. This was our second time staying there in the past year. The hotel is not on the cliffs or the beach but is situated a short distance down a side road from the cliffs. The grounds are beautiful, the pool is clean, the rooms are quaint and clean, the pricing is affordable, and the staff is welcoming. Overall this hotel is the best for it's more affordable price. Other hotels advertise similar accommodations but are very misleading. Oasis Resort looks exactly as you see it online and they continue to keep the property well maintained and relaxing. Would definitely return for another stay. The beach and cliffs are within minutes away.
Past the Lighthouse on One Love Drive (used to be Lighthouse Road) is the Westender Inn---really isolated in a way, but that can be good---rooms start at $149 for ocean view and include maid service---The Westies restaurant is on site. AC, WIFI and sattellite TV in every room and there's a small oceanside pool.
Can't really consider sleeping under the trees in a hammock in Negril, but for $25, I suppose there might be a clientele somewhere---He has a bar and sometimes food, from what I can get from the locals..
Located past the Lighthouse on the right.
Oceanside apartments and suites on the beach---rates from $60 to $150
Ristorante da Gino is on site and offers good value with fresh Jamaican food.
on the beach
This place has been here for a few years mostly under this name---it used to have a world class chef and restaurant, but no more. They have a nice cliffside pool and rooms apartment style facing the sea--all with balcony/deck. A/C and breakfast is included in the room rate which off season starts at $80 per night. Airport transfers are available as well. Nice quiet place on the cliffs.
updated june 2012----now is sistered with Charela Inn on the beach and you can make a vacation with both sites for a better Jamaican experience....
There is a pretty big piece of cliffside property in between Zion (the Old Drumville Cove) and Sunset on the Cliffs Resort with a long blue fence at the road has reportedly been purchased by Mellissa Gilbert (LHOTP) and will have 3 cottages for her children's use and maybe some others that can be rented out----very exclusive so I heard from a man at the gate and from many locals who have seen Mellissa on a few occasions in the past few months. Stay tuned to this location for more info as it unfolds!
On it's cliffside is a blue hut that was slammed by Nicole but still has character----
I have not seen the inside of this but have been told it is decorated elegantly, in an Italian sense. There is a one bedroom apartment for rent at times, but there is a for sale sign out front---located in between the CatchaFalling Star resort and Tensing Pen---2 pretty large size resorts. There is a phone number only for reservations with the owner so if interested, maybe they could give more info---my friend Leroy's chicken grill shack is directly across the road-----
Italian villa on the cliffs
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