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Non AI in Negril. Tensing Pen or The SPA Retreat?

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Westminster...
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Non AI in Negril. Tensing Pen or The SPA Retreat?

We're stayed in a few AI resorts in Jamaica over the past couple of years and I want to try a non AI resort. Actually my plan is to stay at a non AI for 4 days and a AI resort the next 4 days. I'm good with the AI resorts but I need help with the non AI places. Two places I came across are Tensing Pen and The SPA Retreat. They both seem a world away from a place like Couples or Sandals and that's what we're looking for. Any suggestions on either place?

How are the prices on the resort (food, drink etc)? Any places close to the resort maybe in walking distance? How are the evenings, anywhere to hang out on the property? I'm new to the Jamaican non AI so any information will be appreciated.

michigan
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1. Re: Non AI in Negril. Tensing Pen or The SPA Retreat?

the spa retreat doesn't look like it has much landscaping besides rocks. I would go with tensing pen, rockhouse or catcha falling star.

Kingston, Canada
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2. Re: Non AI in Negril. Tensing Pen or The SPA Retreat?

Tensing Pen is a tropical private oasis compared to the SPA Retreat which is mostly rock with units close together. The SPA is near the bottom of my list in making recommendations for Negril but it has a slight edge on luxury. But to each their own. As far as dining, there are numerous places near both with a slight edge to Tensing Pen for variety.

Westminster...
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3. Re: Non AI in Negril. Tensing Pen or The SPA Retreat?

I had the same feeling. I've seen videos of the rooms at Tensing and they're fine. I'm not expecting a lot of entertainment at such a small resort. But is there anything to do at night. Are the bars open into the evening for at least a few drinks and hang out for a little while? I heard Rics is in walking distance as well?

Anything you can tell me about Tensing if you stayed there?

Los Angeles...
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4. Re: Non AI in Negril. Tensing Pen or The SPA Retreat?

Two properties over is Catcha Falling Star and their bar is usually open till at least 10 PM. Seastar Inn is 400 yards up the road and their bar will be open as well. You can walk to Rick's, LTU, and you also have Ahhbee's right across the street.

Here is a good map that will show you where everything is at.

http://www.negrilinfo.com/negril-map.html

Ormond Beach...
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5. Re: Non AI in Negril. Tensing Pen or The SPA Retreat?

The LTU is 5 minute walk and is the nicest local bar IMHO, aside from the handful of little rum bars along the way. Ivans is great, as is Hungry Lion, Rexy's, and many other smaller places. Check some of the 100s of past posts for info on local food and drink on the cliffs.

Edited: 06 January 2014, 05:04
Bodega, California
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6. Re: Non AI in Negril. Tensing Pen or The SPA Retreat?

I'd go with Tensing Pen - better "neighborhood", more landscaping - less concrete.

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: Non AI in Negril. Tensing Pen or The SPA Retreat?

We where at Rockhouse in Nov and it was wonderful. Rooms were gorgeous and food was good. I also looked at the Spa but was not overwhelmed by the pictures. You can try Oyster for good shots of a resort as well as Ta

Nashville, Tennessee
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8. Re: Non AI in Negril. Tensing Pen or The SPA Retreat?

I have toured Tensing Pen and still have it high on the list of places I'd like to try. I agree with the comments about The Spa, although I would like to try their restaurant sometime. Another place that interests me is Tingalaya's, but it appears to be pretty far out the West End road. Walking very far on the West End road can be a bit frightening due to how fast some of the drivers take those curves on such a narrow road. But, we have walked to places nearby, stayed alert about the traffic and were fine. Most of the bars at the cliff properties close by no later than 10:00 (thinking of Catcha's Bar). You could always catch a cab, if you got bored.

Westminster...
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9. Re: Non AI in Negril. Tensing Pen or The SPA Retreat?

Since it sounds like things wind down around 10ish, is it a good idea to pick up snacks, beer, wine, rum and hang out on the awesome looking balconies? It's probably a good idea to pick a few things up regardless I take it. Like I said, I'm used to AI resorts.

Saskatoon, Canada
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10. Re: Non AI in Negril. Tensing Pen or The SPA Retreat?

Yup! There's a store called Wise Choice, a couple of minutes walk (turn right out of Tensing's gate). It'll have everything you need, although not sure about wine.