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“Wedding Reception: Sonya Knows How to Throw a Party!”
Review of Xtabi Resort

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Xtabi Resort
Ranked #32 of 81 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level 6 Contributor
26 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Wedding Reception: Sonya Knows How to Throw a Party!”
Reviewed 10 August 2010

I stayed at another beachside resort in Negril recently where I had my wedding. This particular resort also offered full reception packages, but I wanted to switch it up and give my guests a different experience, so after plenty of research and much email communication, I decided on Xtabi.

I first started out working with Martin, and we came up with a great plan for the reception. He priced table centerpieces, meals, DJ, photographer, etc. and everything sounded perfect. I kept him updated as our guest numbers were finalized, and he was always very responsive to my correspondences. After awhile, Martin left and Sonya picked up on helping with my plans.

I really didn't have to do much except tell them what I wanted, and I was a bit nervous about never having been to Xtabi and confirming the reception plans via email only. However, when we arrived at our reception last week, we were stunned at how beautifully everything was put together. The staff at Xtabi even added in extra touches that would normally have cost extra money--they truly impressed us!

We gave our guests two meal choices: curry conch or stew chicken. Our guests raved about how great their meals were and a few days later, wanted to go back to have dinner at Xtabi. My groom and I had the Lobster Thermidore and I have NEVER had such a great lobster dish in my life. The portion was so huge I could not even finish it, but what I could eat from it was absolutely delicious. We talked about that meal the whole rest of our trip, and like our guests, we wanted to go back to Xtabi for seconds!

After the meal, Sonya began by acting as the Mistress of Ceremony for the event, and announced the First Dance, Garter Toss and Bouquet Toss, which were all a lot of fun. After that, Sonya truly got the party started by having the DJ pump up the music and getting on the dance floor herself and starting off the dance party. Then, the rest of the staff (waiters/waitresses, etc.) joined in. Guests were dancing with staff and everyone had a great time learning how to do dances like "Nuh Linga".

There is so much I could say about how great our experience was at Xtabi. They created the most beautiful reception dinner for 30 people with a 3-course meal, DJ, photographer, open bar and table decorations for a very reasonable price. My guests loved the great food, the caves below the restaurant, the amazing sunset and the friendly, fun staff. The next time we are in Negril, we will definitely be back to see Sonya and her crew, because they know how to throw a party! If you are getting married in Negril, but staying beachside and want to give your guests a different ambiance and vibe for your reception dinner, I highly recommend Xtabi for your experience.

Thank you, Xtabi, for making our wedding reception so perfect!

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LuxeTraveler_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Cypress, California
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 6 August 2010

I traveled with a group of 3 other females, ages 27-30. I absolutely enjoyed staying at this little hotel. We stayed in a room steps from the pool, making it very convenient and easy to jump in and stay cool. Their ocean front rooms and restaurant is located right across the road over looking the ocean. We spent most of the time exploring the caves, laying out on the restaurant deck and jumping off the cliffs into the clear blue waters below.
The rooms are not modern but have a comfortable feel. Room 22 & 23 had an attached shower that felt like you were showering outdoors in the gardern. It was great! The rooms had a fan and AC to help keep cool.
The ladies at the front desk were very helpful with any request we had. They were able to schedule a very economical snorkeling tour for us the night before.
Dave the owner was also extremely helpful. He gave us advice on where to eat, what to see and how much we should expect to pay for a taxi. He also made it a point to greet us anytime we ran into eachother.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank andthen_nothing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
st.cloud
1 review
Reviewed 16 July 2010

this resort is the most natural beautiful place ever! The sceanery and vibe here carry u away with its breathtaking sunsets and liquid sunshine- yes i would say it is paradise. we found it to be very clean,friendly, and accommodating. AAAA++++

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank melissa28cloud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 July 2010

My husband and I went here for our first anniversary. We thought it would be a nice quick getaway. let me tell you...spend the extra money and go somewhere else. it was an hour and a half drive to get to the hotel. It was a pretty drive, but I almost threw up in our taxi's car because the roads are in pretty bad shape. We finally got to the hotel and it seemed cute. It was primative but I was up for it. We went to the room to drop our stuff off and when I sat on the bed it was like sitting on the sidewalk! It was hard as could be! We were afraid to sit on the wicker furniture because we thought it would break. The shower was moldy and had rust in it. The tiles around the shower were broken and the grout was very gross. There was no liner, just a shower curtain. They do not provide soap or shampoo, but there is a store a short walk away. Get bug spray while you are there!!!! The floor in the room is tile, and continues to the patio with a large gap under the door, so there were bugs in the room constantly. We bought one of those bug coils and kept it burning outside our door at all times to try and keep them out. Also, several of the windows had screens and shutters, but no actual glass in them so not only can you hear everything outside, but everyone can hear you inside! The food was not very good and the service was even worse. Once we discovered Rockhouse down the road we kept going there for food. The views were pretty, but the stairs getting in the water were very slippery and it is hard to get in and out of the water with waves throwing you into large rocks. Also, you had to constantly swim because there is no way to touch the bottom. We ended up in the pool after our 1 excursion to the water. That was quite dissapointing. Once we got over the fact that it was what it was, we did have a good time, but I will never go back here. The island itself was pretty, but Negril was a long haul and we did not think it was worth it. BTW- if you go to Ricks, there exchange rate is way off, so pay in Jamaican money! It will save you money.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank sandman09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 June 2010

I am going to lead out here with the worst travel story I have ever experienced myself in my entire life. I visited Xtabi about 4 years ago and I found it to have a great location and good value for the price. So when the opportunity arose to visit Negril again this year I booked at Xtabi without second thought. When we arrived there it was obvious that little to nothing had been done in upkeep nevermind upgrades in those years. The look of the place is just worn down, and it was a bad feeling when I pulled up in my taxi and saw the condition of the place. The very first thing that I had to deal with was the towels being dirty. It was as if they just folded the half wet towels from the previous guests. I took them to the front desk and waited for 3 hours. I just went and bought beach towels since providing CLEAN towels was clearly NOT a priority to them. My wife was already sour to the place at this point because she is pregnant and didnt want to wash herself and then dry her body with a towel that held someone elses body filth. Anyhow we gave it another day but we left at 3AM on 6/17 and here is why. We went to bed after a great day in Negril. At midnight we thought our feet were hurting, but paid no mind because we would have never expected reality to be as horrible as it truly was. We went back to sleep and woke up again at 3AM to undeniable pain in our feet. I opened my eyes and OMFG there was a RAT knawing on my big toe!!!!!!! The rat had bitten on both my big toes plus one of my wifes big toes and we had blood on the sheets at the foot of the bed. I shot out of the bed in Cabana #1 and bolted down the stairs and found security. I explained calmly what happened so I didnt wake other guests, and he was apologetic. At first light the following morning we insisted that the manager (Dave) take us to the Doctor and get my pregnant wife a clean bill of health. I wont even go into how terrible the service at the hospital was because it is a third world country and nothing is a priority when you earn $50 a day as a doctor. Anyhow, we got antibiotics and were sent back to Xtabi to get our things. Dave the manager gave us a ride back to Xtabi and was apologetic but slightly irritated that this issue happened on his watch. He made a million excuses for why the staff doesnt keep the property looking as nice as the pics online. He claims to spend 20% of his time away from the property, but I dont believe that he makes good use of the 80% of the time that he claims to be there. As if the rat bitten feet wasn't bad enough, when we came back to the office to get the refund for the night we got bitten plus the nights we didn't stay (I pre-paid the hotel) instead of refunding to my card she RE-BILLED my card and messed up my account. She tied up almost $800 while I was trying to enjoy my vacation. This place is truly ran by amateurs that have no legitimate sense of what it means to be in the HOSPITALITY business. I LOVE JAMAICA and I will be back MANY TIMES, but I will never forget the night that cave rats chewed my feet at Xtabi, and I will tell anyone that listens about this nightmare of a "resort". Until the place is sold or put under new management my advice is to go to Samsara or Caves or better yet do what we did and leave the West End altogether and go to the beach side and stay at Travelers or Merrils. This place is only a value if you have your rabies vaccinations up to date.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
37 Thank EliJahFari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 June 2010

My husband summed up Xtabi very succinctly, and I ended up using it as a mantra during my entire stay:

"They do the best they can with what they have."

To preface, Xtabi is not a bad place to stay. It's a no-frills budget hotel on the cliffs in the West End of Negril. Our stay, from 5/30/10 - 6/5/10, was pleasant enough. I do think, however, that most of these 5-star and 4-star reviews are reviews of travelers' experiences IN JAMAICA as opposed to their stay AT XTABI, which I believe to be extremely misleading. So this review is strictly about the HOTEL, and not about all the fun I had swimming, watching the amazing cliff-side sunsets, interacting with the local residents and their culture, and eating awesome Jamaican food -- because that has NOTHING to do with the hotel at all.

As someone who travels regularly throughout the US for work, and has to use xxxxx.com (so I don't get to see my hotel name until AFTER I have paid), I'm used to basic budget hotels. Xtabi was on par in most categories: some staff were friendly and helpful, others were surly and rude; rooms were clean; hotel food was average; grounds were kept in good condition and lacked furry rodents; check-in was simple; no extra fees when checking out; old furnishing that are, for the most part, clean. Even so, there are things that niggled away at me the entire trip:

1. When we checked in, we were given room 23, which is one half of an old pool house. The room had no windows - just wooden slats over screens, and the floors around the front door and windows were covered in ants. The AC was old and inadequate, and blew on "fan" 90% of the time and COULD NOT be adjusted to blow conditioned air only.

2. The second day in room 23 I found a cockroach in the bathroom AND the toilet stopped flushing. We asked for someone to fix out toilet (we didn't even mention the cockroach), and the office instead offered to move us to another room -- I was a little annoyed that the new room (18) had a modern AC, was larger and free of ants and other crawleys, but I was also extremely grateful and couldn't have been more appreciative of the room change. And I saw no more cockroaches.

3. Before completing the transfer to room 18, we asked about a room with a TV and were offered a "deal" of upgrading for $5 extra per night. Considering that Xtabi's published prices, online AND at the hotel itself, advertise that "upgrade" as being only $4 more per night, I was a surprised that the hotel staff tried to hustle me like I was an idiot. I mean, it's $1, so it's not a big deal... but seriously? What a total lack of professionalism.

4. While the cleaning woman worked her bum off to keep those rooms clean, I still felt like I couldn't touch anything in the room -- the sink and shower faucets were grimy with calcium and lime scale, the curtains were coated in dust, the floors were tiled and ALL the grout was black with age, dirt and mildew, there were cobwebs in the corners, light bulbs were missing, all the mirrors were covered in a coat of grime or dust, etc etc. I am certain that my sheets were not changed once (which isn't a big deal, since I was in one room for 2 nights and the other room for 4 nights, but in a hotel I guess I expect my sheets to be changed at least as often as I do it at home), the towels were changed everyday (nice but not really necessary – I usually keep the same towels for a few days at hotels that try to conserve energy) and clean but were covered in old stains (which is acceptable at HOME when I'm doing my own laundry, but stained linen in a hotel is pretty unacceptable). The hot/warm water and water pressure were extremely sporadic. The 2 drinking glasses we used were never cleaned OR replaced, and the empty bottles (beer, soda, water, etc.) were never removed from the room. The pool was not chlorinated and didn't seem to be cleaned once while we were there (other than using the pole net to skim leaves). The restaurant tablecloths were all stained and dirty (I spilled soda one day, and the next day sat at a different table and my stain was there – brown, sticky, and covered in ants). These are not major problems in and of themselves, so I never complained to anyone. But all these unhygienic things combined... well, I was just really disappointed.

5. The hotel will charge you $60 per person to arrange roundtrip transportation to and from MBJ airport; but you can pre-arrange the trip with JUTA at only $18 per person each way (you have to reserve it online in advance, or they charge you $50 per person). What a rip-off.

Most of the staff were nice, but the service was inconsistent: we were told that the hotel's ice maker was broken and advised to go to the supermarket to buy a bag of ice -- shortly after, a hotel guest was directed by the front office to ask the bartender at the restaurant to fill a bag of ice for him, which was done with no problem. One office clerk told me that Rick's Cafe was a 4-5 minute walk from the hotel, which actually turned out to be a 7-8 minute DRIVE -- this was infuriating, since the woman and I had smiled and chatted pleasantly with eachother for 5 days, and she had no reason to be misleading or rude to me.

To any traveler considering this hotel, please note that the hotel does not provide the following:

-bathroom toiletries, other than bars of harsh soap
-phones in the rooms (not even to call the police, fire dept., front desk, etc.)
-clocks, alarm clocks or radios
-washcloths (each room is provided with 2 bath towels, 1 hand towel and 1 bath mat)
-ice, drinking water, vending machines
-beach / pool towels
-mosquito and bug repellent (such as citronella candles on the patios)

Luckily none of the above was that important to us (other than ice, bug repellent and having the ability to call the police in case of an emergency), but if these things ARE important to you, you should note that they are not available at Xtabi (unless they were in the "superior" rooms). Just FYI - you NEED to bring some kind of insect repellent, for your own comfort, to Negril, or you will be miserable.

All in all, the Xtabi wasn't a bad place to stay -- it just wasn't the best place for me. It is the barest of bones and the no-est of frills. They did the best they could with what they had, in order to make a pleasant experience for their guests – which, I will admit, they succeeded in doing. But the lack of basic amenities and cleanliness was such that I would probably not return, and would not recommend this hotel to anyone.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
6 Thank BWinDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
June Lake, Ca.
1 review
Reviewed 24 May 2010

We have stayed at Xtabi many times. We love staying on the Cliff side. We don't miss a sunset while we're there! The people are friendly and very accommodating. The place looks GREAT! They have done a lot of work over the years and it continues to be our favorite! It's so relaxing for us. We really don't go for the night life, tho the bar is fun. Also, It's nice to go down to the beach for a day or two. We live in the mountains so to sit and enjoy the view is what we love!

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank sierrainn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Xtabi Resort

Property: Xtabi Resort
Address: Lighthouse Road, Negril, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Best Value Hotel in Negril
#22 Romantic Hotel in Negril
#23 Top resorts Hotel in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Xtabi Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Xtabi is a 25 Room Boutique Hotel, We are located on the West Cliffs of Negril, one + miles from the Negril Beach.XTABI offers a variety of different facilities such as economy and standard rooms, as well as one or two storey private cottages. Some of our accommodations are set in the lush tropical garden near the pool, others are on the impressive cliffside overlooking the Caribbean Sea.XTABI RESORT awaits you with a dramatic water front setting where spiral stairs are leading down through a cave to a sandy beach. Many grottos along the cliffs are to explore and the shallow reefs nearby ensure great snorkeling. The cliffside bar and restaurant welcomes you for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving good food in a friendly atmosphere with a breath-taking view and nice music. Xtabi will make you feel IRIE ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Xtabi Hotel Negril
Xtabi Resort Negril

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