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“Great and relaxing hotel” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Tensing Pen Resort

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Tensing Pen Resort
Ranked #5 of 84 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
USA
Level Contributor
17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Great and relaxing hotel”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 April 2012

Just returned from a four night stay at Tensing Pen. All in all, we had a great time. Here's my breakdown:

Getting there: no problem at all. We arranged a shuttle from Montego Bay airport through the hotel. We shared the shuttle with one other couple from our flight, and within 20 minutes we were sharing some red stripes in the van and had met some new friends. It took total about an hour and a half, but the drive wasn't bad at all.

The resort: TP is really a cool place. From the open air lobby and restaurant, you are confronted with the selling point of the place: an amazing view. Perched on the cliffs, the view can't be beat.

Rooms: we stayed in Sea Grape 1. This was a the far end of the resort, but "far" is relative...it only took us two minutes to get to the restaurant, which is the epicenter of the place. To get to the far other end of the hotel would only take five minutes. We were ok with our room location, though it is set back on the rocks a bit; it doesn't front the water (but there is no other building in front of it, so it does have good ocean views). I'd probably recommend the pillars or one of the rooms that is right on the cove. But most of the rooms seemed very nice. Just a note: a couple of the rooms, like the pillars, have the showers outside and down the stairs--ours didn't but the room our friends were staying at did and they didn't like having to go down stairs to shower. In general our room was nice and big. Only complaint was the shower pressure was poor.

Restaurant: we ate there several times. the included breakfast is pretty meager, but it sufficed. Lunch also was a bit limited. The dinner however was one of the best we had around the area, so definitely try that out.

Bar: very small. The bartender Razor is kind of legendary and fun to chat with. The resort in general though doesn't have a "bar scene" to speak of, generally just one or two other couples hanging around. And it shuts down very early (10). There is a grocery store right across the street from the resort and most rooms have fridges; I'd recommend stocking up there and bringing back to the room.

Pool: small, but nice. The resort is very small so we didn't really ever have trouble finding chairs around the pool or out on the cliffs or anywhere else we wanted to chill.

Ocean: gorgeous. Definitely do the jump off the bridge into the water...it's not that high and the water is awesome.

Surrounding area: good and bad. we walked about ten minutes in each direction to see what else was around. if you walk right out of the resort, that is where more action is. Next door is Ivan's, where we had our favorite dinner and I recommend highly (the jerk chicken pasta was ridiculous). A few places up is Rick's, which is tourist central. You can go there to get overpriced drinks with people that are literally bussed in from the all inclusives while you watch people jump off the cliffs. So, I'd skip it if I were you. Also a few places up the road was LTU, the best place we found for lunch. LTU also has live music some nights, so generally a good spot to check out (only about a 10 minute walk). There is less to the left of the resort...Rockhouse is down that way, but a long walk so I'd recommend taking a taxi. We ate at the pushcart at rockhouse but weren't overly impressed.

In general, leaving the resort became kind of a pain...there are a lot of pushy people that will approach and try to sell you everything from weed to bracelets, and they often don't let a no suffice. You have to be quite firm; also we got ripped off by one taxi driver which was annoying. Leaving the place just reconfirmed how relaxing and nice it was to stay on TP's property.

All in all, this is a very chilled-out place to stay. It is very small, you'll get to know the other couples on the property, and you'll get to do a lot of relaxing. Check out Ivan's for dinner, LTU for lunch and live music, Rick's for tourist-watching, but we were mostly content just chilling at TP.

We'd definitely stay again if ever in Negril.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank nycer10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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784 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (230)
Date | Rating
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English first
Rockville, Maryland
Level Contributor
38 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 April 2012

This was our first trip to Jamaica, and we decided to split our stay between Idle Awhile on the beach, and Tensing Pen on the cliffs. After being in a junior suite at Idle Awhile (which had a living room area, screened in porch with seating area and hammock, kitchen and loft), the Cove Cottage at Tensing Pen seemed incredibly small. After an hour, though, we didn't even notice. The Cove cottage was romantically cute- we had our own sitting area outside with two chairs and an umbrella, and a great water view. I'd say the only complaints with Tensing Pen were the water pressure in the shower (we had the same problem at Idle Awhile) and the faint smell of urine in our room... The water pressure can be adjusted in the shower, but even at the highest setting, still did not compare to what we have at home. As far as the smell of our room- I think it may have something to do with the wooden seats on the toilets- when first entering our room it smelled a little like a public restroom. Even though our room was cleaned daily, the smell was still there- no big deal; it wasn't noticed after a few minutes being in the room.

Tensing Pen felt very romantic and private. After the hustle of beach vendors while at the beach, the quiet atmosphere of the cliffs was refreshing. We had a sirloin burger one day during lunch from the restaurant, and my husband raved that it was one of the best burgers he has ever had. The breakfast in the morning consisted of fresh papaya, pineapple, and watermelon, cereals, yogurt, OJ, and BREAD!! I swear Jamaica has the best bread we've ever had... it was so delicious.

The whole feel of Tensing Pen was great- there was never a shortage of cliffside beach chairs, and it seemed so intimate. We enjoyed snorkeling in the crystal clear waters every day and thoroughly enjoyed the views. There are sitting areas all over which are intimate in themselves- usually only two or three chairs per area; there is a larger area with more chairs and a table that would accomodate more than a couple. Overall, I'd recommend Tensing Pen!

Room Tip: Cove cottage was cute- it wasn't our first choice, but ended up being a nice stay. Next time, we...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JT20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 April 2012

If you are a first timer like we were and you have read the glowing reviews below, you will not be disappointed. Tensing totally lives up to its reputation of laid back charm with incredible attention to detail. It is a classy operation. Really friendly understated hospitality for those who prefer personal service. It is pretty much impeccable. We found route taxis the best way to get around, just jump in and jump out no need to negotiate fare, 100 jamaican dollars per head seemed to cover it. Vincents snorkelling trip is a must, we saw turtles, eagle ray, lobster etc. We were recommended to go early 8 am and that was a good tip as we had the reef more or less to our selves. If you want to see a bit of normal Jamaica life, we organised a private trip to Savlamar with Tony the driver to go to the food market there, fish market doesn't get going til midday so worth waiting til then. We found standard of cooking to be good and the service is slow so order about 45 minutes before you want to eat and that takes care of that. Didn't much like food at catchafalling star, had an excellent burger at beach bar at the rockhouse not open to non- residents but easy enough to blag your way in. Liked the food at the push cart, we sat at the bar, delicious side orders of callalloo and roast plantain, the food at the rockhouse restaurant was ok but overpriced.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank barneylondon1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NYC
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 March 2012

I struggled to find a small, boutique hotel in Jamaica and thought we would have to settle with something not so great. Then I Google yoga and Negril and this magical place pops up! Such a beautiful sight with the blue sky, blue water and cliffs. The property is very spread out and gives each villa or room a lot of privacy and space. I really love the orange chairs on the sun decks and in front of the rooms. They contrast so nicely with the blue water and sky. There are so many options for swimming and jumping off of the cliffs and the pool is wonderful. The food was great and some of the best in Negril. We also enjoyed Pushcart, Three Dives and Catcha. We also went to Rick's and Kuyaba which weren't so great. Snacks and beer at the local grocery store, Wise Choice, were a great way to save money and keep some items in the room. The couples massage with Georgia and Maxine, and yoga with Fanette were also wonderful. We also did Famous Vincent's Glass Bottom Boat snorkel. He seemed to have trouble that week and was late a lot for pickups so definitely keep reconfirming with him. The snorkel was great though. Things can get a bit loud in Negril so bring some earplugs and a sound machine if you're a light sleeper. Not the hotel's fault because they can't control what other hotels and other people's dogs do. One thing I do wish the hotel would do is offer kayaks for rent. I think people would really use and enjoy them. Thank you Tensing Pen! We hope to return soon.

Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank WineGirlNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 March 2012

Beautiful resort, hard to describe in words. Waking up every morning to the cliffs over-looking the Carribean Sea? I could get use to that! Consistently helpful & friendly staff. The location was great, everything was within walking distance: eateries, bars, general store, Rick's Cafe, Ras Rody. Jamaica = Beautiful people and culture. We're already planning Round 2 at Tensing Pen! 5 stars for everything but it deserved more... :)

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ponky L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eatontown, New Jersey
Level Contributor
30 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 March 2012

We stayed here for a family function (20th anniversary celebration) and at first we were hesitant because we're both beach people and this is along the cliff section of Negril. Plus it's pricier to where we stayed last year (Country Country). But after our 4 night stay we have to admit we were pleasantly surprised. The grounds are just beautiful and while we missed the beach (we did take a taxi one day to dig our toes in the sand) we didn't miss the constant hawking of everything from ganja to rum cake.

For $300+ a night the breakfast selection is limited (cereal and toast and coffee are gratis - hot breakfasts are available for around $7) and the staff could use a little brushing up on their customer service skills, but still and all we enjoyed our stay. If peace and quiet along with amazing views and sunsets are a high priority for you, you can't go wrong with Tensing Pen.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MsJitterbug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 March 2012

This place is heaven. I love Jamaica and have stayed at many of the best hotels but this is by far my favourite. The sunsets are unmatched on the entire island and the food was incredible. highly recommended!

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank karnig m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tensing Pen Resort

Property: Tensing Pen Resort
Address: West End Road, Negril, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Spa Hotel in Negril
#6 Romantic Hotel in Negril
#9 Family Hotel in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Tensing Pen Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on the West End of Negril, Jamaica in its own private cove, Tensing Pen is the ultimate destination for the discerning traveler offering a unique collection of beautiful hand-carved wood, thatch and cut stone cottages of varying sizes for the ultimate secluded and relaxing vacation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tensing Pen Hotel Negril
Tensing Pen Negril
Tensing Pen Jamaica

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