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“THE BEST TRIP EVEEEEEER!”
Review of Tensing Pen Resort

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Tensing Pen Resort
Ranked #4 of 80 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
Miami
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“THE BEST TRIP EVEEEEEER!”
Reviewed 15 October 2012

This was, hands down, the BEST vacation i've ever had! The resort is gorgeous, never a dull moment to be concerned about. I was at peace and filled with laughter, great food and exquisite service by the Tensing Pen team.

Thanks guys!

Room Tip: I had a chance to visit all of the rooms since i was apart of a wedding that was renting the entire...
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with friends
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Kerri A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 October 2012

I truly miss the staff, the guests we met, Negril. We felt at home right away with the staff. We would wake up every morning and go to breakfast and get to see the same familiar faces starting their day. It truly, to me, felt like a little family with the guests and staff.

It is true there is not much at breakfast. Some fruit, yogurt, cereal, juice, coffee, tea, bread for toast, jams, peanut butter. It would be nice to have some muffins etc.

RAZOR ( aka) Sheldon, is by far the most entertaining, kind, funny bartender for me ever. My husband and I would just laugh and laugh sitting at the bar with him.

It is perfectly fine to leave the resort. We walked up and down West End Drive never with any issues. There is a cab every sec so it’s easy if you get tired or nervous to jump in one. We never asked the resort to call a cab there is just so many out there already, waiting.

We even walked at night back and forth to Ivan’s with no issues, at a faster pace, but with no issues. Any further I probably would not do at night.

We stayed in South House I and it is the nosier side of the resort as far as we could tell. Some other rooms might be best on the opposite side of the resort. The neighbor’s dogs, in the private house next door do bark ALL night most nights. We never complained just FYI. We usually ran the air at night and some nights used the sleep machine app on our Iphone to drown them out.

The food was hit and miss, some nights we would order the same as previous and it would not be as good as the first time, but all in all really good.

I would book here a million times over. There are a ton of private spots to be alone and relax and lay in the sun. YES you must jump off the bridge, everyone does!
Book it you will not regret it!

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Amy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 October 2012

We booked our 10 day stay at Tensing Pen almost exactly 1 year before the trip - highly recommended if you want to stay in one room for the entire trip as this place is hard to get into for more than a few days at a time, on shorter notice! If you are booking on shorter notice, call rather than do it online - as they will work to accommodate you, though this may mean switching rooms for longer stays. This was my third time to the area - twice on the cliffs and 1x on the beach (I will never stay on the beach again - the cliffs have the better view, zero hassle, more privacy, , a more laid back vibe.. and snorkeling!) in fact, we'll only stay at Tensing Pen from now on ;)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS - Jamaica
The airport in Jamaica is better each time we go, though still a little bit of a shock when you first step outside - be SURE to have the resort send a car for you! It is cheaper than getting a cab on the street (at only $70, US) and the driver will not get you killed (most drive insanely) or try to hustle you ;) The ride is long (1.5 hours about?) and the resort sends clean/comfortable taxi (unlike many of the taxis in Jamaica). Everywhere in Jamaica takes US dollars (prefers it actually) but if you want to exchange some currency or get any other 'supplies' right away, ask the driver and he will get you the best rate on currency exchange or whatever else you're looking for..

FIRST IMPRESSIONS - Tensing Pen
We drove through the gates from the hectic streets into the most serene and beautiful resort setting. Very lush and tropical. We stopped in the office and were greeted by the staff - very nice - and handed cold, fresh fruit drinks and cold cloths for our face / necks .. and while they grabbed our luggage we stepped into the main open-air dining lounge that sits over the pool and it felt like we had stepped onto a movie set - it is stunning! This resort is by far and away the most private / secluded and tropical feeling resort in the Negril area. Even the most jaded traveler will not be disappointed ;) Especially if this is a romantic trip ;) Then the staff helped us to our room, leading us through the winding paths dripping with tropical flowers to our pillar over the ocean - even carrying our luggage up the (many) stairs into the cottage.

Side note: One thing to note about Jamaica in general is that NO ONE is ever in a hurry.. that includes staff (here, rockhouse, etc all resorts we have stayed at) so take a valium if you must and be prepared to wait for anything you want ;)

THE DOGS
Tensing Pen has some large (LARGE) ridgeback dogs - they are super sweet and mellow but seriously if you dislike dogs don't stay here and then complain about it ;) because they are very much a presence on the grounds. Also the dogs at the resort next door and / or across the street did get to barking for awhile every now and then - personally we love dogs and had zero issue with it (in fact we are now researching getting a ridgeback of our own :)

PINE PILLAR
We chose the Pine Pillar, based on forum recommendations - Having visited a number of the other cottages during our stay, I can safely say we definitely had the best one! It may be a little more money, but it is well worth it because 1) it was twice the size of the other cottages (the other ones had tiny bathrooms that you could only get one person into, at a time) and 2) by FAR the largest / best / most private balcony and view. This meant, unlike some of the other guests, we never had to gather our stuff together and go find a couple chairs to sit in to enjoy the view.. we had a 5 star view on our private balcony! The shower is an 'open air' shower, located downstairs / below the cottage - which we were a little apprehensive about at first but ended up enjoying immensely! The bathroom had a very modern sink / large counter and toilet. The main area had a large bed (very comfortable tho pretty firm, with good sheets and 4 nice pillows ;) a closet area, large shelves with baskets for storage and a mini-fridge. There is a water pitcher, which can be filled (water and ice) at the main dining villa. There is a safe in the room, but ONLY you have the key (not a copy at the office) so if you loose it they have to pry it open with a crowbar and charge you $75 to replace it ;) There is no air conditioning in the Pine Pillar but the breeze was awesome and they also had a large floor fan, in addition to the ceiling fans.. so we never missed AC. The windows + doors have wood slat shutters which are screened as well and no mosquitoes were never seen.. though we did have some roommates - a number of geckos (which we loved!) and one roach that we encountered :( But if you can't handle a roach or two don't travel to the islands - there is no such thing as a hotel room without them, in Jamaica! The two huge shutter / french doors open onto the very large balcony and we spent most of our time there. We left these open even when we were not on the resort, but closed / locked them at night to feel comfortable. The balcony had 2 small chairs and a table (sitting / eating area), 2 giant layout chairs (pushed together, they form an outside "bed") and a large lounge chair. Best view EVER and we felt like we were the only people on the island! There's also a couple beach chairs and an umbrella on the rocks jutting out over the ocean below the cottage, which we never saw anyone else on and *think* was just for our cottage(?).

Staff cleaned the room daily (we either left to go swim or hid out on the balcony while they were there) and brought clean towels / wash cloths daily as well. We left $500 Jamaican on the bed each day for this.

MAIN HOUSE / DINING
As stated, we truly felt as though we were alone at the resort in the Pine Pillar - but each morning we would walk over to the main house for the complimentary breakfast and to mingle a little. During our stay the owners were actually there - though I don't think this is normally the case - and they were lovely. The main house is a large open-air villa with a bar at one end, kitchen at the other, some large dining / group tables and a couple sofa/chair seating areas in the middle and a large deck with several more 2pp table / chair settings. This all overlooks the infinity pool and of course the ocean - beautiful. Most of the guests were couples and there were a lot of short / friendly conversations with the other guests in the morning. We generally made ourselves at home in one of the two sofa seating areas - we would grab some coffee (best coffee ever - freely available from house opening in the morning to close at night), drop some thick-sliced bread in the toaster and sit down to catch up on emails and social sites. Note: Wifi is pretty good at the main house, though we did not have it in our cottage. When the toast was up we would smother it in local-made guava jam and peanut butter - add some chunks of fresh pineapple and papaya and we were usually set - though we did order (additional $) eggs+bacon and french toast (delicious!), some mornings. We usually ate here for lunch and dinner too - the vibe at lunch was similar to breakfast and we usually had jerk chicken with jamaican bread, while dinner meant different staff and candles.. for a more romantic atmosphere. We fell in love with the Jamaican curry chicken and rice (though we always split dinner entrees, as they are HUGE) and the seafood is good too, though pretty heavy on the garlic! Drinks are great - but beware of the house rum punch as it is 99% rum, from what we could tell and hits hard ;) Staff were all sweet / kind and generally lovely. We pretty much put everything on our tab, so we never had to carry cash. One tip: Make sure you go down to the house BEFORE you are starving - again, there is nothing happening fast in Jamaica!

SWIM / FLOAT / SNORKEL / CLIFF DIVE
When not relaxing on our balcony or hanging out in the main house, we usually were relaxing in the water. The pool is very nice but we were only in it a couple of times - the ocean was better ;) There are several places to enter the ocean on the resort. The main one being near the main house, with a couple of ladders, a couple of good cliffs to jump off of and of course the iconic Tensing Pen bridge - which is much scarier than it looks ;) The one we usually used was the south entrance, which was right under our cottage and rarely used by anyone else. The resort has many pool floats laying around (single person, full size / lay down) but I would recommend bringing a snorkel mask for added fun - we snorkeled daily. Tip: I wish we had thought to bring a water-proof carrying case of some sort, for money / camera / etc), as we often floated down to Ricks cafe and caught a cab back.

OFF RESORT - Nearby
Generally, I would not recommend walking unless you enjoy being harassed (constantly) and dodging speeding cars (crazy). Also, at night the staff will pretty much do anything to deter you from walking outside of the resort at night - we were told repeatedly that it was not a good idea. The office staff will happily arrange a taxi or handle the details of any excursion, and they will get you the best rates as well as clean / nice taxis. The only place we ever walked to was a small shop across the street (tiny building right after Australian bar, about 4 shacks down to your right, from the resort) where we bought large water bottles to keep in our room (a must as buying tiny bottles at the resort will get spendy with as much water as you drink there). We did eat at Falling Star (next door) but found it to be no better than Tensing Pen but more expensive, too crowded and noisy. We were happiest within the resort, where it felt homey and private.

OFF RESORT - Snorkeling trip to the Reef
One of the most awesome things we did was the snorkeling trip to the reef. The office staff will schedule this for you (pick from 9:30 and or noon) - The cost is $25 per person and it's money well spent! A small glass bottom boat picked us up at the south ocean ladder and then took us along the cliffs and even drove into some of the caves - amazing! Plus you could see each of the resorts during this trip (you cannot see them from the street, as they are all walled / gated) and the driver told us many interesting facts about each place. Then we went along the 7 mile beach (more resort info on the beach resorts) and finally we anchored at the reef. The dive was about an hour long (?) so take the floaties they offer you or you will get pretty tired! They do provide masks and flippers, too. The guys are great and swim down to grab things for you to hold and then take photos for you with your camera - on yes, bring a water proof camera! - we held puffer fish, sea cucumber, star fish, sea urchin-type thing (not poisonous!), etc.. we also saw an octopus, manta ray and a sea turtle and hand fed some fish with bread he gave us. Really a lot of fun.

Tip: we asked the glass bottom boat driver if he would give us a water taxi ride to Rockhouse for lunch the next day and he was happy to do so for $1000 J (total). The best way to get to Rockhouse ;) and then Rockhouse will get you a taxi back. If you want to have dinner at Rockhouse (for a change of pace / good burger & fries), tell the office and they will arrange a free taxi there ($1000 for the taxi back).

OFF RESORT - Beach trip to The Boardwalk
If you want to spend a day at the beach, The Boardwalk is the way to go! Tell the office and they will get you a taxi there ($1500 j, each way). It is on the coveted north side of the 7 mile beach - right next to Sandals and very clean / nice - most importantly, they are open to non-guests (most beach resorts will not let you enter / use the facilities unless you are a guest - except the not-so-nice ones, at the south end of the beach). They have shopping, a restaurant / bar, showers, bathrooms, beach lounge chairs with umbrellas and a huge trampoline floating in the water. A must do day trip for those of use who prefer the cliffs but want to lay at the beach for an afternoon. Tip: Be sure to get your driver's card and have the staff call him about 15 minutes before you want to head back to the resort- the north end doesn't see as much taxi traffic and the drivers will charge WAY more than the $1500 J the taxi that the resort got you will!

THE WEDDING
Shanique was our wedding coordinator and we fell in love with her! We honestly had a very non-american wedding (just us and 2 witnesses, we both wore black and it was very low key) so I can't speak to how Tensing Pen handles 'normal' weddings.. but I'm sure there are plenty of reviews that do :) They handled all of the paperwork, got us a pastor, beautiful orchard flowers and a sweet little cake.. For us, this was the perfect wedding (and honeymoon!) at the perfect Jamaican resort.

SUMMARY
The Beach VS The Cliffs: The beach in Jamaica is just not our thing - all of the beach resorts (including Sandals / Beaches / ETC) have public beach access (water and beach strip before you enter the resort area) which means constant harassment - not to mention they are overly crowded / offer no privacy and basically feel like you're in Tampa.. IMO, if you're looking for that then why not just go to Tampa - it's cheaper ;)

The Best Cliffs Resort: Tensing Pen is the resort we've been searching for in Jamaica - very secluded, private, friendly - you truly feel as though you are staying at a friend's island property. This is in stark contrast to the other upper end resorts in the area, which feel very expansive and open (not secluded / private) and corporate. We feel that the only other cliff resorts worth staying at are Rockhouse (a little more crowded / less private & a lot more corporate) and the caves (too far away from everything else and too expensive!) - with Tensing Pen being our favorite to date. In fact, we now plan to return to Tensing Pen every other year, to celebrate our anniversary :)

Room Tip: Spend the extra $ and get the Pine Pillar and you will NOT regret it! If it is not available during...
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Kim L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Markham, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 October 2012

My husband and I stayed here for 3 nights after staying in Montego Bay for a week. We wished we had stayed longer. There were so many excursions we could have done off the property but it was so relaxing we didn't want to leave. The rooms are beautiful, the people are kind and relaxed, the view is unreal, the water is gorgeous, and the atmosphere is quiet and relaxing. The restaurant on site is outstanding, you have an amazing view of the ocean and sunset in a small romantic atmosphere. The food is NOT overpriced at all and it is delicious. If you can go snorkelling with Vincent on his glass bottom boat, you should! We saw sea turtles, blow fish, sting rays and so much more and he was an incredible guide for only $25USD. The area is safe and the locals don't really bother you. We walked to rick's cafe one day (3 min walk) but the food is overpriced and you will have a better view of the sunset from tensing pen. We can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: We stayed in rock cottage 2 and had very little trouble with mosquitos and the view of the ocean fro...
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Angela V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
196 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 October 2012

Hotel is poorly run, dogs in the hotel try to eat your breakfast, the dogs outside the hotel bark all night. Food is OK but limited choice. Not a sophisticated, particularly clean hotel and service is hit and miss.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank inikamozi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TPManager, Manager at Tensing Pen Resort, responded to this review, 9 October 2012
We are very proud owers of three of the world's most adorable Rhodesian Ridgebacks: Tensing, Sugar and Beezy. Their presence on our property has a 99% approval rating from our guests. They are an integral part of Tensing Pen and we are proud of that. However, the noise to which Inikamozi refers must have been caused by a few dogs which pass by occassionally on the pubic road outside our property. We have worked with our neighbours and the local authorities to control this. Of course, our dogs do bark. However, both staff and guests exercise great control over them thus curtailing any disruption or inconvenience this may cause. We do ask our guests not to feed the dogs but these Ridgebacks are so adorable that most guests cannot resist their pleasant faces and happily wagging tails and do hide and drop them bits of food when no one is watching.Shhhh! So with the welcome of our guests they are in our guest areas. At the slightest hint that a guest is offended by their presence, we take the necessary steps to restrict their access to guest facilities. We sincerely regret that Inikamozi was offended by their presence.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
33 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 October 2012

a wonderful hotel/resort with great service, very good food and a view not to be believed. the hosts were quite gracious, and our pillar room had a breathtaking room. after a sense-assaulting stay at a negril beach resort, tensing pen was just what was needed for full relaxation. no television or telephones, just a very comfortable room with a view that could not be beat. the pool was nice, and the cliff and bridge diving great fun. the water is beautiful, and the setting simply among the best we have experienced. we WILL go back.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank rbt2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangalore
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 September 2012

One of the most stunning locations one could ask for is what puts Tensing Pen as "the place to stay at in Negril". It is an absolutely gorgeous and well maintained property where you feel one with nature. The property blends in extremely well with the cliffs as well as the fauna and flora of the area and kudos to the owners/managers in ensuring the perfect blend between comfort and nature. The food at the restaurant is excellent and the staff is extremely courteous and friendly!
All in all, if we were to go back to Negril, there is absolutely no doubt that we would stay only at the Tensing Pen!!!!

Room Tip: Would definitely suggest a sea facing cottage
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ankit S
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:
#4 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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