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Tensing Pen Resort
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Reviewed 28 October 2013

My husband and I just returned from our 4 day stay at Tensing Pen and we can't wait to go back. I had booked our room 6 months in advance (Garden A) I set up car service with Keith (amazing driver) right through Tensing Pen. We couldn't wait to arrive, we counted down the days! We arrived early and had to wait a bit for our room but hanging out in the beautiful lounge enjoying the view we didn't even mind. Once our room was ready we were escorted through the resort, all the flowers and plants were beautiful! We felt like we were traveling through a tropical jungle. Our room which was located on the end of the property (Catcha Falling Star side) was tucked in a cozy little spot surrounded by foliage, very private and quite. A few steps away and we had the beautiful ocean out in front of us. The staff was amazing and friendly, always saying good morning and stopping to chat. The food was wonderful and reasonably priced with large portions, and can be charged right to your room which is then paid at the end of your stay. Breakfast was perfect for us, fresh fruit, cereal, toast and coffee. We ventured out one afternoon with another couple and walked to Rick's which is not far, we did see locals along the way, no one was harassing we had a few people ask if we needed anything but we kindly said no thank you and they said enjoy your holiday :) all in all everyone we saw had a smile and was polite. We had a few drinks at Rick and then went back to AhhBee's (right across from Tensing) for the best burger I have ever eaten!!! His place is super clean and comfortable, he makes burgers to order and does run out but if you get there and he is waiting on a delivery trust me it's worth the wait! Fresh veggies in and on the burger and cheese if you want it. Just fabulous!!! On our departure day we weren't scheduled to fly out till 7 but the hotel was more then happy to have us stick around and enjoy the resort until the very last min. Keith was on time to pick us up and got us to the airport with time to spare. We have fallen in love with Jamaica and Negril and can't wait to go back again! Tensing Pen will be our home away from home!

Room Tip: We stayed in Garden A and it was so quiet, the room has AC. This room is located on the far end of the resort near Catacha Falling Star. We had quick access to the bridge for jumping and a perfect cozy spot to swim and enjoy the sun.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Carly G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 October 2013

The hotel offers beautiful surroundings, the cliffs and the sea. But that's where the pretty stuff stops. The hotel has 3 large dogs which run around in the restaurant and beg for food at the table. I like dogs but not when I'm eating. A restaurant is no place for animals because they are big and quite intimidating. I asked the staff to keep them away and remove them from the area, they shooed them but they were a continued presence at my meals. My complaints of the dogs were seen by the owner, an English gentlemen who lives at the property but treats it like he's some lord of the manor and makes the setting quite uncomfortable. Your not staying in a hotel here your staying in some Toff's house with his dogs, it's most unpleasant. I asked for the service charge to be removed from my bill at the end of my stay because the service in the restaurant was awful. Nothing is served with a smile and everything you order service 10% is added. Paying $9 for 3 red stripes is taking the biscuit enough, seeing as they are brewed on the island and available for $1.25 across the road but to pay 10 % service to a guy that doesn't smile or say hello, no welcoming approach. It's embarrassing that you have to try and make the situation enjoyable. Quite often the waiters won't even tell the kitchen you have ordered food so you will wait a long time then when it gets to the point that you have to ask is your food coming your then told its being prepared at which point they will remember, tell the kitchen and your food will arrive in an additional 15 mins. This did not just happen to me but also two other guests in my 3 day stay. 45 mins for a salad and then no smile or apology for the delay when it is served. 10%, thank you very much. I like to tip extra when I deem I've had a nice time or looked after but this place is so poor at doing this I feel disgusted to pay the service charge, especially as I have worked over a decade in hospitality. The rooms are very adorable but the sheets have lots of stains and the dogs leave their mess on the grounds so you can be sitting in the morning enjoying the sunrise on your balcony with a rather nasty smell in the air which the gardener will have to locate and cover with dirt. The rooms have safes which is just as well because the locks on the front doors don an be easily picked with a fingernail and the maid will usually leave the door unlocked.
The hotel is in a beautiful location but that's not something they created and this location can be found at neighbouring properties so I would suggest you check others out. Apart from when I was swimming in the sea or sunbathing on the cliffs I didn't enjoy this establishment at all.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Joseph_Clarke88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2013

this place was my true paradise. amazing views. amazing staff. i couldve stayed here forever. nothing like those 'commercial' hotels. intimate. beautiful... i really cant say enough or find the words for this place. its perfect. and we already are scheduled to go back next year. THATS HOW GREAT IT IS. ive never 'doubled' a vacation spot!!

Room Tip: Red Birch room is the BEST.
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank AR_Legarreta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 October 2013

I have been hooked on the All Inclusives, been all over the island Superclubs, Riu, etc. Took a recommendation to come here. It was unbelievable. Our room had the most beautiful view I have ever seen, from the sunset, to the moon rise. Extremely comfortable room with the little touches that made me smile. We ate at the resort twice for dinner because their restauraant was so good, and reasonably priced. While our room did not have air conditioning, we were comfortable at night because of the fans they have strategically placed. I can't wait to go back.

Room Tip: We stayed at the north end, keeping the music from Ricks Cafe from keeping us up. Ricks doesn't have parties every night, but still we had peace and quiet.l
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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4  Thank Debi H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2013

My husband and I had a marvelous time this past week! The highlights:

Rooms:
We spent three nights in Pine Pillar and two in Rock Cottage II. Pine Pillar was way on the south end. It's like a tree house - very fun! Spacious inside with a huge deck. Shower is down a flight of stairs and underneath the deck. Pine Pillar is not air-conditioned but there are two ceiling fans and a large stand fan. We knew going in there was no A/C and also knew it would still be pretty warm - overnight lows are still in the mid-70s. I didn't think it was too bad but my husband had a tough time getting comfortable enough to sleep the first night, so we just asked if any A/C'd rooms were available. The office staff was very accommodating and helpful and let us switch - the difference in room rate was $6/night, so no bigs. Rock Cottage II is on the north end of the property with an equally gorgeous view. It has very effective AC and a regular shower inside. Also very spacious - there is a separate dressing room with shelves and hanging rod; it was nice to have room to keep the suitcases out of traffic.

Lounging:
There are many little "patios" with two lounge chairs and an umbrella spread around. Pool has a dozen or so chairs around it. Two sets of hammocks. Never had any trouble finding a place to hang - no rushing out first thing in the morning to try to save chairs like at the huge chain resorts. Chairs have nice cushions and are very comfortable.

Swimming:
Pool is smallish but clean. It used to be an infinity pool but on our first day, the "infinity" wasn't being used and on our third day, the pool was closed for several hours while some workers filled in in the infinity edge with stones. No bigs. You can get in the ocean by jumping off the bridge or one of several cliff platforms, or just climbing down a ladder. There are a couple of stairs doing down into the water in a few spots but there were a lot of sea urchins on them. Have to watch your step. Water is clear and warm and completely delightful. There are several floaties for everyone's use.

Food:
YUM. Continental (included) breakfast - 3 different kinds of bread (toaster is put out for your use), PB & J, juice, yogurt, 2 kinds of cereal, 3 kinds of fruit. Coffee and tea. You may also order omelets, French toast, etc. Average about $8. Lunch - burgers/sandwiches/salads. Average $8-10. Both the b'fasts and lunches were good. Dinner entrees were GREAT and very reasonable - I think the lobster tail was the most expensive entrée at $26. Most entrees were $18-20. Wonderful fresh seafood - conch, shrimp, snapper - all perfectly cooked, creative, and TASTY. Don't be in a hurry - this is Jamaica - no one moves too fast and they are not cooking Anything ahead of time. You will have a delish, freshly prepared meal, with plenty of time to enjoy a few drinks while you are waiting for it.

Drinks:
Cocktails were a little spendy - about $10 for a juice-glass size but Red Stripes were $3 and ice cold. :)

Staff:
Other reviewers complained the staff wasn't friendly. Those people are wrong or overly sensitive ;-) Every single person we encountered was friendly and helpful - but they are not annoying about it. We thought they were trying to not be intrusive - but if you strike up a conversation they are more than willing to chat you up.

Dogs:
The three Rhodesian Ridgebacks are the sweetest, most mellow dogs ever. I never heard a peep out of any of them. They wander around some and can be found napping in their spots. They walk around the lodge at meal times but if you don't pay attention to them, they will pay no attention to you. I love dogs and went out of my way to make friends with them, so yes, I ended up giving them my bacon a few times but they aren't beggars.

Atmosphere:
Quiet, peaceful, restful, relaxing. This is slow season but I think the hotel was nearly full most of the time we were there and we just felt like we were practically the only ones there until meal times, when everyone congregates in the lodge. The coves make for great crashing waves and you can actually hear them as you are falling asleep. It's very chill and laid back.

Massage:
I got a deep tissue massage from Maxine. It was $85 for an hour. It was lovely. The massage hut is on the far north end of the property. Can't beat the ocean breeze and crashing waves while getting a rub down. :)

Minor minuses:
- the shower at Pine Pillar (outside) had ants. Like, a lot of ants. They crawled out of the faucet hole and up the wall every time you turned the water on. I just turned around and tried not to think about it. But if you don't camp - you might not like the outside shower scene.

- gift shop doesn't have snacks. There are bottled drinks to buy, but we were looking for chips or something. There is a small grocery store down the road where we found some snacks (and six packs of Red Stripe for our mini-fridge), so no bigs.

- We got a little hassle from a crazy dude when we were walking to Rick's one day at lunch time. We passed him and he grabbed my hand, acting like he was just saying hello, but then he tried put a yarn bracelet on me so I yanked my arm away, said, "no thank you" and kept walking. He got mad and came back after us saying we disrespected him and he was just trying to tell us about Jamaica. We ended up giving him a few dollars and got two bracelets. Watch out for crazy Russell!

-Along that same line - all the hotels on West End Road are gated with guards. We went to Ivan's at Catcha Falling Star, literally two doors down, one night for dinner. It was dark when we were leaving to go back Tensing Pen and the guard asked us how far we were going - implying he didn't think we should be walking far in the dark.
Unexpected plusses:
- other reviewers complained incessantly about bugs, so we brought citronella candles and bug spray and lotion. I believe we saw exactly one mosquito the whole week. Did not need the netting on the beds, this time of the year anyway.

Overall:
Wonderful. Peaceful. Good value. Gorgeous. Do it!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank HilaryFox12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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