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“Beautiful views.”
Review of Tensing Pen Resort

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Tensing Pen Resort
Ranked #4 of 80 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Beautiful views.”
Reviewed 18 July 2009

We really enjoyed our stay at Tensing Pen. We stayed for 3 nights after a 4 night stay at Couples Swept Away. The view was spectacular. I much rather stay in the cliffs and do a day at the beach rather than stay at the all-inclusive resorts. Tensing Pen is a small cottage resort so there were only a handful of other couples and one family which stayed the night. It's complete relaxation. The staff are friendly and leave you alone unless you require their assistance. The food was quite tasty, however a bit pricey. It wasn't lobster seasons so I cannot comment on the seafood. Watching the sunset at the resort's restaurant makes the nearby Rick's Cafe seem second class. For food, my girlfriend and I ate mostly across the street at Alice's Restaurant. Don't be put off by the looks of the place, the food is clean, the service is respectful though a bit slow (this is Jamaica after all) and most importantly the food is delicious and reasonably priced. Average cost was about US$20-22 for 2 meals and 2-3 drinks (non-alcoholic). They have a sign that says they get you anything you want, just ask for Billy and he'll get you whatever you need. I wasn't too trusting to venture out with him as my guide but sitting at the restaurant is just chill and he bends over backwards to make sure you have a good time because they need you to come back. They have a saying there; "we don't eat unless you eat". Try the local food, it's great value and very good. Back to the resort. We stayed in the air conditioned Seagrape 1. Not all the cottages are have air-conditioning. We had a lovely view of the ocean from out bed, a little deck to relax on, but no TV which is a huge draw back because this place offers nothing in terms of entertainment. Zero. It's only about relaxation. They do have wi-fi if you bring a labtop or pay for their internet service at US$2 per 15 minutes. Swimming in the ocean was great and jumping off the bridge offers some thrills but if you want a bigger jump, just walk down to Rick's, it's about a 5 minute walk. There are convenience stores on the way where you can pick up some cheap drinks and food if you want to save a little bit of cash.There weren't many fish so snorkling wasn't great. Most of the reefs and corels are long dead so there are not many fish. The rooms were very clean as were the bathrooms unlike Couples Swept away, please see my scathing review. We had 6 towels at our disposal daily plus the numerous ones laid out on the sunbathing chairs. I do not recommend this place for a family but perhaps a group of friends who will have some numbers when venturing off. It's safe really, you can take a cab anywhere but I did not trust to go out with my girlfriend to any of the night beach parties. The pool looks much better in picture than it does when you arrive. The bar is quite expensive but if you're not a big drinker it's not a big deal and as I stated above, there's a store just across the street. All-inclusive resorts charge you mainly for the alcohol consumption. Tensing Pen is also home to 2 Rhodesian Ridge-backs Tensing and Sugar. They are extremely friendly but as one patron was terrified, they were locked up for most of our stay. All in all, I loved this place and would highly recommend it. Get the message at sunset, it felt just capital.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank ChandlerINTO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
New York City, New York
Level 5 Contributor
34 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2009

We throughly enjoyed our stay. As soon as we arrived at the welcoming reception space we knew we had made the right decision. The staff were really nice and helped us with all of our needs. The room was very clean and nice. Views from the general decks and pools, amazing! It was a great stay.. we didnt want to leave! A cliff vacation, not a beach vacation (unless you take a drive/ taxi down about 15min-easy ride)... wonderful new experience for us. I tackled my fear of heights by jumping... really refreshing! Alices across the street was DELICIOUS! and the head cook, hooked us up with fresh calallou, saltfish and bake every morning. The best we had the whole time on the island. Cant wait to go back!

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank travelhoney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level 3 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2009

After spending a few days on the 7 Mile Beach and Idle Awhile, we headed for Tensing Pen to get a feel of the Cliffs. This was my wife’s idea and I was a bit skeptical about packing up and moving to another hotel in the middle of our vacation. However I was wrong and Tensing Pen simply took our breaths away. The resort is spread out along a section of the cliffs just a couple of blocks from the world famous Rick’s Café. The resort is very well designed and eclectically decorated by its owners. There are a number of lookout points all around the property that provide amazing views of the ocean and you can spend hours just looking out to the sea and watching the waves smash against the rocks. We were booked in the Garden B, which I believe is the cheapest and the smallest on the resort. Although it was on the smaller side, the room worked out really well for us. It had an AC, a lovely bathroom and a small veranda. The resort also has a nice pool, but waters around the resort were pretty choppy and we did not attempt to either swim or snorkel there. A resort down the road called Xtabi is really good for snorkeling and open to the public (they also rent out snorkeling equipment). There are plenty of spots around Tensing Pen to jump into the sea, however the best is from a narrow bridge that joins two cliffs (this jump is not for the faint hearted)

The resort provides a complimentary continental breakfast that is quite adequate and can be upgraded for just a few dollars. I especially loved the free coffee they provided all day. The resort’s bar was nice and they had really cheap “Red Stripe”, but the restaurant was very pricey so we did not eat there. However there are numerous eating options all around Tensing Pen including Shark’s, Alice’s and Ras Rody’s shack, all located right opposite TP. Ras Rody was a very interesting character, who cooks Ital food, which is vegan and a staple diet for the rastafarians. We had lunch at Ras Rody’s one afternoon and paid 1200 Jamaican dollars, which seemed very overpriced to us. I would suggest that you confirm the price of the food, prior to eating since he is smart enough not to have a menu with prices and therefore can charge whatever he wants. But the food is worth trying once. Another great restaurant about 10 minutes walk down the road is the “Push Cart” at the Rockhouse. They are reasonably priced and the food was outstanding, especially the Escoveitch fish. The 3 Dive's Restaurant (a must visit.. also about a 12-15 minutes walk from TP) had really good Jerk Chicken, Chicken Curry, Vegetables and Grilled King Fish! Rick’s café is a just about 2-3 minutes walk up the road from Tensing Pen and great place to spend evenings and watch the divers jump. Further up the road is the lighthouse and worth the climb up for an amazing view. Overall Tensing Pen was a great experience and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone visiting Negril and wishing to experience the cliffs. A visit to Negril would be incomplete without a stay at the cliffs.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank CrestBug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Georgia
1 review
Reviewed 9 July 2009

I went against all recommendations and took my preteen/teen children. They loved it. It took a full day for them to realize there was no Television. I told them there was an internet cafe. They never asked to go. This turned out to be one of the best family vacations we ever had. We jumped off every cliff available, had the Yoga Instructor to ourselves and enjoyed the pool and restaurant. Tensing Pen was ideal for us.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank travelbrook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amish Country
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 July 2009

I looked at pictures of Tensing Pen before we took our trip, but nothing could prepare me for the blue beauty of the Caribbean and the chill atmosphere of this romantic paradise. We arrived mid-day and were escorted to our room – Rock Cottage II. The accommodations were gorgeous and the view spectacular but, after one night, we realized the room was suffering from some technical difficulties. The staff responded immediately and we were soon moved to another room of our choosing – the North Pillar. The room we chose had no A/C, and it was brutal when there was no breeze, but I noticed the A/C rooms had no screens, just glass, and we chose the heat over not being able to hear the night sounds of Jamaica.

There aren’t many scheduled activities at Tensing Pen, just a variety of places to hang out and enjoy the atmosphere and the company of your loved one. We spent hours chilling in the hammock hut, poolside and on our pillar balcony. When we got hot we’d jump into the pool or float on rafts in the sea. I wish Tensing Pen would put buoys around one of its coves for safety because the water can get choppy and you are on your own if you get into trouble. The resort was nearly empty, but I imagine it would have a cool summer camp vibe if it were at capacity.

The staff at TP leaves you alone but they make sure you have everything you need. Everyone should spend some time in the company of the resident bartender, Razor – he’s sharp on both sides :-). The complimentary breakfast is adequate and there’s plenty of coffee. The food in the restaurant is good, but on the pricey side. Perhaps the best thing about TP is the trio of amazing restaurants right across the street. Amazing, inexpensive food can be had at Shark’s, Alice’s or Ras Rody’s. We also picked up some Red Stripe, Ting and plantain chips at the little market across the street.

And no review of Tensing Pen would be complete without a shout out to Tensing and Sugar, the resident Rhodesian Ridgebacks. They will bond with particular guests and hang with them the whole time. Sugar is protective of her adopted owner and will bark at staff and guests who approach, but she’s harmless. They bonded with us on the morning of our departure and we left them snoozing on the floor in our room. Staying at Tensing Pen is truly an experience of a lifetime.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank PuffinEllis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Jersey
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 26 June 2009

We took our Honeymoon at The Tensing Pen. Unfortunately, my husband got the flu on the plane there and we weren't able to do any exploring of the island so we were basically confined to the "resort". Every single staff member made us feel at home, and was genuinely concerned with my husband's health. Everyday they would ask if we needed anything at all and they were more than happy to go above and beyond.
I dont like calling it a resort because it felt more like staying in a guest house on a friend's property. The staff completely leaves you alone unless you request their assistance.
The menu which we got to know well because we couldnt go anywhere was the only downside. Options limited and dinner was a bit pricey. All our meals were absolutely delicious but do not be afraid to try the food just across the street at "Sharks." It looks a little rundown but the owner keeps the drug pushers out so you wont be bothered. Also for $500.00 Jamaican you can get a huge delicious plate of curried goat, our favorite, or jerk chicken to stay or bring back across the street.
I do not recommend this place for small children because the tranquility is one of its many charms. I also don't recommend this place for people that are scared of dogs. Tensing and Sugar are very tame and love to calmly greet and sit next to all the guests. It was a shame to see them locked up for several days because a guest was petrified of dogs.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Giddydingo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brooklyn, NY
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 June 2009

I stayed here on the recommendation of one of my best friend's for a friend's wedding at one of the all-inclusive resorts. I was a little hesitant about not being in the same hotel as the wedding party (it's about 10-15 minutes driving from the main strip of all-inclusive resorts), but I have to say that this resort was ABSOLUTELY amazing. I was only there for a weekend but it was the most relaxing and revitalizing time of my life.

As commented by others, waking up and going to sleep to the waves crashing against the cliffs was more soothing than hearing the "disco club music" that tends to be playing at the larger resorts. Small, and tucked away in the west end of Negril, this is a place for one to recoup and come back refreshed. It's also only about 5 minutes walking from famed Rick's Cafe, so that was bonus.

While it definitely has the ambiance for a WONDERFUL romantic getaway (I would definitely recommend having your wedding and/or honeymoon here), it's also great for a girls' getaway or as I said before, just to take a solitary moment to yourself.

The staff was pleasant and helpful throughout - organizing rides into the main strip when I needed to get to the wedding - as well as recommending places to go and see and eat. The prices also cannot be beat. I didn't have dinner there but the menu looked fine with a selection all at reasonable rates and the chefs and waiters are there to explain any dish that you may have questions about.

Please note that there are no TVs or phones in the rooms so if that is something that you know you and/or people traveling with you will need, it's not here. With a good book and a portable radio, you can be fine - if you really want to relax.

I'll definitely be coming back and this time for longer. I'd love to experience the spa amenities and actually get some swimming in the pool if possible. (The weather wasn't warm enough for me to get into the water - it unfortunately was over cast the whole weekend). There are lovely little alcoves in the cliffs for sunbathing as well as built areas around the cliff. (Pics to come)

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank BKExplorer
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 Luxury Hotel in Negril
#4 Spa Hotel in Negril
#6 Romantic Hotel in Negril
#9 Family Hotel in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Tensing Pen Resort 4*
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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