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“Fabulously Relaxing Getaway over New Years”

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The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel
Ranked #1 of 85 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Fabulously Relaxing Getaway over New Years”
Reviewed 24 January 2013

So me and my wife like to travel frequently and always enjoy the selection process....especially for the once a year (maybe twice) 3-4 night getaway without our 3 kids. The parent's trips are almost always booked kind of last minute so finding flights and hotels are always kind of tricky. We knew it had to be hot so Miami and Atlantis weren't going to fit the bill, since they are almost always only highs in the 70s in Dec/Jan. Aruba or Riviera Maya would work, but we'd been there recently and were getting kind of old. Found a flight (I could get on miles) from Newark to Montego Bay. Had been there a couple years prior and it was just OK. Stayed at the Ritz on MoBay and it was great, the golf was immaculate at White Witch, however the water was only so so. Figured maybe there were some other places in Jamaica with better water? A quick search on Tripadvisor and found the #1 hotel in Jamaica was "The Spa Retreat" in a place called Negril on the "cliffs" ...and it was only 1hr outside Montego Bay. Apparently great water, beautiful scenery, great service, reasonable rates, etc. ...seemed too good to be true.

I have read a LOT of Tripadvisor reviews and this was hands down the most uniformly positive hotel reviews I have seen. GLOWING reviews, GUSHING reviews. A LOT of them from Canadians ….apparently fans of their own brood ;-) I assumed either this must be an incredible place, or there is some sort of sham going on.

Well, I’m glad to report , it is no sham. It is almost perfect.

I’ve been in more luxurious hotel rooms, in places with faster service, even in places with better pools or more manicured grounds….but none of them compare to the Spa Retreat. The TOTAL experience provided by the staff and how they make you feel at home is unparalleled. Christine and Shane have picked an exquisite piece of real estate, and more importantly -- an amazing staff - that results in the reviews you see here.

The room was perfect for what it needed to be. Clean, with ample space and privacy for 2. The water takes longer to get warm than it does back home in NJ….but who cares …its 85F outside in Negril and 16F outside right now in Jersey.

Included in the room fee they provide you with a cell phone that can be used for local calls or for calls to/from the US. How cool is that? Actually such a genius move for International travelers I don’t know why more hotels don’t do it. Alternative would have been worse coverage and $1.99 minute if I had setup roaming with VZW as I had planned. This was perfect to call the driver whenever you needed to be picked up or dropped off. I figured we would call the US more on it, but actually only ended up doing that once. Fee Wifi with decent speed and signal in the room, so we did Skype with kids every night instead before dinner.

Food was the best of any we had anywhere else in Negril. Authentic Jerk Chicken from the drum-oven-bbq-thing, not just grilled chicken with canned jerk sauce like you’ll get at Rick’s. When its the dinner rush, service can be slow – but everything is cooked to order and the staff is just so pleasant – so its hard to be too picky.

The hotel pool and main terrace area is situated on rocks approx 5-6 ft above the sea. It is crystal clear and if the waves aren’t too rough there is a ladder you can climb down to swim or snorkel with the free equipment they provide.

I would also recommend a visit to seven mile beach while in Negril. Just a $10/5 minute drive from the hotel. It is comparable to Palm Beach in Aruba – super calm and super clear. We enjoyed lunch at Margaritaville where the food is nothing exciting however the view, beach, scene and complimentary loungers give you more of the party Jamaican vibe in a semi-protected space. A lot of the other areas of the beach can be kind of shady, with constant peddlers. The hotel had recommended going to another place further down 7 mile beach called Boardwalk, but that was a little too small and dead for us.

Since you are in Negril cliff area you need to stop by Rick’s. Get a table on the second floor verandah overlooking the cliff divers as well as the sunset. Don’t expect a lot from the food, however good times.

Every time we left The Spa Retreat and came back we genuinely felt like we were coming home.

New Years was also a blast. Started off slow as the crowd at a place called Spa Retreat tends to be quite relaxed, however by midnight the DJ had us all dancing our tails off to Gangnam Style. Every couple got a Sky Lantern to light at New Years Eve, pretty cool.

Shout out to Jonnel – hold onto her, she’s good. Rocky is a riot, always smiling while running around after something or the other. Talk to him BTW, and he’ll hook you up with some quick hot water. Dwayne also always running around and mixes some crazy Blue Mahoes. Good times, can’t wait to go back.

Wow, I’ve been typing for a while.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Domain123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jamiekeeley, Public Relations Manager at The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 18 February 2013
Thank you for your review of "Negril's Newest Gem"! We are so pleased that you feel we offered the total experience and must agree the personal cell phone is an excellent bonus. We look forward to your return one day! One love.
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (281)
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
96 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 January 2013

I was physically and emotionally drained. Everyone around me was sick with the flu and I was starting to feel sick myself. When the stresses of work and life wear me down, I get to a point where my body tells me I need to spend some time taking care of myself for the sake of the people around me. This is the condition I was in when I boarded Air Canada Flight 982 for Montego Bay. I was met at the airport by a friendly man driving a private car, (arranged, like so many things would be, by my as yet undiscovered team of “caregivers” from The Spa Retreat). After what seemed like a very short trip, we arrived at the spa to the warm welcome of Heather, Shane, Christine and Jonnel. We were given a tour of the property and shown to our rooms. I signed up for the meal plan and booked each of us a massage for the next morning. My transformation from an on edge, crusty middle aged man had begun. This is a lovely property, perched on the cliffs of Negril. The warm Caribbean Sea is right there, but if it isn’t close enough for you, a sea water filled swimming pool awaits you, surrounded by sand filled beach pods. Our room was a spacious thatched roof stone hut affording us a view of the sea by day, a spectacular daily sunset, and a star filled sky by night. The food, served in the open air, sea side dining space, was amazing. We ventured off the property a couple of times in search of some local flavour, but ultimately realized that there was no need to. So here I am, back in my office 8 days later feeling brand new, ready to tackle whatever comes my way. My advice, if you decide to treat yourself to some time at the Spa Retreat, is to buy the all inclusive meal plan, and book a treatment for every day of your stay. That way, you will pretty much be assured of not only having a great holiday, but you will come back to reality equipped to deal with whatever comes your way. This place is a gem, and the people who work there make it so. Thank you to all of you!

Room Tip: All the rooms looked wonderful - this is a very compact but well designed property, so all of the ro...
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
5 Thank Jim C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tanya F, Public Relations Manager at The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 31 January 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review our boutique hotel on the West End Cliffs of Negril! We are content to learn that your time at The SPA Retreat was rejuvenating and that our "team of caregivers" were successful in breathing life back in to your tired soul. Until next time, one love.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 January 2013

Please don't tell anybody about this place- it's a hidden gem. Very well designed, excellent and friendly staff, great location. We'll be coming back for sure. We loved jumping off the rocks into the blue ocean, followed by the resident dog, Rosa (lovely animal). The views are also amazing.

This place is going to become very popular- it raises the bar for boutique hotels in the area.

Room Tip: Even the ground level garden view rooms have a partial view of the water. If you need to save $, thi...
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Paul N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TanyaFarl, Public Relations Manager at The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 14 January 2013
Thank you for your kind words about The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel, recently deemed "Negril's Newest Gem" in an editorial piece! It is truly humbling to read that we have "raised the bar for boutique hotels in the area" as The SPA team strives to elevate the standard for customer service. We must agree, nothing beats jumping from the natural cliffs into the refreshing ocean water. Rosa awaits your next swim together, one love!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 January 2013

My husband and I stayed here for 4 short days. It is by far one the best small hotels I have been to in my travels. The service is first class and genuinely friendly, the grounds are amazing and the view is astonishing. The relaxation begins the moment you walk in the door and are greeted by the cheery and professional Jonnel who is a fabulous go to that obviously loves and excels at her position. You are given a short massage, some delicious punch and a cooled cloth. The entire experience starts on the right foot and never falters. The bar staff is great, especially Dwayne who seems to be around the most. The spa provides amazing services. I had the best pedicure of my life at sunset over looking the ocean - all spa services are completed outside under a tented structure on a cliff over looking the water. In addition I had a wonderful massage and body scrub.

The food, oh the food! The chef is world class, a true culinary talent. The lobster pot is phenomenal and the jerk sauce is perfect. We sit writing this as we devour our last round of akee and salt fish, sipping on a (better than Ricks Cafe) Planter's Punch. If we had this place available in DC, where we live, we would be fighting for a table every Friday. Camiel, one of the waitresses we saw most is very attentive and sweet. She is totally flexible as are all of the staff. Something you just never see at the bigger chains. Speaking of which, I hesitate a great deal to write this review, out of complete selfishness, because I hate to see the now reasonable prices sky rocket and see the inevitable influx of annoying tourists make it difficult to return. But the dedicated staff and amazing and inspiring owners deserve the shout out. The owners are Canadian, as am I, and what can I say, we are a nice people :) but please, shhhhhh!

I should also finally mention that this my first trip advisor review. Though we use the service all the time to travel, I've never felt the desire to I've thanks or to think my review mattered much. Having found this place on trip advisor only, I know that management cares and pays attention to every detail. Particularly guests' opinions and so please do enjoy yourselves there!

Room Tip: Seaside is amazing.
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
8 Thank Jayne B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TanyaFarl, Public Relations Manager at The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 14 January 2013
Thank you for your review, we are honored to have captured your first ever TripAdvisor response! We are thrilled to learn of your enjoyable experience with our boutique hotel & Blue Mahoe Restaurant. Our team will continue to raise the bar of excellence, considering every detail as you mention. We look forward to your next visit, soon come!
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 January 2013

I'm writing this review from the deck of the Spa Retreat, staring out across the blue waters of the Caribbean. I just checked out and wanted to have one last breakfast here before I head to Ocho Rios. Jamaican music is softly playing in the background. The breeze is slight but cooling. And I have enjoyed the stay of a lifetime.

First the bad: you eventually have to check out. You ultimately have to leave and go home. That is really the only downside.

Now the good: everything else. We were here over New Years, the most crowded time. We had no problem finding loungers at any time during the day. The property is very beautiful and maintained. The rooms are spectacular. The view is gorgeous. The sunsets are remarkable. I could go on but am running out of adjectives.

The staff is top notch. When you arrive, they tell you "Welcome Home". But unlike other places, you really feel they mean it. Every staff member we ran into was willing to do whatever was necessary to make our stay more enjoyable and memorable. I even saw a staff member run into town to buy some medicine for a cranky, hung over guest.

We had a car and often went out into the city and surrounding areas. Yet we always came back to the resort for meals (and we weren't on the meal plan). The food was the best around. And not at all expensive. Do yourself a favor and have the Ackee and Saltfish for breakfast. You can thank me later.

Did I mention the view. There are many pictures on trip advisor of this place and they're all accurate -- except that you don't get the true feel until you arrive,

If you like large crowds, waiting in line for things, and yelling children, I suggest you go on a cruise. If not, you cannot beat this place.

Room Tip: I'd rather not tell you what rooms are the best so I can save them for my return visit! Sorry...
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Teddy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TanyaFarl, Public Relations Manager at The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 14 January 2013
Thank you for taking the time to share your review of The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel! It is always a great joy of ours to learn when our guests feel truly "at home" during their stay. We must agree the Ackee & Salt-fish is a superb choice for breakfast and second your recommendation to those who have yet to try the national dish of Jamaica! Until next time, one love.
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Ottawa, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2012

I recently stayed at The SPA Retreat Jamaica and have added it to my 'got to do again' list. I spent a week in November of this year at this lovely Canadian owned resort where I felt not only pampered by the SPA staff but by the whole experience. From my spotless seaside cottage overlooking the ocean to the excellent cuisine,hospitable staff and hands-on owners it was quite the treat. I especially valued the small relaxing atmosphere and the friendliness of the staff. Where have you been where the housekeeper knows you by name and checks in to see that everything is to your liking! Thank you Christine and Shane for your creativity and atttention to detail and to all the staff for making me feel so at home. I look forward to catching up with you again.Cheers! Holly

Room Tip: I would definitely go for a seaside cottage. Cottage 7 is my choice!
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Holly M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TanyaFarl, Public Relations Manager at The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 31 December 2012
Thank you for your wonderful review. The owners and entire team of staff are thrilled that we were able to make you feel as if you were "Queen for the Week"! We look forward to your speedy return where you will no doubt experience the royal treatment once again. One love.
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Fulton, Maryland
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 December 2012

We spent 6 days of just relaxing here. The grounds are meticulously clean. We stayed at a seaside cottage and did the all inclusive plan. The food was very good. I had a snapper that was perfection. I had the same basic meal at a 5 star restaurant and it was no were near as good the meal I had here. My husband had a jerk pork that was a little over cooked the second time he ordered it and I didn't like the linguine but that was one meal each in 6 days so that gives this chef top billing. Our plan was to just relax, so massages were a must. The masseurs are very well trained. I had 3 different girls and they gave the relaxation massage pretty much the same way. I was very happy with the consistent high quality. Just be aware that the spa is outdoors. The staff is also very friendly. Our housekeeper was a delight. We were there in the low season so there were very few guest but that was just great as having to make small talk is not my idea of relaxing. What to be aware of - no tv unless you ask, there can be some noise from surrounding facilities as night, minimal furniture for clothing, hair dryer and iron are available if you ask for them. I notice noise a couple of nights but it was not to the point of being annoying. Queen size bed in the cottages are nice and cozy but if you need more room then you may not want to stay in the seaside cottage. I would not exchange the view and sunsets from the cottages for a bigger bed. We would like to thank the chef and his crew for being careful with my husband's meals. He is very allergic to fish and seafood and we had no problems with cross contamination. Thank you. We have had to rush to the emergency room before so cross contamination is a constant concern but after a couple of days I stopped worrying about it because they seem to take his allergy as seriously as we did.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Robin L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TanyaFarl, Public Relations Manager at The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 21 December 2012
Thank you for your review of The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel! We are thrilled that you enjoyed our relaxing seaside massages paired with the Blue Mahoe dining experience and appreciate your feedback. Our team considers the health and safety of our guests to be a top priority thus, we are pleased to note that you were able to relax once assured that your husband was well taken care of! We look forward to welcoming you back for many more sunsets, one love.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel

Property: The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel
Address: West End Cliffs | Westmoreland, Negril ., Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#1 Romantic Hotel in Negril
#1 Luxury Hotel in Negril
#1 Spa Hotel in Negril
#4 Business Hotel in Negril
#5 Family Hotel in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A true luxury escape located on the West End Cliffs of Negril, Jamaica and located on nearly 2 acres of oceanfront; this unique property extends from white sandy beach into exotic grey cliffs overlooking the vibrant turquoise hues of the Caribbean Sea. 18 Handcrafted stone cottages with spectacular tropical gardens and cliff side dining at the Blue Mahoe Restaurant will enhance your SPA escape. The SPA Retreat features an open-air day spa offering classic aesthetic treatments with a Jamaican flair. The adults only, SPA Retreat features a sea water pool, sandy beach deck, A/C, free Wi-Fi, in-room safe, yoga and specialty tours to enhance your experience. The devotion to quality and service familiar to The SPA’s Canadian locations continues to surpass guest expectations from the moment your flight touches down. We look forward to having you as our guest! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Spa Retreat Hotel Negril
Heart Beat Seaside Retreat Negril

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