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.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- The Spa Retreat Hotel Negril
- Heart Beat Seaside Retreat Negril