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“A True Escape”
Review of The Caves

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The Caves
Ranked #5 of 85 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
Melville, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“A True Escape”
Reviewed 18 May 2010

My husband and I went to The Caves in the beginning of May for our 5 year anniversary and as our first trip alone after having our daughter 13 months before. I was looking for a place that was the opposite of a “mega-resort” where we could relax, recharge, reconnect, eat, drink and SLEEP. After doing a lot of research on here (I would check for new reviews like checking for a new boyfriend’s emails!), The Caves looked like the perfect place for us. And it completely lived up to my expectations!

I won’t repeat everything that everyone always says. It’s all spot on. It’s a very, very special place. I will try and give some highlights, tips and my few criticisms. Hopefully they will be helpful.

HIGHLIGHTS:
- IT’S SMALL: Something that people don’t really talk about on here is the size of the resort. (Hey, TripAdvisor, you really should list how many rooms a hotel has AND when it was built/last renovated!). There are only 12, I think, rooms on the whole property! That means a max of 24 people (in our case it wasn’t full and I think only 16 or so were there.) This is sooooo wonderful. Being from a densely populated area, I love small resorts, but this one really took the cake. You could always find a spot where there was no one around.
- IT’s QUIET: Due to the size, the type of person who comes here, the classy staff and just the natural sounds of the waves on the rocks, it’s so nice and quiet. You almost want to whisper at dinner. People are very respectful and except for some screaming when you get the courage to do a jump, it’s pure peace.
- TIME STRETCHES FOREVER: I was worried that we were only going to have 4 nights there (it’s kind of a schlep from the airport too), but time passes so wonderfully slowly there. So if you can only go for a few days, it’ll be worth it and you’ll still feel renewed.
- PERFECT TEMP: Not too hot, not too cold. Not my normal experience in the Caribbean.
- SPECIAL STAFF: OK, people talk about the staff all the time so that’s nothing new. But they really are wonderful. Any time they walk by you get a “You good?” and they genuinely make you feel like they are glad you are there. And no one has a “that’s not my job” mentality. It’s like when they were hired the manager said, “OK, your job is X, but really, it’s to make guests happy.” In particular, Patrick (Hi Patrick! Xoxoxo), the lunch ladies (I never knew their names somehow!), Anna/Michelle in the spa, Paul. Just great people and they do a great job.

TIPS:
- Skip the sunset hot tub. It’s kind of lame and the view is much better from the pool.
- Make yourself do the jumps – if you only do one, do the blue hole and look back up. Amazing feeling.
- Float on a raft inside the blue hole just listening to the waves crash, watching the bats, and feeling like you are on another planet.
- Always, always, always get the combo for meals. (We loved all meals. If you are a very picky eater you may not like it here, but if you like food like we do, you’ll love it.)
- Ask Paul for signs (someone said that foamy water was a sign) and be on the lookout for tiny, almost invisible jelly fish. I got stung pretty bad and am still itching everywhere!
- Don’t leave the resort while you are there. Just enjoy all it has to offer.
- See if you can get Cave #2 for your cave dinner. It’s prettier and not as hot. This was like being on “THE MOST ROMANTIC ONE-ON-ONE DATE EVER” on the bachelor! HA! Really memorable.
- Have a specialty rum in the rum cave. If rum isn’t your thing, bring another drink down there. It’s a really cool place.
- Get a disposable underwater camera to take shots inside the blue hole, on the raft looking back at the resort, etc. I really regret this.

CRITICISMS:
If I could have, I would've given the resort 4.5 stars for the below things that I do hope they work on. They didn’t really dampen our vacation though and I still wholeheartedly recommend this resort, but they are things I wish I was aware of, so here you go:
- ROOMS: I was prepared for the kitschy-ness (I normally like a much more modern aesthetic) and knew it would be rustic, but I wasn’t prepared for how much so. Our room, Blue Dolphin, really could use some work. The paint was chipped on the walls, ceiling and bathtub, the bathroom floor was sticky and was yellowed like there was a flood, and the toilet was stained and brown. Overall it didn't live up to the luxurious and well-cared for atmosphere throughout the rest of the resort. I was actually kind of upset about it at first, but once I got over it, I realized that beyond those things, the AC worked great, bed was comfy, towels plush and clean, and the tub, while chipped is gigantic and really fun to take a shower in! So just set your expectations and hopefully they’ll do some renovations soon…
- THE WINE: Oh, I was so sad about this. I love wine, my drink of choice always, but I’m actually not a wine snob. (It’s rare for me to meet a wine I don’t like!) But I thought both whites (sauvignon blanc and a chardonnay) were almost undrinkable and the reds (cabernet and a merlot) were only slightly better. I stuck to fruity drinks (very good, albeit weak, made always with fresh fruit!) in the day and just didn’t indulge that much with the reds at dinner (but maybe that was a good thing!)
- SELF SERVE BAR: While it was great that you could make yourself a drink whenever you wanted if there wasn't someone at the bar, I really would have liked someone staffing the bar more frequently (no one can make those tropical drinks quite like those guys could!) For example, one night during happy hour/sunset time, there was no one there. My husband tried to make a drink and failed miserably. ;-)

But as I said, everything else is wonderful. You’ll have a fantastic vacation. BOOK IT NOW! You won’t be sorry.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank AdeliciousT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Big Sky, Montana
Level Contributor
63 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 April 2010

We were hoping after the terrible experience we had at Beaches, Sandy Bay in Negril that this would be better. How wonderful. The staff are very helpful, courteous and actually smile!! The views from the cliff are amazing with the waves breaking against the rocks. You don't have to go anywhere to watch a beautiful sunset. We stayed in The Butterfly room, an upstairs king suite. It is VERY comfortable. We rated this the best view from our bed ever, we travel ALOT!!! Breakfast and lunch were very good, dinners we ok-below expectations by far. Had a massage by Patrick, very nice. Read books lying in hammocks all one afternoon with the sound of the surf below. The caves were very cool. The surf was a little rough to swim, my husband did a little. We would go back and hope they have dinner figured out.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank StlWrldtraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
26 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2010

Simply amazing. In all likelihood, if you stay at the Caves, it will probably be the best (read: most relaxing and enjoyable) vacation you’ve ever had.

We chose to stay at The Caves for our honeymoon for 10 full days based on these TripAdvisor reviews and after we recalled seeing it on the Travel Channel. We simply could NOT have chosen a better resort for a relaxing honeymoon.

ROOMS: The rooms are all awesome, some more than others. We peeked in quite a few when no one was checked-in. The best room is definitely Stardust (where we stayed, of course!) because its isolated and private at the end of the resort, it has an incredible view off the private balcony that overhangs the cliffs. All the rooms have a guest log, where people write comments and suggestions for activities/drinks/food and other fun tips. It’s a great idea and fun to read when you arrive. NOTE: Stardust does not have any A/C at all, but in March the weather was amazing and we did not need it at all (and we like to keep a cool room to sleep in). It could certainly be miserable, I’m sure, if you stayed there in June/July/August…but why would you come to a warm climate when it’s warm at your house back home? Go to Jamaica in FEB/MAR/APR or OCT/NOV (if you wanna brave the chance of hurricanes). We also didnt see a single mosquito the whole time...even tho other reviews mentioned them. Locals indicated that they only come out after rains and subsequent water stagnation. So, we really didn't see any bugs at all!!

FOOD: First of all, we are SERIOUS foodies…all the food is fantastic and overall quite delicious. There’s a good amount of local Jamaican fare and a lot of variety between meals. It’s an amazing feeling to just sit down whenever, immediately be served great food, and then just walk off without having to fuss with your wallet or sign a bill (the room rate includes 10% tip, you can add tips to individual staff or a lump tip at the end of your stay when you check out). Don’t forget to reserve a breakfast in bed for one morning and they’ll bring it right to you. Oh yeah, and always just order the “combo” meal for dinner…that way you get to try ALL the entrée, appetizer, and soup options. The soups, by the way, are all fantastic and really stood out. Just eat it all, fatty!! You're on vacation, remember?!

GUESTS: Since the maximal capacity of the resort (currently) is about 32, you start to get to know the guests and find another fun couple to hang out with and have drinks together.

DRINKS: Well, there’s self-replenishing bottles of alcohol in the room…need we say more? Yes. The bars are always open so, even without a bartender present, they encourage you go behind and mix up your own drinks…anytime! We weren’t so good at mixing up the frozen rum drinks, such as the Dirty Banana, Daquiris, Rum Runners, etc…so we let them take care of those.

STAFF: Patrick: Get a few glasses of Merlot in Patrick and he will keep you entertained for the entire evening. What a great guy. Really fantastic to talk to and we enjoyed all the time spent with him. Brian: Great server who will take care of you for Breakfast/Lunch, very nice and pleasant person. Alex: will take care of you for dinner…great hospitality. Melissa: Can’t say enough about how well she took care of us during the day (I commented how I wanted to taste JB, the LOCAL overproof rum…and five minutes later, she came back with a bottle! She had run to the nearest store and bought it for us, just to be nice! No charge!) Unbelievable service overall. Elvis: He’ll give you the lowdown on the area, and gives a nice tour of the property. Imron: Bartender/server who took care of us in the Cave dining. Really nice guy, class act, and quite tall as well. Zoom: The other bartender…he “made” us shoot lots of Bob Marley shots over the course of our stay. Sherman, Ron, and all the other chefs: they are amazing chefs…and wild, too! I stood behind the bar and fed them an ungodly amount of shots after dinner (enough to make me black out) and they just took them like it was nothing while continuing to crack jokes and hang out all night. FYI, they all have interesting “nicknames” (most in Jamaica do) and also personal drink recipes they will make for you.

TRANSPORT: If you need to go into town (don’t go to 7-mile beach unless you love tourist trap areas and fighting for chairs....but, maybe you should go check out the Sandals reviews then...), check out Times Square and maybe the craft market (but it’s really high pressure and quite destitute...also, you could fail a drug test just by breathing the air there for an extended period of time.)

ACTIVITIES: Simply MUST reserve the Cave dining upon arrival, it’s an indescribable experience (choose the large cave (#2), it’s better). Imron served us an amazing meal down there and then left us alone for the rest of the night to relax with some champagne/wine in the cave. Very relaxing and a unique experience. Also, reserve the Cave Hottub for the “moonlight” block, but check the water temp ~15min before your appointment. We had to drain the whole tub, then re-fill it with hotter water…and this took ~30min. Also, head down to the Cigar/Rum Bar Cave (they charge fees for these specialty rums and cigars, but it’s cheap!) and enjoy some drinks/cigars one evening. Find Paul and reserve a calm-water day for kayaking and cave/reef snorkeling. The reefs are amazing and Paul with take you into the Cave to wake up the bats (yes, bats!) and take you to some amazing locales inside the caves themselves (including underwater routes from one cave to another!). Make sure you go cliff diving! By the end of our 10-day trip, I was diving head first off the 35 footer and my wife jumped off the 20 footer. The resort was so amazing, that we never left…even for the Rum Distillery tour! And we NEVER just sit around and do nothing when we take vacations…but it was simply too relaxing and enjoyable to ever want to leave.

LOCALE: The Cliffside location is unparalleled. We met multiple guests who also travel frequently and all agreed this resort had no equal. All the other resorts (Sandals, Beaches, etc…) all have daily catamaran tours that come down to Caves from Negril beach, then turn back. In other words, those folks are coming from their resort via boat just to see how cool ours is…the effort certainly was not reciprocated! Haha. The cliff side locations are amazing and there are plenty of spots to tuck away and relax, read, and drink all day long. Our entire weeked we did not have to compete for a beach chair the entire time…there was always space available. This might not always be the case.

You can't find a better resort...why haven't you booked this already?

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Taylor_Vaughn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
Level Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed 25 March 2010

The Caves is a beautiful and unique hotel perched on a cliff above crystal blue water. The food was fantastic and the staff was great. Loved watching the cliff divers and we even did the jumps, feet first :)
Very relaxing trip!
Only downside is there is no beach in walking distance to the hotel.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jetty123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, ON
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2010

We travelled from March 16-March 21 to the caves. It was by far the best trip we have ever been on! We went for 4 nights/ 5 days for our honeymoon. We travelled from Toronto, Canada. The Caves took care of our transportation to and from the airport, and everything in between. The resort went out of their way to make us feel like we were celebrities! The resort gives all of its guests 100% customer service. All of the people that work there are awesome. For people thinking of going, definitely book a dinner in the caves, a private hot-tub and visit the spa! The views are amazing at the caves. Take time to visit the cigar bar, and socialize with some locals at the sands bar. It is by far the best place we've visited. The food there makes it feel like its a 5 star restaurant! I came back home 10 lbs heavier..we couldn't stop eating! Order a dirty banana from the bar as well. Its an amazing drink! We will definitely go back to the caves! All of the reviews we read prior to going are all bang on. It is truely an AMAZING resort!

Parm and Amandeep
Toronto, ON Canada

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank parmalicious
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zürich
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2010

Besides the perfect location on the cliffs (other tourists pilger to Rick's Café nearby to enjoy the sunset), this little hideaway has everything you need for a romantic timeout. There is a reason why proms as Bill Gates, Harrison Ford and Michael Douglas have spend their vacation at The Caves. Sure, this is definitely the wrong place if you are looking for pool animation, party and action, but the happy and friendly personell will try everything to fulfill your wishes and live up to your expectations. More than 50 people of staff for max. 26 guests explains the excellent service. The food is very good (and so are the barkeeper's creations - try Zoom's Special!) and like everybody else I would like to recommend snorkeling with Paul, the cave dinner and the hot bath tub. Most of the other guests regretted they booked only two or three nights. The room's - although comfortable - are simple, but provide everything you need (and let's face it, you're not inside unless you go to bed). BTW: The massage was the best I ever had.

Unfortunately The Caves will undergo a major refurbishment in 2011 or 2012 that will increase it's size a lot and put up several more cottages on the cliff-front. Although I have no doubt that the great service will not be sacrificed, a lot of it's romantic hideaway character that comes from it's simplicity will probably be gone forever. So, if you want to visit this Caribbean gem in it's original form - hurry up!

P.S. Dare to take the 30ft jump of the cliffs...

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Christian R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2010

If you enjoy crowds of people, high rise hotels, crowded beaches and an extremely action pact vacation, "The Caves" is not for you. "The Caves" is an elite resort, (not snobby though) it is very expensive but worth every penny!!!! My husband and I went there for our honeymoon, we were the youngest couple there, I was 21 and my husband 26, it's a small resort and only 5 other couples were there not including us so 6 in total. Out of the 6 couples only two were honeymooners thats including us.
Food/Drinks
The service was impeccable, since it's all inclusive, including drinks it was like a never ending party! The staff leaves at a certain time in the evening so you can go behind the bar and make your own drinks, very nice!!! Each bar tender or waitress has there own special mixed drink make sure you ask them to make it for you, they were all very good!! I like the "dirty banana" My husband liked "rum punch" Food was amazing the chief is an american woman who married a native jamaican she infuses american style cooking and mixes in jamaican spices and vegetables, herbs etc. I tried everything from goat to every kind of fish, my husband loved there jerk chicken! Breakfast, lunch and diner were served with in a time period but they were very flexible, remember your on island time!! (time does not really matter) At every meal you were given at least 3 choices of what you wanted or you could try all three!!! It was wonderful! If you don't like what you chose you can just try something else, very accommodating!
Tipping
Me and my husband did tip the servers but not everyone did, i guess if your feeling generous you can or can not, i don't think the servers expect it
Room
We stayed in the butterfly room, which was on the top floor it was not air conditioned but it didn't matter, there's lot's of windows and a constant breeze from the ocean, it cools in the evening anyways, if it did seem hot take a cool shower before bed and we left our ceiling fan on before we went to diner to keep the air circulating, we did ask the front desk for an extra fan so my husband had one on his side of the bed and I had one on mine! You do want to use the mosquito net at night! Our feet got bitten a couple of nights and we had to shut our window because I was afraid of the bats that fly around at night, they come out of the caves.
- Room service comes twice a day once in the morning and once at night, very good always fresh towels and the bed was always made perfect and bathroom left spotless!!!
Activities
Included in the package at the caves is, free snorkeling and kayaking, cave diner, and a jacuzzi night,
-For snorkeling and kayaking Paul is the guy! You can find him walking around the resort
very helpful!
For the cave diner and jacuzzi when you check they usually have you reserve your time I suggest sunset for the private jacuzzi, and cave diner late evening you want it to be dark because it's candle lit extremely romantic!
There is a spa in the caves resort not included, me and my husband did a couples massage for an hour, extremely relaxing, pricey totally worth it, I can not remember the massage therapists names but there's only two and we had them, 15% gratuity is administered.
There's a number of other things you can do that the resort does not offer, you just have to go to the main office and they'll give you a booklet, and set up anything you want, like
deep sea fishing, jet skiing, hiking, etc.

-me and my husband did not leave the resort, except for going to the airport I would be cautious jamaica is not the safest island

I hope this was helpful

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank IsabellaTravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Caves

Property: The Caves
Address: Light House Road | P.O. Box 3113, 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 Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Negril
#2 Romantic Hotel in Negril
#4 Luxury Hotel in Negril
#5 Spa Hotel in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — The Caves 4*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Caves sits along the limestone cliffs of the West End of Negril, right next to the famous Negril Lighthouse in Jamaica. Although situated only a few miles away from the bustling town center, this private enclave is a world apart. Eleven handcrafted wood and stone thatched-roof cottages, plus a 4-bedroom fully self-contained luxury villa, are interwoven between ten acres of lush vegetation and naturally formed volcanic caves. Quaint stone pathways wind through the limestone cliffs dotted with palm, sea grape and dogwood trees overlooking the Caribbean Sea. An arrangement of coral stairs and walkways lead to sundecks with uninterrupted views of the sea and sky, and grottos with turquoise water pools and fossilized marine life. A tropical reef system comes right up to the edge of the cliff, perfect for snorkeling. Guests can climb down ladders into the sea or take a leap from several “jump points,” the highest of which is 30 feet! An intimate, private and unique resort, The Caves is perfect for romance and relaxation.The Caves generally does not accept children under 16 years old. Exceptions must be cleared with the hotel management. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Caves Hotel Negril
Caves Hotel Negril
The Caves Resort Negril
Caves Jamaica
Caves Negril

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