We just returned from Beaches Negril (Dec. 16-22). We have boy/girl twins age 8. This was our first experience at an "all-inclusive" resort. I read several reviews of the resort before traveling and I have to say I was a bit concerned about what we would find. Most concerns were unfounded.
Upon arrival at the airport, we were met by Beaches staff, relieved of our luggage (huge bonus) and offered a clean and welcoming lounge where we could use the restroom and get a beverage. We had just enough time to do both, when we were told that our transportation to the resort was ready. We were escorted to a small bus and were on our way. We did not have to touch our luggage again until we arrived at the airport for our departure:)
The ride to the resort took about 90 minutes. I found the trip quite enjoyable (you can take cocktails obtained at the airport lounge on the bus - huge bonus for mom:). The driver was friendly and responsive to our collective desire to forgo a stop in order to arrive at the resort more quickly. The countryside and small towns we passed on the way gave our family a glimps into the "real" Jamaica. It was very important to me that my children understand how people really live in Jamaica and that our luxury resort is certainly NOT the norm. This truly instilled a sense of empathy and appreciation in my children toward the staff.
Once we arrived at the resort we were absolutely blown away in almost every way! The "lobby" is beautiful. We were warmly greeted by friendly and professional staff. True to their word, we had NO WORRIES MON! We had a cool drink while the staff checked us into our room. We were escorted to our room and our luggage arrived 5 minutes later. We were at the beach 10 minutes later with a pina colada in our hands and my son was munching on a pizza at Dino's by the pool.
We booked the least expensive double option and could not have been more pleased with our accomodations. We were originally assigned room 220, but were changed to room 912, which I believe was an upgrade b/c of the fact that we were celebrating my husband's 50th birthday. Our room was a standard double which had an ocean view and backed to the resort next door. As I understand our original room (before the upgrade) would have overlooked the road. Being the curious (nosey) person I am, I did go check out the location of our original room. Although it may be considered a "road" view, there was NO way you could see the road through the thick/lush folliage. I'm sure room 220 would have been delightful as well. The housekeeping staff was spot on! Our room was serviced early in the day and the turn down service was a nice touch. There were only a few negatives about the room. One, the refridgerator needed replacing (the door to the freezer was broken off and it didn't get very cold). Also, we did not pay for consierge or butler service and therefore were unable to order room service. We are huge fans of room service, so that was kind of a bummer. You can still do your own "take-away" from most of the restaurants. Also, beer is not stocked in the room fridge. Just juice and pop. I would have really enjoyed a cold beer while sitting on the balconey of my room. Finally, the resort next door can be VERY loud from about 8-11PM. It really didn't bother us b/c we have older children who actually enjoyed falling asleep to the music.
The resort grounds and beach are absolutely gorgeous! Any negatives absolutely melt away when you look out at the lush/fragrant foliage and white sand and azure water! The beach/water is clean, warm, and crystal clear. There are PLENTY of chairs, although if you want a specific spot, you may need to throw a towel and pair of flip flops on chair early in the am. The one negative with regard to the grounds are the bees! My son is deathly afraid of bees and they were very obnoxious. No stings - thank goodness! The vendors on the beach can be obnoxious as well. However, this is part of the culture and most were very friendly and left after a simple "No thank you." We had NO problems with mosquitoes as other have mentioned. We didn't even see one mosquito while we were there. We also had no problem with sand fleas. I'm sorry I took $40 worth of bug spray, it was not needed!
The staff was absolutely, above and beyond WONDERFUL. Every single peson we came in contact with was OUTSTANDING! Most of the staff knew our family by name after the first day. Our family became especially close to Marlin, Opal, Cleopatra, Alicia, and Dian (at the Red Line Spa). Marlin was especially wonderful to us. He made sure my husband had the best 50th birthday and when my son was sick (ear infection), he asked about him with a caring and sincerity that was so touching. In addition, Opal even gave my husband the recipe for a "Jamaican" remedy for my son's cold:) I just can't say enough about the staff!!!
The kid's activities are excellent. The XBOX Game Garage was a God send once my son got sick. He didn't feel well enough to swim, but he could sit in the cool air and play games to his heart's content. (Don't worry parents, I made him use hand sanitzer to keep others from catching his cold!) The glass bottom boat ride was fun and the staff is sure to provide a variety of activities that interest kids of all ages.
So after all this gushing, I'm sure you must think that I work for Beaches..... There are a few negatives. The biggest disappointment was the food. The only good food we had was at Kimono's, Dino's pizza, and the Jamaican Patty at the Carnival Cafe. The Mill (buffet) was hit or miss - mostly miss. The eggs must have been powdered, the juices were not fresh and tasted like flavored juice drinks with corn syrup, and everything was bland, tough, and greasey. We stuck with cereal, toast, cheese, salami, and pasta. I was very disappointed that there wasn't more traditional Jamaican cuisine. I mean, Jamaican food ROCKS! Why wouldn't they showcase it? The burgers, dogs, fries, etc.... were all good at the Carnival Cafe. We only ate at Arizona's (the Tex Mex place) once and it was aweful. I had a steak, that honestly I could barely cut and which hurt my jaw to chew! Stewfish was good, but not great. However dining on the beach under the stars with my family is a memory I will always treasure! Once again, the staff was phenominal. The other disappointment was the quality of the fruit juices used in the cocktails. Although this did not deter my husband and I from consuming many pina coladas during our stay. I was hoping for fresh pineapple, strawberries, etc.....
Another negative as the photo shop. We had about a hundred photos taken during our stay. I was so looking forward to seeing them and planned to purchase many. However, when I went into the photo shop to view them, the lines were 4-5 people deep. I returned later and found the same crowds waiting to view their photos. I was not willing to give up hours of my precious vacation to view photos. Unfortunately Beaches does not have a system to view these photos on the TV in your room or even from your computer once you get home. I'm so sad that those photos are gone forever!
Now I'm getting picky...... the pools could have been about 10 degrees warmer, the hot tubs were usually cold or did not "bubble", more towels by the pools and beach, the PUTT PUTT Golf is substandard, and the service charge at the Red Line Spa was excessive and mysterious.
Overall, this was a wonderful vacation and I would recommend to families with children. We look forward to returning to Beaches Negril soon:)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •Located on the widest stretch of Negril's seven mile white sand beach•Stay at one, play at two with full exchange privileges with Beaches Sandy Bay including a choice of 11 dining options•“Pirates Island” Water Theme Park with 4 slides, meandering “lazy” river and splash deck•Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street themed activities with daily character appearances, parades and stage shows•Kids Kamp & Nursery with wide range of supervised activities•Interactive Teens Program with “Trench Town” Teen's Center and Teens' Coordinator to coordinate teen activities•Expansive Two & Three Bedroom Butler serviced suites•Supervised Xbox® Play Lounge with flat screen plasma TV's & Xbox® 360 game consoles•Beaches Resorts were voted “World's Leading Family All-Inclusive 14 years in a row•Five Star Diamond Award, American Academy of Hospitality Sciences•Six Star Diamond Award, Beaches Resorts – Keeping it Green•EarthCheck Platinum Certified ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Beaches Negril Hotel Negril
- Beaches Hotel Negril
- Negril Beaches Hotel