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Reviewed 22 November 2013

Samsara is a beautiful hotel. My husband and I were looking back through some of our pictures the other day, and it is truly a stunning location. Lush greenery all over, the endless sea visible from almost anywhere, two not-too-large pools at just the right temperature, and many types of luxury beach chairs to just sit, read, and enjoy the calm ocean, with the occasional catamaran full of partying people sailing by, watching the sunset at sea.

Not for young families
However, I could barely enjoy much of that, as my husband and I were with our two young boys, so the first thing is, though this hotel is beautiful, and potentially fine for older children, it is not great for young children, simply because there is no barrier between the hotel, cliffs and deep blue sea, so I had to keep my eyes on them literally at all times. In addition, the "feel" was that it was really for an older crowd. They had to go across the street for a high chair - forget about getting 2 - the meal options weren't often child friendly, etc., but they don't claim to be a family resort, so I don't fault them on that.

Staff
What I do fault them on, however, is that for such a lovely property, they could be doing much, much better. It begins and ends with the staff, and the staff leave much to be desired. The woman who cleaned our room was an exception, as she was always friendly. The male bartender was also ok, but not friendly or chatty like the bartenders in Montego Bay (where we have been many times). The female bartender, also waitress in the restaurant, was very standoffish for the first couple of days we were there, and much better afterwards, not sure what changed. There was also another lady who seemed to float - in the restaurant sometimes, bar sometimes, other places, who was friendly and knew both of my kids' names.

The staff in the restaurant, however, had really no redeeming qualities. I overheard many guests complaining about one woman in particular, who made us all feel very uncomfortable, like we were bothering her for our meals. Samsara does a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it is a served buffet, so you have to stand there and wait for them to serve you. This one woman never said, not a single time, 'may I help you?', 'what can I get for you?', not even hello! You went and stood in front of her, she looked at you, saying nothing, no smile, just her head to one side and you say, 'oh, may I have...'. It was so awkward, it really made eating at the restaurant uncomfortable. Forget wanting to get seconds (!), which is one of the benefits of an all-inclusive, in my opinion :-). It may not be typical of Negril, but I remember repeating to myself many times that the hospitality folks in Negril need to train at the same place as the Montego Bay hospitality professionals.

Meal times
Another issue that I, and many guests had (it is a small hotel, so everyone spoke to each other) is the meal times. Breakfast didn't start until 8am, which was too late. Lunch was ok at 12 noon- 2pm, but then dinner was from 7pm - 9pm. That was way too late for us, and there was always a group of restless guests at the bar at 6, hungry, waiting for dinner to be served. And then when all of us would trek upstairs to the restaurant at 7 on-the-dot, nothing would be served for another 15 minutes or so.

Rooms
The rooms are just fine, and the cleaning lady was good and thorough.

When we booked Samsara, we were nervous because it only had a 2 star rating. When we got there and saw the beautiful location and grounds, and the perfectly fine and clean room, we wondered why it was rated so low. After one day of interaction with the staff, it was obvious. That's a problem for a hotel, but one that can be easily fixed with retraining.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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5  Thank J K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 November 2013

We've been going to Jamaica for years - always to Negril Beach.. Our first and many subsequent trips were to Legends, Samsara's sister property. I would read on the Negril Board about the "West End" and how wonderful it was - but since Tina and I loved the beach, we really didn't believe the press.. But... now... we can't imagine not going back to Samsara. Maurice and Sabrina see to it that their guests are treated like family. The staff is SO gracious - SO accommodating - SO warm and friendly! Marlene (the manager) Keri-Ann\ & Georgia (the chefs) Sharona & O'wayne at the bar.. EVERYONE was wonderful.. and the hotel is absolutely beautiful. Our room was spotless every day. George and Henry (dag) kept the grounds and buildings in excellent shape.. And those sunsets! We were there for my birthday - and we left on our anniversary.. We could not have been in a better place to relax and enjoy those celebrations!

Room Tip: All of the rooms are quiet and private - If you haven't stayed on the West End, and are used to the noise and activity on the beach side around Legends, you will be amazed at how quiet it and restful t is.. The garden side cottages looked charming.. But we REALLY liked our beach facing room..
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank DaRev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2013

My best friend and I went for a week to celebrate our birthdays. We had purchased the Living Social all inclusive special. Now I must say we are two spoiled females so imagine our faces when we got to the hotel. It's not luxury. It's not 5-star. There are no straight laced employees with white gloves on. There is no super comfy bed to sleep in. It's just a hotel with WONDERFUL and GENUINE staff that will change your outlook on life. Sure I'd love the luxury however I enjoyed myself and appreciate seeing the town for what it is... everyday living.

The sunsets were amazing! The jump of the cliff was scary (I'm scared of heights) yet I did it 3 times! The guests we met during our week were open and hilarious. We went horse back riding in to the ocean, had fresh coconut water, and grilled corn with coconut along the way.

We took the free shuttle to Legends (the sister property). It was nice to be on the beach however too many people trying to get your attention to sell you things. I'd stick with Samsara if peace, quiet, and relaxation is what you are looking for. The only two things, besides a comfy bed, that I wish they had was a premium alcohol all inclusive option with real premium liquor and actual Jamaican Food.

As a foodie, I was looking forward to the various local cuisine. Unfortunately, they do not offer it. I believe the menu only had Jerk chicken which wasn't very native. It was tailored towards the visitors rather than cooked as a home cooked meal in that country. We tried Pablo's, which is across the street from the hotel. That was some good food! I had the oxtails and wish I had taken some back home with me! Paul (the chef) put his all in to his food. Check him out!!! You will not be disappointed!!

All in all it was a great seven days. I came back super relaxed and thankful. As I said before, the staff is what makes this place work. Patricia, Jenique, Sherona, Owayne, the restaurant staff, JC in the gift shop, and even the grounds crew always were willing to help. Let's not forget Captain Ray!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Ladyluv4life
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 November 2013

I have been to Jamaica 24 times and going again in 16 days! I have stayed at Samsara many times and I have always loved it. The staff is awesome and friendly! I think the rooms were perfect and really never have had a problem. It is the sister to Legends on the beach and they offer a free shuttle back and forth so you get to experience both resorts! The food from the bar is decent, I would keep it simple. They also have a place across the street Caio which is very very good, it will cost you a few bucks extra but it's worth it. I love being in Negril, it's my favorite place in the world! The owner of Samsara is often there and works very hard to update non-stop. I have seen it improve over the years and it keeps getting better. I love the ocean front area where you can relax and I did get a massage which was awesome! There is a little store across the street and to the left of the entrance and you can purchase red stripes, sodas, smokes, etc and it's called ML and it's packed but good service and decent prices and easy to walk to. They also have a nice little gift shop and you can watch some of the employee's fish in the morning like 5am with a empty 20 ounce bottle of soda and fishing line and some raw chicken, it's awesome and I love chatting with the locals. If you want a good value and a clean room this is it! I will go back to Samsara for sure!

Room Tip: I prefer the upgrade superior rooms as they have AC and TV it's worth the extra cash for having AC especially during the summer as it's deadly hot and humid. I also like being on the ocean side, I have seen several tourist who tried to save 20 bucks a day crying at the front desk about no AC, spend the cash, it's worth every cent!
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank JP L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2013

this hotel is not a 5 star all inclusive type of place- if you are going to Jamaica and plan on depending on the hotel to feed and entertain you for the week, this isn't necessarily the place for you. That being said, if you are going to Jamaica and plan on exploring, eating at local places, and enjoying the ocean and sunset- the cliffs are beautiful in the evening, the happy hour 2 for 1 drinks are strong and tasty, and the rooms are clean. We didn't go all inclusive, but the few meals we did order from the menu were very good. I highly recommend you eat (breakfast!) at Pablo's across the street.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Krista B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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