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Samsara Cliffs Resort
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Reviewed 8 January 2014

Trip to Jamaica Dec 26/13 to Jan 2/14

Stayed at SAM SARA up on the cliffs. We had a superior room with A/C, ocean side, ground floor overlooking the hot tub. Pretty. Terrific view. Good snorkelling – bring your own gear. No peddlers. QUIET, maybe too quiet. Food ok, but don’t buy the all inclusive - the “buffet” consists of 5 choices. Facility is overall run down. Tiles missing in the pools, hot tub; lounges are OLD. Blowups in the pool are free to use. Bring your own beach towels and facecloths, otherwise you’ll pay $19 U.S. for a beach towel. Ask for or bring an old towel to use as floor mat in case of rain...you’ll want to wipe your feet (it rains everyday around 4pm). Bring your own hairdryer, soap and shampoo (they supply tiny soaps only) and a small flashlight...you’ll need it as lighting is dim or non-existent at night. They DO supply toilet paper, LOL. Beds are firm – we slept very well. Bring your own snacks to this resort – they don’t have anything available to buy (think gummys, chips, popcorn, licorice, nuts – you’ll be glad you did). Easy to get a cabana bed...just show up before the 10:15 bus from sister club Legends. Avoid Sam Sara for breakfast, lunch – over priced and very limited buffet offerings - can order from menu but wait is too long (even when it’s quiet). Have dinner there once, then go elsewhere, anywhere. Avoid their pizza, crust sucks. Do have dinner there on the night they do Jamaican buffet – that is a good way to try the jerk chicken, callalloo and it was good. Don’t pay for wifi in your room ($24 for one day or $36 for the week) – it’s free to use by the bar.
Best breakfast was across the street to the left of the hotel at PRESSA ONE LOVE restaurant – Pressa makes a terrific Jamaican breakfast – I LOVED the sautéed callaloo/saltfish, my husband preferred the ackee/saltfish. LOVED his fried dumplings!!! LOVED the coco bread! Depending on what he has on hand, Pressa could give you toast instead of coco bread, but coco bread is divine. Also, Pressa gives you a small plate of tropical fruit after your breakfast and Blue Mountain coffee is served with condensed milk (instant sweetener!). Make sure you go just after 9am – a tableful of cab drivers arrive for breakfast by 9:30 and all orders are suspended until these working locals are served, even if you were there ahead of them :(.
We also went to PABLO'S, across the street (on the left side of the convenience store). Went for the Jamaican breakfast, but it was not as enjoyable as Pressa’s...Pablo’s breakfast is a bland exercise in starches: yams, sweet potato, plantain and boiled dumpling, all served with the callaloo/saltfish and no fresh fruit. We did not enjoy it at all and didn’t go back. However, we were pleasantly surprised by CIAO JAMAICA Italian Restaurant across the road! Excellent jerk pizza! Excellent al dente jerk pastas and sauces! AMAZING homemade key lime pie (I am not a fan of key lime, but this is VERY good – we went back 3 times for the pie LOL). Went to CHICKEN LAVISH to try their self-proclaimed “world famous” conch soup – this had to be the most disappointing meal of the trip. My soup had 3 tiny pieces of conch in it and was nothing special at all... hubby had a few more larger pieces... we would not go back. Take a cab – a scary walk at night, NO sidewalks and drivers race by 24-7....Celebrated New Year’s with dinner at CHARELA – seafood crepe (ok); snapper with coconut sauce (yaaawn) but the wines were divine, the company great and the disco DJ made for lots of dancing by everyone – Happy New Year!!

Be sure to go to RICK'S CAFE, a 5 minute cab ride from Sam Sara – our friends rented a cabana for $75 with bottle service – DO THIS!! Was quiet when we arrived around 1 pm but at 3pm all the party boats start to arrive with guests that want to jump off the cliffs and the bar is suddenly packed – you will be grateful to be in your private cabana! Our friends ordered a bottle of vodka, a bottle of cranberry, a bottle of orange juice and a bucket of ice...you’re all set. If the new American owners aren’t in town, you can rent their cabana overlooking the jumpers – do this!! And if you’re brave enough, JUMP from the 35 ft cliff! Smaller cliffs available too. Our foodie son had Rick’s jerk hamburger, said it was juicy and AWESOME. Locals say that Dennis Brown is better than Bob Marley – have a listen, buy a CD.... If you’re a fan of GREAT WEST for their jerk chicken, you’ll be disappointed – they’ve gotten caught up in their reputation for great jerk and are now slapping the chicken on the fire with a mere dip in jerk sauce – doesn’t seem to be marinated anymore – and the recipe has been changed!! WHY?! The sauce is not the same, the resulting chicken is not the same...the girl says it IS the same but calling a snake a rose just doesn’t make it so. Another customer leaned over conspirationally to say he’s been coming to Great West for 10 years and it was definitely different, as of last year’s trip...hmmmph! At least the Red Stripe was cold, mon! And the coco bread WAS divine! Then we scootched across the street to MARGARITAVILLE to gain public access to the beach...ended up in a line of people entering from a busload and were banded and given free rum punches...ya mon! Walked next door to CRYSTAL WATERS resort to catch up with friends – this is a terrific, small, cottage style resort that comes with a maid/cook to prepare your meals...how awesome is that? Onto 7 Mile Beach where we were greeted with open arms by the many vendors selling their varied and nefarious wares...you won’t get this at Sam Sara resort! But a little goes a long way, you get tired of the relentless badgering – a polite “No Mon” or “I’m good Mon” or “Respect, Mon” will go a long way (or at least free you up for the next vendor LOL). Cheapest beer on the beach is at COUNTRY COUNTRY, a few buildings down from Crystal Waters. Most expensive drinks are at Margaritaville ... Best jerk chicken, hands down, bar none, was back up on the cliffs at 3 DIVES... OMG – THIS was the jerk chicken we had been searching for! Freakin’ hot, the chicken was lovingly marinated and had heat through and through...they provided a bottle of jerk sauce to splash your chicken with if you wanted more heat...DELICIOUS! SPICY! MOIST!! This is why we came to Jamaica! And the view was spectacular as well – if you love serious jerk, you can’t go wrong with a visit to 3 Dives.... Can’t forget to tell you about LEGENDS, the sister resort to Sam Sara – you have the option to take the free shuttle at 10am down to Legends (returns at 4pm or take a cab back). Legends beach is the size of a postage stamp and sunworshippers are packed like sardines on lounges if you can find one...but hey, you’re in Jamaica, mon! Tried to get a Pina Colada at the bar, but apparently they only have one blender and it was being used in the kitchen over lunch...mon, spring for a second blender!! Our afternoon was only spoiled by a crazy local, who picked our beachfront to rant and rave – kept dragging on a spiff he kept in his pocket, and chomping on brownies. The poor resort security guard finally had to call police...but our haranguer disappeared, only to reappear after the police left and continue his rant...we went for a walk to get away. Were happy to get up to the peace and quiet of Sam Sara.

Our final evening - had dinner at THE SPA RETREAT, a boutique hotel recently opened by Canadians – they will pick you up or else take a cab over - it’s 45 seconds by cab from Sam Sara (we would never walk at night – no sidewalks remember – just not a good idea). Beautiful place, beautiful people...our meal was completely average and our company’s pasta dishes had to be sent back (wrong sauce) only to arrive back underdone (we’re not talking al dente); I had a trio of Jamaican favs – oxtail (very good), jerk chicken (boneless chicken in a sauce...dryyyy) and something else that slips my mind (but doesn’t stand out) and lots of callaloo (so-so). Wine was delicious, company was great, and they didn’t charge for the pasta disasters so that was decent of them. I would try it again, we think they just had an off night. Dress up. I’d like to try their resort spa sometime – they even recreated a beach on a section of cliff! Very smart.

So that’s it, our trip to Jamaica. FINAL ADVICE – please tip your maid. She is about the only one that genuinely smiled at us at Sam Sara – well except for Peter, the concierge...tip him too! He works hard to keep you safe crossing that road. And if you are able to take advantage of it, for GOSH SAKES, pay the extra fee for CLUB MOBAY at the airport! All inclusive drinks and snacks, and a comfortable place to wait while waiting for your flight...really comes in handy if your flight is delayed, too! Finally, a shout out to GRANVILLE BROWN, our cabbie from SWEET JAMAICA TOURS – he picked us up and got us everywhere safely and on time; was polite, courteous and knowledgeable. Beautiful, clean vehicle, professional driver, will definitely book him again. Look, I even have his number for you to reserve: toll free 1.855.872.2135, his cell is: 876.860.2135 or reservations@sweetjamaicatours.com. And I have CIAO JAMAICA's card too: oops, they didn’t put an address or number on it? Oh well, you know where to find it...in Jamaica mon!!

Room Tip: Superior ocean view room includes A/C
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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10  Thank Galina7777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014

This place was fantastic! Wonderful location, great food, beautiful view, extremely friendly and helpful staff...we couldnt have asked for a better honeymoon. Although i do advise staying in or close to the resort at all times. Theres really no need to leave, unless youd like to go to 7 mile beach. You have everything at the resort tho. Great snorkeling too! You can even buy your own bottle of rum and take a seat at the bar (which i advise if youre not under the all inclusive stay). Theres a staff member named solomon who will actually go to the palm trees and knock down coconuts and cut them open for you to drink! Very cool place.The only downfall to this stay was the rooms. The beds were very hard, everything was tile so it was very slippery, and you do have to pay 15$ a night if youd like you air conditioner on. We were only in our rooms for sleep tho so it wasnt to big of a problem.

Room Tip: Ask for an ocean view. Its well worth it!
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank Ms_Meow2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014

We just returned from a family trip to Negril. We had seven adults in our party and had the garden rooms off the main road. The resort owners clearly are not keeping the resort in repair. The rooms were dirty, paint peeling, hard, cheap mattresses and a telling sign, bars on the windows. Now, we know why they have 24/7 security patrolling the grounds, especially at night. We were woken up early morning, at 4 am by roosters and barking dogs next door.

Staff tried their best, but its clear that they are not treated well by their owners. They have to deal, day in and day out with complaining customers who felt that they had been had. When you looked at most guests, especially at the bar, they were not happy or smiling. We know why.

Guest are given two small towels only. Beach towels you have to buy at their gift shop. They had broken down, dirty beach chairs and not enough for guests. What a dump.

We did not have the all-inclusive for meals, and happy we didn't. The food quality and preparation was terrible. If you don't have any other option or can't afford something better, then maybe this place is good enough. We left two days early and checked in to the Sunset in Montego Bay, which
was a god send. We couldn't take it anymore!1

Room Tip: There isn't any
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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13  Thank Carol M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014 via mobile

Our room was across a very busy street. The crossing guard was helpful. It is dangerous to walk along the narrow and busy roads... We did during the day, but cars fly by very close. Views on cliff side were amazing! Fun jumping into water. Hot tub was dirty. Most staff were friendly/helpful, but didn't get any info upon checking in about hotel amenities/locations... We didn't do all inclusive. We ate at a little local place across the street called Pablo's multiple times. There is also a little convenient store across the street to buy drinks and snacks at.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank aprillynn008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 December 2013

The setting is beautiful and with lots of Flora including palm and coconut trees. Melvin the gardener was very friendly and knowledgeable and will pick you a fresh coconut (tip). The pools and the cliff setting were very relaxing alternating between sunbathing and jumping in the ocean or pools to cool off and there was lots of space for people to spread and have comfort zones. Fridge in room is $12.00/ day extra and make sure AC is included in room charge. No coffee or microwaves in rooms. We did not go all inclusive as we are not buffet fans and we are happy we didn't as there are many wonderful places to eat. Drinks are free pour and the rum punch is dangerous. Samsara has a separate restaurant called Ciao across the street and has very good food. The food at Samsara and Legends is average. We also liked Xtabi ( food, caves and snorkeling), Push Cart, 3 Dives (jerk chicken), Catcha Falling Star (very nice), Kuyaba, Ahbees (best hamburgers in Negril) plus a few jerk stands on the road. Many restaurants don't look very nice but try them anyway the food is good. Legends has a beautiful beach, but crowded, go next door to Kuyaba to eat and their beach is almost empty. Many resorts allow tourists to use their facility if you are buying food or drinks. Lot's more restaurants near Legends that were recommended but we didn't try.

Room Tip: Our room was ocean view however most of the ocean view rooms are mostly blocked by the trees. If you want a true ocean view pick the stilt cottages but no air conditioning and ground level outdoor shower.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank BrimEdm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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