We stayed here for five days in December, and enjoyed our stay.
If you are looking for pampered luxury, this is not the place.
If you are looking for a no-nonsense relaxing escape, this will probably be the place.
Accommodations were satisfactory. We tried to get a Pillar room, but none were available. We got one Full/Queen, and a Twin, so our room could have accommodated three people. The room was clean. The bathroom had a recent renovation, but due to the humidity, the newly installed cabinetry had a strong mold/mildew odor. We never used the medicine cabinet, nor the cabinet underneath the sink, so we did not view this as a problem. (If you like to leave the doors open to stare at plumbing, I guess the odor would be a problem.) Also, there are lots of ants, but if you don’t have food or drinks lying around, you’ll be fine.
On our first night, they provided “Turn Down Service”: one of the housekeeping staff came to remove the cover on top of the bed, and spread out a blanket that was stored in the closet. She then left with the top cover. We’ve never experienced this before at a resort, so it was just weird to me. (Side note: My old auntie did this when I visited her, but it was to protect the bed and also make the bed “look so much prettier!! I got it so cheap at the store and it’s 100% cotton!!”)
For amenities, this place was lacking. A/C is extra, and the price depends on when and how you get it. We got it online as part of our package deal, so the cost was negligible. Someone mentioned that it was going to cost them $20/night when they were checking-in, so they declined. There is a ceiling fan with five settings to provide air circulation. We spoke with another couple who had opted to not have A/C, and they had a table fan in addition to the ceiling fan.
The only type of toiletry provided is a tiny bar of soap, but they provided multiples. We didn’t use them though, so we can’t say whether it’s decent or not. I’ll advise you to bring your own. We have included a photo of the soaps and where to find it in the bathroom. While you're at it, bring your own towel. I had used a towel to wipe up a spill, so I left it out to be laundered. Housekeeping returned that night with a clean towel, except it was the same towel with the stain in the exact same place...just folded up real nice. Ewww. Good thing we always bring our own towels.
There is a dive shop on the premise, so it is super convenient for dive enthusiasts. We only went snorkeling, so we never went into the shop. We’ll also advise you to bring your own snorkeling gear, but if you don’t, you can buy some cheapo ones from their store. I don’t know how much they cost, since we brought our own gear. Plenty of fish, and marine life to see. We've provided a few underwater pics, so you can see how clear the water was for us when we went snorkeling. Go out around 6am-7:30am for best views. After that, most of the fish will hide due to the boats. There are several ladders into the ocean, so you can actually swim and explore without worrying that you’ve swum too far.
We assume that the lack of lounge chairs were attributable to it being a low season, and the chairs were being stored or cleaned. We didn’t mind much though, since we weren't there to lounge at Samsara. Our primary reasons for selecting it was the pristine snorkeling and cliff jumping opportunities. On the day we wanted to lounge on a beach, we took the shuttle to the sister resort of Legends. The shuttle only operates twice a day. 10am to take you to Legends, and 4pm to take you back to Samsara. Plan accordingly or you’ll have to take a taxi. We recommend spending time at Legends, since you can also walk around on the newly paved sidewalks, or shop across the way at Times Square.
The all-inclusive plan provides you with a served food buffet and all local drinks. There was a small live reggae band playing one night. Food is available as follows: Breakfast 8-10AM, Lunch 12-2PM, Dinner 7-9PM. Outside of these times, you pay for your own food. So, if you’re out on an excursion from 7AM-2PM, you pay for your meals when you get back, or wait for dinner at 7PM, regardless if you opted for all-inclusive. The food is decent and we didn’t get sick from eating/drinking anything, so we were happy with that. Prices are ok. (I do not recommend the grilled lobster. It was overcooked, and took 30 minutes to arrive. But, I’m pretty sure it took that long because they went out to a lobster trap to make sure I got a really fresh lobster.)
A non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri costs USD $4. A cocktail cost about $8. Happy Hour varies: when we were there it was from 5-7pm and it’s BOGO Free. If you’re not adventurous and eat/drink quite a lot, go on the all-inclusive. For us, if we come back, we would get a bottle of Jack Daniels (USD $17) when we leave the Montego Bay airport, buy a bottle of soda from the store, and not be on the all-inclusive. There are plenty of places to eat nearby. And there’s a place that teaches you how to cook, whilst also feeding you. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take advantage of the cooking school, since we found out about it the evening before our departure.
Overall, this place is really more like staying at Uncle Bachelor’s house by the sea. Grandma and Grandpa is cooking the food and fixing the A/C unit when it breaks. Calling it a resort is a real stretch. Tiles were missing from the pool, but it was filled with grout, indicating that they still maintained it. Everyone was extremely friendly, and because of the layout, Samsara is relatively private, so you will not be harassed by street/beach hawkers. It really is the practical, budget-friendly, no frills, relaxed vacation spot.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Unique oceanfront boutique hotel with 50 rooms catering to international clientele for over thirty years. Spectacular sea view and spacious sun deck with easy sea access for swimming and snorkeling. Amenities include sea view restaurant and bar, swimming pool, splash pool, tennis court, seaside massage center, billiards and table tennis, tennis court, gift shop, and free WiFi throughout hotel. Air-conditioned rooms range from traditional hotel rooms to tropical cottages and ocean front pillar huts (non a.c.). Daily maid service and free shuttle to sister hotel on the beach, Legends Beach Resort where guests enjoy exchange privileges. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Samsara Cliffs Hotel Negril
- Samsara Hotel Jamaica
- Samsara Cliffs Negril
- Samsara Cliff Resort