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“iconic restaurant/bar on the beach”

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Kuyaba Hotel & Restaurant - Negril
Ranked #46 of 81 Hotels in Negril
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“iconic restaurant/bar on the beach”
Reviewed 13 June 2013

We stayed at Legends next door but ate and drank regularly at Kuyaba. It has a patio on the beach, a bar with swing seats, parrots, cats, friendly staff, wonderful drinks, great food. What more can you ask? We fell in love with Buddy the parrot who was caged outside the restaurant. This is a romantic place, down home, not luxurious, not what you want if your looking for glitz, but we loved it.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank tom w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 June 2013

A beautiful, immaculately maintained hotel, at a great price, right on the beach.

Arrival - book the Kuyaba airport shuttle with your reservation:
Our plane was delayed, so by the time we cleared customs in MoBay airport our ride was gone. When you exit the airport doors, straight ahead of you is a holding pen for official taxi drivers (white shirts, badges). To your right is a second pen with hotel shuttle drivers. To your left is an Information booth. The gentleman at Information was kind enough to call the Kuyaba, and our driver to re-arrange our transport. We had been 'captured' by one of the taxi drivers, who insisted that $80 was the lowest rate he could offer for the drive. This made the $120 round trip cost of the Kuyaba seem reasonable - it is a 1.5 hour drive. Our driver, Pat, was a lovely woman in a brand new SUV who included a guided tour with our ride.

Check-in:
Our check-in was smooth & professional. Beware the $100 deposit they charge for a safe key - they run a pre-authorization and don't actually charge your card, but forewarned is forearmed.

Room:
We stayed in Room 10, on the second floor (better privacy). Good aircon, a ceiling fan, a lovely balcony where you can watch the flowering trees & hummingbirds & little tree lizards going about their business. We unhooked the hanging swing seat for more elbow room. There was no phone and no clock. We didn't care about the clock (vacation, yay!), but we have elderly parents, so the lack of a phone was a minus (email to the rescue - Kuyaba has good high speed wi-fi). The TV has a generous mix of cable stations. The beds are comfortable (firm is good). The housekeeping was excellent, and we always tipped our housekeeper $4 a day - like all the staff, she was wonderful.

Staff: Top-notch, uniformly gracious, friendly, considerate, warm-hearted. A testament to the management and owners (children of the founder, a local pillar of the community - read the History page on the Kuyaba website).

Grounds:
Unlike most of the other concrete, slab-lift hotels on 7 Mile Beach, the Kuyaba is beautifully designed in South Seas style, with winding paths through mature trees and shrubs, peaked thatch roofs, shade everywhere, all maintained with iron discipline by one of the hardest working groundskeepers I've ever seen. The website does not to the grounds justice - the landscape architect should have a prize for Kuyaba.

Beach:
Stunning. Silky soft sand without a trace of trash, gently sloping out to calm aquamarine water so clear at chin depth you can see grains of sand at your feet. And it's warm. I get teary-eyed thinking about it.
Every morning Paul, the security guard, would bring us beach chairs ($2 tip). Poor fellow suffers through his 12-hour shift in long black pants & a long-sleeved dark blue shirt. We didn't have to worry about our stuff when we went in the water.
All the hotels have security, but leave what you don't need in your room safe, and keep you wits about you if you walk the beach at night. We had no problems at all, but use common sense.

Beach Vendors:
A steady stream of vendors passes by offering crafts, food, tours, cigarettes, massage, aloe, boat rides and ganja. A polite 'no, thank you' sends them on their way.
An older woman carrying an impossibly heavy basket of fruit on her head supplied us with delicious breakfasts - fruit picked ripe from the tree is incomparably richer tasting than the industrial stuff in our supermarkets. Try everything - you'll be delighted.
A long walk on the beach one day was constantly interrupted by vendors - a moving target must attract more interest than slabs of meat baking in the sun. A couple of them (a small minority) were pushy. Try not to get annoyed. Jamaica is a poor country and most of these people are simply trying to scrounge together a few dollars to get something to eat.

Kuyaba Restaurant (separately reviewed):
A wonderful, open-air place for a bite or a cold one, with lovely staff, a warm & jovial bartender, and a perfect view of the sun setting directly into the sea.

The birds:
Charlie, a large parrot, has resigned himself to life imprisonment in solitary confinement by uttering the occasional 'Hello' and biting his human captors when they get within reach. Buddy, the white cockatiel (?) has suffered the worse fate of mental collapse, and in in the nightmare of his derangement launches nocturnal binges of shrieking, like a baby abandoned. Sadly, these birds can live a long time.

Ambient noise:
Several reviewers complained about 'noise' from stages at nearby Alfred's or Bourbon Beach. It's music, not 'noise.' Jamaicans' love of music is possibly the highest expression of their culture. If you don't like music, take your vacation in a tomb somewhere. The loudest we experienced was a Saturday night, when in our room we were lulled to sleep by gently muffled Reggae Played live. By musicians. And we're not particularly fans of reggae.

Conclusion: The Kuyaba is a wonderful place for a romantic and inexpensive beach getaway.

Room Tip: Second floor has better privacy
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank SteelCityCouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chattanooga, Tennessee
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 May 2013

i first found Kuyaba last year looking for a different place to dine (was staying at a large hotel nearby). What i found was i think a non-commercialized version of Negril. If you are used to the RC and the like, this place is not for you. I love most all RC's and also love this place. Yes, this place has its shortcomings and if you think you are staying at a grand hotel for these prices, well you probably will be electing the next resident on PA Avenue. What one gets is a great value, good prices, caring staff (no, they are NOT attentive like in a fine hotel, but you are not paying for a Mercedes in this place. What you are paying for is a LA/LO that is hard to replace, a safe, reliable and trustworthy staff and a team of people who really seem to work well together. I have read some whiny A comments about cats, lack of service, etc. For the love of God, you are not paying $750 USD a night. You get what you are paying for. For me, i will be back again. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen and whine about somewhere where you really had to use your dough and didn't get your bang for the buck.

Kuyaba is an incredible value for the money. Had i wanted luxury, i personally have the common sense to know i cannot expect it for these prices....

Kuyaba is a special place in Negril, Jamaica and this part of the world...

Room Tip: try to stay as far away from the reggae club as possible, if not bring ear plugs
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank gllamay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 May 2013

Amazing and affordable! We had the Honeymoon Room Nr. 5. It's a spectacular room nestled in the tree tops, offering private tranquility and exotic ambience; a chic tropical atmosphere. Clay-tiled floors, air conditioning, ceiling fans, television, King-sized bed. French doors open out to a large balcony in the treetops. A must for newlyweds or someone with discriminating tastes. Also great for a weekend getaway with your boo. It reminded me of a lush tropical African forest with palm trees and coconuts all around. For $85.00 per night, you'll think you're living in luxury.

The restaurant faces the beach and the bar offers the best cocktails I've had in Negril. They have an amazing breakfast. Go for the 'Jamaican Breakfast'.

If you're looking for beach, sand and waterspouts, Kuyaba has it all!!!! You won't be disappointed at $85.00 per night. I LOVE KUYABA.

Tips: Summer Rates are cheaper. If you're Jamaican, ask for the local rate and you'll save an extra 20%!

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
6 Thank fbfray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
Level 6 Contributor
86 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 April 2013

I'm somewhat relucantly giving Kuyaba a 4 rating because in some aspects it warrents less than that but in other ways it was quite nice. We stayed in the honeymoon suite. The room was nice and much as it is pictured on the website. However the layout of resort does not really allow for much privacy in the suite, particularly on the balcony. The balcony for this suite is right beside the steps that leads to all the upstairs rooms, there is no partition for privacy and every 2 minutes someone climbs the stairs and looks right at the balcony. This dimished the 'honeymoon' feeling of the unit. Furthermore, the common washrooms for the restaurant and resort are right below the balcony of the honeymoon suite and so is the main pathway that the cleaners go by multiple times per day with thier carts. While there is no solution to these problems, I think these negatives may not bother everyone--I just found them to take away from the feeling of privacy that you might want on your honeymoon. The staff was nice, the location was great for the beach. We had read about noise problems in other reviews but when we got there we had several very peacefull nights so we thought people had been making a big deal over nothing---HOWEVER on our last night we suddenly realized what everyone was talking about! We love reggae music, and even dancehall but we don't love any music when the bass makes the room shake all night...The staff apologized for this and explained that they have been trying to deal with the issue for years but there is not really much they can do about it...Overall i would say Kuyaba is a nice hotel with decent rooms and a good choice for 7 mile beach--just don't come here for privacy on your Honeymoon and avoid the nights when there is the audaciously loud music (I think its twice a week).

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Simone01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DC
Level 6 Contributor
121 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2013

This might turn into an epistle, but there are quite a few tidbits that I'd like to share with all of you.

Those who know me well, know that I hate gloating or bragging about anything. But when I travel anywhere--particularly with my daughter--I always look for 4 or 5 star hotels and plenty of amenities to go with it.This year, we decided to spend my daughter's Spring break in Negril, Jamaica and my idea was to be as close to the locals and their way of living as possible. The only problem was that most of the upscale hotels were either outside of Negril or far from the beach on the rocky side (no beaches--you'd have to actually climb down a ladder into the the deep waters and climb back up; or else drive a good 20 minutes to get to a beach.) So I went on a search for a hotel that was on the beach, pleasant, safe, and close to stores...and i found all of that at the "Kuyaba Resort!"

Usually, I talk abut the subject before I list their haves and have-nots; but this time I'm going to tell you what NOT to expect at Kuyaba. This is the most basic accommodation (Patrick Swayze's hotel room in "City of Joy" comes to my mind!) and has a very local and nondescript flair. In our room number 14, there were:
- no phones
- no chairs (we got ONE, after I asked the maid)
- no second set of room keys (one key per room only, Housekeeping has the other, and they are regular keys!)
- no movable beds (beds made of concrete and so is the night stand between two beds)
- no pillow-top mattresses; they are FIRM but tolerable
- no hair dryer (we borrowed one from the office)
- no amenities (shampoo, conditioner, etc)
- no flat-screen TV or in-room entertainment shows
- no working AC controls (though there is a working a/c unit and ceiling fan and our room stayed always cool and pleasant)
- no ultra secure room doors. Room door was made of light wood with glass panes and very flimsy; could not be locked (but unlocked) from outside (had to press the lock button on the inner knob and pull the door shot behind us to lock it)
- no down feather pillows or comforters, just small, flattish pillows and sheets and blankets that must have come from a WW2 army surplus!
- no resort-wide free wi-fi (wi-fi is iffy and works only in the rooms and up to the stairs of the restaurant!)
- no guest laundry services
- no outdoor power outlets

There is a tiny safe deposit box in the room and is opened and closed with a skeleton key.

There is no swimming pool an no fitness center

The lighting in the room is dingy; the bathroom is old and the towels are on the thin side! Our bathroom door was warped and did not lock, etc. etc..

All those inconveniences are a far cry from what I prefer, but we all find ourselves absolutely LOVING IT here!

The registration is done the old-fashioned way: There is a log book and you handwrite your information in it (quite rustic, huh?). The [front] office is about 8x15 feet at best and doubles as a souvenir shop; but the adjacent outdoors dining and bar areas are spacious and well-allocated and the sun-drenched beach with its inviting crystal clear Caribbean waters is just ten steps away!

As you walk up the gravel-paved drive/walkway flanked by the rooms and palm and banana trees, you're greeted by Charley, a beautiful Blue and Gold Macaw whose timing is a bit off (says "hello" either before or after you're at his cage) and Buddy, a rambunctious white Cockatoo that screams nonstop and sounds like a squeaky wheel!

The rooms are arranged in a garden-style setting on 2 levels and the nostalgia and charm of the West Indies is plenty there! I found out later on that besides the 24-hour-manned security post at the entrance, Kuyaba has its own security staff on the beach as well to ensure the guests are not bothered by the peddlers who walk up and down the beach selling anything imaginable from fresh fruits to grilled lobsters, bracelets, cigarettes, day trips, snorkeling sails etc. Say "no thank you" if you don't want them and they'll leave you alone. Paul, our security guard at the beach is an energetic and fine-looking young man who starts his shift at 7 in the morning, raking the beach and arranging beach chairs before he slips into his uniform and role as a security guard and he means business too! He's very hand-on and resolute and the vendors seem to fear him!

Besides the beach, the [outdoor] bar is the focal point and the watering hole of the resort! All staff members are super friendly and accommodating. The bartenders DJ and Sean as well as the others are masters in crafting some of the most delicious cocktails and their friendly disposition makes you feel welcomed. They are very pleasant, as are the wait staff such as Annemarie and others.

Kuyaba is one of those places that grows on you and is super cozy; and believe it or not, it has become home away from home to many millionaires and baby boomers. In their outdoors Bar/Restaurant, they serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and they are quite popular among the locals and island visitors. The quality of their food is excellent, the menu is well-assorted and the prices are quite fair. Try the Scotch Bonet Pepper Shrimp dish if you like super-spicy food (the expectation is that "you will sweat when you eat it," It is very hot, but I didn't sweat!); the Grilled Lobster is fantabulous!

The resort seems to be quite safe. At no time did any of us fear for our safety or feel in danger, as guards patrol the property regularly. Many times we left our phones, computers and other personal belongings in the room and they were never touched.

There is a delightful little mall right across the 2-lane street from the hotel where you can find souvenir shops, tax-free jewelry stores and an ATM that dispenses cash in U.S. dollars or Jamaican dollars (nicknamed "Js" and pronounced "jays"!)

It was a nice, albeit short 6-day trip and we LOVED our stay at Kuyaba. The $120/night room rate was absolutely a bargain; and we will definitely go back soon.

A FEW WORDS ABOUT JAMAICA:

Jamaica's only major industries seem to be tourism, Rum, spices and Reggae music! The economy is sustained predominantly by tourism. The cities and roads do look in great part dilapidated and rundown and poverty is rampant. There are no unemployment insurance or benefits. Therefore, those Jamaicans who are fortunate enough to find a job hold on to it for dear life and the others will do whatever it takes to make the ends meet. Jamaicans are hard-working and very friendly, respectful people. In fact, the common greeting or handshake consists mostly of touching fists and uttering the word "respect!"

You will be approached almost nonstop by peddlers and vendors offering you their products or services. If you are interested, use your negotiating skills without being unreasonable. But if you are not, a polite and simple (but firm) "no thank you" will suffice for them to leave you alone. During the entire 6 days we were in Negril, none of us was ever hustled by anyone.

IF YOU LIKE "GANJA" OR THE SMELL OF GANJA, YOU'RE AT HOME HERE! If you don't, get used to the smell! Personally, I have never ever touched any of those stuff and found myself getting very upset at the slightest whiff of it in the beginning, particularly because my teenaged daughter was traveling with me; but ultimately I learned to ignore it. No One ever offered to sell me any of that, and though it seems quite common to smoke "weed" in Jamaica, it is still very ILLEGAL and you can be detained and jailed for the possession or use of it.

Currency: 1 US-Dollar is equal to roughly 95 Jamaican dollars or thereabouts. Both currencies are used for payment.

Food and Drinks: YOU ARE ON "ISLAND TIME" HERE! Do not expect quick service but expect to wait anywhere from 15-30 minutes for your food or drink.

Drinks: Almost none of the bars or restaurants offer endless free refills--that applies also to your breakfast coffee or tea. Some establishments (incl. Kuyaba) offer ONE free coffee refill but that's it, you'll be charged for each additional order.

Food: Food seems to be wholesome and safe. We loved the jerk dishes and a few restaurants and roadside jerk stands we tried were outstanding and inexpensive.

Tipping: Generally, a 10% tip is expected wherever you dine or drink. Kuyaba does include that 10% in the bill as "staff service charge," so read your bill to ensure you don't double-tip if you don't want to. Also, if you want to photograph a person, always ask them first if it's okay to do so; it is common sense and common courtesy and very much appreciated; but they may ask you for a tip (usually 1 US$ would do.)

A simple rule of the thumb: Do not go anywhere you don't feel comfortable or at ease!

Rastafarians (nicknamed "Rastas"): You will see many of them in Negril, with their long dreadlocks sometimes pitched high up and often wrapped in a turban. Rastafarianism, as I was told by one of them, is all about being truthful and non-violent (i.e. Do not hate, do not fight, do not tell lies, do not kill, do not hurt or deceive anyone, etc.)

Real "Rastas" are 100% vegans and do not consume any meat whatsoever--not even fish, but they cannot live without Ganja! They are mild-mannered and soft-spoken. I was told by the same Rasta that unfortunately there are some Jamaicans who appear like Rastas but are shady and crooks; so be careful when you're approached by them; you'll quickly know if they're real or not.

Respect, Mon!

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank ssmosley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
247 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 180 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2013

We stayed at Kuyaba last spring, and loved it so much we decided to go back. And I am glad we did.

The location is great - I love being able to walk right out to the beach in the morning, and to watch the sunsets and then head to the bar for happy hour or back to our room to get ready for dinner. Also having the 2 stores and fruit stand right outside the main entrance (turn right as you go out) on the road gives a fast and cheap way to get cold water ($100 J or approx US$1 per 1.5 litres), snacks, and fresh fruit (the fruit here is 1/4th of the cost from the people on the beach).

We also love the staff at Kuyaba. We were asked every day how things were going, if we needed anything, if they could do anything for us. From the main desk, to the cleaning staff, to the restaurant and bar, everyone treated us GREAT, and were so friendly and helpful.

And the food in the restaurant is AMAZING... We ate there a number of times during our stay, and my wife was raving about the soups, pepper mountain shrimp, conch, lobster, and fish...

Thanks everyone at Kuyaba for a wonderful 9 days.

Room Tip: There is no pool or fitness center, but I got an error until I filled these in...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Dwaine S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kuyaba Hotel & Restaurant - Negril

Property: Kuyaba Hotel & Restaurant - Negril
Address: PO Box 2635, Negril, Jamaica
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#29 Top resorts Hotel in Negril
#33 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#34 Romantic Hotel in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Kuyaba Hotel & Restaurant - Negril 3*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of Negril's famous & beautiful seven mile white sand beach, Kuyaba is a family owned & operated boutique, beach hotel with a tropical island vibe that you won't find anywhere else. Set on a lush, tropical property surrounded by exotic plants, flowers & different varieties of palm trees, Kuyaba gives the true feeling of an island vacation. Kuyaba's architecture looks rustic on the outside but has a clean & modern heartbeat within the rooms offering all the comforts of home & then some. Featuring an on-property, beachside, restaurant & bar with an outstanding view of the beautiful Caribbean Sea. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kuyaba Hotel Negril
Kuyaba Resort Negril

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