We have struggled to write our review as we want to give people as much information as we can without our experiences or reasons for travel having an impact. We travelled with a group of 9 other people (aged 23-63) for 2 weeks (4th May-18th May) for our wedding (8th May).
We arrived at Montego Bay and were informed by Thomson staff in the airport that we were to make our way to a particular coach. The coaches were lined up in a grid fashion - side by side with more coaches behind them. Upon locating our coach we were greeted by Latoya, one of the Sensatori Reps at the hotel. During the coach ride to the hotel she gave a little introduction to the island and pointed out some interesting things along the way, which was a lovely touch.
Upon arrival at the hotel we were greeted with a cold glass of fizz and a cold towel. We were met by Nicky and Anna and were told to sit down and unwind whilst our cases were unloaded.
It was then we were finally able to relax and take in the breathtaking view and our first Jamaican sunset which is honestly one of the most stunningly beautiful things you will ever see. The open plan lobby looked out over the main decking and onto the beautiful white sands and blue Caribbean sea. Once our rooms were ready we were escorted by a member of staff who gave a small guided tour to our rooms.
We stayed in 4301 (a honeymoon suite) on the third floor of the multigenerational section. The room consisted of a bedroom with en-suite shower, toilet, double sinks and wardrobe in the bathroom area. There was also a large lounge and second shower, toilet and sink opposite another wardrobe. The balcony was a large wraparound balcony overlooking the pool and the stunning beach and sea. The views of the sunset were second to none. The balcony consisted of small table with 2 chairs and a two-seater cushioned love seat with canopy. There was a mini bar which consisted of soft drinks, water and beer, coffee making facilities were also provided and 2 large TVs.
The rooms were spotlessly cleaned every day and most days we were greeted by some towel art or scattered rose petals. There was no turn down service (a facility which you become accustomed to if you have travelled to the Caribbean before). The restocking of the coffee making facilities and mini bar was somewhat sporadic. On occasion there would be items missing (no mugs, no water, no coffee, no milk etc)
At all other hotels we have been to there has been one rep that services a number of hotels and has set times to visit you at your hotel. Here there are 2 full time reps, a Sensatori Manager and an Azul Manager. All the staff - Latoya, Colette, Nicky & Anna were so friendly and really approachable. Nothing is too much trouble, our group organised several trips through them and any issues with our rooms were sorted promptly with no fuss. After a few days you want to pop over to see them just to say hello. They all work tirelessly hard and really enjoy what they do and are a credit to the company and the hotel.
There are 4 swimming pools, one in the adults only section with swim up bar, one on the main deck (also known as amber deck), one in the multigenerational section with a second swim up bar and a fourth located near the villas. All the pools are spotlessly clean. The pool bar opens around 11am and closes at 5-5.30pm. They have entertainment in the evening at the pool bar (singers, guitarists etc) who perform as the sun sets which you can watch from your balcony. Its a really nice touch and one that we would hate to see disappear. The bar located in the adults only section is advertised on the website as being open in the evenings but it was always shut by 5.30pm during our stay. They do make some fantastic cocktails at all the bars and if you want to try something different the staff are more than happy to mix up something new.
There are 4 restaurants, Palms (main buffet open breakfast lunch and dinner), Garfields (open lunch and dinner), Di Romagio (Italian open dinner only) Ackee (Jamaican cuisine open breakfast and dinner). The food in all restaurants is exceptional. There is also a coffee bar in reception which also makes smoothies & Protein Shakes as well as having sandwiches, cakes and little snacks like cookies, macaroons and biscotti. Weather permitting there are also beach parties Wednesdays and Saturdays (some eating places may close on these nights so check on the day).
Food is quite a personal preference but we can honestly say the quality is great. The portion sizes may be on the small for some people with good appetites but if you know you like to eat, order 2 starters or ask for bigger portions. The staff are so accommodating. Another plus point is that they ask if you have any allergies and will cater pretty much any meal to suit your needs. The fact that you don't have to book the speciality restaurants in advance is another highlight. We would hate to see that change if the hotel gets bigger and busier.
One thing we noticed about the Garfields Restaurant is that there was no Coffee making facilities there, so if you wanted a coffee the waiter would have to go and get coffee from another restaurant or reception.
There are 2 swim up pool bars as previously mentioned, there is a bar located at Garfields restaurant which is open from about 11ish until when the restaurant closes, 7 mile bar and the Nesta bar. 7 mile bar is under a small canopy on the amber deck and gets very busy. There a few bar stools situated around the bar and some tables and chairs nearby. There is no table service and you often had to queue for some time to get drinks. In a 5* hotel this is unacceptable. Hopefully by hiring more staff to clear the tables and provide table service this will no longer be an issue. There is also a limited beach drinks service. For those who have travelled before, especially to the Caribbean, you will know that touches like beach and pool drinks service are what you come to expect when you pay considerable money for a 5* hotel. Again hopefully more staff will help. When it rains (which its the Caribbean so it does quite frequently) there is only the Nesta lounge which is an indoor bar. This is a lovely bar but is very small and when the hotel is full it will not be able to deal with the amount of people. This needs to be addressed.
Like many people we like to go to the gym on holiday. Unfortunately the Gym/Spa that we were sold upon booking the hotel was not finished. Thomson did email us prior to leaving to tell us the Gym/Spa would not be ready so it wasn't a surprise. There was an interim gym which appeared to be a building block from the old hotel the Sensatori is built on (Beaches Sandy Bay). The gym is small and has mostly older pulley style weight machines with very limited cardio equipment. During the second week some workmen arrived and put together some more cardio equipment as well as adding a small section of free weights. As the building that houses the Gym is older, it leaks when it rains. The building was always kept spotlessly clean just like the rest of the hotel but it was clearly a compromise.
Our wedding in Jamaica was truly fantastic and was everything we could have wished for. The wedding co-ordinator at the hotel, Shelly-Ann was brilliant and she took care of everything for us with no fuss. The hotel were very accommodating and sent Champagne and extra beer to our suite where we had a small party for our guests to watch the sun set, we then had a fantastic meal in Palms. If you are thinking about getting married abroad we can certainly recommend this hotel.
As we travelled in a group we booked a number of excursions. We all booked a trip to Rick's Cafe and some couples booked trips to YS Falls and Dunns River Falls separately.
The feedback our friends gave us from the trips is that they are lovely when you are there but Dunns River falls for example is 4 hours away by coach and the journey can be a little tiring.
Our trip to Rick's Cafe was honestly a waste of money. It's very Americanised and we just didn't enjoy our time there. The cliff divers were spectacular but they only dive for tips and when you do your research you realise that its very dangerous and people have been killed jumping from the cliff. People talk about how great the sunset is there but honestly the sunset from our balcony, or anywhere in our hotel, was miles better.
The staff are fantastic and are what makes the place so great. Without the staff the hotel would certainly struggle. After two weeks at the resort one criticism that was shared amongst the other guests we spoke to was that the staff aren't Jamaican enough. Some of their responses sound a bit scripted. Given that the hotel was newly opened there seemed to be a large number of senior Karisma managers milling about and this seemed to unnerve the staff somewhat. Let the staff be themselves, they have bubbly vibrant personalities and guests love to see that shining through. On the occasions where it did happen - our first beach party which was also the night before our wedding stands out - the evening is completely transformed and you feel that the staff are having a party with you, it's fantastic and is one of the main reasons people choose Jamaica as a holiday destination.
There were so many members of staff who made our stay so special and we would like the opportunity to thank them personally, they do such a fantastic job and work tirelessly to make you feel like royalty, always with a huge smile. So thank you to the following staff members who really stood out for us:
Anieta, Alfonso, Christina, Wayde
Glenmar, Julio, Kevin, Rohan, Hyacinth
Overian, Dwight, Lensworth, Junior, Byran, Ernesto, Anthony, Clive, Fabian, Neville, Omar, Omar G, Prince
Christopher, Raul, Akeema
Shellian, Melissa, Kevan
Nikki, Collette, Layota, Anna
The hotel is clean, well maintained and has some great staff who really are an asset to the hotel. The food and drink are of a high standard and it is difficult to find fault.
The main downside of the hotel, and its something you seriously need to consider when you book, is that the hotel is still being worked on - it's not finished. We had an absolutely amazing time here but if we had been told when we made the booking that the hotel would not be ready for our holiday, despite how good this place is we probably would have booked somewhere else. During our stay we noticed a number of issues which need to be addressed before this hotel can truly reach its potential.
The second week in the hotel was much busier than the first and did expose the lack of staff in the resort. For example Christina and Wayde at the pool bar would serve drinks, collect glasses from the beach, wash glasses and serve drinks on the beach. They both worked so hard and did it with a smile, but clearly they needed some help. We heard during our stay that more staff were being hired so hopefully this should no longer be an issue.
There does not appear to be enough public toilets for a fully booked hotel. 2 toilets at Nesta, 2 near amber deck, 1 at Garfields and 1 at the gym for a hotel with 136 rooms is just not enough.
The lobby is lovely and open plan but no air-conditioning means it can get very sticky and hot. The only 2 restaurants with air-conditioning are Garfields and the Italian, maybe Ackee and Palms could do with a better method of keeping guests cool.
When it rains, it really rains. For people who have travelled to the Caribbean before or have done their research this will come as no surprise - its accepted as part of the package. Its at these times you see that the design of the hotel has some unintentional side effects, for example in Ackee there is a seating area outside covered with a permanent canopy. Its open air so its very nice to sit in and the views are amazing, unless its raining. If it rains the water comes in from the sides and you and anyone else sitting there ends up huddled in the middle of the floor eating your meal.
The hotel does flood around some pathways and on the stairs, the latter becomes very slippy so you need to be very careful walking around after a rainstorm. During our stay we saw one of the chefs slip and fall and also heard that the doctor had been called to a guest who had fallen over.
All in all we have given the hotel a good rating. We really enjoyed the hotel, the wedding was truly fantastic and we couldn't have wished for a better day and experience, the food and drink were great, the staff were friendly, hard working and enthusiastic and we would recommend the hotel and come back for another visit but the hotel is new and is still finding its feet. In another 12 months or so once issues have been resolved we think this will truly be an exceptional hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated on a coveted stretch of Negril's world-famous Seven Mile Beach, Azul Beach Resort Sensatori Jamaica is a pristine paradise where couples, families, friends and colleagues can reconnect beneath brilliant blue skies and tropical sunshine. This oceanfront hotel offers spacious, contemporary oceanfront accommodations, with special adults-only sections dedicated exclusively to romantic honeymoon suites. You'll find a variety of restaurants serving masterfully prepared and artfully presented International cuisine, enhanced by breathtaking ocean views. There's a world-class spa. Premium liquor. Live entertainment day and night. A near endless variety of activities on land and in the crystal clear waters. And supervised programs for kids and teens designed to make sure everyone has a great time. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, TripOnline SA, Hotels.com, Ebookers, HotelsClick, Evoline ltd, 5viajes2012 S.L. and Cancelon so you can book your Azul Beach Resort Sensatori Jamaica by Karisma reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.