My girlfriend and I had the pleasure of spending a week with the fine folks at Negril Escape. We only wish we had stayed a bit longer. The following review is from our perspective - in the “we” form.
If you’re the type of American traveller that expects an American experience where ever you travel, I’d advise you to give Negril Escape a chance, but you may be disappointed if your expectations are set to have an entirely American experience. You’re not in America, after all. I mention this because several reviews I’ve read about Negril Escape (here and elsewhere) seem to be coming from an American set of expectations kind of perspective.
Whenever I travel, I want an authentic experience. I enjoy trying native food, and like to experience what locals experience every day. My very favorite thing is going into markets/grocery stores. It’s a great way to experience a culture, find unique foods, and observe how locals interact with one another.
My number one observation and the resounding theme to reviews I’ve read: expectations are everything. Jamaica will be a different experience than the United States or other, more developed countries because it is a different country. It is a developing country.
- The Staff -
Engage staff members in conversation. Everyone is so friendly and accommodating. I can’t stress this enough. Just hang out in the bar/eating area one night and you’ll have an opportunity to speak with several staff members, as well as the owners themselves. In my travels, this is somewhat rare. I believe it speaks volumes about Jamaican culture, and the uniqueness of Negril Escape.
Vanisha (Vanny for short) was the first staff member we spoke at length to. Vanny and Sophia can be found working the bar. Both are incredibly friendly and helpful.
Andre and Chris are the cooks in the kitchen. Andre can be seen helping out in the bar when needed. Leroy is also very helpful.
Charmaine was our maid and we couldn’t have been happier with our room service. If we wanted something extra - like an extra pillow, we simply asked. Charmaine and Vanny also did something very special for our anniversary. While speaking with Vanny, we told her, just as an aside, that Monday was our anniversary. That kind of thoughtfulness is a wonderful thing. We were shocked and overwhelmed with joy. Thank you Vanny, Charmaine and everyone at Negril Escape for making our anniversary that much more special.
The owners, Mr David and his wife Janet really made us feel appreciated, and we hope they felt appreciated too. Their resort is beautiful, and their staff makes the entire experience that much better.
- The Experience -
We will be coming back to Negril Escape for several reasons. We’re not beach people, but love that we can easily get to the beach whenever we want. We enjoy the quietness of the cliffs, the culture that resides here, and close proximity to authentic food. We loved being able to walk out of the resort, turn left or right, and stumble upon a great restaurant or food cart within a few minutes walk.
Again, the staff won us over immediately. We believe that our experience staying on the cliffs over the beach allowed us to experience what it’s like to live in Jamaica. We loved every second.
- Explore The Grounds Of The Resort
We spent a lot of time investigating all the mounds of dead coral surrounding the main walkout cliffs area - right off the patio/bar/eatery/observatory. If you’re comfortable climbing around big coral chunks and volcanic rock, I suggest you explore the mini ecosystems to be found. There are incredible photo opportunities all around the resort.
- Water Is Not Recycled in Jamaica -
You may see negative reviews about water shortage; limited hot water while showering, or toilets not always re-filling/flushing the way they should (like back home). This is because Jamaica does not recycle water; have limited access to water, and the mega resorts have a tight hold on the majority of water available. As a result, Jamaica can’t keep up with a typical westerner’s water consumption demand. Keep this in mind when you’re staying in Jamaica. Expectations are everything.
- Power Is Limited And Conserved Whenever Possible -
During the day, Negril Escape collects solar energy to provide power throughout the resort. At night they’ll use backup generators after the solar energy is used up. You may find your power out during the day - however, shame on you for staying in your room when you should be out experiencing Jamaica and all the West End has to offer :) . There is so much to see and do, you’re missing out if you stay in your room. If your power is out and you need to use power, simply ask a staff member and they will likely turn the generator on for you.
When you leave your room for extended periods of time, turn off your plugged in appliances.
- Breakfast Is Free Every Morning -
Negril Escape offers buffet breakfast (starting around 8am or 9am) that typically consists of eggs, toast or french toast, fresh fruit, bacon, and callaloo. We often ate before the buffet was served/ready (around 8am or a bit earlier). We simply sat down and spoke with Vanny or Sophia about breakfast options. If you prefer a more American-like breakfast, you can have that.
If you want more than what is offered on the standard buffet, just ask. The negative reviews about the free breakfast are likely because those individuals never asked for anything else. The staff and the resort as a whole, could’t be more accommodating. One morning we needed to eat around 7am, Andre and Vanny made it happen and it wasn’t a problem.
We always preferred a Jamaican breakfast - and we simply spoke to the cooks and they got to know what we liked. Every morning we enjoyed Blue Mountain coffee, a fresh fruit plate (Jamaican apples, Papaya, Pineapple), eggs (scrambled or fried - or however preferred), toast, french toast or fried dumplings, fried plantain, and callaloo. The breakfast was always the perfect amount of food. If you want more, I’d suggest re-assessing your portion intake/expectations. This is a free breakfast and I’ve honestly never experienced a better, more-consistent, free breakfast at any hotel/resort.
- Explore And Explore Often -
We walked the streets of the west end every day, and have many fond memories of conversations with locals. Some of our favorite restaurants (all within walking distance of the resort) included: Ras Rody’s Organic, Pablo Restaurant (our favorite), Archway Pizza, Hungry Lion, Just Natural, and AhhhBees. As vegetarians we had no problem finding food to eat. Speak with the owners/servers of the restaurants you visit - learn about them and ask questions about Jamaican culture. You're in for a great experience and memorable conversation.
We found Negril Escape, and the West End in general to be very safe
Like anywhere, use common sense and you’ll be fine. If you walk around after dark, have a flashlight on-hand, or take a local taxi. It’s also a good idea to not walk alone after dark - again, common sense. We never felt threatened during our time in Jamaica, and found everyone to be incredibly friendly. Remember that Jamaica is a tourist-driven country. Locals are used to tourists and rely on tourism to live.
- Bus Shuttle To The Beach Every Day -
While we were staying, a yoga group of 12 people or so were also staying. We found ourselves tagging along a few days on the bus shuttle to the beach - typically around 12:15. The bus would drop us off at the beach, and pick everyone up at around 3:30 or whenever the group wanted to be picked up. This is definitely a nice service they provide. If you don’t want to take the shuttle, a local taxi from Negril Escape to the beach (downtown roundabout) should only cost you a few dollars per person.
- Age Groups -
During our stay we were the youngest people staying at the resort. We're in our early 30s and it seemed like everyone else was in their 50s-60s. I imagine younger couples are wowed by all the beach resorts have to offer, but my girlfriend and I are not beach people - appreciating the beach in small doses. We find the cliffs perfectly conducive to our ideal vacation experience. I mention the age group observation only if it's in any way helpful to someone's resort decision-making process.
- Regarding Comments About The Resort Needing Maintenance -
There are areas of the resort that need a bit of maintenance - walls/ deck railings need to be stripped and painted, the main overlook/patio area could be worked on too. But overall, I have no complaints. However, we are the type of people that don’t stay in our room much. We pretty much used our room as a place to sleep, and occasionally watch Jamaican TV or wind down after a long day out and about.
The beds are very comfortable, and our air conditioning worked whenever we needed it. We had to manually fill our toilet’s water tank if we flushed twice within a short time period - but this has more to do with the country's water supply than the resort itself. See my comments on water above. I feel it's unfair to fault the resort for lack of water supply.
- Bottom-line -
We loved our stay at Negril Escape and hope you will too. The staff are some of the friendliest and most accommodating people you will ever meet.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Boutique resort Located on the cliffs in Negril. Offers a natural, holistic environment. Gardens and paths winding through the limestone to the sea. Swim, snorkle, or scuba dive-(Negril Scuba Centre is located here!) enjoy a message in our spa on the edge of the cliff, or just relax by the pool. 10 cottages- each reflecting the rich,vibrant cultural heritage of Jamaica,from India to Africa, Asia to Europe. Service personalized to the guest's individual wishes. Come Escape, relax, and rejuvenate your body and soul. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Negril Escape Resort And Spa
- Negril Escape Hotel Negril