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“Great But 'if only...'”

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Beaches Negril Resort & Spa
Ranked #17 of 81 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 29 July 2011

This is a complete and honest appraisal of the two weeks we've just spent at Beaches Negril in Jamaica.

Overall 9/10
Transfer - 3/10
Location - 10/10
Weather - 8/10 (for 9 July to 23 July)
Staff - 11/10
Rooms - 7/10
Restaurants - 7/10
Communal Toilets - 5/10
Bar Facilities - 9/10
Pools - 10/10
Entertainment - 9/10
Beaches facilities - 10/10
Kids Facilities - 5/10

Overall - 9/10
We had a great time at Beaches Negril but came away with the feeling 'It's great but...'. Sandals is better. I hope the management reads the comments below (almost all very positive) and maybe acts the negative points.

Transfer - 3/10
1.5 hours. Hit and miss as to the coach you get (poor from airport, good to airport - both aircon). From the airport you get to stop for a 'toilet break' although this seemed unnecessary and more like a stop at a shop enticing people to spend there. This perhaps is not under Beaches control but is not good though.

Location - 10/10
There's not much to say about the location, it's superb. The beach is immaculately maintained. Even at 7:30am it had already been cleaned and raked by the Beaches staff. The sea is shallow, safe and beautifully clear. You are able to see fish clearly at waist depth.

Weather - 8/10 (9 July - 23 July)
It is very hot! You need to be up early to make the most of the sun. We were on the beach 7:30am to 1pm every day. This was more than enough. BUT BE PREPARED! At this time of year you can almost set your watches by the clouds which roll in between 1pm to 2pm every day. Thunder and lightning follow with often very heavy rain.

Staff - 11/10
There is nothing that the staff at this resort could do to improve their service. They are quite simply outstanding. They are always friendly, smiling and asking if there is anything they can do for you. Unbeatable! We had no problem with the room maids as others have said

Rooms (we had two junior suites) - 7/10
Bedroom area - very good: The bed was large and comfortable, the sofa (sofabed - not used as such) was large and comfortable. Large flatscreen TV, coffee maker, aircon, radio-alarm all worked well. Fridge restocked every day.
Dressing area - average: The marble topped twin sink area was very good and toiletries supplied. The 'wardrobe' was dreadful as it consisted only of a small shelf rack and a long bar to hang clothes on. This was bent in the middle and mid holidays actually broke. This is not what you expect from Sandals/Beaches.
Toilet/Bathroom - poor: The toilet was fine but the bath was small. There was no separate shower only one over the bath with a flimsy screen. The shower worked fine BUT the bottom of the bath had very little flat surface to stand on which meant that it was slippery to get in and out of - especially when you were covered in suntan oil. I actually fell out injuring myself. Not Good!!!
HOWEVER - we had specifically booked two adjoining junior suites. THERE ARE NO ADJOINING SUITES AT THIS RESORT. Our rooms were one above the other. The manager did apologise and offer us a free cabana for a day as compensation. Nice to be offered this but the rooms weren't what we had paid for.

Restaurants - 7/10
Kiminos (Japanese): Reservation - good food, loud and fun.
The Mill (Buffet): Limited food but generally something for everyone. Great deserts.
The Seville (Italian): Long wait. good food though.
Cafe Carnivale (Fast Food): Great burgers.
Dinos: Personal (Pizzas). Lovely fresh pizzas, limited wait.
Stewfish: Reservation. Good food BUT watch out for the sand flies - our daughter had had over 150 bites on each leg! Needed two injections from on-site doctor ($150), 5 days on drugs and cream.

Overall: Reasonably good food though NOT Haute Cuisine. Desserts are wonderful. The only downside is that if you are there for two weeks you find yourself repeating meals. Excellent touches like the self-service ice-cream machine with cookies is great for kids and grown-ups alike.

Communal Toilets - 5/10
These are a real let down. Though never visibly dirty, these were often smelly with excessive water on the floor. The cubicles had flimsy locks (my wife actually had someone walk in on her!)

Bar Facilities - 9/10
These are great. The staff are wonderful, full of life and happy to serve you. The bars are great and you never have to wait too long to be served. The pool bars are the best for fun! Only small point is that the main bar inside gets very hot in the evening and could do with fans to cool it down.

Pools - 10/10
These are clean and well maintained. They are never crowded as most people are down on the beach.

Entertainment - 9/10
This was all you can expect on a Caribbean holiday. It was varied and well presented.

Beaches facilities 10/10
The is more than enough space on the beach. THe sunbeds are never fully used. The cabanas, if used, are lovely and well served and a great change to the regular sunbeds. The water skiing, pedalos, glass bottom boat and snorkelling are all free and good fun. There are several independent jet skiing guys constantly pressing you to use their machine and they can be annoying but that's not Beaches fault. The Beaches catamaran trip is good fun though a little expensive. I recommend the para-sailing.

Kids Facilities - 5/10
Have to agree with other comments that for teens there really is nothing worth going to. The is a good 'xbox room' which can be used but we didn't allow ours to use this as they get enough at home! THer are 'Sesame' related things for very young children although this seems aimed more at the Amaerican market.

In summary
Great but...
- Suite dressing areas. Please improve them - these aren't even 3* let alone 5*.
- Bathrooms. We were told the bathrooms are being improved though we thought they would have started in the more expensive suites first - we didn't see evidence of this.
- Add another ice-cream machine near the pizza bar! It's a great facility.
- Add ceiling fans to the bar in the entertainment area.
- Communal toilets. Drastically improve the cubicles and improve the hygiene.

Will we return: Maybe but we'd need to see to see evidence of the room improvements first.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank MCDC10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 July 2011

Went here for a family wedding, we stayed at 7 mile beach, so this review is specific to that resort.

My biggest gripe is that this trip was way too much money for what we received. The rooms are tiny, the beach is not very nice. The pool bar was closed the entire time we were there. The service, though friendly, was so slow. I mean really slow, waiting over half an hour to get a drink is too slow.

Additionally, more than half of the group who stayed here for this wedding got very ill. The part of the family who stayed down the road at Beaches Pirates Cove did not get sick.

Two years before this trip I was in Negril and stayed right down the road at Breezes and had a wonderful experience for a lot less money. There are much better options in Negril.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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5  Thank AmandaPants78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2011

This was our second trip to this resort, and my 11th trip to Jamacia overall. We loved the resort, and are booked again for next year.

Beautiful beach location. We had a nice room with a view of the beach/water. We received a room upgrade as we are Sandals/Beaches 13 time returning guests. The room featured a sitting area with a pull-out couch that we used for our 7 year old daughter. The room was sufficient for our needs. I loved the large bathroom area. Our room was kept clean on a regular basis, and the housekeeping staff did an outstanding job.

The staff were all friendly and helpful. The resort is easily manageable, and features a nice walkway by the ocean. The ocean and the beach itself were breathtaking. It was easy to find a chair on the beach, even though the resort was booked to capacity.

The food was good. It would be nice if they could add some type of coffee/pastry stand similar to the one in Turks & Caicos but on a smaller scale. The restaurants offered enough choices to accomodate any palate.

Bar/drink service was good. It is my undrestanding that they have now added a Pizza area near the beach, which I think is a great upgrade. I also read something about possible drink service on the beach, which would be amazing!!!

The pools and water park added a nice break from the beach. The lazy river is speedy, and was fun for all ages. There were some ill behaved children jumping off the walls of the river into the river itself, and two almost landed on my husband and daughter. I could not find any lifeguards at the river at that time, so I was unable to report the children.

We enjoyed ourselves at this relaxing resort, and are scheduled to return in 2012!!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
2  Thank HLaw97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 July 2011

We had a great experience at Beaches Negril in March. My family of four (kids ages 8 and 9) along with another family traveled to this location for Spring Break. While it was our first time staying at a Beaches Resort- I generally avoid all inclusive resorts- this one was a pleasant surprise. The staff was lovely, the resort had TONS to do, the food was decent and the accommodations were pleasant enough.

Things to keep in mind. Beaches Negril is located quite far from the airport. Once there however, the travel time will seem well worth it. These are some of the most beautiful beaches I have been to-wide with white sand and shallow for easy wading. Upon arrival, be prepared to wait for your room but you will be rewarded with a refreshment.

Accommodations are satisfactory while not overly plush or up to date. The four of us shared a room with two double beds and one bath, while this is not ideal, the redeeming feature was that we were only in the room to sleep. The room was clean and the staff was happy to accommodate us. We needed extra towels and a roll away and both were received in a timely fashion.

Each morning we visited the elaborate buffet for breakfast. Then, we would grab fins and masks from the dive shop and take the 9:30 boat out for a snorkel trip to observe some amazing marine life (spotted eels, needle fish, sea anemone, starfish). Once we returned, our kids divided their time between the pool, the lazy river,the water slide and the beach. As for lunch, we generally grabbed a bite at the walk up grill and pizza window. If you prefer a sit down lunch, there is a great Mexican Cantina with a salad bar but be prepared to wait a bit. There is also a walk up soft serve ice cream bar that the kids LOVED.

The water activities were plentiful. We water skied and knee boarded several times (there were some issues with the ski boat but they had it working by our second day). We also took out the Hobie cats and kayaks daily and there was banana boating in the early afternoon on most days. If you like to scuba, there are also daily dive outings. One caveat, if you plan to work out at the gym on the property you might be disappointed. There were several elliptical machines but only a few that worked and the weight equipment was prehistoric. Also, if you are an avid yogi, you might want to skip their version. On a positive note, running on the beach there is great! Just be sure to sign in/out when you go.

If you plan on having a sit down dinner, you will need to make your reservations early! I got up and was waiting at the table by 7:00 am to make ours. Be aware that there are some "wait lists" for certain nights/times. We were lucky to get a reservation at the Stewfish restaurant on the beach which serves decent food and you can watch the sunset. We had a big group, there were a total of eight of us and the Stewfish easily accommodated us. We were able to linger after dinner by as the kids had a ball just playing on the beach. The Seville is another great option. The food and service were both fine and we got a reservation easily. Many families that we spoke with ventured off property to Margaritaville and had a great time there as well.

While the food and the accommodations here were adequate, the best feature of this property was the staff. They made my kids feel like rock stars. There was always some activity for the kids to participate in and we felt comfortable letting them go. Each evening there was a coordinated performance that all the kids could participate in if they desired. My eight year old daughter was in heaven and is begging to go back again!

All in all it was a great family trip that my kids will remember as one of the best vacations in their young lives. You really can't beat that!

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank zlmommy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 July 2011

This review is aimed at people who love the Sandals experience and are thinking of trying Beaches.

My wife and I are regulars at Sandals Royal Caribbean, having made five trips there over the past 10 years. We know SRC is not the fancy new star of the chain, but we love the small, friendly property and its location right on the beach, and it really has become our vacation home. So for us, Beaches Negril was destined to be compared to Sandals Royal Caribbean throughout the trip and I'll compare it in this review.

Going in, we knew this was a family resort and that the experience would be very different from a couples vacation, but our hope was that there would be enough "Sandals" in Beaches to satisfy us while keeping the kids happy too. Here's what we found…

GETTING THERE: If you are used to the 10-minute ride to Montego Bay resorts, get ready for a haul. Our trip took 1.5 hours with no traffic or large delays. The reward is that the beach here is beautiful. Montego Bay can't compare on that score.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: We arrived nearly lunch time, so our room was not ready yet. We were given a brief tour and dropped off at a restaurant, which was nice. After lunch we went back to check in (concierge) and got our room. Our beachfront suite had a queen bed, a pullout couch and a roll away bed. If you are looking for romance, I assume you would need the one-bedroom suite at least. The room was large enough for us all (My wide and I and boys aged 15 and 11), though and we never felt overly crowded.

Tips: 1) The roll away was surprisingly more comfortable than the pullout couch. 2) Beachfront here means you can see the beach in the distance.

HOUSEKEEPING: This was one of the really unpleasant surprises of the trip. At Sandals we never really thought about housekeeping, other than the pretty towel creations they make on the bed. At Beaches Negril we kept wondering where housekeeping was. We only managed to get turndown service three nights out of the week (even after going to the concierge lounge to ask for earlier turndown) and getting the room cleaned was just as tough. On several days we were happy just to get towels to shower with. Near the end of the trip we were only given three towels and a call to housekeeping for more was answered, but the towels were never delivered. As much as I hate to say it, I have had much better housekeeping at budget hotels.

Tip: DO NOT ask the mail to come back in half an hour. We did this twice and never saw her again. If the maid arrives, let her clean the room!

FOOD: To be clear on our outlook, the food at Sandals is good, but not outstanding, so I had realistic expectations. Still, Beaches Negril came in quite a few notches lower here. The reviews that mention slow service are not exaggerating. Our first meal was lunch at Arizonas (the beach grill) and there were only two tables with people at them. Despite this, we waited 20 minutes for any service at all. This got so frustrating that we all just started defaulting to hamburgers or patties from the fast-food area to save trouble. We almost felt that we were being "encouraged" to just get a hamburger.

Thoughts on individual restaurants:

Kiminos: We really liked this one! The staff was fun and silly and the food was good. I'd like to see Beaches try to create more dining experiences that have a personality. Kimonos requires reservations and it worth the trouble.

The Mill Buffet: I'm generally not a fan of buffets, and this did nothing to change that. The night we ate here there were a couple of meat choices and then warmer after warmer that said "mixed vegetables." And they all had pretty much the same mixed vegetables. I'm still not sure why they needed so many stations serving the same vegetables.

The Seville: Didn't get to try this one. They don't take reservations and the evening we tried the wait was over an hour. Yep, time for a hamburger!

Cafe Carnivale: This is the fast food area, and was our main haunt. The DO make tasty hamburgers, by the way.

Dinos: Personal pizzas. They make them fresh, so it's a bit of a wait, but this was a nice change.

Stewfish: Another reservation restaurant right on the beach. Put on plenty of OFF, but do go. The food was very nice and sunset on the beach was great.

SCUBA DIVING: We're not really into the other water sports, but we love to dive, and signed our oldest son up to be PADI certified. He took the classes online and we set up an appointment online for him to do checkout dives the day after we arrived. Despite this reservation the boat had been filled and they said he would have to wait another day for his lesson. That cut two dives from the trip. My wife and I also could not dive on the second day because of crowding and missed another day later in the week because the boat was already full.

For you divers, at SRC they have you do a checkout dive and they gauge your experience level. Then, they put like groups together and advanced divers go together and beginning divers go together. So you are in a small group with a dive master on a dive that matches your skill level. I think this is a great way to run a dive operation.

At Beaches Negril, the whole group stays together, regardless of experience level. One one dive we were a train of 20 people, many of whom had almost no buoyancy control and no experience. Chaotic is the word that comes to mind. I'll take SRC diving any day.

Tips: If you want to dive, sign up at the break of dawn each day. If you are even a little late, the boat will be full and you are out of luck. On one day that we couldn't dive we snorkeled instead and the trip was really fun, even for a diver missing his gear. They made that a great trip.

KIDS PROGRAMS: This was kind of the point of the trip. We hoped the boys would get involved and meet some friends. We found that kids up to 10 participate and those programs are very active. But the tweens and teens just didn't show up for anything, and those programs were almost non-existent. This is one week, of course, and I'm sure these programs rise and fall based on the kids that are at the resort. So I was disappointed, but you can't blame this on Beaches. The kids staff was great, however, and stepped up where so much of the other service lacked. They were great with the kids and knew their names almost immediately. I was really impressed with the whole team, and this made me realize that this is were Beaches is putting more of its attention. They probably should pamper mom and dad more as they pay the bill, but the kids were well treated.

ENTERTAINMENT: Very similar to what you see at Sandals. It was nice to have a drink and listen to some live music.

VALUE: I rate an all-inclusive against what it would cost me to buy the same services separately, and I don't think Beaches is strong here. We ate mostly fast food, didn't get to dive very much and shared a room with our kids, who slept on a pullout and a couch. Add to that the weak service from the restaurants and housekeeping, and I just don't feel I got what I paid for. And to be clear, I have never felt this way at SRC, which I think is a great value for the money.

WILL WE RETURN? Probably not. My wife and I will likely go back to Sandals, but the main lesson this summer was that Beaches is NOT Sandals, and didn't replace the experience. And the kids frankly aren't screaming that they want to go back. But we'll see. This was just one trip and there are so many positive reviews that perhaps we were just unlucky.

Room Tip: Suites are just big rooms. If you want privacy, make sure it says one- or two-bedroom suite.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank dwittekind
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Beaches Negril Resort & Spa

Address: Norman Manley Blvd, Negril, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Negril
#3 Family Hotel in Negril
#8 Luxury Hotel in Negril
#9 Top resorts Hotel in Negril
#9 Spa Hotel in Negril
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#10 Romantic Hotel in Negril
Price Range: RM 2,375 - RM 7,438 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Beaches Negril Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 215
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•Located on the widest stretch of Negril's seven mile white sand beach•Stay at one, play at two with full exchange privileges with Beaches Sandy Bay including a choice of 11 dining options•“Pirates Island” Water Theme Park with 4 slides, meandering “lazy” river and splash deck•Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street themed activities with daily character appearances, parades and stage shows•Kids Kamp & Nursery with wide range of supervised activities•Interactive Teens Program with “Trench Town” Teen's Center and Teens' Coordinator to coordinate teen activities•Expansive Two & Three Bedroom Butler serviced suites•Supervised Xbox® Play Lounge with flat screen plasma TV's & Xbox® 360 game consoles•Beaches Resorts were voted “World's Leading Family All-Inclusive 14 years in a row•Five Star Diamond Award, American Academy of Hospitality Sciences•Six Star Diamond Award, Beaches Resorts – Keeping it Green•EarthCheck Platinum Certified ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Beaches Negril Hotel Negril
Beaches Hotel Negril
Negril Beaches Hotel

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