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“2nd trip to Beaches Negril. Two things stand out: ATI & Bugs- read on....”

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Beaches Negril Resort & Spa
Ranked #11 of 80 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 7 August 2011

Just to let you know upfront - this will be a long review. We just got back and I have lots to say - good, very good, bad and just plain UGLY.

First - a warning (this is Ugly). Do you know about "ATI"? I didn't. My wife didn't. I'd say about 99% of the people at Beaches this week didn't know about ATI. But ATI is an annual celebration in honor of Jamaican Emancipation. This ATI Festival occurs the last weekend of July on an annual basis (since 2001). As described direct from the website: http://www.atiweekend.com, ATI is "18 hours of partying with 6 hours of sleep spread out over 3 days... the ATI experience, fun, frolic and wild abandon." (And after lots of looking around, I finally found out what ATI stands for: "Absolute Temptation Isle" (sounds like a reality show that FOX actually TURNED DOWN!)

So why do I begin my Beaches Negril with a description of what sounds like a great event (particularly if you are of "Spring Break" age and a fan of "Jersey Shore"?) Well the ATI festival takes place throughout Negril. And two of the biggest events were held on the properties right next door to Beaches. Now, again, this may sound like fun. But they were permitted to remain open until 2:00am. The promoters and producers love to turn the Bass up. The DJs love to talk over the music. And the parties don't end at 2:00am, they ended at 5:00am. Right next door to a FAMILY RESORT. Did Beaches warn us, or even alert us that this festival was going to take place the first 3 nights we were staying at Beaches? No. We were told by the front desk that "everyone knows about ATI, there are signs about it everywhere." Well yes, on the highway to Negril, there were lots of signs (but there are lots of other signs on those roads as well, and I wasn't driving through Negril when I booked my trip!) You might say: Dave, surely this huge festival was promoted on the Jamaica tourism website, www.visitjamaica.com? Well, no, it's not. You can dig and find it, but only if you're really looking for it. So if you're planning a FAMILY VACATION - which would include kids who usually go to sleep before 2:00am, and you, as a parent, might want to get to sleep on your vacation sometime before 2:00am (or 5:00am!), you might want to know that Negril's largest festival will be right next door to your resort. Also, it might be nice if the managers and staff at the resort could answer your questions about how many nights the concerts were going on and what the official end times were.

Now, let me PRAISE Beaches Negril: When we spoke with the manager and asked to be moved to a room on the other side of the resort, we were initially told that the resort was sold out and it couldn't happen. But then my wife spoke to Daniella, the General Manager of the resort. Need to state this RIGHT NOW: She must have been a STRAIGHT A student in all of her Customer Service courses in college and in Beaches training. She went above and beyond for our family. She understood why we were upset, and went out of her way to resolve our problem. She found us a room on the other side of the resort, showed it to us personally and took care that we would be moved in. She also arranged for us to have a Cabana on the beach one day - we didn't ask for this, didn't expect it, and were very surprised and pleased that this was offered. Also, a note that one of the Porter's, Dalton, was also very gracious in helping us move rooms (and also volunteered to take our bags to the transport bus on our last day, allowing us to spend an extra hour on the beach!)

So remember, if you're planning a SUMMER vacation at Beaches Negril: last weekend of July is the ATI Festival. You may love it, or you may dread it. You're forewarned.

More Ugly: The Bugs. Or to be specific, the Sand Fleas. I know I'm not the first one and I won't be the last one to say this: bring extra, extra, EXTRA bug spray. The sand fleas are vicious (and invisible.) You just won't know what hit you, until you start scratching. Long pants are a must if you're going to be anywhere near the beach, particularly around and after sunset. Couple of notes here:

1. If you ask, housekeeping will spray your rooms when they make them up, or turn them down before bedtime. Thing is, we were never told this by staff. We found out about this from a fellow guest the day before we left. Personally, I think this should be offered to every guest (should not be mandatory, as some people may not want to have bug spray sprayed across their rooms, particularly if you have young children.)

2. THE NURSE and DOCTOR. The nurse (there are a few on staff) is very busy at this resort. My wife first went to her to show her the giant (and yes, they were mean and ugly looking) bug bites she had up and down her legs. The nurse took a quick look and said that she was having an allergic reaction to the sand flea bites. She wasn't the first person who had come in that week (and wasn't going to be the last.) Nurse recommended that she call the doctor and have him come and give her a shot of antihistamines and steroids, and get her a prescription. After some discussion, we agreed this was the right course of action. The doctor arrived in under an hour (would have been there sooner, but he was caught in - yes, you guessed it - traffic from ATI. He gave her the shots, and 3 days worth of meds (8 pills a day!) Started helping immediately. If you go to Beaches Negril, you will be stung by these bugs. Nothing you can really do to avoid this - if they look like they're flaring up, go to the Nurse. Don't wait and don't think you're being silly. Get it taken care of so you can enjoy your vacation.

One other note about the nurse and another surprise staff member. Our youngest daughter (5 1/2) had a fever for a few days. We brought Motrin, which brought the fever down, but it lasted too long so we finally brought her to the nurse; who recommended the doctor came. Her fever was higher than we thought (remember to bring a thermometer!) and he prescribed 5 days of Zithromax. He also gave us a version of Motrin (we ran out) called Cataflam that we never heard of (nor had our doctor from the US - yes, we called.) Prior to using the Cataflam, my wife went to the gift shop to see if they had Motrin. The store employee Carol Sue told my wife that she had always given Cataflam to her children and that it is a terrific medicine. They had a long discussion about kids and she really made my wife feel better, that our daughter would be on the mend soon. Now here's the GREAT: Yes, after a few days, my daughter's fever was down and she was feeling much better. Then, we got a call in our room - it was Carol Sue, checking in on us to see how our daughter was. We thought that was really wonderful of her. In fact, later that evening we all went down to the gift shop and met Carol Sue. She gave my daughter a big hug and told her how happy she was that she was feeling better.

Now we've been to Beaches 4 times total. Twice in Turks and this was our 2nd trip to Negril. So you can see, I hope, that on an overall basis, we are fans of the Beaches concept. But there are definitely some bugs in the system (yes, pun intended.)

A note about "Concierge level." (We did not pay for Concierge level service.) I guess if you do pay for this, you get a few extras - potentially. Butler service, reserved seating on the beach, etc. (We spoke to some people who did get the service - some were happy with it, some thought it a big waste of money.) I suggest you really research it before signing up. One thing about Concierge level that did bother me. As you may know, there are a couple of restaurants on Beaches properties that require reservations. At Negril, it was Kimonos (a hibachi-style restaurant) and Stewfish (a seafood restaurant on the beach - which we didn't even try out, because we couldn't imagine how bad the sand fleas would be at night, on the beach, with food in the open. We were told they were horrific!) Anyway, you had to make same-day reservations for these restaurants at a special concierge desk that opened at 8:00am. There would usually be a line. On Thursday, I got there at 8:00am and was about 5th on line. When I met with the reservationist, she told me that I could get a seating at either 5:30 or 10:00pm. For a second, I thought I was speaking to the reservationist at Locanda Verde or Momofuku (hot NYC restaurants). I asked how this was possible, as I was 5th in line. Her response: "Concierge guests can make reservations days in advance." Now I understand that there will always be the "haves" and the "have nots" of the world. But I was told, and I experienced in the past, that if I get in line like a good little camper at 8:00am on the day I want a reservation at one of those restaurants, I would get a reservation. May seem petty to you, but it's just plain silly to me.

There were also two other "extras" I thought should be included in an "all-inclusive." They charged for a "DJ Scratch Academy" - teaching you (or more likely your kids) how to be a DJ. Really a need for an additional charge? And they also offered a "Martha Stewart Crafts" program - designing sea shells, and things like that. I still don't understand why there would be an additional charge to do this, when the Kids Camp offers very similar programs. (And I don't see anything about the Martha program on the Beaches Negril site.

Want more? Here's the good and very good and some in between).

Can you beat the beach at Negril? No you can not. It is magnificent. Even when it rains (and we had our fair share, trust me - I've never heard thunder so loud or felt rain pelt down so hard. It was actually comical!), it's beautiful. The ocean is magnificent, very calm waters except for some gentle waves from the boats and jet skis passing by (quick comment on the Jet skis: I'm sure it's an insurance issue, but I do agree with some other reviewers: Beaches, get your own jet skis and rent them out. The guys on the beach "selling" jet ski and parasailing rides really get annoying. And those guys sitting on the jet sis right outside your swim ropes are like sharks circling for the kill - just kind of annoying. And come on... that guy selling cigarettes (you know who I'm talking about if you've been there: My 5 year old was walking down the street today shouting "Ciiiiig.... Ciiiiiig." She asked why he was saying that all the time and I said he was trying to sell cigarettes. She thought that was funny and did it again "Ciiiig.... I'm selling cigarettes!" Not funny.

The rooms. We were upgraded as returning guests. Basic room with ocean views (I highly recommend the 700 building, facing the chess set and the beach.) We did move twice (the first time because of a gang of wild cats that would not leave our balcony, making it impossible to go out there) and the 2nd time because of ATI. Again, thank you Dalton for helping us move in and out each time! Each room was slightly different. First room had a flat screen TV, 2nd two rooms did not. 3rd room had a small dressing table. Outlets are scarce. I've read and spoken to a number of people who had problems or issues with housekeeping. Can't say we did. When we needed extra towels, they came fast. Beds were made and rooms were made up on a timely basis. Sometimes they came a little late for turndown service (after 10:00pm?), but that's a small point. Thank you to housekeeping.

Restaurants. The one night we made it in to Kimonos was fun. Very entertaining chef, and the food was just fine. Arizona's I think is better for dinner than lunch. Very helpful staff and the food was delicious (especially the Tortilla Soup and my older daughter - 10 1/2 - loved the quesadillas. The Seville is an italian restaurant. It's air conditioned. That's about all I can really say about it - it's a white tablecloth type of place, but the food is okay. The Mill is where you will probably have most of your meals. Big buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You'll get to try some local foods, some good curries, etc. Highly recommend the fruit smoothies for breakfast. One funny thing. I need to find out if snapper is local to Jamaica. I really hope it is, because it was presented in so many different ways for every meal. Roasted, sauteed, curried, sweet & sour, etc. Made us laugh after awhile, and became a game, guessing what type of snapper would be available at each meal.

By the Piazza, near the pool with the waterpark, there's a grill that served yummy (hot and spicy) Jamaican beef and chicken patties, burgers, hot dogs, etc. Good to have that around, and the Pizzeria by the main pool served very good personal pizzas. (Yes, we ate a lot this week!)

The pools: The waterpark pool area was lots of fun (very hot - must have been 10 degree difference from the beach which was just a few yards away!) The kids loved the swim up bar (for their slushy drinks). The lazy river is one of the best we've been in - not SO lazy, lots of fun! The 2 water slides are also a good time. The Main Pool is beautiful - not a lot of shade, but tons of room to play around.

Kids activities. As I mentioned earlier (hope you're still with me!), this was our second visit to Beaches Negril. We were last here 6 years ago when my oldest daughter was 4. When we went to the Kids Camp this time, we saw some familiar faces, including Shelly Ann and PollyAnna - and they remembered us from that last trip! They were both as wonderful this time as they were the first time. Thank you for welcoming us back!

Water activities - we didn't snorkel or scuba, but I was hearing lots of good things about the scuba program (Negril isn't known for the best scuba. If you want Beaches and Scuba, go to Turks. Amazing diving there.) We all had a blast on the banana boat rides, had a really fun catamaran trip, kayaked and even used the Aqua-Cycles (a fun little bumper boat game ensued.) My 10 year old tried water skiing. She came this close to having a good run, but never quite made it. My wife got back on skis for the first time in 15 years. Was probably the last time, but I give her tons of credit for trying. One note about the skiing and the powerboat situation. Is it really true they share one ski boat with Beaches Sandy Bay? Seemed odd to us. If so, I'd suggest buying at least one more ski boat, especially since this one had engine trouble.

Entertainment team: The staff are always terrific. Both of my daughters performed in the talent show (5 year old sang "Blackbird" and 10 year old sang "Hot & Cold.") Lots of fun. The shows in general were about what we expected. Appreciated the short (thank you!) Sesame Street shows.

About Sesame Street: There is a partnership here, but it is NOT overwhelming. Just about the right amount. It's funny to see Big Bird walking around the Beach, or The Count walking around The Mill. They didn't shove it in your face - if you wanted more, you could sign up (and pay for) character breakfasts, character bedtime stories, etc.

More Entertainment: Our last night there was Thursday. Thursday night is Beach Party night. DO NOT MISS THIS. We had so much fun. Some of the same performers as the last time we were there, including the guy who breathes fire, walks on fire, spits fire, etc. The guy is crazy, and I don't think I'd want to sit down for a meal with him. I could only imagine how much hot sauce he would need to taste any food! And the Limbo Guy, who can go about as "low as you can go!" Great dining on the beach, dancing, etc. Lots of fun. (Just remember to bring the Bug spray!)

Will we come back to Beaches in another 6 years? I don't know. We may be done. It was a good trip. Started off shaky, got better and ended well. (My 10 year old made great friends with a boy and girl from England - through Skype and email, I actually think they'll be staying in touch!) Thanks again to Daniela and the staff at Beaches. It's hard to keep us all happy, and I truly believe you did your best.

Respect.

Room Tip: 700 building is great. 900 building is right next door to Couples, and their late night activities g...
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  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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11  Thank NewYorkGiant65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,989 - 3,993 of 5,320 reviews

Reviewed 7 August 2011

Beaches Negril is a typical beach resort for American families but definitely not worth the price it charges.
Booked a Grand Luxe Beachfront Concierge Room. The room was good size, nicely furnished but nothing 'grand luxe'. TV was old and toilet had a terrible sewage smell. We even tried flushing down a bit of shampoo to see if it would make the smell go away. It says beachfront but you can hardly see the beach as no rooms are actually facing the beach at this resort.
Concierge service was almost inexistent. The concierge lady didn't know anything about spa services and tours. Whenever we asked her something she just kept telling us to ask at the spa or tour desks. (I thought that was the concierge's job wasn't it?) The daily newspaper with resort activities was only delivered to us on the first night. When I inquired about that she just replied they were having problems with the printer. Funnily enough I saw several guests with the paper in hand!
Food was very average and not really healthy. Gourmet dining was as gourmet as the grand luxe room was luxurious.Transfer to the airport was messy.
In time... they say they proudly serve Appleton rum but in fact they don't...
On the other hand, they have a really nice water park and 7 mile beach is gorgeous and great for swimming. The 'sunken ship' is fun for snorkeling. Too bad it is packed with locals in jet skis harassing tourists offering services and drugs. (and they were quite shocked to find out we didn't like drugs as if people only go to Jamaica to get high.)
I've had very few accommodation regrets in my travel experiences. Unfortunately Beaches Negril was one of them.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank RodrigoHueb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2011

We could stay at Beaches Negril forever!! It was a beautiful family resort! We stayed in the garden section which was just fine and only steps from the second pool, child's camp, and the grill. Alicia and Kim were so wonderful to our kids I simply can't say enough good things about them. They asked our names once and for the rest of the week they remembered our names. The beach is clean and absolutely beautiful. In fact, it;s the most beautiful beach I have ever seen!! I went diving 5 days and the staff was friendly and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend! Can't wait to go back!!

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Barry907
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2011

Quote: My husband and I had the pleasure to celebrate our honeymoon in Jamaica.

We stayed at the beautiful resort Beaches Negril. Our stay was a period of seven days (July 13th-July 20th 2011)
The minute we reached Beaches Negril resort, we were treated with respect and love.
The hotel manager, M. Arnold Nugent, and the front desk manager, Karen Singh, were the first ones to welcome us. It is rare to have managers coming to greet the tourists. Courtney, the Bell Captain, and Rushane, the front desk captain, greeted us as well and took care of our luggages and our stay. The whole team at Beaches Negril came to see us several times to make sure that we had all we needed. It was greatly appreciated.

Mark and I had a blast. We ate at least five times a day. The Pizza restaurant was amazing. Every time I was ordering a pizza, the cooks would make it in front of us with fresh ingredients. Our favourite restaurants were The Mil, where it is a buffet morning, noon and night, Stewfish restaurant, where you eat on the beach and they serve fresh crab legs, tender chicken and much more, and the Burger place, where we met Mr. Burger who everyday would make juicy burgers, chicken nuggets and some good fries. The service was quick, the food was always fresh and the staff always made conversation with us.

Every time Mark and I would go to the bar for drinks, the bar tenders were friendly and funny. They were pros in what they were doing and we liked the fact that they would not serve alcohol to teens that are under 18 years of age. Great Job.

Mark and I also enjoyed the entertainment. There were great dancers who would teach us different type of dances. There were shows every night for all ages and many other activities.

When it was time to leave, I shed some tears because it felt like home.

Thank you to all the staff at Beaches Negril who made our stay precious. We consider you family because you treated us like we were part of your family.

See you next year.

Lynda and Mark Heron-Bashkiharatee

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Bashment_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2011

Just returned from Beaches Negril with my family and had the most wonderful time. To start...we had wonderful service at the Montego Bay Airport where we were treated to juice and Red Strip Beer, private washrooms and a comfortable location to unwind after our flight from Toronto. A private bus ride took us to Beaches Negril were we were greated with a cool drink and a cold cloth. Beaches great service was enhanced in the Concierge Room where my son was able to watch cartoons with a snack as we were given the details of the resort and our room assignment. Well worth the concierge upgrade.
Our Room was beautiful, 3rd floor Calypso Cove section overlooking the gardens and the ocean. Perfect location close to the beach, The Mill Restaurant (Breakfast Buffet) and the main pool. Room was extremely clean and a perfect size for our family of 3 (king bed + single cott for my 4 year old son)
Beach is one of the nicest in the world. Perfect for young children. My son had a wonderful time making sand castles and he could walk out pretty far without the water getting too deep. Lots of seats and shade if needed.
Pools are great and the water park is awesome. Lazy river is not that lazy as it races you around pretty fast (need to wear the provided life preserver). The water slides are fun.
Restaurants are very good. The Seville Italian is a must....GREAT FOOD, ATMOSPHERE AND SERVICE!!!!!! Kimono's Japaniese is very good. The Stewfish Seafood on the beach was not my favourite as both my wife and son were eaten alive by the bugs, portions were small, but the sunset was beautiful. (Bring bug spray if you get eaten by bugs and Afterbite) Arizona's Tex Mex was also very good. You have to try Dino's pizza for lunch. The thin crust pizza there was the best and the beef patty at the grill were very tasty.
The kids club is a must for all children. Our son did not want to leave and had a blast making cookies with Cookie Monster, Exercising with Elmo, painting shells, making bandanas, jamaican flags and more. He met lots of friends and looked forward to going to the kids club everyday. We kept him in there only part of the day, but the service is available from 9:30am to 9:00 pm, closing for lunch and dinner for an hour. The service can also be extended for an additional fee. The Sesame Street shows, parade and characters were amazing and great for the kids on the resort. My son had so much fun dancing and partying with the characters.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our vacation. The kids club staff, resort managers, chefs, cleaning crew, bartenders and waitstaff all greet you with a smile on every encounter. Looking forward to returning again soon.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank JasonTravel22
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
Amenities:
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
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Negril
#9 Spa Hotel in Negril
#9 Luxury Hotel in Negril
#10 Romantic Hotel in Negril
Price Range: RM2,736 - RM6,342 (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 
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Also Known As:
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Beaches Hotel Negril
Negril Beaches Hotel

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