We spent April 6 to 13 at this resort, and from arrival time to departure dropoff at the airport, the service was attentive and always provided with smiles.
Arrival: Stuart (a Couples Negril shuttle-driver) picked us up at the Montego Bay airport and drove us to the resort, providing comedy commentary initially and along the way. The ride was rather long due to construction and congestion along the way, but it was a chance to see interesting new scenery. We were greeted with smiles and champagne and chilled washcloths in the lobby when we arrived, the checkin was fast (and almost unnoticed), and the bags were taken quickly to our room.
We had a standard room in Building 9, ocean-view and ground-floor, with a really beautiful view of the turquoise ocean, palms on the beach and gardens. What a great way to wake up each morning, facing that water. The room was very clean and well-furnished, spacious enough, with a kingsize bed, good air-conditioning, roomy bathroom with nice deep tub, nice cool tile floors, flat-screen TV, safe, mini-bar, iPod dock, etc. Caribbean colours and accents gave warmth to the room. Maid service was excellent, the room was always well-cleaned, we never had to ask for towels, and the minibar was always replenished as we’d indicated via the daily tick-sheet.
Restaurants and Bars: All the restaurants were very good – well-prepared good-quality food, attentive service. Nothing was missing that you could want. The variety was incredible in the Cassava Terrace, and we had the best meal of our visit there on Tuesday night the day before we left. The Lychee and Heliconia also provided delicious food and great service, and the Beach Grill for lunch was more than adequate. Only the Otaheite resto was a slight disappointment in terms of service and food quality, but even this was minor over-all. The Cassava Terrace was a delight to eat in, with it’s open-air setting and birds flying around, and choice of shady fan-cooled tables near the interior and tables along the outside edges with great views of the ocean and pool.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Pool: We did not go in the pool, but spent all our water-time at the beach and in the ocean. There were 2 hot tubs/Jacuzzis attached to the pool, and many lounge-chairs, and all the guests using the pool, tubs and chairs looked as if they were enjoying themselves. Beach: The most beautiful beach we’ve ever seen, a wide expanse of white sand and that beautiful aqua water shading to turquoise and then to deep blue, the sand dotted with palms and wide-leafed tropical trees providing shade. No palapas here (the trees were enough), sufficient white lounge-chairs with clean white mats, and attentive drinks-service provided when we put up a red flag. The water and beach were sparkling and clean, and you could walk out into the water almost up to the swimming boundary-buoys and still see the floor of the ocean at your feet. The water was calm most days, with a very slight breeze from the southwest on 2 afternoons., but that didn’t stop anybody from enjoying the water. We went swimming every morning before breakfast and it was empty and calm and peaceful in the water and on the beach. Loungers were good-quality and there is plenty of them. We never had problems leaving our stuff there when we went for lunch or breakfast. Local vendors walked up and down the beach near the water’s edge, but none of them harassed us or were aggressive. We’ll remember Andre the elegant cigarettes/cigars seller with his "it’s gonna be a hot hot hot" refrain, the musicians (especially the trio) who were all really good, and Brian the hat-weaver (who wove as he walked).
We walked a few miles westward down the beach one evening and saw the craft-vendor displays there and were not harassed in any way. There were also craft displays set up at the resort some days.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Activities: We went snorkeling out at a reef, went on a glass-bottom boat trip to another reef, went on the catamaran cruise one afternoon/evening, and used the kayaks. Never got to try out the Hobie-cats, Sunfish, or do windsurfing or waterskiing, since we loved to spend so much of our time swimming in that beautiful water and lying on the beach. We swam into the caves at the catamaran-cruise destination. We never got to see Rick’s Cafe, Margaritaville, or the cliff-divers, which was a bit of a disappointment. We aren’t sure if the catamaran cruise usually includes these things or not. We also walked to a craft market down the road from the resort. There is a lot of duplication in the wares at the stands. We also took a shuttle-trip to Times Square (a local mall) and into Negril town and could have spent longer there exploring the side-streets and cafes. Evening entertainment: Jamaican steel-bands, singers, limbo-dancer were all good. Casino and Tuesday-evening auction were great fun.
Other Comments: Service: We cannot praise the service enough – it was excellent over-all – attentive, quick, friendly and smiling. We thought several staff were extra special – Feron, Shantea and Kerisha in the Cassava Terrace buffet/resto, Denver at the Heliconia Bistro, Davine the maid who looked after our room, and all the groundskeepers. Tipping is prohibited at this resort, and while it’s nice not always to have to carry money, sometimes we wanted to give staff something for doing their work so well and so willingly. Summary:
We had a great time and we plan to return to this resort.