Old Reviews – Beaches Negril

  Beaches – Negril   Isabella ~ Toronto

March 2009

Arrival
My arrival was pretty smooth. We got off the plane, cleared customs and saw the Beaches/Sandals loung right away. There was a rep there who arranged our transportation, and a porter who tagged our bags for us. We waited in the lounge for a few minutes before leaving. There was a bathroom there as well as beer, pop and water. The resort was a 90 minute ride. We had one stop on the way there for a restroom break. Upon arrival of the resort, we were greeted by staff handing out cold towels and rum punch as well as non-alcoholic punch. We were escorted to the Great Lounge where we sat for a few minutes before we were walked tot he Concierge Suites and checked in. We were upgraded and once checked in, walked to our room.

Rooms
Average room size. Not too small or too large. Enough room to walk about. Had 2 double beds, a side table, huge armoire with tv, desk and mini bar as well as a sofa pull out. Nice balcony which was big enough for a table and few chairs. Bathroom was a bit dated and could use some renovations. Overall, very clean room and bathroom, despite the age on it.

Restaurants and Bars Had 5 restaurants including 1 buffet. Breakfast Buffet was at the Mill and had standard items such as scrambled eggs, french toast, waffles/pancakes, bread selection, fruits, cereals etc..a lot of variety and best part was the made to order omelette. It does take 5 mins or so for your eggs to be ready and its stupid to complaint about that, because could you cook an egg in less then 5 minutes?

I had lunch mostly at the Beach Grill and Carneval Cafe. Ordered the burgers, fried chicken and jerk chicken from Beach Grill. Decent food. Nothing ‘wow’ but still good. no complaints. Lots of variety so no need to complain about it being boring.

Ate at Kimonos. My concierge got us reservations for when we wanted. No problem or 48 hour wait. Very entertaining. Loved the staff and attentive service. All around the resort, staff was incredible. Food was yummy, and keep in mind it is Tapenyaki, so don’t expect to have beef cooked in a million ways. Good portions, was full once done. Very cute decor. The Seville, adults only and most formal place on resort. White gloved service, incredibly fast and attentive. Our waiter made sure everything was perfect and made great suggestions. Food was really good, the main dish I had, the Appleton Beef really was excellent.

The Last Chance Saloon, mexican place. Nachos were ok but Fajitas were really good. Excellent drinks and service again.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beautiful Beach. Just amazing. Soft, clean and sandy. Water was great and not too deep, about mid waist or so. Had lots of free water sports included, which was a blast. I loved wind sailing and the guy who took us out was very nice and full of knowledge! The water bikes were a lot of fun as well as relaxing on the water trampolines. Grounds very well kept and maintained. Beautiful again.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
I took the Glass bottom boat and snorkeling tour. nicely done and enjoyed myself. Also went to Rick’s cafe. I thought it was a bit expensive through hotel, $20/pp and too short a time. The night shows were fun and the karaoke was nice. The lady who hosted the Karaoke was full of spirit and really did her best to get us to enjoy ourselves. Different shows were done at the Big top. Sesame street for kids, Acrobats, Dances etc

Other Comments The staff made this place! I mean it! They were so nice and friendly. Not a single staff member passed me by that didn’t acknowledge me. The duty manager was really nice and went above and beyond to make my stay wonderful. Great concierge. Want to give special mention to the Damien who was the bartender at the Theatre bar, Shanique, Staci ann, Dave. Lots more but i didn’t catch all the names!!

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November 2008

Hello everyone!

I took my family to Jamaica to celebrate my 40th birthday. I brought along hubby, daughter 12, & son 9. We loved this resort! We loved the beach! I tell everyone that the beach is God’s rough draft of heaven. We are already making plans to return.

After an uneventful flight from Toronto, we arrived at the Montego Bay airport at 7:30 p.m. We were directed to the Sandals lounge, where we could freshen up, get free beer, juice, coffee, cookies, & muffins. We waited in the lounge for approximately 15 minutes and then we were loaded onto buses (actually large passenger vans), for the 1.5 hr journey to Negril. I should mention here that, at the airport, there are baggage porters wearing red caps. They seem to automatically take your luggage the 100 ft. it takes to get to your bus. What you should know about these particular porters is that they are not employees of the airport…they are volunteers and rely solely on tips…so expect to tip in US $, approx. $1.00 per bag at least.

Upon our arrival at Beaches, we were immediately registered and taken to our room…it was approx. 9:00 p.m. by now. We decided to take a walk around the resort (in the dark) and then happened upon a chocolate fountain with fresh fruit…my son was in heaven! There was a small bar set up, too and we felt quite welcomed already. We called it a night and went to bed. The room (premium seaside) was a standard typical hotel room with a balcony on the 3rd floor (room 227). It wasn’t seaside, as our view was the main road…but that didn’t matter at all. We had two double-sized beds (small but comfy), the toilet & tub were separate from the sink & closet area. There was a safe in the room, as well as a fridge stocked with water, juice, coke, & sprite (which they replenished every day). On the bathroom sink, there was a Red Lane Spa package of decent sized shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, & aloe vera gel.

On our first morning, we got up early (8:00 a.m…that’s early for us) had breakfast at The Mill, and headed to the beach. All I can say is WOW! What a beach! Soft white sand and the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen in my life. The shore didn’t have a single rock on it and no seaweed! The water was the perfect temperature and so so shallow. Even 100 metres out (up to the rope), the water was only knee high at low tide and chest high at high tide. The fish were swimming among us and so cool to see them perfectly through the crystal clear water. We watched as an employee brought out 3 floating lounges (6 foot wide yellow circular plastic rings with mesh in the middle, cup holders, and anchored by a cinder block). You don’t need to bring inflatable floaty things. There is also a floating anchored platform (approx. 10’ x 10’) out there too. There were tons of lounge chairs available on the beach at all times.

When we weren’t on the beach, hubby & I were at the pool. Again, we didn’t have any trouble getting lounge chairs. Every once in a while, an employee would do a sweep of the loungers and clear away towels. The kids spent their days at Pirate Cove where they particularly liked the Lazy River. There is another pool at Pirate Cove where you will find all the parents with young children hanging out. There is a splash pad there as well as the water slides. This is the area where you can get ice cream cones, burgers, hotdogs, & fries. There is also a swim-up bar there too. All the bars have a list of their virgin drinks posted and the kids had fun ordering different ones. We had breakfast & dinner with the kids, but they were on their own for lunch. Each night after dinner, they went to the X-Box Garage and played till their eyeballs exploded. The X-Box Garage has 29 units (each with a different game on it) around the perimeter of the room and is air conditioned.

We ate most meals at The Mill which is buffet style. The selection is amazing and they have an area just for kids foods. The food is good, but if you’re looking for gourmet, you won’t find it here. We had one meal at The Seville which is à la carte and very nice with very good food. We also had one meal at Kimono’s (need reservations at least 2 days in advance) which is Japanese style, where you sit around the grill as the food is prepared. The kids loved this. Hubby & I also had a dinner on the beach on my birthday night. It was a four-course dinner right next to the ocean with torches lit, plants brought out, and chair covers. This was the best part of the vacation for me!

You may have read about the bugs here…I know I did, so I went prepared with OFF 30% DEET, which we applied every evening after dinner. Overall, I got about 3 or 4 mosquito bites, but we saw a lot of people covered from knees to toes in giant red welts. The kids got nothing thank goodness. We got to watch the movie “Ice Age” right on the beach on a giant inflatable screen…very cool. There was entertainment every night in the Big Top. When getting back to our room every night, the beds were turned down and there were always a few more extra clean towels left for us. When I asked for extra pillows and a tub mat, they arrived within an hour. Tipping can be done discreetly by “handshake” or by slipping into the maid’s pocket as you walk by her. I tried to leave a discreet envelope for her, but she didn’t take it, so I had to resort to her pockets.

We did one day trip to Dolphin Cove…be careful, they soak ‘ya (pun intended). They take professional photos & videos of you then sell them to you for higher-than-you’d-like-to-pay rates…they are nice though and we purchased a DVD of the swim with the dolphins, but not the photos. The trip to Dolphin Cove is 3 hours there and 3 hours back which makes for a long exhausting day. Speaking of photos, Beaches has photographers all over the place snapping shots of you & your family. They give you tags to take to the photoshop later for viewing. They take amazing pictures but again the costs are very high. There are also vendors that walk up & down the beach offering various things for sale. If you politely say no, they will leave you alone. Same with the parasailing guys.

On the day of our departure with an evening flight, we checked out of our room at the requisite 11:00 a.m. and left our bags with the front desk. We went back to the beach for the day. They gave us a hospitality room to freshen up in and change before heading to the airport, which was nice. The airport has many many shops where you pick up a bunch of nice things for much less than you would pay at the gift shop on the resort.

Well that’s the end of this report and I haven’t covered everything, but this should hopefully give you some idea of the place. Feel free to email me at gloworm3@hotmail.com if you have questions.

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  Beaches – Negril   Amy ~ USA

June 2008

Hi Everyone! Here is my belated review of our Beaches Negril trip. I was traveling on business for my agency (I did site inspections of Sunset at the Palms, Couples Negril and Sandals Negril-more on those later!) with our baby boy Sutton (just turned 6 months old). This was my fourth time at this resort, and as usual we were very pleased with our stay. Beaches is a great, easy vacation for families!

We flew on USAIR non-stop out of PHL. I flew first class going down, which I normally do not do, so it was a nice treat for us. Sutton slept most of the way down-hooray! We arrived pretty much on time at the MBJ airport. Since we arrived on a Saturday afternoon, the lines in various places were somewhat long. Well, we must have looked really pathetic (we did! Ha!) since twice we were whisked to the front of the line by airport personnel. Yahoo! I did feel a little more bugged than normal by porters and I think that was since I was traveling alone.

Our bags came quickly and it was so great to finally arrive at the beautiful Sandals/Beaches airport lounge. We were met by the Butler rep. at the airport (nice touch!) and she helped us secure Suttons car seat in the van. We were in the Beaches lounge for a total of 7 minutes (I counted!) so the process was painless. At the lounge they had a fruit tray and the usual soda and beer for guests.

The roads were a little crazy since we were driving during a pretty bad rain storm. It took us 90 minutes to get there but we arrived safe and sound. Upon arrival, within 2 minutes our Butler Conrad met us at the door! Awesome! We had Conrad last June at this resort and he is truly an asset to this company. Conrad promptly told us that he had just had another baby a few weeks ago (his fifth son!!!!!) so I was thrilled for him but right away felt badly that I had not come bearing gifts for the new baby (we had gifts for his other 4 kids-lol!). Anyways, Conrad got to meet Sutton but was disappointed that Mike and the other kiddos were not with us. At this resort you only have one Butler for the entire stay (so they work from 9-9!) but the Butlers tell me that they like that so they can really take care of their clients and get to know them really well. We always enjoy getting to know our Butlers, so either way works for me. Quickly we were whisked to room 411 which is a second floor room in the Savannah block. It was a corner room (more windows and a little more space!)and was newly re-furbished with new bedding, drapes and paint. Very nice and I highly recommend this room number if you book a room in this category! It was in the Honeymoon Suite category. Note: This room category does not normally come with Butler service. At BNG, only their 2 and 3 bedroom suites come with Butler Service and I told them that since it was just Sutton and I that we did not need that much space. The resort was well over 90 % full during our stay. Some people say that this block is a little noisy since it is above a lot of action but it did not seem to bother me. By dinner time, the action was in other areas of the resort so my evenings on my balcony were quite peaceful and scenic.

Anyways, Conrad promptly unpacked us, gave him the gifts for his boys, and then talked about our plans for the next few days. It was great to be home! He had a stroller ready for us (you can rent from the resort) and Suttons crib was set next to my bed. One thing that I can say is that I did miss Mike and the kids a lot this time and it was not the same without them. Its just a ton of fun seeing how much fun the kids have on our family vacations and see all of the friends that they meet. Mike would not allow me (lol!) to take my laptop since he felt that I needed a break and he also did not want me fumbling around with it at the airport, so I think I felt a little off from that too. It was a good move though overall as I came back home rested and relaxed.

The first night I did not feel very sociable (just tired) so Conrad brought me room service off of the Seville menu. This is my favorite restaurant at this resort-yum! It is for persons over 16 and they do enforce that as well as the dress code. I had steak, a cool salad (with pineapples in it) and some type of chocolate mousse for dessert. Very good! Room service is available in the Butler Suite categories. Beaches Negril is an excellent place to take families but I have always said that the food here needs to be improved. They need at least 1-2 more restaurants on property and I know that they are well aware of this fact. The food is still fine but I do feel that the food at Beaches Turks is better. A nice plus is that you do have exchange privileges at Beaches Sandy Bay and that they have shuttles going back and forth throughout the day (they do take a break for lunch so be mindful of the schedule). It was only a $5 each way cab ride away if you do not feel like waiting for the shuttle.

The second day, Sutton and I went to visit Sunset at the Palms (more later on this) which is about 5-7 minutes down the road (a $10 taxi ride each way-I probably could have gotten it for a little less but its not a big deal). Kids are allowed at this resort so I bought him with me for my tour. In the afternoon, we did a trial run at the Kids Camp with his Nanny Althea (sp????). She came highly recommended by several sources and Sutton loved her. Yeah!!!! I rarely leave him, so this was all a stretch for me. The Kids Camp (the baby room) always seemed a little chaotic at check in but once your baby got in there and got settled I found that the Nannies were VERY loving and did really seem to like their jobs. Another Nanny who was recommended to me is Pollyanna and she also seemed awesome. For the older kids, we recommend Naje who we used on our last trip. She is young and friendly and the older kids loved her! She remembered me right away, which was neat. Nanny service is currently $10 per hour at the Beaches resorts in Jamaica for up to 3 children. Or you can just sue the Kids Camp which is already included in your vacation. I had to go off property twice for about 90 minutes each time to 2 different adult all-inclusives without Sutton and I was a nervous wreck about that. I could have just had him be a part of the Kids Camp as it is free but I wanted one person to be responsible for him. Our Butler checked in on him numerous times each time I was away from him and would call me on the cell phone (Butler guests get cell phones to reach their Butlers) to give me a report. That was very reassuring and another nice thing that Butlers can do for their guests.

On the second day, I spent the afternoon on the beach while Sutton slept in the nursery. Throughout our stay we saw numerous large and small weddings and got some great pictures of them. The two main wedding consultants at BNG are very experienced and have been around for a few years and that seems to make a difference. The wedding parties that we spoke with all seemed to be thrilled with their choice to go to Beaches Negril for their Destination Weddings.

The AMAZING beach at this resort! That is my favorite single thing about Beaches Negril. Ah. 🙂 It is on a fairly long and wide beach. The water temperature was PERFECT and the water was very tranquil. As a Mom, this is definitely a good place to have kids swim since the current is very mild. I got a bad sunburn the first day (totally my fault for not being careful!) so I had to be very careful the next few days. This night we went over to Beaches Sandy Bay to eat at the Italian Restaurant. While we were waiting (we got there early as it opens at 6:30 PM) we sat on the chairs directly on the beach near their beach grill/food area. It was just so peaceful and lovely! We met a family of three from Chicago-2 adults and their 18 year old son, and they invited us to have dinner with them. They were great company. I think that the son got tired of his Mom and I giving him friendly advice about the future, etc. (we thought alike-Ha!) but it worked out very nicely. Upon arrival at the restaurant, Conrad had called ahead and Suttons high chair was in place and the table was decorated with flowers, etc. Stunning! Since I met 3 people since then, we needed a larger table so I gave my decorated table to two to another couple. They really appreciated the gesture, so it was neat to be able to do something to make them happy:) I had Minestrone and the Lasagna and everything was tasty. I did not eat at the Antipasto/Salad bar since Sutton was asleep on my lap and I was not going to wake him to get up. The sun was setting between 6:30-6:45 PM on this trip, so we had the pleasure of watching it set while dining. Each night, I went to bed very early which I NEVER do in the US. The problem was that Sutton, all of a sudden started getting up 2-3 times per night-ugh!!!!:) So, my plan to get a lot of sleep did not really materialize. Its all good though, as I was in Jamaica!

The next day, I went to Couples Negril in the morning (more later). Apparently, Sutton slept the entire time I was gone, so I did not miss much in regards to his activities. Another afternoon on the beach (Sutton was back in the nursery). A new addition are the Family Beach Cabanas. You can rent them for a day or for the day and the evening. I can not find the pricing at my fingertips but having one for the day was approximately (I may be incorrect) $190 and would include a fruit tray, lunch from the beach grill, drink service, misting from your Beach Butler and an assortment of sunscreens. For the evening option, I think it was something around $250 and included dinner on the beach. I will clarify this later since I really am just guessing on this. I met two of the beach Butlers and they seemed very attentive. I asked one of the families if they thought it was worth it and they loved having their own reserved place on the beach. The one family that I met, had purchased this for at least 3-4 days. In my head I was doing some math and personally, I would have just preferred to stay an additional night for that amount. To each his own!:) My own Butler kept me watered with my Diet Cokes (my drink of choice!) and Water and offered to bring me lunch, etc. Usually I did not do much for lunch since I wanted to be outside and enjoy this heavenly beach. Often I would grab some pizza or pasta from the Piazza area (just ok!). However, I had some vegetable and beef patties that were yummy. One day I even ordered some ice cream from the beach gill area-they have a section with ice cream and sundaes that was very popular with the children. The resort was close to being full but the lines were never long at all to eat.

I did not go to any of the Sesame Street activities this time, since Sutton is too little to appreciate this stuff just yet and since I just wanted to relax. However, I did witness the beginning of a Sesame Street birthday party (additional charge) and it seemed like a grand event with small gifts for the birthday children, plenty of time with the characters and lots of fun music.

I went to visit the new Concierge Lounge (to the left of the stairs as you enter the resort!) and it was HUGE, air-conditioned and really nice. Warm chocolate chip cookies were waiting for me on the table! I noticed a lot of guests utilizing their services and there always seemed to be something going on in there. We took some pics and then spent some time with Erica, the Loyalty (SSG) Manager. She is a doll and is very passionate about her job! She informed me that over 50% of the guests when we were there were SSG members!!! The SSG party takes place on Wednesdays at this resort in the afternoon but I was not around to attend since we left on a Wednesday. They give the usual rum, t-shirts (that you pick up in the gift shop) and some treats in the room for being SSG members. The Managers Cocktail Party was on Monday and they had a bar set up with appetizers as well. They gave away some excursions and other prizes to guests and had a large amount of the management team there. Everyone was very friendly and mingled well with their guests.

I also went to visit Iesha Samuels who is the Resort Sales Manager. She had contacted me upon arrival so it was nice to spend some quality time with her. Iesha is excellent at her job and is a very caring, attentive person. I asked her a specific question recently about the resort and she answered me last night via e-mail at 9:30 PM! If anyone is ever at this resort and needs anything that is not taken care of, she will do anything in her power to put you in the right direction. She is another great asset to this resort.

Most of the staff at Beaches Negril is pleasant, friendly, etc. I did notice a few this time (more than last time) who seemed grumpy but this was very infrequent. This resort has had a bunch of General Managers in the last year, so I think that some consistency in the future will do them wonders. The current GM is Howard Spittle and seems impressive from what I can tell. He called us before we arrived and upon return in the US and I have heard that this is pretty normal for him with other guests. His hands on style will serve him well at a resort like Beaches Negril.

Another night we went to the Teppanyaki for dinner. This resort does require reservations and the menu seemed to be enhanced from the year before. It is also open for lunch which is a pleasant change from the past. Our meal was good and the entertainment by the Chef was lively. I sat with a very quiet group and I think that they thought that I was kind of nutty to be traveling with just Sutton. Lol! Since I do not eat seafood, my portion was given to a teenage boy at my table and he loved it!

Our final full day at the resort was busy. In the morning, I went to Sandals Negril for a visit and again, spent some of the afternoon on the beach. For dinner, we had a private dinner on the beach. This is included in your Butler Service or can be purchased as an add-on of $160 in Jamaica if you are in a regular or a concierge room. Some resorts, with Butler Service only will do the private, candlelight dinner in your room (still very nice!) and some will do it on the beach. It is up to the resort and Beaches Negril will fortunately do it on their beach. Our table was beautiful, the weather was gorgeous and all was well. I invited the 3 persons that I had met earlier to join us as it was their anniversary and they were also celebrating their sons graduation. They kept thanking me (which was really sweet but not necessary!) and had showed up with a necklace that they had purchased for me earlier that day from one of the Jamaica vendors (which means so much to me!). Jamaican vendors were in the area in front of the gift shop on Tuesdays. There was at least 5-6 tables set up for guests to browse and shop. It (the necklace) was a large wooden heart, with a little heart next to it and on the back it was etched with Amy + Sutton on it. Every time I look at it, I get the warm fuzzies. Anyways, we all ordered different things but on our menu (they printed a special one out for us) included some of the following items-Jumbo Shrimp, Snapper, Rack of Lamb, Medallions of Beef Tenderloin, and Chocolate Truffle Mousse. They gave us 3 menus to choose from and you could pick from all 3 of them. Yum! Yum! It was a great way to end this mini-vacation.

Weather-It did rain for about 1-2 hours each day. It did not bother me at all, since I did get a little too much sun in the beginning and needed a break from the sun.

Bugs-I tend to get bitten pretty easily and I have heard reports about bug bites at this resort. I did not receive one bite on this trip, thank goodness. I did have bug spray in our room (I think from Conrad) but I did not consistently use it. Sutton received 2 of them which was kind of funny since he really was not outside much.

Conrad packed us up and brought us some of our wash (he did our wash!) to go home. Traveling home was uneventful and Sutton was a trouper again. For once, I was really anxious to get home and see the rest of my family. We did have a very good stay and do highly recommend this resort to families. I did not see any children having a fit, melting down, etc. However, I did see a few guests being demanding to staff members, acting not very nice, etc. which is much more annoying to me than having children around. Would I go here as a couple looking for romance without kids? No way! There are some outstanding adult AIs in the area that would be better for that-they just have a totally different atmosphere. I have lots of pictures and if I can figure out how to post them (lol!) I will. I also can answer more specific questions, if anyone has them-feel free to e-mail me.

Smiles, Amy

Amydmvs@comcast.net

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March 2006

Our vacation at Beaches by Sandals in Negril Jamaica was the most disappointing, frustrating and annoying experience my wife and I have ever had on a holiday. The level of service we received from Beaches was extremely poor value for the money.

When we arrived at the airport in Negril there was suppose to be someone from Beaches to meet us and take us to the Resort. There was no one there. There were however people there that said they would take us for $10. After about 10 min of saying I would wait for the Beaches Rep, a man from the airline we flew in on said he would call the resort. I felt like there was a bit of a scam going on were they tried to get us to take the "taxi". It wasn’t about the $10; it wasn’t about not knowing who I would trust my family with.

Once we were in our room I ordered an extra bed for my daughter to sleep on. The fellow who brought it said he would come back with blankets. We went out for dinner. When we came back I called down to get the blankets sent up because we wanted to put the kids to bed. After an hour and 3 phone calls we finally received the blankets.

The first night we didn’t get much sleep. There was a spring break party going on in an empty lot next door and it was extremely loud. I called down to see about changing rooms and the gentleman I spoke to said it was just for the 1 night. I found out the next day that it would go on all that day and night as well. My daughter didn’t sleep much the first night, because of the noise, and in morning she woke up with a runny nose. They wouldn’t let her into the Kids Kamp until we paid $100 for her to see a doctor. We met with the doctor and he told us she had a runny nose. I asked about switching rooms on Sunday night so she could get a good night sleep and they said there was nothing they could do.

Sunday night was even worse; the music went on until 6:15 in the morning. My wife was in tears the next day and wanted to go home. One of the guests was so angry he registered the domain names www.suebeaches.com and www.suebeaches.org so he could set up a website when he got home. Another guest tried to organize all the people that were upset together at 10:00 under The Big Top on Monday morning. When everyone organized outside at 10:00am one of the managers accused him of trying to incite a riot and told him he would be dealt with by immigration. They managed to pull him aside somewhere; when he was gone the manager repeated that he was being dealt with by immigration. Nice scare tactic at a family resort. Why would I ever want to take my family to a place were they threatened to call immigration on me? I think this is something that the Tourism Board should be made aware of. At least three of the people this letter is being copied to heard the threats and will confirm it happened if there is any question.

Besides the noise issues for the first 2 nights, the lost sleep and the lost vacation time, there were a number of other irritants.

I went over to see about going Scuba Diving. I am certified but because I hadn’t been diving in the last 18 months they wanted to take me in the pool for $50 to get "checked out". When I had looked into it from home all I needed was my PADI dive card, which I brought. It felt like every time we turn around someone is asking for more money. My wife was a travel agent years ago and Sandals was her dream holiday. The idea of "leave your wallet at home" was a huge disappointment.

The soft ice cream machine worked the first night we arrived, but was broken the next day. I asked a couple of times when it would be fixed but no one knew. Finally on the last night of our stay it was fixed.

There were 2 coffee machines near the front lobby. For the entire stay one of them was out of service. While it may not seem like a big deal, every morning I would go down for coffee, the machine was being cleaned for 20 min between 6:30 an 7:00. For the last few days slowly more and more of the selections were unavailable. On the last day the coffee was disgusting and no one seemed to care.

Decaffeinated coffee was only available in the morning. In any of the restaurants except the Seville, I would ask for decaffeinated with my desert after dinner and it wasn’t available. We could always order it in the morning. This just didn’t make sense.

If a restaurant was to open at a certain time and we were to show up at that time, we were always told it would be another 10 or 15 minutes. Our kids are up early and like to eat early. Breakfast didn’t start until 7:30, which I think is late to begin with, however we always had to wait until about 7:40 before we could get in.

On Friday night my son was suppose to go in the parade at 7:00. I called the operator to ask what time the Mill Restaurant would open and I was told 6pm. When we went to the restaurant everything was shut down for the beach party. I asked if we could get any food for the kids anywhere on the resort and I was told they could have some cereal. The beach buffet was scheduled to start at 6:30 and as per usual it was late. We couldn’t feed the kids until 6:45 and as a result my son couldn’t go in the parade.

When I went to check out the receptionist told me I needed the lock from the safe before I could checkout. I asked if someone could go get it while I settled the bill and she told me all the bellmen were busy. I had to walk back to the room myself to get it.

I have had much better service and paid a lot less money at other resorts. The number of other people I met that felt the same way only confirmed how I felt. The way I felt leaving Jamaica was one of never wanting to go back. I don’t think I would ever book another vacation with Beaches or Sandals.

On Monday morning we were asked to set up an appointment to meet with the manager. He told us there would be an investigation and that we would probably hear back latter in the week. We heard nothing all week and didn’t even get an apology, other than the day we met with a manager. The only problem with the apology we received on the Monday was that everyone that met with management felt like they were getting a standard line and that there really was no substance to it. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we felt like we were getting the run around and the resort didn’t really care. We felt as though the resort was well aware of what was happening with the party next door, but hoped that our complaints would just go away.

The one positive thing that my wife asked to mention was the Nanny service and Kids Kamp. She always felt comfortable leaving the kids with the people working there. This was a very important part of our vacation and deserves to be mentioned.

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Beaches – Negril Elizabeth — USA

April 2004

I returned last night (4/12) from a week at Beaches Negril. We went for a family Wedding and there were 14 of us. The weather was absolutely perfect and we didn’t see a drop of rain until the ride back to the airport. The beach is spectacular! I got up early every morning (6AM) and walked it by myself and I felt very safe. There are other people walking/jogging and it is a very peaceful time of day before the watersports and other activities start. Anyway, I’ll start at the beginning …… the Air Jamaica plane ride from Boston was uneventful and we breezed through customs/immigration. I was a little concerned, as we had four LARGE duffle bags (50 lb.a piece) packed with school supplies for a Negril school, as well as our regular luggage. So we had 10 pieces of luggage and we were quite a sight! Everyone at the airport was looking at us and must have thought I packed 50 bathing suits! But customs didn’t question our motives and didn’t even look in the bags. The Beaches staff were very friendly and directed us to our bus. We only waited 10 minutes and were on our way. The ride went fine. The poverty of the country becomes quickly apparent. Most homes are the size of our kid’s treehouse at home. Check-in went smoothly and we were upgraded one level in room. We were located in the Santa Cruz building which is the farthest from the main pool location, but we actually liked that spot. I think being in a Savannah first floor room would be the worst, as many people cut through there to get to other locations and it is pretty noisy. Also, some of their rooms were very close to the waterpark construction. We could see the ocean from our room – not a direct view, but I was pleased. As others have mentioned, the bathrooms need upgrading, but everything was clean and we didn’t see any of the notorious cockroaches. LOL

Food: Good breakfast selection at the Mill. Lunch and dinner there were OK – kind of glorified buffet, which I’m not crazy about. We ate lunch at the Piazza (which is the Last Chance Saloon at night) for lunch almost everyday. Pizza and burgers were average, but daily fish was very good, as well as the pasta. The "authentic" jerk meats there were pretty bad. I would suggest going off resort for real Jamaican food. I enjoyed our dinners at the Last Chance Saloon and the Seville was super. We also liked the Japanese restaurant. We booked reservations for the Japanese two days in advance and had a poor selection of time choices. But when we got there, we were the only ones at our table (6 other seats were available) and there was another table with only three there. So the reservations system seemed a little disorganized. Maybe the others just didn’t show up? We also tried to get reservations at the restaurants at Beaches Sandy Bay, but everything was booked. So if you want to try to eat at Sandy Bay, make reservations the day you arrive. We were big fans of the ice cream machine! For you Southerners who are familiar with Blue Bell ice cream, the vanilla was very similar to Blue Bell vanilla ice cream.

The waterpark looks impressive, but nowhere near done. While I am not experienced in construction, I can’t imagine it being finished anytime soon. The water trampoline was in very bad condition when we arrived and one of our son’s friends got a nasty scratch from exposed coils. They removed the trampoline from the water on 4/12 for repairs so if you are going soon, it is unlikely you will get to use that. The trampoline was also not at Margarita’s at this time (don’t know why). Maybe the Spring Breakers sunk it! LOL We did all the water sports except for waterskiing and had a blast. If you want a good chair with some shade, mark it with a towel no later than 7AM. There are very few umbrellas at the pool so those chairs are premium.

We did a trip to Mayfield Falls which we all enjoyed. I highly recommend going off resort and experiencing Jamaica. We arranged the tour before we went and it cost $35 a person. The resort charges $85 a person for the same tour! I would be happy to provide our guide’s info if you would like it. He is a Jamaican married to an American so it was interesting to get her viewpoints. As mentioned before, we visited a local school with supplies and that was a highlight of our trip. If you have an extra duffle bag (everyone is allowed two checked bags, weighing no more than 50 lb. each), please consider bringing used shoes, clothing, small toys for children, etc. The Jamaicans are terribly poor – they only make $5-10 a day working at the resort – and they are very appreciative. I gave a bunch of clothes to our pregnant maid. If you want to get your hair braided, go by the fence near the watersports building and Mona Lisa, Sharmaine or another gal will do it for approx. $30. The resort charges a ridiculous amount. Go figure! My group all found the evening entertainment lacking in quality. The Big Top speakers were SO loud! Not sure why they need to blast it like that.

The staff are wonderful and do everything they can to make your trip great. We had a few minor health issues and the on-staff nurse was a super help. Fitness room is good.

Going to Beaches is a very Americanized experience. I personally like to experience the country I am visiting and this will not happen at Beaches. While there is ample activities for the kids, I think I found that going AI is just not for me. We will definitely return to Negril, but plan to stay in one of the many quality hotels down the beach. Even paying separately for the food/drinks and watersports there will still not equal the cost we paid for Beaches. I just didn’t feel like "we got our money’s worth" at Beaches. There were quite a few guests I spoke with that felt the same way, but it’s not like we were standing around, bitching about it. We all enjoyed ourselves a lot ….. but if a friend asked me for a recommendation, I wouldn’t feel comfortable telling someone to go there. We loved our honeymoon at Sandals Dunn’s River 12 years ago, but we just didn’t feel this resort was up to par. I think parents with teenagers benefit the most, as you can feel secure that they are safe in that environment. Our children are little so they were with us most of the time.

Being able to pre-check our Air Jamaica bags at the hotel on the day of our departure was super, as when we arrived at the airport, the line was terribly long! So that saved us hours of waiting in line. If you have any questions, feel free to E-mail me. If you have booked your trip, go with a good attitude and you will enjoy yourselves. If you are researching the resort, I would give it a 7 out of 10. Hope this helps! ~Elizabeth

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January 2004

My husband and I and another couple booked Negril Gardens (owned by Sandals) for our vacation because we had stayed there once before and enjoyed it’s laid back feeling as well as it’s reasonable price. When we arrived to the airport in Montego Bay on Monday afternoon, we were informed by the Air Jamaica staff that we were upgraded for free to Beaches Negril(BNG) because Negril Gardens(NG) was overbooked. Initially we were concerned because our friends were coming on Wednesday and were booked at Negril Gardens. We wanted to stay at the same resort. The staff at the airport was not able to help us, so we decided we would try to settle things when we arrived at Beaches.

The bus ride was uneventful. The new road from MoBay to Negril has been completed so the ride was shorter than the last time (approx an hour & 15 min.).

When we arrived to the resort, we realized our upgrade was significant. The place is huge and fancy compared to Negril Gardens. While we were checking in and sipping our rum punches, we explained the situation about our friends being booked at NG. We were willing to move to NG if necessary, but we were hoping that they would also receive a free upgrade to BNG. The staff was more then happy to try and straigten out the situation, and to make a long story short, they did, our friends arrived at BNG on Wed. When being shown to our room, we realized that the resort was much bigger than any other we had stayed at previously, we were impressed. The bellman showed us all the lights and the controls for the ac before he left. We tried to tip him, but he simply smiled and refused saying he was not allowed to accept tips. Again, we were impressed because even though gratuity has been included at all the resorts we have been to in the past, no one has ever refused a tip. Anyway, our room was lovely. It did smell a little musty at first, but after a while w/ the ac on, it went away, or we got used to it. We had a few issues with the room, the sheets smelled badly of mildew, there were lots of ants in the bathroom and there was mold covering one of the lampshades. We left our housekeeper a friendly note the next day and every problem was taken care of.

We arrived after the luch buffet was over, but we were directed to the "Piazza" where they offer pleny of good things to eat, salads, burgers, jerk chicken, brick-oven pizza, pasta, and lots more. We went to the orientation they offered at 5pm (there was also one at 10am, but we arrived too late). Nordia, one of the "Fun Pals" or animation staff welcomed us warmly and showed us around the entire resort which was very big.

There were 3 restaurants aside from the buffet, The Seville (international cuisine)which does not require reservations but does require semi-formal attire, The Last Chance Saloon (Tex-Mex) no reservations or formal dress required, and Tappan Yaki (Japanese Steakhouse) which requires reservations, but no formal dress. Because we intended to stay at NG, which is extremely casual, we were not prepared to dress up for dinner, so we did not get to try the Seville, but we did try the 2 others. The Last Chance was ok. They close at 10pm and we arrived at 9:30. the host was clearly not too happy to see us as he looked at his watch and sighed heavily as if annoyed that we showed up. However he was polite otherwise and seated us after a 5 minute wait. My entree of fish and shrimp was very good, but no one else seemed very impressed by their selections. the service was very good.

Tappan Yaki was not so good. The service was mediocre and the food was not good. However the chef that cooked at our table was very entertaining and we had fun. The buffet was overall very good. Some of the items were better than others, but there was always plenty to choose from. The service was also good. The beach was perfect. There was never a shortage of beach loungers and since the strech of beach alotted to the resort was so big, we were able to seperate ourselves from the crowd a bit.

There are several bars, one near the beach and main pool (swim up bar) another by the other pool (also swim up) and one close to the fromt of the resort, which opened at 5pm and closed at midnight. There was also a bar in the disco and another next to the disco which was non-smoking. These last 2 were open quite late ( I never made it that late). The service was excellent at all the bars. The drinks were good and premium brands of liquor were offered.

The entertainent on most nights was very good. The "Fun Pals" were amazing and always happy, upbeat and full of energy.

My friend and I both got 25 minute massages (not included). We both had very different experiences, but we both enjoyed our massages. The spa prices are a bit expensive in my opinion. What we liked most about the resort was the staff. Just about everyone was super friendly and always offered you a smile when you passed by. Almost everyone asked if you were having a good time and genuinly seemed to care.

I would definitely recommend this resort to anyone, unless you prefer adult only type places (lots of kids around). i would return to Beaches Negril. Please feel free to contact me ( sreluzco@hotmail.com )if you have any specific questions about anything.

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December 2003

My fiancée and I just returned from 1 week at Beaches Negril. We always book with Sun Holidays and find they have the best deals. To give you some perspective, we travel once a year to an all-inclusive from Nova Scotia and have rated the following resorts as a comparison –

Beaches Turks and Caicos – 8/10- awesome beach, excellent food- especially Schooners located beachfront, rooms are ok- need some updating, very pricey – it cost around $6000 for 2 of us for a week in February and we had to get to Toronto and take a direct flight from there. We would love to go back but we can not justify paying the same price. In our opinion, this resort is worth around $4000.00 per couple per week- anything more is too much.

Barcelo Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana – 7/10- property needs some updating, food quality is average, some seaweed in the water but we had a great deal- $2600 taxes in for 2 of us for 2 weeks direct from Halifax in April. We found 2 weeks a little too long at one resort but the price was too good to pass on.

Iberostar Dominicana, Punta Cana- 9/10- great pool, excellent beach, great food and drinks! Staff was very good, rooms were quite elegant compared to many other resorts we have been too. One week in April direct from Halifax was $2600 per couple.

Grand Carib Real, Cancun – 8/10- the room was great- the bathroom was huge, beach small, pool ok but the hotel is in a "U" shape and makes a huge shadow over the sunbathing area in the afternoon! The Italian restaurant was wonderful. The resort caters to a younger crowd. (like most of the resorts in Cancun) Overall, good value at $2400 per couple for a week in April but I can’t emphasize enough that the Cancun area caters to a very YOUNG crowd.

Breezes Varadero, Cuba- 9/10- this trip was with a group of 10 and it was fantastic. It is an adults only resort and is FUN! The food is average but the beach is outstanding. We paid $2500 for a week direct from Halifax 4 years ago. I have heard that it is starting to show it’s age but we plan on returning this Spring to check it out for ourselves.

Now for Beaches Negril, December 7-14th- 9/10

The very good-
Price- Unbelievable deal direct out of Toronto- one week per person in a deluxe room for $940 before taxes!!! The brochures quote around $2700 before taxes per person for the same week. It pays to watch the Sun Holidays website. I booked this deal approximately 4 weeks before our departure and used areoplan points to get to Toronto. The only downfall is we had to stay one night at an airport hotel but that was only $120.

Staff- by far the friendliest and most professional staff we have ever experienced!

Beach- spectacular, it reminded me of the Varadero beach- clear, no seagrass, shallow and warm.

Room- great- however we were given a free upgrade to a Honeymoon grand lux so we can’t comment on a regular deluxe room. We simply asked for a 2nd or 3rd floor room at check-in and they automatically upgraded us! It pays to ask. The room was cleaned and restocked everyday.

Seville Restaurant- unbelievable! Excellent quality, tremendous service, no limit on the number of times you can go.

Water sports- All are included. Even water-skiing, banana boats, scuba diving, snorkling, windsurfing, etc. If you are an active person, the extra costs of these activities at other resorts can add up- this was a huge benefit! The only activities that cost extra were para sailing and jet skiing that were offered by non-resort vendors.

The good-
The Last Chance Saloon- good quality, excellent service, best chips and salsa I have ever had.

The average-

Buffet restaurant was typical- food is always just warm, variety limited but the service was still very good. Pool bars- ok service, the drinks all tasted similar, disapponited that there were not more fresh fruit drinks available- frozen slush was the mainstay!

Pool- had 2 and both had swim up bars but they were not overly appealing to us. Activities- this is a family resort so the activities reflected this. We did visit Sandals Negril and the entertainment there was more to our liking. At Beaches Negril, no one was out after 9pm!

The Bad-
The dine around program- a bit of a farce to say the least. They offer a shuttle service to Beaches Sandy Bay but it only ran a few times a day and was not at very convient times. There was no shuttle to Sandals Negril so we had to take a cab. ($5 each way) Reservations are required at the most desirable restaurants (why bother going to another buffet?) but you can only book a day in advance from another resort and they were never available! Occupancy was around 60% so we had a hard time believing that they couldn’t fit us in during any of our 7 nights.

Other points-
Beach vendors- Jamacians were not as aggressive as we expected- bartering is a part of their culture and they expect it- never pay the first price they ask. If you don’t want something- just say no thanks and they will leave you alone. If you say, not today, I have no money on me- they will tell you to take it now and pay them later. If you mean no, just say no and you won’t be harassed.

The resort had some construction going on but at least they are keeping their resort updated and improved. They are adding a spa and a great water park for kids.

They offered a few special activities for specific groups like a sunset cruise for singles, a cocktail party for singles with kids and a welcome cocktail party for "returning" guests. This makes people feel special.

Tipping is "forbidden" at all Beaches and Sandals resorts. This is a truly all-inclusive vacation. We did tip at the Seville because the service was so amazing but it was done very discretely and we could tell that the waiter was not expecting it.

Sandals Negril was within walking distance on the beach in the daytime and offers a nice change of pace. Very quite and romantic.

Would we go back? At that price- ABSOLUTELY! At the regular price? No. We like to experience different resorts and we do prefer an adults only environment better then the family atmosphere

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July 2003

After making reservations at Beaches Negril I made the mistake of allowing myself to read too many negative reviews on various travel websites. We kept our fingers crossed and my husband and I and our 16 and 19 year old daughters vacationed there for 2 weeks in June, 2003. To my relief the naysayers couldn’t have been more wrong! Beaches Negril is just fabulous! It’s definately worth getting a suite because then you’re treated like royalty with many extras the regular room doesn’t include. The beach is gorgeous and relaxing. The employees are fun to talk to and very nice. The thing to remember is that they aren’t Americans and they have different customs and culture. The men are outgoing and the women are reserved. Everyone is friendly if you don’t act like a snooty American and just be polite and considerate of the fact that you’re the visitor.

It’s really worth taking some decent clothes so that you can eat at the Seville. It’s gourmet food, white glove service, air conditioned and in the all inclusive deal so why not. The pumpkin bisque with lobster bits is wonderful! Dress is casually elegant. Ladies wear a skirt or dress (nothing overly fancy) and dressier sandals. Men need a shirt with a collar (Hawaiian and polo shirts are fine), no jeans only long pants and shoes (they will loan you a pair).

My family tried all the water sports (never a shortage of equipment). We ate at all the restaurants (all good in their own way). Our room overlooked the wedding gazebo which provided fun entertainment! Every one was different and all seemed to run smoothly. This was our second trip to Jamaica. Last time we stayed at the Wyndham Rose Hall in Montego Bay. That was nice but this time was much better. Rose Hall never had any hot water, towels and the electric was always out. That was never a problem in Negril. We’d definately go back again!

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Beaches – Negril Scott — Minneapolis

April 2003

We traveled to Jamaica from March 17-27, 2003. We have three boys, 16, 14 and 12. We are not particularly sophisticated travelers, but have done cruises, Hawaii, Cancun, (Palace Resorts) Dominican Republic, (Bavaro Resorts) Orlando, etc. This time we stayed at both Beaches Boscobel and Beaches Negril. We have never had a better vacation.

Beaches Boscobel
We flew Northwest Airlines into Montego Bay from Minneapolis. No problems, although the flight was very early in the morning. The transfer to Boscobel does take almost two hours, and the roads are bumpy. Sit in front of the shuttle if you are prone to car-sickness. Checkin was fine. The bellmen really work hard in moving your luggage around an area that is serviced only by stairs. The room was nice, clean, and in excellent condition, with a nice deck overlooking the pool and main areas.

The resort is actually set on a hillside of sorts, with the rooms, restaruants and bars terraced into the face at different levels. The view from the upper levels is great. The walk down to the beach was great exercise, although there was also an elevator. The resort had been entirely redone, and was beautiful. The layout is designed to bring people together around the pool area, where the main buffet restaurant is also located. The evening shows and activities would be around this area, which was nicer than going into an indoor theater area for the shows. It also ensured a bigger crowd for these events.

There are plenty of things to do near Boscobel, if you like to get off the resorts. There is shopping in Ocho Rios. The excursion to Dunns River Falls is fun. The kids and I also played golf, which is included except for the caddy, tip, clubs, etc. King was our caddy, and had been my caddy on a prior trip. The caddies really know the course and the breaks of the greens if you listen to them. The pool area and activities were great. Compared to some other resorts the Beaches resorts were very kid-friendly. The BBQ grill was very convenient. The popcorn, slushes and ice cream that were always available were appreciated by the kids, and adults as well. All-inclusive is certainly the way to go with kids this age.

We didn’t pay much attention to the activities for younger children, but the petting zoo and children’s pools with slides, etc. seemed well done to me. All ages did seem to be having fun. We went on a snorkeling excursion, which was included, which was good. There is deep sea fishing available right off of the dock, at $100 per person for 4 people for a half day. The fitness center and other public areas were in good condition.

The staff at the resort got the kids involved in all the activities, including tennis, soccer, basketball, water volleyball, poolside games and competitions, etc. The biggest highlight was the activities staff. I did not expect my kids to get involved in things, as we usually do our own thing, but we were surprised at how many activities the kids were involved in and enjoyed. We have no real negatives on this resort to report. If I had to look for one, it would be the size of the beach. We do like to go for walks down a long beach and that is not really the type of beach they have anywhere on the Ocho Rios side of this island. After three nights, we traveled to Beaches Negril.

Beaches Negril
Our plan had been to spend three nights at Boscobel and a week at Beaches Negril. We wanted the kids to see more of the island, and on a prior trip we had also done both sides, staying at Sandals in Ocho Rios and Negril. We expected the weather to be better in Negril than on the Ocho Rios side, but we got 10 full days of sun with no rain or clouds this trip. We were not looking forward to the drive between the two resorts, but the Beaches staff made it fairly convenient. The resort let us go back in the late afternoon, so we didn’t miss a day in the sun. We took a shuttle back to the Montego Bay airport. The driver helped us locate the shuttle to Negril (actually a van for just our family only). There was very little wait and we were off to Negril. Perhaps our expectations were low. But every time things like this worked the way they were supposed to, with no problems, we were pleasantly surprised. And everyone we met in Jamaica was friendly, right down to the people waiting with and dispatching the shuttles. The road to Negril has been greatly improved, and is a lot better than the one to Ocho Rios.

Again, the reception at Negril was great, and there was no waiting to get a room. The layout at Negril is different, with rooms facing either the garden side or the beach side, with balconies for each room. The only negative that I would have for Beaches Negril was that the room showed its age somewhat, perhaps in comparison to the one at Boscobel. The main room was fine and nicely done, but the bathroom did look somewhat dated. The kids had their own room here, rather than the suite we had at Boscobel, and that was nicer. The staff put the two rooms on the main floor, next to each other but not adjoining. This worked very well.

Our first exposure to the resort was to walk down to the beach, where a beach party was in progress. At Beaches Negril, EVERYONE seemed to get involved in the activities. The beach is great. Every day we would get a cabana to center our activities around. (At Boscobel we centered around the pool.) There was always beach volleyball going on. Everyone enjoyed water polo in the pool. Like Boscobel, there was a water trampoline that got a lot of use. The beach is truly fantastic, and stretches for miles-better than Cancun, as good as Punta Cana in the D.R. The guard staff at the ends of the Beaches beach property would take our room numbers when we left for a walk, and just wave to us when we came back. (In fact, the staff seems to keep track of you for safety purposes. When we were picked up for a tour, the staff not only got the name of the driver who picked us up, verified by ID, but wrote down his license number as we were leaving. That made us feel like they were doing more than making sure no one got on the premises for free food!)

The restaurants and the public areas here were very good. The Japanese restaurant was very enjoyable, made that way by the chef who cooked at the table and his pleasant attitude with the kids. The adults only restaurant was excellent, and the kids had plenty of options. The Western themed restaurant was also good for dinner. We never had a bad meal at any of the restaurants on the whole trip. My oldest would eat at least one omelet every morning for breakfast, lunch, supper, and then eat again when the grill opened again at 10:30 p.m. There was plenty for the kids to enjoy. Compared to some other resorts there were a lot of foods that would appeal to a North American crowd.

We spent a fair amount of our time snorkeling in Negril. We took several trips, and the snorkeling was some of the better snorkeling we have seen at a resort. We saw skates, rays, sea snakes, turtles and really a lot of fish. At some resorts it seems like it is hard to sign up for these types of trips because they are free, but here there was no hassle and numerous opportunities.

We also went on an excursion (not with the resort) on a catamaran that was to be snorkeling on the reef, sail to the cliff area near the Pickled Parrot, snorkeling in the caves and cliff diving if you wished, and then dinner on the boat while you watch the sun set off the cliffs. My wife was thinking this would be very romantic. Actually we were the only family on the boat. Everyone else there was a senior in college on spring break. Apparently they had been told that if they could drink all the beer on the boat they would get a refund of their purchase price. At first we were a little horrified, because it simply hadn’t occurred to us that there were any spring breakers around, as there were none at the Beaches resorts. It turned out to be a good trip, however. Everybody was friendly and just having a good time. We looked the other way when a few "Jamaican cigarettes" were lit, but our youngest asked what it was anyway. Oh well, live and learn. The cliff diving was fun, and the whole boat cheered when the 12 year old jumped off the cliff which was reportedly 37 feet high. The dinner on the boat was simple but very good, so we had a good experience. The sunset at that location was fantastic. And we were useful–the spring breakers relied on us for sunscreen.

Overall, the trip could not have been better. Our kids met a lot of other kids, many of whom they are now e-mailing and keeping in contact with. The activities staff at Beaches Negril was, if anything, better even than the staff at Boscobel. We are talking about very high energy people. And it wasn’t always real structured energy. They would even just play pool with the kids, or show them local crafts. They organized dance lessons or games, in which adults participated too. All the kids at the resort seemed to be having fun. Our 14 year old kept getting called on the phone by a group of girls his age. He even was offered free hair braids by the beach braiding ladies at the request of some of these girls. He did not get the braids, and ignored the attention until later in the week, when he got to know these kids too. Our hats are off to the people at these resorts. The greatest accomodations in the world, with the best meals, would not have been much compared with the attitude of the people and this place, which made it an exceptional vacation.

Our long beach walks also took us to the Beaches Sandy Bay. We ate at the grill there, but did little else. This resort was much smaller, with much less smaller pools and public facilities. If you were looking for more peace and quiet, this resort might be for you, but we came to the conclusion that we preferred Beaches Negril.

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Beaches – Negril Bill & Alice B. — Louisville KY

April 2003

Spent 5 nights at Beaches Negril April 5-10, 2003 with the wife, my 16 yr old daughter and her friend. Had a GREAT time! Been to Beaches Turks & Caicos, Sandals Antigua and Royal Bahamian, and the staff here was the most friendly of all. Everyone was smiling, all the time! Not as much for young kids as Turks, but thats not what we were looking for!

Best beach by far! Wide, white sand beach. Calm, warm water. Western exposure gave GREAT sunsets! No seaweed, like Sandals Negril down the beach a mile or so. A 10+ for the beach! By the way, two bars within 1 minute of the beach!

Food was excellent. The main buffet restaurant, The Mill had everything, especially during lobster season! Couldn’t get into the Seville without closed toe, dress shoes. No dress sandals, no sneakers, no service…so I can’t review. The Last Chance had very good wings and ribs, the Teppanyaki was better than average. The Cafe Carneval was not a restaurant but a walk up pizza and pasta bar, with plenty of tables out in the open.

Wayersports was excellent! Carlton and Tiny at the scuba center were fantastic. Diving was great! Saw turtles, rays, huge crabs, lobsters, beautiful coral and the crew was outstanding.

I have not yet been back for a second time to the same Beaches/Sandals, because they are all so good….but Beaches Negril might be the first!

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