Old Reviews – Sunset at the Palms

  Sunset at the Palms   Amy ~ USA

June 2008

While I was staying at Beaches Negril, I decided to make a site inspection of Sunset at the Palms for our client’s. It was about 7 minutes down the road from Beaches Negril and approximately 80 minutes from the Montego Bay airport. Sunset at the Palms is part of the Sunset Resorts chain, which has 3 all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. This resort has always priced out nicely (compared to other properties in the area) and overall gets excellent reviews so I wanted to check it out. Since I was only there for about 90 minutes, my experience would not be as thorough as someone who stayed there for an extended vacation.

After arriving at the resort, I was quickly whisked to the front desk. Even though I was a visitor, they still offered me a cold towel and a glass of orange juice (it was morning), so I could experience their check-in process. I was greeted by Carla and Kimberly at the front desk who were as friendly as could be. My first impression of the resort was excellent! This resort is small, full of lush landscape and the staff seems very friendly. Families are allowed here but they do not have organized children’s programs so they usually do not have many children (there were 6 staying there the day that I toured!). This would be a plus to many seeking seclusion and romance and yet a disappointment to those who want organized activities for their children.

The Rooms-
This resort only has 65 rooms. It was 98% full when I was there, so I only got to see a split level suite (they only have 2 room categories). I will post pictures if I can ever figure out howJ This room had two full bathrooms (no tub from what I recall) and a private verandah. The décor fit the rustic yet chic look of this resort. There was a daybed on the verandah which I loved and I was ready to take a nap as soon as I saw it!

The Food-
One complaint that I have heard is that the resort does not have a lot of dining options. They have 2 restaurants (one Caribbean/International buffet and the other being an Asian theme) and a beach bar and grill. They said that they do vary the menus every few days. My husband gets really bored quickly with dining options, so right away I thought that this resort might not be for him. Myself, on the other hand, am happy as long as I am being fed (lol!) and the service is pleasantJ They do offer room service to all rooms but do not have a set menu. I was told that when you call to order it, they will give you a few things to choose from that you can order and this will change by the day. Apparently, the resort grows much of their fruit on their own 10 acre gardenJ

The Beach-
Other visitors have commented on the beach… It is actually across the street from the resort and the resort has a crossing guard in place to monitor safety. I went over to it with my tour guide and did not find it annoying or scary crossing the street at all. Just remember to bring everything that you need for the day, so you do not have to go back and forth. They have a beach bar and grill over there. The person at the beach bar offered me a drink the second that he saw meJ The beach there is a lot more narrow than the beach at Beaches Negril but it was surely fine and still very nice. They actually had a musician playing on the beach and it helped to create a relaxing atmosphere.

The Spa-
The spa area is very small and consists of one treatment room called “The Treatment Garden.” They also have a nail room. Very small but cute. This resort chain owns their own spas versus contracting them out, so I would estimate their prices are about 20% lower than other spas in the area. The technicians were very anxious to book my appointment for me! I have a copy of the spa brochure and would be happy to fax it to anyone if you are going in the near future. The gym looked huge and the equipment appeared to be in great condition!

The Activities:
I was not there long enough to see activities in action but the resort does seem to have standard things like non-motorized water sports, theme nights, tennis, live music at night, movies at night, etc. This would not be a resort to go to if you are seeking a festive nightlife. The pool area was spotless and the water was amazingly clear, which is a huge plus in my book. It is also supposed to be very quiet at this resort at night but in my experience that can vary greatly depending on the guests that are there each week. Meaning that if you have a group of guests who are ready for fun, it will help to make any resort more lively. I was told that people hang out at the pool bar area at night. They also have a Martini Bar near the lobby area but was told that this is fairly quiet at night.

The resort does not have a firm repeat guest program in place yet but they said that they are starting to count May/June as their Returning Guest month(s). Apparently, they are giving returnees t-shirts and are trying a few other things as well.

Although my time here was brief, I do feel comfortable recommending this resort. Everyone was so friendly and it just really has a sense of peace/calm about it. I would feel very happy spending a few days here. I think that my husband would be bored-so I guess if I go I will need to take a friend or something. Ha! For persons who like a lot of things to do, get bored easily, or want extensive kid’s programs this would probably not be the place to be. To each his ownJ If a person wants more of an adult oriented atmosphere without paying top dollar, this is a great alternative since they do not cater to kid’s and do not have set programs for them. It’s a lovely, clean resort from my observations and we hope that some of you can get to visit it someday. Please let me know if you have any specific questions, etc. as I would be happy to answer them if I can (my e-mail is Amydmvs@comcast.net ). Happy Travels!

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  Sunset at the Palms   Terry & Denise ~ Canada

March 2008

Arrival – Upon arriving at the airport for our 6 nights at SATP we were met by Hunter, who was arranged by SATP. Taxi ride for 1 1/2 hrs ($60.00) We were given drinks and cool cloths upon arrival. Escorted to our rooms by front desk staff. Hunter is stationed at SATP and will look after all your transportation needs. Another taxi driver also sits at front gate daily. You are able to negotiate with him if you wish to go anywhere. Both drivers nice. The taxi driver at the gate even gave us a cell phone to call him when we wanted him to come and pick us up for return trip.

Rooms – The rooms are are very unique, treehouses on stilts throughout the property. There are two units on each treehouse. The rooms are very nice and clean, king size bed, TV, patio with table and chairs and lounge bed. There are wooden shutters on the screened windows. A/C woks well and is quiet. Room safe (free). There is no alarm clock. Bathroom is nice with shower that has 4 wall jets as well as 2 overhead jets. Hair dryer in bathroom. Treehouses are a distance from each other, are quiet and each comes with a private view of the grounds.

Restaurants – There is the Buffet for all 3 meals which offers a good selection of salads, fruits, cheese, and desserts. They served beef, pork, fish, and chicken dishes at each meal with different daily themes. Breakfasts were good with chef to make your omeletes. Only complaint with buffet is the food was never really hot, just warm. The Lotus Leaf restaurant which is no charge and open 4 nights a week. It is always full and reservations required. We did not go there, but looked like a nice place for a fancy dinner. Someone told us the portions were small and had to fill up at the buffet after their meal. The Beach restaurant is open for lunch and serves until late afternoon. They serve good sandwiches, hamburgers, hot-dogs and chicken quesidillas.

Bars – There is the piano bar off the lobby which is nice and quiet and was popular before and after dinner. Bartenders were very nice and friendly. Try a Bob Marley shooter or a Dirty Banana. They are very generous with the liquor on all drinks. There is the pool bar which appeared popular after dinner and was next to where the nightly entertainment was held. The beach bar is open from morning until sun down.

Beach and Pools – The beach is a five minute walk from the resort across the highway. There is always a crossing guard and is not a problem. The beach is very nice clean and covers a large area. There was never a problem finding lounge chairs and there are inflatables from past guests to float in the water. The swimming area is roped off and covers a large area. You are able to walk out a long way. There are vendors to the right of the beach area, they are friendly and do not bother you while on the beach. You are able to go for long walks, 1/2 hour approx each way from one end of Bloody Bay to the other. There are water sports you can use, sailboats, peddleboats, etc at the beach. Did not appear they had many and never saw anyone using them. There is a nice pool and a large hot tub at the resort. We were never there during the day so did not see if many used the pool. We used the hot tub in the evening and it was clean. Bring insulated cups for your drinks. Excellent view of sunset. Received some bug bites as soon as sun went down, but never had to use repellant. The beach is locked at dark and you are confined to resort for the evening. You can take a 5 minute taxi ride and walk along the seven mile beach during the day.

Grounds – The grounds are immaculate, lots of bushes, trees and flowers. In the evenings the crickets and birds are singing. There is a garden tour. There are walking paths throughout the property that lead to all the treehouses. There is a gym and spa which we did not use. There is also a tennis court.

Activities – They have a daily activity board which states activities, entertainment, and tours you can participate in. At the beach there were no organized activities. In the evenings after dinner there was limited entertainment. Saturday night was the beach BBQ with entertainment at the beach. We found most people had a quiet drink at the bar and then went to their rooms. The buffet lasted till 10:00 p.m. and the entertainment a short time after that. There were few people seen after dinner.

Tours – We went snorkling on a reef out from 7 mile beach. Did not see very many fish. Went on a $20.00 shopping tour to Negril and then to Rick’s Cafe for cliff diving and "The Sunset". This was a good tour.

Conclusion – This resort is only 4 years old, very unique with the treehouses, very quiet and clean with good service. The beach is one of the nicest in Negril. The staff are all very nice and polite. They were friendly and always happy. SATP is a smaller resort so no large crowds or line-ups for meals or service. If you are looking for a resort with lots of activities or to be entertained this may not be for you. We would return to this resort. We went on to Runaway Bay for the remainder of our holiday to see what the other part of island had to offer. We preferred Negril for the better beaches, water and warmer weather.

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Sunset at the Palms Nicole ~ USA

June 2006

Sunset at the Palms is pure magic! It’s a hidden piece of paradise on a magical piece of ground. Remember the show called Fantasy Island? That’s where I feel like I have been. Not only is the resort incredible but the staff outshines any staff of any resort I have ever been to. Well, since this is a review of the resort, here it is:

Rooms: The cabins are exquisite. Everything is done with a Polynesian, Zen flair including platform beds, a variety of woods and a high vaulted ceiling. The air conditioning works great (if you can figure out the remote control, just ask the front desk) and the ceiling fans are nice for the evening, too. The room has French doors that open to a private deck with a day bed, table and chairs. The bathroom features 6 shower heads and is done in slate tile.

Pool: I have read that people think the pool is too small. That may be the case if 40 or more people planned to use it at the same time but there were no more than 6 people at a time in the pool. There is nothing more relaxing than lying on your raft, floating around the pool, wading over to the pool bar for a drink and not worrying about bumping into people. It was heavenly and absolutely perfect.

Food: I can just rave on and on about the food. Along with traditional American food, you could find a Jamaican dish at every meal. This was important to me because I wanted to try different local dishes. To name a few; conch fritters, oxtail stew, ginger chicken, calaloo, bammy.. the list goes on. ALL the food was delicious! You could eat at the buffet or the beach grill (cheeseburgers are great) and 3 nights a week, the ala carte restaurant was open. I never went hungry on this trip and even brought a little of Jamaica home on me. (5lbs of it!)

Drinks: I read in a review somewhere that they use no fruit in their frozen drinks. This is not the case. They use banana (try the dirty banana..yummy), papaya, lime and pineapple. They had many brands of liquor, ice cold Red Stripe and Red Strip lite on tap, wine (very good) and champagne.

Beach: So you cross the street. It’s better that way so no other people can see this beautiful resort. If they did, there would eventually be more people here and ultimately, lines. We had no problem with the short walk across the street. Think of it this way, most of the big resorts stretch all the way back to where Sunset at the Palms is at anyway. Because of the set back location, it is not only more private but the price to stay here is a lot less too. We looked at Couples and CSA and SATP was $800 less for us. (even though I think it’s nicer and it’s definitely newer!) You also have everything you need on the beach. There is a beautiful new bar, beach grill and stylish, slate tile, clean bathrooms. You are on Bloody Bay so there are no waves and the water is crystal clear blue. Plop your raft in the water, look up at the blue skies, feel the salty cool breeze on your skin, clear your mind and you think you have died and gone to heaven.

Grounds: Tropical, lush, clean, private, intimate, romantic, magical. Awesome gym that also features a classroom for aerobics, Pilates or yoga. Each week, they feature a different instructor from around the world.

Staff: Can’t say enough good things about them. My only exception was a couple people at the front desk who look at you like you have 4 heads when you ask any type of question but you rarely have to deal with them. lol As for the food servers, bartenders, ground keepers, water sports people, etc., they are so friendly and helpful. They work hard for you and treat you like a friend. I am proud to call many of them my friends.
-Esroy, Diego, Dwight, Deloras, Donald, Rory, Ancha, Vanessa.. the list goes on. They made our vacation the absolute best! You are not required to tip these people but they so deserve it. 🙂

Entertainment: On the beach, they play cds and you can find a traveling reggae band once in a while (work on tips). At the pool bar, they play cds during the day. In the evening, you can find entertainment from 8-10pm. This includes the Jamaican Cowboy (one of the most incredible voices I have ever heard!), steel band, reggae band, etc. After 10:00pm, ask Esroy to show you some of his amazing, magic bar tricks.

Extras: -Keep in mind, this is not a nightlife spot but it isn’t for sissies either. If you want to party, it’s ‘All Inclusive’ and you will meet many great couples to hang out with if you so desire. I found it to be an intimate, couples type setting even though children are allowed. On our particular trip, there was not one child. There are no children activities and the only things for them to do is swim or play in the sand. The only reason I could see to bring a child here is if there was a wedding you were attending. -Speaking of weddings, I could think of no greater romantic, tropical place to marry than here. -Don’t like waiting in lines? Look no further. Not once did we wait in a line for anything. Not once did we wait more than 2 minutes for a drink and not once did we wait more than 10 minutes for food. -Bring your own blowup raft and mug to keep your drinks cold -Bring waterproof band aids, bug spray and hydrocortisone cream (just in case) I had a few mosquito bites but they didn’t compare to NJ bites. They were hardly itchy.

-Bring lots of singles for tipping

If you would like to see more pictures and descriptions of this resort, see the trip report website I made- www.SatpVacation.com

We will return next year!

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Sunset at the Palms Dan & Susan ~ Toronto, Ontario, Canada

April 2005

This was a most blissful, wonderful little hotel. That said, the food was average, nothing more. Hardy, tasty, competent food, not bad, but not memorable. Still, we had an excellent vacation there.

My wife and I and our 13 month old son all traveled to Negril Cabins from snowy, cold Toronto to find relaxing warmth and a memorable vacation. Well, we found just that and so much more. This place really exceeded our expectations in all manners.

The staff is so very friendly and helpful. Everyone had a smile and a kind word every day for us. The head chef, Norman, went out of his way to prepare a unique vegetarian entree for my wife each nite of our stay.

The food was tasty and competent, with plenty of variety. It wasn’t gourmet (with the exception of Norman’s chocolate cake, which could compete with the best of them), but it was all creative, original and zesty cuisine. Lots of variety every meal. All meals were buffet style.

The main building, dining area and services are all housed in open air structures. There are no enclosed areas so the warm tropical breezes flow over you whether you are relaxing with a magazine in the front lobby, or enjoying you dinner in the dining area. In fact, some dining tables are out on the patio, with a natural canopy of tall palm trees shading you as you dine.

The rooms are lovely. They are individual cabins raised up on stilts. Each has walls of shutters with mesh on both sides so you can fall asleep with a calm, warm or cool breeze flowing across your bed. The cabins are in the forest, which is well kept. There are many lovely birds that will lullaby you to sleep at nite and greet you with their song each morning.

The beach is amazing. Calm, gentle cyan waters lap up on a golden and white sand beach. It is a short 4 min walk across the main road from the hotel lobby. There is a crossing guard stationed there all day to help you across. Friendly staff at the beach will help you with a beach chair or lounge and will also serve you drinks and great food (including the best Jerk Chicken I’ve tasted in a while). Yes, the food at the beach is very good. Not because it’s gourmet, but rather because of one’s midday, beach appetite that develops.

The pool area is lovely as well. It is a curving, free form pool that winds under a foot bridge and is nestled like a jungle pond in the forest. As you swim, you can gaze up at huge palm trees that sway in the day’s breeze and provide good shade in mid-day. There is also a swim up bar!

Temperatures were 85F every day with no rain.

This hotel is small (only 90 rooms) so it never feels like there are too many people around. It really felt like our own little hideaway all for ourselves.

A couple of notes if you go:
1. The hotel is near the main road to Negril and so I suggest requesting a cabin as far back from the road as possible to reduce the traffic sounds that you will hear. We were in superior (cabin) room 507 which was about mid way back from the road. You could hear the traffic but it was just ‘white noise’ and not at all noisy or detrimental to our peaceful time in the rooms. There is not very much traffic later in the evening (we were in bed before 10pm each nite) so it was really quite quiet. I took a walk around the property and jotted down the positions of all the superior cabin rooms and came up with a rating system for BEST and WORST cabins in terms of road proximity:

BEST: 414-15,411-12,405-6

any other 400 series cabin is very good, other than 401-2 which are too near the pool pump.

Most 500 series cabins are pretty good, they fall somewhere in the middle of things. We were in 507, which was pretty good. Exceptions are the other ones listed below:

WORST: 501-2, 601-19,701-4,714-15

(these are all too near the main road or main walkway that guests use to get to the lobby and dining area)

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August 2004

The Best Crew Found Anywhere

My wife Louisa and I arrived at Sunset at the Palms on Friday, July 30, 2004 for seven days/six nights. We rode through a tremendous storm in Montego Bay on our way to the best side of the island, Negril. When we arrived, it was absolutely beautiful! We were greeted with cold tropical drinks as we waited to see our cabin. We got a security lock which is optional, $1.00 day, then we were whisked away to our cabin. I made two requests, a king size bed and a room away from the road. Although the requests were granted, no matter where you are on the resort road noise will be heard. NO PROBLEM-MON, though it will not keep you up at night. The cabin was spacious with a television, phone, iron, and many visiting ants. The air conditioner was supreme and kept us cool during many humid days and nights. The deck was cozy and intimate. During the day, the grounds are continuously worked upon to upkeep its beautiful greenery.

The front desk and management: Front desk personal was nice. Many problems though. Guests must continuously check back on any requests or questions in order to receive an answer. TERRIBLE!!! You must ask two and three times before finally receiving what was needed. TERRIBLE!!! Just for kicks, we actually wanted to see how much another night would cost us, and you guessed it; they never got back to us. TERRIBLE!!! As we departed from the hotel, we called the front desk to ask for help with carrying our bags. After waiting 15 – 30 minutes, our phone rings & the front desk asked, if we actually wanted assistance with our bags. Finally after waiting 30 minutes, someone came to help. TERRIBLE!!! Friendly Front Desk, but expect nothing! The employees: They were well-groomed, polite, respectful, and down to earth. What can I say? Most Jamaicans are decent people, but this crew has personality. We were treated like a king and queen. They work for pennies a day and please be generous and tip those you like because they work extremely hard. Any tip that you give, will be greatly appreciated.

Desmond: A laid-back nice guy who will watch over you. One day, we left the beach to go back to our cabin and left our stuff on the beach. However, it started raining and we came running back only to find our stuff gone!! Desmond put our stuff in a dry area off the Beach so it wouldn’t get wet. He is a wonderful guy and it was a pleasure meeting him.

Valbert: The funniest guy on the grounds. He will make you laugh and entertain you continuously. This guy makes great drinks at the pool bar and will even make you his specialty Tequila drink. Ask for it.

Neil: A friendly and cool guy that always makes sure your glass is full at the pool bar. I had a special request and it was fulfilled – thanks MON! Also gave me some good Reggae CD’s. Appreciated.

Excel: A nice, sweet guy that gives 100% who works at the Dining-area. Get to know him because he will make you feel welcomed.

Greg: This guy is certainly entertaining. He will be dancing and singing as he makes your drinks on the beach. He is a cool dude and makes you feel very welcome.

Gerry: He will do anything to make your Beach visit more comfortable. We will always remember him because he found us floatation devices for really a cheap price. When we got on the Beach each day, he’d pull out our chairs and make sure we were comfortable. See what a few dollars gets you? Thanks again!

Vanessa: There are some people you meet and some you want to know forever. Vanessa is certainly the latter and we plan to keep in touch with her. She is respectful, kind, funny, personable, helpful, and loving. Vanessa works in the dining area, and will make sure you drinks and plates are full. Even though we had the opportunity to meet several wonderful people, she made us feel like we were the most important people on the resort. Thank you so much, Vanessa.

The beach: It is seven miles of clean white sand with sparkling bluish-green water. There is a grill as well as a bar right on the beach which provides for a better atmosphere. You can walk ten feet and have anything you want to eat or drink served with a

smile as it open until 6 pm.

The Food & Drinks: The drinks are plentiful with freshly squeezed juices, coffee, tea, wine, hard liquor, and Red Stripe (beer). Do note although you can get drinks until closing (2 am), you are not allowed to take drinks back to your room (as found on most resorts). But once again, treat them good & they’ll treat you well right back. The food is unreal. My wife & I live near in Central PA and are blessed with some of the best food & restaurants in the US. The food at the Resort is simply the best. Beach food as noted before is great, but the dining room food is unbelievable. Yes, it’s mostly Buffet food, but it is items like fresh pasta, curry goat, lamb, ribs, chicken (served 10 ways), shrimp, desserts, casseroles, etc. But do not forget to ask for Filet Mignon & Shrimp. You have to ask for it during the day, but it will be ready promptly when you arrive to eat. The Filet was no tiny steak, about a 10 – 12 oz, and grilled to perfection! All food is prepared by a renowned chef, who has won numerous awards for his cooking. Once again we hate Buffets, but this food was plentiful and was simply delicious. Unfortunately, we will not be returning due to the ants. We live in the suburbs and are not comfortable with ants. But give it a whirl, it’s worth the money. Please give them all our best. Tell them Adam & Louisa said Hello. I am sure they’ll remember us as we will remember them for a very long time as well!!!

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