Stayed here for four days in December with my boyfriend. I love the unique location and water access. If you love water (snorkeling, diving, etc.), you should absolutely check out this resort.
- I absolutely love the hotel set-up - there's nothing better than having crystal clear, beautiful water and awesome snorkeling RIGHT outside your front door on your vacation. Our premium villa was literally just steps away from the cliffs you can jump off. We spent hours jumping into the water and exploring the water caves around the resort. I seriously could not get out of the water. And how cool is it to be able to step out of your villa, jump off a cliff into beautiful water, swim/snorkel across to the other end of the resort, climb out and have a delicious lunch near a cool pool?? It's different from your regular sand beach vacation and that's what I loved about it.
- If you prefer to just relax and sit on the beach while reading and sunbathing, you can certainly still do that here (sans the sand as everything is strategically located on cliffs and rocks). But for me, the whole point of coming to this resort was to jump off stuff and have decent snorkeling right outside of our room - basically to be a kid for a few days.
- Pushcart food was awesome.
- This is the best location on the cliffs in Negril. We went on a snorkeling excursion offshore with Vincent (more on Vincent below - but in summary, book him!). On the way out, Vincent took us on a quick boat ride around the cliffs to see the other hotels. By far, the Rockhouse has the best location (on the cliffs and stretch of water). It's crazy how much strategic thought the original designers put into the layout. Plus, the water around Rockhouse is blocked off with buoys so boats can't enter the area and run you over! (We didn't see that at any of the other hotels on the cliffs - which seems pretty dangerous as there's a good bit of water traffic.)
- The staff was professional and very friendly. We stayed at a different hotel in Negril for a few nights on Seven Mile Beach just before we got to the Rockhouse and the staff here definitely seemed a lot more experienced. Very nice.
- The resort is beautiful - very well maintained. Walk around in the evening - the lights are all strategically placed and make the cliffs and the water look beautiful.
Some other details:
- You can rent pretty decent snorkeling gear at the pool bar for $5/day (mask and flippers).
- The rooms aren't the most luxurious but you don't come here for luxurious sheets, etc. It's rustic and that's what it's marketed as. Plus, the prices are very reasonable and the views from the villas are amazing.
- There's a safe in the premium villas (not sure about the other rooms).
- No TVs in the rooms so bring some books, games, cards, etc. (in case it rains). This is supposed to be a rustic experience (so no hair dryers, irons, etc).
- Go to Rick's Cafe for the sunset cliff jumps. At first it seems a little touristy but once the jumps start, it gets really cool. The cab ride is $5 (you can walk but may be dangerous as there are no sidewalks - it's about a mile away).
- The Rockhouse water area is truly beautiful - from the cool cliffs to the crystal clear water since there is no sand. So you'll see sunset boats, yachts, and catamarans come nearby with swimmers to explore the caves. (The best was when an all-nude catamaran came by w/ a bunch of "seasoned" ppl trying to take a group photo together. Do you really need a nude group photo from your vacation?? Haha. At least they had a nice background!)
- Vincent! Go on an excursion with him - the man's awesome! Seriously, he's a very cool guy and so insightful - it was the best snorkeling trip we've ever done because the man knows his sea life and genuinely wants you to enjoy the experience. He's very engaging and makes it interactive for you - from stingrays to feeding various fish to picking up sea urchins, etc (who knew ocean cucumbers are that much fun to hold??). He's like the mayor - everyone knows him and loves him. Rockhouse can give you his # so I highly recommend booking him - he does different kinds of trips (snorkeling, deep sea fishing, etc.).
- The villa bathrooms are half outside so you see the tops of palm trees and hear birds, etc. This seems romantic until you get bitten on your behind by mosquitoes while showering ! So just a thought.
- We had a ton of mosquitoes in our villa. Not just a regular "this is an island" amount - but a ton. So bring Off. Also, our mosquito bed net was too short so we had to wrap our sheets around the net so that no bugs could get in. It got annoying/stressful to have to do that every night. (Also, just FYI - I don't think that each villa had a big mosquito problem - our neighbors said they didn't have that issue. So if you notice that you have more mosquitoes in your room than normal, check w/ the front desk. They told us when we were checking out that they could have sprayed the room for us had they known it was an issue. So when in doubt, just ask the front desk!).
- The resort started thatching our villa roof the second day we got there. This would've been fine if they told us that in advance but we got no heads up and unfortunately we left all of our window vents open. So there was dirt and dust everywhere when we got back to our room in the afternoon.
- Which brings me to my last point... I wasn't going to write this because I really did (and do) like this unique hotel and don't want to discourage anyone from coming here. But we did have an issue w/ our premium villa. Unbeknownst to us, it was right across from a sewage treatment facility. You would never know that because the resort didn't stink or anything - at least not during the day. We noticed a sulfurous smell on our first night in our room but thought it was just sulfur or smthg like that (maybe coming from the cliffs or caves?). But then the smell was noticeable the second night. And then a little too noticeable and unbearable on the third night so we called the front desk and that's when we found out about the sewage treatment facility. And I guess the smell isn't usually a problem (we were told it never happens) but for whatever reason the facility started to release gases at night, and our villa just happened to be on the direct path of the smell (our neighbors didn't have that issue). So that was very disappointing/upsetting to find out because it's one thing to put up w/ the smell if you're not fussy and think it's just sulfur (or some other "natural" element given you're supposed to be in a "rustic" environment) - but another if it's sewage (not the type of natural you want!). So we felt a little "deceived" once we found out that it was the latter that we were putting up with for the last two nights - because why wouldn't this be disclosed to us at check-in? Or, why would they put anyone in a room like that, esp one that's a premium ocean front villa (i.e. the most expensive option at the resort)? Also, did that explain the mosquito problem?? (Ugh.) So we didn't want to stay in our room that night but all of the other villas were booked so they put us in a standard room in the garden area of the resort (not on the water). So that was also disappointing/upsetting (but, on the bright side - we didn't have any mosquito issues in the standard room that night!)
But let me tell you what remedied the situation. 1) The staff that night was very professional in dealing with the whole thing (even if I was at times a little more-than-cranky once I found out what the smell actually was!). 2) The next morning, the manager (Charlotte) was super nice and seemed genuinely upset that we had an unpleasant experience (it really got to the point where between the mosquitoes, the thatching dust cloud, and the sewage smell, nights would be a little stressful and we tried to avoid spending time in our villa - this is why I gave the "sleep quality" a low rating). She offered us a reduced rate for our entire stay and one free night for any future visit so that we can get the true Rockhouse experience - i.e. without the smell. (Charlotte - I may have missed it but mind sending me an email w/ the one night offer?? I'd like to take you up on it but haven't received it yet.) 3) The staff said the smell is never a problem and that the omission wasn't intentional - i.e. our experience was unfortunate and not representative of the type of experience clients have - it was an anomaly. So this is why I'm giving the Rockhouse good ratings for service and value despite some of the issues.
So, overall - despite those hiccups, I would still recommend this hotel. The unique water experience is awesome. We try not to repeat hotels / places we've been to when we go on vacations (so many places to see in the world!) but this is one of the few hotels I'd repeat again because of its uniqueness (plus there are so many cliffs there which I haven't had a chance to jump off yet!). Cool spot and great staff.
The premium villas are right on the cliffs. If you can pick, go for the villas on the left hand side...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.