I fell in love with Jamaica about 18 months ago and have been returning about every 12 weeks when possible. I stayed at Xtabi in September (during Hurricane Ike) and another week in December.
I have tried other resorts both on the beach and the cliffs and find Xtabi to be the best value overall. The people are all great, friendly and willing to help out if you just ask. I think what makes any budget resort stand out is the quality of the people who work there and Xtabi excels in making your stay enjoyable. I have also stayed right down the street at the Rock House on two occasions but on the last trip I got the feeling that the Rock House was quickly on the way to becoming more like an all-inclusive gated vacation than the fun spot I used to enjoy. I am a water person and Xtabi has as good if not better a cove than the Rock House. Good dining is right next door in the form of 3-Dives Jerk shack and Just Natural, veggie restaurant. Xtabi has a great bar.
I am an AC junkie so always stay in the newer rooms on the garden side which I have found quite comfortable and clean. The resort was busy last trip and I had to move to one of the economy rooms without AC for my last two nights. No problem mon! Had to turn down the fan at night.
I will be back with a group of friends at Xtabi in early May and would recommend this to anyone who likes a vacation a bit off the beaten path. Xtabi all is irie!
Funny when reviewing they ask if I would recommend to a best friend - that's who goes with me every trip!