Now I get what Seven Mile Beach is about... a beautiful white sand beach where you can walk 2 to 3 miles in either direction. A laid back atmosphere with small hotels, inns and cabins interspersed with cheap to more expensive restaurants. Local sellers of everything from jet ski rental, snorkeling, jewelry, coco bread, fruit, smokes, music, horseback riding, shells, wood craft, massage...
This was our first time in Jamaica and I chose the Charela Inn for our 7 day vacation after reviewing the comments here on Trip Advisor. I have no regrets. Charela is NOT a resort. So if you require fancy pools, a jacuzzi, food available 24/7, a fancy bathroom, chose Couples or Beaches down the way. However if you can set aside those needs you might just fall in love with the Charela Inn.
I booked this trip about 1 month in advance (through Orbits) and all that was left was a garden view room #215. I also booked the round trip bus ride (about 1.5 hours) with JTL Tours Limited. We decided not to go all inclusive because of the various food options along the beach. All of these ended up being good choices.
Our room was on the 2nd floor up a flight of stairs very close to the restaurant and an easy, short walk to the beach - so close I was pretty much barefoot the entire week. What I loved about the room is beautiful older pine woodwork and that we could keep our double doors and windows to the balcony open the entire time. We never used the air conditioning. No need with the ceiling fan. The view out to the garden is just beautiful. I didn't miss the ocean view. I relaxed just as easily looking at the flowers and birds in the garden.
The room was clean and the king-sized bed very comfortable. The TV is an old 19", but who is watching TV on vacation? Get over it. Yup, the bathroom is ordinary. But the toilet flushed fine, the shower worked with good pressure and I could drink the tap water. The only thing I wished we had was a coffee maker in the room. Even though the kitchen didn't open until 7:30AM, the wait staff was very accommodating when my husband would show up at 7AM requesting a large pot of coffee.
One thing I should mention is noise... we were next to the Idle Inn - a bar and 8 room Inn. We were also above the kitchen and near the restaurant opening to the beach. Sometimes people were loud walking through the garden back to their room. Also, if there was music down the beach you could hear that. Lastly, the smell - I think some of the smoking, cooking of meat goes on during the night. I often woke up to the smell of meat cooking. I believe any place you stay you will smell cookers.
Charela Inn has a really great beach front with very happy security folks that can give great ideas for services on the beach from snorkeling to sailing to massage, etc... And one of the only beaches with 'real' palm trees for shade! If you want to be away from the beach vendors, just pull your chairs back closer to the building.
Some of the services we took advantage of: Mike's Glass Bottom Boat. Mike is friendly and professional and he and his partner Jeffery took just the two of us to a snorkeling spot. Jeffery proceeded to jump into the water with us and took us around to the points of interest while we snorkeled until we were tired.
We also rented the sail boat that sits on the property. The gentleman that rents it will take you out first to show you how to sail and then you can go on your own or he will stay with you - what ever you chose.
I took advantage of a massage from Cindy. She charges about $1 per hour. I had a 1 hour massage and it was FABULOUS. The best part was that instead of having 'mood music' you have the waves crashing right there, AND, she hums / sings in a beautiful, soothing chanting voice the entire time. I walked out of there feeling like a million bucks!
A couple of opportunities for the staff: Having never been to Jamaica, it would have been great to have a short welcome package. The hours of operation - when meals are served. History of Charela Inn, important staff members, ideas for activities around the area, a map of the area.
I already wrote a review for Le Vendome Restaurant, but I'd like to add here that the wait staff is awesome, willing to please and always friendly. We walked past them several times a day going from the beach and back to the room, and they always warmly greeted us.
We had a terrific week at the Charela Inn, and after walking nearly all 7 miles of the beach I am sure we picked the right hotel for our stay in Negril.