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“Serene” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Jackie's on the Reef

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Jackie's on the Reef
3.0 of 5 Spa   |   West End Rd, Negril, Jamaica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 90 Hotels in Negril
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Serene”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013 via mobile

If you need to get away from the hussle and bussle, crime, all TV and electronics. Enjoy yoga,delicious food, healthy fruit drinks, delicious coffee and teas. Or a conversation and some words of wisdom from Jackie. Not to mention the best vies of the ocean. This place has all this and more.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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122 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Lexington, KY
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

My wife and I were not prepared for the world we stepped into when we arrived at Jackie's on the Reef. I had extended our warm weather vacation by making reservations at Jackie's through a Living Social deal. When I realized this all natural resort and spa had no TV's, no radios, signs that said "turn your cell phone off", my type A personality started to revolt. Within an hour Jackie's had totally immersed me in her world and I totally relaxed. My wife was thrilled with the environment immediately. We stayed in a round room separated from the main building and it was so different and perfect in size and decor and had a huge screen-covered opening to look out on the grounds and the beautiful blue Caribbean. The bath facilities were open air with a high wall around them and very adequate. At dinner that night I asked one of the guests if they knew what time it was since they had a watch on. Jackie, who ate with us most nights, interrupted quickly and said "night time". The message was clear and correct, it really didn't matter what time it was. The personnel are very good at what they do and extremely friendly. The treatments are professional, well done and effective. Jackie is a unique individual that you will get to know and be glad for it. Maurice is in charge of the food and it is colorful, flavorful and healthful. We looked forward to every meal and were never disappointed. Ranger is Jackie's main assistant and does a great job. He even gave us a nice tour of his plot of land across from Jackie's and showed us many of the herbs, vegetables and fruits they grow to include in the meals. The yoga instructors are first class. It was our first encounter with yoga classes so I can offer no technical review, but we knew we had had a good workout at 8:30 each morning before breakfast. I could spend several thousand words trying to describe the grounds, but you just have to see it to understand. Our four nights passed much too quickly and we knew when we went out the gate and to our taxi for the ride back to the Montego Bay airport that we were soon to be immersed back into the cruel world that seemed so distant at Jackie's on the Reef. It had been years since we had both felt so good mentally and physically. Thanks Jackie, we'll do our best to come back!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

As soon as you arrive at Jackie’s, you are immersed in another world. The rhythm of the sea, the slow pace with which everyone moves, the soft music, the gentle fragrance of incense, and the simple but mystical design of the buildings combine to envelope you in an atmosphere of calm and relaxation. Your blood pressure instantly plummets.

We spent six days at Jackie’s. We originally sought a more traditional Jamaican beach vacation rather than a spa retreat, but when we saw the Groupon for Jackie’s, it looked like the right choice. Healthy delicious food, no booze, beautiful ocean view, and morning yoga all appealed to us. What clinched the deal were the seawater pool and snorkeling on the reef that were highlighted on the Groupon, which would provide enough water sports for us. It turned out that the pool is too small to swim in and not terribly cooling, and snorkeling is possible only when the sea is very calm, which never happened while we were there. We might not have chosen to stay here had we known that no aerobic activity was available. Was this misleading advertising? Not on the website, which makes no mention of a pool and barely mentions snorkeling. And probably not intentionally. But we do think any future promotions on Groupon and Living Social should be revised to guard against false expectations.

You might get the impression from photos or reviews that this is a luxury resort, but it’s actually quite ascetic. The rooms lack air-conditioning and are sparsely furnished, without even a good place to lay out your clothes. We wanted to stay in the Dome, but it was reserved for part of our stay, so we spent four nights there and two nights in the Cottage. The Dome is magical: waking up with that view of the ocean is breathtaking. Modesty is not a priority; you can’t “close the curtains.” Both rooms have outdoor bathrooms that are discreetly sheltered, though the Dome’s bathroom appears to be visible to some rooms at the Westender next door. If you are not comfortable using the toilet outdoors and in view of your roommate, you may have an issue. The Cottage bathroom is covered, but the Dome bathroom is not, so when it rains, showering is glorious but peeing is not.

Breakfast and dinner are included in the daily rate. Every breakfast comes with a cold glass of fresh orange juice (additional costs extra) and a deconstructed fruit salad consisting of at least six different fruits. The pineapple was a bit disappointing, but the banana and mango were divine, so much better than anything you can find at your grocery store back home. Sweetsop was new to us and very tasty. We also had papaya, starfruit, watermelon, and tangerine. Breakfast also included either waffles, pancakes, hot cereal, or ackee (a popular Jamaican breakfast consisting of a fruit that resembles scrambled eggs). These were generally good, though one of us found the ackee too salty to eat and the cereals too pasty and bland. Also included is one cup of coffee, served as a spiced cappuccino, or herbal tea. Since the climate is so hot, even in winter, we would have preferred more cold foods and drinks and fewer hot ones. The herbs, greens, and many of the fruits are grown on the premises. If you ask, Jackie will give you a tour of her garden.

Dinner is always grilled seafood or chicken (or vegetarian, should you choose), accompanied by a starch, two vegetables, the juice of a fruit plus ginger, and a cup of herbal tea. The juices are incredible. The dinners are very good, but the meats are overcooked and dry, and the flavor profile gets monotonous. The website says, “We serve an eclectic offering of fresh healthy foods derived from classical Jamaican, Indian, Chinese and Creole cuisines,” but we experienced only two seasonings total in the week we spent there, the normal spice blend and the curry spices.

We received a rare treat one day when Jackie discovered that all of her guests were celebrating birthdays or honeymoons. She threw budgetary caution to the wind and changed the dinner menu to lobster, champagne, and homemade cake.

The breakfast and dinner servings are ample, but not so much that you can skip lunch. We had lunch at Jackie’s once -- the shrimp salad -- and it was excellent, but as we tired of the same flavors, we went elsewhere for our lunches. All the other food in Jamaica tasted fat and greasy compared to Jackie’s. Jackie puts out a cooler of herb-flavored rainwater which grows lukewarm later in the day, but there is no other food or drink available on the premises off-hours, so bring granola bars in case you get the munchies before dinner or late at night

Upon arrival, you receive a schedule -- breakfast at 9:30-10:00, dinner at 5:30 or 6:00. In fact, it’s 10:30 and 7:00. Similary, an 11:00 appointment for a spa treatment might not happen until 11:45, which can disrupt any excursion plans. The website says that, among other things, morning walks, snorkeling, fireside talks and story telling are included in the daily rate. But once you get there, a handout informs you that “We do not have a structured day program.” Indeed, none of these should be construed as organized activities, and none happened during our visit, though the treatments that everyone raves about were wonderful. The facial was especially heavenly.

We both participated in yoga each morning. Lizzie is a veteran, but I had never done yoga before. It is very peaceful and gives your muscles a wonderful stretch. We had four different instructors in six days, so we got to sample the variety of approaches that are out there. Grace was our favorite, very enthusiastic and supportive. Jackie led yoga one day, and we are guessing she is not licensed to do so, because (among other things) she had us do tiger pose with face pointed to the sky, which all yoga professionals warn against due to the risk of neck injury if you lose your balance.

Google Maps pinpoints Jackie’s location at a spot that’s a three-minute drive south from the traffic circle in Negril, but that’s wrong. It’s 15 minutes south, in a remote location, so don’t consider walking anywhere except to the Westender Inn next door. If you want to go to Seven Mile Beach, a restaurant, or souvenir shopping, Jackie will call you a taxi that charges $30 for the round-trip to Negril. Use the Westender’s van instead. In contrast to the dilapidated taxis, it is modern and air-conditioned, and the charge is $3.50 per person each way.

Jackie let us use her computer once to make sure things were fine back home. If you feel the need to be more connected, the Westender restaurant across the street has free wifi. Your cell phone won’t work in Jamaica, but another couple combined wifi, a smart phone, and Skype to phone home.

The entire business is run by Jackie. Her influence pervades every aspect of your stay. On the plus side, this reinforces the atmosphere of relaxation and calm. But her desire to evalgelize her guests with a philosophy of peace can strain the atmosphere if she senses that anyone disagrees with her strong opinions. This perspective can also be a detriment to customer service. Didn’t sleep well? Rather than investigating (which would have led her to discover that our problem was a malfunctioning fan) she suggests you learn how to relax. Disappointed that you can’t snorkel? Rather than arrange for an alternative she says, “That’s nature, not me.”

We had an unfortunate incident at checkout. Jackie’s business does not accept credit cards, and the nearest ATM is 15 minutes away by car, so don’t make the mistake I made. I ran short of enough cash for an adequate tip. How did Jackie apply creative problem-solving to this situation? “You don’t like me, do you?” Such an inappropriate response from a hospitality services professional! But Jackie would never conceive of herself in such terms. She is an evangelist, and this can compromise the quality of your experience.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quincy, Massachusetts
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

Jackie has the finest backyard I have ever snorkeled in!! I cannot say enough positive things about this trip. It was like staying at the home of a close friend, but having privacy when we wanted it. My girlfriend and I spent four nights at Jackie's. She accommodated our vegan diets, was a pleasure to have breakfast and dinners with, and was really on top of making sure guests enjoyed themselves. The yoga instructors were fantastic and the treatments were the most soothing I have ever had. I have had some massages before, but nothing like this. The body scrub left me feeling renewed and relaxed. Again, I can't say enough about this place. The pictures do not do it justice. Just do yourself a favor and stay here.

Room Tip: Try and ask for a detached room, but ANY room is amazing.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn,New York, USA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2012

Surrounded by lush flora, the fragrance of flowers, the ocean breezes make this a peaceful
and idyllic setting.
Adding to this, the staff was very gracious and attentive, delicious meals created from
Jackie's recipes, yoga in the morning, a message by the sea and the starlit night -
Simply made this all so wonderful!
Most of all, thank you Jackie for making my five day stay so relaxing, enjoyable and
memorable.
Irene R.

Room Tip: All accommodations are good. I happen to like the cottage I stayed at. It was quaint, cozy and comf...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2012

I have had massages before. I have never had a massage like this.
In our own little hut facing the water, I had the best and most thorough massage of my life. Visiting this quiet, calm, peaceful little piece of heaven was the most enjoyable thing I have ever done. Ever. Seriously.
My mom and I each had massages, she went first, so I had some time to chill and wait. I went over to the little restaurant and was greeted by a very friendly lady who was happy to suggest what to try while I waited. I sat waiting, listening to her hum a song and make my sour-sop juice (amazing by the way) it was so relaxing and calming.
Please book yourselves a massage, and ask for Frances! She is amazing!

Room Tip: I didn't stay here, but I did get to tour the rooms. Excellent choice for those looking for some...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2012

When Body & Soul are in need of relief, only one place to go...Jackie's on the Reef!!!

How can I write a glowing recommendation for a place that already shines? Memories of our visit still linger, like a dream date. It was our wedding anniversary, but I can't stop referring to it as our honeymoon. After 8 years of marriage, I didn't think it was possible to feel any closer to my husband, but after spending a few days together at Jackie's, I do! This place is magic, without a doubt - the food, the people, and the natural beauty were all no less than perfection. If you want Bacardi & bling, go somewhere else, but if you want the Real Deal, go to Jackie's. C'mon, where else can you get a tan on the toilet??? Go, just go.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jackie's on the Reef

Address: West End Rd, Negril, Jamaica
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Negril
#26 Family Hotel in Negril
#32 Romantic Hotel in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Jackie's on the Reef 3*
Number of rooms: 4
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Also Known As:
Jackie`s On The Reef Hotel Negril
Jackies On The Reef Negril

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