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“God's little piece of Heaven on Earth” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tensing Pen Resort

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Tensing Pen Resort
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   West End Road, Negril, Jamaica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 90 Hotels in Negril
Libertyville, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“God's little piece of Heaven on Earth”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2011

My husband and I have been guests at Tensing Pen since we discovered this perfect little hideaway on our 15th anniversary back in 2001 on a moped run looking for a dinner spot. We were politely informed that the restaurant was only for the guests but were graciously offered a tour. We accepted......We fell in love.....The rest is history! Since then we have gone every year, sometimes twice and have brought many good friends and family. We couldnt wait for our children got older so we could bring them and introduce them to this little piece of heaven! The warmth of the staff is only the beginning of how exceptional this resort is. From the staff to the food to the grounds, down to the bedding in the rooms....it all culminates to make your stay one that you will never forget, and you WILL want to come back for more. Thank you Tensing Pen for all the beautiful memories! See you in March!

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 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
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571 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (169)
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English first
San Diego, California
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2011

We stayed in a Pillar directly on the cliffs. The Pillar is built in a tree-house fashion with a single room on the second story with a bed and 1/2 bath. No air conditioning, no TV, no phone. We wanted to get away from everything, so this suited us just fine. There's a nice ocean breeze in the evening and we felt quite safe sleeping with the door to the terrace open. The resort is located fairly close to some nightclub, so there was some loud music to contend with and no option to close the windows without a/c. The shower is actually located outside, under the tree-house. It's private in the sense that you aren't showering in full view of others, but the neighbors certainly can wave as you lather. This wasn't a problem for us and my wife is quite modest, so not to worry.

The views are simply spectacular. We spend many hours on our terrace watching the world go by. We also had our own sunning area right off the Pillar with direct access to the ocean on a ladder down the cliff. There is also a bridge that spans the cliffs that we jumped off several times. Highly recommend that experience.

Breakfast was included at the Tensing Pen, so we had the breakfast there most days. We bought some groceries at the local market and had a hikers lunch on the Pillar terrace everyday we were there. This consisted of Red Stripe beer, sardines, crackers, cheese, salami, etc. It was simple and fabulous. For dinner we ventured out to local places. Highly recommend the Rock House. We had two great dinners there and breakfast one morning. We watched the sunset at Ricks Cafe, which is an experience. Very touristy. Glad I did it, won't be back.

We did get harassed by the locals (wanting to sell drugs) a little bit on the way back from dinner. Suggest that you walk to dinner and take a cab back when it's dark. We never felt anything but safe in the daylight.

Room Tip: Choose an ocean front room. Well worth the extra cash.
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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Seminole, Florida
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2011

We stayed here in late October and had the perfect honeymoon.

This is not the type of resort/hotel with lots of activities going on or things to choose from. This is the type of place you book for true relaxation. Our days included waking up, eating breakfast, swimming, taking a nap, eating lunch, taking another nap, swimming and then eating dinner. Every day. It was wonderful!

ACCOMMODATIONS: we had the North Pillar. I felt this was a great choice as it was not super close to any of the other rooms and had an incredible view from the balcony. This room does include an outdoor shower and no AC. We had no issues with this. Nights were cool and there was a ceiling fan and regular fan in the room, never once was I hot at night. The outdoor shower is clean and private as it is shaped like a circular seashell, so no one can see in.

FOOD: The continental breakfast was limited, but sufficient. The coffee was excellent. One morning I ordered the french toast, which was delicious. Lunch menu is also small, but again, sufficient. My husband and I had something different each day and were not disappointed. Dinner menu is a bit larger and I must say, contained some excellent dishes. Our favorites were the Jerk Chicken Pasta and the Nutty Grouper. We bother ordered the same meals two nights in a row, we were so pleased.

DRINKS: Drinks were alright. Nothing exceptional. Cost is about $3 a beer and $5-7 for mixed or frozen drinks. We ended up going across the street to the grocery store and keeping beer and liquor + mixers in the mini fridge in our room for throughout the day and would order from the Tensing Pen bar at night.

STAFF: Bar tenders were great, friendly and attentive. Kitchen staff and grounds keepers were friendly as well. There was one cook that seemed a bit put off by talking with the guests, however another came the next day, so we didn't have to deal with her for very long. The owner can be found walking about the property and she was very friendly and kind. The front desk workers were also great and made check in and check out a breeze.

GROUNDS: The grounds are immaculate. There is staff that sweeps the walkways every morning. The pool is clean and big enough to not feel cramped. There are several entrances to the ocean on property and all of the views are a million times better than you see in any pictures on here. Towels and floats are provided for guest use and there are plenty of hammocks to relax in.

PROS: The view and location is the biggest pro. We would watch the sunset from our balcony at night and felt so at peace. We also liked that all the bathroom products and paper products were organic.

CONS: Mosquitos. There are nets above the beds in the rooms, but I was eaten alive a few nights. Luckily, I had packed some mosquito spray, but the biting/bites did keep me up one night. Keeping citronella candles on the balcony would help prevent this. The only other con we could think of was the fact that if you left the grounds to visit another restaurant or grocery store, at certain times of the day you would literally be surrounded by people asking for money. It was very off putting. I've been to Jamaica many times, so I am no stranger to being asked to buy things, but this time it was a bit unnerving. We literally had a man grab our car door to keep it open and about 5 men standing around the car. My husband was pretty close to slamming the guy's hand in the door. This is not Tensing Pen's fault, however it did affect our overall stay. Negril is so beautiful and quaint with it's small winding roads and restaurants that it would have been nice to have felt more safe walking around. There are many resorts on the same street, so it would be great if they would communicate with the shopkeepers to attempt to prevent the extreme hassling.

OVERALL: We had a great time during the 4 days and 5 nights we stayed here. It was a great spot to unwind after the stress of planning our wedding. We loved that there were only about 10-12 guests total on property throughout our entire stay. We loved the dogs Tensing and Sugar. We had no issues with late night barking as other reviewers mentioned. This was a literal paradise for us.

Room Tip: We loved our Pillar. Sea Grape was close by, that would have been a good choice as well.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southern Pines, North Carolina
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2011

We had a great visit the first week of October to Tensing Pen. We stayed in the Sea Grape II room, and found it cute and comfortable for a thatch hut, if a bit out of date and could have been cleaner.
Transport from the airport was entertaining, and included a stop for some Red Stripes which was fabulous after traveling all day.
We were there in the off season which was nice because it was very quiet. The views were amazing and the cliffs beautiful. Cliff diving was an absolute blast for the brave, and the swimming was energetic and fun. We loved the hammocks and lounges placed throughout the property.
The downside of the visit was the on-site restaurant. The continental breakfast was skimpy, but menu items were good. Lunch was barely edible the two days we attempted it, so we did not venture in for dinner. A few little things could make this place world-class, but it's not there yet.

Room Tip: The Cove Cottages looked tiny. We were very happy with our Sea Grape II, but the room did not have...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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heart of bluegrass
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2011

We had a great time on the cliffs. We had been to Jamaica but never to the cliffs. The pictures of TP called out to us. This place is incredible. Everywhere you go there are waves crashing onto the cliffs, no place is without a fantastic view. We wanted to rejuvenate and spend time with one another and this was a perfect spot. We stayed in the cove cottage and slept in the evening with the doors open and the sound of the waves spilling into the cove.

We began each day with a jump from the bridge and several other cliff jumps. The water was quite rough during our time but not unmanageable(however, we are good swimmers). The sea life was amazing and one morning we spent investigating the cliff "pools" and the sea life contained in/on them. The coral fossils were wonderful to examine. Many different crustaceans in the greenery and roaming the cliffs. We thought this was wonderful. There are plenty of floats to take in the ocean and there was never a problem finding any shade. Each day we found a new spot to spend a few hours.
The complimentary breakfast was satisfying and we ordered from the breakfast menu one day and it was very good. The evening meals were equally delicious. I enjoyed the shrimp and jerk chicken with rice while my husband found the beef medallions and potatoes the best. We also tried the rosemary pork and it was good. I don't think you could go wrong with an evening meal at TP. We also enjoyed desert each night which was cheescake--the best--or chocolate cake. The outdoor dining was very romantic and we had a sea view while eating.

The drinks are very expensive at TP and we went to the grocery shack across the street the 2nd day and bought red stripes and coke to have in the room. We found the prices reasonable there and this was more affordable for us. The first night we drank from the bar and the beers were around $5 a bottle! Unlike others who have posted, I did not find the bartender to be helpful at all. I requested a hummnigbird but there were never any bananas for my drink. I thought surely someone would bring in a banana so I could have my hummingbird but no one ever did and I never had my drink. At other resorts, the bartenders have suggested drinks and chatted but not here. Maybe I should have brought my own banana to the bar. It didn't put a damper on the vacation or our stay but friendlier bar service would have enhanced the experience.
Our room was amazingly clean, the bed was very comfortable and the cleaning staff were very friendly. The cove cottage had plenty of room and there was a safe. The view from the patio was a delight each day and every evening we had a red stripe and would watch the sunset.

We did not book AI this time because we wanted to venture out. We visited Rick's to watch the divers and had a beer each (overpriced), went to Sips n Bites--the brown stew chxn was fabulous and hubby had curried goat which he enjoyed. Went to LTU pub for a beer and chatted with the local artists and had a great time. We also went to downtown Negril--I got sick one evening and knew I had to get medicine. We found a pharmacy open on a Sunday morning and the pharmacist was very helpful. Jamaicans are friendly and interesting. Yes, we never walked anywhere that we didn't have people walking with us and wanting money for this and that. But we didn't mind and learned a lot by engaging these people in conversation and enjoying the moment.

One other thing--upon checkout we were surprised by the amount of extra "taxes" on our totals. We knew to expect the 20% tax but we were charged other taxes beyond this and the total amount of taxes actually was around 25% (no small amount in our opinion).

Will we go back? It will be hard not to come back to the cliffs and Tensing Pen was the perfect place to rejuvenate and spend romantic days and nights together. I think next time we will do a split beach/cliff stay. I don't think we could do any better than TP for the cliffs. The grounds are beautiful and everything fits the surroundings and seems to come from the cliffs themselves. If you're going you will be stunned!

Can't wait to return to Jamaica and the cliffs!

Room Tip: Cove Cottage is fabulous but it is in view of the bridge which could be an issue for others. No AC...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Graham, Washington
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2011

We were fortunate enough to get back to Tensing Pen resort on the Negril Cliffs last week and have a most memorable vacation! This resort is unmatched in its character, charm, food and the wonderful and caring staff. For about the same price as one of those ridiculously crowded all inclusive places, you can have the trip of a lifetime at Tensing Pen. Rooms are full of character and very comfortable, with stunning views and personality. And the food??? Is heaven sent, always hot and steamy when it arrives at your table and is super fresh. It was so delicious and spiced right every time - cooked to perfection! Comparing to an all inclusive where they cook for the masses, well - Tensing Pen has the ultimate Jamaican dining experience. LOVE the Jerk Chicken Pizza and just about everything on the dinner Menu. My husband especially enjoyed his Bleu Cheese topped steak with Tamarind sauce. Drinks are made to order, and hand blended - so once again the all inclusive places with the slurpee machine pre-mix could not compare. Tensing is Unique.... a true gem of a property for someone who has been to places like the Four Seasons in Bora Bora, Provence and Ritz Carlton level hotels - Tensing has a charm that the other guys cannot touch. Despite even a few quirks of imperfections, the Location, People, dining, experience and care are simply unmatched. For a true place to unwind and let your cares drift away, look no further. We cannot wait to go back already - and for the ULTIMATE experience - get a group of friends together and rent out the whole place! :)

Room Tip: All rooms offer their own Unique Charm. This is our 2nd trip to the Red Birch Cottage, but after se...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jersey, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2011

We spent 4 days at Tensing Pen and here is a summary....

Location - it's a great spot on the cliff with lovely views over the sea. The bridge across the water is cool and the pool is nicely positioned to take advantage of the breeze and the views.

Accommodation - the room was clean and ok although s little tired. The shower didn't really work but overall this was fine. Nothing really more to say, if that is a guide at all.

Dogs - two great big dogs which are perfectly nice and their 4 puppies like to bark through out the night. We did discuss this with the manager but it made no difference. Again, this wasn't the worst thing in the world but continues to add to the distinctly average nature of our stay.

Staff - this is the low point and I would think that if this was addressed iit would make the rest of the issues pale in to insignificance. To provide a frame of reference, there were only 10-12 people in the whole resort (low season) so surely this is when service should be at it's best?
Everything for the morning restaurant and bar chap was a hassle. He was unfriendly and didn't do what he should have done let alone going the extra mile. It rained one day and they took the pool lounger cushions away (quite rightly) and then when the sun came back out I asked him if we could have them back and he told me to go and find them in the storage shed. There was no one in the bar or restaurant so he was hardly stretched. He really was a low point.
The evening bar man was friendlier but was never off his phone. The owner even joked with him about it. By way of example, I approached the bar and he carried on talking in to the phone whilst talking to me. Completing my order with one hand and carry on talking to his girl on the phone.
On a more positive note, when the above two employees were on days off, the chef took it upon himself to really make an effort. He came to the pool and asked us if we wanted drinks or to pre order some lunch. He was friendly, filled our glasses without being asked. I would say promote this chap and get rid of the other two.

Food - very limited menu but what we had was reasonable. It lacks some nicely little nibbles or similar to have with a cocktail pre-dinner. The menus were laminated so I suspect it's been the same for years.
A low point on this front is the cleanliness of the kitchen which is open for all to see. I would suggest not looking before you eat anything. Again, nothing a couple of hours hard work wouldn't fix.


summary - this place has the key 'location location location' but it looks pretty tired and the staff ruin the holiday. If they got Some decent people in there I would suspect you could turn it around pretty quickly and it would be a great place to go but as I stands I wouldn't return or recommend it to anyone. Catch a falling star hotel is next door, same views, better staff and nicer feel.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tensing Pen Resort

Address: West End Road, Negril, Jamaica
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Negril
#6 Romantic Hotel in Negril
#16 Family Hotel in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Tensing Pen Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on the West End of Negril, Jamaica in its own private cove, Tensing Pen is the ultimate destination for the discerning traveler offering a unique collection of beautiful hand-carved wood, thatch and cut stone cottages of varying sizes for the ultimate secluded and relaxing vacation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tensing Pen Hotel Negril
Tensing Pen Negril
Tensing Pen Jamaica

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