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“WOW, I have found paradise!!!” 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 #11 of 91 Hotels in Negril
Lakeland, Florida, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“WOW, I have found paradise!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2013

First, I was so tempted to give a “bad” review because I don’t want this secret paradise to be overrun with visitors (I feel blessed that we found it, but would love to keep it our little secret)!! Too bad the place is so unbelievable that I cannot keep my excitement held inside!! Now I will put a very small disclaimer right at the beginning… this place is not for everyone (I just read a review from someone that left the day we arrived and my jaw hung open the entire time because I was shocked at their thoughts on the place and even more by their thoughts on the staff, but hey that is why we have this website to see so many different perspectives and I respect that)!!! Now for the reason your reading, the review…

The Staff

I am starting with this because I feel like the staff really sets this place apart from just an amazing property in Negril, Jamaica! From the time we arrived until the moment we departed, I felt like we were visiting family not at an amazing hotel! The staff size is very limited which we loved because it allowed us to actually get to know and interact with each one of them (they even talked to our son back at home via Facetime which he thought was awesome)! Razor Blade was a definite highlight, he brightened our afternoons with his smile and humor! I will always remember his favorite phrase, “RESPECT, worth more than money in your pocket”!! Camilla in the front office was so friendly and accommodating with our few requests before and after arrival. She coordinated our private 10th Anniversary dinner in the hammock hut and made sure to check with us that everything lived up to our expectations (which they exceeded in every way). I must say that they could charge for internet and even phone calls home, but they offer it free of charge. “The Lifeguard”, Rasine, is really like a “jack of all trades” guy around the property. He set up our Anniversary Dinner, he would walk with us to collect our stuff when we went snorkeling so we could be free to come up at a different spot without having to retrace our steps to gather our things, he helped clean up, he entertained us with his skills flipping off the bridge, he helped with our bags, the list goes on and on… he basically did anything to make our stay more comfortable and made sure we didn’t have to exude any energy that we did not want to ;) Owen is the daytime bartender and also was really friendly and accommodating, he is just not as talkative a Razor. There is a security guard 24 hrs a day that mans the gate so you feel safe leaving your doors open (we also felt safe walking down the street to explore other places so don’t be scared to leave just because there is a locked gate). The housekeeping staff was wonderful and very friendly as well! Taneisha was so sweet!!

The Grounds

I am sure you have seen the pictures already, but this is one of the few places we have been that I actually feel the pictures do not do the beauty of the place justice! I want to clarify that the pool was resurfaced (it was finished on September 28th) and it looks beautiful, but the ocean is a much better “swimming pool” and almost as crystal clear. There are beautiful and colorful flowers throughout the resort that made me smile on my morning walks with Beezy (the puppy of Tensing and Shuga) to my favorite cove for a quiet moment enjoying a cup of coffee. The snorkeling was beautiful and so convenient (just jump off a cliff and swim till you decide to climb out at one of the many sets of steps located throughout the property). Once we had our morning swim in, we would rinse off at the seaside showers and choose a lounger to relax and soak in some sunshine. We loved that we were there during “the slow season” because we could go hours without seeing anyone, but we also like to interact with the other guests as well so we would relax alone in the morning and then seek out others to hang out with about midday. The bridge is a must jump spot (if you don’t do it, I think you will regret it)! The water is so clear, you can see any sea-life that might be below you. The only things that I saw of concern in the water was the occasional jelly fish and sea urchins along the rocks that you should beware of near the steps (my husband got one in his foot, but it just took a minor “surgery” with tweezers to make him good as new). The gift shop had everything you could want to commemorate such a great trip and Carlene was very helpful!

The Room

We stayed in the Pine Pillar Suite and I immediately fell in love! Although it is a thatched hut with no A/C, it has a rustic yet sophisticated feel. The room was much larger than I imagined and had plenty of room for storage. The bed was so comfortable and the bug net kept us safe from mosquitos at night (I am highly allergic and only got a few bites throughout the stay). The bathroom was definitely nicer than I imagined and large. The shower was located outside under the cottage and the view was breathtaking. The balcony extends across the entire length of the cottage and is large enough for two lounge chairs, a table with chairs, and a large comfy chair. There were two private verandahs by the sea that we loved to relax at in the morning. I will admit that my husband was hot the first night, but after that he adjusted and didn’t complain the rest of the trip (there are two hanging fans and a floor fan to help circulate the air and the breeze off the ocean is so calming). I highly recommend this room for a special occasion or a first time trip, but we will probably explore the other cottages next time. We went through the Long House because we met some cool people from Atlanta that were staying there and if you are traveling with a group, it is definitely the way to go (A/C in the bedrooms and an open air sitting room/kitchen). We also liked the Cove Cottage layout and view, but again no A/C.

The Food

I will review The Lodge separately, but wanted to briefly mention it here too. The food was AMAZING!! We had a lot of different offering for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and we did not find one thing we didn’t enjoy! From the breakfast smoothie (I think I miss this the most of all the foods) to the lobster, it was all fresh and delicious! Also, the continental breakfast had plenty of offerings, we just liked to try different menu items too. The coffee was so yummy we both had several cups a day (and my husband is not a big coffee drinker)!

If you are looking to escape reality for a few days and travel to paradise, this is THE PLACE!! We can’t wait to go back and can see exactly why people return year after year (we hope to be one of them)!

Room Tip: I think you would be happy with any room on the property, they are all unique!
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  • Stayed September 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 (162)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, CA
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2013

My Husband and I stayed in Garden B for two weeks. The property is gorgeous, here are my thoughts:

Property
Amazing! Cliffs overlooking the ocean in the most beautiful part of Jamaica that I saw. It's basically set up with little hut-rooms throughout a jungle. Everything feels very private. The property is extremely clean and little pockets of comfy lawn chairs are everywhere. There are also four hammocks (2 pairs of two) that were super comfy. The pool area is in a lovely location and while the pool had many rust stains (it should really be resurfaced) it was always clean and a fun spot to hang out in. Be prepared for crabs and little bugs and lizards everywhere. The three dogs on the property are super friendly and they made our stay so much more fun!

Room
Oh man, were we glad we had AC! We're from Southern California and not used to humidity so this was a life saver. The AC always worked super well. Wifi was super-spotty and only ended up working on our laptop and iPad, never on the iphones because the signal was too weak. If you see a wifi name that you get signal for that doesn't look like it belongs to Tensing Pen - ask the front office for the password. They have it and that's what we used the whole time ;) The bathroom's door was only wooden slats so you could hear absolutely everything going on in there. I hope you know your travel partner well and feel comfortable with that, lol. The room was small but fine. Bed was relatively hard and 3/4 pillows were lumpy. No soft bedding, just a sheet and stiff, thin, blanket. We would have loved it if the housekeepers had kept the front doors closed while they cleaned because they let in a lot of mosquitos and flies that way and we had to go on a killing spree each night before bed. There is no net over Garden B's bed. The bathroom windows don't have any glass, just screens so ants got in but nothing we couldn't handle. The bathroom had a little mold in the shower which I think they should work on as some people are very sensitive to that but I think that's just part of being by the ocean.

Location
Negril is a poor town and Tensing Pen is in the heart of the more rural part. We were there in slow season (September) so perhaps it seems less lonely at other times of the year but many times we felt like the only tourist in Negril. There are a few so-so food places nearby and plenty just a short cab ride away.

Staff
This is where everything about this place goes wrong. With the exception of Mike, the Lifeguard (can't remember his name), a younger guy at breakfast sometimes, and Razor Blade, the staff was completely unfriendly. When we check in, we were not given any overview of the property. They did not tell us about the ocean/pool rafts and toys that we could use, they didn't tell us that there were several ladders off the cliffs to get into the ocean, they didn't tell us that they offered private dinners in the hammock hut...nothing. Someone took our bags, walked us through the jungle that is Tensing Pen, and left us at our room. We weren't even sure how to get back to the front from where our room was. A little time spent orienting a new guest would have been wonderful. We also had problems with the wifi and asked the front desk about it. They did call someone to come out on Monday but they didn't seem like they cared. I was given bedding with holes in the sheets one day and when I asked that they be changed the next day because they were full of holes, I received an eye roll and a "fine." The staff wasn't mean per say, just really not friendly at all. Some would say hello as they walked the grounds but the front office staff was always cold. So much so that we avoided asking any questions even though we wanted to for fear of bothering them.

Restaurant
Food was pretty good. The jerk chicken and jerk chicken pasta at dinner were delish and the grilled cheese for lunch was pretty good. Stay away from the spring rolls and beef medallions. Service was slow but that's true for everywhere in Negril. The continental breakfast was nothing special but sufficed to keep my stomach from growling. However, when the older gentleman was working would would wait 30-45 minutes just for water. He would disappear. He was never friendly...surprise, surprise.

Conclusion
What it comes down to is this. This resort is beautiful but the owners and staff are relying on that keeping them going. We really felt awkward around the unfriendly staff and wouldn't come back simply for that reason. We ate dinner at the rockhouse one night and would stay there if we came back to Negril. It was more modern and the staff was much more friendly.

Also
We found this amazing cab driver that we ended up using for the whole second week of our stay. His cab was clean, prices were reasonable, and he was an on-time, stand-up kinda dude. Message me if you want his number. You can call him from the front office whenever you want a ride.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TPManager, Manager at Tensing Pen Resort, responded to this review, October 4, 2013
We thank this guest for the review of our resort.

The owners and the management are certainly not resigned to reliance on the physical beauty of the resort for our success. We believe that we have the best staff in the world and while we encourage them to serve well with a smile we also ask them give our guests the space and privacy they need to truly enjoy the resort. Our style of service is simple and unpretentious - friendly but not overwhelming.

Again we thank this guest and we will certainly take note of the guest's comments in our efforts to improve our resort.

Joseph Smith
Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2013

No phones, no TVs -- in our case no Net and no A/C -- and that was the point for my wife and me. If you replace the black coral with black lava, this place could easily be on the Kona coast of the Big Island, and is at least that beautiful. Because it is on a shallow point jutting into the sea, you rarely see anything but the grounds and the ocean, so it could be an island all unto itself. The point has a few coves cutting into the cliffs, where I dove into the sea at sunrise every day and it couldn't have been more perfect.The North Pillar where we slept was super-romantic, the sunsets are exquisite, the whole place is very clean, the staff were friendly (thanks Owen, Razor Blade, and Mikey), the dinners very good, and the breakfast protein shake (made with oats) was something completely new (and delicious).
Not a great place for kids, and if you're expecting 'amenities' (who uses that word?) move on. The Wi-Fi on the property reaches beyond the restaurant/bar area now, but I really can't imagine anyone surfing the net when they could be enjoying the cliffs and dogs and birds and lizards and water of this gem of Jamaica. Some rooms have A/C so request at the time of reservation if you must -- we were there for the hottest & most humid time of year and never missed it (tropical breeze + ceiling fan + standing fan).

Room Tip: The Pillars are the unique rooms, but I'm sure there's not a bad acommodation on the propert...
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  • Stayed September 2013, 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
    • 4 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.
New Haven, Indiana, United States
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2013

We absolutely loved everything about Tensing Pen! We stayed in the South Pillar and couldn't get enough of the view. We watched the dolphins playing several mornings. Our room was clean and well equipped, although as mentioned before the bathroom is a tad small. We got along just fine though! The outdoor shower actually turned out to be really nice and no worries, its pretty secluded. The food was very good and I thought it was fairly priced. My favorite was the grilled cheese at lunch and jerk chicken for dinner. We found the staff to be pleasant and friendly. They were always helpful but were never overbearing. We had a great time and will definitely stay at TP again if we return to Jamaica.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Brooklyn, New York
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

I came here with a bunch of friends for a wedding and we had a blast! The vibe, the scenery, the staff are all wonderful and it was incredibly relaxing and fun. Highly recommended for couples, a group of friends and/or family.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

I spend my time in Negril split between the fun and wild times of the beach hotels and the serenity of Tensing Pen - up in the West End. The accommodations are the most romantic on the island. Friendly and helpful staff, great food and awe inspiring sunsets.

Tensing Pen is the antidote to life !

Room Tip: Rock cottage #1 ROCKS!!! beautiful / private view - steps away from the water. Very romantic!
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  • Stayed March 2013, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013

Highlights: this property is nestled into the cliffs very nicely, with so many little areas to explore. The pool and snorkeling are lovely, and the whole family loved the bridge (no handrails!). It's a fairly quiet hotel, so if you're looking to stay away from the crowds this is perfect for you. The resident rhodesian ridgebacks wandering around are a fun addition. It seems that almost everything on site is hand-made and/or unique. I thought the food was fantastic, and lunch was a good value. Gardeners, cleaning staff and life guard were super friendly.

Drawbacks: The restaurant wait staff have a real attitude problem- they are very aloof, almost resentful, and lack genuine friendliness (although they aren't outwardly rude). Like, if you're paying $20 a plate for dinner maybe the waiter could at least look at you while taking your order? Bar drinks are pricey.

If it wasn't for the wait staff, I'd be falling over myself gushing over this place.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TPManager, Manager at Tensing Pen Resort, responded to this review, October 4, 2013
We thank this guest for reviewing our resort. The comments will be helpful as we strive to improve our resort.

Joseph Smith
Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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:
#5 Spa Hotel in Negril
#8 Romantic Hotel in Negril
#11 Business Hotel in Negril
#17 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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