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“Quiet, Comfortable, but Basic Hotel Services are Subpar” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Samsara Cliffs Resort

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Samsara Cliffs Resort
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   West End Rd, Negril, Jamaica   |  
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Ranked #43 of 90 Hotels in Negril
Atlanta, Georgia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Quiet, Comfortable, but Basic Hotel Services are Subpar”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2011

My friend and I stayed at Samsara for 5 days in late July/early August 2011. We found our accomodations comfortable enough, but we were disappointed with the execution of basic hotel services. It was a mini-ordeal each day to get clean towels and washclothes. First day, we check in, we had towels and no washclothes. We had to call the desk twice and finally go down to get clean washclothes. Second day, clean washclothes were left, but no towels. Third day, clean towels, but no washclothes. Fouth day, neither towels nor washclothes. Fifth and final day, clean washclothes and we had to use our dirty towels which were left on the balcony by the hotel employee to dry. I will say it again, a MINI-ORDEAL each day for clean washclothes and towels. We really needed them as we showered twice day, each DAY! *SIGH* Our sheets were not changed for our entire stay neither. I guess it was due to the time period that we stay which was the BUSIEST time of the year for Negril, Jamaican Independnce Day Weekend. So, I will give them that. Other than that, it was comfortable, quiet, and clean place to sleep. The rooms don't smell bad, the pool and jacuzzi are clean. The scenery is beautiful. The grounds are well-kept and the staff is pretty helpful. The wifi is across the street at CIAO Jamaica Restaurant, it can be spotty at time especially if it is about the storm. When you book, please make sure your room is SUPERIOR or you will be without Air Conditioning included. Luckily we had that. The safes are VERY TINY and are located in a room behind the check desk and not in your room. They could only hold a couple of wallets and some small electronics, jewelry,etc, so don't think that you put your laptop or even netbook in there. The location is of the hotel on the cliffs is pretty far from the 7-mile beach side where Legends is located. If you want more excitement, more access to shopping, restaurants, and beaches within walking distance I don't suggest staying at Samsara rather it's sister hotel Legends. There is only one shuttle that leaves at 10 am to drop off at Legends and Picks up at 4pm to take back to Samsara unless it's a special dinner theme night or something. Next time we will stay on the beach, because taxis add up! Overall Samsara was not the worst, but it was not the best. It's just okay. It probably would have seemed worst if stayed longer and stayed in the hotel more. However, most of what we did at the hotel was shower and sleep. We were too busy being out and about to hem and haw over every detail of service.

Room Tip: Make your sure the room that you book says SUPERIOR if you want air conditioning in your room withou...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (217)
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Halifax
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
56 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
138 helpful votes 138 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2011

We are mid-budget range travelers. We don't travel to another country to watch satellite TV, sleep on high thread count linens, admire flawless decor, etc. We don't expect or want our hotel to entertain us. We don't want to stay sequestered in the hotel away from the country and culture we are intending to visit. We want clean, comfortable, and quiet.

Given our preferences, we really enjoyed our time at Samsara. Samsara is a small-scale budget "resort" with low-rise buildings that blend into the environment rather than being an eyesore. The hotel is located on the Negril cliffs with easy access to the sea. There are plenty of outdoor sunbeds with shade. We found it to be a great place for couples who want to enjoy the sun and take the odd dip in the ocean to swim, snorkel, or cool off; it may not be ideal for families with children who might prefer a large beach, larger pool, and ready-made diversions.

Samsara hotel is small and private with no individuals selling trinkets to tourists within the hotel grounds (unlike on nearby 7-mile beach which consists of a long stretch of Florida-like resorts built down to the sand beach and full of people selling their wares).

There is free relatively fast and reliable wifi internet service across the street at Ciao Jamaica. There are no safes in the room but you can rent a safe in the central office for $3USD a day if you are so inclined (we didn't bother).

There is an ATM at the Scotiabank in Negril, before the roundabout just as you walk into town from Samsara. A $5 cab ride will take you there or you can walk. One of the ATM machines at Scotiabank dispenses USD; the other Jamaica dollars. We found that both currencies were accepted readily everywhere we went. Most restaurants quoted prices in USD and gave change in Jamaican. We didn't have any trouble getting cash from the ATMs but there was a $15K-$30K (~$150-$300USD) limit on withdrawals that varied by day. You can use credit cards at many of the larger restaurants but an additional ~4% fee is levied for their use.

Samsara offered an all-inclusive (AI) meal/drink option or a European plan (EP) that did not include meals. We opted for the EP over the AI option and were extremely happy with this decision. Samsara was within EASY walking distance to numerous excellent restaurants.

Meal prices near Samsara were more expensive than we expected - a local beer is about $3.50 US and an entree runs anywhere from $12-25 US depending on what you order. Even so, because we didn't consume more than a few alcoholic drinks a day, the price for EP was not much more than for AI. The little bit extra we did pay was worth it because the EP gave us freedom to eat WHAT we wanted WHEN we wanted.

If you choose the EP option, you probably don't want to venture too far in the dark along the narrow road at dinner time. We recommend nearby Ciao Jamaica, XTabi, 3Dives, Rockhouse, Pushcart. For lunch we ventured further from the hotel and recommend Chicken Lavish, Juicy Patties in Negril, and some of the local stands up the road towards Rick's Cafe and down the road towards Negril.

If you opt for the EP and take most of your dinners at the larger restaurants, please think about at least taking lunch at some of the smaller stands/restaurants. We met some wonderful locals who were very thankful to have us enjoy meals at their mom-and-pop restaurants; AI options contribute little to the local economy other than providing minimum-wage jobs for locals - you can make a bigger difference to the Jamaican economy by eating at smaller venues and supporting the local business owners.

The food we ate was all of excellent quality and the tap water is safe to drink. Whether you take the AI option or EP, remember to tip generously. Most bills include a 10% "service charge" but it appears that this goes to the owners to pay basic wages, it is not the tip. Tip about 10% - even for AI. And remember to tip your hotel housekeeper.

With respect to the people, we found the staff at Samsara to be extremely friendly. Indeed, I would like to send kudos to a few by name. Keriann was extraordinarily prompt and helpful over email in arranging last-minute airport transfers to the hotel ($70 each way, ~90 mins from Montego Bay airport). A special thanks goes out to our driver, Gregory, who set the tone for an amazing trip; he is a wonderful ambassador for new arrivals to Negril. Thanks also to Diane who supervises the dining staff at Samsara and at Ciao Jamaica - she was delightful. And thanks to Verone who cleaned our room so well each day. The front staff were quick, efficient, and helpful. The staff at the buffet breakfast (the only meal we took at Samsara) were extremely friendly and hard-working.

We went to Jamaica primarily as a last-minute dive trip. Marine Life Divers has a small satellite dive shop on site which is affiliated with a larger shop at SeaWinds Resort. The satellite shop is not constantly staffed so it would be a good idea to arrange diving before arriving at Samsara. If this is not possible, the front desk will provide a phone number and you can call from your room for a small charge ($1.50 USD for the first minute and $.25 for each minute after that). We had no difficulty reaching the dive shop manager, Armaine (sp?), by phone.

Our experience with Marine Life Divers was very positive. Armaine was very prompt and efficient in organizing us for diving. Each day, Armaine or France (the shop owner) shuttled us to the SeaWinds resort in the morning (departure ~8:30 am) and back to Samsara in the afternoon (we finished a 2-tank dive by ~1pm). The van ride was ~10-15 mins each way. You also have the option of asking the boat captain to drop you off at the Samsara sister hotel, Legends, if you want to spend the afternoon on 7-mile beach; the free hotel shuttle will then take you back to Samsara at 4pm (there is one shuttle that goes to Legends in the morning and another from Legends to Samsara in the afternoon).

We wanted a 5-day dive package which normally includes 4 2-tank boat dives and 1 2-tank shore dive from the cliffs at Samsara. We were not required to commit to or pay for this package ahead of time; we could let the weather conditions determine our diving and then settle our bill at the end. We appreciated this option so that we didn't end up paying for more dives than the weather might allow.

The boat holds a maximum of 6 divers and has cover to protect divers from the strong morning/afternoon sun. Our divemaster, OWEN, was outstanding; so, too, was our boat captain SALVADORE. Both were relaxed and fun on the boat; professional, safety-conscious, and focused in their jobs.

The water was about 83F and we both were a little chilled by the end of the dive - me in a full 2/3 mm wetsuit, my husband in a 3mm shorty; no big fish but lots of pretty corals and sponges and small schools of colourful fish - some turtles too. Even though I would not consider Jamaica to be a dive destination, it was great having the option to dive during our one-week getaway.

The service at Marine Life Divers was outstanding. We were able to store our gear at the large shop; each morning, it was set up for us - often already on the boat; each afternoon, we walked it from the boat to the shop and Owen looked after taking it apart and rinsing. On our last dive day, they cleaned our equipment and hung our gear outside for us, transferred it back to Samsara when dry, and ensured that we did not take home anything still wet.

On the whole we had a great experience at Samsara and with Marine Life Divers. We would recommend both to our friends.

Room Tip: Request an air-conditioned room
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Central NJ
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2011

I would highly recommend Samsara as my family & I had a very good time using the pools, sitting in the sun, enjoying the views, and jumping off the cliffs into the ocean. The hotel is situated on a large piece of property on the Negril cliffs & overlooking the ocean so you have a beautiful expansive unobstructed view from the pools and the many sundeck levels. We stayed for four days and three nights which was about the right amount of time to enjoy everything properly, but we were still sad to leave when the time was up. We had lunch at the poolside bar/grill a couple of time and it was fine (but nothing special) for a quick and convenient meal and we liked the 2-for-1 happy hour every day from 4 to 7pm. The room was older but in okay shape and as clean as could be expected. If you are looking for first-class accommodations, you will be disappointed with the rooms, but they were fine for us as they had all of the basics covered. Service in the hotel was good, particularly in the restaurant for breakfast as the staff was very attentive to our needs as I have a bad back and they went out of their way to bring me a special chair every day when I entered the restaurant. They also made a special presentation to my son whose birthday we were celebrating on the trip. We also had a problem with a leaking sink which the maintenance crew repaired immediately upon notification. We ate at their Italian restaurant across the street (Ciao Jamaica) and enjoyed the food and the experience, but I was surprised by the size of the bill when it arrived -- perhaps they miscalculated but I was tired and not in the mood to engage in another debate about money with a local business person. We also got out to enjoy some of the local restaurants such as Ricks & Margaritaville which added to our good experience in Negril. We did not enjoy Kool Runnings water park however (see separate review). If you are in Negril and want to stay on the cliffs rather than the beach (which was our preference), Samsara is very good option at a very reasonable price.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Seattle, Washington
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2011

I have been bringing my students down to Negril for 5 years now. We have stayed here every time and for good reason. The Jamaican staff is wonderful (Keriann, Sharona, Melvin and Sylvestor) :-) They look out for my students and assist them with their every need (Pauline). This place is safe and you get none of the bothersome requests to purchase "stuff" while you are conducting a meeting or just wanting to relax and jump from the cliffs. Dive shop on site!!! with three of the best dive crew members you could have (Franz, Armin and Owen). The owners are very supportive of our groups development projects in Negril. They have offered us great rates for our student exchange project and have donated their restaurants used veggie oil for an Engineers without Borders biodiesel project (many thanks Sabrina). The maids are spectacular and clean the rooms with speed and attention to detail (thanks Oshia). If you need to have some beach time, they have a sister resort (Legends) that you can get free shuttle to that will satisfy some sand time (thanks Paul). The price and location along with the staff make this simple bare bones resort offering a spectacular deal.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Prague, Czech Republic
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2011

nice place, the best servis at the bar, nice and good food, clean room, verry nice garden,pleasant service,nice price,peace,super swiming pool,enough couches,super bus to Legends hotel,best service in reception,excellent access to the sea, verry nice see,verry good service,evening calm,one time of the week live music,tasty food,worse position safe,
slippery stones in the garden,verry nice room,Fixed bed,adequate bathroom,

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2011

This is a small budget hotel. The staff at the front desk were not very friendly. I book my trip for a superior room with air conditioning and ocean view. They tried to put me in a garden view with no air. Went to the front desk and was told no superior rooms were available. After going through my luggage and finding my receipt and waiting over an hour for them to figure out our accomendations. We were finally shown to the proper room. The view looked out onto the ocean and pool/bar area. We enjoyed getting up early to watch the dolpins jump in and out of the water. Lovely if you just want to relax. Met some great people at the bar from Canada and Maine. There is a shuttle that takes you to the sister location directly on the beach. You can walk to the market or go across the street "which we did" for breakfast and dinner. Dont expect high class here but it was comfortable enough that we would stay again.

Room Tip: Bring you own towels and tolietries
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2011

The grounds were lovely well kept,food to salty with mostly rude staff,stayed in the pillar house which was a fabulous view,pillar house badly in need of renovations although maid service was good.Never do all inclusive on this property. Totally over priced definitely not worth the money. Only select drinks with all inclusive,

Room Tip: No best room on the property,badly in need of renovations.
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Samsara Cliffs Resort

Address: West End Rd, Negril, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#15 Spa Hotel in Negril
#28 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Samsara Cliffs Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 50
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Also Known As:
Samsara Cliffs Hotel Negril
Samsara Hotel Jamaica
Samsara Cliffs Negril
Samsara Cliff Resort

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