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First time to Jamaica-- need hotel & location recommendation

maryland
Level Contributor
166 posts
11 reviews
First time to Jamaica-- need hotel & location recommendation

Hi all,

We are thinking about going to Jamaica for 4-5 days in April with our teenage son.

Trying to pin down which part of the island to visit, and which hotel to stay in. We would fly in Montego Bay.

So far Negril or Treasure Beach sounds like the best bet for us. We'd like something more off the beaten path, so probably don't want to stay in Montego Bay or Ocho Rios.

The beach is important to us, and we'd love to snorkel off-shore. We don't need fancy but do like comfortable and clean! Would love to explore any nearby waterfalls or rivers as well (or is that mainly in Ocho Rios?).

Jake's and Katamah in Treasure Beach really appeal to me, however it sounds like Jake's doesn't have a great beach in front and Katamah doesn't have a pool. Both of those are things we'd like. Is there any place with that vibe in Negril? Or someplace else with a nice beach and pool in Treasure Beach?

Budget could be up to $300/night.

Thanks!

United States
Level Contributor
13,887 posts
134 reviews
1. Re: First time to Jamaica-- need hotel & location recommendation

"We'd like something more off the beaten path,"

Negril is very much 'on the beaten path'. It has almost 100 places to stay. For 'off the beaten path' you want Treasure Beach.

maryland
Level Contributor
166 posts
11 reviews
2. Re: First time to Jamaica-- need hotel & location recommendation

Yes true. But from what I've read Negril is perhaps a little more low key than Montego Bay or Ochos Rios?

My main concerns about Treasure Beach is that we'd like a hotel with a pool and a swimmable beach. Also the distance from the airport frankly.

Actually, after seeing photos of Tensing Pen resort in Negril I'm not convinced I "need" a sandy beach anymore! As long as there is ocean access and it's swimmable.

United States
Level Contributor
13,887 posts
134 reviews
3. Re: First time to Jamaica-- need hotel & location recommendation

"from what I've read Negril is perhaps a little more low key than Montego Bay or Ochos Rios? "

Correct, but Ocho Rios is also low key.

"we'd like a hotel with a pool and a swimmable beach."

At Tensing Pen I rate the pool to be small and there is not a grain of sand at the resort. Depending on the wind and currents, entry to the water can be an issue.

"As long as there is ocean access and it's swimmable."

You will have both at Tensing Pen.

Castleton, United...
Level Contributor
4,211 posts
56 reviews
4. Re: First time to Jamaica-- need hotel & location recommendation

Are you aware of the transfer time to Treasure Beach?

For such a short break I'd look at Runaway Bay which is far less touristy than Mobay, Negril or Ochi.

Many Jamaican gems such as Dunn's River, Nine Miles, Glistening Waters, Scotchies Drax Hall are within easy reach but are a long way from either Negril or Treaure Beach.

Seattle
Level Contributor
52,545 posts
22 reviews
5. Re: First time to Jamaica-- need hotel & location recommendation

I think Tensing Pen or Catcha Fallin Star both fit this request, if they consider the Cliffs instead of the beach. That is "off the beaten path" by most people's thinking imo.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Level Contributor
1,405 posts
514 reviews
6. Re: First time to Jamaica-- need hotel & location recommendation

Treasure Beach is definitely "off the beaten path" (Negril, not so much).

Of the two places you're considering in TB, neither one really fits your criteria of great beach and pool.

Katamah has no pool, but it does have a stretch of beach right in front. The beach is fine, but nothing like the beautiful ones you'll find in Negril. It's brown sand and rocky in places. There are two other beaches nearby - one within a 10-minute walk and the other maybe 30 minutes away. Both are similar to the one in front of Katmah. The other thing to consider about Katamah is what level of "luxury" you want - the resort is pretty "rustic."

Jakes is much more upscale - a very nice resort. There is no waterfront beach at Jake's; the resort is along rocky coastline. There is a sandy area in the center of the resort, but it does not access the ocean. There's a beach that's a short walk away at the end of the property, plus two others maybe a 15-minute walk away. The pool at Jake's is a smallish saltwater pool; when we were there last week the water was quite cloudy. Depending on the time of year you go, you have limited choice of rooms/cottages that are less than $300/night after you figure in taxes and all.

suz
Derby, Connecticut
Destination Expert
for Ocho Rios
Level Contributor
5,239 posts
64 reviews
7. Re: First time to Jamaica-- need hotel & location recommendation

For such a short trip, I would recommend Negril - It's going to be your best bet as far as beaches. On my first trip years ago, a pool was one of my criteria too - I can honestly say I never dipped a toe in, the ocean is so beautiful! I took my 16 year old nephew in June - we stayed at Grand Pineapple, which was easy, centrally located, and did some day trips - You can hit YS falls or Mayfield falls from Negril, there are glass bottom boats that you can go snorkeling on - and my nephew had a blast with a snorkel and mask just trolling around off the beach from the hotel. There are a ton of spots in Negril that are small, boutique hotels, and lots of various dining options.

West Chester...
Level Contributor
61 posts
10 reviews
8. Re: First time to Jamaica-- need hotel & location recommendation

i really liked staying at samsara on the west end for our first time to negril. you can stay in the nicest room they have which is a pillar house on the cliffside overlooking the water. its around 200 a night. and the plus about samsara is they have a sister hotel on the beach called legends which they offer free shuttle to in the morning at 9am and come back at 4pm. pools at each property also. its worth a look! in just 4 or 5 days i would keep it simple and maybe go to mayfield falls one morning so you still have the afternoon to do what you want when your done. its a fun place and trip.

Edited: 3:53 pm, January 19, 2017
Nebraska
Level Contributor
691 posts
8 reviews
9. Re: First time to Jamaica-- need hotel & location recommendation

The beach area for the Grand Pineapple is wonderful! Unfortunately, the pool is across the road, but we are in love with the beach and floating in the warm water! No ride needed...walk out the door of your room, take a few steps across the grounds and WOW...the beach!

Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Cuba
Level Contributor
4,861 posts
31 reviews
10. Re: First time to Jamaica-- need hotel & location recommendation

I'm going to have to suggest CoCo La Palm, it's on the best part of the beach, IMO, Their beach is spacious, with lots of sun, and shade options. They have two really nice pools, and a hot tub Jacuzzi.

The rooms are great, at your budget, you could get one of their best, with a balcony overlooking the ocean.

They have a beach bar, and grill, and an outdoor restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dineer.

Within walking distance of almost everything on the beach. The rooms are immaculate, with flat screen TV'S , ac, cable, and really nice beds....check out the webpage for pics!!