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Reviewed August 27, 2011

My husband and I had a relaxing stay at Tensing Pen, which we chose because we don’t like all-inclusives. Our hut, Middle Pillar, had a bedroom with a dresser and side tables, a very small bathroom with a sink, toilet, and open closet, an outdoor shower, and a balcony with a lovely view. The room has a safe and a mini-fridge (save money by buying wine and snacks from the local grocery and storing them in there).

The room was kept very clean during our stay, but given its natural setting, it may not be for everyone. We saw various creepy crawlies, a mouse, and an even a bigger mouse (rat?) who made a brief appearance in between our ceiling and thatch. None of this bothered us though.

While there was no air conditioning in this hut, it is offered in others. There was a ceiling fan, but it was corroded, so we had to rely on the upright fan for air. We preferred to hear the waves crashing on the rocks below, so we didn’t miss the AC, but it could get pretty warm and sticky. Luckily, there is water all around, so it’s easy to cool off.

Tensing Pen is on the cliffs side of Negril; therefore, there is no beach. You can dive into the Caribbean or, if you’re more timid, you can climb down a ladder into the water. However you enter the water, swimmers need to be experienced here; there are no lifeguards, and at no point can you stand. On the property, there is also a pool and there are plenty of places to just lounge around. There are covered double loungers near the pool, hammocks in little gazebos, and lounge chairs overlooking the cliffs. Razor or Owen, two of the pleasant staff members, will make a strong piña colada to enjoy while you take in the view. Tensing and Sugar, the big and sweet dogs at the resort, will keep you company.

Middle Pillar has spectacular views to the Caribbean Sea. Guests should be aware, however, that the diving bridge is in view of the Middle Pillar porch, and people can be a bit noisy on the bridge. Once I had to go out in the middle of the night to ask people to be quiet. Most guests, however, are respectful.

We found Tensing Pen relaxing and very romantic. There are, however, several things the resort should do to make it worth the substantial price visitors pay to stay there.

Since the only shower in Middle Pillar requires guests to go down the steps of the hut, it would be nice if the hotel provided robes to use during the stay.

The mosquito netting should cover the bed fully; we got quite a few bug bites at night.

The staff needs to be more knowledgeable about area attractions and excursions. Every time we asked questions, they had no clue.

The restaurant on-premises isn’t bad and is reasonably priced for a resort, although there are much cheaper family-run restaurants around. Service was slow, even by Caribbean standards. The continental breakfast is sparse (fruit, juice, bread, yogurt, and cereal); we found it necessary to pay for egg dishes, which were 4-6 USD per person to supplement the meal each day. In all, it could be better.

All things considered, we had a wonderful time here and the setting cannot be topped, but for the money some things could be improved.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank KLJ-17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2011

I can not say enough about this resort. We had a fantastic time. We actually stayed in 3 different rooms while we were there and liked them all. We stayed in the Garden Cabin, Garden B and South Pillar. Even if you stay in the least expensive room, you will not be disappointed.
We arrived and was giving some cold punch and a tour of the property and felt very welcome. We checked into our room and jumped from the bridge pretty soon after arrival. I am afraid of heights but jumped and it was fun. Just be sure to jump like a pencil or you could get bruised.
The food was all very good, service is slow but you are in Jamaica. We just went with the flow. The staff is all amazing and willing to serve and help you out.
Loved the property!!!!!!!
The owners were there when we were and they are also friendly and make sure your stay is great.
There are dogs on the property that bark from time to time but over all not enough to interrupt your sleep or activity. They are very friendly.
We are pretty picky and loved Tensing Pen. We received a traffic citation while there and they arranged for one of their employees to go pay it for us so we would not have to be bothered with it. The front office staff is amazing.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank goldhardt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2011

Stayed at Tensing Pen Resort in early August and had mixed feelings about our experience.

First the positives:

The entire staff was friendly and approachable and the front office staff was quite helpful, particularly when making arrangements for day trips, hailing cabs, and renting cars. They even help us out with a flat tire on our rental car. The resort grounds were well maintained and the ocean views from our room and the dinning area were fantastic.

Now the negatives:

The resort staff own two large dogs that live on the resort full time (you may have seen pictures of them on the resort’s web site). While the dogs are well behaved during the days, at night, starting around 11pm the dogs start barking. They will bark for an hour straight and then stop for a while. Once you are about to fall asleep the dogs will start barking again. This went on all night and well into the early morning every night of our stay. Because the units are not insolated and have thatch roofs the volume of the barking is un-muffled. It literally sounds like the dogs are barking next to your bed rather then outside. A member of our party mentioned the problem to the front office staff but they offer no solution.

The other big negative is the mosquitos. Jamaica’s rain season is from June to November each year. While generally, it does not rain enough to mess up your vacation (only a few hours of rain each day) it is enough to encourage mosquito breeding. If your room at Tensing Pen is on the garden side of the resort you will be fighting the mosquitos. We were a group of six all staying on the garden side of the resort and between us, the group went through multiple cans of mosquito repellant during the week and still came home with 30-50 mosquito bites per person (no exaggeration). Our beds did have mosquito netting but that only helps while you’re sleeping. Any time you go to the restroom, sit on you room’s deck, walk to the restaurant or hang out under the shade of an umbrella near the garden foliage you are getting eaten.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with friends
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5  Thank Guy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TPManager, Manager at Tensing Pen Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 23, 2011

While we know that we have many more positives than those indicated by Guy B, we gaciously say thanks anyway to this guest for the critique. We are always working to improve our resort and have taken the necessary steps to address the barking dogs challenge as well as the mosquito presence mentioned. The barking disturbance was initiated by strays along the public road. We have worked with our neighbours and the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA) to find homes for these dogs. We also speak to our neighbours constantly and work with the local police and other authorities in our effort to curtail noise polution generally and ensure the peace and quiet our guests seek. For our own dogs, Tensing and Sugar, we continue to make every effort to ensure that they do not disturb you our guests.
We have in place a control programme for mosquitos. However in this we must constantly strike a delicate balance as guests may be offended whether we spray or we don't.
Our assurance to Guy B and all our past and potential guests is that we take all guest concerns very seriously and continue to work to address them in order to achieve our No.1 goal of guest satisfaction. Again we thank Guy B and all our past guests for their support and we look forward to hosting you at TP again and again.
We also look forward to welcoming you our new/potential guests who may be reading this right now in your search for the get away nest that may be just right for you. A quick glance at the reviews of Tensing Pen on this website will assure you that you need to look no further. I am sure we will see you too very soon.

Joseph Smith
Manager
Tensing Pen

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2011

we stayed at tensing pen for a wedding. everything was so beautiful. rooms were unique and very well appointed. very clean with pretty flowers set on the bed. the staff was wonderful, kind and helpful. the food the chefs prepared were delicious especially for the wedding. i would return and stay anytime. the view from every spot was spectacular!!!

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank mayhemmo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2011

How do you describe a place so beautiful and serene , that it felt like a tropical heaven on earth ? We discovered the resort on the internet, not knowing anyone that had ever been there before. Our daughter wanted to have a destination wedding, so somewhere the angels were on our side when we decided to choose Tensing Pen. We worked with a young woman named Shanique who was extremely helpful ,sweet, and really made the wedding absolutely sensational. Thank you so much, Shanique, we love and miss you !!!!!
The ceremony on the cliffs was visually stunning and the Sea Song Hut was the coolest place we have ever been to a wedding at . The chefs did an awesome job and the lobster , rack of lamb, and shrimp were outstanding.
We worked with a woman named Rosemarie at Floral Fantasy for our flowers and she was so easy to work with over the phone and internet, such a sweet person.
Our photographers names were Clayton and Antoinette from Sungold Photography , we had an absolute blast with them. My daughter and her husband had a "trash the dress" photography session the day after the wedding- they wore their wedding clothes and jumped off the famous Tensing Pen bridge ! They also got some amazing pics on the cliffs and tropical shots everywhere since the resort looks naturally postcard perfect.
We used Big Ship Transportation Co. and our driver was named Dudley Warren. He picked our 16 guests up on time at the airport with a cooler filled with Red Stripe and water and drove very safely and explained what we were seeing as we drove. He also gave us a phone to call him with and we booked tours to YS Falls and the Pelican Bar. If you are an adventurous clan like we are, book those day trips- you'll love it.
We had my other daughters' 19th birthday at the Sea Star Inn. Check out the buffet and live reggae party on Saturday nights- it was the best time , food was delicious and reasonable.
The wedding rehearsal dinner was held at Ivan's at Catcha Falling Star, within walking distance of Tensing Pen. Great food, drinks, and more amazing sunsets.
So sorry to go on and on- just wanted to hopefully give some helpful info, especially if anyone may be thinking of getting married at Tensing Pen- you won't regret it.
The bungalows were stunning- don't think there's a wrong choice with any of them. We stayed in the Red Birch villa which was perfect for us since we needed a kitchen and had a huge open beautiful veranda that our wedding guests could hang out with us on. My daughters had the Cove Cottage and the Rock Cottage 2, and were in love with both of them. Other guests had Pine Pillar Suites, Sea Grape, and the Garden rooms. Everyone seemed pleased with whatever room they had, and they were of varying prices.
The employees felt like great friends- especially Bruce, Camilla,Mike,Malcolm, Shanique,Palmer, Razor,....sorry if we forgot anyone. Thanks for letting us see the puppies, Palmer, please give them and Tensing and Sugar big hugs and kisses, til next time.
Check out Ras Rody across the street, great man and family.
Tensing Pen is the ultimate choice that should be on everyones buckel list !
Respect mon, everytime, one love (once you go, you'll know )

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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8  Thank sasha d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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