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Reviewed February 20, 2012

The rooms are unique. The Rock Cottages are among the favorites for honeymooners. The seagrape cottage (lower room) has air conditioning so if thats a must, then be mindful that most rooms do not have it, while they ALL have ceiling fans. The rooms are intimate, meaning cozy. We have stayed in the seagrapes 1 & 2 on our first trip and while its nice, we would opt for other cottages. The Pillars are our favorites as they overlook the bridge. I have to say the outdoor shower is awesome, and dont worry you wont be seen naked by others. You will have to wrap up in a towel and go back upstairs, and for that part youll want to cover up, but once you are down in the rock walled shower you neednt worry. The long house is ideal for larger groups and frankly we would love to stay in that someday. You simply cant go wrong and frankly speaking I doubt youll find a bad review. The nice thing is that each unit has its own name and you can find many travelers who can speak to their experiences, what they liked, didnt, etc..... as for suggestions, keep in mind that this is from experience and its more "Preference" than anything. Of all the Pillars, the Pine Pillar is close to the border of the property and others I have spoken with and shared experiences with have found it a bit noisier there and had found that the lounge chairs out front were used by others. They do at first glance make you think these would belong to the guests of the Pine Pillar, but they are pretty much up for grabs. If you know thaqt going into it then adjust your expectations accordingly. For me, I wouldnt care really. To each their own. The view is breathtaking and because of that alone its worth planning a trip to try to book the room you want. For me, I want a view!!!. As for my rating of Tensing Pen, let me spell it out beyond merely a star rating.
SERVICE : Service is something that makes you feel very welcomed. You are greeted with a cool moist towel to freshen up with. This is given to you within minutes of your arrival. Moments later you are given a refreshing tropical punch. After a drive from MoBay, this is refreshing and a great way to be welcomed to your oasis. Every morning there is blue Mountain coffee and an assortment of tropical fruit, toast, and jam that was great. There are other items that you can order and the service is great, and the people are warm and friendly. This is not a concierge type of place, and I have a hard time classifying it. Its not a hotel, and calling it a resort would conjur images that are equally not fitting. Its more of a retreat, and was once a communal place with a sharred kitchen facility that is now the open air restaurant/bar. I think "Retreat" is a better term as you will find yourself meeting other guests, sharing stories, perhaps joining each other on evenings out to dinner, or hanging around the bar at night. Its because of its welcoming vibe, its low key way about it, its wonderful staff, that I rate this as excellent.
VALUE : Most people equate value as being worth the money. It is less costly than some and more so than others. Frankly if you have a desire to stay on the cliffs I would come back to Tensing Pen again and again. Its got character and you feel at home. They do a good job at helping you feel that way. That is hard to quantify. Its not like comparing the Hilton to the Ramada. I measure the value in this simple way. I have been there on 3 occasions, each time carrying with me memories of the last trip, each time feeling as if I were just there, and each time I had left carrying memories that have lasted with vivid memories more so than most places I have been before. That to me is worth the extra money and you need to think about that. If you are reading this then you are researching, and if you are researching that means you have some amount of discernment as to what you want in a place and in a vacation. Do yourself the favor of keeping in mind that value should be measured as how the experience will last far beyond the trip itself. It is for that reason alone that I wish I could give it 6 stars.
SLEEP QUALITY : The beds are fine enough, but frankly I cant remember as it was not a focal point, I slept well, but it was the "Falling asleep" and "Waking" that were great. To fall asleep to the sound of the water and to wake to the sun of the new day, its amazing. I will say that depending on the time of year, if its going to be very hot and humid and you wont have air conditioning, then the quality of your sleep could suffer.
CLEANLINESS: The place is great. Its got Character, its tropical, its not cookie cutter, and it comes with a thatched roof. There are Anole lizzards tht will be on the outer walls. Occasionally we saw what looked like a mouse, but again its because of the thatched roof. Id take that any day over a homoginized LaQuinta. But yes, fresh towels, a bed made up with fresh flowers upon arrival, its quite clean.
LOCATION : Ok if I could again add another star to this category I would. Have you SEEN the pictures online. My first thought upon seeing the sights was that I really was blown away because I thought the pictures online and in magazines must have been altered. I couldnt believe that sights like this were possible without photo manipulation. So yeah, the location was great for the view alone. As for proximity to other things. Its on the clifs and you can get a ride most anywhere. Its not a place where I would advocate walking the road as drivers are known to be crazy and there isnt much shoulder room. For those wanting to get to the beach its about a 5-7 minute drive and there are plenty of nice places to stop and try for lunch and dinner along the way. When I say I wouldnt recommend walking, I say that as a general rule for the general public, but My wife and 9 year old daughter did walk it. We are an active family and enjoy walking. We walked during the day a few times but did admitingly take a taxi 90% of the time, and 100% of the time at night, unless we were just going across the street or next door.
ROOMS: I think I covered this in that their character, the thatched roofs, the views, they are great.
KIDS ACTIVITIES: We brought our daughter on every one of our trips when she was 7, 8, and 9. She is well behaived and hung around us the entire time. She isnt one who needs constant stimuli to keep her preoccupied. She would walk with us on the grounds as we took pictures and she would ask to swim in the pool. They dont cater to families or kids, but they dont prohibit you from bringing your kids. Most of the rooms do not have extra bedding, so in our case we simply all sharred the bed or my daughter slept on the lounge chair. She is/was small and compact and we cant get away with that going forward because she is sprouting up. This is NOT a beaches resort, there are no baby sitters, no kids club, and to be direct about it, this is not a place to let your kids wander or to bring them if you want an escape from parenting. This is not a place for them to run around on their own. Its the cliffs! That being said, we have come across other families and we found that the kids we did run across were all well behaved. The lower rating is only because it doesnt cater to kids and shouldnt be on your list of places to go if that is an attribute that you simply must have.
FITNESS CENTER: again this is a category that requires definition. It does not have a sports complex, no racquet ball, no treadmills, etc.... If you want that then you will be dissapointed. That is the only reason I rated it as this is because for those of you who are scanning the reviews it would be missleading to see my 5 star rating across the board without reading this first. It is well known among many as being a retreat where relaxation and yoga go hand in hand. My wife has never partaken of any formal yoga class, as there were none going on upon our stay, but she did enjoy the open air yoga platform for doing her morning yoga routine. As for me, I got plenty of cardio in with snorkeling, swimming, and jumping off the bridge. My cardio routine at the gym can simply wait till my return home when I DONT have the Caribbean to gaze at and play in.

Room Tip: If you like a view of the water, many have that, but the pillars have views that are above the ground level as they are treehouse style cottages. Weve been in the Seagrapes 1 & 2, the South Pillar, and the Middle Pillar. Hands down the views from the Pillars of the bridge below was amazing, as was the outside rock walled shower. Best advice is to ask questions, search on the forum for reviews and perhaps even post a question, profiling what you are looking for, what you like, etc... and you may find others will respond with what they loved, what they think would be good for you to look at, but rest assured, everyone has some great input on this gem of a place.
  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank Eastside3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2012

We really loved Tensing Pen, even compared to Catcha Falling Star and Rockhouse. We stayed in the Long House (it accommodates a total of six people). The resort/restaurant is closed to the public, which adds to the serene, "private" vibe, and makes the restaurant and bar quiet and with that "just for us" feeling. The nice thing is, the price in-season was totally doable for what we got at the Long House (great view of the water, king-sized bed, A/C in bedroom, private bath for each bedroom, FULL kitchen, multiple balconies and places for outdoor seating, daily cleaning of house and rooms by staff, and of course scenic views and the beautiful ocean right outside!). The food at the restaurant was also better than the food we had at Rockhouse or Catcha Falling Star. I basically ate lobster every day, but still, totally great food all-around. Continental breakfast is included in the room price. I would say the only drawbacks are that it sometimes seemed a little too "laid back" service-wise (I guess this is the norm in Jamaica, though?) - dinner and lunch service took FOREVER, there was no pool or cliffs drink service, and there was no room service available. But none of that was really a big deal, because everything is so closely nestled together. I also like how, although our house was huge and seemed "exposed" when we looked up at it from the cliffs/water, it was actually very well secluded from the other villas, so privacy was very easy to maintain. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone going to Negril or Jamaica in general! Oh, and read BVR's review here, because it's true about the staff. That's probably why Tensing Pen is so affordable, the lack of staff.

Room Tip: Only Long House (three bedrooms) and Red Birch Cottage (two bedrooms) house more than two people. You aren't allowed to add more people than what each place says it will hold. The villas that list an "outdoor shower" apparently only have that one shower. The Long House had private bathrooms in each bedroom, so there was no issue with that for us.
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank emsimmons75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2012

Tensing Pen was our first Cliffs experience - we've been back to Negril several times but we still miss it. The property and rooms are the most beautiful and tasteful that I have seen on the Cliffs (and that includes stays at the Caves and Catcha Falling Star). The grounds at the water's edge are stunning. The food was very good and the chef there is a delight - we chatted with him a few times after dinner at the bar with Owen, the somewhat dour but lovable bartender.

The Chef warned us not to pet the Property Dogs. We ignored that advice because we love dogs. Sherba (the 120 pound female) and Tensing (the much smaller and more docile beta male) became our shadows, which we totally enjoyed. Sherba and Tensing are Rhodesian Ridgebacks, which we learned are fiercely protective of their "people." Sherba and Tensing slept at our feet for our entire vacation, which was great from our perspective. Sherba would wait outside on the steps of our room (Pine Pillar) until we woke up and then would shadow us every where we went.

Words do not describe the beauty of this place so I will just post pictures.

The only downside is that the place had a vaguely snooty vibe . . . very unusual in Jamaica. It did not matter though because the place was awesome and we had a fantastic time there. Its a little pricey but totally worth the extra money. Oh no air conditioning and its hot so . . . We will be back!

Room Tip: Pine Pillar is the room we had. It had an out door shower, which was really cool and elevated views of the Caribbean from the bed. Awesome!
  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Michijamaica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2012

We can compare Tensing Pens to the Rock House because we have stayed at both hotels in the last couple of years, both in private cottages facing the ocean. Rock House and Tensing Pens are less than a mile from each other and comparable in price, but are very dissimilar in many other respects. Rock House is significantly larger, and more importantly it feels bigger and more crowded. If Tensing Pens is a village, Rock House is a city with all the hustle and bustle that implies. Rock House also has significantly more staff, even on a per-guest basis, than Tensing Pens does. This is most noticeable in the dining room, but not limited to it. If you prefer having lots of people fussing over you and and army of waitstaff and groundskeepers everywhere, you will probably prefer the Rock House. If, on the other hand, you are looking for solitude and the only thing you want to hear is the ocean on the cliffs, Tensing Pens is the place for you. Because the scale of everything is small at Tensing Pens, we find it a wonderfully mellow, laid-back sort of place. It really depends on what your idea of the ideal vacation is. While both hotels have wifi, in our experience the wifi at Tensing Pens is more reliable and has a stronger signal. Within Tensing Pens, our favorite room is the Cove Cottage where the sound of the waves lulls us to sleep every night and sometimes in the afternoon as well.

Room Tip: Cove Cottage for minimal street noise and maximal sounds of waves crashing against the rocks
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank BVR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2012

One of the most beautiful places I've ever stayed at! When I have a bad day I think back about my stay here and I smile! I could come and stay once a month and never get tired of my Tensing Pen!

Room Tip: If you have a fear of heights, some rooms will be better than others. If heights dont bother you then its awesome!
  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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Thank dmng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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