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…
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!!
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!
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.
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)!
- 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