Sunset on the Cliffs - November 2007
We sandwiched this trip between two weddings we had to attend, so we had to fly US Airways out of Pittsburgh this time - 7am flight to Charlotte and then connect to MBJ. Got a bump up front for us all from my FF status (have to remember this next time I complain about business travel) and the flight was smooth.... Arrived at MBJ and couldn't believe the changes - I'm one of those who misses getting off the plane on the tarmac and getting smacked with the heat :) Long walk to immigration and a minimal wait, but there was a bit of glitch with baggage - must've came in on a belt other than where posted. Finally got the bags and jumped in a GIANT line for customs (was never like that in the "old days"). Took about 45 minutes to clear customs and get outside to catch our ride. We booked the king/queen thing through onestop, but I really wasn't interested in the stretch limo thing - told 'em a van would be fine. Apparently the transportion "powers-that-be" in Jamaica stopped listening after "really wasn't interested in the stretch limo" and never heard "a van would be fine". Booo.... no ride at the airport. Fortunately the onestop guy in the arrivals area was able to reach Winston and we FINALLY got a ride. We had paid up front for trans, so catching a cab was out of the question... next trip I'll just score transpo outside the airport - there were plenty of taxis and I'm sure we could've got a good deal. Took us longer than usual to get to Negril as there was construction in MoBay and traffic was brutal - I thought we'd be spared traveling on Sunday but no such luck. Arrived at SOTC late afternoon and started to wind down...
Checked in quickly and met the new owner, who personally checked that our room was ready and off we went. The rooms are basic, but comfortable - two double beds, large bathroom, and a VERY large area just inside the door of our room that we affectionately called "the garage" as all our snorkeling gear/sandals/misc junk seemed to collect there (just like at home). Nice patio with table & chairs with an awesome view of the sea... Our room did not have a chain on the main door, but did on the patio door - no big deal after the initial "ooh boy... don't know about this" thoughts... Our safe could not be opened, so it was basically unusable the whole trip, which also ended up being no big deal. Light fixtures were just bare bulbs, but I'm sure that will soon change as the new owner continues touching things up... I'll also suggest they get more substantial curtains in the room... what's there is VERY sheer...
We booked AI with the thought that we would probably do breakfast/lunch at the hotel and then wander out for dinner in the evening. Rates were reasonable enough that we wouldn't feel guilty spending for AI and then spending again for meals off property. Oh well... the best laid plans.... we ended up venturing out for lunch twice (more on that later) and took the rest of our meals at the hotel - we really liked being able to order off a menu and the food was pretty good. We did stop at Erica's on the way back from Ricks one night, but our kiddo wasn't feeling well and we ended up back at the hotel. Breakfasts were great and the service was very good. I don't think we had one bad thing to eat there... yes, everything was good. I wasn't a big fan of their jerk chicken, but that's just me - it was OK, just different than what I like.
OK... my home away from home... had my bubba mug and always kept it full with something cold. Bartenders were friendly and made all my favorites, so I was a happy camper. We had the usual "out of bananas" here and there, but no big deal - just drank something else. It was off-season, so we expected to run into "sorry, we're out of..." situations. The bar area was nice, with a great view of the sea and the sunsets (not much this trip - lotsa clouds in the evening). There was an area by the bar that would be perfect for a small band (hint hint) during the busier times of the year.
We had spent some time in the sea the first few days, but then it kicked up and we retreated to the pool. While we were there the diving platform was being built, so we didn't get a chance to try that - did various spots on the cliffs around the cove instead. Did a bit of snorkeling, but didn't get too far around the end of the cove before seing a big jellyfish (basketball-sized!), so we came back around into the cove. The sea wasn't that calm so we couldn't get too close to the cliffs. The pool was great - always clean, nice temp, and it has a ledge all around it that made a nice spot to sit and down the adult beverages.
Like I've said in some of my other reviews, the vibe of any resort is driven by the guests that are there... for most of our trip it seemed like we were the only people there, so we had the place to ourselves. We weren't looking for mad partying this trip, so that suited us just fine. We did chat with June (new owner) and heard about her plans for the hotel - and I would defintely say we'd like to go back to check things out after she's had some time. All the "this place would be great if..." things my wife and I talked about were actually things that June was planning. We did walk down to 3 Dives for lunch one day, and - quite honestly - I wasn't thrilled with the food. I thought the sauce was WAY too salty and just didn't seem the same as last time we were there a few years ago. Another day we cabbed down to Bourbon Beach for a late lunch, which my son & I really enjoyed (too spicy for mom!). I had the opportunity to corner the chef to quiz him on jerk chicken (I've been working on my recipe for over a year now), but he was not giving anything up! I told him what I do and the best I could get was "you're on the right track"... that works for me! After Bourbon Beach we walked over to Times Square for all of about 2 minutes - not our thing, and then cabbed it back to SOTC.
I will say that this trip there were some VERY aggressive vendors/bar owners up on the cliff road... We're used to a little pressure, but a polite "no thanks" has always been sufficient.... I understand it was off-season, but some pushed a bit too hard. Nothing to do with the hotel, so I'll save my comments for a forum thread some day....
Back to hotel.... we enjoyed our visit and would definitely go back again. Sure, the rooms are basic, but we didn't spend a lot of time there. The wife and I commented that it would be great to have a bunch of tables/chairs/umbrellas/etc down by the cliffs, which seeing the new website has already happened. We have stayed at many resorts in Jamaica including GLN, San Souci, Beaches, Hedonism, Starfish, and SATP, and now we're adding Sunset on the Cliffs to our "will return" list. Our family gives it 3 thumbs up!!
Any questions, feel free to ask....
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- Also Known As:
- Sunset On The Cliffs Hotel Negril