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“Kuyaba - a great value to experience the real Negril”

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Kuyaba Hotel & Restaurant - Negril
Ranked #43 of 80 Hotels in Negril
Reviewed May 17, 2013

i first found Kuyaba last year looking for a different place to dine (was staying at a large hotel nearby). What i found was i think a non-commercialized version of Negril. If you are used to the RC and the like, this place is not for you. I love most all RC's and also love this place. Yes, this place has its shortcomings and if you think you are staying at a grand hotel for these prices, well you probably will be electing the next resident on PA Avenue. What one gets is a great value, good prices, caring staff (no, they are NOT attentive like in a fine hotel, but you are not paying for a Mercedes in this place. What you are paying for is a LA/LO that is hard to replace, a safe, reliable and trustworthy staff and a team of people who really seem to work well together. I have read some whiny A comments about cats, lack of service, etc. For the love of God, you are not paying $750 USD a night. You get what you are paying for. For me, i will be back again. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen and whine about somewhere where you really had to use your dough and didn't get your bang for the buck.

Kuyaba is an incredible value for the money. Had i wanted luxury, i personally have the common sense to know i cannot expect it for these prices....

Kuyaba is a special place in Negril, Jamaica and this part of the world...

Room Tip: try to stay as far away from the reggae club as possible, if not bring ear plugs
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank gllamay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 4, 2013

Amazing and affordable! We had the Honeymoon Room Nr. 5. It's a spectacular room nestled in the tree tops, offering private tranquility and exotic ambience; a chic tropical atmosphere. Clay-tiled floors, air conditioning, ceiling fans, television, King-sized bed. French doors open out to a large balcony in the treetops. A must for newlyweds or someone with discriminating tastes. Also great for a weekend getaway with your boo. It reminded me of a lush tropical African forest with palm trees and coconuts all around. For $85.00 per night, you'll think you're living in luxury.

The restaurant faces the beach and the bar offers the best cocktails I've had in Negril. They have an amazing breakfast. Go for the 'Jamaican Breakfast'.

If you're looking for beach, sand and waterspouts, Kuyaba has it all!!!! You won't be disappointed at $85.00 per night. I LOVE KUYABA.

Tips: Summer Rates are cheaper. If you're Jamaican, ask for the local rate and you'll save an extra 20%!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank fbfray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 26, 2013

I'm somewhat relucantly giving Kuyaba a 4 rating because in some aspects it warrents less than that but in other ways it was quite nice. We stayed in the honeymoon suite. The room was nice and much as it is pictured on the website. However the layout of resort does not really allow for much privacy in the suite, particularly on the balcony. The balcony for this suite is right beside the steps that leads to all the upstairs rooms, there is no partition for privacy and every 2 minutes someone climbs the stairs and looks right at the balcony. This dimished the 'honeymoon' feeling of the unit. Furthermore, the common washrooms for the restaurant and resort are right below the balcony of the honeymoon suite and so is the main pathway that the cleaners go by multiple times per day with thier carts. While there is no solution to these problems, I think these negatives may not bother everyone--I just found them to take away from the feeling of privacy that you might want on your honeymoon. The staff was nice, the location was great for the beach. We had read about noise problems in other reviews but when we got there we had several very peacefull nights so we thought people had been making a big deal over nothing---HOWEVER on our last night we suddenly realized what everyone was talking about! We love reggae music, and even dancehall but we don't love any music when the bass makes the room shake all night...The staff apologized for this and explained that they have been trying to deal with the issue for years but there is not really much they can do about it...Overall i would say Kuyaba is a nice hotel with decent rooms and a good choice for 7 mile beach--just don't come here for privacy on your Honeymoon and avoid the nights when there is the audaciously loud music (I think its twice a week).

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Simone01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2013

This might turn into an epistle, but there are quite a few tidbits that I'd like to share with all of you.

Those who know me well, know that I hate gloating or bragging about anything. But when I travel anywhere--particularly with my daughter--I always look for 4 or 5 star hotels and plenty of amenities to go with it.This year, we decided to spend my daughter's Spring break in Negril, Jamaica and my idea was to be as close to the locals and their way of living as possible. The only problem was that most of the upscale hotels were either outside of Negril or far from the beach on the rocky side (no beaches--you'd have to actually climb down a ladder into the the deep waters and climb back up; or else drive a good 20 minutes to get to a beach.) So I went on a search for a hotel that was on the beach, pleasant, safe, and close to stores...and i found all of that at the "Kuyaba Resort!"

Usually, I talk abut the subject before I list their haves and have-nots; but this time I'm going to tell you what NOT to expect at Kuyaba. This is the most basic accommodation (Patrick Swayze's hotel room in "City of Joy" comes to my mind!) and has a very local and nondescript flair. In our room number 14, there were:
- no phones
- no chairs (we got ONE, after I asked the maid)
- no second set of room keys (one key per room only, Housekeeping has the other, and they are regular keys!)
- no movable beds (beds made of concrete and so is the night stand between two beds)
- no pillow-top mattresses; they are FIRM but tolerable
- no hair dryer (we borrowed one from the office)
- no amenities (shampoo, conditioner, etc)
- no flat-screen TV or in-room entertainment shows
- no working AC controls (though there is a working a/c unit and ceiling fan and our room stayed always cool and pleasant)
- no ultra secure room doors. Room door was made of light wood with glass panes and very flimsy; could not be locked (but unlocked) from outside (had to press the lock button on the inner knob and pull the door shot behind us to lock it)
- no down feather pillows or comforters, just small, flattish pillows and sheets and blankets that must have come from a WW2 army surplus!
- no resort-wide free wi-fi (wi-fi is iffy and works only in the rooms and up to the stairs of the restaurant!)
- no guest laundry services
- no outdoor power outlets

There is a tiny safe deposit box in the room and is opened and closed with a skeleton key.

There is no swimming pool an no fitness center

The lighting in the room is dingy; the bathroom is old and the towels are on the thin side! Our bathroom door was warped and did not lock, etc. etc..

All those inconveniences are a far cry from what I prefer, but we all find ourselves absolutely LOVING IT here!

The registration is done the old-fashioned way: There is a log book and you handwrite your information in it (quite rustic, huh?). The [front] office is about 8x15 feet at best and doubles as a souvenir shop; but the adjacent outdoors dining and bar areas are spacious and well-allocated and the sun-drenched beach with its inviting crystal clear Caribbean waters is just ten steps away!

As you walk up the gravel-paved drive/walkway flanked by the rooms and palm and banana trees, you're greeted by Charley, a beautiful Blue and Gold Macaw whose timing is a bit off (says "hello" either before or after you're at his cage) and Buddy, a rambunctious white Cockatoo that screams nonstop and sounds like a squeaky wheel!

The rooms are arranged in a garden-style setting on 2 levels and the nostalgia and charm of the West Indies is plenty there! I found out later on that besides the 24-hour-manned security post at the entrance, Kuyaba has its own security staff on the beach as well to ensure the guests are not bothered by the peddlers who walk up and down the beach selling anything imaginable from fresh fruits to grilled lobsters, bracelets, cigarettes, day trips, snorkeling sails etc. Say "no thank you" if you don't want them and they'll leave you alone. Paul, our security guard at the beach is an energetic and fine-looking young man who starts his shift at 7 in the morning, raking the beach and arranging beach chairs before he slips into his uniform and role as a security guard and he means business too! He's very hand-on and resolute and the vendors seem to fear him!

Besides the beach, the [outdoor] bar is the focal point and the watering hole of the resort! All staff members are super friendly and accommodating. The bartenders DJ and Sean as well as the others are masters in crafting some of the most delicious cocktails and their friendly disposition makes you feel welcomed. They are very pleasant, as are the wait staff such as Annemarie and others.

Kuyaba is one of those places that grows on you and is super cozy; and believe it or not, it has become home away from home to many millionaires and baby boomers. In their outdoors Bar/Restaurant, they serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and they are quite popular among the locals and island visitors. The quality of their food is excellent, the menu is well-assorted and the prices are quite fair. Try the Scotch Bonet Pepper Shrimp dish if you like super-spicy food (the expectation is that "you will sweat when you eat it," It is very hot, but I didn't sweat!); the Grilled Lobster is fantabulous!

The resort seems to be quite safe. At no time did any of us fear for our safety or feel in danger, as guards patrol the property regularly. Many times we left our phones, computers and other personal belongings in the room and they were never touched.

There is a delightful little mall right across the 2-lane street from the hotel where you can find souvenir shops, tax-free jewelry stores and an ATM that dispenses cash in U.S. dollars or Jamaican dollars (nicknamed "Js" and pronounced "jays"!)

It was a nice, albeit short 6-day trip and we LOVED our stay at Kuyaba. The $120/night room rate was absolutely a bargain; and we will definitely go back soon.


Jamaica's only major industries seem to be tourism, Rum, spices and Reggae music! The economy is sustained predominantly by tourism. The cities and roads do look in great part dilapidated and rundown and poverty is rampant. There are no unemployment insurance or benefits. Therefore, those Jamaicans who are fortunate enough to find a job hold on to it for dear life and the others will do whatever it takes to make the ends meet. Jamaicans are hard-working and very friendly, respectful people. In fact, the common greeting or handshake consists mostly of touching fists and uttering the word "respect!"

You will be approached almost nonstop by peddlers and vendors offering you their products or services. If you are interested, use your negotiating skills without being unreasonable. But if you are not, a polite and simple (but firm) "no thank you" will suffice for them to leave you alone. During the entire 6 days we were in Negril, none of us was ever hustled by anyone.

IF YOU LIKE "GANJA" OR THE SMELL OF GANJA, YOU'RE AT HOME HERE! If you don't, get used to the smell! Personally, I have never ever touched any of those stuff and found myself getting very upset at the slightest whiff of it in the beginning, particularly because my teenaged daughter was traveling with me; but ultimately I learned to ignore it. No One ever offered to sell me any of that, and though it seems quite common to smoke "weed" in Jamaica, it is still very ILLEGAL and you can be detained and jailed for the possession or use of it.

Currency: 1 US-Dollar is equal to roughly 95 Jamaican dollars or thereabouts. Both currencies are used for payment.

Food and Drinks: YOU ARE ON "ISLAND TIME" HERE! Do not expect quick service but expect to wait anywhere from 15-30 minutes for your food or drink.

Drinks: Almost none of the bars or restaurants offer endless free refills--that applies also to your breakfast coffee or tea. Some establishments (incl. Kuyaba) offer ONE free coffee refill but that's it, you'll be charged for each additional order.

Food: Food seems to be wholesome and safe. We loved the jerk dishes and a few restaurants and roadside jerk stands we tried were outstanding and inexpensive.

Tipping: Generally, a 10% tip is expected wherever you dine or drink. Kuyaba does include that 10% in the bill as "staff service charge," so read your bill to ensure you don't double-tip if you don't want to. Also, if you want to photograph a person, always ask them first if it's okay to do so; it is common sense and common courtesy and very much appreciated; but they may ask you for a tip (usually 1 US$ would do.)

A simple rule of the thumb: Do not go anywhere you don't feel comfortable or at ease!

Rastafarians (nicknamed "Rastas"): You will see many of them in Negril, with their long dreadlocks sometimes pitched high up and often wrapped in a turban. Rastafarianism, as I was told by one of them, is all about being truthful and non-violent (i.e. Do not hate, do not fight, do not tell lies, do not kill, do not hurt or deceive anyone, etc.)

Real "Rastas" are 100% vegans and do not consume any meat whatsoever--not even fish, but they cannot live without Ganja! They are mild-mannered and soft-spoken. I was told by the same Rasta that unfortunately there are some Jamaicans who appear like Rastas but are shady and crooks; so be careful when you're approached by them; you'll quickly know if they're real or not.

Respect, Mon!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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8  Thank ssmosley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2013

We stayed at Kuyaba last spring, and loved it so much we decided to go back. And I am glad we did.

The location is great - I love being able to walk right out to the beach in the morning, and to watch the sunsets and then head to the bar for happy hour or back to our room to get ready for dinner. Also having the 2 stores and fruit stand right outside the main entrance (turn right as you go out) on the road gives a fast and cheap way to get cold water ($100 J or approx US$1 per 1.5 litres), snacks, and fresh fruit (the fruit here is 1/4th of the cost from the people on the beach).

We also love the staff at Kuyaba. We were asked every day how things were going, if we needed anything, if they could do anything for us. From the main desk, to the cleaning staff, to the restaurant and bar, everyone treated us GREAT, and were so friendly and helpful.

And the food in the restaurant is AMAZING... We ate there a number of times during our stay, and my wife was raving about the soups, pepper mountain shrimp, conch, lobster, and fish...

Thanks everyone at Kuyaba for a wonderful 9 days.

Room Tip: There is no pool or fitness center, but I got an error until I filled these in...
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Dwaine S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2013

I had been anticipating my trip to negril for months and i was most excited about my accommodations. i was willing to pay $100 a night for a room at Kuyaba because it seemed like a dream place to stay that wasnt all inclusive. Boy was I wrong. dont get me wrong the grounds and the food was wonderful but the rooms are awful!!!!! We stayed in the deluxe room and it was dingy and dark. the Beds are THE WORST! i repeat THE WORST beds i have ever slept on. The are on concrete slabs and they are box springs, not even and actual mattress. I couldnt sleep at all. I Had to go to the office to see if i could get extra pillows to lay on just to make it through the night. I had to ask 3 times and the manager just kept ignoring my request. then they came by 2 hours after the last time i asked and brought them. I was just overall disappointed with my stay. I had high hopes and i was let down big time. PLease DONT STAY HERE!!!

Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
6  Thank Sandy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2013 via mobile

Recommended by staff at our hotel. Immediately spotted several stray cats under the tables, perished on the areas where dirty plates are kept. Waiter was very unfriendly and annoyed that we asked to move away from the family of cats at our feet. Service was slow--we ordered at 8:15. Food arrived at 9:40.

  • Stayed: March 2013
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1  Thank Andreah65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kuyaba Hotel & Restaurant - Negril

Address: PO Box 2635, Negril, Jamaica
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Best Value Hotel in Negril
#28 Top resorts Hotel in Negril
#32 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#34 Romantic Hotel in Negril
Price Range: $48 - $106 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Kuyaba Hotel & Restaurant - Negril 3*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of Negril's famous & beautiful seven mile white sand beach, Kuyaba is a family owned & operated boutique, beach hotel with a tropical island vibe that you won't find anywhere else. Set on a lush, tropical property surrounded by exotic plants, flowers & different varieties of palm trees, Kuyaba gives the true feeling of an island vacation. Kuyaba's architecture looks rustic on the outside but has a clean & modern heartbeat within the rooms offering all the comforts of home & then some. Featuring an on-property, beachside, restaurant & bar with an outstanding view of the beautiful Caribbean Sea. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kuyaba Hotel Negril
Kuyaba Resort Negril

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