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“Amazing holiday in a beautiful location”

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Azul Beach Resort Sensatori Jamaica by Karisma
Ranked #10 of 85 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Bicester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Amazing holiday in a beautiful location”
Reviewed May 15, 2014

We went to this resort for a friend's wedding in a largish group of all ages and really enjoyed our stay. Staff really went out of their way to be friendly and make our stay perfect.

Property
Hotel lobby is stunning and it is located on one of the best beaches I've ever been on. Lots of sun-loungers, day beds, pools

Food
I'm a pescetarian and they had a great selection of food and were very accommodating. Ackee- the Jamaican restaurant, The Palms buffet, an Italian restaurant and Garfields. There is also a grill by the pool for food at lunchtime.The food for the wedding was really amazing as was the seafood buffet at the beach party.

Drink
Lots of bars including a swim up bar with lovely staff and different cocktail menus. We drunk a lot of bubbly over the week! Served quickly - our favourite was the Bob Marley with added rum.

Wedding
The wedding was lovely.

Room
Amazing room, air-conditioned, big bathroom, great view over the pool and beach. Comfortable bed and good shower. Wonderful.

Activities
Good value. We went on two trips - one to the black river, rum factory and YS falls and one to Rick's Cafe. Both were good, guides very knowledgeable. A wide range of activities were on offer through Thompson.

Entertainment
The entertainment put on at night included bands, djs in the evening, steel drums and singers. There is a beach party twice a week which Lots of sports and activities during the day including a cookery session which we went to and thoroughly enjoyed. Lots of water sports available too.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
15 Thank Lucy_1232014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Lakenheath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed May 14, 2014

we arrived on the 1st of may, ready for the launch of this beautiful hotel, on arrival we were greeted by the friendliest people we have ever met on holiday, and the check in was prompt , we were offered nice cool flannels and a glass of bubbly, the cases were promptly taken to our lovely room overlooking the sea and the well maintained gardens, this hotel has the wow wow factor, and must not be overlooked, the Thomson crew were the best , they worked closely together as a team and were always making sure everything went perfectly for every guest.
pools clean and pretty, food very good and hot, so clean everywhere, and the public toilets were kept as clean as the rooms, and they had aircon, lovely after a sunbathing session, cant fault this hotel, cant wait to visit again, And thankyou La toya for singing to brian and I, ( Brendy)

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
22 Thank Wendy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Linolnshire
Level Contributor
140 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
Reviewed May 14, 2014

Stayed at this resort for a week recently. Our previous Caribbean experience was from staying at Galley Bay resort in Antigua and we hoped this resort in Jamaica would be just as pleasing.

We arrived May 5th to find the rooms directly next to and below us were still being worked on in addition to rooms facing us in the opposite building. This resulted in the noise throughout the day when by the pool and the smell of paint/ adhesive quite strong at times.
When we went back to our room to have a drink on our balcony before changing for dinner the noise was often very loud, even after 6pm. We hadn't been made aware by Thomson (our tour operator) that any work was occurring which was disappointing.

Accommodation:
Room was a nice size and looked like we may have been the first occupants. The bed was huge and nice and firm. Huge tv and ipod docking station but only for older generation ipods/phones.
We utilised the pillow menu on offer and I can recommend the sea blue gel pillow, I wanted to take mine home!
The major thing which let the accommodation down was housekeeping which was never consistent, every day during our stay something was missed in the room and our room was never serviced before 5pm.
At just about every hotel/ resort I have stayed in they generally rotate rooms, so if your room isn't serviced until last one day it will be done earlier next day etc. When I mentioned this to our Thomson rep I was told we needed to ask for the room to be serviced at a particular time if we didn't want it done later as this was just how they do it there, they just do them the same each day. We didn't care if it was done at a certain time it might have just been good for it to be done earlier some days.
On one occasion we handed a list to reception of things the room needed AFTER the housekeeper had been, even then they still didn't get it right. The last straw with this issue came on our last evening when we returned to the room after 6pm and found it not serviced and no sign of the housekeeper anywhere in our block. We raised this with reception and the Thomson rep who assured us she would check the room personally once it was done. Great when its 6pm the day before you leave and you need to pack and want to get changed to make the most of your last night there! Even after this the room STILL wasn't done properly and was still missing items.
We had also overheard another rep the same day saying she was supervising housekeeping in anticipation of a load of new arrivals, consequently some rooms weren't ready on time, we think this is why our room was left out.
On returning to our room from speaking to the rep about the issue we passed the housekeeper, she realised which room we were going into and instructed us to put our 'do not disturb' sign on the door until we went out for dinner when she would come back.
A member of guest services later spoke to my partner and said housekeeping told her they'd not done our room as the 'do not disturb' sign had been on the door. She had told guest services it had been there earlier when she went to service the room. NOT TRUE, she told us to put it up and this was after 6pm it was accessible ALL DAY. Staff should not lie to cover their own backs.
The rep was kind enough to arrange a bottle of sparkling wine to be given to us that evening with our meal but this was the exact same product available at the bar included in the all inclusive basis which we were on. We didn't ask for or expect a 'gift' and certainly not something we'd paid for as part of the holiday anyway!

Food:
The food in general was good, breakfast in the Palms restaurant was great with a choice that should satisfy any appetite. They introduced a menu in the Palms restaurant at breakfast & lunch after our 1st few days but this was hit and miss with a lot of items not available. You were only told this once you'd ordered (maybe an idea to brief staff so they can inform you when they hand you the menu) and some days we weren't given the menu, assumed it wasn't on that day only to see other staff were still handing it out. Lack of consistency here too.
The best food/ service in our opinion was at Garfields and the Ackee restaurant.

Staff:
Again no consistency here, some very friendly and effective, others wandering around seemingly a bit clueless and vacant.
We noticed 2 food and beverage managers pacing around constantly who actually appeared to make staff more nervous, everyone expects at some point mistakes will be made, staff are only human and as long as they learn from it and get on with the job they shouldn't be made to feel like some staff here seemed. The atmosphere at the bar was great when these 2 weren't around with staff showing personality and flare. As soon as they appeared staff went back to robot mode.
They seemed fixated with the most minute silly detail while other aspects went unchecked. 1 example being one of the managers standing in the restaurant trying to get a member of staff to come to him. When he got someone he told them to re fold a napkin and re place it on the table of someone who was in selecting food at the buffet and had left their napkin on their chair. At the same time you have poolside toilets with no soap or paper towels, if you are going to be fixed on such tiny detail as re positioning napkins and re folding them every time a guest leaves the table at a buffet restaurant you need to make sure the basic details are attended to first.
Not once did either of these managers take much interest in guests, pausing only to speak to 1 or 2 people and never a smile or eye contact made as you assed them and smiled at them.
However when the General Manager sets such an amazing example of terrible guest relations what can you expect? We only knew who he was from seeing him on the guest relations info. He passed us each day with his head down and a frown. We never saw him speak to 1 guest. You don't have to find out the life story of each and every guest but as an ex hotel duty manager I know how vital it is to get to know guests, what is pleasing them and making them feel welcome. Not the case with the management team here in any way.
A couple of staff stood out, Alwayne working in the Ackee restaurant and in the Italian restaurant seemed to be still learning his trade but was so keen to please guests and had character.
Martino on the 7mile bar had the knowledge of cocktails (which many bar staff did not, and in a 5 star gourmet resort bar tenders need to have basic drinks prep knowledge) and he had personality. Staff in the coffee bar were always friendly and happy to help, again showing a bit more individuality.
Just about all the staff would smile and say hello in passing but we just didn't feel they were as friendly as the staff we experienced at Galley Bay, we know in the Caribbean they are very laid back and service is usually a bit more relaxed than at home and this is fine, you're on hols after all but they just weren't as talkative, some seeming like they were switched off, again perhaps due to fear of management.
We always treat staff with respect and courtesy, part of our holiday is to get to know staff and let them know we appreciate them making our holiday amazing and having been in the trade I know this is appreciated.

Pools:
We only used the adults only swim up bar pool but all pools looked gorgeous. Again there seemed some confusion here, signs up by the pool and the info in our room informed us swimming was not allowed after a certain time at night due to the pools being cleaned & treated. However on our 2nd day we got into the pool, ordered our drinks at the swim up bar only to be shouted at by on of the lifeguards that they were cleaning the pool (he then went to get a sign to say the pool was shut) I said sorry we hadn't realised, his response was to grunt that we should've known as no one was in the pool??!? Then to go on to mutter to other lifeguards and gesture towards us, this made us really uncomfortable. Why didn't the member of staff at the pool bar know and tell us? If that was the reason we should have known then similarly we could've assumed the sea was closed off as no one was swimming in there! Utterly ridiculous and no way to speak to guests. If its closed put the appropriate signs up BEFORE you start to treat it, some guests (like us) may not have been around the pool prior to you starting the treatment and be unaware theres anything being done.
Areas around the pool were kept immaculate by grounds staff. One used to leave flowers and shells on the loungers each morning, a lovely little touch.
More though also need to be put into the layout of the areas, cabanas on the area of beach adjacent to the main area by the bar were given new curtains and roof covers & dusted down by staff each morning. However the 2 cabanas at the end of the beach by the adults only end and down at the far end of the multigenerational section we not cleaned down (I saw staff do the ones by the main section and then just walk away) and had old tatty side curtains and eventually one of the new roof covers on.
The one we used was the only useable one in the adult only end but placed way to close to the beach volley ball pitch, consequently one day I was hit full force in the face by the volley ball, knocking my sunglasses into my nose and eye. I still have a bruise and soreness.
We only chose to use this cabana as space around the pool was so restricted with pairs of loungers less than a foot apart from the next ones. I personally don't like to feel like im 'on top' of the other guests, I go away for quality time with my partner.

Music & Entertainment:
Each area and restaurant had different music playing, predominantly reggae music. This is great BUT the volume was such that in each area you could still hear music from the next area over the top. I think had we been there for 2 weeks this would have driven me mad!
Entertainment each evening was a different group or singer. The steel metal drum band on the Wednesday were awesome but again if you were sat in the bar you still had the hotel playing their own music at the same time!
We enjoyed sitting on the balcony upstairs outside the Nesta Rasta Lounge on an evening but music could be heard there from the Palms restaurant below, the 7 mile bar and the Nesta lounge all on top of the entertainment.
When these areas are all around the stage why feel the need to still have other music playing when the entertainment is on?

Id like to say we would return and hopefully the management will have found their footing and improved guest relations but I think our return to the Caribbean will likely be returning to Antigua where we found a hotel doing it right, with more space for less guests where you feel you've been valued and had a chance to relax. And with a tour operator who at least inform you of issues such as work going on....
We took this break as Im about to start work with a major airline and cant take any hols during the first 6 months. As part of this job I will be returning to Jamaica regularly but sadly I don't think I will be recommending it to those I come into contact with.


The resort is currently looking terribly impressive with everything shiny and new but unless the management standards improve this wont last long. And staff in general need to be allowed to let more of themselves show through (not all answering a thank you with the phrase 'its my pleasure' obviously how they have been instructed to reply) guests who have experience of real 5 star resorts will move on after 1 visit. 5 star this is not.

Room Tip: Some rooms are at the back of the resort near the road and you do get road noise there.
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank moowliscious
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KarismaHotelsResorts, Director General at Azul Beach Resort Sensatori Jamaica by Karisma, responded to this review, January 27, 2015
Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with the trip advisor community.

We do regret your overall impressions fell somewhat short of exceptional, however. Our goal is to ensure every guest enjoys a memorable stay, so we seek to offer superior quality , luxurious amenities, and customer service, all at a great price to our guests.

We value your insights, and hope for the opportunity to better your impressions in the future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
negril
Level Contributor
35 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed May 13, 2014

This resort opened Dec. 21 2013. It is smells of relaxation and comfort. I was given a grand tour and can not wait to stay for a night or two. You can get a room that opens right out to the pool with a swim up bar. They have a rum bar and I believe there are 35 different flavours to try. There is a Indian restaraunt. I do not know the other ones but know they will be just as good. The style of the resort just gives you a comfort feeling. It is so much more up then the old woren out Couples and Sandels. The only thing is it is farther up the beach then being right on seven mile. How ever for a big 2 dollars Canadian you can grab a cab right out side the resort door on the road make sure to pick the one with the red license plate they are cheaper then the Juta Tour ones, They are private and you may have other people in it with you but all is good. Have fun might see you there.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank bbhkccaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta
Level Contributor
50 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2014

I would have liked to give one star, but there were redeeming qualities of the resort. We stayed there the week of April 26, 2014. Unfortunately the first part of the week was their "grand opening" for the VIPs and media. The four of us were part of maybe 20 guests at the resort. They relocated everyone else to Riu.
So, we did have great service at the swim up bar with great staff Ale and Christina. They were both amazing ladies. The staff at the resort is their strongest point. Unfortunately, management does not treat them like that.
The grand opening did limit some of what was to be available to us. There were to be beach parties on Wednesday and Saturday. We arrived on Saturday to a sign that said beach party cancelled. (they were too busy getting ready for the VIPs...to take care of the paying guests). The beach party the following Wednesday did happen, but alas it was for the VIPs not the guests! Our favorite Italian restaurant there was closed three nights to us. The first two nights, there were private VIPs functions in there, the third night, there was a wedding rehearsal dinner. Do NOT go to Garfields restaurant there. The night we were displaced out of the Italian restaurant, we went there and it took 3 hours for dinner. (there were 4 tables of people.....) Food was not as described in the menu. The second time we went to Garfields (the only other place for dinner was not a/c) dinner took 2 hours. This time, they tried to sell us a bottle of wine. (really? we're at an all inclusive resort and you're trying to sell us wine?) So, when we said we were not interested in buying the wine, they took our glasses! We then had to ask for our glasses back and some of the house red and white wine. The third night, we did go to the open air Akee and it was very good, just alittle warm, but the food was amazing. The food in the Palms (breakfast and lunch "food display", not buffet) was very good with a lot of variety, but they waste so much. We also were told they throw out the food not eaten, which in an impoverished country is unacceptable.
They have trained the staff so "tightly" that you get scripted responses to almost everything. When you say thank you for something, it is always "it's my pleasure". When you ask how they are, it is always "excellent". got kind of old and you have lost the Jamaican charm and culture. Kind of sad. The staff was truly the only saving grace. They were all personable and made the trip. Management was not responsive, non communicative to the paying guests. When we complained about Garfield's and the Italian restaurant being closed to guests, we were told "maybe you should have taken the relocation offer". We found that to be a totally unacceptable response. Andrew the GM did apologize once to us for the noise when they were pressure washing the pool deck while we were eating lunch. I do realize the grand opening was important, but you forgot your paying guests. What was to have been an amazing 30th anniversary trip was disappointing at times.
The water sports that also use to be free, now cost. $30/pp to go snorkeling was a little pricey.
They do have a nice gift shop. The first day there were computers to use in the lobby, after that, they were removed for champagne for the VIPs. Again, they did not worry about the paying guests.
The renovations at the resort were amazing and it is beautiful. the beach is gorgeous. Everything is pristine and kept clean. Our housekeeper did an amazing job everyday.
So, I gave three stars, but if I had to rate things separately, some would have been one and some 5. I felt that with the restrictions on our stay, we did not get our value for the money for the GI rate.
Shout our to the great staff: Ale, Christina, Fiona and Dameon. You all were some of the best parts of our trip. We won't forget you.

Room Tip: try to stay away from the road. Hear traffic if out on deck and at night, it can wake you.
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
12 Thank BufferdooAtlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KarismaHotelsResorts, Director General at Azul Beach Resort Sensatori Jamaica by Karisma, responded to this review, January 27, 2015
Thank you for your sharing the experiences of your visit to the Azul Sensatori , we truly appreciate your feedback however please accept our sincere apologies for the areas in which we fell short. We will be use your comment constructively to perfect our Gourmet Inclusive vacation experience
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
88 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed May 5, 2014

This is new opening and all staff working hard to be a top notch resort and they will be. Location amazing, beach fabulous, rooms have everything one might need, very comfortable. Do stay here, so much better than run down Sandals and Beaches on either side. Food great, staff so very helpful in all things even with their teething glitches on opening. This is going to be a super place to stay, do come eyou will enjoy it immensely.

Room Tip: Go for block six though all our ocean view and quite wonderful. You will not be disappointed.
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
18 Thank footlocker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
37 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
Reviewed April 30, 2014

I have mixed feelings after being a long time visitor to this resort when it was Beaches Sandy Bay. It has been beautifully updated, the rooms are gorgeous and the food is outstanding. Our favorite beach is still raked by hand daily but the water sports are no longer included in the "all inclusive". The Jamaican flavor is no longer evident, even though the staff do an outstanding job and provide excellent and friendly service. The resort has been upgraded to a high standard but, I'm not sure if it fits in with the super casual Negril vibe that we have come to love and look forward to.
If I had never been here before and had no previous experiences to compare it to, I would have been perfectly satisfied with our vacation . To be fair, there was still construction going on because they had not had their grand opening yet and the hotel was filled with stressed out management. I was not impressed with their attempts to sign us up for their returning guest program which is costly.
I would sum up our experience as if someone had taken your home and replaced everything in it but it's still your home and it takes some getting used to. I'm not certain if we will stay again.

Room Tip: Ask for a room as far away from the road as possible.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
12 Thank MrsBicep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Azul Beach Resort Sensatori Jamaica by Karisma

Property: Azul Beach Resort Sensatori Jamaica by Karisma
Address: Norman Manley Blvd, Negril, Jamaica (Formerly Sensatori Jamaica by Karisma)
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 85 Hotels in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Azul Beach Resort Sensatori Jamaica by Karisma 4.5*
Number of rooms: 285
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on a coveted stretch of Negril's world-famous Seven Mile Beach, Azul Beach Resort Sensatori Jamaica is a pristine paradise where couples, families, friends and colleagues can reconnect beneath brilliant blue skies and tropical sunshine. This oceanfront hotel offers spacious, contemporary oceanfront accommodations, with special adults-only sections dedicated exclusively to romantic honeymoon suites. You'll find a variety of restaurants serving masterfully prepared and artfully presented International cuisine, enhanced by breathtaking ocean views. There's a world-class spa. Premium liquor. Live entertainment day and night. A near endless variety of activities on land and in the crystal clear waters. And supervised programs for kids and teens designed to make sure everyone has a great time. ... more   less 
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