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My husband and I and another couple booked Negril Gardens (owned by Sandals) for our vacation because we had stayed there once before and enjoyed it's laid back feeling as well as it's reasonable price. When we arrived to the airport in Montego Bay on Monday afternoon, we were informed by the Air Jamaica staff that we were upgraded for free to Beaches Negril(BNG) because Negril Gardens(NG) was overbooked. Initially we were concerned because our friends were coming on Wednesday and were booked at Negril Gardens. We wanted to stay at the same resort. The staff at the airport was not able to help us, so we decided we would try to settle things when we arrived at Beaches.
The bus ride was uneventful. The new road from MoBay to Negril has been completed so the ride was shorter than the last time (approx an hour & 15 min.).
When we arrived to the resort, we realized our upgrade was significant. The place is huge and fancy compared to Negril Gardens. While we were checking in and sipping our rum punches, we explained the situation about our friends being booked at NG. We were willing to move to NG if necessary, but we were hoping that they would also receive a free upgrade to BNG. The staff was more then happy to try and straigten out the situation, and to make a long story short, they did, our friends arrived at BNG on Wed.
When being shown to our room, we realized that the resort was much bigger than any other we had stayed at previously, we were impressed. The bellman showed us all the lights and the controls for the ac before he left. We tried to tip him, but he simply smiled and refused saying he was not allowed to accept tips. Again, we were impressed because even though gratuity has been included at all the resorts we have been to in the past, no one has ever refused a tip. Anyway, our room was lovely. It did smell a little musty at first, but after a while w/ the ac on, it went away, or we got used to it. We had a few issues with the room, the sheets smelled badly of mildew, there were lots of ants in the bathroom and there was mold covering one of the lampshades. We left our housekeeper a friendly note the next day and every problem was taken care of.
We arrived after the luch buffet was over, but we were directed to the "Piazza" where they offer pleny of good things to eat, salads, burgers, jerk chicken, brick-oven pizza, pasta, and lots more.
We went to the orientation they offered at 5pm (there was also one at 10am, but we arrived too late). Nordia, one of the "Fun Pals" or animation staff welcomed us warmly and showed us around the entire resort which was very big.
There were 3 restaurants aside from the buffet, The Seville (international cuisine)which does not require reservations but does require semi-formal attire, The Last Chance Saloon (Tex-Mex) no reservations or formal dress required, and Tappan Yaki (Japanese Steakhouse) which requires reservations, but no formal dress. Because we intended to stay at NG, which is extremely casual, we were not prepared to dress up for dinner, so we did not get to try the Seville, but we did try the 2 others. The Last Chance was ok. They close at 10pm and we arrived at 9:30. the host was clearly not too happy to see us as he looked at his watch and sighed heavily as if annoyed that we showed up. However he was polite otherwise and seated us after a 5 minute wait. My entree of fish and shrimp was very good, but no one else seemed very impressed by their selections. the service was very good.
Tappan Yaki was not so good. The service was mediocre and the food was not good. However the chef that cooked at our table was very entertaining and we had fun. The buffet was overall very good. Some of the items were better than others, but there was always plenty to choose from. The service was also good.
The beach was perfect. There was never a shortage of beach loungers and since the strech of beach alotted to the resort was so big, we were able to seperate ourselves from the crowd a bit.
There are several bars, one near the beach and main pool (swim up bar) another by the other pool (also swim up) and one close to the fromt of the resort, which opened at 5pm and closed at midnight. There was also a bar in the disco and another next to the disco which was non-smoking. These last 2 were open quite late ( I never made it that late). The service was excellent at all the bars. The drinks were good and premium brands of liquor were offered.
The entertainent on most nights was very good. The "Fun Pals" were amazing and always happy, upbeat and full of energy.
My friend and I both got 25 minute massages (not included). We both had very different experiences, but we both enjoyed our massages. The spa prices are a bit expensive in my opinion.
What we liked most about the resort was the staff. Just about everyone was super friendly and always offered you a smile when you passed by. Almost everyone asked if you were having a good time and genuinly seemed to care.
I would definitely recommend this resort to anyone, unless you prefer adult only type places (lots of kids around). i would return to Beaches Negril. Please feel free to contact me ( firstname.lastname@example.org )if you have any specific questions about anything.
Thanks to Susie for this trip report ...