Since we appreciated reading the reviews by others before traveling to the Rockhouse, we wanted to return the favor. We chose to celebrate our 25th anniversary here and were not disappointed. This was our first time to the Rockhouse and first time to Jamaica as well.
We chose an early Sunday morning departure from Atlanta that allowed us to arrive in Montego Bay just before lunch time. This allowed us to eventually arrive at the Rockhouse by ~ 2 P.M. in time to enjoy the rest of the day—we’re glad we did this.
Before departing Atlanta, we stopped by duty free and picked up a bottle of our favorite spirit—another great tip we picked up from a review we read. We indulged in some of the Rockhouse specialty drinks while at the pool and during meals, but it was nice to drink our own favorite concoction in the evening while sitting on our villa patio. We pre-arranged through Rockhouse for Kenney Tours to pick us up in Montego Bay. Kenney and his crew are great. On the ride to the Rockhouse, our driver, Nelson, was even nice enough to stop at a small convenience store on our route so we could pick up some incidentals—water, coke, etc. We learned later there was a grocery store 5 min taxi ride away from the Rockhouse. Next time, we'd go there early in our stay to get a few other food/drink items for our room vice purchasing everything from the Rockhouse. A previous review forewarned the reader to prepare your mental state for the 1.5 hour ride through poverty—very true. I started to second guess whether I had chosen a great place to spend our 25th. However, once we arrived to the Rockhouse, we were in a different world—well worth the trip.
Upon arriving at the Rockhouse, our room was not quite ready, so we took the opportunity to wander about and familiarize ourselves with the property. We were quickly approached by “Bally,” the senior grounds keeper, who then showed us all around—what a fantastic gentleman—and the rest of the staff is just like him.
Accommodations: we stayed in a Premium Villa. I had requested #3 or #10 (based on the reviews we had read). Those were initially unavailable, so they assigned us to #2. However, #3 became available the next day, so we chose to change rooms for the remainder of our five day stay. #3 had a better view of the entire property and ocean and I have to agree with the others, if you are staying in a Premium Villa, then #3 is king if you can get it—simply for the view—I think all the Premium Villa amenities are the same. With all that said, “when” we return (not if), I think we will choose to save ~ $90 per night and stay in a regular “Villa.” They also are right on the water—we would have been equally pleased. Another couple we met indicated #16 or 18 are the best “villa’s” to stay in. There are some hotel-like rooms on the property for less than $200 per night. If your budget can only afford that, then there are several sunning pads around the property that are not designed specifically for a room that will still allow you to soak in the Rockhouse experience. But clearly the Rockhouse experience is all about staying in one of 19 water front villas for both day and night-time relaxation—worth the splurge if you can.
Food/drink: as you would expect, all seafood dishes here are great. Snapper sandwich at the pool—fantastic. There’s a “tenderloin” on the menu and as a meat lover, I decided to try it one night (even after they told me it was a “filet”). Ughh—not good. Tough sirloin at best—I should have known—don’t waste your $24 on that dish. The couple at the next table made the same mistake. It then became the running joke between us every time we would see them on the property. The lobster is out of this world! Great specialty drinks. If you are a beer lover, get ready for three choices—Red Stripe, Red Stripe Light and Heineken.
Cigars: men (and ladies who partake), Cuban and Jamaican cigars are $20+. I brought a few of my own--glad I did--very nice evenings to enjoy a slow smoke.
Room Service: there’s no extra charge for room service. We followed the advice of a previous reviewer and had breakfast ordered in every day—this was fantastic. Banana Nut bread was delicious.
Weather: you’re in the tropics—some days are crystal clear and other days you have some rain—but nothing that stays around for a long time. Perfect temps—mid-80’s to low 70s.
Activities/Excursions: The Rockhouse is not about activities and excursions—it is all about relaxing; soaking in the sun; swimming/diving/snorkeling in the crystal clear waters; sipping your favorite drink by the pool and watching gorgeous sunsets (the property points due-West). Yes, there are some excursions inland you could take, but that would have diluted the Rockhouse experience in my opinion.
Spa: we followed another great review tip and had a couple’s massage in one of the cabana’s on the water—a must! Also did yoga in the mornings—gents, if you’ve never done yoga (I had not), prepare yourself, it’s harder than it looks!
Insects: definitely need to spritz yourself with repellent—mainly when you are “inside” your rooms for the skeeters—although there’s not many at all. When you are outside, there’s enough breeze to keep them away.
Electricity: 110 in the rooms—no need for converters--outlets are the same as in the U.S.
Internet: for those that can't resist being disconnected, free WiFi is available in the lobby and restaurant with plans to expand WiFi throughout the resort (didn't give a timetable).
Cell Phone: cell phone coverage everywhere--don't forget to explore with your cell provider short term international calling/data plans if you plan to use.
Tipping/currency: We arrived with very little U.S. cash in our pocket since we had read that everything can be charged to your room (this is true). However, any extra “tip” you add to your dinner bill for example, goes into a general tipping pool that all employees share in. If you want to reward a specific employee for great service, you have to give them cash directly. I wish we had come with extra cash specifically for this reason. Rockhouse doesn’t have an ATM on property. Nearest one is a 5 minute taxi ride away. But since we knew in advance we were coming to stay on the property and just relax with no excursions, we never had the opportunity to get extra cash and reward several key employees with our generosity. If you do take an excursion or go out, the community readily takes U.S. dollars, but you’ll get Jamaican currency in return for change.
Gear: We brought our snorkel gear—this was nice to have and easy to bring vice renting a set every day.
Music/Laptop: if you like your own music, then consider purchasing the Bose Soundlink (this is not an endorsement, just a statement of fact)—connects via Bluetooth (or auxiliary wire) and produces a wonderful sound typical of Bose devices. It was fantastic to have some light music playing in the background at times (without earphones) while still listening to the waves. It also produced a mini-theater sound when we chose to watch a DVD on our laptop one night.
That’s it—thank you to all previous reviewers that allowed us to plan our trip better. And to all who will read this and make your first trip to the Rockhouse—enjoy!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Rockhouse is a boutique hotel stretching across the cliffs of Pristine Cove. Nestled amongst eight acres of tropical lush gardens, thatched roofed villas are perched on the water's edge. Guests swim in the sixty foot horizon pool or take the stairs carved into the rock down to the cove for snorkeling on the reef. Home to two award winning restaurants - the Rockhouse Restaurant & Bar and the Pushcart Restaurant & Rum Bar. The renowned Rockhouse Spa has a philosophy that is a simple, holistic approach to well-being, health and happiness. Spa treatments are undertaken "on-the-rocks" in the cliff-edge Massage Cabana or at the eight room garden spa. Yoga classes are offered daily overlooking the sea.Consistently ranked one of the top resorts in the Caribbean, the Rockhouse won the Caribbean's Leading Boutique Hotel 2014 and Jamaica's Leading Spa 2014 at the World Travel Awards. In addition, the Rockhouse was also voted the No. 1 "Best Value Hotel in the Caribbean" in Travel + Leisure's "World's Best Value Awards" and included in Conde Naste Traveler's Readers Choice list of "Best in the World". ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Rockhouse Hotel Negril
- Rock House Jamaica
- Rockhouse Jamaica
- Rockhouse Hotel Jamaica