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“....Its Truly Breath Taking...”
Review of Rockhouse Hotel

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Rockhouse Hotel
Ranked #2 of 80 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 April 2012

I've been here about 3 times. And I have to say, anytime I'm in Negril - I will be stopping by. The view is "Amazing and Breath Taking". You can literally just sit there and say nothing to anyone for minutes, because the presence is so captivating. I've only stayed at the hotel once, and the room was ....aaaa okay. Room was unique in the fact that it was woody and small and cozy, not at as many stones/rock as I would have expected. But we were welcomed with a cocktail - which is always nice. But the waking up and walking outside to the cliffs is TRULY AMAZING!! I would stay there just for the view. The main reason I went there so many times is for the restaurant. The food is classic and so flavorful. My dish is lobster, theres nothing better then eating a Jamaican Lobster on the cliffs edge....... aaaaaaaaah breathe it alllllll in.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank MsMorales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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604 - 610 of 1,116 reviews

Reviewed 19 March 2012

Just returned from a week at Rockhouse where we stayed in Premium Villa #4, arguably the one with the best view in the place -- 270 degrees waterview with direct sunset. After getting over the initial disappointment that #4 didn't have a big enough patio for a shade umbrella (unlike #3, which did) we settled into the astonishingly peaceful rhythms and vibe of RH.

We have been to some of the most deluxe, special properties in the West Indies, including Cap Juluca, Jumby Bay, Caneel Bay, Biras Creek, Little Dix Bay and I can safely say that Rockhouse's location and vista were possibly the most beautiful and unique....and literally costing one half to even one third of those other places. The value is exceptional. That said, do not expect "fancy." This is a rustic, hip, eco-oriented, natural spot. Even the 'premium' villas are fairly basic with amenities, but honestly all you really need.

The highlights: Heart-stopping vistas wherever you look. Plenty of places all up and down the cliffs for a couple to lounge and read -- none of that "get out at 6:30 am to reserve a lounge chair by the pool." The spa -- really incredible. Between us we had five massages in six days, all in the cliffside cabana hanging over the water. The infinity pool (though needing some refurbishing, as many have commented here,) which is a divine spot to hang for the day, and to watch the sunset every evening with a Red Stripe in hand. The jerk chicken and snapper sandwiches at the Pool bar, which we ate every day, and were our favorite meals bar none. Floating around in buoyant Pristine Cove, perhaps the most exhilarating brace of Caribbean sea I've experienced.

Things you'll have to adjust to: "Jamaica time." Sometimes service is insanely slow, especially at the Pool. We learned that we had to put our lunch order in right at noon (when it opened) and then not expect to get it until close to 1:15. No problem, mon. But still.
We also got a little tired of the food on property -- it is jerk everything, and somewhat limited -- especially at the RH main restaurant, which we actually found to be our least favorite. Pushcart had more variety and overall better quality. Our last night at RH restaurant my husband ordered the fire-crusted snapper, which was literally inedible. He would have sent it back but it was our last night and we had such a happy vibe so we didn't bother. It's great to have authentic Jamaican food (and we do love jerk) but it seemed there should be be more fresh fish options (all they had was snapper and mahi, every single day) and perhaps some choices of simpler preparations. We did go to Three Dives once for the jerk grilled lobster, which was wonderful. Were we to return -- which we think we will -- we'd explore more some of the other restaurants in Negril.

It's also a puzzle to me that a place with such a healthy "spa" vibe would not have a fitness center, especially as there is no place to walk on property! That is, you are on the cliffs -- there is no beach. So unless you do yoga (offered every morning) there is literally no exercise short of swimming/snorkeling. Even a small space with a treadmill, a few ellipticals, some weights and mats would be welcomed. It seems the clientele is fitness conscious and I can't imagine in 2012 a resort of this caliber not providing some exercise options.

Lastly, some recommendations for the rooms. Please, if you advertise yourself as a spa (and guests are frequently walking to and from the spa cabanas for treatments) and especially because the stone patios are not completely sheltered from other's looking in on you, you should provide bathrobes in the rooms! Even Marriots provide bathrobes. I really felt this omission. Yes, it's wonderful to take an 'outdoor' shower in the stone bathroom at the end of the day, but then what a drag to have to get dressed instead of just slipping on a robe to sit out and watch the sun go down from our patio. Also, I'd recommend some better lighting and also better seating in the rooms, especially because of your strong recommendation to secure the mosquito netting around the bed at dusk. Once the bed is 'sealed off' there is nowhere comfortable to sit in the rooms save for two very uncomfortable wooden chairs that are next to a small table that was never used for anything except the RH 'guide' and menus. Net-net while I love the rusticity and authenticity of these octagonal villas I do believe with some brainstorming you can optimize the comfort of what is there.

All that said: five stars. For beauty, for vibe, for naturalness, and for value. We will return but we would like management to consider some of the points we raised.

Room Tip: #3 and #10 are the best villas -- most open view, and private patio with umbrella in addition to cha...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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14  Thank doppel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 March 2012

What a beautiful setting. Spent two nights there. Had been on the beach for three days prior. Totally different experience. The water view is breathtaking. Accommodations were very nice. We stayed in a "premium " villa. Private, excellent view and water access. Loved the platforms for a spontaneous jump into the water. Was not crowded, easy to get into the restaurant and bar. Food was very good.

Room Tip: Would suggest villas 10 or 18
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Playgo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2012

The service was amazing. The food was delicious. I would highly recommend a massage on the Caribbean Drench as there is nothing comparable to it! Rooms were great and very clean. Loved the architecture around the cliffs and how it was incorporated within the foundation of the hotel. Wish I could have stayed longer!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Sasha P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2012

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!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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27  Thank Choosin-To-Be-Happy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2012

We stayed for 5 beautiful days and the staff, food and location of the Rock House were perfection. Take time to go to the cart bar/restaurant ask for the Achee fritters, taste sensation!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank cosmo2Australia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2012

If you are a busy person who lives life at a frenetic pace and want a simple relaxing vacation, you will find no better than Rockhouse! My boyfriend and I just returned from our second trip to Rockhouse, having stayed there a year ago. I am someone who is intent on seeing, doing, living every moment, which I do in the typical fashion of trying to check off as many places on my travel bucket list as possible. After staying at Rockhouse last Feb, however, I discovered the value of the chillaxed vaca!

This place is a little piece of heaven in a crazy world. Both of us find a peacefulness there that is unrivaled...the scenery...the service...the villas...the chairs overlooking the water...banana pancakes delivered cliffside for breakfast...waking up to watch the sun rise through three floor to ceiling windows surrounding the bed...watching the world's best sunset...showering outside amidst the roots of old trees...Sting Rays, Red Stripes and snapper sandwiches from the pool bar...a couples massage on the cliffs...swimming in the clearest water off the cliffs...and of course the best and cutest little bartender at the pool! (That one is for you, Chevon!)

Check out the little bar down the road across the street called De Bar where Eddie will serve you the best jerk chicken and rice/peas you've ever eaten! Food is terrific at Rockhouse and Push Cart as well. We are already planning our return trip next year!

Last year we stayed in a standard room and this year a villa; the difference is totally worth the money! We were in villa 18, which was near the pool for beverage replenishment and had a killer view. It became quite the adventure to hop along the step stones on the cliffs after so much "relaxation"!!

Careful of the mosquitoes; they ate me alive the last night we were there! Always light the coil before going to sleep and tuck in the ends of that bed netting!!

Rockhouse simply has an amazing thing going and is the perfect place to chill with someone you love.

Room Tip: Villas are totally worth it; would recommend 18!
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank annabelle4090
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rockhouse Hotel

Address: West End Rd, Negril, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Negril
#2 Family Hotel in Negril
#2 Spa Hotel in Negril
#3 Romantic Hotel in Negril
#5 Business Hotel in Negril
Price Range: $146 - $277 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Rockhouse Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 34
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

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