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The Caves
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Reviewed 18 May 2010

My husband and I went to The Caves in the beginning of May for our 5 year anniversary and as our first trip alone after having our daughter 13 months before. I was looking for a place that was the opposite of a “mega-resort” where we could relax, recharge, reconnect, eat, drink and SLEEP. After doing a lot of research on here (I would check for new reviews like checking for a new boyfriend’s emails!), The Caves looked like the perfect place for us. And it completely lived up to my expectations!

I won’t repeat everything that everyone always says. It’s all spot on. It’s a very, very special place. I will try and give some highlights, tips and my few criticisms. Hopefully they will be helpful.

HIGHLIGHTS:
- IT’S SMALL: Something that people don’t really talk about on here is the size of the resort. (Hey, TripAdvisor, you really should list how many rooms a hotel has AND when it was built/last renovated!). There are only 12, I think, rooms on the whole property! That means a max of 24 people (in our case it wasn’t full and I think only 16 or so were there.) This is sooooo wonderful. Being from a densely populated area, I love small resorts, but this one really took the cake. You could always find a spot where there was no one around.
- IT’s QUIET: Due to the size, the type of person who comes here, the classy staff and just the natural sounds of the waves on the rocks, it’s so nice and quiet. You almost want to whisper at dinner. People are very respectful and except for some screaming when you get the courage to do a jump, it’s pure peace.
- TIME STRETCHES FOREVER: I was worried that we were only going to have 4 nights there (it’s kind of a schlep from the airport too), but time passes so wonderfully slowly there. So if you can only go for a few days, it’ll be worth it and you’ll still feel renewed.
- PERFECT TEMP: Not too hot, not too cold. Not my normal experience in the Caribbean.
- SPECIAL STAFF: OK, people talk about the staff all the time so that’s nothing new. But they really are wonderful. Any time they walk by you get a “You good?” and they genuinely make you feel like they are glad you are there. And no one has a “that’s not my job” mentality. It’s like when they were hired the manager said, “OK, your job is X, but really, it’s to make guests happy.” In particular, Patrick (Hi Patrick! Xoxoxo), the lunch ladies (I never knew their names somehow!), Anna/Michelle in the spa, Paul. Just great people and they do a great job.

TIPS:
- Skip the sunset hot tub. It’s kind of lame and the view is much better from the pool.
- Make yourself do the jumps – if you only do one, do the blue hole and look back up. Amazing feeling.
- Float on a raft inside the blue hole just listening to the waves crash, watching the bats, and feeling like you are on another planet.
- Always, always, always get the combo for meals. (We loved all meals. If you are a very picky eater you may not like it here, but if you like food like we do, you’ll love it.)
- Ask Paul for signs (someone said that foamy water was a sign) and be on the lookout for tiny, almost invisible jelly fish. I got stung pretty bad and am still itching everywhere!
- Don’t leave the resort while you are there. Just enjoy all it has to offer.
- See if you can get Cave #2 for your cave dinner. It’s prettier and not as hot. This was like being on “THE MOST ROMANTIC ONE-ON-ONE DATE EVER” on the bachelor! HA! Really memorable.
- Have a specialty rum in the rum cave. If rum isn’t your thing, bring another drink down there. It’s a really cool place.
- Get a disposable underwater camera to take shots inside the blue hole, on the raft looking back at the resort, etc. I really regret this.

CRITICISMS:
If I could have, I would've given the resort 4.5 stars for the below things that I do hope they work on. They didn’t really dampen our vacation though and I still wholeheartedly recommend this resort, but they are things I wish I was aware of, so here you go:
- ROOMS: I was prepared for the kitschy-ness (I normally like a much more modern aesthetic) and knew it would be rustic, but I wasn’t prepared for how much so. Our room, Blue Dolphin, really could use some work. The paint was chipped on the walls, ceiling and bathtub, the bathroom floor was sticky and was yellowed like there was a flood, and the toilet was stained and brown. Overall it didn't live up to the luxurious and well-cared for atmosphere throughout the rest of the resort. I was actually kind of upset about it at first, but once I got over it, I realized that beyond those things, the AC worked great, bed was comfy, towels plush and clean, and the tub, while chipped is gigantic and really fun to take a shower in! So just set your expectations and hopefully they’ll do some renovations soon…
- THE WINE: Oh, I was so sad about this. I love wine, my drink of choice always, but I’m actually not a wine snob. (It’s rare for me to meet a wine I don’t like!) But I thought both whites (sauvignon blanc and a chardonnay) were almost undrinkable and the reds (cabernet and a merlot) were only slightly better. I stuck to fruity drinks (very good, albeit weak, made always with fresh fruit!) in the day and just didn’t indulge that much with the reds at dinner (but maybe that was a good thing!)
- SELF SERVE BAR: While it was great that you could make yourself a drink whenever you wanted if there wasn't someone at the bar, I really would have liked someone staffing the bar more frequently (no one can make those tropical drinks quite like those guys could!) For example, one night during happy hour/sunset time, there was no one there. My husband tried to make a drink and failed miserably. ;-)

But as I said, everything else is wonderful. You’ll have a fantastic vacation. BOOK IT NOW! You won’t be sorry.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Adele T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 April 2010

We were hoping after the terrible experience we had at Beaches, Sandy Bay in Negril that this would be better. How wonderful. The staff are very helpful, courteous and actually smile!! The views from the cliff are amazing with the waves breaking against the rocks. You don't have to go anywhere to watch a beautiful sunset. We stayed in The Butterfly room, an upstairs king suite. It is VERY comfortable. We rated this the best view from our bed ever, we travel ALOT!!! Breakfast and lunch were very good, dinners we ok-below expectations by far. Had a massage by Patrick, very nice. Read books lying in hammocks all one afternoon with the sound of the surf below. The caves were very cool. The surf was a little rough to swim, my husband did a little. We would go back and hope they have dinner figured out.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank StlWrldtraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2010

Simply amazing. In all likelihood, if you stay at the Caves, it will probably be the best (read: most relaxing and enjoyable) vacation you’ve ever had.

We chose to stay at The Caves for our honeymoon for 10 full days based on these TripAdvisor reviews and after we recalled seeing it on the Travel Channel. We simply could NOT have chosen a better resort for a relaxing honeymoon.

ROOMS: The rooms are all awesome, some more than others. We peeked in quite a few when no one was checked-in. The best room is definitely Stardust (where we stayed, of course!) because its isolated and private at the end of the resort, it has an incredible view off the private balcony that overhangs the cliffs. All the rooms have a guest log, where people write comments and suggestions for activities/drinks/food and other fun tips. It’s a great idea and fun to read when you arrive. NOTE: Stardust does not have any A/C at all, but in March the weather was amazing and we did not need it at all (and we like to keep a cool room to sleep in). It could certainly be miserable, I’m sure, if you stayed there in June/July/August…but why would you come to a warm climate when it’s warm at your house back home? Go to Jamaica in FEB/MAR/APR or OCT/NOV (if you wanna brave the chance of hurricanes). We also didnt see a single mosquito the whole time...even tho other reviews mentioned them. Locals indicated that they only come out after rains and subsequent water stagnation. So, we really didn't see any bugs at all!!

FOOD: First of all, we are SERIOUS foodies…all the food is fantastic and overall quite delicious. There’s a good amount of local Jamaican fare and a lot of variety between meals. It’s an amazing feeling to just sit down whenever, immediately be served great food, and then just walk off without having to fuss with your wallet or sign a bill (the room rate includes 10% tip, you can add tips to individual staff or a lump tip at the end of your stay when you check out). Don’t forget to reserve a breakfast in bed for one morning and they’ll bring it right to you. Oh yeah, and always just order the “combo” meal for dinner…that way you get to try ALL the entrée, appetizer, and soup options. The soups, by the way, are all fantastic and really stood out. Just eat it all, fatty!! You're on vacation, remember?!

GUESTS: Since the maximal capacity of the resort (currently) is about 32, you start to get to know the guests and find another fun couple to hang out with and have drinks together.

DRINKS: Well, there’s self-replenishing bottles of alcohol in the room…need we say more? Yes. The bars are always open so, even without a bartender present, they encourage you go behind and mix up your own drinks…anytime! We weren’t so good at mixing up the frozen rum drinks, such as the Dirty Banana, Daquiris, Rum Runners, etc…so we let them take care of those.

STAFF: Patrick: Get a few glasses of Merlot in Patrick and he will keep you entertained for the entire evening. What a great guy. Really fantastic to talk to and we enjoyed all the time spent with him. Brian: Great server who will take care of you for Breakfast/Lunch, very nice and pleasant person. Alex: will take care of you for dinner…great hospitality. Melissa: Can’t say enough about how well she took care of us during the day (I commented how I wanted to taste JB, the LOCAL overproof rum…and five minutes later, she came back with a bottle! She had run to the nearest store and bought it for us, just to be nice! No charge!) Unbelievable service overall. Elvis: He’ll give you the lowdown on the area, and gives a nice tour of the property. Imron: Bartender/server who took care of us in the Cave dining. Really nice guy, class act, and quite tall as well. Zoom: The other bartender…he “made” us shoot lots of Bob Marley shots over the course of our stay. Sherman, Ron, and all the other chefs: they are amazing chefs…and wild, too! I stood behind the bar and fed them an ungodly amount of shots after dinner (enough to make me black out) and they just took them like it was nothing while continuing to crack jokes and hang out all night. FYI, they all have interesting “nicknames” (most in Jamaica do) and also personal drink recipes they will make for you.

TRANSPORT: If you need to go into town (don’t go to 7-mile beach unless you love tourist trap areas and fighting for chairs....but, maybe you should go check out the Sandals reviews then...), check out Times Square and maybe the craft market (but it’s really high pressure and quite destitute...also, you could fail a drug test just by breathing the air there for an extended period of time.)

ACTIVITIES: Simply MUST reserve the Cave dining upon arrival, it’s an indescribable experience (choose the large cave (#2), it’s better). Imron served us an amazing meal down there and then left us alone for the rest of the night to relax with some champagne/wine in the cave. Very relaxing and a unique experience. Also, reserve the Cave Hottub for the “moonlight” block, but check the water temp ~15min before your appointment. We had to drain the whole tub, then re-fill it with hotter water…and this took ~30min. Also, head down to the Cigar/Rum Bar Cave (they charge fees for these specialty rums and cigars, but it’s cheap!) and enjoy some drinks/cigars one evening. Find Paul and reserve a calm-water day for kayaking and cave/reef snorkeling. The reefs are amazing and Paul with take you into the Cave to wake up the bats (yes, bats!) and take you to some amazing locales inside the caves themselves (including underwater routes from one cave to another!). Make sure you go cliff diving! By the end of our 10-day trip, I was diving head first off the 35 footer and my wife jumped off the 20 footer. The resort was so amazing, that we never left…even for the Rum Distillery tour! And we NEVER just sit around and do nothing when we take vacations…but it was simply too relaxing and enjoyable to ever want to leave.

LOCALE: The Cliffside location is unparalleled. We met multiple guests who also travel frequently and all agreed this resort had no equal. All the other resorts (Sandals, Beaches, etc…) all have daily catamaran tours that come down to Caves from Negril beach, then turn back. In other words, those folks are coming from their resort via boat just to see how cool ours is…the effort certainly was not reciprocated! Haha. The cliff side locations are amazing and there are plenty of spots to tuck away and relax, read, and drink all day long. Our entire weeked we did not have to compete for a beach chair the entire time…there was always space available. This might not always be the case.

You can't find a better resort...why haven't you booked this already?

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Taylor_Vaughn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2010

The Caves is a beautiful and unique hotel perched on a cliff above crystal blue water. The food was fantastic and the staff was great. Loved watching the cliff divers and we even did the jumps, feet first :)
Very relaxing trip!
Only downside is there is no beach in walking distance to the hotel.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jetty123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 March 2010

We travelled from March 16-March 21 to the caves. It was by far the best trip we have ever been on! We went for 4 nights/ 5 days for our honeymoon. We travelled from Toronto, Canada. The Caves took care of our transportation to and from the airport, and everything in between. The resort went out of their way to make us feel like we were celebrities! The resort gives all of its guests 100% customer service. All of the people that work there are awesome. For people thinking of going, definitely book a dinner in the caves, a private hot-tub and visit the spa! The views are amazing at the caves. Take time to visit the cigar bar, and socialize with some locals at the sands bar. It is by far the best place we've visited. The food there makes it feel like its a 5 star restaurant! I came back home 10 lbs heavier..we couldn't stop eating! Order a dirty banana from the bar as well. Its an amazing drink! We will definitely go back to the caves! All of the reviews we read prior to going are all bang on. It is truely an AMAZING resort!

Parm and Amandeep
Toronto, ON Canada

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank parmalicious
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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