Absolutely not Gourmet Inclusive or a 5 star Resort
Reviewed 17 September, 2021
Just returned from a very disappointing stay at this hotel. Planned a 5 day/4 night trip with my friend. My first real trip since Covid. I knew some things would be different than past travel but I didn't expect the resort to be pretty much closed (no where was it indicated at booking or on the website that there would be limited food options).
The check in process was long and hot with no information about the resort at all. I would expect details of the personal concierge and beach butler my room stated it came with. Not offered a map or even details of the dinning or entertainment.
Our room was extremely hot and the thermostat wasn't working we called the front desk and was told we had to wait for someone to come and they were on the way. An hour later we called annoyed and said we would call at another time. It was never fixed even after they came to look at it.
The hotel was pretty run down and almost felt abandoned. Walkways to access the front desk were down right dangerous. I actually stubbed my toe and was told "oh sorry" (see photos). Paint chipping off of buildings and most of the resort closed (pools, bars, and restaurants).
To say this resort is a 5 star resort with gourmet food is defenitley not an accurate description. I think that the website should state that all the restaurants aren't being offered. When I asked about this to the front desk staff I was told it would be too much work to keep updating the website.The restaurants were only offered on certain days (again great information to have at check-in) they also required a reservation. 5 of the 8 restaurants were available. They rotate basically 1 to 2 choices a night. Breakfast only offered at one place (Mahogany)and lunch at 2(west end Terrance and Garfield beach).
Di Romagna - small portions , small menu, and bland food. They were out of a ton of things and didn't even have pizza. Frozen tiramisu, nothing seemed to be fresh or made on site.
Garfield Beach - Basic Jamaican bbq it was decent but definitely not gourmet. You could at least see it being cooked fresh.
West end Terrace basically burgers and previously frozen choices like fries and what they called a panini (which was definitely frozen and the ham looked like spam).
Mahogany a sad excuse for a buffet. No vegetables offered, salad bar was basically lettuce, tomato, and powder cheese, canned fruit, yes you read that right (FRUIT FROM A CAN- like a fruit cup you would get with a school lunch). I didn’t see any fresh fruit anywhere we went.
Hua Hin was the best of the 5 open but nothing to get excited about. The offerings are basic and taste like they are mass made and warmed up.
Ackee- They were out of everything. We had a bite of each thing and basically left hungry. I ordered the grilled shrimp which in no way was grilled more like previously frozen and boiled. Another frozen dessert (Jamaican Rum Cake).
Beans coffee shop is vanilla soft serve and basic coffee and a few muffins that I absolutely wouldn't have tried.
The SPA- I booked a massage, pedicure, and manicure. The massage was great and that’s where it ended. I received the worse pedicure and manicure I have ever had. My nails actually looked worse than how I arrived. I asked to speak to the Manager and she insisted I let them fix it. Well I can tell you my nails are all breaking, I have cuts along my cuticles, and look awful. (See photos). I spoke to the front desk about a refund showing her my nails and she stated the Manager said she fixed it (clearly nails are not the spa’s strong suit). The whole thing was in no way a manicure.
Covid test- Website as well as paperwork I had stated free but was told no it was $24 pp and really didn’t care that I was trying to show and explain it stated free.
Minibar- No such thing, you get 2 waters and 2 Pepsi that’s it. Basically a fridge with a few drinks.
Pools- Not allowed after dark even the rooms with swim ups.
The gift shop- We didn’t want to leave the resort and were very disappointed that the gift shop was basically a bunch of over priced junk. The airport had better selections.
Some Positive things followed with some not so positive at the same time sadly:
The Beach is amazing, the ocean is so clear and warm. Wonderful beach chairs and beds available. Towels on the other hand were hard to come by or find. Beach Butler? Ya if you were a member you had one otherwise you had to get up and go to the bar for your drinks most of the time. Also lack of bottled water available, it was like a scavenger hunt to find any.
The Staff aside from the front desk( they treated you as though you were bother or stupid for asking questions) were absolutely amazing. I can’t say enough about the staff, they were all friendly and personable. Remembering your name, what you like to drink, and even though the food was awful they were apologetic (as if it was their fault). I did visit the converge desk once and they basically sent me to the front desk, they are there to try and get you to buy a timeshare or an excursion (not how this service was described)
Shout out to:
AJ (entertainment staff) this young man’s talents and personality are not being appreciated by the world as they should be. I would love to see him do so much more with his talent.
Tina (bartender adult only bar) funny, personable, and the bar we visited daily
Shanicka (staff at West End Terrace) is amazing. She wasn’t there the day I left and she was very missed.
Most of the staff at the restaurants, by the pool, entertainment, life guards, etc. were friendly and wonderful.
We met people from all over and the feelings we had for the resort seemed to be shared amongst most. Very disappointing.
This resort reminded me of why I love travelling to Jamaica!
Reviewed 14 September, 2021
The beach is gorgeous - the food is good and the staff made our experience unforgettable! This resort is spread out along the beach... meaning you walk out of your room and the gorgeous white sand and blue ocean is only steps away. Though COVID is still a serious concern, we felt safe that precautions were in place at the hotel. We were lucky enough to get to know a few members of the staff... whether it was Rajay giving us private training sessions, yoga on the beach or AJ giving us dance lessons by night or... us giving him Bocce lessons by day the interactions were genuine and memorable! Other shoutouts are too the great Orlando & Damain. Hope to go back soon.
Beautiful Sunsets on a Great Beach
Reviewed 13 September, 2021
The sunsets - WOW! The beach -WOW! The food -INCREDIBLE! The service - decent.
This was my first visit to Jamaica and I've always heard them say the Jamaicans run on island time - well that is the case. If you are used to quick service, it won't happen in Jamaica. It took quite a while to get a drink at the bar and dinner service was slow. The food, however, was great! The property itself is right off the main road, which I wasn't expecting, but it was still a beautiful property.
Nice getaway for my husband and myself
Reviewed 13 September, 2021
This is the first time staying at this resort and my husband and I had a nice time. We were there for 10 days and belong to the Exotic Vacation Club/Prestige. We have stayed at many of the Karisma resorts in Mexico. Please realize that you fly into Montego Bay and the drive to the resort is an hour and a half to 2 hours each way. That is a big downfall. Since we are members, we had free transportation to and from the resort. If you have to pay on your own, it could be $150 each way!! On our way to the resort, we had a driver, Arlington who was kind and funny and talked the whole time. He even stopped at a local hole in the wall for delicious jerk chicken. Overall, the resort is nice. It's crazy how in so many of the reviews people have vastly different experiences. Our check in was fine. We received bracelets with our keys, a little packet with our covid testing instructions and a map of the resort. Our luggage was taken and we were walked to our room. Our room was nice and in building 11. We had a swim out. The room was very basic, nothing fancy. The rooms at the resorts in Mexico are nicer. I would always say do your research before going to a resort and do not go with having no idea what there is to do. They have an app that I downloaded about 2 months before going that listed all restaurants and daily day and night activities. The app was pretty good and reliable, although because of covid, not everything was going on as written. This way, I had an idea of what restaurants we wanted to eat at and what activities we wanted to do. The app also told you what restaurants were open on what nights. All the staff were great and went out of their way. Everyone was just really friendly. I'd like to recognize our maid, Novelette who came every day and always checked on us when we were sitting on our swim out patio. Also we were literally in front of the West End Bar and it was loud in our room from the music each day, but our bartender, Kerrian was excellent. In the restaurants, Marion, a wonderful waitress at Mahogany served us most days for breakfast and Kaydene the hostess remembered our names and greeted us warmly. We had a great waiter Tamar in the Thai restaurant Hua Hin and we also had 2 butlers. They were both good, Rashane and Shari, but Shari was exceptional and went out of her way for us when she was there. The entertainment staff is a lot of fun and we especially liked Stretch. The food was good, not great. We've had much better in Mexico and I wouldn't call it gourmet. Our favorite restaurants were the Italian, Di Romagna and the Thai, Hua Hin. Breakfast was okay in the morning. We ate mostly at Mahogany. I would have preferred a sit down service. Instead it was only buffet. Lunch options were the West End Grill really close to our place and they were great with salads, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, fries, etc. Also Garfield's grill outside and had a wide variety of all kinds of foods with a Jamaican flair. They had a great outdoor dinner on Saturday night where you sit at picnic tables. The one restaurant we did not care for was Ackee. First of all it was outside, upstairs so it was very warm sitting at dinner. Their choices were very Jamaican and if you like that kind of food, that's fine. We just did not. They had jerk chicken, so spicy I couldn't eat it, curried goat, oxtail stew, etc. It is true that when you went to most of the restaurants, they were always out of a few things on the menu, but they did try to substitute and I really think it was because of covid. We did a candle light dinner on the beach and that was nice too. I just felt all the sides and vegetables were the same no matter where you went. There was not a lot of variety and nothing served very fancy. I know that Mahogany where we ate breakfast was open for dinner every night and each night was a different theme. We did not go for dinner because everything was buffet style and I prefer a sit down meal. The property was nice and walkable and in the main lobby, they did have a place called Beans that was open from morning til night and served coffee, cappuccino, donuts, muffins, paninis, etc. The pools were nice and refreshing and there were a lot of them. Each section of the hotel has their own swimming pool area. The west end area was not really a swimming pool, more of a trail around the rooms that lead to the bar. There were other areas with larger swimming pools and no matter what section you were staying in, you could swim anywhere. The beach was one of the most beautiful beaches I've been to. The water was crystal clear and it was warm, even warmer than the pool. There were no rocks, shells, or seaweed. The sand in the water was smooth and soft. They offered free kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, sail boating, etc. They also had paid things like glass bottom boat tours, snorkeling tours, parasailing, jet skiing, etc. Plenty to do. There were activities during the day, but not everything went on that was advertised in the app and the nightly entertainment was good, not great. Our favorite was the night they had the steel band play. The app did not follow the entertainment either, but you could just ask the entertainment staff during the day and they would tell you what was happening each night. Overall, we did have a nice relaxing time. Not sure that I would go back. The biggest turnoff is the drive out there. We had a terrible driver on the way back to the airport and there was a lot more traffic. He was not friendly and drove like a maniac up close to many cars and then speeding around them. I thought we were going to get into an accident multiple times. We requested Arlington on the way back, but unfortunately, he was off that day. But overall a nice trip.
Avoid. Not a 5 star hotel!
Reviewed 11 September, 2021
This is not a 5 star hotel.
After staying at a number of Karisma hotels, we decided it would be a safe option booking this hotel in Negril. Wow, were we wrong.
On arrival, the hotels appearance is in keeping with the other hotels in the chain and really does look nice. However, after a few hours at the hotel you soon realise how old and run down the place is. Paint coming off the buildings, walk ways leaking in the main reception area from the flat roof above, shower roof stained from the constant leaking from rain water, stained bed sheets on arrival, and cleaners don’t change these throughout the stay?
When it rains, the place is flooded! The Italian restaurant floor was covered in a huge puddle which guests were sitting in, with electric wires from the fridge also in the water. Broken decking around the pool areas, exposed electric wires, block 1 electric constantly going off meaning having to use phone torch.
Expect when you go to a restaurant, for there to be limited selection of food. The servers show you to the table and explain what they don’t have on the menu. This remained the same through the 14 day vacation. The limited food available was terrible. This was the same with room service. I still don’t understand why the room service doesn’t run when it’s raining?? The best thing about it, the manager had no idea of a “Food Shortage”. Or when you book a reservation, turn up to the “Asian restaurant” and told tonight we are serving Jamaican food. If I wanted Jamaican food, I would have booked that restaurant!!
We were also checked into the incorrect rooms, which we noticed 4 days into the vacation when lots of families started to arrive and we had booked adults only. So after packing up the rooms, and sitting in reception for 30 minutes we had our new rooms. This seems to happen regularly, as speaking to other guests with a similar issue. People pay money for these rooms, get them right!!
Most of the staff were fantastic. Always smiling and engaging in conversation. The only thing which was annoying is when they expect a tip for each service. We spent £2,800 per person, I don’t expect to tip constantly.
The location of the hotel is brilliant. The beach is absolutely beautiful. Sea is superb. There is loads of sports activities which you can take part in.
The pools on the other hand were something else. There was a sign beside each pool saying “pool closed” throughout the holiday. So we were unaware if we could actually use them. There was a hot tub which was great.
There is no guidance on arrival what restaurants are open, how to book or where anything is. Most hotels provide a map of some information in the room, not this hotel. What was great though, is the room key is on a wrist band.