Negril Jamaica Vacations: Catching a Falling Star – Negril Hotel Review
Catcha Falling Star Negril: A Cliffs Hotel Review
December 2009: In a week or so, I’ll be going back to Jamaica for the third time in six months. To date, I’ve had the pleasure of staying in five hotels (once I went for a week; the second time I went for a little over three weeks). The five I’ve stayed in are: Xtabi, Citronella, Blue Cave Castle, Home Sweet Home and Catcha Falling Star (Negril Cliffs Hotel).
I like to move around if I know I’m going to be a place for a while because – as a freelance writer – it gives me something to write about. So for me, travelling is somewhat of a working vacation.
Update August 2010: I live practically year-round in Jamaica now. Freelance writing allows me to live and work anywhere in the world -- as long as I have an internet connection. Learn how I made the move, and how you can too in How to Work and Live Abroad from the Caribbean: It's Easier than You Thank to Make the Move to an Island Paradise.
Here is an in-depth review of Catcha Falling Star Negril.
This can almost be classified as a “Negril Resort” of sorts, for there are condo-like rooms; studio-like rooms; and individual cottages on the gated property. All lodging has zodiac names, eg, Aquarius, Virgo, Pisces, etc.
My friends and I (there were four of us in all) stayed in a 2-bedroom, 1-bath “condo” on the second floor; the Aquarius. It was roughly 1,000 square feet and boasted a huge “Rapunzel-like terrace,” which overlooked the grounds and the ocean.
What I mean by Rapunzel like can be seen from this photo. It’s Catcha Falling Star Negril at it’s prettiest. There was a trellis of greenery that went from our second story balcony all the way down. It was just gorgeous.
The View from the Balcony at Catcha Falling Star Negril
Imagine waking up to an aqua-blue ocean as far as the eye can see; flowers in pinks, yellows, reds, whites and purple everywhere you turn; tropical plants so green you’d think it was the Garden of Eden; and tropical-rock pathways that lead to seats, hammocks and lounges right on the ocean.
At “Catcha”, as the locals call it, you can just sit and do nothing at all, or take advantage of the tons of activities this Negril resort has to offer. Either way, you’ll feel like you’ve done it all because the beauty is what imprints itself on your heart.
Catcha Falling Star Negril: The Lodging in General
Catcha has individual cottages (some are 1-bedrooms, others are like studio like); condo-like units (of which the Aquarian is an example); and a few individual, hotel-like rooms.
Each cottage and all of the condo-like units have balconies and/or patios. They’re all large enough to sit and drink coffee, or you can fire up your laptop to get some work done (extremely hard surrounded by such beauty).
Catcha Falling Star Negril: Aquarius
The balcony of the Aquarius suite is large enough to host a dinner party for six or eight, which we did. We actually had about 15 people. The French doors from the living room opened up onto the balcony, which made it possible to have enough space to accommodate this number of people.
Catcha Falling Star Negril: Amenities
If I had to rate Catcha, I’d give it two to three stars as far as hotels go. There was:
AC: We had to figure out how to work it to get it cool enough, but once we did it was comfortable;
Ceiling fans in the living room area, which were needed during the day because the AC units were in the bedrooms and we couldn’t get it cool enough in the living room area with the French doors open
Tile floors throughout;
Roomy bedrooms with full-sized beds (with the mosquito-net draping, which wasnotneeded);
A TV in each bedroom, with cable;
A very nice, roomy bathroom: it had a separate area for the sink with a big mirror and tons of space to store cosmetics and the like; then in the second part was the tub/shower and toilet.
A full-sized refrigerator; a sink and a hot plate (no stove).
A living room with French doors that opened onto the spacious balcony which overlooked the sea.
At Catcha, they add the little touches that separate quality hotels from budget hotels, ie, flowers on the pillows in the bedrooms; extra fluffy white towels; high-quality, pristine-white bedding; a wardrobe and a dresser in the bedroom for extra storage; plants and candles in strategic places throughout.
If I could afford it, I’d rent this place out for two months at a time and just bunk here. It’s great for having dinner parties with friends you might meet; inviting friends down and giving them a place to stay; and/or to set up as a home away from home when you just want luxury – at an affordable price.
I tell ya, Catcha Falling Star Negril didn’t feel like a “hotel.” It felt like a rented condo on private grounds, speaking of which . . .
Catcha Falling Star Negril: The Grounds
Catcha probably sits on a half acre to an acre of land, right on the ocean. It’s tropical – as I’ve already described it has flowers and foliage everywhere – almost all the hotels in Negril on the cliffs do.
What makes Catcha unique though is that there are all these little private spots to hang out in on the property. Like one day, I was looking for my sister. She said, I’ll be in one of the lounge chairs reading my book.
I didn’t ask which one because I’m like, “how many lounge chairs can there be.”
Well, it took me a good 15 minutes to track her down. It was the second day we were there and I’d taken off for my run on the beach. She told me to track her down when I got back. I hadn’t taken the time to do a tour of the grounds – but it never occurred to me that there’d be so many places to “hide.”
I finally tracked her down in one of the many little “patio/lounge” spots built overlooking the ocean – on the fourth or fifth try of peering over the chairs of total strangers (all very nice).
If you have kids, don’t let them wander, because it’s easy to lose them on the grounds.
I remember thinking that Catcha Falling Star Negril would be a great place to play hide and seek!
On the grounds, there’s also a bar/eatery – Ivan’s Bar; so named because it was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and had to be totally rebuilt.
Catcha Falling Star Negril: Security
All Cliff hotels have guards, dogs and some type of wall or gate for security purposes. Here, not only is there a 6-foot-high wall, but there’s a gate at which there is always a security person. You can’t just walk into Catcha.
You have to be staying there or know someone who is to get in. As a single female traveling alone, this meant a lot to me. Not that I’ve ever felt unsafe in Negril; I never have. But it’s something all the hotels do, so tourists feel safe at all times.
Catcha Falling Star Negril: On-Premise Activities
You can get a massage, watch the dolphins go by, frolic in the sea, snorkel, get a dive package – or do nothing at all.
Catcha Falling Star Negril: Close to Local Hotspots
FYI, Ricks Café in Negril, a popular tourist spot is a two-minute walk. Also close is LTUs, a Negril bar/restaurant I’ve dubbed the “Cheers” of Negril. It’s a restaurant bar right on the ocean and everybody makes their way there eventually.
Good, reasonably priced food and drink (nothing fancy). And served with a smile. Johnny, the affable, low-key bartender, knows how to take care of his customers and make every stranger feel at home.
Catcha Falling Star Negril: Drawbacks
I really don’t have anything bad to say about this Negril Cliffs hotel. But, if I just had to select, following are a couple of things:
AC: The units didn’t get as cold as we would have liked – especially during the heat of the day. At night, they were fine, but it seemed that the units struggled to keep the place the few degrees cooler that we would have liked during the day.
However, as we were rarely in during the day for any amount of time, this wasn’t a big deal for us.
Restaurant Prices: A bit on the pricey side. I think I had a shrimp wrapped in plantain appetizer (delish, by the way). It was like $9. I know, I know, it’s seafood and that’s not a bad price, but for the amount you get, I felt a little jipped. And, if you eat out every meal (and you get hungry with all that fun in the sun), food and drink is gonna run you at least $50 per day in Negril (easily).
I wish they had menus with cheaper options.
Negril Restaurants: The Cheapest, Best Eats in Jamaica!
Once I found Juicy Patty though, it was on. FYI, Juicy Patty is a little fast-food-like restaurant that serves the best beef, chicken and vegetable patties in the world as far as I'm concerned. They ranged in price from 75 cents to a dollar – the crusts were so light and flaky, they literally melted in your mouth and hand.
My mouth is watering and my stomach is growling just thinking about them. But, I digress . . . Back to Catcha Falling Star Negril.
Cost in July/August 2009: $175/per night for the 2-bedroom Aquarius suite (my sis wrangled a discount, as she’s a frequent visitor to Negril and has gotten in good with some of the staff on a few properties on The Cliffs).
Catcha Falling Star Negril: Conclusion
I love the ambience of this place, the understated luxury and the security. If you want a Jamaican vacation where you can relax undisturbed, yet still enjoy activities, Catcha is it. View the property in the video just below.