Negril Vacations: Citronella – Negril Cottages On the Ocean
Negril Cottages: The Cabins of Negril at Citronella
I’m becoming a frequent visitor to Jamaica. So finding a reasonably priced, safe, clean hotel in Negril is becoming somewhat of an art. To date, I’ve stayed in five cliffs hotels in Negril: Xtabi, Citronella, Catch a Falling Star, Home Sweet Home and Blue Cave Castle. Here is an in-depth overview of Citronella.
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.
The Negril Cabins of Citronella
This little island paradise consists of affordable “rustic cottages” – complete with full baths and kitchens in the one I stayed in. If you’re a self-service type of person, these Negril cabins are great. You can save a lot of money on food and drink, which after hotel costs is usually the biggest expense on any vacation.
Rustic? How rustic? Don’t let the phrase throw you. These weren’t rustic, as in roughing it. You had everything you needed right at your fingertips. But, they weren’t luxury. For me, luxury is 400-thread count (at least), white Egyptian cotton sheets; bone china; and a concierge to cater to your every need.
I’ve stayed in everything from youth hostels to four-star hotels on my travels (never stayed in a 5-star hotel). I’m pretty easy to please. My only requirements are that a place is clean and safe.
The Negril cottages at Citronella were both – and a whole lot more.
Negril Cabins of Citronella: Location
The property known as Citronella sits on about an acre to an acre and a half. It sits up high – literally on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
If you’ve never been to Negril, let me explain the lay of the land so you know what I mean when I say “The Cliff Hotels of Negril.”
Negril is talked about – in terms of geography – in one of two ways: the popular 7-mile beach area, and The Cliffs. There’s a main road that winds its way from the flat lands of the beach area, up to steadily rising cliffs. The distance between the two is only 4 to 4.5 miles.
You can take a 3-minute cab ride, or do a 45 minute walk and go from the cliffs to the beach. So, you’re always close to everything. It’s just that if you stay in a hotel on the beach, the beach is either right outside your hotel or across the street (depending on if you stay ocean side, or in a hotel across the street).
Amenities of The Negril Cottages of Citronella
Note: Every cottage/room is a little different, but most of them will be similar to what you read here.
These rustic cottages on the cliffs offer several amenities, ie:
The Views: Fantastic; to die for; there aren’t words to explain! When God created the word paradise, he had Jamaica in mind. And nowhere will you find views better than those you get from these cute little Negril cabins.
Self-Service: If you want to save on food and drink, these Negril cottages have full kitchens (pots, pans and cutlery included) so that you can cook your own food. While I hate cooking, it’s nice to have a full-service kitchen to store salad stuff, sandwich stuff and beer/wine.
You could really stock up and not leave the property, because you had everything you needed right there.
Patio: Most of these Negril cabins have a patio right on the edge of the cliff overlooking the ocean. Not on the edge so you fall off, but right on the edge as in – you can go out, sit/sunbathe on the chairs and just chill. From this area, you could also walk down steps that have been carved into the side of the cliff and get in the water.
There’s no sandy beach area. Remember, you’re on a cliff. But, there is an area right on the water where you can put a table and some chairs, sunbathe and/or dive right into the ocean for a swim.
Roomy: I stayed here with three friends and there was plenty of room for all four of us. The Negril cottage we stayed in, the Round House, consisted of two levels.
The top level was a sleeping loft with a full-sized bed. You have to climb this steep little ladder to get up there, but it’s worth it. Through the slatted windows, you could see the ocean. It was almost like sleeping in a treehouse. And, it’s very comfortable temperature-wise at night too.
Note: If you get your buzz on and are sleeping in the loft quarters, be careful navigating the ladder. You’ve been warned! :-)
The bottom portion of the cabin had two single-sized beds, a small main living area, a tiny kitchen and a full bath.
Now, the bath is interesting. You go through the kitchen to get to the bath, which includes the toilet and a a sink. You open another door and that leads to the “outdoor” shower. The shower is really not outdoors, for it’s fully enclosed, but you can peek over the top and see the outside. It’s attached and has a roof overhead; it’s just that when you’re standing you can view the outside because from your head up, it’s not enclosed.
It’s totally private though and no one else can see you – so no worries there. The cabins are spaced apart nicely, so you don’t have to interact with anyone if you don’t want to.
Cost in August 2009 for This Negril Cottage: $125/per night. This is low season and my sis, who is a frequent visitor to Negril, got a discount for us on this stay.
Wifi: Wifi is spotty at Citronella. I didn’t even try to work from the cabin while staying here. I took my laptop and went to LTUs, what I call the “Cheers” of The Cliffs. It’s a restaurant/bar and it’s where everyone hangs out and has a great internet connection. It also overlooks the ocean and you can sit there all day and work with nobody bothering you (at least not staff) or asking you to leave.
Fans: These Negril cabins don’t have central air. You are provided with two floor fans though. And that was plenty comfortable at night. In fact, I burrowed deeper under my covers when I slept in the loft bed some nights because I got a little cool with the fan on (too lazy to get up, fumble around and turn it off in the dark).
Security: Most of the cliff hotels have three things: a dog/dogs, a 24-hour security guard (many times, this person will live on the property); and some kind of gate/fence/wall. I don’t think it’s because it’s unsafe; I just think it gives tourists an extra measure of comfort.
Citronella Negril cabins have numerous dogs. And, until they get a whiff of you, they can be a little intimidating – if you’re not a pet person (and I’m not). But I wasn’t afraid of them.
The dogs freely roam the property, which makes you feel safe because coming back at night, it’s quite dark on the cliffs. And when you have to go through the gate, and down the stoneway path to your cottage in the dark, it feels good to know that the dogs will signal any trouble (which there never is).
Trevor, the young, ever-present watchman at the Negril cabins of Citronella is always just a stone’s throw away. I asked him if he ever slept because no matter what time we came and went, he always seemed to be afoot. And, he’s the sweetest, most accommodating guy.
Speaking of security, as a female travelling alone, I’ve never felt unsafe in Negril. And, I go everywhere in Jamaica – day and night – alone, on many occasions. From the beach during the early morning hours, to the bars and restaurants at night – I always feel safe.
Citronella Cabins in Negril: What I Liked About Them
Proximity: Citronella is within walking distance to Ricks Café in Negril, a popular tourist spot. FYI, all cliff hotels are within walking distance to Ricks, as well as other local hotspots like LTUs.
Security: As described above.
Grounds:The grounds are full of flowers, stone pathways, exotic trees, and just beauty all-around. Painted in bright yellow (the cabin my friends and I stayed in), the property couldn’t be more naturally beautiful.
Off to the side of our little Negril cabin at Citronella was a hammock, which over looked the ocean. A few yards away was a covered verandah-like spot that every guest on the property could use. So for example, if you wanted to bring some friends back, you could all gather in this spot – which had chairs and tables and was covered – and just hang out, rain or shine.
Like I alluded to before, you really can make Citronella like a home away from home. It’s one of the spots I’d stay for months at a time if I ever go for that long of a stretch.
Citronella Cabins in Negril: What I Didn’t Like About Them
There’s not much to dislike about Citronella, but if I were to be nitpicky, here’s what comes to mind.
Climb to Loft Bed: As I said, that ladder can be a little intimidating if you’ve had a few too many rum punches or Red Stripes (the national beer of Jamaica).
Baby Crab That Insisted on Sharing the Shower: The funniest thing happened while showering at this rustic little Negril cottage. Now remember, you’re in the tropics. There was this little baby crab-like thing that sometimes came up through the drain.
It bothered my sister to no end. Me, I was like, “Hey dude, if you don’t mind showering with me, I don’t mind showering with you.” My sister put a face towel over the drain and that solved the problem for her. I just ignored it.
Other Creatures That Want to Bunk with You: I never saw one when I was there, but my sister said that on a previous visit, she saw a salamander crawling up the wall. I think that’s why she started calling these little Negril cottages “rustic.”
Again, you’re in the tropics, so some creatures are gonna wanna share your space.
Hot/Cold Water Situation in the Shower: If it wasn’t a bazillion degrees, this would have made me crazy – but it turned out to be a blessing most times.
The hot water in the shower went --- quick! Again, a rustic, “Negril cottage” feature. So you better be first to shower if you’re staying with friends, or be content with a cold shower because the warm water just never lasted long.
All in all, if you're planning a Jamaican vacation, I’d highly recommend the Citronella cabins in Negril. They are affordable Negril accommodations that offer the max in privacy and security.
See tour of the property in the vide below.
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