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Negril Vacations: Home Sweet Home – A Cliffs Hotel Review
Negril Vacations: Home Sweet Home – A Cliffs Hotel Review
If you’re running low on cash, but still desire a clean, safe, comfortable cheap hotel in Negril, Home Sweet Home is it.
I had the pleasure of staying at Home Sweet Home, which is a Cliffs hotel in Negril (I’ll explain in a minute) in September 2009. In addition to this sweet spot, I’ve stayed at numerous, various-priced hotels in Negril. Namely, Xtabi, Citronella, Catcha Falling Star and Blue Cave Castle.
Of the five, Home Sweet Home is the “budget baby” of the bunch.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of vacationing in Negril, Jamaica, let me explain how it’s laid out in terms of geography, so you can better understand what I’m referring to when I say “The Cliff Hotels of Negril.”
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.
Negril Vacations: Cliff Hotels -- What’s This?
Negril is split – in terms of geography – in two ways: the popular 7-mile beach area, and The Cliffs. There are hotels, restaurants, etc. that run – well, about 7 miles. All of these are on a main road that snakes its way upwards -- from the flat lands of the beach, to the rising rocks of “The 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 in close proximity to everything. It’s just that if you stay on the beach, you’re literally on the beach (or across the street from it if you don’t stay on the ocean side).
You have to descend from The Cliffs to get to the beach.
Got it? Good.
Now, back to Home Sweet Home, a quaint little Cliffs hotel.
Negril Vacations: Home Sweet Home – The Lay of the Land
The hotel is on the ocean side of the street and it’s close to everything. You can literally walk to “the roundabout,” which is the main shopping hub. This point starts the descent from the 7-mile beach area to The Cliffs. There’s shopping, restaurants, banks, doctor’s offices, etc. in the roundabout.
Home Sweet Home sits on probably a quarter acre or less. It’s a welcoming shade of pink (see update below), behind 6-foot high walls adorned with tropical flowers that spill over the side. A little rustic in appearance, it looks as if it could use a little sprucing up. But somehow, this only adds to the character of the place.
I stayed for a week and you know what, I was shocked when I saw what a steal it was. I only paid $30/night in September 2009. It was low season, so I was able to wrangle a deal. In this case – it felt like an actual steal!
My room was large with two double beds and a terrace that overlooked the pool and the ocean. It was not “luxury”, for sure (a few cracked tiles in the bathroom), but it was nowhere near “roughing it” either.
The large patio area had a round table and two, what I call “baby Adirondack” chairs. From my balcony (I was on the second floor), I could see the pool and the ocean just beyond.
There’s also a restaurant/bar on the premises. I didn’t eat there, as I already had my favorite food spots.
The bathroom was large and roomy. No tub in the room I stayed in, but a shower big enough for two. It also had extra shelving in the bathroom in strategic places, which was perfect for hanging up my bathing suits and running clothes, as I hand-washed those every evening.
The room also had cable TV, AC and a huge wardrobe with room to hang clothing, as well as built-in shelves to stack clothing. This wardrobe also had a safe, which I was given the key to at no extra charge.
However, if I lost the key, the replacement fee was like $30, so I hung on to that sucker tight, believe me.
As far as security, Home Sweet Home has an on-premise guard (Dino) and a gate. Dino acted as a guard, groundsman and all-around go-to guy for anything you might need. Charmaine, the young woman in the office (along with Dino), was very helpful as well.
As I got a discounted rate, there was maid service every other day, instead of every day – which worked out fine for me.
Other Points of Note About this Cheap Negril Hotel
Security: Even though there is a gate, it wasn’t closed at night like at the other hotels I stayed at. I’ve never felt unsafe in Negril though, so this wasn’t a concern for me. Dino lives on-premise, and of course there were other guests, so there’s always someone around.
There was no dog at Home Sweet Home either. This is the only hotel I stayed at that didn’t have dogs.
WiFi: There is no Wifi here. Although that could have changed since (see note about improvements below), it was not an amenity they had when I stayed. This was a bummer for me because with the view from the terrace I had, I would have loved to just get up, go to the terrace and get work done, Iike I’d done at Xtabi.
Luxury: Other than these two things and a cracked tile or two, I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this hotel. I was genuinely surprised at what it offered for so little, especially when compared to what I paid at other hotels. You’d expect a vaaaassssstttt difference. And to my pleasant surprise, there wasn’t.
Now, is it a couple of steps below Catcha? Yeah, for sure. But for the difference in rate (more than $100/night), it wasn’t a “sacrifice” to stay at Home Sweet Home.
Jamaica Vacations: Home Sweet Home – The Ideal Cliffs Hotel for the Budget-Minded Traveller
I would highly recommend Home Sweet Home. In light of the info below, I wouldn’t expect to ever stay there for this low rate again ($30/night), but it’s still one of the cheaper Negril Cliff Hotels.
Note: It’s December 2009 and I’m about to go back for a few weeks. I emailed the owner to ask about availability in January, telling him that I’d stayed there in September and looked forward to returning. In his return email, he told me that they’d done some renovations since my last stay, so maybe they have given the place the little bit of TLC it needed.
He offered me a 25% discount off their rate of $100/night (plus hotel taxes). It’s high season this time of year, so this is still a very good deal.
Jamaica Vacations & Hotel Taxes
When you book your Jamaica vacation, be sure to note if the price of the hotel includes the hotel tax or not. It can run as high as 18.25%, so be sure to check, or you could be in for a real shock when you check in/check out.
View video tour of this property below.
Update: This hotel has now been painted beige and has been upgraded a lot; although it's still not "luxury." But it is more expensive. I liked the pink color better. It made the building stand out more and in my opinion, the beige is just too plain for such a beautiful, color-filled island.
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