The Caves Hotel
What We Love
- The all-inclusive rate covers three meals daily, unlimited drinks (including alcohol) and non-motorized sports, so you won’t have to lift a finger, even to sign a bill
- Having a mini-snack of home-baked banana cake and Jamaican coffee on the cabin’s private veranda
- Outdoor showers
- Each room can have stacks of reggae CDs, available upon request
- Full-body massages in the petite Aveda spa ocean-view bungalow
What To Know
- Rooms don’t have TVs (though the hotel can accommodation those who are desperate)
- Grown-ups only; kids 16 and under have to stay at home
- The mosquitoes can be lethal after dark — be sure to close the net at night
- Rise early to bag the prime real estate, as the best sun loungers are often snatched up early
- A/C units in all rooms
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
After you’ve zoomed past the sprawling, jam-packed super-resorts that line Negril’s main road, pulling into the Caves feels like stumbling on a secret oasis. Just 12 thatched cabins and one villa, spread over 10 acres of craggy limestone cliff, and nothing to do but swim, sunbathe and order another glass of rum-and-ting. Step off your sun lounger and leap 20 feet down into the sea below, have candlelit suppers inside secret caves, and wind down in the Aveda spa as hummingbirds flit overhead. In fact, of all the swoon-inducing Island Outpost properties (there are four in all), we think the Caves is the most in-your-face romantic. Be sure to pack a stack of books: there’s no TV.
In the Area
Local hangout Rick’s Café (just a few minutes away) has been serving up ice-cold Red Stripes to sunburned tourists since the ’70s. Brave souls can jump its 35-foot platform straight into the sea. When only a stretch of white sand will do, Negril’s famous Seven-Mile Beach is just down the road, and fun stuff like parasailing and deep sea fishing excursions can be set up from there. The island goes into street party mode during the not-to-be-missed yearly reggae and soca festival, the Bacchanal Jamaica (February 10 to April 15). If staying within resort boundaries is more your speed, you can still grab a free kayak and snorkel gear at the hotel and explore the nearby reefs. Expect to spot sea horses, eagle rays and, if you’re lucky, a green sea turtle.
How to Get There
We had SUCH an amazing time at The Caves that we started scoping out other rooms for our next trip before we even left! If you want a big bustling all-inclusive with a packed schedule of activities, look elsewhere and leave this place to us! It was the perfect spot to escape the rest of the world and just enjoy each other, a good book, the incredible food, drinks, crystal-clear blue waters, and the hospitality of its warm and welcoming staff. We were there in the high season yet it felt like we were one of just a half dozen couples there. As others have said, it feels like your own private resort...utterly indulgent and unique!
The fantastic service started well before we even arrived. Due to a personal issue we had to reschedule our trip, and Tameka in reservations showed infinite patience and understanding in accommodating our changes. She is a treasure and we are forever grateful to her!
Tameka also told me about the Club Mobay VIP welcome/departure service which was SO worth it. I've traveled internationally extensively, roughing it on much tighter budgets. The VIP service was a true indulgence and an amazing way to start our vacation, being met when disembarking and escorted past the long immigration and customs queues to our own express lines. We were then given a chance to grab our first (and second...and maybe third!) rum punch in the Club Mobay lounge and change into warm-weather clothes before being taken to our ride to The Caves. The Club Mobay staff even filled up our water bottle with a drink for the road, which made the 90-minute drive to Negril that much more enjoyable!
The transportation that The Caves arranged was first-rate, with a comfortable car and driver who accommodated our desire to stop for patties on the ride to Negril.
Upon arriving Melissa at the front desk was incredibly welcoming and wonderful throughout our stay. She helped me arrange a surprise cake delivery for my husband and pulled it off without a hitch, arranging for it to be brought to us during our cave dinner. The assistant manager Everod is the personification of happiness and his joy is contagious. He took us for a tour of the beautiful grounds while our bags were transported to our room.
We initially booked the Blue Hole Suite, but a month before our departure I decided to surprise my husband and upgrade us to an upper ocean view for the last four of our six nights. It was cool to experience two different rooms. The Blue Hole Suite was lovely...if you listen at night you can hear the crashing of waves against the rocks in the Blue Hole outside the room and it lulled me to sleep (another reviewer claimed this sound was loud/noisy...the must have supersonic hearing. My husband couldn't hear it at all). With the private patio doors shut the room felt dark which would make it a welcome retreat in the hot season. The bed was SUPER comfortable and we loved the tubs in both rooms.
Butterfly was beyond incredible--a bright welcoming room with two windows overlooking the ocean, a sitting area, and bed with ocean view. We had trouble figuring out the A/C and help was always there instantly with a call to the front desk. The cleaning and turn-down service was fantastic (we didn't realize until the last night that they even filled our ice chest each evening!).
The staff all around was incredible. So much is written about Paul and he more than earns the praise. DEFINITELY go snorkeling with him and have him teach you the ins and outs of each dive spot. He is incredibly knowledgeable and also just fun to hang out with. Melecia H from the breakfast/ lunch dining room is another treasure--always there with a "no problem" no matter the request. She also remembers the smallest details about your preferences--like the fact that my husband wanted a cup of ice with his tea in the morning to cool it down. She also makes a mean drink--including some great non-alcoholic options like banana shakes for mornings when I wasn't ready to get my drink on yet. Jamoy was always there to help with whatever we needed, and offered us a cocktail-making class that was a lot of fun, while Zoom made the bar extra entertaining.
The food was simply incredible. Wow. Among Chef Joy's many incredible meals, her filet and beef tenderloin were the best we've ever had. I was concerned that my husband would be hungry between meals but we had nothing to worry about--our biggest problem instead was that we ate so well all day that we weren't hungry enough at dinner! Tip: if you can't finish your lobster tail, have them pack it up and bring it to breakfast to have them make a lobster omelette the next day. While the food was high-end, we can't come to Jamaica without enjoying patties and we appreciated that they were available throughout the day (put one in your fridge and try it cold--so good!).
Sands bar was mellow and fun, and my husband had a lot of fun climbing behind the bar and playing bartender. It's also a nice spot to sun during the day if you want to escape the crowds. We spent hours snorkeling around the cliffs, diving, or floating, and I loved hanging in a hammock and reading too (also the spot of a couple naps).
Another benefit are the interesting guests that tend to be drawn to The Caves. We really enjoyed chatting with everyone we met.
The staff is so hard working so please show your appreciation by offering those stand-out folks a tip before you go. It's certainly not required or expected but a little for us goes a long way in a place like Jamaica.
We can't wait to go back!!
Enjoyed every minute of our stay. The staff made every interaction a joy, they are professional and so helpful. Everyone works hard to ensure guests are well taken care of. Loved our room which was located on it's own private grotto. We enjoyed every meal and every drink made for us. Especially enjoyed dinner and would highly recommend the steak and lamb with mint jelly. Dessert always phenomenal. We felt right at home. Already planning another trip for next year. Very scenic views at every turn, so it's hard to make a bad room choice - wherever your room is located, you will definitely enjoy your stay whether garden, grotto or the ocean.
Stayed at this hotel for about 4 hours... that's how long it took to get checked in, tour the property, and finally get to our room and decide this wasn't what we expected from a $600+ per night hotel. I was so disappointed, we had booked months out and were very excited about relaxing at a small hotel. As I've been to huge resorts and we wanted something different. For the price of a room at the caves we expected so much more. The Cave's should take a portion of that money and use it for up keep across the facility. The landscape is lacking, everything is old, or what they may call "rustic". However, we live in a 130 year old home and it is in much better condition than the Caves, it takes care and some money for upkeep. This is no where near a 5-star hotel.. I'd call it 2 Star GLAMPING. The ocean view room, was more like sky view.. that's all you can see when the shutters are open unless you hang out the window to look down. This room, the "birds nest", was not what I booked. It was more like a tree house.
The Jacuzzi tub that you can purchase, is extremely old, in a room with a small window looking out.. I would never go in it. I'm sure they clean it, but no thanks, not even close to what we were picturing.
The "rum bar" looks abandoned and is only open maybe 1-2 days a week with a bartender. The sands bar also has limited opening days. They have a serve yourself vibe that does not go hand and hand with a 5-Star resort. There's not much to do here, so when you find out the amenities they do offer aren't always available, that's frustrating and misleading.
A 2-Star review from us because the location is beautiful and it could have so much potential with upkeep and some upgrades. Also, the staff is lovely, and I know they take pride in their hotel, it just needs more. We left after a few hours, and very disappointed.. I do appreciate the staff refunding part of our stay due to a mix up in the room they provided, but we lost out a lot and overall disappointed in having to rearrange our vacation. Their website is extremely misleading. Their gate/security is questionable. I wish I took more pictures, but we just wanted out of there quickly. Don't just read the 5-Star reviews... read the 1,2,3 star reviews...they are spot on
Excellent for couples if you just want to get away, great food, constant ocean views, caves, kayaking snorkelling...just an awesome experience you'll always want to go back. Also great for friends who just want experience the island's natural beauty.
I'm torn whether to write this review. Because if I tell you all about it, everyone will want to come to The Caves. And I want to keep it to myself because it's so amazing!
From the outside, it doesn't look like much, but once you step through that green and blue gate, you are transported to the most peaceful, serene, and glorious location. WIth only a few rooms, you quickly become fast friends with the other residents staying at the Caves. The staff are all so pleasant. Big smiles greet you at every turn. Jamaicans are the most beautiful people, inside and out. The front desk crew brings you a nice cool towel and a drink to welcome you in. You also get a tour of the property.
Our room was beautiful, albeit simple. This is not a place to indulge in anything but enjoying the outdoors and the water. But it did it's job. The bed is super comfortable, the sheets soft, the shower and bathroom were clean. We didn't have any issues with mosquitos, but I could see them being a problem with the right weather.
We spent all our time in seaside chairs. Enjoying the cliff jumping, snorkeling and relaxation that The Cliffs offers. Snorkeling with Paul is a MUST. He's incredibly patient and knowledgeable--he can spot jellyfish from 30 feet about the water! He'll let you know what's going on!
The food is AMAZING. We never had anything but a great meal. It's not like other resorts where you wake up feeling bloated and gross. Everything is balanced--there are lots of colorful fruits and veggies at every meal. The fish is fresh and delicious. And the resort offers specials, but you are free to ask for your own dish during breakfast and lunch. The morning coffee is strong! The drinks are delicious, using local rum. And my husband pretty much died and went to heaven with the pecan pie.
This is not a place for kids, but rather a wonderful place to escape the realities of life for a bit with your special someone. If you need a weekend away to quiet your brain, this is the place for you. But don't tell anyone. It's perfect just the way it is. We will see you soon, I hope.
PS. My only wish is that the resort offered some merchandise with their beautiful hotel logo on it, besides the collared shirt. We'd love that as a souvenir. Until next time, The Diehls