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
My wife and I stayed a couple nights in February. Due to a booking hiccup, we received a complimentary upgrade to the Clandestino Villa, and everything was perfect. Leon was especially helpful and attentive, and all the staff were extremely friendly and did everything to ensure we ensured our stay. The food was amazing, the views were incredible, it was definitely the best part of our trip to Jamaica.
Our only regret is that we spent the rest of the trip at other all-inclusive resorts which, while nice, were not the same level of quality. If we had known, we would have stayed at the Caves the whole time 😄
The Caves lived up to every 5-star review we read. You simply cannot find a better little slice of paradise in Jamaica, and maybe not anywhere. The staff could not have been more friendly and accommodating. The service is unparalleled, completely personalized, and they offer complete privacy when you want it. We did feel like the staff were family by the time we left--from Jamoy, Glen and Omar who provided continuous good food and drinks (and a private candlelit cave dinner) to Jomo who took us snorkeling--they were all fantastic!! Try the Sip 'n Go Naked for a great rum punch if you go!
Such a nice trip, the staff, rooms/hotel, hotel amenities, food... everything was amazing. We couldn't have had a better experience. One of the best trips we have ever had. During the week when the hotel wasn't as booked they even upgraded us to a water view room. Highly recommend this hotel & we will be back again!! The food was amazing the entire time & highly recommend the cave dining. We had a great time kayaking and snorkeling & saw a lot of cool sea life. We also jumped off the cliffs. The sunsets were amazing every night. Just a great experience!!!
Romantic, beautiful, fun, relaxing, delicious food....we had a blast at the caves!! It was our first couples get away after having baby #2 and we loved it! Highly recommend for anyone couples looking to get away from it all. I was a little nervous to go because I had read Jamaica was having some crime issues, which may or may not have been true. But there was no sign of anything on the way to the resort or on the way there and back. I recommend just using the transportation they arrange for you. And my other recommendation is to do the jumps and the cave dinner!
My BF and I spent 4 glorious nights at The Caves from 2/28-3/4/19 to celebrate his milestone birthday. Before our trip I spent sooo much time reading others reviews and hoping this was the perfect resort for us. We were NOT disappointed! The property is a pure paradise! Absolutely breathtaking views, amazing spots to lounge along the water and the most incredible sunsets one could ever hope for. The only slight bummer is it was 6pm on a Thursday night when we arrived and it was pouring rain! We never received a tour, or a welcome drink :( We didn’t know what time or where any of the meals would take place so we had to ask around to other guests until the next day when we did ask about a tour and were given one. This place is just incredible, it is beautiful, quiet and romantic. At times we felt alone in paradise with no one else around. We could also socialize if we wanted. Since the resort is so small (only 12 seaside cottages and one family villa across the street) it was quiet and relaxing and felt like we were visiting a rich relative’s vacation home for a few nights in paradise!
NOTE ABOUT Arriving to Montego Bay airport: We paid extra for the VIP Club Mobay fast track through immigrations/customs and were so glad we did it! We arrived Thursday afternoon to VERY LONG lines for immigration and customs were met by a sweet young gal who fast tracked us right past all those lines, it was amazing! People waiting in the long lines were heard saying “How did they get in that line!” I know it’s a gamble as you could pay the extra money and there be no lines otherwise, but for us it paid off. After being fast tracked through immigration and customs were taken to the Club Mobay lounge where we enjoyed a Red Stripe, Rum Punch and cool wash cloths to freshen up after our flight and to wait comfortably until our transportation arrived. We also used the transportation provided by the Caves (for an extra fee) and had no problems with it. Our driver was nice and made a few stops along the way for us to pick up some “goods”! Oh and it’s weird, you’re allowed to be a passenger with open alcoholic containers/cups in Jamaica, so we enjoyed some more Red Stripe and Rum Punch on our drive to the resort!
We booked 6 months out in hopes of getting our first choice, the SEA TURTLE Cottage and we got it and it did not disappoint! I'm posting lots of pics of Sea Turtle as they were hard to find when I was doing all my reading/researching. Sea Turtle and Butterfly (Right upstairs) are the closest single cottages to the cliffs, literally steps out the front door and there you are at the edge of the cliffs overlooking the ocean. The view from the bed is just amazing! Only downfall is in the daylight hours people passing by could see right into your room/bed, but we didn't let that put a damper on things. The first night we slept with the windows wide open and the sea breeze and sounds of the crashing waves were just so wonderful! By daybreak we had to hop out of bed to close the windows but let the shutter louvers open so we still heard the sounds and felt the breeze. Subsequent nights we shut the windows but left the louvers open before falling asleep so we didn't have to get up early to do so. Sea Turtle also has some cool mood lighting in the bedroom and bathroom and a HUGE Stone Tub in the bathroom with a “rainfall type” shower head (water pressure was a little lacking at times but not awful) and with a little window that opens up and if you have the front doors open you can see right out to the ocean from the tub. The cottage was clean and well-kept with a mosquito net over the bed and nightly turn down service was a nice touch. We left the doors unlocked and open the entire stay with just locking up our valuables in the in room safe. It made it easier not carrying a key around and it really felt like we were home!
The food was AMAZING! Lots of local delicacies like goat (super tasty and tender); lamb (did not try); lots of fresh fish offerings the BF loved and the most tender grilled tenderloin I ever had. As many reviews state you MUST TRY THE SOUPS! Even in the heat of the day (and it was a beautiful 85 most days we were there) the soups are just so delicious! Breakfast was my favorite: started with a plate of fresh fruit (the bananas and mangoes were to die for) and some fruit I never heard of but we tried it all; followed by custom omelets, eggs or banana pancakes which were fabulous. They also had special breakfast choices each day, some involving fish which I didn’t eat. The fresh squeezed OJ was amazing, as was the coffee and the bacon, for some reason the bacon tasted out of this world LOL Not sure how they cooked it but it was perfectly done! The lunches were great too, no complaints and they have cereal/yogurt out and available most of the morning and patties (kind of a pastry filled with meats and cheeses) available most of the afternoon and if you’re hungry between lunch and dinner you could always order a grilled cheese, ham or tuna sandwich to hold you over. Breakfast and lunch were served in the same gazebo, by the pool, in the middle of all the daytime cliff jumping/lounging action. Dinner Thursday night was “under the stars” at the Sands bar with live music, which was pretty sweet. Dinner was late, you could arrive between 7pm and 10pm, whenever convenient for you. Dinner on other nights was at the dinner gazebo (one with the hammocks outside) and weather permitting you could sit upstairs on an open deck with a view of the beautiful Negril Lighthouse and stars. The servers were awesome as well. Jamoy was our man for breakfast/lunch and he did a fabulous job. And Omar took good care of us during dinner. No matter what you asked it was greeted with a smile and “no problem mon” and fist pump or two!
OH and tip, for breakfast and lunch there is a little blue gazebo for two right on the water, just past the dining area. If this spot is open it is the BEST spot for breakfast/lunch with an awesome view and ocean breeze to boot, and a little more privacy as it’s off on its own. You just have to let one of the servers know you’re sitting there so they come find you.
I booked a special cave dinner for my BF’s birthday one night and it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. There weren’t as many candles lighting up the cave as I had hoped (had read reviews that there were like hundreds of candles). We were in the Seastar cave next to the Cave Rum Bar which is pretty open but it was kind of humid in there, even at 7:30pm when they start the cave dinners. So after each course we would walk out to the edge of the cave just to get some air. It was a nice experience, not sure it’s worth the extra $150 as you get the exact same food and drink as everyone else is getting that night. They did bring a bday cake with candles for my BF and we sang Happy Bday to him, which was a nice touch.
CAVE RUM BAR:
Ok one thing we could not wait to experience was the Cave Rum Bar and I must say this was the only disappointment of the trip. It was supposed to be open from 5pm-7pm during our entire stay (so at least Thursday through Sunday) and we were told via email that on Thursday’s they have rum tasting down there with a bar tender from 6-7pm. We arrived at the resort around 6pm on Thursday and it was POURING rain. We inquired about the rum tasting at check in and they said “Oh I don’t know if they are having it with all this rain” and said it was supposed to be from 5pm-6pm (when I got an email prior to our trip that said 6pm-7pm) So we were a little disappointed they didn’t even know if it was still happening and after getting to our room we decided to take a walk down there. Umm it was like walking DOWN Dunns River Falls going down that stone staircase to the Rum Bar. Probably not our brightest idea, but my gosh did we laugh and have some fun all by ourselves in a dark rum bar with waves crashing in! My BF lit some candles and poured us a drink. The drink offerings were few, but it was still an adventure! The other nights the Rum Bar was open it was without a bar tender and again, the liquors and the mixers were very limited. The manager, Karen, was super nice though and offered to arrange another rum tasting during our stay since we missed the first one and she did that on Saturday night and invited a few others, it was ok, just not what we were hoping for. But the view and sounds down there were amazing!
There always seemed to be one of the four bars on site that were manned at all times. So in the morning/afternoon it was the bar at the breakfast/lunch gazebo. During dinner it was the bar at the dining gazebo. Many more offerings there, nice “drinks of the day” and most drinks were wonderful. Only complaint here is the quality of drinks varied greatly by who made them. I ordered the same drink 3 times in one day and twice it was shaken and nicely presented and tasted better (Jamoy is the man for service and drinks during the day!), the other was made by someone else and just didn’t look or taste the same. We had the same problem with ordering smoothies in the morning, one would be great, the next time undrinkable (a banana smoothie that had too much lime the 2nd time). The Sands Bar was a fun place to hang out at night as well. Randy made us our first Flaming Bob Marley shot on our first night there. That was an experience! When I heard “Don’t let the straw melt” I was a little worried lol but it was great fun, with a great group of people and tasted awful LOL But something you have to at least experience (When in Jamaica!!!). All the other guests were awesome, and as many posts said you can hang out with others, or be by yourselves and feel like you’re all alone in paradise if you want. Best of both worlds! OH and if you sat down at a bar where there was no bartender, NO PROBLEM MON, just hop behind and fix yourself a drink. This is one place where you were truly made to feel “at home” and it was quite cool! Oh and the Sands Bar was open to the public a few nights a week from 5pm to 7pm (prime sunset location) but we hardly ever saw outsiders there. On Saturday’s they cook jerk chicken at the Sands but we thought it was strange (for an all-inclusive) that they charged $8 for the jerk chicken cooked at the Sands, even for resort guests, when the drinks at the bar there during that time were included for resort guests. Thankfully they served jerk chicken another day for lunch so we were able to get our taste of it then.
Well the activities were few, but fun! This is not the resort to go to if you want to be occupied and active 24/7, which is why it was perfect for us. We were looking to unplug, relax and unwind from our hectic everyday lives and this was just PERFECT for us! We did go kayaking one day with Jomo, which was fun. After that my BF took the kayak out by himself every morning as he is an early riser and wanted to get some exercise in before it got to warm (I enjoyed sleeping in a little til 8am, it was glorious lol) When my BF talked to the other lifeguard, Paul, and asked him if it was ok that he took the kayak out on his own, Paul’s response was “Yah mon, you’re home!” I loved that attitude and feeling! Another day we went snorkeling with Paul, Paul is amazing! He took care of every aspect making sure we’d all be comfortable in the water. I took him up on the offer to use two noodles during it as I’m not the strongest swimmer and the waves can be rough at times. It was just perfect for me. He put special stuff on our goggles so they wouldn’t fog up and made sure we saw all sorts of cool things, he would dive down and make a flounder, or stingray move so we could see it. He brought up a starfish and sea urchin for us to hold, which was quite cool. We saw lots of colorful fish, needle fish and coral. We even saw a 5 foot barracuda! Other than that we lounged Cliffside, took a dip in the ocean when we got hot. My bf did a few of the cliff jumps, the have them varying from 5 feet to 33 feet, plus the blue hole jump which my bf also did. Getting out of the water on the metal ladders could be challenging at times with the waves crashing into the rocks but if you timed it right a wave would lift you right up onto the ladder making it easier. The pool and hot tub were quite small, but enough to cool you off if you wanted to take a quick dip. We didn’t see many people using the pool anyway as the ocean was much more inviting and refreshing (and honestly a little warmer than the pool!)
All around the service was excellent! From those who served the meals, tended bar and made our drinks to the staff who would clean our room mid-day and make our bed and offer fresh towels if we left ours lying on the floor (for the first day or two we hung them up and reused them), and at night they would come turn down our bed and put the mosquito net around it, which we promptly removed every night as we didn’t need it. Bugs were very few this time of year and we did see a few little geckos running around the resort, but none in our room thankfully!
We did seek out one of the groundskeepers one day to take us on a tour of the lighthouse next door. Oman was a sweet, kind man who walked us over and let us into the lighthouse property (he has a key as its kept locked). He then introduced us to the lighthouse keeper who “for a donation” took us up to the top of the lighthouse. Of course we didn’t have cash on us but told them we would get it once back at the resort and we gave it to Oman who delivered it to the lighthouse keeper. It was an interesting tour, he gave us lots of facts about the lighthouse and how it has transformed over the years an took us up to the top and the view and the breeze from up there was incredible! He even took pictures of us up there, which were wonderful, and more pics back on the ground (not so wonderful as I think we were standing/posing in an ant hill and got a few ant bites lol). All in all I’d recommend it! We only left the resort one other time for a quick 3 minute stroll to the Wake and Bake café a few doors down, that was an experience LOL
We had a couples massage on our last day at the spa and it was just incredible! Sheree and Michelle did a wonderful job. The massage was in an open air gazebo with the breeze and sound of the waves crashing in and faint music playing in the background, just heavenly! We started with a foot soak and a glass of fruit water while we filled out our surveys and that hour just flew by. Highly recommend taking advantage of the spa services while there!
That about sums it up. While I am not usually a fan of visiting the same exact place twice (well except for Disney World lol) I truly hope we make a return visit to the Caves sometime in the future. It was beautiful, romantic, quiet and the perfect place to unplug and relax as a couple (sans kids lol), and we really needed it! Thank you to all the Caves staff for a wonderful trip!