My son booked me and my hubby into a room at the Samsara Resort in Negril as a Christmas gift. We visited the resort during the Easter holidays. Leading up to our visit, work life had us very busy and stressed. As a result, it was with a quiet expectation of a relaxing, recuperative weekend that we drove down to the Samsara hotel.
If you are a tourist visiting Negril, most likely you will fly into Montego Bay and hop onto a chartered bus. Our journey differed in that we came from Kingston. The drive down from Kingston is a visual feast .The roads were good all the way to Westmoreland where we experienced some good ol’ Jamaican “pot holes”. The landscape was “lush” and ever changing. A mixture of the old and the new as old winding roads gave way to newer and straighter roads recently built. The newer roads are wider and cut straight through tall hills. After a while the journey reverted to narrow, uphill and downhill old country roads. We passed flat rolling fields with heavy necked Brahman cows until coming upon sharp mountainous terrain. We passed through Holland Bamboo which is a fabulous grove of bamboo trees shooting skyward and meeting across the road for over a mile of shadows and sunshine. We saw donkeys tethered near the road and flickering views of sugar cane in the distance as we drove.
We approached Negril with muted excitement. We hadn’t visited this western tip of Jamaica for years and so kept an open mind about expectations.
The sign alerting us that we were approaching the Samsara Hotel spanned the road, up in the air, above truck level. As we slowed a polite gentleman came forward to indicate the parking facilities for the hotel, located on the left side of the main road, the hotel facilities spanning both sides of the road way. After parking we crossed the road to the hotel lobby where we were greeted by a charmingly natural Jamaican lady at the front desk. No gloss here, just real Jamaican warmth! After accepting our suite allocation we walked through the hotel to get our bearings. The rooms are built like rustic huts with a natural foliage of Jamaican shrubbery separating them. The main pathways were also of a rustic stone and very pretty. The frontage to the sea is a low cliff. Focal to this area is a central bar with a restaurant upstairs serving Jamaican food and exciting reggae music infused the air. Our suite was located back across the road on the garden side. A female house keeper; tall, statuesque and professionally dressed, greeted us and took most of our luggage to the hut which was located to the back of the hotel compound. A chicken or two scurried out of the way as we walked. The hut was surprisingly modern inside with a good sized bedroom, clothing area, bathroom, a kitchenette with a small fridge and a dining area with a table and chairs. At the front was a small balcony with 2 chairs In essence this was a small home unit! It was clean and utilitarian without any frills. But the frills were coming, and they were tops!
At dinnertime we walked slowly out to the front of the hotel and discovered a menu on display for a restaurant next door. Turns out that the hotel owner, an Italian resident in Jamaica for over 20 years and his family also operated this restaurant named Ciao Jamaica. For more information about Ciao Jamaica (← Click Here →). We went for the first time without bookings and had to wait on a table downstairs. The atmosphere was “family”. We were seated comfortably on attractive living room style furniture and watched on the television our Jamaican track stars perform at an athletics meet. After a short while the owner engaged us in pleasant conversation and offered us drinks. Later we were seated upstairs on a balcony overlooking the main road and were served with beautifully cooked seafood and homemade cheese cake ice cream. The meal was delicious; the ambiance was mellow. The wine was good. Muted piped Jamaican music played in the background and added to a feeling of being cherished! We visited the restaurant every night of the vacation and loved every culinary experience. The waitresses and bar ladies were always pleasant and interacting with them was a part of the really lovely experience.
For use of beach facilities ,the Samsara Resort has a sister resort, Legends Beach Resort, on the Negril beach strip (same owners) which we had access to at will as they provided transport. Miles of clean white sands! It was sunshine and blue sea on comfortable loungers made available by the hotel staff on request. The swimming pool was also available but we really appreciated the beach sea frontage, the drinks, alcoholic and nonalcoholic and the access to well – cooked Jamaican food!
At night we sampled some of Negril’s night spots and drove out to the old Negril Lighthouse to view it in action. The night spots are another story for another time!
We really had a great holiday in Negril at the Samsara Hotel. We experienced true old Jamaican hospitality ,a fine culinary experience and real relaxation on the beach.
Yes! We do recommend this affordable and enjoyable experience to anyone who appreciates a rustic yet comfortable environment with good Jamaican hospitality and great food!
Author Arna J Morgan